is hiting a sibling ever acceptible? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 123 Old 01-09-2009, 01:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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2 nights ago i was surfing the interwebs when i hear DS1 scream, cry and i look up he is holding his face saying DD1 slapped him. i asked why she slapped him. it came out between them both that she slapped him because he ws trying to get a kiss off her and she didnt want to give him one so he kept trying and kept on, and went to kiss her and she slapped him.

DS1 is 6 DD1 is 4.

i told DS1 that DD1 was with in her rights to slap him
and told DS1 that is some one does not want to be hugged touched or kissed then we have to respect that and leave them alone.

i told them both that no body is allowed to touch kiss or hug anyone else with out permission and if anyone does that to them they can hit, scratch, and punch and run.

what would you have done?

what can i do better, different if there is a next time?

is there ever a time when its OK to hit a sibling, or anyone for that matter.

Kiz
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#2 of 123 Old 01-09-2009, 01:48 PM
 
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I think setting touching boundaries is completely acceptable, but I don't think that teaching them that hitting each other is acceptable.
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#3 of 123 Old 01-09-2009, 02:32 PM
 
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I was going to say it was never okay... but I changed my mind. IMO it would be okay if you were in DANGER *AND* there was no adult available to go to.

In the situation you describe though I would absolutely NOT be okay with my kids hitting each other. You were in the house, they are capable of moving their bodies. The harassed child should have gotten up and come to you.

-Angela
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#4 of 123 Old 01-09-2009, 02:37 PM
 
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Hmm. Well, I don't want my lo's hitting each other, but what exactly was she supposed to do in that situation? Just let him kiss her? I think she was in the right. Everyone has the right to defend themselves against unwanted touch.
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#5 of 123 Old 01-09-2009, 02:42 PM
 
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Just to see the status... What if your older (6yr old) was a boy. And your younger a girl. Would you have been okay with a 6yr old boy hitting a 4yr old girl for the same thing?

-Angela
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#6 of 123 Old 01-09-2009, 03:11 PM
 
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In the situation you described, no way it's not acceptable.

You're teaching him that her body is more important than his.

He wasn't trying to assault her. He was trying to be affectionate and she did want it - that's completely different.

I would have focused on teaching your DD how to handle a situation like that without hitting and I would have focused on talking to DS about respecting other people's boundaries.

No way would I ever tell one child that the other child had the right to hit them in a situation like this. What a bizzare message.

Now, if it were a true assault, that would be completely different. I do teach my children that their bodies belong to them and if anyone is doing something to their body that makes them uncomfortable, they have the right to say no and if the person doesn't stop, they have the right to kick, scream, bite etc..... but, I think it's important that children understand the difference between over exuberant play and a true assault.
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#7 of 123 Old 01-09-2009, 03:25 PM
 
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I guess these are the kinds of things that I just handle on a situation-by-situation basis. I would have looked at DS1 and said "you need to keep out of her space, if she's not in the mood for hugging and kissing then you leave her alone and go do something else." And I would have looked at DD1 and said, "he shouldn't have been all over you for hugs and kisses, but it's not ok to hit either, and you know that. if this happens again, you get away from him and come tell me." Then I would have told them to give each other a hug, say they're sorry, move on and be nice.
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#8 of 123 Old 01-09-2009, 03:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by amcal View Post
He wasn't trying to assault her. He was trying to be affectionate and she did want it - that's completely different.
When you're 4, it IS a true assault. How much age difference does there have to be for it to be assault? Near where I live a man was charged with sexual assault for doing to a child (in public) what the op's older child did.
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#9 of 123 Old 01-09-2009, 03:30 PM
 
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Then I would have told them to give each other a hug, say they're sorry, move on and be nice.
So the son gets a lecture, but STILL gets to touch his sister.

