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Verbal bullying v free expression

(11 Posts)
CherryPicking Wed 29-Jun-16 07:56:54

I'm always reading about how allowing children to speak their minds; to teach them to express themselves in words rather than through violence, is the key to good mental health. But what do you do when you have an older child who verbally takes out her frustrations on a younger child? Clearly I can't just put up with it for the sake of the older child's 'free expression' I have to enforce house rules to protect the younger one, right?

FeckinCrutches Wed 29-Jun-16 07:59:37

Yes you do, how old are they?

FeckinCrutches Wed 29-Jun-16 08:00:31

But I don't really believe in free expression.

CherryPicking Wed 29-Jun-16 08:04:11

10 & 6.

doesntmatterwhoyouare Wed 29-Jun-16 08:04:50

Its the line between free expression and bullying though isn't it.
What's the age gap? Does dc1 let the little one respond, listen and discuss the views, do you also join in and sometimes support the little one so dc1 doesn't always win?

FeckinCrutches Wed 29-Jun-16 08:17:49

Ok, so well old enough to know that they are just bullying their younger sibling. What do you actually do when it happens?

corythatwas Wed 29-Jun-16 08:35:41

CherryPicking Wed 29-Jun-16 07:56:54

"I'm always reading about how allowing children to speak their minds; to teach them to express themselves in words rather than through violence, is the key to good mental health."

I think you have misunderstood what you have read. Being unkind to other people and making them sad is not good for anybody's mental health: it is as bad for the person who does it as the person who suffers it. Hurting somebody else is always bad for you. A healthy household is one where everybody is taught to express their feelings in non-hurtful ways.

That is why, as parents, we have to both model and teach good ways of expressing frustration and clamp down on bad ways.

"mum, I really hate it when you ruffle my hair, do you think you could stop?"- good way

"get off me, you fucking bitch"- bad way

"Little-Brother, I don't want you to play with that, have this instead"- good way

"you little creep, I hate you, I'm going to smash your head in"- bad way

By being firm and consistent in the way you allow them to speak, you can make your home a safe place where everybody knows that they will not be hurt verbally or physically. The only downside is, you may find any marital argument is curtailed by teen tut-tutting and "that's not a nice thing to say, mum". But I'm not sure I complain about that either: I reckon it's done dh and me good, too, to think about how we speak to people.

CherryPicking Wed 29-Jun-16 09:36:29

I dont think I've misunderstood what it means - Im just having a wobble because my interventions, restating the house rules, explaining the difference between bullying words and expressing things in a non-hurtful way - it's just relentless, whenever they're together. And that's why I came on here for reassurance that intervening was the right thing to do. - because it's just so fucking exhausting, and I'm starting to wonder if I'm doing it right, or if I'm putting my eldest child in a verbal straightjacket.

CherryPicking Wed 29-Jun-16 09:41:27

For example, 10 year old and 6 year old are arguing about something petty. 10 year old has a hissy fit, name calling, saying 'it's like 6 year old hates me and wants to kill me!" As a justification for what she's said. I mean, I heard the exchange - they were literally arguing about breakfast cereal. Just complete hyperbole from dd1. How would you deal with that?

lljkk Wed 29-Jun-16 14:27:12

Gosh, that's not so bad.

I think I'd respond with acknowledging feelings as valid "Yeah you do sound furious with each other."
Also absurdity
"You guys argue over the stupidest things."
and refusing to take sides
"If you don't get along, WALK AWAY from each other. As far as I'm concerned, either of you could stop this argument in an instant. You are BOTH to blame."

My 2 (8 & 12) are thick as thieves & alternative between vicious squabbling & merry conspiratorial giggles every 5 minutes.

CherryPicking Wed 29-Jun-16 17:53:18

Yes I've tried that. They weren't furious with each other. It was very one -sided. Dd2 was arguing normally, dd1 was incredibly loud and intimidating . but I guess that doesn't matter.

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