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Friday, January 15, 2010

Shovels and Brotherly Love/Violence


You know how last week, I was telling you all the odd things that I was screaming at my boys?

Two of them being:

Don't hit your brother with a shovel!


Stop hitting your brother with a shovel!

And then I reassured you that they were made of plastic.

What I neglected to tell you is just how big those plastic shovels are.

Here's Bear, showing them off on Christmas morning:

What was Santa thinking????

Now, my boys do love each other.

But, they also love to beat up on each other.

They actually are very good at not hurting any other kids, just their brothers.

Well, unless they are just retaliating, but that's another story.

Last summer, we were over at a friend's house for a playdate.

Quite a few families.

But, all of them either had just one child or they had girls.

So, maybe it's a boy thing.

Or maybe it's just my kids- though I doubt it, since I see this with other families that have lots of boys, so I'm going with "it's a boy thing."

I stepped inside for something- probably to change Cub's diaper, since I know I had him with me inside.

When I came back out, Monkey and Bear were fighting.

They were wrestling, rolling around on the ground, and hitting each other.

I'd definitely seen worse.

The other moms were sort of staring at them, mouths hanging open.

"I didn't know what to do."

"They're going to hurt each other!"

But, I just looked at them and said, "Oh, they're fine."

And tried to change the subject.

I got looks of disbelief.
And many comments about how they would break it up if they were their kids, wasn't I worried, they couldn't believe my kids were acting like that, and on and on.

But, I have come to accept that I cannot break up every little fight that my boys have.

If they are doing something where they can really get hurt, I'll step in.
No biting allowed, I'll stop that.

If it's not just them, but other kids, absolutely, I'll step in.
Or even if they are just too close to other kids while they're fighting, I'll stop it.
Or just have them move away from others.

We DO talk about how we shouldn't hurt each other.

How it's mean and hurtful and we don't want to be the type of people who would do things like that.
They know that they want to have friends and they know that they can't do that to other kids if they want to have friends.
And how they love each other and ways that they can show that to each other.

But, I think that brothers are going to fight.

And sometimes, you have to let them fight it out.

You might feel differently and break up every single fight that your kids have. I applaud you for your fabulous dedication and wonder how on earth you manage to be able to do that.

But, as for me, occasionally, I let my boys fight it out.

Just not with these shovels.

Labels: ,


Blogger Conservative Knit Mom said...

Finally someone who understands! Brothers do fight! My boys fight all the time but you are braver than I -- I do not take them out together!

January 15, 2010 at 7:06 AM  
Blogger danita said...

i agree, you can't intervene every time! they have to learn to work it out themselves. i think it's kind of like how baby tigers and cubs practice hunting on their siblings...

January 15, 2010 at 7:27 AM  
Blogger The Mommyologist said...

Haven't had to deal with the brother thing yet, but I know that my son butts heads with the little boy down the street while playing quietly with the little girl down the street. I think the testosterone kicks in early!!

January 15, 2010 at 7:37 AM  
Blogger Sarah Brown said...

brothers and sisters do too...and I don't break them all up either=) Stopping by from SITS

January 15, 2010 at 7:49 AM  
Blogger Meg @ Higgins Happenings said...

That's a boy thing! Or a sibling thing! I was an only child - and I only have 1 child - but I know how my son & his lil cousin are - they are just a year apart and they are constantly hitting each other, wrestling, or something! I dont think it ever gets better! Haha!

January 15, 2010 at 7:56 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Yes, brothers are definitely all about the fighting. I think it is almost a form of communication with them.
Considering I was raised with sisters I was really out of the loop at first with knowing what was normal boy behavior and what wasn't. Its my husband who has 2 boys who informed me that if nobody is bleeding or bruised than its okay. LOL

January 15, 2010 at 8:00 AM  
Blogger Secret Mom Thoughts said...

I don't break all the fights between my daughter and son either.

January 15, 2010 at 8:19 AM  
Blogger The Princess of Sarcasm said...

I break up every little fight. Every. Single. One. My older son would snap his little brother like a twig. But recently, I've been regretting it. For one, my youngest hits his brother when he's frustrated with him. My oldest son just takes it. I just told him the other day that he has my secret permission to clock him next time he does it. I'm also afraid that if a kid at school hits either one that they will just stand there and take it while waiting for the other kid to get in trouble. I wonder if I'm raising little wimps. We might have to institute Friday night wrestling here at the house!!!

