Like a movie in slow motion, I watched one daughter scream at the other daughter, then the other daughter threw the remote control at her sister. I quickly realized intervention was necessary.
Our kids have been active this summer with lots of camps, lots of activities, and lately, lots of fighting. But the other night my husband pointed out something that has been going on for a couple of weeks. There has been this negative spirit amongst the girls and they have been in a habit of putting each other down. Sometimes, these putdowns are masked in humor, other times they come out of pride, power and superiority. It isn’t good!
I can see that this has been going on for a while. We have been putting bandages on the fights but we haven’t healed the wounds.
We sat down with the girls the other night and had a family discussion. We identified the spirit, and we all committed to working on building each other up. The cool part of doing this was the girls saw it. They realized how they have been in this pattern…. and Stephen and I realized we have allowed it.
I think it’s easy to let things like this fester. It’s easy to ignore sibling rivalry; after all, it’s hard work to change a negative climate within the home. It’s hard work to change a behavior.
One of the values we have tried to instill in our girls is the value they have to each other. We have always encouraged them to seek each other’s advice and friendship. We encourage our girls to support each other in their talents. But this means there must be trust built into the relationship. This is where the parents come in. We need to help our kids learn what it is to be a trustworthy person, especially with emotions. Letting one child cut the other child down creates a fast path to loosing trust within a family.
This is why we have called this negative spirit to the carpet. We don’t want it anymore.
Be gone you negative spirit, you are not invited to our home!!
About a month ago, our oldest daughter came home from camp and told her sisters that she wanted them to be her best friends. She said, “I realize that you will be there for me for the rest of my life.”
This is the spirit we want. I am guessing that the girls will continue to have some battles, but hopefully the battles will be short, and they will continue to see how beautiful and precious their relationships are.
Specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy
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