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Do you prefer a family Hierarchy or Consensuality? Updated! - Page 42

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 #821 of 1044
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoBecGo View Post
Compromise goes on every day though. HOw do CL-raised individuals cope when they DO meet those who would impose their will. i.e. a policeman enorcing an arbitrary law (like a parking law when there's actually nothing dangerous about the parking it's just not allowed) or a schoofriend who takes a toy, or a boss who is power-mad but nonetheless in charge of a department?

Do CL kids manage to negotiate in non-CL situations where there IS hierarchy?
I think about this issue in two ways. It was never said that CL people never compromise - just that in general, compromise is viewed as a lose-lose situation because both parties (or however many) or forced to give up something they *want*. CL, for me at least, when it comes to compromise is not viewed as me giving up something. Rather, I am just as satisfied, or close to, with the agreed upon solution as I would be with the one I wanted. This is because I am in adult and I am able to chose to be happy with the current situation. Its not a compromise for me, because I was easily able to change my want. For a child, it may be more difficult to do that - which is why we present them with all the information, so that they may make a choice, and see that they can be equally as happy or satisfied with an alternate situation.

Just because *I* chose to live CL doesnt mean that those around me do. I dont make that choice for other people (I beleive SGM said this). For example, my husband isnt fully on board with CL yet, but I still live it with him. I strive to find mutally agreeable solutions with him, I model the behaviour etc etc. I cannot make him live consensually. Same with the rest of the hierarchacal world. I cannot make them live like I do, likewise, they cannot make me bow down to their authority.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoBecGo View Post
Can you explain to me how a simple thing might be in CL?

Like two minutes ago i went to get an apple. DD saw it and asked for it. It's the only one, i can't go out for more right this second. I said it was the only one and said we could share and cut it in half. DD cried because she wanted the whole apple but then relented and is now munching happily. In CL who would have gotten the apple?
This is another one of those situations where I dont think it was about the apple at all. DD does this all the time. She simply wants what I am eating - all of it. So there are a few solutions: a) split the apple and then get something else to share as we will both still be hungry. b) get something that we can each have: each get a whole banana c) Cut it into many pieces and put them on a plate, that way no one is getting just half (lose-lose situation as we would both be losing half the apple). But in this case we could chose how many pieces we wanted...there are many solutions...or ideas..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calm View Post
"I need to brush my teeth now" is the same as "I must brush my teeth now".
As far as the first example of I need to brush my teeth being the same as I must brush my teeth - I guess I just dont see those two words as interchanable. I need to brush my teeth: they feel dirty, and I can see buildup on them, and I haven't brushed them since this morning: all reasons to need to brush my teeth. BUT must never enters the equation. I can chose to live with the dirty feeling realizing that somepeople never brush their teeth, and can live with that feeling - why cant I? I can wipe the buildup off with my hand if its bugging me. And brushing my teeth only once a day is still a lot better than a lot of people. So I still have a choice- even if I feel I need to do something.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calm View Post
Don't have time to do the others just now. But a quick question... do those of us practicing consensual living in our families also have to embrace or even believe or respect those premises i listed? Are they seen as necessary to being consensual? Can I foster my child's blossoming self determination and autonomy without all of that?

In general, CL, in whatever way your practice it, is fine. there need not be a list of things that one must live by. There need not be labels in order for a happy life. In this thread we are discussing what the label means - but that doesnt mean its necessary....
post #822 of 1044
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post
I think the way the question is framed is a good start at an answer... you expect her to compromise and to choose from the options you offer. I don't expect either. When you start from that perspective, I think it's much harder to make this work.

As far as faith... TCS theory, which is more my thing, starts by positing that a child is rational unless coerced and that coercion leads to irrationality. I don't think that's ever been logically disproved, and it seems to work for me... the rest of the theory (non-coercion, mutually agreeable solutions, sharing information) flows from that.

So I take that basic premise on faith, I suppose, but all of the evidence supports it and none disproves it. It's sort of like Euclidean geometry beginning with the premise that 2 points determine a line...

