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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Thanks for this post! Negativity has creeped into our home this summer, too.
Very nice way to handle this, I could have used it a few hundred years ago. But my boys are all grown up and I love their friendship, I love to hear them all laugh when they are together. Keep up the faith. Mary
That is a great story and very encouraging. Thanks for sharing!
It is so good to hear from you. Yep, we just have to stay the course and keep recognizing these behaviors.
Say hi to Jason for us.
I don’t have children and can’t comment from the perspective of a parent, but I was very impressed with the way a friend of mine handled mean spiritedness between her girls. When one of them made a horrible comment about the other, my friend gasped and said, “That’s a LIE!” and the punishment was for lying.
I was expecting her to say it was mean and to punish her for being mean, but in a way, that would have given some validity to the mean thing that was said. Like “Hey, we know your sister is fat and ugly, but we don’t say that. ” 🙂
Stay the course on this one. Your girls will appreciate their friendship all through their lives.
Do you suppose that our magnificent God, knowing Father, allowed for Satan as a way to make us stronger? It is a great thing to recognize what lies underneath the problem. By doing so, all your girls and those of us that can see and hear may gain from recognizing other forces at work.
It’s a great catch that you’ve made!!
…and very cool Sherri; see how things flow.
As the mother of 3 girls also, especially pre-teen/teenagers, its hard. Mean Girls are the norm in their worlds that they walk in. It takes constant work to be counter culture.
Just to encourage you, my eldest left for her 1st day of college this week. Her sister closest in age to her, publicly wrote a heart felt, gracious, loving tribute to her on her facebook page for all their friends and world to see. Several adults commented to me that “It is good to see sisters being sisters like that”. My husband said, we may have done some things wrong, but we’ve done a few things right too. It is hard raising godly girls in this culture. Period. I’m sure your girls will lovingly survive the raging hormonal years intact too 🙂 I enjoy your heart you share here. thanks, Sherri (a lurker:)
Patricia….I love what you wrote. We also have been dealing with squabbling, unforgiveness, selfishness between JoJo and Caleb this summer. It is so important for them to realize they are going to need each other in life. Jason and I need to have a discussion about casting out our negative spirit too. Seems so simple and yet I forget to call it what it is…..Satan puts the blinders on little by little as I let it go and just address the outward actions. Thanks I needed this.
BTW it is fun to see what you and Stephen are up to, say hi to him from Jason and I.