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Do you prefer a family Hierarchy or Consensuality? Updated! - Page 5

Poll Results: Family Dynamics: Hierarchy or Consensuality?

 
  • 2% (17)
    Definite hierarchy with rules, strict structure; decisions made on behalf of children.
  • 29% (176)
    Hierarchy with guidelines, routine, soft structure; most decisions made for children.
  • 9% (56)
    Consensual family; decisions round table, children are self determining; few or no rules.
  • 10% (61)
    Mostly Consensual; guidelines, choice where possible, highly structured
  • 45% (277)
    Combo; children know their place in hierarchy but have as much freedom as poss within that structure
  • 2% (18)
    I don't know what you are talking about.
605 Total Votes  
post #81 of 1044
You and I just have different definitions of CL. I've read How to Talk but I dont' at all consider it CL.
post #82 of 1044
Definitely a combo here. I like to say that they live in a totalitarian communist dictatorship (as a joke). We are not individualists in the family we are a community. We work together and share, but do each have our own special possessions. I encourage my children to make as many decisions as possible within their roles. There are certain things that are not negotiable, but most things are. We support each other and treat each other with respect. We do these things not for reward or punishment but because that is what makes our family run smoothly as a community.
post #83 of 1044
I voted combo.

We definitely have a family heirarchy. And the kids know it.

But we look for opportunities to let them make choices, as our goal is not control really, but raising them so that they can go out as adults and make good, healthy choices.
post #84 of 1044
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
And that is exactly where I am NOT consensual. I absolutely will not allow her to stay home whenever she feels like it, and it is illegal and I'd be worried about my kids being taken away. I don't know enough about Illinois and truancy laws but I'm not playing around with that.

BUT I should add that the issues where I don't feel we can be consensual are few. In most issues, we really can find something that works well for everyone.
but see here is teh thing. of course i would not let her stay at home alone. but she makes the call on the illegality of it. not me. with neighbours around the only reason i would not leave her alone at home is legal. she is mature enough and has enough common sense to be left alone in our tiny place in the suburbs. so i dont play around with the law. she gets law so she knows she cant stay at home alone even if she wanted to. so me giving her a choice is not really a choice in a way but yet it is still a choice. and she knows i would not let her stay alone. but i want HER to make the call - not me. she has never, ever said oh i will stay alone then. never. ever.

yeah i agree. i too have noticed issues where i dont feel consensual are v. v. few these days.
post #85 of 1044
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
You and I just have different definitions of CL. I've read How to Talk but I dont' at all consider it CL.
thats fine! As I said, CL looks different in my family. Not that I think we are totally CL in my own family, but we are aspiring to be. How about unconditional parenting? which says a lot of the same things regarding consensus. Do you think that book is CL?

Here are books I have read and agree with, all recommended by consensual living . com
Kohn, Alfie, Unconditional Parenting
Faber, Adele and Elaine Mazlish, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk (you don't consider it CL, but consensual-living.com does lol)
Faber, Adele and Elaine Mazlish, Siblings Without Rivalry
Greene, Ross, The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children
Aron, Elaine, The Highly Sensitive Child: Helping Our Children Thrive When the World Overwhelms Them
Aldort, Naomi, Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves: Transforming Parent-child Relationships from Reaction And Struggle to Freedom, Power And Joy


http://www.consensual-living.com/suggestedreading.htm


So I realize that How to Talk isnt CL in your eyes, but it is a CL-friendly book

I do think that CL gets lost on the internet though, because you meet CL families who don't have the same feelings as we do, so they come to different consensus then we do, and then we think we aren't CL if it's not something that we would be okay with. "Oh, they let their child skip homework and I wouldn't so if they are CL then I must not be CL" instead of looking at it as "they view more to be the decision solely of the child then I do, but this is important to me in my family and I am part of my families consensus and so not doing the homework would not be a consensual agreement for me"

However, I will say, if my child got good grades and understood the material and didnt NEED the practice (which is what homework is) I would be willing to talk to the teachers to see if we could come up with another solution. Perhaps some kind of related assignment that also engages their interests and is challenging to them instead of boring droning work that is too easy. and another solution may be in order if its because the work is too hard.

