Well the small boy honeymoon lasted a whole 4 hours and by bedtime they were both getting a stern talking to about not torturing each other. They make each other's lives a misery sometimes by hurtful teasing or actual violence and when I intervene to stop it, somehow I still end up the bad guy. Why is that? Frankly, if I could be sure they only applied this treatment to each other, I would just shut my ears and let them get on with it. It's the worry, however, that if they are allowed to do this to each other at home that they will then do it to someone else at school that makes me dive in and do my UN impression.
I mean, how exactly do you teach a 7 year old boy the difference between mucking about and having fun making jokes on the one hand and deliberately teasing someone about something specific with the intention of hurting them on the other hand? Am I being too paranoid about this? The problem is Second Born is sharp with words, he's clever and quick and very perceptive. The result is that he knows First Born's weak spots (FB is very sensitive at the moment about being slightly overweight) and is very good at homing in on them and reducing FB to tears. You could argue that is just brothers engaging in a bit of rough and tumble (albeit verbally) but it is the fact that SB knows it upsets his brother and deliberately sets out to do just that which bothers me. The possibility that SB could turn this "skill" on other people worries me. That's just bullying isn't it? (And of course because FB has dyspraxia, I am more protective of him when it comes to that sort of stuff because he just finds it more difficult to interpret and cope with the human interactive stuff).
And FB is not quick and perceptive that way, but he is big. So, once SB has reduced him to a sobbing lump of snot and fury, FB loses the rag and lashes out physically. Again, when I own the lash-er and the lash-ee, I could just let it go and let them sort it out. But again, I can't allow that to happen if one of the parties isn't mine, and regardless of the provocation, I can't let FB think that fists and feet are the way to react if you are annoyed with someone. But I understand why he is upset.....
My brain hurts. I came down on the side of trying to explain to a 9 year old and a 7 year old that I fully expect them to fight over stuff, and argue and even engage in a bit of rough and tumble, but that there is a difference between that and engaging in behaviour the whole purpose of which is to deliberately hurt someone, either emotionally or physically, because that is bullying. What do you reckon my chances are? And since they now have to earn the right of access to the computer by not engaging in such behaviour, how long do you reckon it will be before they are back on their beloved Club Penguin? (And will their Puffles survive? Oh the drama!........)