January 15, 2010 at 8:23 AM  
Blogger Evonne said...

No, it's not just your boys. They all fight like that. I have a boy and a girl, and they fight, too.

As long as they're not hurting each other or others, I'd let them go, too.

January 15, 2010 at 8:30 AM  
Blogger T.J. said...

I think I'd be right there with you, it seems such a natural instinct for boys to do at times. As long as they are fighting with love (ha!) and with no added resources, I'd say it's a life lesson :)

January 15, 2010 at 8:33 AM  
Blogger Liz Mays said...

You have to do what works for you and yours! Boys do roughhouse and it's impossible to stop anyhow.

January 15, 2010 at 8:49 AM  
Blogger Kmama said...

I'm the youngest of four, and the only girl. My brothers fought constantly, as did I! Therefore, I'm like you and I just let them go at it unless someone is screaming in pain. Jdaddy tends to break things up. I tell him that screaming/yelling does not mean that anyone is getting hurt. They are just loud!!

The funny thing is that while Buddy is bigger, he's not by much. Buster often pins him down by sitting on him. LOL

January 15, 2010 at 8:55 AM  
Blogger Ducky said...

Eh...no blood? Massive amounts of hair on the ground? NO? All teeth present and accounted for? Bones and joints in original working condition?...leave 'em be. I don't know if its just a boy thing though. My daughter and her cousin who is 7 months older are getting pretty feisty with eachother. The cousin turns 2 today...I think both girls are going to be scrappy ones...but so are their mommas.

I think you're doing just fine. :o) Good of you to leave the shovels out of the equation.

January 15, 2010 at 9:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

its a boy thig, we fight...;)

January 15, 2010 at 9:44 AM  
Blogger Lift Like A Mom said...

I'm sure I'll be there in a few years! :) Thanks for stopping by my blog! Love yours and will continue to follow. Hope you have a great weekend!

January 15, 2010 at 10:01 AM  
Blogger Pale said...

"But, I just looked at them and said, "Oh, they're fine."

I laughed out loud when I read that, picturing you, because ... yeah ... BTDT.

I have a girl and two boys. The little one adores both of his Big Kids, but I gotta tell you ... the diff between his relationship with his sister and the relationship with his brother is the most Mars/Venus thing you ever witnessed. Anthropologists should come to our house.

DH is the middle boy of three brothers (a sister arrived when he was 11 and is, in some ways, like an only child ... isolated by her age and gender). He looks at the boys 'wrestling' and he gets impatient with me if I complain or fuss about it ... saying, as you wrote, It's A Brother Thing. He yawns, pats me on the head and moves right along. Carry on, Boys. Not that he condones violence or encourages unhealthy sib rivalry... apparently there is a difference between those bad things and what our boys usually do to eachother. And that difference is not apparent to every eye.

Sometimes the boys cross my (now elevated) tolerance threshold for such antics (like when they look like they might ~really~ be about to hurt each other and a trip to the ER/sutures are imminent. They are five years apart ... the older one is very gentle tempered and not too bossy (henpecked from day one by his big sister) and the younger one is a real alpha male, so that mostly balances out the power difference, but still ...). Whenever I pull them up short, concerned ... they stop and look at me with these genuinely angelic, puzzled faces, and I realize ... they really weren't trying to kill eachother. They think this **** is FUN. It's a game. It's not, you know, ~violence~.

"I got looks of disbelief.
And many comments about how they would break it up if they were their kids, wasn't I worried, they couldn't believe my kids were acting like that, and on and on."

This is me, rolling my eyes so far back into head they might stick.

You know I ~love~ people who don't understand what they don't understand. And then lecture you about it.

For every one of those times it looks like they are "fighting", what people don't see are the other moments like the one I had the other night: I looked up from my laptop in a darkened room to see the boys, side by side, the glow of the TV screen lighting up a blue halo around their single silhouette as they watched Bear Gryls on Man Vs Wild ... Seven explaining the nitty details to rapt 2.5. Two peas in a brother pod. (You wouldn't catch my daughter watching this with them. I mean, The. Guy. Eats BUGS.)


January 15, 2010 at 10:17 AM  
Blogger Pale said...

It's wired into them. That is what those other moms don't understand. Trying to keep them from it would be like trying to keep their girls from ... stereotypical girl things they are compelled to do.

