Tough Talk

One night at bedtime, my daughter, Nee, was upset.

“What’s wrong?” asked my wife, KayEm.

“Tyra and I aren’t friends anymore,” Nee said with disappointment. Nee has always had a hard time making and keeping friends. After her “mean girls” episode at her former school, Nee has been very cautious of befriending other girls. Fortunately, Tyra was the type of girl that Nee was able to be herself with and they immediately became BFFs.

“What happened with you and Tyra?” asked KayEm.

“She was mean to me because I didn’t want to play the games she wanted to play,” Nee said. “So she said that she didn’t want to be my friend anymore.”

KayEm tried to console her, but Nee was so upset that she started crying.

“I wish I were a boy,” she said between sobs. “Boys make friends forever.”

The next day, I picked up the kids from school.

“How are things with you and Tyra?” I asked.

“They’re better now,” Nee said. “We’re friends again.”

“Really,” I said. “How’d that happen?”

“Our teacher took us aside and made us make up,” Nee said.

“And I had to give Tyra some tough talk,” interjected, N, my 6-year-old son. Apparently, N was eavesdropping during KayEm and Nee’s conversation and had made plans to defend his sister’s honor.

When they arrived at school that morning, N made a B-line to Tyra.

“You’d better stop being mean to my sister,” he said with a finger wag.

Tyra was taken aback. “I wasn’t being mean,” she replied. “Nee was the one who was being mean.”

“My sister is not mean,” N retorted. I was shocked by N’s statement. In N’s eyes, Nee is the meanest sister who ever walked the Earth. But obviously it was okay for him to call her mean but not okay for anyone else to do so.

Tyra tried to respond, but N shut her down.

“My sister is not mean. You’re the one who’s mean. Na na na na na!” he said as he left Tyra with her jaw on the ground.

“How did you feel while N was giving Tyra that tough talk?” I asked Nee. I thought she’d be horrified by her brother’s display.

She smiled sheepishly and said, “It felt good.”

Stay Strong,

Questions: Have your kids had the opportunity to defend their siblings? Have you ever stood up for a sibling?

About author

Frederick J. Goodall

Frederick J. Goodall is the founder of Mocha Dad - a parenting website focused on fatherhood. He is passionate about parenting and helping men to be great dads, husbands, and role models. You can contact him at or on Twitter at

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