Yesterday my sister-in-law unleashed a torrent of verbal abuse during a family gathering, which culminated in her pinning her sister to the floor and punching her, and when I asked her to leave, a loud and angry stand-off ensued, with she and I both swearing at each other, culminating in her hitting me and leaving.

My 5- and 2-year old children witnessed the whole thing (as well as her kids).

So when my 5-year old asked me "why was Eloise sitting on top of Giovanna?", I wasn't quite sure what to respond. I told him "Eloise went a bit crazy", and it wasn't nice, she shouldn't have done it, and so on.

But I don't know if that was the best way to handle it.

Should I raise it again with him pro-actively?

If not, and he raises it again, what should I do?

To clarify, Eloise and Giovanna are adults, and sisters of my wife.

closed as primarily opinion-based by anongoodnurse Feb 26 '18 at 16:16

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Just to clarify: How old are Eloise and Giovanna? Are they adults? – sleske Feb 26 '18 at 10:03
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    Is the sister (Giovanna) in question your wife? That will make a difference in how involved your children are in this, as then both of their parents "got in a fight" with Eloise. – skymningen Feb 26 '18 at 12:55
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    This is an important question, and I would like to see good answers. But as it is phrased now, it's likely to attract just wildly varying opinions. This is fine in online forums, but this is a Q&A site. Please give more details (as asked for in comments), and what it is that worries you about their witnessing this, and/or what you want to teach your kids, and how to allay their fears/achieve your goals. Be specific ("Adults don't hit" is obviously untrue now.) I don't want to close it, but as asked, it has already attracted one off-the-cuff answer. Please edit and flag for moderator attention. – anongoodnurse Feb 26 '18 at 16:16

You could always bring your children to a therapist. The therapist will be well-equipped to help your kids process the trauma they witnessed.

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    Relatively small issue to cause trauma, or not? – Divisadero Feb 26 '18 at 15:39
  • They're children, not wallflowers. If this is the worst they witness they are very fortunate. – pojo-guy Feb 27 '18 at 3:39

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