Hurt Feelings

20 Feb

Lately RJ has been getting his feelings hurt a lot by younger brother JP.

JP loves being included in RJ’s games but sometimes he really wants to be left alone to play by himself.

In the first two years of school, RJ needed up to an hour to decompress and sit quietly after he got off the bus. Toddler JP was ecstatic to see him come home and would shriek excitedly and try to give hugs and initiate playing. He was rebuffed 99% of the time and often wound up in tears. It was pretty much impossible to explain to a 2 year old that his big brother needed to relax after a busy day at school.

Now, in grade one, it seems like RJ is adjusting to a busy school day and is growing to love the all-day social interaction with his classmates. He gets off the bus and wants to keep playing. He immediately wants to barge in on JP’s games or start new and very involved games. JP, who has been playing quietly for the last several hours, doesn’t like having his games interrupted. He tells RJ he needs alone time and time to decompress. He is repeating words I’ve said to him (about RJ) hundreds of times.

When RJ tries to play with JP after school and is turned down, he either collapses into tears, stomps up to his room, or angrily crosses his arms and sulks on the couch. He says, “JP, you are so mean!!” “Why do you always have to hurt my feelings?” “I can’t believe how mean you are!”

Now I find myself explaining (over and over) that “JP likes alone time just like you do. When you were a bit younger, you said the exact same things about wanting to be left alone.” Apparently the concept of other people’s alone time is just as difficult for a six year old to understand as it was for a two year old to understand.

I can’t wait until I get to explain to a toddler why his two amazing older brothers want to play Lego behind the baby gate…and far away from him!

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