Testing the Playing Field
My daughter is on her second season playing soccer. I know many children who have learned great discipline and life lessons on the field. The first year, we learned soccer wasn’t for us! This soccer season she asked if she could attempt playing one last time. My husband and I, for some crazy reason, agreed to it. This has been her year of growth on the field from learning to work together to hustling and figuring it out as a team.
At the end of one her games this season, she ran to a friend and said “WE WON! I got 6 points!” Her team had won, but she didn’t score six points. We got in the car and I explained to her she did win, but she hadn’t scored 6 goals. She seemed very confused by what I had just said.
“Mom, aren’t we all on the same team? Aren’t those my points that I helped get?”
Learning the Game
Wow she was completely right. She had won AND helped in every single one of the goals. Lesson learned! It didn’t matter who scored the goal, each player plays a vital role in getting that ball in the score goal. Which means if one scores, everyone on the team wins.
This resonated so well with what’s currently happening under our roof. Our girls have a handful of arguments a day, many of which lead to someone’s feelings getting hurt.
Our family is a team too, if one wins, we should all celebrate. If someone feels defeated, we should take a knee and cheer them back up.
Executing the Game Plan
We realize it’s a priority to help them find simple and creative ways to build their relationship now so hopefully in the future they can reap the benefits of having a good sibling relationship.
Here are three ways we are refocusing our parenting to help our girls strengthen their relationship:
- Celebrate Each Other. The first lesson we are working into our daily routine is to celebrate each other’s wins. This can be from daily wins to special occasion wins. We are focusing on commending successes in meaningful ways. So, if one wins their soccer game (or not) – the other will highlight the great things she did in the game. When someone has a special day – a colorful note or drawing is the perfect way to show you care. And if someone goes above and beyond what’s expected, the other is to explain why they are proud of their sister. Whatever the win is, we make it a point to help the siblings celebrate each other however best they can. This has helped us lessen those yucky feelings of jealousy that can sometimes take over among sisters.
- Care For Each Other. If there is an ouchy, mama is there with band aids and kisses. I’ve had to stop and take a step back and have allowed them to take over caring for one another whenever it makes sense. They can grab each other’s band aids, kiss each other’s ouchies and grab a tissue to wipe away a tear. Allowing them to care for each other helps make them responsible, compassionate and odds are willing to be a good care taker outside the home as well.
- Figure it Out Together. When they aren’t able to get something done, I’ve allowed them to help each other figure it out. Whether there is a struggle to zip up a jacket, hard to put on shoes or it seems impossible to do your chore they are always allowed to help each other. This might not come naturally so I’ve begun to prompt one or the other when they need help to go and work side by side to figure it out together. Yes, this takes longer then me helping them, but it gives them the skills to solve it together. This also includes weekly chores – chores are always better when they’re done in teams so it works well for us.
Let me be clear: I do not have a sister myself, in fact, I still fantasize about having a sister. I daydream about the forever best friend, the coffee dates and the weekend shopping. While it’s a dream for me, I hear it’s not the easiest of relationships. This is my attempt to learn the sister life and help them keep their sister love flourishing.