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Patty Wipfler

Patty Wipfler is a mother of two sons, director of The Parents Leadership Institute, and author of the "Listening to Children" booklets, which outline more fully the approach she briefly sketches in this article.

Children love to cooperate. They're great at playing, trusting, and learning. They want to feel close to their parents and loved ones. But every day, things happen that hurt children's feelings. They want more time for fun and intimacy, they get frustrated because there are things they can't do yet. There are many difficult moments for a child every day, no matter how hard we parents try to protect them. When children's feelings are hurt, they release those bad feelings immediately -- this is the healthiest response. Crying and tantrums, with plenty of trembling and perspiration, and eventually laughter are the natural way children heal from bad experiences.

We all hope that our children will love and respect each other. At the very least, we expect them to play together, get along and be friends. But sometimes it seems that siblings fight constantly and the noise and tension drives parents crazy. How can we get our kids to love each other as much as we love them? How can we get a little peace and quiet when we come home from work, talk on the phone or sit down to dinner? First let's look at some of the underlying issues in sibling relationships: * Children are naturally deeply interested in other children and are drawn to each other.

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