Cover image for Beyond sibling rivalry : how to help your children become cooperative, caring, and compassionate
Beyond sibling rivalry : how to help your children become cooperative, caring, and compassionate
Goldenthal, Peter, 1948-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : H. Holt, 1999.
Physical Description:
x, 237 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BF723.S43 G65 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



A new way to look at sibling rivalry that sees children's relationships with each other in the context of the family as a whole. This is the first book to incorporate the latest thinking regarding family relationships as important contexts in which sibling relationships develop. Unlike other books that insist that conflicts among siblings reflect jealousy and a longing for parents' undivided attention, Dr. Goldenthal asserts that all family relationships have a bearing on rivalry between brothers and sisters--not only their relationship with each other but their relationship with their parents, and even their parents' relationships with their parents. Through examples of many different types of problem family situations, he gives practical guidelines and tools for solving common and not-so-common sibling conflicts. He shows parents of young children how to institute child-rearing practices that will prevent or at least diminish future sibling conflicts, and he provides strategiesfor reducing friction and stress among children when they arise.

Author Notes

Peter Goldenthal, Ph.D., is currently Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Jefferson Medical College. Dr. Goldenthal practices in Wayne, Pennsylvania, and at the Children's Seashore House of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where he is Director of Child and Family Therapy. He lives near Philadelphia with his wife and two young children.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Clinical and family psychologist Goldenthal believes that sibling rivalry is far more complex than jealousy and competition between children of the same family. Instead, he sees these conflicts as indicative of larger family problems. For example, continued fighting between siblings, Goldenthal argues, frequently has its roots in poor communication between the warring parties. But again and again he has discovered the bigger issue--parents don't communicate with each other, and the children are essentially reflecting this dysfunction. Goldenthal presents an overview of these and other potential pitfalls and also no-nonsense ways to avoid them. He discusses hot topics such as determining attention-deficit disorder, which may be promoting a child's antisocial behavior, and how parents who focus on their own childhood experiences often don't see what their children are going through. Helpful and compassionate, it should be a fine addition to parenting collections. --Brian McCombie

Publisher's Weekly Review

Rather than focusing only on how to handle specific bouts between siblings, Goldenthal, a Philadelphia-area family psychologist, covers a wider scope, exploring how sibling conflict can be diminished or avoided altogether. Goldenthal explains how sibling rivalry can be exacerbated by many aspects of a child's lifeĀ‘problems at school, poor self-esteem, difficulties with friends, parents who compare siblings or criticize and the stress of trying to measure up to parents' expectations held over from their own childhood, to name just a few. Parents will be reassured to learn that their children can be encouraged to be empathetic toward one another and that simple tactics, such as the use of verbal praise or small rewards to reinforce positive behavior, can help waylay aggressive behavior among sibs. Goldenthal explains how and when to appropriately use rewards; without placing blame, he also reveals how parental behavior can unwittingly contribute to sibling conflict. The author looks beyond immediate who-did-what explanations to deeper connections and causes within the family. Goldenthal's suggestions on how to build healthy family relationships will be useful to parents who feel they are now at the mercy of their children's squabbles. While the writing is sometimes awkward and the text is overloaded with wordy case studies, Goldenthal's work gives clear-cut guidance for parents struggling to facilitate harmony among their children. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 3
1. Predictable and Preventable Sibling Conflictsp. 8
2. Unfairness, Anger, and Sibling Rivalryp. 27
3. Look for Each Child's Unique Abilitiesp. 55
4. Give Credit Where Credit Is Duep. 76
5. How Does ADHD Affect Sibling Conflicts?p. 100
6. Remember Whose Childhood It Isp. 110
7. When Children Try to Carry Parents' Baggagep. 125
8. Family Loyalty and Loyalty Conflictsp. 143
9. Facilitate Empathy and Altruismp. 160
10. Bribery Is Okayp. 171
11. When Bribery Is Not Enoughp. 187
12. Self-Esteem and Generosity: The Cure for Sibling Rivalryp. 206
Appendix Finding Psychological Help for Resolving Sibling Conflictsp. 219
Some Useful Books for Parentsp. 227
Books for Young Childrenp. 228
Indexp. 229