[This letter has been condensed -- Ed.]
I have an 8 year old son, and 3 year old daughter. Both children are considered by others (teachers included) to be very well-behaved and polite. My daughter is a bit more active than my son was at 3, and doesn't listen quite as well to directions and house rules. However, she is definitely age-appropriate. I know my son gets frustrated with my daughter at times. When the kids aren't getting along, I try to address each of their concerns, but often don't know who started what, and sometimes they both simply state that they are just playing.
The other day we were out at a restaurant and the two children were seated next to each other. The younger child kept poking the older under the table. The older child drew a picture on a napkin. The picture contained a stick figure of my daughter lying on the ground with crosses as eyes (her name was written above the figure), and there was another stick figure of a boy holding a gun. Dotted lines were coming out of the gun and hitting the stick figure. It was when we saw the completed art work that we understood what was going on (the poking was under the table). When my son was questioned about the picture, he stated that it wasn't a gun but a 'poking machine.' I didn't quite believe his answer.
We have limited video games and TV, two hours per week total). We have some Lego Wii games that are a bit more on the shooting theme than I thought they should be when I purchased them (Star Wars).
Our personal approach to misbehaivor is a progression from re-direction, to tim-outs, to consequences with age. However, we aren't certain how to address this picture with our son. I did tell him that I was disappointed about the picture and talked with him about how important siblings are to each other, and have a zero tolerance policy about teasing/name calling. I also want to cut out the video games.
My question is whether the drawing is a normal 8 year old behavior, or should we be concerned? I didn't like the lie about the poking machine, but didn't know quite how to address that one either. Any advice?
From: Curious, Lancaster, PA