26 February 2008

Where do you draw the line?

With boys, one of the things when raising them that you have to keep in mind is to try to teach them to defend themselves. Well, at least in this day and age, and at least in mid-to-large size towns, anyway. Now, I'm not saying that you have to teach your boy to throw a mean right hook, but you have to make sure that your boy knows what to do if another boy calls him a name or trips him or something. (By the way, I'm talking about elementary-age boys here...let's keep this in perspective here.)

So, my husband and I have been working on that with our sons. It isn't difficult to remember to do this--Xander is somewhat of a bully to Damien (yes, the younger son rules the roost here). So, we are constantly having to talk to Damien about how to handle situations like that.

But where do you draw the line?

Sometimes we tell Damien to ignore Xander, like if Xander teases him or calls him a name. And sometimes that works...sometimes that would be a good strategy to use with any kid. Other times, when Xander punches Damien in the leg or smacks him on top of the head (yes, boys do these types of things, and they do them rather often, unfortunately), we tell Damien to do it back to Xander--let Xander see what it feels like to be punched in the leg or smacked on the head and maybe he will stop. Now, that might be a good idea for brothers, but is that a good lesson to teach him in general? Should we be teaching him to hit back if someone hits him?

My husband says yes, he says that the way kids are nowadays, Damien needs to know how to fight just in case. I'm not so sure I agree. But then again, I went to school in a very calm, quiet town...my husband went to school in a really large town, and fights broke out in school rather frequently. Kids routinely fought after school all the time. But is it really necessary? I don't even know if Damien would have it in him to fight, anyway...he is such a gentle soul for a kid. Xander, yes--I could see him defending himself quite easily. But does every boy need to learn to fight back like that? Is there another solution? Can the line be drawn some other way?

Frankly, I really don't know...I do know that the school systems around here are more similar to the one my husband attended (unfortunately). And I know that there is no way we can send the boys to private school (nor do I necessarily think that would be a solution, either). Does anyone have an answer to this dilemma?


Pinching Abe said...

Family dynamics are different than society. Sibling fights are a totally different animal. I wouldn't worry about encouraging a little sass back to his brother if Damien is getting abused by Damien (we do a little of that too - it is just normal.) But you can't blame the kids these days for their aggressive behavior. I blame the parents. It is a breakdown of morals and the family unit that leads to chaos.

Give the boys lots of hugs and they will turn out all right.

Pinching Abe said...

I meant if Damien is getting abused by Xander, sorry!

P.S. My parents did let me "educate" my lil brother when he got rough. But not too much, LOL. Sometimes you have to let kids work these things out. And if Damien stood up for himself a lil more to Xander, they both would learn a valuable lesson. Damien learns he isn't a door mat and Xander learns he can't bully his brother.