This is my first post and is probably going to be characteristic of the three areas that I'm working on most with my 7 and 6 year old daughters:
- How to discipline the girls in a loving and supporting manner;
- How to balance the needs between the two kids; and
- How to handle the imbalance created due to the fact that my 6 year old's best friends of the same age is the daughter of my wife's best friend so my seven year old daughter is often the position of a "third wheel".
Apologies in advance if this post sounds somewhat pedantic and robot-like but writing out these points helps me focus on what things that I'd like to improve on as a father of two bright, loving and wilful little girls.
My first question as a "newbie" relates to this:
I have noticed that my seven year old daughter will not drink from a bottle of water when her sister has had a drink from it first. Her explanation is that the six-year old's spit and germs are in the water.
This bothers me a great deal and I don't know how to deal with it.
Edited to add:
My two daughters Alyssa (7) and Alex (6) are highly competitive and while they generally no longer fight physically they resort to intellectual/psychological warfare, which is not ideal but more tolerable and my wife and I have to play defense and define what is acceptable.
The girls are also generally loving, caring and considerate toward one another. A recurring competitive theme is who gets to have or do something first. This is normally handled by having them taking turns.
The "who gets it first" theme manifested today on our trip to a church fair near the end of the day in 90 weather in Barbados when both girls were both quite dehydrated, and had long since finished each of their custom water bottles. While Alex was on a ride, Alyssa asked for water so my wife went to buy what turned out to be the last bottle of cold water at the drink stand. Alex got off the ride and intercepted my wife who was returning with the one bottle of water. Alyssa noticed that Alex had the bottle and was asking me to open it and Alyssa quickly cried foul and insisted that she drink first. I said it didn't matter and that they would be sharing the bottle at which point Alyssa (as she had been doing recently) declared that she would not drink from a bottle out of which Alex had already sipped because Alex's spit and germs would be in the bottle. She also had the view that she ought to have the first drink because she had specifically asked for water. I conceded the point and gave Alyssa to drink first, which she took advantage of by sipping slowly until I took the water from her and offered it to Alex who declined and was crying (presumably) because her feelings were hurt and some degree of stubbornness.
This situation was particularly worrying not only because Alyssa has taken to "coodie" bullying which I do not believe is acceptable, but this bullying happened to manifest in a situation where something as basic and important as Alex's hydration was at issue. So this made me feel that I needed to put an end to this coodie bullying.
Alyssa is happy to accept the "spit and germs" from a bottle that mum, dad or grandma has sipped from and she is carefree when it comes to washing her hands or playing in normal germ filled locations like playgrounds etc. so she does not have a germ phobia.
I do try to change their focus when they seem to be fixated on something - but admittedly have not yet conditioned myself to think of that approach reflexively. I am aware of the power of this and will focus more.
Do you think that my 7 year old's position of not wanting to drink from her sister's water may just be a fleeting whim of the moment?