is hiting a sibling ever acceptible? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 123 Old 01-12-2009, 10:12 PM
 
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I've read some of the posts but not all.

In answer to the OP, no, it is never appropriate to counsel siblings that it is ok to hit each other. I spend a lot of time as a parent saying "use your words or come tell me at once if you have a problem" or reciting from Hands are not for Hitting.

Neither is it ok to violate personal boundaries. I spend a lot of time as a parent saying "If s/he lets you know s/he doesn't like what you are doing to him/her, you have to stop IMMEDIATELY."

Children prone to hitting or forcing any kind of attn. on other children must be supervised and parented/guided through conflicts, taught better skills.

Neither, imo, is particularly a serious problem with children this young, esp siblings.
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#62 of 123 Old 01-12-2009, 11:13 PM
 
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I spend a lot of time as a parent saying "use your words or come tell me at once if you have a problem"
This is good advice. Unless the child can't.

I tell my (6 year-old) kids a slightly modified schpiel... we do not hurt other people and they are to come get me or scream for me (or the grown-up in charge, again, playdate's mom, teacher, whomever) IF THEY AT ALL CAN.

If they can't, because someone is blocking them or sitting on them or I'm too far away or whatever, then heck yeah you can hit, and you can scratch and bite too! Anything else you can think to do? Kick? Yes. Pull hair? Go for it. BUT... the moment you CAN get away and run to the grown-up, you do, and you run like the wind.

I must admit to modifying my "hands are not for hitting" schpiel after we had a close-call incident on a playdate with a kid who wanted to show & touch private parts with all the kids there. Nothing happened fortunately, but it dawned on me that I'd better not leave my kids feeling like they have to be so damn nice all the time.
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#63 of 123 Old 01-12-2009, 11:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by onemagicmummy
its been dealt with now, i have spoken to the 3 older ones. DS2 was not involve but i included him anyway.

they now know no means no, and to come to me if they are being bothered.
I'm glad it all worked out.


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I

To sum up - you would be okay with a 4 year old boy slapping a 6 year old girl when she was trying to kiss him.
I would totally expect that, and I'd tell the 6 year old that is what happens when she "picks on" a child who is younger than she is who doesn't have the same level of understanding that she might. And I'd work with the 4 year old on responding appropriately. Or at least this is what I attempt to do in my own family, although my children are 4.5 years apart so I expect a different level of behavior from my older one than my younger one.
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#64 of 123 Old 01-12-2009, 11:31 PM
 
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This is good advice. Unless the child can't....

If they can't, because someone is blocking them or sitting on them or I'm too far away or whatever, then heck yeah you can hit, and you can scratch and bite too! Anything else you can think to do? Kick? Yes. Pull hair? Go for it. BUT... the moment you CAN get away and run to the grown-up, you do, and you run like the wind.

I must admit to modifying my "hands are not for hitting" schpiel after we had a close-call incident on a playdate with a kid who wanted to show & touch private parts with all the kids there. Nothing happened fortunately, but it dawned on me that I'd better not leave my kids feeling like they have to be so damn nice all the time.
My dd had a pretty non-violent younger childhood, so "hands are not for hitting" worked for her. She is now in martial arts and learning all about when where and how to fight back

My younger children are 2 and 4. If they are playing with other children in ANY situation, I'm right there *in the same room* watching and ready to intervene. They are not that civilized themselves yet, and playdates are about helping them learn social skills as much as anything. Our own home is pretty small, so I can hear the yelling and intervene pretty quickly if needed.

Maybe 6 is different. But I think my boys would be pretty confused if I told them "try to get to mommy but if you can't and someone is sitting on you, fight like a hellion!" They don't have the self-discipline to make that kind of decision themselves yet.

That kind of conversation comes a little later on imo, and I plan that it be done in the context of martial arts training with the boys as well.

ETA -- Per the original subject of the thread, I *still* believe that it is never appropriate to tell your child it is ok to hit a sibling with intent to hurt (tae kwon do sparring in a safe way, in preparation for an advanced belt test, may be ok ).

