Lee and I talked last night about the teasing problem. It’s gotten worse, Newton and Wizzie notwithstanding.Right now it’s all on David’s side. Don’t worry, Bethel can dish it out, but she’s not been the instigator lately. Here’s an example:
- Bethel is happily playing with some toy. David holds up some other toy that she likes and says “Bethel, Is it okay if I play with your _______?” Then as she squeals and runs to claim the toy, he dashes away, laughing. Most of the time, David is grabbing a toy he obviously has no desire to play with.
I’ve questioned David as best as I know how, and can’t get anywhere. (Are you trying to make Bethel unhappy? Are you happy that Bethel is crying? Are you being nice to Bethel?) At every question, he insists that he’s being nice and he is not intending to make her unhappy. I have my doubts. It’s possible that he’s lying, I can’t assume he’s not. He also might not realize what about his behavior is unkind. (I allow teasing if both kids are having fun) If I can’t get him to make the distinction between kind and unkind behavior, then helping him understand what God says about being kind isn’t going to help.
“Teasing” is quite abstract. So is “unkind teasing.” I want something I can say, “X is how mommy knows you are being unkind.” I want something concrete that I can show David that makes his teasing unkind or sinful. As Lee and I talked, I realized that the laughing shows that David is happy when Bethel is crying. That’s what makes it wrong. An aha moment.
I’ll be praying about this one, that God will give me wisdom in helping my children to love each other. The unkindness grieves me. I do think continuing to talk about what God says about kindness is good, even if I’m not convinced he’s clear on what makes his behavior unkind.
p.s. I just realized I’m trying to find concrete ways of identifying behavior. I wonder if David’s need for the concrete is an age need or a personality need. It could be the age– children this age do have a hard time with abstract concepts, but it could just as easily be David’s learning style of social behavior.