Selfish Children, Emotional Daughters



I can't always answer questions posed in the comments, but I thought I'd give a little time to two that were posted under the last post on time alone.  My answers come with a resounding caveat:  I am not an expert, even on my own children.  So take my answers for whatever they are worth to you, and toss the rest.

"I agree they definitely need some time alone. My daughter who is six wants to go in her room and shut the door when she plays Barbies; she does not want her 20-month-old sister to bother her. I can understand sometimes, but she does not want her to even sit on the other side of the room and play something else while she is playing Barbies, any suggestions?"

It does sounds as if Barbie takes precedence over sister, and that fact alone would cause me to put a child on a Barbie hiatus.  We've had Lego hiatuses here.  But I would talk the whole thing through with your daughter.  Explain to her that although you understand that the little one has a tendency to get into her things and you know that can be frustrating, our goal is to become unselfish people who love each other more than our things. You could give her a little grace period in which she has the opportunity to show you that Barbie is not more important than sister, but if she cannot play Barbie while sister is in the room, you'll need to set Barbie aside for awhile.

Again, the above is true for any toy or possession.  Even if Barbie is the most favorite toy your daughter owns, she is garnering more affection than sister, and that never honors God.


And the Gospel. Always the Gospel. Remind her with compassion that we can never be unselfish on our own; always and only with the help of the Holy Spirit. We can pray. We can preach the Gospel to ourselves. We can remind ourselves and our children of our redemption through Christ.

"Any thoughts on what to do about a 5-year-old little girl who is set off by little things and cries a lot for apparently no reason? I fear she will never overcome this (even though I know she probably will). I just want to do all I can now to help the behaviors while there's time. I don't feel that she's necessarily in need of discipline, it's just that she's very emotionally charged. Any ideas or encouragement anyone? Thanks!"

Nope.  I have no ideas or encouragement.  Just kidding!  I feel for you, mama, especially if you are not an emotionally charged woman.  I am not emotional unless something major has occurred (or my hormones are wacky) and seeing unbridled tears or histrionics in girls and women really gets on my nerves.  This is an area where God is teaching me compassion, although I'm afraid I'm a slow learner.


So, what would I do?  Hmmmm.  Well, I do believe there is a proper time to stand back and assess environmental issues.  Could it be your daughter is overly tired?  Does she get enough sleep?  How is her diet?  What is the atmosphere of your home?  Are there heavy emotional issues that might be affecting her?


If you can rule out any of the above (or anything else that comes to mind), then maybe it's time to patiently teach your daughter not to fall apart every time something doesn't go her way or "apparently for no reason".  This is one of those issues that needs loving conversation with mom, so plan a time when you can sit down with her alone, pour her a cup of cocoa, and then explain that you are concerned about this area of her life and that as she grows and matures, she needs to learn to control her emotions.  It won't be an overnight change, but something you and she work on together over the years.

Then design a simple battle plan with her.  Tell her something like, "So when mommy sees that you are on the verge of tears, I'll signal to you to take a big deep breath." Or something like that.  Let her know that you are on her team!  You are her biggest fan and you are there to help her conquer an area of struggle in her life.


And the Gospel.