" Consensual living is a process, a philosophy, a mindset by which we seek to live in harmony with our families and community. It involves finding mutually agreed upon solutions, where the needs of both parties are not only considered but addressed. Everyone’s wants and needs are equally valid, regardless of age. Conflicting wants or needs are discussed and mutually agreeable solutions are created or negotiated which meet the underlying needs of all parties.
Consensual Living is broad and far reaching. It influences the way we interact with everyone, from our immediate families to our community and the world at large. It is about assigning positive intent and looking for solutions. This can apply in so many arenas. It can change interactions, even if they are historically adversarial. "
http://www.consensual-living.com/

Perhaps some parents confuse CL with TCS?

It may also be confused with Taking Children Seriously, TCS, a parenting and educational philosophy which, like CL, rejects the use of parental coercion and views coercive acts as psychologically harmful to the child. Consensual Living differs from TCS primarily in its preference for moral relativism and its rejection of the error-correcting method of determining objective truth as put forward by Karl Popper.
post #86 of 1044
Consensual family; decisions round table, children are self determining; few or no rules.

I hate arbitrary rules.

I do get frustrated with some things, such as Sophia's endlessly climbing on everything, getting up on the stove, cupboards, jumping on the dining table to talk to the birds, filling the kitchen sink and soaking her feet in it, ..... She is not supposed to do these things. Abigail stopped counter surfing when she was around 2-2.5 and learned this is not okay, for many reasons (dangerous, messy). But lately she's in 'do it myself' stage, so she often climbs on the counter to make a bowl of cereal (and I'm surprised at how well she does this!). But overall, very few rules.

The no climbing is my biggest battle. As I type this, Sophia has once again scaled the entertainment center.
post #87 of 1044
I picked combo. We avoid arbitrary rules like the plague, but sometimes rules just are. For our family though, everything is about balance. Swing too far into the CL side and you potentially have kids that are completely out of control. Too far into the hierarchy side and you trounce their right to be different than you.

So...like everything else.....yin and yang...
post #88 of 1044
I still don't see how being too consensual would make unruly children - I think some confuse CL with permissiveness though- but if you include yourself in the consensus you shouldn't have a problem

I guess I see CL as the place between permissiveness and strictness... just the same we do have rules - rules that apply to everyone in the family, not just the children

ETA: I see nothing wrong with parenting in any of these ways, different things work for different families, and I think what works for one family is really dependent on what that families goals are. I just don't think that someone who is being consensual is going to have out of control or unruly kids. In fact the family I met that seemed to have it together the most was a CL family with 6 girls. They really inspired me, though at the time I though that would work with MY kids, but turns out it does lol.. though technically we aren't really there yet.
post #89 of 1044
Quote:
Originally Posted by Super Glue Mommy View Post
I still don't see how being too consensual would make unruly children - I think some confuse CL with permissiveness though- but if you include yourself in the consensus you shouldn't have a problem
How do you reach consensus, then? I've never understood this. If I don't want dd on the counter, and she wants to be on the counter, there's not going to be a consensus on this issue. She can get her way or I can get mine...but we can't have consensus when we each want things that are diametrically opposed to what the other wants.
post #90 of 1044
I picked the second choice, though that might have a lot to do with the fact that DD is 15 months old, and I just don't think consensual living is feasible on a practical level with babies. As she gets older I plan to offer her more choices, involve her in decision making more and encourage her to accept more responsibility for herself. Though I still don't think it will be hard-core CL.
post #91 of 1044
Quote:
Originally Posted by riverscout View Post
I almost started a thread about this awhile back. Honestly, I wish I hadn't done most of the parenting research I have done including reading The Continuum Concept. All it did was make me question and even deny some of my own instincts which looking back on it were pretty good to begin with. I'm all for winging it at this point. Now I just wish I could scrub my mind of all the propaganda and dogma.

To answer the OP, I voted "combo." We give choices and allow a fair amount of freedom where we can, but at the end of the day, my husband and I are in charge. I think my daughter actually appreciates that and it gives her some security.
I agree. I just feel like I have my own instincts and when it comes down to someone else writing a book about how I "should" parent usually it comes down to a: they are trying to make money and b: I am much better at following my gut. Whenever I read something else for a bit I question what I am doing, but then I realize that what works for one person may not for another, and I have a ton of examples. I really feel that I am doing the best for my family, I just don't need a bunch of literature telling me how I am screwing things up by not following their dogmatic ways.
post #92 of 1044
Quote:
Originally Posted by aprons_and_acorns View Post
One thing I've noticed about CL --speaking from an outsider's perspective--is that going over all of the endless minutia (the car ride example for instance) seems tiresome for everyone when you actually witness it. And in the deciding of all of the external details (hold a toy or not, music or not, what kind of music, what windows are down and how far down) in a way can seem to get in the way of the idea that often we can be content just because we decide to be content. And being in the throes of negotiation constantly just does not appeal to me at all. I used to spend a lot of time with a CL family and it often seemed like the constant negotiation made it so things never really got off the ground. And the kids seemed like they didn't really understand that it's your attitude that determines your experience most of the time-- not where you sit in the car and what tree you eat your picnic under.