Dar
Sorry, I didn't start from that perspective. I came to that perspective over time from experience. Erica was our 2nd child. As described on this thread, CL is how we interacted with Joy. She was easy to read; easy for us to know what she wanted/needed and give it to her or to suggest an alternative she would equally like (sorry again; I know the words aren't "right" but don't know how else to say it). She participated in it. As she got older, she would posed alternatives of her own. Not Erica. She was a stone face, contrary, argue for the sake of arguing child. There was no reading her. No knowing what she wanted or even needed, even after she started talking. Even if offered what she wanted/needed would not accept it but would demand the opposite simply because.

There was no scooping up a child and having her run after me out of the street to use your experience. Unless she was the child I scooped up. And then she would have been screaming and kicking to be put down the whole time. And if put down when out of the street, would run back into the street into the path of the car. I would have to hold on to her against her will until the car passed and it was safe again to go back into the street.

That is the perspective I'm coming from in this thread. SGM has said that she has a child like that. I simply want to know how it works when the child refused to stay out of the path of the on-coming car. Or in any of the other cases I've posted about. I would like to know so that if Erica's Matilda turns out anything like her mother (so far it's looking good that she isn't. Matilda looks to shaping up to be high needs and spirited; not defiant and strong willed), I'll have better options for Erica. So far, I've not gotten any other ideas other than simply removing the child from the street, by force if needed. Which I already knew.
post #823 of 1044
I remember my mom thinking of me as the difficult, contrary child. It was very hard to grow up with her keeping me in that role. I always wished she could just see me.
post #824 of 1044
Makes life interesting, doesn't it?
post #825 of 1044
Made life painful to be honest. Even during the years after I left home and it "appeared" we had a good relationship I was still very hurt. What I find interesting is even after I have shared things with my mother she can't "hear" what I am trying to tell her because she is still looking at me as that different/contrary child. If instead of my mother thinking of me as argumentative perhaps she could have used a little Byron Katie knowledge and ask herself if maybe she was the argumentative/contrary one. But, what it comes down to is I can't change her, I can only change me. For better or worse, I am who I am today because of her, even if its only because I work so hard not to treat my kids the way she treated me.

With my son, who is much like I was, I sometimes have a lot of healing to do. Raising myself as I raise him. I only hope my son does not grow to feel I have cast him into a negative roll. We try to celebrate his differences, not focus on the fact that other things work for other kids but not him. Not to give up and think it would be impossible to live consensually with him.
post #826 of 1044
I'm sorry you had a painful childhood, sgm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Super Glue Mommy View Post
I only hope my son does not grow to feel I have cast him into a negative roll. We try to celebrate his differences, not focus on the fact that other things work for other kids but not him. Not to give up and think it would be impossible to live consensually with him.

(bold mine)

We don't focus on things that work for other kids (like my ds), but did/do not work for my dd. It helps us and her to recognize and acknowledge the things that don't work for her, but we focus on what does work for her. The relevance to this thread is that, what works for her is very clear boundaries (my pm to you sort of summed up how we came to that conclusion).

Clearly, CL is working for you, and that is great. I've had to put some of my ideals aside to meet the needs of my dd, and that is also ok. Her health and happiness comes before any parenting philosophy.

About celebrating differences...yes! That is a huge thing here. Due to her personality and temperament, some things are difficult for dd. But, due to her personality and temperament, she also has some *amazing* abilities! Dd knows I could not be more amazed by her (and she also knows that, sometimes, I could not be more frustrated by her ). And she certainly knows that I could not love her more
post #827 of 1044
yes exactly - living consensually with my son means giving him what he needs even though he is different then my other children whose needs I meet in different ways. I just mean, I talk here and recognize that he is different, but I celebrate that difference even though yes, solutions arent always as smooth with him as it is with my other children. My ideal IS meeting the needs of my children, so I find I never have to put my ideals aside It sounds like you do the same thing We recognize that health and happiness ARE ideals. Those are the ideals I am focused on with my family when I choose to live consensually with them

