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.

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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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