For a while now we've been having some issues with accidental hurtings. Yeah, you know, the contact that occurs while playing, that isn't with malice, but still causes the contactee to feel pain. The contacter always assures the contactee (and the parental units) that said contact was, in fact, accidental and that they did not, in any way intend to cause pain/harm/suffering.
You, dear reader, might see how this could be problematic. As the parental unit, it is important to teach the offspring that violence is not the answer. When life does not go your way, it is never appropriate to cause someone else (no matter how much it may be their fault) pain. Conversely, hitting (or kicking or other maliceful physical contact) is not a game or something to do for fun. So there are some base rules, that seem pretty black and white. Enter: The Accident. The Accident occurs when there is physical contact that was intendend but that has gone dreadfully awry. The Accident can also occur when physical contact is unintended, but does occur and causes pain. Either way The Accident throws a large monkey wrench into parenting during these situations.
We are finding it Very Difficult these days to address The Accident, which seems to be happening more and more around here. During our car trip, Elie, Accidentally, hit Isaac in the face with the motorcycle. The kids were having a dance party and Isaac, Accidentally, knocked over Talia. Elie, Purposefully, pushed Talia, but then Talia, Accidentally, fell down and knocked her head into the doorway. *sigh* The push was clearly wrong, but the dancing and the motorcycle feel like they are grey. It is true that there are some members of our family deeply lacking bodily awareness, but, at some point, you have to stop making excuses for Accidentally hurting others and just take responsibility.
At this juncture our biggest offender, by far, is Elie. She gets rambunctious or bossy or grabby or just doesn't think and then someone, usually not her, gets hurt. She is always remorseful, apologetic and sincerely concerned with the well being of the contactee. But I'm not sure what is really appropriate here. What is the proper attention getting device for The Accident? How do you teach bodily awareness or awareness of contact and its consequences? Conversely, is this a good time for me to re-examine *my* propensity for crashing around into things and people?
I do remember that I was in high school and still hitting my father's chin with my head while giving him hugs. It really was an Accident, not once did I intend to cause him pain. And I once, Accidentally, kicked Adam and gave him an awful black eye. It really was an Accident.
Accidents happen. I know that. But intent and outcome are complicated issues. I suppose it's best to start working on them now. Maybe it will avoid more serious Accidents in the future.