If a sibling is putting a sibling in true danger (ie molesting or threatening physical harm) then it is the parent's responsibility to make the home safe for the victim and get the child doing the molesting help s/he needs. It is also the parent's responsibiilty to help siblings learn how to set and respect boundaries with each other from the earliest age, how to recognize inappropriate boundary-crossing behavior, and how to tell a parent or trusted adult about it.
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#65 of 123 Old 01-12-2009, 11:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
I ask the same to you. A child who's told she has a right to hit her brother because he wants to give her a kiss, will think it's ok to hit her boyfriend when he's annoying her.


As long as you ask, I'm not that big a fan of the social conditioning that girls should never hit, never cause a fuss, never hit their boyfriend. If more girls felt they had the right to hit when cornered more guys might think twice about all the acquaintance rape that happens every day in this country.

You didn't answer anything. You simply answered a question with a question. Very bad form.
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#66 of 123 Old 01-13-2009, 12:29 AM
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ITA. Hitting is not ok, but neither is forcefully giving someone a kiss. Both are equally wrong IMHO, although it is understandable that kids would act like that because they are learning boundaries.

I would talk to both of them about boundaries (no means no) and about coming to you if they're upset. I also wouldn't punish or scold either of them.
:

I also disagree with forced apologies and forced hugging. That's something I've never done with my boys and never will. "Sorry" only means anything if it's voluntary.

I think that making somebody say they're sorry, when they might not be, gives the idea that you can get away with bad behavior as long as you give the proper lip service afterwards.
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#67 of 123 Old 01-13-2009, 12:36 AM
 
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Originally Posted by kama'aina mama View Post
As long as you ask, I'm not that big a fan of the social conditioning that girls should never hit, never cause a fuss, never hit their boyfriend. If more girls felt they had the right to hit when cornered more guys might think twice about all the acquaintance rape that happens every day in this country.

You didn't answer anything. You simply answered a question with a question. Very bad form.
The social conditioning that has been documented is that women feel perfectly comfortable lashing out at their boyfriends. Comfortable enough that one study four 80% of women surveyed were willing to admit to being physically abusive towards their boyfriend/husband.

Now if boyfriend the boyfriend slaps a woman, then all hell will break lose and he gets labelled as one of those men who women need to be protected from. Even if he did it in his own self defense.

Sorry, but you need to teach kids that being annoyed is no reason to hit someone.

You didn't really answer the question either. Again you jumped right to the rapist analogy. The problem isn't women won't fight back against a rapist. The problem is that if a woman throws things at her boyfriend with the intent to hit and harm and he restrains her to protect himself... When the cops show, guess who goes to prision? Because it's ok for a woman to hit.

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#68 of 123 Old 01-13-2009, 12:42 AM
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The problem isn't women won't fight back against a rapist. The problem is that if a woman throws things at her boyfriend with the intent to hit and harm and he restrains her to protect himself... When the cops show, guess who goes to prision? Because it's ok for a woman to hit.
About twenty years ago, I was married to a man who became abusive. At the time, we were living in rural South Carolina.....not exactly a progressive area.

He hit me, choked me, and pointed a gun at me. I swung back but never connected because he held me at arm's reach and he's much larger than I am.

We were both arrested. His word against mine. I had obvious marks on me and you could tell that the cops didn't really want to take me in, but they did anyway. Protocol.
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#69 of 123 Old 01-13-2009, 01:26 AM
 
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Last year, my friend brother was assulted by his girlfriend. When he left a mark on her wrist trying to protect himself, she cried abuse and he ended up being arrested, tried and now has it on his criminal record... His price for not letting his girlfriend stab him with scissors.

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#70 of 123 Old 01-13-2009, 01:44 AM
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Alright, so now we've both produced an anecdote. Mine happens to be my own story. Yours is hearsay.

At any rate, neither story proves anything. Your generalization that society believes it to be okay for women to hit is unsupported. You mentioned a study; link?
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#71 of 123 Old 01-13-2009, 02:00 AM
 
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OK... if your hypothesis entering this conversation is that one of the greatest social ills of our times is the devastating effect of violence against men perpetrated by women you and I are speaking such totally different languages that we might just as well be on different planets. Good luck raising your kids, dude.
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#72 of 123 Old 01-13-2009, 02:16 AM
 
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Here's the lesson: No means no, even from a smaller child or a family member.
Here's the consequence: Persistent physical harassment may bring physical retaliation.