OP, I think you were perfectly right. And kudos to your dd for defending herself.
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#10 of 123 Old 01-09-2009, 03:41 PM
 
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When you're 4, it IS a true assault. How much age difference does there have to be for it to be assault? Near where I live a man was charged with sexual assault for doing to a child (in public) what the op's older child did.
You have got to be kidding me that you're equating a brother going to far in giving his sister a kiss and a man sexually assaulting a child?

That is so wrong on so many levels. It is absolutely not an assault and I think it really minimizes what people who really do get assaulted go through. An assault is a true trauma. That is not what happened in this situation and to say it's the equivalent of an adult assaulting a child is just so disturbing.

Absolutely the behavior needs to be dealt with. Absolutely he needs to learn that when she says no, it means no and there are consequences to him crossing that boundary but, no where did I get from the OP that the brother frequently "assaults" the DD and she had just had it and hit him.

My 5 yo DD adores her 6yo sister. She loves to kiss her. Loves it. It drives my 6 yo crazy. She hates to be kissed on the lips by her sister. So, we work on setting boundaries and respecting boundaries. We don't just say it's ok to hit.
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#11 of 123 Old 01-09-2009, 03:51 PM
 
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The sexual assult I referred to was a kiss on the lips. http://www.thestar.com/article/561904

When you are 4, it doesn't really matter who is trying to kiss you against your will, you are still being kissed AGAINST YOUR WILL.

And thanks to personal experience, I'm well aware of what assault is and isn't.

And I am not accusing the OP's son of assault, I don't think it was. But it doesn't matter what I think, it matters what the sister thinks, as she was the one on the receiving end of unwanted touches.

I personally would prefer my dd to hit a sibling who tried to kiss her than to think that anyone can kiss her even if she doesn't want it. No means no. Though I would talk to her about other ways of dealing with it too, as appropriate.
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#12 of 123 Old 01-09-2009, 03:55 PM
 
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It is so strange to me that you're even bringing up an adult assaulting a child as an example to prove your point in this situation. It just doesn't make sense and has absolutely nothing to do with the situation at hand. One is an ADULT sexual predator the other is a 6 year old sibling with out any ill intent.

I don't understand how you think that the only two options are to either hit or let the child think that anyone can kiss her even if she doesn't want it.

And, I highly doubt the 4 year old thinks of the situation as an assault. She was probably irritated, annoyed and lashed out. I doubt she sees herself as the victim of an assault.

Of course no means no. And it's important for a child to learn how to assert themselves verbally and it's important for children to learn to respect boundaries. It's also important for children to learn what to do when someone is crossing that boundary. But, telling a child that it's ok to hit her brother when he goes a little too far in playing is just beyond me. Why not use it as an opportunity to teach? They are so young, they don't get boundaries yet. It comes with time and experiences and setting examples and teaching. That's our job as parents.
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#13 of 123 Old 01-09-2009, 05:29 PM
 
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is hitting a sibling ever acceptable?

acceptable? no. understandable? yes!

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#14 of 123 Old 01-09-2009, 05:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onemagicmummy View Post
is there ever a time when its OK to hit a sibling, or anyone for that matter.

Kiz
well...i expect siblings to get physical. does it make me proud and happy. no. but i accept it as part of growing up with multiple kids close in age. as for hitting other people, again...not acceptable really - but often is understandable. imo, kids often express themselves in inappropriate ways. sometimes kids are figuring out boundaries, discovering self-control, learning to express anger, frustration, or embarrassment, etc.

now, i say all this *assuming* this conversation involves siblings and playmates only & the hitting is coming from one child being annoyed by another. if your question involves scenarios outside of this realm, i'd need to have a specific example to give a stronger opinion.

fwiw, your kids will probably slap each other again in the future.

hugs to ya!

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#15 of 123 Old 01-09-2009, 05:49 PM
 
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Never in this house.
Violence is not something we will ever support, tolerate or say is ok. It's an absolute no-no.
If I was in the OP's situation, I would have told the kid that hit that instead of hitting, you can yell for an adult or come running for an adult to remove yourself from the situation. And I would talk to both of them about never touching, kissing or huging ppl that say no.

