Member Question:

My oldest turns yuck on her sister and is straight up mean. I don’t know how to turn this around. She doesn’t share, doesn’t let her sister near her and it hurts my feelings and I’m sure her sister’s!! I need the correct things to say to her to help her see what she is doing.

Rachel’s Response: 

My older daughter does the same thing. She’s gotten so much better but it bothered the you-know-what out of me while she was doing it!!!

The one thing I will say (you probably already know this) is that there are no “correct things” to say in the moment when she’s being mean. She’s already in Yuck and will likely not respond well to much.

I’d talk to her when she’s not in Yuck. First ask her what about her sister frustrates her. (Connection like this leads to a willingness to problem solve / admit vulnerability… if you don’t start here, she’ll shut down). Then let her know that you want to help her handle her frustration with her sister in a better way. Brainstorm solutions together. And here’s the key. You have to practice this / talk about it between times of Yuck. Remember that when we’re flooded, we default to the behavior that’s the easiest to recall in the moment — which will be the old (mean) behavior until she’s practiced enough with the new one.

Member Response:

Thank you!! Starting today. Also going to use the “I wouldn’t let people say that to you” line you taught me. 🙂

Rachel’s Response:

Yes I use that one with my kids a lot! Good way to show them the impact of their words while showing we still care about them.