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What is that GD style...finding acceptable solutions for both parent and child?

post #1 of 148
Thread Starter 

I was thinking about MDC and remembered a style of GD that was super popular when I frequented this forum back when my child was young.  It would have been about 5 years ago.  Forgive my rudimentary description of the style.  I know it had a title, it seemed to focus on finding mutual solutions for both parent and child, it seemed to place a great deal of faith in the idea that a child would make good choices for her/himself.  It seemed to be on the more "liberal/alternative" end of the GD spectrum.  I know it had a website that was very informative.  We referred to it by initials that had the letter "C" in them I think.  Thanks!  

post #2 of 148
Consensual living?
post #3 of 148

that would be my guess -- consensual living.

 

it really works, but I notice that it varies from family to family in how the principles are applied. :)

post #4 of 148

Unconditional Parenting sometimes abbreviated UCP or UP that would fit. There is a book by that title by Alfie Kohn. He didn't create that style. I think it really goes back to well known child psychologist Haim Ginnot. Another book that emphasizes that approach Parent Effectiveness Training by Thomas Gordon, he talks a lot about not just problem solving but finding a solution acceptable to both parent and child. Or could have been NVC non violent communication ( Marshall Rosenberg, Inbal Kashstan), they have a lot of good youtube videos explaining their approach. It's also a collaborative problem solving, active listening technique.

post #5 of 148

I would like to hear others experiences with it. I tried it, it sounded good, I wanted it to work but there are times in life that a child just has to follow the rules and the rules can't be bent or compromised in anyway to fit his wants. My son is in a Montessori school and having a very hard time with this right now. He also has great difficulty getting along with other children because other children aren't apt to sit their and work it out, they're not going to be patient and try to figure out what wants or needs are driving his motives when draws on their coloring paper like he did today.

post #6 of 148

A few years ago, when I saw more posts about it, I believe people were describing it as "Consentual Living".

 

I will confess that I tried it for about 2 days and discovered that I could not do it. It fit neither my personality, nor my understanding of child development. But there were some really good discussions around the issue, and they certainly did make them think.

post #7 of 148
Thread Starter 

Yes, it was Consentual Living - thank you!   When I was posting heavily in this forum it was the dominant philosophy (or at least one of the main ideas).  I remember really liking the idea.  Not for myself so much but as an idea to consider in contrast some of the more conventional GD approaches.  

 

Now that my daughter is a little older and we're facing some new discipline issues I want to revisit the idea for our family.  

 

I'll check out the website again and post back if I find some good information.  

 

PMM - I love all the books/authors you mentioned!  I love the philosophy of UP and thought PET was the best practical guide for parents out there.  

 

All this talk also has me remembering Taking Children Seriously.  I can't remember how all that fits in...will be back if I remember.  

post #8 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeacemongerMom View Post

I would like to hear others experiences with it. I tried it, it sounded good, I wanted it to work but there are times in life that a child just has to follow the rules and the rules can't be bent or compromised in anyway to fit his wants. My son is in a Montessori school and having a very hard time with this right now. He also has great difficulty getting along with other children because other children aren't apt to sit their and work it out, they're not going to be patient and try to figure out what wants or needs are driving his motives when draws on their coloring paper like he did today.


I'm no expert on CL but I can see how it would be very hard to continue in a school setting, even one that's considered relaxed, alternative or unconventional. Montessori can be quite strict and might not be the best fit for a CL family. Also, I would not expect children, others or those from CL families, to apply the principles with each other so much, especially very young children (which is usually the make-up of Montessori schools). I would expect the adults to provide guidance in that respect but I don't think I'd expect Montessori teachers to know much about CL or subscribe to it. I don't know how you can incorporate CL into your family life and get a young child to understand that it doesn't apply in another place where he spends a majority of his time.
post #9 of 148
Consensual living was huge here at one point. I loved the discussions, and I learned a lot from them and got good ideas for my family, but I didn't find it was practical at all times for us. But I love the idea of thinking of ways everyone can be happy instead of making children yield to what the parents want. There really is often a solution everyone is happy with.
post #10 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeacemongerMom View Post

I would like to hear others experiences with it. I tried it, it sounded good, I wanted it to work but there are times in life that a child just has to follow the rules and the rules can't be bent or compromised in anyway to fit his wants. My son is in a Montessori school and having a very hard time with this right now. He also has great difficulty getting along with other children because other children aren't apt to sit their and work it out, they're not going to be patient and try to figure out what wants or needs are driving his motives when draws on their coloring paper like he did today.