(There's actually one exeption that I can think about, and that's if the kid is in real danger and there's no adults around. But that's not very likely to ever be a real situation.)

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#16 of 123 Old 01-09-2009, 05:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by SquishyBuggles View Post
I think setting touching boundaries is completely acceptable, but I don't think that teaching them that hitting each other is acceptable.

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#17 of 123 Old 01-09-2009, 06:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Onemagicmummy View Post
t came out between them both that she slapped him because he ws trying to get a kiss off her and she didnt want to give him one so he kept trying and kept on, and went to kiss her and she slapped him.
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.
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#18 of 123 Old 01-09-2009, 07:07 PM
 
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I am absolutely shocked that anyone on MDC would ever advocate permitting their child to hit anyone, especially a fellow sibling, and especially for such an infraction. One of the primary missions of this site is the practice of Gentle Discipline when it comes to raising children, and the cornerstone of GD is not hitting one's child as a mode of punishment or behavioral modification.

Why is it suddenly ok to use violence against a child if the person delivering the blow is also a fellow child?

The final thing about this discussion I find disturbing is the suggestion that a female is somehow more entitled to her bodily integrity than a male. Of course the OP's daughter should be able to say no to her brother's kisses and have that refusal be respected. But they are young children after all, and it is perfectly understandable that the OP's son got caught up in the moment and forgot to stop when she said no.

I'm still working with my kids on issues like gentle touches and respecting physical boundaries, and while I certainly understand sometimes why one of them may have hauled off and hit the other one I still never condone the hitting or let the incident pass without using it as a teaching moment to reinforce the house rule that they never hurt one another physically.

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#19 of 123 Old 01-09-2009, 07:16 PM
 
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O.K for those who say it's never O.K to hit...

How would you imagine it happening? What SHOULD she have done instead?

If we teach our kids that it's not o.k to defend yourself, how will they know when they are 12, that it's O.K to kick the snot out of the 15 yr old cousin when he's trying to get her to take her clothes off?

I am NOT suggesting AT ALL that the older brother was being even remotely innapropriate. I think he was behaving perfectly normal for an older brother.

I am just saying that if our kids can't protect themselves from their brother, how can they know that it's different when it's a cousin, or big brother's new friend?

I'm ALSO not saying that what the little sister did was O.K. But, I don't think what she did was that bad either.

In our house, the major rule is "No means No, and stop means stop".
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#20 of 123 Old 01-09-2009, 07:19 PM
 
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O.K for those who say it's never O.K to hit...

How would you imagine it happening? What SHOULD she have done instead?
(sorry- got the kids confused above)

But I posted what I think should have happened. There is a parent reasonably close. You move your body to the adult and explain, complain, ask for help.

-Angela
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#21 of 123 Old 01-09-2009, 07:32 PM
 
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I guess these are the kinds of things that I just handle on a situation-by-situation basis. I would have looked at DS1 and said "you need to keep out of her space, if she's not in the mood for hugging and kissing then you leave her alone and go do something else." And I would have looked at DD1 and said, "he shouldn't have been all over you for hugs and kisses, but it's not ok to hit either, and you know that. if this happens again, you get away from him and come tell me." Then I would have told them to give each other a hug, say they're sorry, move on and be nice.
Well put, this is how I would have handled it.
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#22 of 123 Old 01-09-2009, 07:32 PM
 
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my kids hit each other and get pretty physical at times. I don't advocate it and would never suggest it.

