Siblings Picking on Siblings

I can’t stand it when my kids fight with one another.   This is the one thing that really gets to me.  I want to have a “Waltons” kind of family, right?

Some days the house seems more like “Married With Children”.  Incessant bickering and put downs.

I remember one day my oldest, Griffin, did something that really bothered me. He was being so mean to one of the little ones. I wanted to do more than simply tell him to knock it off.  I explained to him how I lost my sister, how I missed her and wish I had her back, etc., etc. Then I remembered “The Scarlet Ibis”.

The Scarlet Ibis remains an important short story for me. First, it was the first story I read that made me cry. Mr. Andrews, my 9th grade literature teacher, selected it for the class. I won’t give you the details of the story, because I want you to read it. You can find it here:

Second, it allowed me to show Griffin that there is wisdom in literature, and we can seek stories out to learn about ourselves. We can reflect on the author’s ideas and language and apply the ideas to our own lives.

I read the story to Griffin, and I saw tears well up in his eyes.

I’d like to say that there has been no quarreling in the house ever since, but you wouldn’t believe it. It isn’t true, anyhow. But, I did expose Griffin to a great piece of literature and perhaps planted a seed that may bear more compassion in the future.

I found an excellent commentary on the story that you might like. It may help you to talk about the imagery and symbolism with more depth. You can find it here:

The Waltons is a fiction. We are not perfect and my kids are not angels all the time. It’s just weird when they fight, because I feel the same protective feelings when any of my kids get picked on, even when one of my other kids is doing the “picking on”. I’ll leave you with a photo of the “Fletchers”. I like this photo. The kids look happy. Not quite the Waltons, but as close as I can get today.

Published by drmartinfletcher

Martin Fletcher, Psy.D, L.P. Dr. Martin Fletcher is the Shrink of The Shepherd and the Shrink Podcast. He is in private practice at Renew Hope Counseling where he also supervises a team of talented clinicians. In late 2019 Dr. Marty teamed up w/ Dr. Matt Hook to respond to the growing mental health crisis. The goal is to help people create healthy spiritual lives in order to restore meaning and purpose to individuals, families, and communities. Psychology meets spirituality. Dr. Fletcher holds advanced degrees in clinical psychology and education. His treatment approach involves quickly reducing symptoms while helping patients design and maintain health promoting lifestyles. Dr. Fletcher is a husband to Kathy and dad to 3 sons and one daughter. His interests include fitness, guitar, motorcycles, mountain biking, and exploring the role of spirituality in health. Dr. Fletcher is fully licensed in the State of Michigan.

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