I’m not ok with siblings beating on each other. I know that other parents have other approaches and I’m moderately ok about keeping my mouth shut about other policies. I’m not ok with it. I got beat on a lot. It fucked me up. Won’t happen during my watch.
But of course one of my bonus kids whacked a sibling in the face. Whoops. We had a conversation about how while clearly that was an accident–you apologize anyway. You get one sibling in this life. ONE. You are going to need to depend on your sibling at one point. When you hurt them on accident you apologize and try to do better.
And if you refuse and say, “No I don’t like them” that’s fine. You can sit in time out. I don’t really care how you feel about them right now. Your behavior was wrong and when your behavior is wrong you apologize. That’s how it goes. Yeah, it’ll suck if you get your back up. I can wait.
That whole “I can wait” is why I like home schooling and unschooling in particular. I can spring a teaching moment on them at any point.
I feel grateful that I am allowed to have my bonus kids and be an influence on them during their lifetime. Other than that fierce conversation there hasn’t been anything like a punishment. I did snap once “Everyone has to wait their turn. Stop crying about it.” Then… like a miracle… the kid. I mean, I did more “I can understand that you feel really sad and that’s hard… but if you cry about everything that happens to you then people don’t know to pay attention to you because you are hurt. Seriously, save your crying for big things or people learn to ignore you crying.” It’s more structured than just “stop crying”. It’s more “This isn’t worth crying about” because I think that kids have a hard time understanding those kinds of scales.
When you will get a turn to kill zombies in 8 minutes… not worth crying about the fact that you aren’t killing zombies this second. Come on, kid.
But those were the highest friction moments. Otherwise it has just been a non-stop gigglefest. We’ve played so many games and done so many things and laughed and talked. Most of the sobbing about waiting for a turn is resolved with a hug and “It’s hard waiting–isn’t it?” Then it stops. Acknowledgment of your feelings makes them easier to have.
Shanna taught the other three some Minecraft stuff (and got to feel like a rock star in the process). I taught them some Plants vs. Zombies because Shanna is in awe of my prowess. I find it hilarious.
We had a lot of fun. This morning both bonus kids woke up saying that they are happy they got to be here two nights. My kids are already whining about how we don’t want them to go.
I don’t fuck everything up. I just need environments in which I can be successful. Environments in which hitting is something that people do… that requires a strong suppressing response unless full consent has been attained. Then do whatever you want.
Apologies are required. They are not optional when you hurt someone. If you don’t mean it I will be an asshat and talk about their pain until I force you to feel some fucking empathy. “How would you feel if _____ happened to you? Yeah this is like that.” I’ll find a prompt that will make a little kid sound more sincere. Even if that prompt is “Dinner waits until you can find a tone of voice I like.”
I think that’s what parenting is. You help your kids become more functional people. I probably apologize more than I should. But it’s the only culture I feel comfortable passing on.
I’m having a great time. And today we go to BabsCon. And Noah is going to be with us all weekend because his job is going away. (Long story–it’s not a bad thing.) My Little Pony frenzy, here we come.