Sunday, November 11, 2012

Observation about sibling rivalry

It's been a rather insane 2 weeks with power out from the hurricane.  One thing that we homeschoolers joke about is that we didn't have off from school.  After a couple of days, though, Chana went to sleep at her cousins' house and that was the last I saw of her until erev Shabbos.  But she did double chumash the next week.  For a while, we took a break from new pesukim.  The rashis and pesukim were too complicated and adding even one new one every day was getting overwhelming.  So we took a week to really pound those pesukim and rashis, and just started adding new pesukim yesterday.

Aside from noticing that the sibling rivalry ratchets up in response to my own stress level, I noticed something about how the boys fight.  I saw this happen quite a few times.  One boy does something to another.  Something aggressive or destructive (e.g., he breaks a train track that his brother is building).  The victim gets angry at the aggressor.  There is a sense of outrage and a sense that there was a wrong that needs to be righted.  Justice needs to be done.  The victim goes over and wallops the aggressor.  Usually one good wallop, but sometimes a few sharp *whap*s.  Then, it seems like the sense of outraged justice has been satisfied, and there is a sort of deflating.  The aggressor seems to agree that he deserved it, and although he grunts in pain, he doesn't attack back, which is a tacit acknowledgment that he deserved it.  Then they move on to something else.

It's fascinating that it doesn't escalate beyond that.  Initial act of aggression, cry of outrage on behalf of the victim, victim puffs up and belts aggressor, aggressor responds to pain but doesn't attack back, both settle down like two chickens with ruffled feathers clucking and then calming down.

  • it fascinates me that there seems to be an innate sense of justice operating here, and both parties agree.
  • it's interesting how it settles down and doesn't escalate.  And yet, there are definitely other types of sibling rivalry interactions where the violence does escalate.  I'm curious to observe what causes the escalation and in which situations it occurs.

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