I am only speaking of my experience as a child with my mother, and my experience as a mother to my children. It does not reflect how I feel about how others parent their children. They may do the same things as I do for different reasons, or different things for the same reason. (or same/same, different/different). It's beautiful how different we all are. We are all doing what is right for our families. Sounds like we all have happy healthy children.
post #828 of 1044
Thread Starter 
Quote:
As far as the first example of I need to brush my teeth being the same as I must brush my teeth - I guess I just dont see those two words as interchanable. I need to brush my teeth: they feel dirty, and I can see buildup on them, and I haven't brushed them since this morning: all reasons to need to brush my teeth. BUT must never enters the equation. I can chose to live with the dirty feeling realizing that somepeople never brush their teeth, and can live with that feeling - why cant I? I can wipe the buildup off with my hand if its bugging me. And brushing my teeth only once a day is still a lot better than a lot of people. So I still have a choice- even if I feel I need to do something.
Ok, I'll give you this one. I do find them interchangeable though, even in this example. If I didn't think brushing my teeth was a need I must meet, I would then prefer to word it taking both must and need out altogether, perhaps, "I should brush my teeth now".

That you (in the case of this hypothetical) felt you had a choice, in my mind means it was never really a need to begin with. Not for you. Sure, your teeth are covered in filth and you may lose them if you keep this up but it's still a choice. For another person, it may not be a choice at all, and they really need to brush their teeth, it is important to them and perhaps they get sore gums if they don't (or something). I think that as soon as you need, you must.

I have to share though, looking up the def of must, I found it funny the example that was used:

- a necessary or essential thing; "seat belts are an absolute must" wordnet

Those darn seatbelts!!

I also acknowledge that to some people, needs are not actually needs, but just really strong desires or preferences. Need for personal space, need to run each morning... one person's need is another person's nightmare really. Could we say that in CL, need is defined by the individual, not by a collective agreement? If that is the case then largely, many CL parents will not really "need" to have some needs met at least, there is no must involved.

And the silence was deafening.
post #829 of 1044
I definitely think need is defined by the individual

I also know some people who refuse to wear seatbelts even if they will get a ticket because they feel seatbelts are more dangerous for the kind of accident they think they would get in if they were to get in an accident. Personally, Id be dead if I hadn't been wearing a seatbelt when I got in my accident, but I respect that one of my close friends had an accident where they would have been dead if they were wearing one, and that has shaped their opinions of what they need, and they feel they have the right to not wear a seatbelt, even if the law doesn't agree. Some peopel also have a better understanding of statistics then others

I don't get the statement "some parent will not need to have certain needs met" we all need out needs met, our needs are all just different from person to person. So, what would be more accurate is "some parents will have different needs then I do"
post #830 of 1044
Quote:
Originally Posted by riverscout View Post
I had a feeling after I posted the question that I probably shouldn't have asked because I figured that would be the answer. In my case with my kids that couldn't be farther from the truth though.
mine truly hates to be tired... desperately wants NOT to be tired. we encourage rest and give him informatoin as to 'why' but he probably does see it differently, WE are 'mean' because HE feels tired... i just treat it as tired kid is not at his best.
post #831 of 1044
Thread Starter 
SGM, I have a friend like that, won't wear a seatbelt because she was the only survivor of a car accident because she wasn't wearing one. She went through the windshield, and that saved her life. This is irrelevant but I don't like laws like the seatbelt one. I believe most laws are crapola, and an infringement on my human rights. I should be able to make my own decisions on whether to risk my life or not now that I am an adult and understand the consequences of life AND death as best I can. Perhaps society would like a say on whether I risk the life of my kids in a car, and we like to think we are protecting each other from the "idiots out there" (who would never be us, no, never be us).

If needs are defined by the individual, is choice also defined by the individual? If something is an option to me, but not an option to you - even if it exists as an option for you - is that valid? For example, Peter is happy to travel without a seatbelt, but Paul would not consider that. Could we fairly say that when travelling in a moving vehicle, Peter has the option of wearing a seatbelt or not, but Paul only has the option of wearing a seatbelt? Essentially, Paul has less options?