I'm in the minority, but your DD probably taught him a good lesson, and was far gentler about it than a neighbor's child or classmate might have been.
i think so too.

i live in a state with one of the highest rates of domestic violence against women in the country. physical abuse permeates the culture here. it's not at all unusual to see someone hitting their children in public.

every night on the news here there are at least a couple stories of different women who have been seriously hurt or murdered by family, or a boyfriend or spouse, or an ex.

i think a huge part of the cycle is that little girls here are (mainstream) raised to be Sweet and Nice and Gentle and Accomadating to the boys. besides promoting a Mean Girls type situation in alot of the schools (OT) it paves the way for men to beat and murder thier female partners. you wind up with girls and women who are so Nice, they have no idea how to stop abuse from happening, or from recognizing they are in an abusive situation they need to leave.

imo, girls (and boys) should be taught from a very early age that they have sovereignity over their bodies, and that any touching that violates their comfort zone doesnt have to be accepted, and that if they need to be physical to make it stop, it's ok. it's ok not to be Nice all the time.

all men and boys, including big brothers, need to learn it's never ok to force a kiss or other touch on anyone. (girls too) i think a slap from sister and a talk from mama sounds like a fine enough way to start that lesson.

i do not think it wrong for a little girl (or boy) to use her hands to defend her body.

of course men can be abused too, and of course it's wrong, but the fact is we live in a world where the violence against women and girls has reached unbelievable, epidemic proportions. even taking into accound under-reporting of female-to-male violence, it's not even close to being the pandemic that male violence is.

i'd be interested to see that study you refer to, musiciandad. because the rest of the studies show that the opposite dynamic is happening.the vast majority of injuries and murders from domestic abuse are perpetrated by men on women. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, between 1998 and 2002:

Of the almost 3.5 million violent crimes committed against family members, 49% of these were crimes against spouses.
84% of spouse abuse victims were females, and 86% of victims of dating partner abuse at were female.
Males were 83% of spouse murderers and 75% of dating partner murderers
50% of offenders in state prison for spousal abuse had killed their victims. Wives were more likely than husbands to be killed by their spouses: wives were about half of all spouses in the population in 2002, but 81% of all persons killed by their spouse.

Women are more likely to be victims of sexual violence than men: According to the DOJ and the National Violence Against Women survey, 78% of the victims of rape and sexual assault are women and 22% are men.
Most perpetrators of sexual violence are men. Among acts of sexual violence committed against women since the age of 18, 100% of rapes, 92% of physical assaults, and 97% of stalking acts were perpetrated by men. Sexual violence against men is also mainly male violence: 70% of rapes, 86% of physical assaults, and 65% of stalking acts were perpetrated by men.
In 8 out of 10 rape cases, the victim knows the perpetrator. Of people who report sexual violence, 64% of women and 16% of men were raped, physically assaulted, or stalked by an intimate partner. This includes a current or former spouse, cohabitating partner, boyfriend/girlfriend, or date.


so anyway, yea, as the mama of a daughter and a son, i think you handled it well, OP, and I'm glad everyone's good

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#73 of 123 Old 01-13-2009, 04:11 AM
 
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OK... if your hypothesis entering this conversation is that one of the greatest social ills of our times is the devastating effect of violence against men perpetrated by women you and I are speaking such totally different languages that we might just as well be on different planets. Good luck raising your kids, dude.
My hypothesis entering this conversation is that all too often violence is considered acceptable when there are other methodes of handleing a situation.

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#74 of 123 Old 01-13-2009, 04:41 AM
 
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My hypothesis entering this conversation is that all too often violence is considered acceptable when there are other methodes of handleing a situation.
For the time being this is what I could find. It's base on UK stats though.
http://www.mankind.org.uk/domesticabuse.html

Still looking for the other study, it's been a couple of years.

I did find out that domestic violence wasn't even looking into by the Canadian government until 1999 though.

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#75 of 123 Old 01-13-2009, 04:47 AM
 
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My hypothesis entering this conversation is that all too often violence is considered acceptable when there are other methodes of handleing a situation.


I can really get behind this statement.

