My seven year old daughter is overly dramatic and knows how to use words to paint an elaborate picture of betrayal, sadness, heartbreak. Wait, my daughter is a dramatic story teller? Shocking, right? The problem with her stories is that they are not always terribly accurate. She doesn’t lie. She just exaggerates to paint herself as the victim, the main villain in her tales, her little brother. Listen, the boy can be a real terror. I’ve written on this very blog about how he has challenged us as parents from time to time. But he is also a love who showers his sister with affection and adoration when he’s not poking and picking at her.
As the very proud mom to both of my delightfully wacky kids, I’m struggling to help my daughter find a balance between righteous indignation and gratitude, especially when it comes to her pesty little brother. Yesterday I had simply had enough as she yelled at no one in particular, tears streaming down her face. The source of anger wavered depending on my queries, but in the midst of it all I sensed a tone.
The theme of her angry fit? “It’s not fair!”
That night as we sat in her room reading books and singing bedtime songs, I pulled out this simple page that I created quickly, armed and ready to fight my child’s increasingly spoiled bad attitude:
Each night during prayers we each thank God for one thing and ask for his help with one thing, but I felt like it was time to step up our game. I struggled with the “lucky” part, but went with it anyway. The result? She went through each of the lovely details of her day – winning Bible Story Jeopardy at church, lunch at Panera with mom, a hip hop dance party, a friend over to play – and she realized how wonderful her day had actually been. In the end she decided she’s a lucky girl because she has such great friends. Once we had the page filled out, I hung it next to her bed. Rather than lying in bed feeling sorry for herself because her brother got to eat her one and only cherry Tootsie Roll, she instead fell asleep with her blessings staring her in the face. And the first thing she saw when she woke up the next morning? All the reasons she should be grateful.
I’m not so naive to think that this means “I’m not fair” is going away any time soon. She’s seven. I realize this is just the beginning and her list of indignities will simply grow more complicated once I have to put my foot down about dates and parties and driving with friends, but now I’m armed and ready.
How do you combat the “It’s not fairs” in your house?