Sibling Insult – In the Class and Home

Scan5_0005Admit it, parents and teachers. There are times your children/students get on your nerves. Typically, it’s not them as the wonderful unique individuals that they are. It’s the family dynamic, when they too, are getting on each other’s nerves. If you think for one moment a class isn’t filled with 15+ brothers and sisters then you are mistaken! Many teachers refer to their classrooms as, Mrs. Smith’s Family Class, or Room 2B Family, and they do so with the specific intent to create community. Yet, family dynamics can be a bit challenging. Think about your own lovely family.
My boys have been dishing out the insults and petty physical annoyances left and right, lately. It is driving me crazy! As a general rule, I like to maintain a level of kind words and civility in my home. I’ve been told; it’s not possible with three boys. It may be my ignorance to sibling-rivalry. I never grew up with siblings. But, I’m not comfortable with letting my children treat each other less than kind, because they share the same roof, that’s just not logical. Nor, does a teacher, let unkindness go unchecked, when attempting to keep respect and integrity in the family-classroom.
It can be exhausting policing this behavior and constant monitoring is not the goal. When everything is said and done, I don’t want to censor everything that is spoken. I want to build the skills that develop understanding in the power of choosing words thoughtfully, and that your brother at home or your brother in the classroom is more than someone you can insult and physically pester. Recently, I changed my approach, “Do not speak to my son that way.” I quickly informed my other son, Joseph* as he proceeded to call his younger brother,” stupid.” That word, being the one word, I can truly say makes me hot! The offender was speechless. He was just informed that his brother also belongs to someone else; sometimes we forget we are all connected. In that moment, I realized, I would not let a stranger or even a family friend speak unkindly to my boys, why should it be acceptable for them as family members?
Maybe this is a vain battle on my part and I know living with and going to school with the same people day in and day out will present its general irritations and conflicts, but, my hope is twenty years from now, my boys can share a holiday meal together and enjoy pleasant, ridiculously-funny, memories of how they lived with each other, not memories filled with residual pain from hurtful words that were allowed to freely roam the halls of their home or school.


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~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice