My poor sweet Evan. The younger brother. He wants nothing more than to play with his older sibling and be just like him. He follows him around like a little puppy dog, mimicking what he says and trying like hell to impress.
Zack and Evan's relationship certainly has blossomed over the past year. Zack went from merely ignoring his baby brother to loathing him. But something has happened over the past twelve months and the boys have become friends. It has been sweet relief. It brings me such joy to see these two brothers dreaming up trips to outer space and plotting mutiny against their parents. Of course it isn't always sunshine and roses, they bicker and fight like all siblings, but underneath it they seem to generally enjoy each other.
Until Zack has a friend over. Once Zachary has a buddy his age to play with, Evan is left behind (screaming) in the dust. Poor thing. It would be one thing if the older kids simply ignored Evan, but they seem to prefer to torture him. "Baby" they sneer. "Your the bad guy!" they cheer. They say he has germs, they laugh when he gets hurt, they try to play tricks on him, and my sweet boy keeps coming back for more.
Most of Zachary's friends are very nice kids, but something seems to happen to them once they are in the presence of Zack's younger brother. I don't know what the equation is. Is this a common phenomenon, or does Evan have the proverbial "Kick Me" sign tattooed to his tiny back? I am often left at a loss. In the absence of their parent, I find it difficult to discipline a child that is not mine. I have tried asking Zack to set an example for his friends, but he is easily persuaded in vilifying little Evan. I have asked the Zack's friends nicely, and then firmly to stop the teasing, but eventually it starts up again.
It hurts me to see my baby made fun of and picked on. I worry that he is going to come to expect meanness and disrespect. I want to stand up for my child, while helping him stand up for himself as well.
I am the big sister. I know that I was nasty to my sister, however, I don't remember it being quite this bad. Perhaps I am recalling myself in a more favorable light than I deserve. Maybe it's a boy thing. Maybe Evan looks like a victim. Maybe kids are meaner today. I don't know.
Advice would be appreciated.