There are children in our home who will, occasionally, lash out and physically go after another child. Sometimes, the child they go after is larger. We give our children permission to defend themselves. They are allowed to push the offending child off, and they are allowed to hold them down while they scream for a parent to intervene. When the child they’ve attacked is bigger, it’s a natural consequence for the offender. They just got sat on by a kid who they attacked, who then fought back and who subdued them. I consider that a life lesson. If I tried to kick the butt of some tatted up guy in a biker bar, I’d get my butt handed right back to me. Got that kiddo? Don’t say I never did anything for you. You just learned a very important life lesson.
When an older child goes after a smaller one, it’s a little trickier. First of all, I get angrier than I should. I rant and rave about picking on those who are weaker. Which, when I think about it, is probably why the offending child is beating on the smaller child, because they were once the smaller and weaker and they were victimized. But, when it’s your baby and an older child is beating on them, it’s difficult. This is the only time, when there is danger, that we do let our older kids step a toe into the waters of discipline. They are absolutely allowed to pull one child off and scream for adult help.
We’ve had to talk A LOT with our older kids about excessive force. It’s EXTREMELY tempting, as you’re sitting on someone who just tried to beat you up, to bounce up and down. You know, just a little bounce, just enough to make the beater squeal a little. And just because, well, you can because no one is there to see it yet. And because, well, the kid you’re sitting on is acting like a turd and acts like a turd A LOT. So, on a daily basis, we teach our older kids why our younger ones act the way they do. Our big kids get it. Some of them came from the same situation.
Some people think it’s terrible to have to live this way, to have to teach your kids these things. I shrug. I lived with two biological siblings. They came from the same loving, protected and sheltered environment I did. I shared a room with a sister who was 11 years my junior. When I was about 15 and she was about 5, she slapped me across the face. Right.in.the.kisser. I was an annoying teenager. She was an irritating little sister. My answer to her? I wound up and cracked her one right back. That ended it. She went to tell my mom who comforted her and then told her it was probably a bad idea to slap people.
Yep. It probably is. And, I got grounded for the day.
who, to this day, hasn’t ever slapped anyone across the face again. Lesson learned.