They will learn. If there is justice in the world ... evil laugh ... judging other parents is universally bad juju that almost ALWAYS bites you in the ass. It's like peeing in the wind. So it is written.

Evil laugh.

January 15, 2010 at 10:22 AM  
Blogger Just A Normal Mom said...

My brother swears one day he's going to take his two boys into the backyard and just let them go at it and fight it out once and for all. He says he'll give them 5 minutes to get it done. I only had one, so I've got no experience to draw from, but after seeing my nephews, I don't think I'd break up every fight either.

January 15, 2010 at 10:29 AM  
Blogger Sarahviz said...

Mine are not allowed to physically "fight" if they are mad. But I do let them roll around, wrestle and play with each other. And they do it constantly!
Yup, it's a boy thang.

January 15, 2010 at 10:50 AM  
Blogger Working Mommy said...

I hate how other parents always think they know how to raise YOUR children...drives me batty, honestly!! Let me do my thing - just mind your own damn businazz!


January 15, 2010 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger Kearsie said...

I have two girls. And guess what? Sometimes you have to let them fight it out, too. Thankfully we don't own any shovels, because I'm pretty sure they would be used. So far, the Arsenal of Hurtful Things mostly consists of words like "poopoo head" and "meanie".

January 15, 2010 at 11:00 AM  
Blogger Taylor Stoddard said...

Yes, I believe it's just a boy thing. My 3 year old and 1 year old are already wrestling each other to the ground. (And I'd like to say that it's my 3 year old who always starts it, but it's hardly ever him.) As long as they're not going to get hurt... why not let them have a little fun? They're usually laughing while they do it.

Oh and I HATE it when other parents stick their noses where it doesn't belong. All kids are different. You raise your kids and I'll raise mine, thank you very much!

January 15, 2010 at 11:03 AM  
Blogger MommyLisa said...

it is a boy thing, but my four year old LOVES to tackle her big 16 year old brother.

If she gets hurt or cries I tell her, "You asked for it." Because I KNOW he would never do anything to her on purpose and he is usually running after her saying he was sorry anyway. ;)

January 15, 2010 at 11:11 AM  
Blogger Mae Rae said...

every time I get to the bottom to post my reply, there are so many other commments that i forget what I came here for...going back up...oh yeah.

Boys hit, punch, kick, spit and even curse. Girls cry, whine, stomp, hissy, and pull hair. It is just the way it is. If I were to break up every fight for the past 13 years I would be doing nothing but. My kids would have been duct taped to the wall and not allowed the opportunity to do anything but.

January 15, 2010 at 11:25 AM  
Blogger Foursons said...

We have actually told Jakob, "The next time he does that to you, just slug him." Horrible, but sometimes a kid has to learn to stand up for himself.

January 15, 2010 at 11:45 AM  
Blogger Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

Well, we can have a playdate ANYTIME, because our boys would be soulmates. Absolute soulmates. I needed to hear this today, as mine do the same!

January 15, 2010 at 11:46 AM  
Blogger Elle said...

I'm sure this is a "boy thing." I can tell you it's a "sister thing" too. My sister and I used to have some awful, awful fights. Sometimes my mom just let us go. However, if they got really bad she'd break them up. Sometimes, beyond fed up with us and sick of the ridiculous things we'd fight about, she'd get out two kitchen knives, hold them out to us, and yell, "Here! Just kill each other and get it over with!" This would stun us into silence and good behavior for at least a week. I don't recommend taking that route though--especially with how young your boys are. LOL

January 15, 2010 at 12:27 PM  
Blogger Ams said...

Yup, boys will be boys! If they are being violent in a malicious way that is one thing - but if it is rough and tumble boy business - I say go at it!!
My girls have a different version of that fighting, but I, too let them go at it. Can't break up all the battles... it's all about conflict resolution!

January 15, 2010 at 12:29 PM  
Blogger Sarah and the Gentlemen said...

Sometimes I break up a fight or head one off while other times I let them go and tell my husband, "They've got to learn to work it out themselves."

I'm still trying to convey the balance of not allowing yourself to be beat up and not going overboard on retaliation. It's tricky.

January 15, 2010 at 12:39 PM  
Blogger Eternal Lizdom said...

I have a girl and a boy and they enjoy a good tussle from time to time. Not so much the fists swinging variety but definitely the tackle and tumble and wrestle sort of rough housing. Jeff is eager to jump in and tell them to knock it off... me? Well, I think it's good to have that outlet, that connection. And I think all siblings need some good war stories for when they're grown!