**Not that there aren't some drawbacks to heirarchy structure as well. Just that we might look like a CL family most of the time but I don't consider that to be our ideal philosophically.***
I agree with that. I am a true hippy in my heart and I so want to raise my kids in a respectful consensual PEACEFUL way but I hardly have a moment to have a 3 word conversation with my kids because they are so little and someone is always talking over someone else, or both kids want the same thing, or the baby needs me, or or or or or.

Your post made me realize that I need to be more of a facllitator and less of a negotiator. I resent my children often because I am just like "WHY CANT EVERYONE JUST BE CONSENSUAL!? THIS IS SUPPOSED TO WORK! IN THEORY! Stuff just doesnt always work for everyone.
post #93 of 1044
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
How do you reach consensus, then? I've never understood this. If I don't want dd on the counter, and she wants to be on the counter, there's not going to be a consensus on this issue. She can get her way or I can get mine...but we can't have consensus when we each want things that are diametrically opposed to what the other wants.
:
post #94 of 1044
My motto is "freedom within limits." I give my kids as much freedom as I can handle and that they are ready for. But, as the grownup, I have ultimate veto power. I retain the right to say "Ok, you've abused your freedom, and you've just lost some priveledges."

But, I give a lot of freedom when I can. I don't set "bedtimes" for kids who don't have to get up at a specific time in the morning, or who get up on time without my help.

But I don't hesitate to set firm limits for children who need them. If my 7yo is overtired and cranky, we'll start the bedtime routine early. When my children were toddlers and preschoolers, they had a lot less freedom than they have now. My teenaged daughters get a whole lot more freedom, and I won't tell them what to wear, what time to go to bed, etc. They don't even have an official curfew, unless they require me to drive them someplace.
post #95 of 1044
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
How do you reach consensus, then? I've never understood this. If I don't want dd on the counter, and she wants to be on the counter, there's not going to be a consensus on this issue. She can get her way or I can get mine...but we can't have consensus when we each want things that are diametrically opposed to what the other wants.
This would be a case where I would meet the underlying need. start with empathizing - which sometimes resolve the issue and then they are fine not being on the counter. sometimes they still have a need for adventure, we find a way to meet that need.

Example: child wants to jump off the roof with a sheet as a parachute. I am not okay with that. I validate and listen, I share my own feelings on the subject, we find out what the NEED is that needs to be met. (that get into this in how to talk - about bringing NEEDS to the table, not specifics) So we both make suggestions without ruling anything out at first. They might say "how about you let me do it anyway" and I'll write it down and say "thats one idea. What else?" and I might suggest "what if we went parasailing next weekend? or on a roller coaster ride?" then we go down the options and discuss what will work and not work. "Well, mommy isn't okay with you jumping off the roof, so we have to cross that one out" and child might say "rollercoasters wouldnt be the same to me. I like the parasailing idea" "okay, how about you call around and get some prices and locations, and we'll pick a date on the calendar"

sometimes a consensus cant be reached right away. The parent can say "it seems we can't find a way to agree right now. Why don't you think about it some more and we'll talk about it tomorrow after lunch". Or sometimes the solution you choose doesn't work out, and you need to go back to the drawing board.

