Part of this is an SP issue and part isn't, but I welcome thoughts about either...
DSS (14) arrived for a week's contact today and the frames of his glasses were broken. It happened during a 'playfight' with his brother (20) and cousin. Last month he broke his hand in a similar 'playfight' and had to be in one of those plastic cast things for 6 weeks.
I hate playfighting; I think it is just an excuse for violence, but I know some people think it is ok/normal between siblings. But surely it isn't still appropriate or safe for a 20 year old man to 'playfight' with a 14 year old? DSS doesn't playfight here at all (in fact you wouldn't find a gentler, more patient child with his sibling) but it seems to be a regular thing at his mothers and certainly seems to be getting more violent as the kids get older. DSS says that sometimes the younger sibling of the cousin joins in 'if they annoy her' and she's still at primary school!
DH is considering having a word with DSS's mum (but doesn't think it will do any good at all.) Are we over-reacting?
It sounds more than play fighting to me. My eldest is 14 and I wouldn't want him 'play fighting' a 20yr old, brother or not. The 20yr old obviously doesn't know his own strength. I'd definitely be having a word with the mother.
Seriously? What word is it you intend to have, exactly?
I think you are bang on, Donkir and having started a general thread and got lots of helpful feedback, I think I'm much clearer that what is happening is 'play' at all. There's no adult supervision, no rules, and DSS is repeatedly coming off worst and I'm pretty sure being ganged up on. There's also an element of 'dares' that seem inspired by some of those videos of kids doing incredibly dangerous stuff (Jackass?) and if DSS tries not to be involved there is a lot of name calling (lots of it homophobic) and lots of pressure - shoving/slapping with that kind of 'what are you going to do about it' type comments.
We'll have to think about how to raise it with mum, cannot, but yeah, I think it is serious and no, I can't be exact right now. If DS was the older sibling and this was happening in our home, she would without doubt stop contact (and I wouldn't blame her).
I think playfighting is common enough between kids aged 6-12 is, but not 20. That's not on.
But unless your DP has a very good relationship with his ex, you might be better talking to DSS about it, to find out how he's ending up involved and whether he could find ways to make it clearer that he doesn't want to join in, or to talk to his mum direct if he needs adult intervention.
Play fighting should never end up with people being deliberately harmed.
I actually don't think there is anything essentially wrong with it as a game. Dp play fights with all 3 kids, Dss is 13, dsd is nearly 11 and dd is 3. BUT he is careful not to let it get too rough and tbh the older 2 are mostly very conscious of their little sister.
The taunts etc for your Dss not joining in is more the concern. That is bullying and needs to be stopped. I do think your DH has an obligation to raise his concerns with the 20 yr old if he is also DH's son and if not then directly with his ex.
How does Dss feel about it all though? If he is intimidated could living with you for a while be an option?
My DP play fights with my son, age 14, and he with my younger son aged 3, it's how they bond, but if there were ever any injuries in any form I'd be stopping it.
You have to know how to do it with gentleness, and this does not sound good. Broken glasses and hand in a cast? No, this shouldn't be ignored and you are right to raise concerns.
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