Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Close Kids


If you have children, particularly more than one, you might want to grab a copy of Close Kids. This book was passed on to me by a friend, and I'm so glad to know about it.

In an effort to parent proactively in such a way that his three daughters would have close relationships, Brett Johnston conducted a massive, Internet based survey on sibling relationships, and Close Kids is a result of those survey findings.

Johnston explores factors that cause siblings to grow apart, and also discusses his findings of factors beyond our control. For example, are sisters really closer than than brothers? Is age difference between siblings a factor? Does trauma play a role? I won't spoil his findings, but it makes for an interesting read!

Johnston also lists "The 8 Close Kids Factors," which is my favorite chapter. I will say - the #1 factor he cites for creating close relationships in siblings surprised me. Not so much that it was included in the top 8, but to be the number one - I wouldn't have expected it.

So is your curiosity up? Close Kids is a worthwhile read. It's a quick read, easy to digest with personal stories mixed in the survey findings, and will likely get you thinking on how you can be proactive in helping foster great relationships with your kiddos.

On that note, I'm including one of Johnston's survery responses -
Brett, your survey reminded me of something my sister did that sealed our relationship. My sister was quite a bit older than I was and in high school at the same time I was in grade school.
There was a time when she seemed to go out every weekend and I never got to see her. I think she probably felt she was abandoning me so she made me an incredible offer. One I thought was wonderful then and view as nearly inconceivable now that I am older and understand the sacrifice she made as a mere teenager.
My sister, Katherine, told me one day she would never go out on Saturday nights without me. Friday night she would spend with her friends, but Saturday night was all mine. She never wavered and it was not an empty promise.
She and I would go exploring in Harriman State Park, take trips to Coney Island, and I even remember her setting up the telescope in the front yard and teaching me about astronomy. She would make up songs and we had all sorts of inside jokes that we never included our parents in on. Even to this day, we still talk about all the wonderful things we did together.
We became extraodinarily close friends despite our age difference. It would have been easy for her to disappear from my life forever like some kids do. But she didn't. I tell me children often about all the great things my sister did with me I hope and pray my daughter Samantha grows up with Aunt Katherine's wonderful heart.
- Ron, N.Y.
This story is what perhaps touched me the most in reading Close Kids, made me wish I'd read it twenty years ago instead of now. Trey, my older brother, is only two years ahead of me, so our lives naturally intertwined all growing up. But Chris and Luke are five and seven years younger. While I have a ton of hilarious and sweet family memories, I regret being so consumed in high school and college. I have such a deep love for my little brothers, I know I missed out by not investing more time in them through my teens and early twenties. Now Chris and Luke are taller and smarter and funnier than me, and I hold tremendous admiration and respect for them both. I'm so, so thankful for my little brothers, but boy, how cool if they would have had this man's description for a big sister.  Fortunately, they've forgiven me for going out on Saturday nights without them (although I do remember a couple of weekend nights driving you and all your friends around to wrap houses, Chris!)
Check out my good-looking brothers -
Hanging out on Christmas day. Uncle Luke on left, Uncle Chris on right with Hud, Bran and Essie
Funny what playing with kids all day can do to you
Close Kids will make you think, will hopefully make you grateful for your own siblings,  and challenge you to provide ways to create close relationships among your kiddos. So check out the info at closekids.com, which is also available on Kindle. Enjoy!