I'm a little surprised this thread is still up, actually. I agree with a pp who wondered if advocating teaching young children that physical violence is an acceptable tool to solve interpersonal problems violates the spirit of gentle discipline that this board supports.
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#76 of 123 Old 01-13-2009, 05:19 AM
 
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In answer to the OP, no, it is never appropriate to counsel siblings that it is ok to hit each other.

Neither is it ok to violate personal boundaries.
I agree

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Children prone to hitting or forcing any kind of attn. on other children must be supervised and parented/guided through conflicts, taught better skills.
But at such a young age, what skills can the victim be taught to prevent them from becoming a victim?

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Neither, imo, is particularly a serious problem with children this young, esp siblings.
I think it is quite naive to think siblings can be ruled out of the abuse equation.

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it dawned on me that I'd better not leave my kids feeling like they have to be so damn nice all the time.
I agree. I hate niceties that set people up to forget that sometimes you don't have to be nice when instincts, intuition, or bad vibes tell you otherwise. Politeness is a good thing, but not in all situations.

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all too often violence is considered acceptable when there are other methods of handling a situation.
I agree... however... what can a young child do to protect themselves without violence when they are trapped, whether physically or emotionally when an adult is in the house and the child is too frightened, embarrassed to call out for help?

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#77 of 123 Old 01-13-2009, 05:29 AM
 
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\
I think it is quite naive to think siblings can be ruled out of the abuse equation.

I agree... however... what can a young child do to protect themselves without violence when they are trapped, whether physically or emotionally when an adult is in the house and the child is too frightened, embarrassed to call out for help?
First off, at 6 and 4 I doubt abuse is the issue, especially if it hasn't been mirrored for them.

Second, natural instinct when in trouble is to scream. If a child is too frightened or embarrassed to call out for help from a near by adult, then there could very well be other issues between parent and child. I really have a hard time believing that a 6 yo can have his sister so frightened that she wouldn't call for help, not without other behaviour on the part of the 6 yo that indicates previously terrorizing his sister.

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#78 of 123 Old 01-13-2009, 05:32 AM
 
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I was speaking in a more general less specific to the OP way. It seemed several responses on this thread were to expand the discussion in general, not just toward this specific situation.

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#79 of 123 Old 01-13-2009, 05:36 AM
 
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My general interpretation is that the first thing out of a young childs mouth when being annoyed by a sibling is some form of "MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!!!!"

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#80 of 123 Old 01-13-2009, 07:40 AM
 
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And if mum is in another room? Tells you to be quiet and stop whining? Or if she doesn't hear you and you think you're alone in this and the only way out is to hit someone then run?

I think it's disingeneous to suggest that women 'lashing out in annoyance' is a bigger problem than the documented deaths and rapes women suffer. And that this child lashed out in annoyance - it could have been fear. I would absolutely counsel a child to stuggle fiercely with whatever means they have to get out of a situation where a bigger, more aggressive person was trying to force them into a kiss. Sibling or relative or stranger. Even adults need to know they can't make a child kiss them - it is wrong.

Self-defence doesn't mean squat if you try to be nice about it.

There is absolutely NO way a person can claim in honesty that they were being nice if they were forcing someone to do something against their will - adult or child. No way, not in honesty.

Anecdote time! I fought off a few sexual assault attempts at a teenager. I broke a 'friend's' finger when he refused to stop touching my breast. He said he was just being nice and showing affection and attraction as well. I was raped though - after several years in a relationship where I was constantly berated for not being nice enough, for not trusting men enough, for being too concerned with my rights. So when the rapist came along, pretending to be my friend, I had forgotten all of my teenaged tricks, all of my self-defence strategies, all of my security in not being nice, not being accommodating, not being a target. I got raped and didn't hurt the guy because I was too afraid - afraid of him and afraid of explaining why I hurt someone. I fixed that set of issues after a few years and I am a lot more confident in myself now. But at the time I was so used to having to be nice and not mean and not hurt people because that's so mean that even in an extreme situation I had no recourse.

And before you start in with 'oh but what about the men' - my father-in-law had his antique weapon collection confiscated after he beat up his girlfriend - the fact she woke up a Vietnam veteran with PTSD by stabbing him wasn't taken into account. I know women can be violent. I know I can be. I just refuse to accept that unwanted sexualised attention should be 'nicely' dealt with. Not when that creates so many issues down the line. Would I hit my husband? No. Not because I'm nice, but because he doesn't attempt to assault me.

