What I'm wondering about is what level of responsibility should my 6yo have in these situations? In the legal world, you hear about mitigating your damages. Does my 6yo have a responsibility to keep himself safe?
I'm not concerned about dealing with the almost 2yo, I'm confident about how we are handling that, and that we will adjust our reactions as necessary. It's not always hitting or biting, but can be any number of hurtful or boundary crossing actions.
Here's how a typical situation goes.
They were in the bath the other night. I was in the bathroom with them. Ds1 is laying down in the tub, and ds2 is sitting near his upper body. Ds1 screams/whines and says that ds2 had put soap on his (ds1's) face. I tell ds2 that ds1 doesn't want soap on his face, he's not allowed to do that, and offer alternative things to do in the bath. It happens again, I tell ds2 he can't do that (etc), and I tell ds1 to sit up so ds2 stops putting soap on his face. I tell ds1 that even though ds2 isn't allowed to do those things, that while he is learning, that we need to take actions to keep ourselves safe, and that sometimes that means taking away the temptation and opportunities to do the unacceptable things. Ds1 refuses to sit up, and of course ds2 does it again.
Now obviously, I don't think that it's ok for ds2 to hit/whatever ds1, and we deal with it every time he does so. But does ds1 have a responsibility to move away, when I tell him to do so when ds2 is going nuts?
Ds2 occasionally hits/bites/etc dp and me, but WAYYY less often than before, and it's obvious that he's making the connection, and working on NOT doing it. But it makes disciplining the situation so so so much more difficult when ds1 just sits there and laughs (in between yelling/whining). It's making it hard to impress upon ds2 that ds1 does not like to be hit/etc, and that it's not a game.