Vered is a music therapist based in New York City. She has three kids and has recently released an album called Songs for Sisters and Brothers.
Her previous albums Hello My Baby and Good Morning My Love are all about the relationship between a parent and their new baby. At first she was inspired by her own experiences as a new mum and then her expanding family, changed the direction of her work.
“When I had my third child my music took another turn, relationships have always been fascinating to me, but this time it was about their relationship,” she said.
While Vered was busy watching her own kids, she noticed that the families at her music classes were also looking at ways to manage the relationships in their young families.
Vered's music classes were helping families manage their relationships
“My classes are with parents and babies but it's often parents who are coming with their second baby or third baby and they're talking about the fights that are happening," she explained. :You know, the older sibling feeling like they've given up on the attention, the parent feeling very guilty that they're not giving the same attention to the second. And so even though the parents are there to be very present with their baby, the ones with more than one are really dealing with the new complexity that this baby has now brought into the dynamic. It just it changes everything.”
The simplest way to stop kids fighting
At one point Vered got desperate. Her youngest child was starting to get into her older brothers’ toys, and the fighting was constant. Even though she was a therapist and knew how to deal with the fighting in theory, the reality was much more difficult.
“I'm wondering do we do time outs? Do we have them apologize to each other? Do we take the thing away?”
She went to see a psychologist, Tovah Klein, who told her to try something very straight forward.
Listen to Vered on Kinderling Conversation:
Tovah told Vered to just let the children fight. To tell them they could fight, just not in front of her.
Vered said it worked a treat. While at first her children seemed shocked, after a minute they stopped fighting.
“What we all realised, but especially us parents, is that so much of the reason they are fighting is really over our love," she said. "They're fighting over a thing and it's really all about sharing. But what it really is sharing is the parent's love. If we can take the parent out of the equation then the fighting itself is not as interesting. If the parent is there and refereeing then the fight for them is very interesting because it's really about who does this parent love more, who does the parent find more special?
“The kids are constantly deep down trying to figure that out.”
An album that deals with every complex emotion of growing families
Songs for Sisters and Brothers is a conceptual album that takes you from the very beginning – when you’re expecting your second child, to what it’s like to have a family with more than one sibling.
Vered explained the first song 'Gunna Be', “What I'm trying to say in the song is yes it's going to be hard but you're always going to be my baby. And from now on you're going to be someone else's hero. And that's a pretty amazing thing.”
Another song called 'Like it Once Was', looks back on what it was like to be the only child.
There’s even a song for parental guilt.
“This one called 'Little Bird' was really about realizing that that little one even though we're not giving the same attention they're actually like a little bird who will learn to fly on their own. And you realise they didn't need us cheering them on. They're going to fly, they actually fly really high and really beautifully and strong and they just come back to the nest to rest.”
It's about appreciating family life, including moments of joy
While the album explores some difficult feelings, it also shines a light on those moments that make it all worthwhile.
“There's a song on there called 'Family Hug' which is about the moment where everything feels good. There's so much chaos around and so many things happening but then there's that one moment where we say yes, now everything slips away and we're all together and we're in this beautiful moment.”
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