And as for the abuse thing - I have friends who were abused at similar ages my siblings. It isn't an impossibility. Rare, but not something you can just say doesn't happen.
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#81 of 123 Old 01-13-2009, 10:56 AM
 
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I ask the same to you. A child who's told she has a right to hit her brother because he wants to give her a kiss, will think it's ok to hit her boyfriend when he's annoying her.
There's a pretty simple solution here. Keep your hands to yourself, keep your lips and your genitals to yourself and treat people with respect. Then nobody's going to want to hit you regardless of how their parents brought them up. This isn't Jerry Springer.
I wrote this on my blog six weeks ago, which explains where I'm coming from, I think.

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#82 of 123 Old 01-13-2009, 12:22 PM
 
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I agree



But at such a young age, what skills can the victim be taught to prevent them from becoming a victim?



I think it is quite naive to think siblings can be ruled out of the abuse equation.
I think that it is a parent's responsibility to supervise young children/make sure they are safe (and we're talking preschool and barely school age) so that they are not going to become victims and to intervene in serious situations on behalf of their child.

And if siblings are being aggressive with each other in my home, the aggressor, or both if that is not clear, either plays separately from others or get to hang out with me so I can supervise them properly. I'm on my laptop right now at the kitchen table with children finishing breakfast around me, for example.

It is not the responsibility of a preschooler to protect himself from becoming a victim of sexual/physical abuse. You just can't give a child that young permission or instructions to hit in order to stop another child from doing something they don't like and feel you've bought any kind of useful insurance policy against abuse, imo.

Working on communication skills with peers and adults and knowledge of appropriate boundaries is MUCH more useful approach, imo.

No, I don't rule siblings out of the abuse situation, but I think true abuse between otherwise mentally and physically healthy siblings age 6 and 4 is going to be so rare as to not be the situation I'd direct my parenting efforts towards.

However I do think that because of the amount of time they spend together, usually, close-in-age siblings are the best teachers most of us have about social skills and mutual respect at an early age. So if the children are going to make mistakes and learn from them it is going to be with their siblings that this happens.

And because such close-in-age siblings (usually) share the same parents, the parents can mediate disputes entirely with reference to their own parenting values and without reference to the values of other adults. Or to issues of needing to learn self-defence skills to survive dangerous situations one might encounter as adults or older teens..

The sibling relationship teaches us a lot of what we will need to know to have successful relationships of all kinds as adults. And I think we have to be very careful about giving young siblings the highest-level tools we can to promote those relationships.

You don't hand a young child a weapon (like permission to hit someone in certain circumstances) - you wait till s/he is old enough to handle that weapon and make sure they are properly trained in the use of that weapon and in decisions one would make about that use (through self-defense, sexual abuse prevention education, etc.)

Do preschoolers who are raised from the start in homes where respect and non-violence are universally expected and modeled truly grow up to be victim material? Or do they learn that violence of any kind is so totally unacceptable that they will do everything possible to avoid the victim role?

(And no, I'm not totally naive about domestic violence situations. I grew up in the middle of a really complicated one and was given the responsibility at a young age of protecting myself and a sibling from a mentally ill and violent adult -- a woman -- my mother, as it happened. No child should never be put in that position.)
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#83 of 123 Old 01-13-2009, 01:10 PM
 
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My dd had a pretty non-violent younger childhood, so "hands are not for hitting" worked for her. She is now in martial arts and learning all about when where and how to fight back

My younger children are 2 and 4. If they are playing with other children in ANY situation, I'm right there *in the same room* watching and ready to intervene. They are not that civilized themselves yet, and playdates are about helping them learn social skills as much as anything. Our own home is pretty small, so I can hear the yelling and intervene pretty quickly if needed.
Absolutely. I was not talking about 2 year-olds. Thought that was clear... sorry.

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Maybe 6 is different. But I think my boys would be pretty confused if I told them "try to get to mommy but if you can't and someone is sitting on you, fight like a hellion!" They don't have the self-discipline to make that kind of decision themselves yet.
It depends on the kids, but 6 1/2 (the age of my kids) is actually the age where they're alone A LOT (either off at school or outside unsupervised, on playdates, etc.) and they need to have this conversation squarely under their belts before this point. Kinda like the "trust your gut" conversation needs to start waaay earlier if you want them actually doing it at this age.