I think how to talk so kids will listen covers this really well in depth. Sometimes we can say "I am not comfortable with this. if you can think of a safe way to do this I will consider it"

CL does not mean that everyone agrees or gets their own way, but more so that we come to a consensus that every ones NEEDS are met. My child does not NEED to jump off a roof. It also means all feelings are seen as equal and valid and respectable - My child CAN feel just as strongly about jumping off a roof as I feel about them not jumping off, and they are allowed to feel that way.

everyone's needs are met ("meet the underlying needs of all parties"
everyone's feelings and wants count and are valid ("Everyone’s wants and needs are equally valid, regardless of age")

for some reason this gets construed into everyone gets what they want or gives in to the other person DESIRES (desire: jump off roof, need: adventure) I think when you see a family practicing CL that let their children jump off the roof you need to consider that is what CL looks like FOR THEIR FAMILY. no in general. how could CL look any way "in general" when the consensus is based on the people involved, and you aren't parent of their family consensus? Perhaps those parents don't mind their child jumping off the roof. We may not agree with that, but that does not mean they are CL and we are not, or vice versa.

I hope that makes more sense but I think if you read How to Talk, maybe even re-read if you already read it, you will pick up on these things a little more clearly
post #96 of 1044
I don't generally read parenting books. They make my head hurt, and rarely tell me anything useful.

DD's need to climb on the counter has a lot to do with wanting to get into things she's not allowed to get into (eg. my spices). I can't/won't meet her underlying need to get into things that I can't afford for her to get into, yk?

In any case, what you describe doesn't sound anything like consensual living to me. It sounds like any reasonable household, including many who self-describe as a "benevolent dictatorship".
post #97 of 1044
well, maybe you are consensual and don't even realize it! That book is a very easy read, and while you might not take anything out of it to use, it would probably help you understand what consensual living is (outside the way it seems to be presented in the internet world, which to me often seems more like TCS not CL - though I can see how someone can be BOTH TCS and CL, you can be CL without being TCS)

Quote:
DD's need to climb on the counter has a lot to do with wanting to get into things she's not allowed to get into (eg. my spices). I can't/won't meet her underlying need to get into things that I can't afford for her to get into, yk?
so you feel her need is to "get into things she isn't allowed" ? If it were my child I would see it as my child needing to explore, and I would find other ways to meet that need. It's okay if you can't/wont meet that underlying need. Maybe that is the difference between CL and benevolent dictatorship? See I could find many ways to meet that need without letting my expensive spices get ruined.

1) anytime I have to add spices while cooking, let the child do it.
2) save used up spice containers, fill them with something else they can shake out, and (because I hate messes) let my kids pretend to cook with these pretend spices out side or in the bathtub.
3) find other things for my child to explore.
post #98 of 1044
I'll admit I'm totally confused now. I have the final say. I don't get where "consensus" comes into "consensual" living at all, if this is what CL actually is. There's no consensus. There's me (or dh, or both of us) deciding how things will work.
post #99 of 1044
Quote:
Originally Posted by Super Glue Mommy View Post
so you feel her need is to "get into things she isn't allowed" ? If it were my child I would see it as my child needing to explore, and I would find other ways to meet that need. It's okay if you can't/wont meet that underlying need. Maybe that is the difference between CL and benevolent dictatorship? See I could find many ways to meet that need without letting my expensive spices get ruined.

1) anytime I have to add spices while cooking, let the child do it.
2) save used up spice containers, fill them with something else they can shake out, and (because I hate messes) let my kids pretend to cook with these pretend spices out side or in the bathtub.
3) find other things for my child to explore.
It's not about getting into "things she's not allowed". It's about getting into the spices. She does put spices into cooking (when she wants to, which she often doesn't). She doesn't like pretending with fake spices, because she eats the spices. She explores all kinds of other things. She wants to eat the spices. She's not allowed to do so, without getting permission, and getting my help in getting them out. She doesn't see that as reasonable (being not-quite-6, she doesn't grasp the importance of not spilling $5.00 worth of spices into my coffee press, because she wants to eat $0.10 worth of fennel seed, yk?).

So...she thinks she should be allowed to climb the counter and eat the spices. I don't. There's no consensus to be had, and it's simply not possible to always honour the need for independence in a child this young (I know, as I was the one who used to wander out of the yard every time mom and dad lost sight of me for 3 seconds).
post #100 of 1044
okay, then its not consensual for you.

It's not really about who decides though. It's about meeting everyone's underlying needs (not everyone getting what they want, which obviously isnt possible if everyone wants different things) and its about everyone's feelings and opinions being viewed as equally valid. yes to us it may seem silly our children are THAT upset about not being allowed to play with spices, but to them this is what they are really feeling and no one should tell them they shouldnt feel that way or be unwilling to "hear" them (even if not verbally) just because they are a child.

Perhaps it is the word consensus you do not understand?
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