Aggressive Play - Where to draw the line and how to enforce it
I had asked him to go put the toy away, if he didn't want his little brother playing with it. He disappeared up the stairs... The next second, it seemed, he was back at the base of the stairs, shooting his playmate in the face point blank, with a lego "missile launcher". At first, I could hardly believe my eyes and then I started with the questions. How could you do that? What were you thinking? Look how hurt he is! Did you apologize? And it hits me... we just had this conversation 10 minutes prior to that. And about 20 minutes before that too. To me, the rules are very clear: It's never OK to hurt somebody. But why does this rule seem so "flexible" in his mind?
Needless to say, instead of the soft line approach with "shooting" toys, it's going to become a hard one. Honestly I have no idea where that lego set came from or why it had guns in it, but somehow my boy has a honing device onto such toys and can find them anywhere (even when they don't exist!).
But beyond that, it's apparent that I'm not "Getting through". I feel like partially, because I'm a different gender, I just don't "get" the aggressive play. Why do we need to be SO loud, go SO fast, and hit SO hard ALL of the time? I just don't understand it. Add to that the fact that people are getting hurt and it seems to make perfect sense: Quiet down, slow down, don't hit. How many times do I have to repeat myself, exactly? In excess of a thousand times, is that right? What's the range of normal, here, and should I be concerned that we are outside of it?
Now that younger brother is starting to catch on to this "aggressive" play, it seems like the occurrences have increased exponentially. So I wonder, how do you "make sense" of this? Is there one magical book? Some redirection that actually WORKS? Some behavior modification regime that will get through? I'm at my wit's end and I want to know where to go from here.... help?