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That kind of conversation comes a little later on imo, and I plan that it be done in the context of martial arts training with the boys as well.
Seriously? You think a 6 or 7 year-old can use their "martial arts training" to fight off an opponent? I don't care what color belt the school let them have, a kid who weighs 48 lbs. isn't going to pose a threat to someone who, well, wants to be a threat. Also, the whole message DRILLED and I mean drilled into these kids in these classes is that it's an art form, an exercise, etc. and they are never to use their "skills" on people OUTSIDE of the classroom. Of course they all do. Kids are seen flying and hopping and jumping around the playground, arms outstretched, fists held just so, thinking they have superpowers. Unfortunately, the truth is, fun as these skills may be and wonderful though it is to one's self-concept... I'd bet screaming, kicking, biting, and slapping are STILL a heck of a lot more effective at this age. It's more like ballet than self-defense.


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If a sibling is putting a sibling in true danger (ie molesting or threatening physical harm) then it is the parent's responsibility to make the home safe for the victim and get the child doing the molesting help s/he needs. It is also the parent's responsibiilty to help siblings learn how to set and respect boundaries with each other from the earliest age, how to recognize inappropriate boundary-crossing behavior, and how to tell a parent or trusted adult about it.
Yes but talk to me in 4 years about how much parents control peer-to-peer violence/bullying etc. Everything your saying is GREAT but what about when you're not THERE and it happens anyway, in spite of your best intentions and instruction to the contrary and efforts? I mean... abuse or molestation or whatever is a lot trickier to control than I think you think it is, ESPECIALLY peer to peer (whether siblings or "friends" on a playdate or the playground).

I think those of us who have older kids see how many opportunities there are for this sort of thing, and see that we need to give our kids SOMETHING other than "be nice and run to tell teacher" to empower them. Yes of course they need to scream for help first or try to get the grown-up first, but ya know, when you're being pummelled (or worse) and feel trapped, for goodness sakes, kick back to get away. It's okay. You won't get in trouble, I promise. Children NEED to hear that, IMO.
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#84 of 123 Old 01-13-2009, 01:16 PM
 
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I'm a little surprised this thread is still up, actually. I agree with a pp who wondered if advocating teaching young children that physical violence is an acceptable tool to solve interpersonal problems violates the spirit of gentle discipline that this board supports.
I think I was the pp who brought up this point, and so far nobody has explained how one can reconcile gentle discipline with their position that it is ok for a child (especially a female) to respond with violence in the situation the OP brought to us.

Anyone?

I didn't think so.

I get the concern of some of the posters here that girls need to learn to stand up for themselves and not let themselves be victimized. But as the mother of two boys, I really believe that teaching them to not resort to the use of their fists whenever they find themselves in some sort of dispute with another person (including one another) plays a very important role preventing them from becoming aggressors or abusers in their future relationships/friendships. Daily we discuss how important it is to use one's words in a disagreement instead of violence, and that if they still aren't able to come to an amicable resolution to walk away. We also discuss the concepts of treating all people with respect and dignity, to listen to what others have to say, and to be tolerant of others differences. Because I really think that is a far better way to raise them into good men than teaching them to expect to get hit if they don't act right.

Over and over I have seen people conflating a brother trying to kiss his sister with sexually deviant behavior, and I find that absolutely shocking. Does anyone really think that it's perfectly reasonable to work from the assumption that all boys are abusers in search of a victim to mistreat? Gentle discipline is about treating children as the unique and valuable beings they are, regardless of their sex, and nurturing their positive attributes so that they will become the kind and productive individuals they all have the potential to be.

As I said earlier, I agree that all children need to learn to accept no as an answer. All children need to learn how to respect personal boundaries, but they should not have to learn these lessons at the end of someone else's fists. The common ground here is supposed to be that hitting children is never the right way to teach them how to behave properly, and I strenuously disagree that it is any different when we are discussing children's dealings with their siblings or peers.

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#85 of 123 Old 01-13-2009, 01:37 PM
 
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I think I was the pp who brought up this point, and so far nobody has explained how one can reconcile gentle discipline with their position that it is ok for a child (especially a female) to respond with violence in the situation the OP brought to us.