January 15, 2010 at 1:22 PM  
Blogger Margaret said...

I would let them fight it out as well.

January 15, 2010 at 5:04 PM  
Blogger AiringMyLaundry said...

Yup, I don't break up all the fights either. Just the ones where I hear a loud thump.

January 15, 2010 at 6:01 PM  
Blogger StephaE said...

Thank you for commenting on my blog!! I love that Santa brought them those toys...and that Santa regrets it!! LOL

January 15, 2010 at 7:11 PM  
Blogger mintifresh said...

There just like little cubs playing and getting aggression out, as long as someone doesn't lose an eye, it's all good, right? Did that sentence involve enough commas? I think so.

My girls don't fight physically too much but they do fight and I agree with you, can't break up every fight so I just let it go for a bit, unless there's shovels involved...;)

January 15, 2010 at 9:27 PM  
Blogger Chief said...

JUST WAIT MY FRIEND...pretty soon they will be aiming for each others balls

January 15, 2010 at 9:53 PM  
Blogger Corrie Howe said...

My boys are seven years apart, but I've noticed that each of them wrestle and play rough with their friends. And guess what? Someone gets hurt. I usually just explain to them that if they are going to play rough someone is going to get hurt. Then the kids go home and I get the calls from their over protective mothers. What a pain.

January 16, 2010 at 5:33 PM  
Blogger Karen and Gerard said...

We would play wrestle be can't ever remember actually fighting. My parents usually stopped it before it got to that point. If we were yelling at each other, the yellers had to stand in the corner for about 10 minutes and that usually was enough time for us to calm down or at least realize we needed to stop because we didn't want to spend our time in the corner.

Congrats on your SITS day!

May 10, 2010 at 6:40 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Happy SITS Day! My niece is 26 & she has 3 boys under the age of 7 & they are bbbaaaddd! I have 2 girls so I wouldn't know how to attend to little boys.

May 10, 2010 at 9:30 AM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

I had 3 brothers, 2 who were only 18 months apart in age. Fight? Good grief, how they fought. My mom was pragmatic just as you are. Boys really are different from girls. It's how they sort things out. Even as their older sister, I could tell the difference between a rumble and something much worse that needed intervention.

May 10, 2010 at 9:31 AM  
Blogger TornadoTwos said...

OMG the fighting! I have 4 boys, 1 girl, and the fighting/wrestling drives me nuts! My husband is just as bad with them. I truely believe boys feed off each other, the more you get in a room the crazier they get. Someone the other day told me that 1 boy (or man) operates with a whole brain, get 2 together and they operate with half a brain, and it just goes downhill from there. LOL

May 10, 2010 at 10:15 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

My brothers were the same way with eachother -- and at times me. :) My mom had the same take on things as what you do, no need to break up EVERY fight. Apparently it's fun.

I never thought so though.

May 10, 2010 at 11:38 AM  
Blogger Michele said...

I am now a follower from SITS. I love to hear what life is like with boys because I have two girls and I just know that if we try again it'll be another girl. And I always thought I would have boys! You are so right about letting them fight it out. I just think they have to figure it out for themselves sometimes. Years ago I was in FAO Schwartz and they had a mock boxing ring set up with a thing that looked like one of those "walk/don't walk" signs, but it said, "fight/don't fight." Awesome!

May 10, 2010 at 11:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boys will wrestle and fight. It's just something they do. My little brothers always wrestled and now two of them are on a wrestling team. Lol. I'm visiting from SITS! Happy SITS day! I have two little girls and would love to have a little boy but am afraid I'll have another girl. My father-in-law has 8 EIGHT! sisters. I do not want to carry on the tradition. LOL. Looking forward to reading more of your blog!

May 10, 2010 at 2:16 PM  
Blogger MommaKiss said...

Mine are in the choking phase. Just each other. I try to stop it before one turns blue.

May 10, 2010 at 4:12 PM  
Blogger mama of 4 said...

hehehehe Yup Not only have I said all of those things to my children, But I also refuse to break up every fight! and BTW Girls can kick butt too :). Seriously my 3 year old (girl) will take a running leap and tackle her 10 year old brother LOL.

May 10, 2010 at 10:51 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I have three girls, and they rarely physically fight, but oh the bickering. And the tattling. I just tell them to figure it out themselves.

August 9, 2010 at 6:00 AM  

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