In the OP scenario, I can't imagine changing my stance on violence over a kiss. A sibling being affectionate, to me, does not equate to sexual abuse. They are little kids, for goodness sake. Not a teenager trying to force a 4 yr old to kiss on the mouth. I mean, I get the self-defense aspect and yes, I would want my DD to do whatever possible to get someone off her if she was not consenting to their touch but a brother that close in age? while they're still under the age of ten? it just seems like an extreme reaction, IMO.

i wouldn't necessarily 'punish' either child in this case... talk about respecting each other's bodies, sure. I think they are both in the wrong, hitting or kissing without permission is not okay. I just happen to think this situation is very different than sexual abuse.

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#23 of 123 Old 01-09-2009, 08:03 PM
 
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my kids hit each other and get pretty physical at times. I don't advocate it and would never suggest it.

In the OP scenario, I can't imagine changing my stance on violence over a kiss. A sibling being affectionate, to me, does not equate to sexual abuse. They are little kids, for goodness sake. Not a teenager trying to force a 4 yr old to kiss on the mouth. I mean, I get the self-defense aspect and yes, I would want my DD to do whatever possible to get someone off her if she was not consenting to their touch but a brother that close in age? while they're still under the age of ten? it just seems like an extreme reaction, IMO.

i wouldn't necessarily 'punish' either child in this case... talk about respecting each other's bodies, sure. I think they are both in the wrong, hitting or kissing without permission is not okay. I just happen to think this situation is very different than sexual abuse.
Well said.
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#24 of 123 Old 01-09-2009, 08:08 PM
 
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If she really couldn't get to the parent for help, than yes - it's a case of self-defense. True, it isn't the same thing as sexual abuse, but it's the same principle - I want my kids to know they have a right to defend themselves from unwanted affection, as they would from aggression. The 6yo is also old enough to understand it wasn't appropriate behavior.

If the ages were reversed - well, I would be far less likely to believe the older child couldn't defend xemself without hitting in that case. I would still explain to the younger child that forcing kisses on people was not allowed.

BTW, when I first read this question I thought of the "punch-buggy" game I used to play with my brother when we were kids and saw a VW beetle.
Well, actually, I still play that game at 30. :
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#25 of 123 Old 01-09-2009, 08:15 PM
 
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O.K for those who say it's never O.K to hit...

How would you imagine it happening? What SHOULD she have done instead?

If we teach our kids that it's not o.k to defend yourself, how will they know when they are 12, that it's O.K to kick the snot out of the 15 yr old cousin when he's trying to get her to take her clothes off?

I am NOT suggesting AT ALL that the older brother was being even remotely innapropriate. I think he was behaving perfectly normal for an older brother.

I am just saying that if our kids can't protect themselves from their brother, how can they know that it's different when it's a cousin, or big brother's new friend?

I'm ALSO not saying that what the little sister did was O.K. But, I don't think what she did was that bad either.

In our house, the major rule is "No means No, and stop means stop".
I think that their may be a fundamental disconnect going on here in this discussion. On the one hand you agree that the OP's little boy was engaging in developmentally appropriate behavior for his age and relationship with his sister, but you still seem to be conflating it with the issue of defending oneself against inappropriate touches.

I obviously don't have a daughter, but I think that I would have an ongoing discussion with her about physical boundaries and in/appropriate touching in an age appropriate manner that would be completely separate from any discussion of our house rule that siblings (and parents!) never hurt one another physically. Although part of our family discussion about the no hitting/hurting rule is that the kids come and talk to me about an upset or dispute instead of resorting to physical violence, so that may go so far in their heads to include coming to me if someone is trying to do something inappropriate to them.

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#26 of 123 Old 01-09-2009, 08:59 PM
 
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Okay, I thinking comparing what this little boy did to assault is unreasonable. He didn't try to rape her or stab her or beat her or other forms of assault. I think you can teach little children about boundaries and personal space without telling them they deserve to be smacked, punched, hit, etc. I know I wouldn't allow one of my boy students to hit a girl if she tried to kiss him, I don't see why I would actively teach a girl to do so. I would tell both to come to me and work it out, and teach them about boundaries.
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#27 of 123 Old 01-09-2009, 09:39 PM
 
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I think setting touching boundaries is completely acceptable, but I don't think that teaching them that hitting each other is acceptable.