Anyone?
Huh? Apples and oranges.

Gentle discipline is an important part of both my parenting philosophy and toolkit. Dh and I have never hit or hurt our children, because we have options to do a myriad of other preventive, instructive, and corrective things.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but we're talking about what people are allowed to do when they do NOT have options and when their life or bodily integrity is being threatened and they can't get out of it any other way than to defend themselves / fight back. Last time I checked it was called self-defense. Fighting back against an assailant when there's nothing else you can do to get out of a bad situation is completely and totally acceptable, and in NO WAY means a person who fights back against an assailant can hit their kids or whatever.

I'm not a big fan of black-or-white thinking, and to be honest I get a little panicky when I sense people are using some AP doctrine to impose this kind of moral rigidity on themselves or their families. It's not okay to hit your kids. It is okay to fight back against an assailant when you don't have other options. These two things can exist together in harmony, I promise.
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I haven't read all the replies but wanted to add something from my own experience. My dd is 3yo. One of my good friends has a dd the same age and the girls often enjoy playing together. Our little friend is a sweet, affectionate kid, and she often wants to hug my dd beyond what my dd is comfortable with- my dd has some patience, but quickly gets fed up and ends up hitting. Neither of these things is okay, in my opinion. My friend is constantly trying to teach her dd to stop when someone says "no more hugs"-- and I'm constantly trying to teach my dd to say "stop" and to move away (and come to me) if someone won't stop, and that hitting is not okay-- I do not think it would be appropriate for me to let my dd punch this little girl who is over-excited about seeing her. The whole point, to me, is that everybody deserves to not be touched in ways that they don't like-- be it unwelcome kisses/hugs or being hit/pushed/kicked. I think that young kids have a tough enough time with impulse control and learning how to act when that teaching them that hitting, etc. are okay in certain situations but not in others could just be confusing. (and don't get me wrong- when my dd is older I will absolutely teach her to do whatever it takes to get herself out of an abusive situation- but when she's little I view it as my job to keep her out of truly dangerous situations and to guide her as she and her little friends navigate their new social world)

ETA: I looked back and saw the ages of the children involved. At 6 years old, I do think the older child should be ready for a serious talk about touching, respecting the word "no", etc. I still think 4yo is too young to be told that some hitting is okay, though.
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#87 of 123 Old 01-13-2009, 01:59 PM
 
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but we're talking about what people are allowed to do when they do NOT have options and when their life or bodily integrity is being threatened and they can't get out of it any other way than to defend themselves / fight back. Last time I checked it was called self-defense. Fighting back against an assailant when there's nothing else you can do to get out of a bad situation is completely and totally acceptable, and in NO WAY means a person who fights back against an assailant can hit their kids or whatever.
No, because this discussion was started by a mother wondering if it was ok to let her young daughter hit her young brother when he wanted to kiss her and she didn't want the kisses. That is what I meant when I said that some people here seem to be conflating this scenario with one where sexually deviant behavior is at issue. These are very young children, siblings, (ages 4 and 6 I believe) we are talking about here, and I can't envision how it is consistent with GD to teach them that it's perfectly fine to use violence or expect to have violence used against you when resolving conflict.

There has also been some discussion of telling kids to go ahead and pummel a fellow peer who was touching them roughly or may have already hit them. I disagree that telling my boys to go ahead and fight to the finish when someone else starts something with them will teach them how to be honorable and good men some day. I hope to raise them into people who are mature enough to understand that using violence doesn't solve anything, and that they are merely lowering themselves to a level that is not befitting their own personal dignity.

Maybe I'm just too much of a pacifist, but I think that raising pacifist boys is a far better solution than teaching to speak the language of violence.

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#88 of 123 Old 01-13-2009, 02:28 PM
 
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It depends on the kids, but 6 1/2 (the age of my kids) is actually the age where they're alone A LOT (either off at school or outside unsupervised, on playdates, etc.) and they need to have this conversation squarely under their belts before this point. Kinda like the "trust your gut" conversation needs to start waaay earlier if you want them actually doing it at this age.



