Last week, I mentioned that our children tease too much– unkindly– in spite of our best efforts to stop it. The things we’ve done to teach and train them have been good things to do. We’ve seen improvements. But we’re not finished with learning and teaching.
I mentioned that I started (again) trying to understand the motivation behind the teasing. While our sin nature is pervasive, not every problem is primarily a sin problem. I was surprised when I gave David a list of reasons people tease, he told me that he wanted to play with Bethel, but he didn’t know how to.
We’ve worked before on knowing how to join in a group. (What should you say, how should you act, what should you avoid doing). This was a little different, because I’m certain I’ve never taught my non-pretending children how to pretend. Bethel has long drawn out pretend dramas with her horse playmobil sets. David seldom pretends. It’s true that he doesn’t understand his sisters. I asked him a little doubtfully, you want to play what Bethel is playing? He nodded.
So I explained. When somebody pretends, they are making a fictional story in their minds. Then they act out their story. If you want to join in with Bethel’s play, first you have to find out what her story is. If you have a child who doesn’t pretend, you will understand that this was a new thought for my son.
I told him, Ask her, “What are you pretending?” or ask her “What are these people doing?”
He looked at me a little doubtfully, but went back and asked her what she was doing. After listening to a long explanation, David decided to find something else to do.
Five minutes later, we needed another teasing talk. I’ll talk about that tomorrow. I will tell you that we began talking about what it means to love someone according to knowledge.
I don’t think our discussion was without value. It’s helpful to remind myself that life is seldom learned in short, discrete unit studies. The conversation will go on!
I like the way you explained pretending to him. My oldest rarely plays pretend, even though she’s a girl, so this could be a conversation we will have when the little one gets older.
Dwelling with one another according to knowledge can apply to parents too I was thinking when I read this. One of my goals for this year is to understand my children better, especially now that they are communicating more and more clearly. As you said, not all improper behavior comes from the sin nature, and I am aiming to understand their motives better before I jump in to correct. I tend to want to “do it right” as far as discipline, and sometimes I forget to listen.
Recently my oldest broke something (her glasses) and instead of coming to me to tell me, she hid them. When I asked why, she said, “I thought you would be disappointed.” This showed me I am not being as sensitive to her own sensitive nature and am jumping to discipline or disappointment before I hear her out.