I agree, we have limits on kissing/hugging (as in both have to agree to wanting to be kissed or hugged), but hitting is NEVER acceptable in our house.

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#28 of 123 Old 01-10-2009, 12:00 AM
 
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I think hitting your sibling is acceptable if the sibling is on fire, and you are trying to put it out. My older daughter poured a cup of water on her sister because the sister was being annoying. My husband laid down the law: You are never permitted to pour a cup of water on your sister...unless she is on fire.

They still hit each other more at least every few days, it seems.

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In the situation you describe though I would absolutely NOT be okay with my kids hitting each other. You were in the house, they are capable of moving their bodies. The harassed child should have gotten up and come to you.
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In the situation you described, no way it's not acceptable.

You're teaching him that her body is more important than his.
Yes, I agree with these responses. I will tell my children not to hit each other, even if they are getting hit by the other, and there are better ways to deal with it. If it comes down to escalating violence, things never go well. However, I also do explain that when you hit people or do things to people's bodies that they don't like (poking, pinching, tickling, kissing, touching, etc.) that you may get a physical response, like someone hitting you back. It's going to happen, I realize.

I thinking hitting, scratching, fighting to get away from someone who feels dangerous to you is an understandable response, and I think my children might naturally do that if they felt cornered, but the effectiveness could be quite variable, depending on the circumstances. Slapping in retaliation for getting a kiss is on the level of slapping in retaliation for getting a slap.
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#29 of 123 Old 01-10-2009, 12:06 AM
 
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On the one hand you agree that the OP's little boy was engaging in developmentally appropriate behavior for his age and relationship with his sister, but you still seem to be conflating it with the issue of defending oneself against inappropriate touches.

.
No. That's not at all what I mean. I truly do not think he was doing anything innapropriate.

But, let's say the older brother is touching his sister's hair. She says "stop it". He doesn't stop it. She says "stop". He doesn't stop. (he's a brother after all... that's what siblings do, they annoy each other)

Sure, she SHOULD go tell on him. But, instead she swipes at him and hits his hand really hard.

"Stop" should always mean stop. It doesn't matter what it is. If he is sitting on her stomach, pulling her hair, or getting in her face. She has the right to her own space and say "Stop". If she doesn't have the right to defend "stop it" or "no" with her own brother, she won't feel like she has the right to defend her space with the next older kid who tries to get in her space. The next time, it might not be her brother. Her brother might not be there to defend her.

I am just saying that every kid has the right to defend their personal space.

He's learning something from this too. Now when she says "Knock it off" he might take her more seriously.

I wish I'd had the nerve to bop my brother when he was picking on me. I was NEVER allowed to win an argument with him. Now, I can't win an argument with my husband. I don't even try. He gets mad, I back down immediately. But, what if, when I was four, I had hit my brother when he was yanking my hair? What if, when I hit him, my Mom had backed ME up and said "Well, leave her alone". Would I be better equipped to defend myself now? (not physically, just in a typical argument)

Again, the big brother was being normal. Not out of line at all. I just don't think she was that far out of line either.
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#30 of 123 Old 01-10-2009, 01:08 AM
 
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How about if your mother equipped you with the tools to verbally stand up to your brother? How about if she taught you to be firm and assertive and then backed you up when you needed it?

I think that's what we're talking about. I don't think either child did anything horribly wrong, but I do think there is a better way. Teaching the child who is being touched but doesn't want to be to stand up for themselves. To be firm and assertive and to seek help when needed. And teaching the one who is doing the unwanted touching to respect boundaries. To me, those are the lessons that last a lifetime - instead of the lesson the kids in the OP learned - if you're being annoying you get hit and if you're being annoyed, it's ok to hit and the parents are fine with that.
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