Seriously? You think a 6 or 7 year-old can use their "martial arts training" to fight off an opponent? I don't care what color belt the school let them have, a kid who weighs 48 lbs. isn't going to pose a threat to someone who, well, wants to be a threat. Also, the whole message DRILLED and I mean drilled into these kids in these classes is that it's an art form, an exercise, etc. and they are never to use their "skills" on people OUTSIDE of the classroom. Of course they all do. Kids are seen flying and hopping and jumping around the playground, arms outstretched, fists held just so, thinking they have superpowers. Unfortunately, the truth is, fun as these skills may be and wonderful though it is to one's self-concept... I'd bet screaming, kicking, biting, and slapping are STILL a heck of a lot more effective at this age. It's more like ballet than self-defense.

.
My kids are in Tae Kwon Do and there is a viewing area for parents, so I've observed a lot of classes.

Not time for a long response, but my dd has been in martial arts training classes with adults since she was 9 (she is now almost 11, five foot six, 120 pounds). There is a strong self-defense and sexual-assault prevention education as part of her training in addition to the drills and patterns.

The black belts incorporate role-playing situations from the local news occasionally to teach students how to react.

And it is not just about patterns and drills (which drill strength and balance pretty effectively). I think my dd is stronger than a random girl her age who didn't have that training. You would NOT want to be an attacker and have her connect a punch or kick against you. And she knows how to go for vulnerable parts. And how to use her voice to yell authoritatively and loudly. You throw a few thousand punches and kicks at the air, if, God forbid, you ever need to fight someone off for real, you have some strength and reflexes to help you out.

There is a consistent zero-violence, sexual abuse education, bullying prevention and adult-supervision intensive environment throughout her schools and the extracurricular activities she does. I could give you curriculum titles, zero-tolerance for violence education is a big thing here. She didn't really do playdates until she was 8 or 9, Playdates in our circle till that age and even sometimes after, involve mom or dad having coffee with the adult while children play within earshot.

My 4.5 yr old son has been in the jr program at Tae Kwon Do for a year, and no, I don't suggest he can defend himself or should be expected to. He can, however, stand in a line with other children to run an obstacle course without pushing ahead. He has learned some strength and physical confidence and been taught values of respect and courtesy towards others. He has also been taught an age-appropriate stranger-danger and sexual abuse prevention curriculum, which we reinforce and support at home.
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#89 of 123 Old 01-13-2009, 03:36 PM
 
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Self defense has nothing to do with gentle discipline. All over this board you can find examples of women proudly talking about their inner mama bear and the lengths they would go to in protecting their kids... so why is it so problematic to tell the kid how to protect her or himself?
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Self defense has nothing to do with gentle discipline. All over this board you can find examples of women proudly talking about their inner mama bear and the lengths they would go to in protecting their kids... so why is it so problematic to tell the kid how to protect her or himself?
I TOTALLY agree that self-defense doesn't have much to do with a gentle discipline situation, especially involving 4 and 6 yr old siblings, as defined by the title and original post of this thread.

I don't think it is at all problematic to tell a kid how to protect himself at as long as mama bear is protecting any child too young to be thoroughly aware of boundary issues, and self control. Mama bear should protect her cubs from real danger while the cubs are too young to really defend themselves effectively anyway. She should teach her kids how to use non-violent strategies so that they will be the first resort on a gut level in the 99.99999 etc % of situations they will encounter in their lives where those strategies will work.

Then when they are old enough and have the physical maturity to begin to learn effective self defense skills and the emotional maturity to understand what self defense means, start to teach them the EXTREMELY RARE exceptions to rule that hitting is never ok. For our dd, that age was about 8 or 9 -- quite a bit older than 4. The age may vary with each child and family, but imo a 4 yr old of either gender should invariably be learning not to hit, not when to hit.

I have a problem with mama bear telling one of her cubs to slash at the other, too. Mama bear should protect BOTH cubs equally (maybe differently,depending on age etc, but equally). I think the sibling relationship should be developed to be a non-violent and mutually respectful one.

And I think that the mama bear instinct is the absolutely last resort. Over in the Protecting the Gift book threads, we're looking at this. I hope I never have to physically maul anyone to protect my children, hope I'd have the strength if I had to, hope I have the wisdom to use more peaceful tools when they are appropriate. Which is practically always.
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