This 11 year old boy (J.) has been coming to our yard. He is usually quiet, and when I observe through the window, it seems like they are having a good time.
Turns out he says "shut up" quiet a lot, and my kids don't like it. There might be other things too--as they say that he is "mean" but I can't figure out what is happening. I know he has hit them, but it seems after they hit him. It is not that they hit a lot, but sometimes there would be an argument, and my 5 year old would get mad if J. has taken something of his, and his sister would jump up in her brother's defense and try to punch him, and then J. would punch her back. It is never violent or too aggressive--just little altercations that die out right away.
Yesterday my kids ran screaming that J. was mean, and as I walked out, he was walking away. I ran after him and asked him to just talk to me and tell me what happened.
He told me about the incident (above), and I talked to him about being the oldest--as my kids are 8 and 5. I told him that I tell my kids not to hit, and that they all need to step back and say "no hitting" if it happens, and that because he is the oldest there, he needs to be even more mindful of that.
It is hard for him, I'm sure, to hang out with younger kids at times--I validated that to him.
J. started crying. Big tears rolling down his cheeks. He said his older sister is 14, and she is always mean to him. (I didn't probe further, but maybe I should have, to just see what kind of situation he is in.) I do get a feeling he is not from a very involved family, as he often spends hours and hours at our yard.
At the end of our conversation I told him he could come back when he felt better, to make peace with the kids. I thought about giving him a hug, but wasn't sure how an 11 yo would react, so I just patted him on his back. He hasn't come since, but he is not here every day, so not sure whether he is avoiding us or just busy.
I have no experience with 11 year old boys! I'd like to support him, and also make sure he is respectful with my kids--they really don't like this "shut up" thing. And my 8 yo has told him many times to stop it, and he just won't.
I need advice on how to draw clear boundaries, and also to support him. I realise now that I should've hinted at boundaries right as we were talking, but I was not prepared for the conversation and was just taken aback by his crying.
P.S. There are usually other kids around, and all kinds of games going on. It is rare that he is alone with my kids. My kids tell me that the neighbours think he is "mean" too. From what I've witnessed, he's been nice with my 2 year old (playing ball with her) and is usually kind of withdrawn (looks down a lot). So I don't know for sure whether he is mean, or younger kids pull at his strings, or what else could be going on.
Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
14yo ds 11yo dd 9yo ds and 7yo ds and 2yo ds
|it's not unreasonable for a kid his age to hit the 8yo back when she's hitting him.|
As far as him saying 'shut up', if your kids don't like it then I would tell them to say to him, 'I don't like when you say that to me' and walk away. IMO getting into a screaming match about it is almost as unacceptable as hitting.
Honestly I think your talk with him was a little inappropriate especially in light of the fact that your child hit him first. If you think about it, if your child had just been struck by another kid, and then that kid's parent talked to your child about 'respecting' THEIR kid (the one that just hit yours) wouldn't you be a little peeved? It would be different if this was a bully situation, but it sounds like your daughter is not at all being bullied.
It would be OK to tell him that hitting back doesn't solve the problem, and that you have talked to your dd about hitting, but thats probably as far as I would have gone.
For the record, my 8 year old does not have a hitting "issue", but would punch if someone is mean to her brother. We do talk about it, of course, and this happens very, very rarely. But if J. is taking away her brother's toys, and won't respond after being asked several times (she is VERY good at communicating, with no screaming, but she is being ignored by J.), I see nothing wrong with her punching him. It is not like it was a fist fight or anything like that, no one was close to being physically hurt. I reinforce the ideas of walking away from confrontation, but it is not always possible. If he was taking away her things, she would have walked away, but when it is about her little brother, she is more of a sister-bear.
But I agree that he is too little himself to be responsible for not hitting. I do tell my kids the same things, it is not that I singled him out. But I got a bit lost talking to him, as I wasn't sure what would be appropriate for an 11 year old. Thanks again.
|I see nothing wrong with her punching him. It is not like it was a fist fight or anything like that, no one was close to being physically hurt. I reinforce the ideas of walking away from confrontation, but it is not always possible.|
This is just an excuse for your dd to hit him. If she can walk away if he did something to her, she can walk away & get you when he won't give her brothers toys back.
What makes you think it doesn't hurt him physically when she hits him? What about emotionally hurting, having an 8yo hit you in front of the other kids but he isn't supposed to protect himself becuase he's older. It is setting him up to bullied by the rest of the neighborhood.
Why is it not possible for your dd to just walk away in these circumstances? It is the BEST time to walk away.
He needs to be mindful becuase he's older but it's okay for your dd to hit him because there's "nothing else she can do". How would you feel if a 5yo hit your dd & the mother said oh well sometimes there's nothing else that can be done in these situations.
Some of our neighbourhood rules:
If someone says please stop you stop - no questions asked.
No excluding anyone.
All toys are shared toys.
If you need help get an adult.
I'd curb the 8 year old's hitting now. It's not appropriate. She needs to know to get help before she gets to the point that she thinks violence is the only solution. It's a life skill and she is more than old enough to learn it now.
Blessed partner to a great guy, and mama to 4 amazing kids. Unfortunate target of an irrationally angry IRL stalker.
Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~ Buddha
That means, no hitting, no touching etc. This rule has work extremly well for the past 10 years.
Mom to J and never-ending , 0/2014 items decluttered, 0/52 crafts crafts completed
Seeking zen in 2014. Working on journaling and finding peace this year. Spending my free time taking J to swimteam
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