We'll start here. Could we say that would be a fair summation so far?
post #832 of 1044
Quote:
Originally Posted by Super Glue Mommy View Post
Made life painful to be honest. Even during the years after I left home and it "appeared" we had a good relationship I was still very hurt. What I find interesting is even after I have shared things with my mother she can't "hear" what I am trying to tell her because she is still looking at me as that different/contrary child. If instead of my mother thinking of me as argumentative perhaps she could have used a little Byron Katie knowledge and ask herself if maybe she was the argumentative/contrary one. But, what it comes down to is I can't change her, I can only change me. For better or worse, I am who I am today because of her, even if its only because I work so hard not to treat my kids the way she treated me.

With my son, who is much like I was, I sometimes have a lot of healing to do. Raising myself as I raise him. I only hope my son does not grow to feel I have cast him into a negative roll. We try to celebrate his differences, not focus on the fact that other things work for other kids but not him. Not to give up and think it would be impossible to live consensually with him.
I'm sorry that was your experience. That was/is not Erica's or mine. She has been quite vocal about her appreciation of how we raised her. She has said that it was having us has her parents that kept her from suicide as a teen in high school. We have a great relationship to this day. Loving Erica and having a great relationship doesn't blind me from her personality. She was a defiant and strong willed child. As an adult, the need for defiance is under her control. But she is the first to admit to being very strong willed and stubborn. In fact, her so also freely admits to her being very strong willed and stubborn. They've been together for 10 years now.
post #833 of 1044
I wasn't talking about Erica's experience. I was talking about mine.

I would not feel comfortable if my child grew up to think of themselves in that light. I can see him has determined instead of stubborn. I feel this will nourish the quality in apositive way so he can use it as something beeficial when he is older instead of as a personality trait to try to keep at bay.

I also know many children who were beat who have great surface relationships with their parents, and will claim their parents did right by them. That does not convince me to beat my own child. I also know many children (myself included) who tell their parents they did a gret job raising them, thank you, etc - we focus on the good because it would be too painful to accept anything else. So we internalize what our parents projected on us and begin to see ourselves in the same light. Then others see us that way too. This is how I have ended up in many bad relationships. My mom thought we had a great relationship and she did such a great job. It feels good to sometimes say she did, and I am who I am because of her, but more so because I try to avoid what she did, but the reality is she did not directly give me the tools I needed. She just gave me the drive to seek those tools out. I would hope my child would not stay with anyone who uses negative terms to describe their personality. Of course I want my children to think I did right by them (not just say it) but I also want to ACTUALLY do right by them. I don't want them to think it was right just because they trust I love them. I want them to be able to trust I love them, but if I went wrong somewhere along the way be able to admit that, instead of trying to accept it *must* have been right because they know I loved them.
post #834 of 1044
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Like two minutes ago i went to get an apple. DD saw it and asked for it. It's the only one, i can't go out for more right this second. I said it was the only one and said we could share and cut it in half. DD cried because she wanted the whole apple but then relented and is now munching happily. In CL who would have gotten the apple?
I'm CL, not bound by those guidelines I listed, but otherwise I am consensually living, so maybe my answer will count. I think this was a consensual solution executed very well. With the very young I find it useful to remind myself that knee jerk reactions in the face of “I want everything and you're not giving it to me” are just that – knee jerk reactions; she experienced one in this situation which is text book typical, so was the way she harnessed her joy fairly quickly thereafter.

I honestly, seriously, earnestly do not think that flapping around trying to appease or avoid the knee jerk reactions of a toddler or very young child when we are being reasonable is beneficial to anyone, including the child. You wanted the apple, but you were willing to share, this is beautiful, precious and rare and she will see it as such only when she is older. What you showed her this day is just one of the many times love and generosity will pour from you to her – it ain't about the apple it's much more than that. Things like sharing, communing, accepting come to mind.

