Jill Caryl Weiner “When We Became Four”
Parent-Child Communication, The Happy Student Podcast

The Happy Student #87: Jill Caryl Weiner “When We Became Four”

Growing your family is fun and stressful for both parents and big sibs! Jill Caryl Weiner has created a memory book that is not only funny and fun to fill out, but that also helps everyone in the family (parents and big sib) prepare for this new addition. The prompts and quotes in her book can actually help the family grow to be stronger and closer. Find out how!

Jill Caryl Weiner “When We Became Four”

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IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT…

Jill is an author and journalist who has written about parenting and educational issues, among other things, for the New York Times, TimeOut NY Kids, Mom365.com and other publications and websites.

Her first book, When We Became Three: A Memory Book for the Modern Family is a baby memory book for the couple having their first baby that lets parents record all the fun and chaos that ensues. It was just named one of the best pregnancy books of all time by The Book Authority. She’s got a new memory book out called When We Became Four: A Memory Book for the Whole Family.

  • “When my daughter was born I wanted to give her a memory book. I was very nervous about having this baby and what it would do to my relationship with my husband and how it would impact on us as individuals and I was worried about my identity…I started looking at them and they were so very old fashioned. They were all about the baby, when the baby rolls over, the dates, and all these statistics. I was like, I’m not going to be able to remember that. This book is going to make me feel guilty. I need a book that’s going to represent me and my husband as a couple. Also, wouldn’t it be great if it shows how everyone changes?”
  • This memory book is based on your feelings and memories, so it can be completed at any point in time.
  • It is more of a fun book, rather than something parents feel like they “should” do. “Humor is very truthful.” Especially in hindsight, these stories are very funny.
  • It helps show that you are not alone. There are other sleep-deprived zombies!

What are some things that families struggle with as they grow?

  • Before the baby is born parents can get nervous about losing quality time with their first born and losing quality time with his/her partner. They often wonder how will they manage another human being when they are barely managing how things are going currently?

How does your book help with the transition to the larger family?

  • It brings the family together for fun, quality bonding.
  • It allows the family an opportunity to deal with some issues that can come up. The book gives everyone in the family a safe place to express him/herself. It helps foster communication.
  • It can enhance big sibs involvement and communication with the family and offer a healthy outlet for the feelings that big sib might have. It reminds big sib that they are important and that what they’re feeling matters.

So part of the point of these books is to use the prompts and quotes in the book to help your family grow into a stronger, close-knit family. Would you mind sharing one of those prompts or quotes with us to give an example of how it does that?

  • It helps create a narrative of this time together.
  • It also tells the whole story of your family which helps create empathy for each other.
  • There’s a prompt about matching responsibilities to a person. This helps alleviate all of the responsibilities that often falls on the mother. It also allows the big sib to get involved in these responsibilities and lets them know that they too have things they can do with the baby.
  • Similarly, there’s a prompt about expectations for each member of the family.

Some ending thoughts…

  • Express your feelings in a fun way.
  • You might worry about having the new baby, when really the baby is like whipped cream for your family.
  • You have to be mindful that if there’s going to be a big change you try to make that transition sooner.
  • There are ways to spin things to keep each other in the process.
  • Make sure the big sib knows they’re not forgotten about by asking about their day or spending quality time together.
  • Value each other.

Buy Jill’s books today:

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Get in touch with Jill:

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