It (the "coersion and consequences are BAD!" theory of parenting) was a disaster with my temperamentally "spirited" kid. It works great with my other kid who is more of a natural "people pleaser."

 

 

I've decided that nobody really knows what's going on with this stuff. I STRONGLY suspect that different kid need different parenting styles, depending on temperament. I did find this in google scholar:

 

http://web.missouri.edu/~segerti/2244H/Maccoby_ParentsMatter.pdf

 

 

Quote:
Evidence has been emerging that a given parental practice can have different effects
on children with different temperaments. Kochanska (1995, 1997a) studied the development
of conscience in young children. She reported that for shy, temperamentally
fearful children, parental power-assertion does not appear to promote conscience
development—gentler techniques are called for. But with bold assertive children,
effective parenting involves firmness, along with maternal responsiveness and the
formation of a close emotional bond with the child. In a similar way, it has been
found that for children who are initially difficult, impulsive, and/or resistive, parental
firmness and restrictiveness are more important ingredients in preventing the subsequent
development of externalizing behavior than is the case for children with easier
temperaments (Bates et al 1998).

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #11 of 148
My older dd is temperamental and spirited too, and she's the one with whom I found Consensual LIving to be impractical. I love the idea but I couldn't make it work for us. I have found I haven't needed to punish, but I will admit there are times I have been tempted and I can see how it might have helped me have more control in some areas than I had. I just decided that the control I might gain wasn't important enough for me to punish. And maybe people who practice CL have decided to give up on things I wasn't willing to give up on because those things weren't as important to them as living consensually. I don't think it's impossible to raise a well behaved child who has self control without punishment or coercion any more than it's impossible to raise a well behaved child who has self control without spanking or other physical punishment, and that goes for spirited children too. My 9-year-old is now very well behaved and has great self control, though she's still emotional and intense, but the first 6 years of her life were very difficult. When she was 6, we finally decided we could handle having another child. LOL.
post #12 of 148
I think it's not just the temperament of the child but also the temperament of the parent. I have decided that I do not have the capability to follow a rigid routine or schedule or system. My first child (who is 20yo now) was definitely "spirited". He was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 7 or 8yo. We went to counselors and I read all kinds of books. That was before I knew about AP or any of this other stuff. The thing back then was the rewards/punishment chart of just rewards chart. You kept a chart of desired behavior, for which the child got rewards. You could also remove points or stars or whatever for undesired or unacceptable behavior. Thinking about that system now, it makes me think of training a dog. Anyway, I could never stick to it for more than 2 weeks. My spirited child didn't respond well to that kind of system but then maybe it was because I never stuck to it long enough to completely retrain him. shrug.gif It doesn't really matter because it didn't work for me. I'm terrible at sticking to schedules or strict routines. I can stick to relaxed routines, though.
post #13 of 148


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

My older dd is temperamental and spirited too, and she's the one with whom I found Consensual LIving to be impractical. I love the idea but I couldn't make it work for us. I have found I haven't needed to punish, but I will admit there are times I have been tempted and I can see how it might have helped me have more control in some areas than I had. I just decided that the control I might gain wasn't important enough for me to punish. And maybe people who practice CL have decided to give up on things I wasn't willing to give up on because those things weren't as important to them as living consensually. I don't think it's impossible to raise a well behaved child who has self control without punishment or coercion any more than it's impossible to raise a well behaved child who has self control without spanking or other physical punishment, and that goes for spirited children too. My 9-year-old is now very well behaved and has great self control, though she's still emotional and intense, but the first 6 years of her life were very difficult. When she was 6, we finally decided we could handle having another child. LOL.


Interesting, and I believe you. You really never even used any logical consequences with her?

 

post #14 of 148
No - I mean logical consequences sometimes just happen despite me, but I never imposed a consequence or purposely allowed one to happen when I could intervene. It seems like kids have so many limits and consequences that naturally come up I didn't feel like I needed to create any. Though there were times I wanted to put her in her room or something, but really only because it seemed like it would STOP the behavior in the moment, which would be useful in the moment, but I didn't personally feel like it would actually teach why the behavior was a problem. Though it isn't like I always have a plan. Some of my parenting is probably best called "muddling through the best I can until she outgrows a phase." And there are definitely times when I'm muddling through a phase and would just like a brief break from the phase, even if it's just a few minutes of peace while she's in her room. LOL. I can definitely see why people use time outs, and I don't disagree they can be done very gently and are within the realm of GD, I've just tried very hard to avoid punishments and have been successful so far, and plan to keep trying. I've read a lot of Alfie Kohn, and I know a lot of people aren't into his stuff, but it really made sense to me, personally.
post #15 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by tbone_kneegrabber View Post

Consensual living?


yeah that

post #16 of 148

I suppose that we are closer to unconditional parenting, but I haven't been in a situation where punishment/etc is necessary. He's only 3, too, and so not in a logical place where we are talking out solutions. I do try to think about what is going on from his perspective, though, and work from there.