It may be a moment that is etched in her mind forever, the two of you, sharing the last apple... you never know. Would it be as beautiful an exchange had you handed over the apple? I see an image of you handing over the whole apple and her feeling a bittersweet victory she cannot yet articulate; I see an image of you cutting the apple and handing her half and both of you enjoying the apple and her joy is free and complete, for it is doubled in a way she cannot yet articulate. We cannot hog the joy of giving, our children deserve it too. Pouting cos we can't have “everything” is normal and expected little person behaviour (in our culture).

Like everything in life, compromise is how you look at it. You can choose to see you both lost half the apple, and apparently culturally that is how America is taught to see it (wiki). However, I see you both gained half an apple. Compromise is a win-win to me, not a lose-lose. That's probably why I think compromise is a very acceptable tool in negotiations.

If we look toward anthropology for some answers, we find that well connected/attached kids don't tend to put up fights for more than equality. Wanting more of something - be it power, control, food, etc – than we're offered or than is fair isn't always directly related to a general sense within the child of feeling powerless or less than equal. Sometimes it is useful behaviour for adaptation to their cultural climate. Sometimes it is found in reverse power homes, in fact, you will find some of the most shocking cases of selfish power hungry children in homes where the parents give and give and give. It's like the kid is off his nut on power and confusion, and is completely unhappy in this role and cannot find his center or security. We must also acknowledge that this looks very much like the behaviour of a child with too little autonomy also.

When parents tend to “over parent” (usually the first and only child, it tends to wear off after subsequent kids if for no other reason than less time, less sleep... just so much LESS) it can be out of guilt, in which case there is another issue underlying it even further, but for some it is fear of breaking or damaging their children's emotional health. They really judge themselves harshly at the merest whimper from their child. There are many reasons why a child will react in the way you have described, and in our society it is accepted as normal behaviour - perhaps for them to develop in the cultural climate they instinctively feel they are in it is appropriate.

Children have amazing powers of subconscious awareness of their environment and adapt accordingly – they have to to survive. In another culture, it may not serve them to learn how to demand “more”, to learn how to want more, and how to get more, so they don't.

We tend to look on the surface of human behaviour and then look to the parenting and to the home and etc ad nauseum when we are so largely influenced by culture and this is overlooked. It doesn't matter how much a parent doesn't reward selfish behaviour if society rewards it in spades. Society will eventually win. Fitting in to the group is a psychological necessity, and this is already forming in infancy.

If you think society isn't in your home, influencing your children, think again. If you have no tv, you're off to a good start, but there are many other ways culture will ooze through the cracks. Our culture rewards male anger, and punishes female anger. It rewards female sensitivity and punishes male sensitivity. It rewards the loudest, the fastest, the strongest. It tells us “if you want it, go get it”.

Take some of the blame and place it firmly at the foot of modern Western society, and try to comfort yourself with the knowledge that kids may need these skills just to survive the culture we've unwittingly created for them. Parents like us at MDC shudder at this thought, we want more than this, and perhaps this is achievable but beyond the scope of this thread. For this example though, to expect consensual mutually satisfying agreement with a modern, western toddler is a good reason to have a plentiful supply of advil in the house and access to parenting forums on which to vent and seek – cos you're in for a disillusioning ride that will make yer skull throb.

The art will lay in working within this framework and producing self determining children who do not answer to society for the large part - in spite of it. In my journey to do so, I have had to accept that my children are confronted daily with good reason to behave in ways other than ways I think are befitting non-conformist, culture averted, self determined, self actualised amazing human beings who would take their half of the apple and feed it to the homeless.
post #835 of 1044
Quote:
Originally Posted by Super Glue Mommy View Post
I would not feel comfortable if my child grew up to think of themselves in that light. I can see him has determined instead of stubborn. I feel this will nourish the quality in apositive way so he can use it as something beeficial when he is older instead of as a personality trait to try to keep at bay.

