At what age can kids stop and think about how their actions make other people feel?
I'm trying to get Nico to stop and think about how his actions make his brother feel. He picks at his brother all day long. He constantly puts him down, calls him stupid, and excludes him when he plays. Lucas on the other hand, loves his brother to pieces, and just takes it in stride.
Take this morning for example. Nico wanted to play rough, but Lucas didn't. So Nico tells Lucas he's going into the bedroom to build a submarine, and since Lucas didn't want to play he couldn't come in. Of course Lucas wanted to go in, but Nico said no. Lucas stayed in the living room, and about ten minutes later Nico comes out to tell him the submarine was done.
I had to stop him. I asked, "Why did you come out here to tell Lucas the submarine was done? Was it because you are inviting him in? Or was it because you wanted him to get upset because he couldn't go in?" Of course Lucas still wasn't allowed in the submarine, but Nico insisted he wasn't trying to make his brother upset. So what was the point in telling him it was done? Nico didn't have an answer.
I tried to explain to him that his actions affect how other people feel, and he needs to be aware of that. I asked how he would feel if other people treated him the way he treats his brother, which did no good at all. Nico said he would just get over it, which is absolutely true. Nico doesn't hold on to his feelings. Sometimes they explode out of him, but once they're out, they're out and he lets them go. It's actually one of the really good things about Nico, he doesn't hold grudges. He can be angry one second, and happy the next.
So how do I get him to see that not everyone is capable of shrugging things off? Lucas doesn't help the situation any. He too, doesn't really hold on to his feelings, so it's hard to get Nico to stop and see how upset Lucas gets. In all honesty, it probably bothers me a whole lot more than it bothers Lucas. Hmm, I just don't know. Maybe I should just stay out of it, and let them work it out. It's just hard to sit back and see Lucas get walked all over. I want him to stand up for himself, but instead he just enables his brother. What's a mother to do?