One of the issues we’re dealing with in the afternoon is “play” fighting. Play teasing. Play…whatever. A lot of the kids we have are related in some fashion, cousins if not direct nuclear family members. And so there’s a tendency to name-call, tease, horseplay and otherwise “pretend” to break the rules in ways that, to be perfectly honest, we all do when we’re around family. And we realize that 99% of it is harmless, at least in intent if not in actuality.
But, the fact is that not everyone is related, and we can’t let some kids get away with “play” fighting and crack down on those who aren’t family when they do the same thing. And that’s a hard concept to get through to school age kids – why they can tease and pester or fake-hit their sister or cousin at home, but not in the homework club. This is becoming a sore spot, especially among some of the older kids who seem to be especially prone to doing it (either that, or the younger ones are just better at giving into authority on the issue).
However, there simply can’t be one set of rules for relatives and another for non-relatives. And Sarah and I don’t need to be spending our time trying to figure out if some bit of horseplay caught out of the corner of our eye is actually aggressive or violent behavior or just cousins goofing off. Anyway, even play fighting can get someone hurt if a pratfall goes awry or a pulled punch isn’t pulled enough.
In the end, we’ve just settled on a no-tolerance position for all fighting/horseplay/tussling, relational or not, and cracked down on all teasing and name-calling, regardless of shared ancestry. It’s not the most popular decision we’ve made, but I’m hoping it gets easier over time.
And btw, what’s the fascination putting salt and other contaminants into open containers of beverage? They’ve already lost juice privileges for a while after one of them put salt and pepper into pre-measured glasses of our expensive and limited juice. But today, someone salted the pitcher of water. Guess who’s gonna be getting their own out of the faucet? Because I’m certainly not going to waste my time making their beverages convenient and cold if they can’t have the decency to leave what remains for others unadulterated.