I call dd persistent. It is both a strength AND a challenge, as are most personality traits. We acknowledge both. She gets it.
post #836 of 1044
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calm View Post
You wanted the apple, but you were willing to share, this is beautiful, precious and rare and she will see it as such only when she is older. What you showed her this day is just one of the many times love and generosity will pour from you to her – it ain't about the apple it's much more than that. Things like sharing, communing, accepting come to mind. .
That is lovely, Calm. I completely agree.
post #837 of 1044
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnmama View Post
I call dd persistent. It is both a strength AND a challenge, as are most personality traits. We acknowledge both. She gets it.
I like that term as well. I am comfortable looking at personality traits in the light of strength and challenge. I don't see a challenge as a bad thing

I try not to look at it as a personality "flaw" or downfall. I don't think my son has a personality flaw. I think my son's personality is who he is supposed to be, and we can nurture his personality, we can nurture HIM.
post #838 of 1044
Thanks for your lovely post Calm!

To be honest i have in the past given her the whole apple/banana/satsuma/whatever and in almost every situation where she gets all of something she returns and offers to share it moments later. So about half the time i DO give her the whole whatever-it-is because it gives HER the opportunity to form the connections of compromise and to feel the fuzzies of magnanimosity and generosity and sharing, which are so hard to get with her peers who are still, like her, all just beginning to practice those things. We are just entering a new interesting phase where she doesn't want things cut in half, so she will share but she has to EAT half and then give the rest back

I definitely feel that compromise is win-win, not lose-lose. It would only be such in a Judgement of Solomon type situation, and in those one always tends to find who had the need and who the want (for example if there was only a little water and DD and i were both dying of thirst i would give it to her, all of it, no question because next to her needs i can make my needs into wants).

With the personality flaw/aspect... I talk too much. Apparently. For as long as i can remember my thoughts have been 10 steps ahead of the conversation and 5 ahead of my mouth, so i talk relentlessly and fast, trying to getit all out. I was reminded daily with "funny" nicknames like motormouth that i talked too much. My mother was very much of the opinion that chattiness (which is how grand thoughts can be interpreted if one is not listening to the words) was very unnattractive in girls and my whole family was apt to make comments on it. Once they went too far, when i was about 9, and i didn't speak for 4 days. Of course they all panicked and learned a lesson which lasted about 3 months, and then back to the mocking. I NEVER tell DD to be quiet. I always answer her questions as best i can. As an adult i am often the ice-breaker, i can and do talk to anyone from the lordly councillor to the bum who has fallen drunk in the street. NOW it is a skill to be able to talk so well, but i wish it had been seen as such when i was a kid. If DD is as verbose as i was i will encourage her to join the debate team and sharpen those skills. My dad told me a few weeks ago she seemed slightly less chatty than me and i though, maybe because someone listens to her!?

Quote:
What you showed her this day is just one of the many times love and generosity will pour from you to her – it ain't about the apple it's much more than that. Things like sharing, communing, accepting come to mind.
It's so funny to read this today. A few hours ago we were waiting for a bus and DD looked into bushes next to the road and said "What's in there Mama?" and i rambled an unthought reply "Oh, caterpillars and spiders and flies and loves and such" and she turned and looked up at me and said "not loves mama, the loves are in you". It was such a sweet moment.
post #839 of 1044
Thread Starter 
Quote:
A few hours ago we were waiting for a bus and DD looked into bushes next to the road and said "What's in there Mama?" and i rambled an unthought reply "Oh, caterpillars and spiders and flies and loves and such" and she turned and looked up at me and said "not loves mama, the loves are in you". It was such a sweet moment.
Oh my God, I live for this stuff.:
post #840 of 1044
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calm View Post
Summary:

Compromise is a lose-lose option.

I'd like clarification on this. I understand that it was discussed as lose-lose before, but I get the feeling that compromise is a big part of CL--only it must be consensual compromise (not parent enforced).

For instance, cutting apple in half and sharing it would be win-win if the child thought it was a good solution, too.

True? False?

It raises another question for me, though (going back to knee-jerk negative responses)....because, in the end, the child was happy with the solution. I find this with my dc, too...when I use a must, or a "that's just how it is", they can often adjust quickly and find the win-win in what they initially thought was a lose-lose.
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