Today, I had to sit my older boys down and have a talk about name calling. They know that calling each other names, such as "idiot" or "stupid", I consider the same as them using curse words. I have heard some name calling lately, so I needed to deal with it. They wouldn't dream of calling another child names (so far anyway), but apparently think it's ok to call their siblings names. I wanted to refresh their little minds, that it's in fact, not acceptable in this house.
I explained to the boys that calling people names like that is hurtful. We had a discussion about the importance of choosing your words carefully when you're angry or frustrated. We talked about different ways they can address how they are feeling and how to deal with being mad at each other. I was actually a bit surprised at how receptive they were and how mature the conversation was. I guess the older 3 just aren't babies anymore.
I understand that kids will be kids, that siblings will fight and that name calling is just something that will happen now and then. However, I just want them to learn better ways to deal with things than lashing out with hurtful words. Thankfully, physically hurting each other is something very rare. That is just not something acceptable at all and they know it.
I'm trying so hard to raise them to be conscious of other people's feelings, even when they are angry. I want it in the back of their mind so that when they do say something hurtful, they can recognize it and fix it. I can have a sharp tongue myself and it's something that over the years I've worked hard on. I'm still very flawed (Example: Just today I was kind of a jerk to someone who thoroughly annoyed me and was rude to me, and I don't feel bad about it. Yet.), but I do put a lot more thought into things I say. I don't expect my children to be perfect, after all, they are human, like myself. I do want them to grow up with empathy and to be intuitive to others feelings. Even if those other people have done wrong themselves.
I want them to grow up to be better people than I am.