 

I suppose that this is consensual in that his needs are taken into consideration. What I want in our household is for my son to feel happy and supported, and so I work diligently to create that. I have several methods of doing so -- from simple living to having a strong rhythm to making sure he has outside time to making sure he gets consistent meals and so on and so forth. I make sure, too, that any transition has a lot of time as well. If the bus leaves at 9:01, and it takes 3 minutes to get from door to bus stop, I'll actually leave 10 minutes out, because I'd rather wait at the bus stop for 5-7 minutes. :) This means that shoe time can take 5-10 minutes before that, and coat before that, and tidying away before that, and ending play time before that. Each has it's own duration -- I give it a lot of space.

 

This helps him move at his own pace through these things. Some days, that is quickly, and other days, it is more slow. If it is a quick day, I add in an activity. If he's moving from passive to active (which is common with the bus situation), then I create an active game for us to do either prior to going to the bus stop or after we get to the bus stop. It's usually movement based. This keeps him happy and meets his need, while also meeting my need to be at the bus on time and without a fussy child. If he's moving from an active to a passive activity, then I'll typically choose a passive activity for us. I typically use cuddles plus story telling. Again, this allows him to transition without feeling rushed one way or another. Most times, he needs the time that I provide for him to transition, and it works great.

 

I would say that my son is easy-going, but he is actually quite a strong and spirited personality. So, I am firm with him -- there are rules. Most of them have to do with manners around other people and safety. "This is how we do things" -- and I am firm on them.

 

As an example, when you get on the bus, you greet the driver. You sit down properly on the seat ("like a gentleman"), and you do that the whole ride. If you don't sit like a gentleman (and you're told once), then you sit on my lap. That's the rule. 90% of the time -- and we ride the bus frequently -- DS sits properly. 5% of the remaining time, he needs one reminder and then sits properly. the remaining 5% of the time, he is in my lap for at least part of the ride (sometimes by his request), and if he is sitting peacefully in my lap, I'll ask him "would you like to sit in your own seat like a gentleman?" And then he will. The reasons that this is important are two-fold: 1. safety -- the bus jostles around and he can get thrown around. Heck, I get thrown around. 2. being polite -- getting dirty shoes on the seat means that other people cannot sit there later, or won't want to. We need to be polite to our fellow travelers, and leave the bus as clean as we found it. Of course, we also *model* all of this behavior with him, and we point out how all of the other passengers on the bus are sitting and behaving as well. 

 

When I feel that DS is "acting up" (a term DH uses), I find it's usually due to hunger, tiredness, or a need to switch activities. It's rare that he gets that way with me, it's more common with DH. He doesn't think beyond his own head most days, so he doesn't grasp the forethought that this process entails. BUT, he does great when he does have that forethought AND when he keeps a strong rhythm with DS. it's just that -- and I understand this -- sometimes you want a day to just relax and not be responsible for anyone. I get it. ;)

post #17 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

I can definitely see why people use time outs, and I don't disagree they can be done very gently and are within the realm of GD, I've just tried very hard to avoid punishments and have been successful so far, and plan to keep trying.

There are ways to do time-outs without it being a punishment. In our family, if one person is out of control, they are asked to leave the rest of us until they can calm down. It's not a punishment, "You've been bad so now you have to sit in the corner for 5 minutes," or whatever. It's more along the lines of, "I can see that you are very upset and having a hard time handling this situation right now. Why don't you go to another room until you are calm enough that you can talk about it while still respecting the rest of us." That works with my middle ds, who is 7yo now. He goes to his room to be alone when he feels overwhelmed. He started doing that when he was very young. I want to say 3 but I'm not sure.

My 4yo is a different story. He is much more energetic and spirited. I do sometimes have to physically remove him from situations. Again, it's not as a punishment. He is allowed to return to the rest of us when he can calm down. Sometimes it gets extremely difficult with the two of them because they are so different. My 7yo is very low-key and sensitive and he gets extremely bothered by his little bro's constant movement and noise and commotion very easily.

It's a fine line and probably seems like splitting hairs to many people but I think a lot depends on the approach. If you approach the situation from anger or disappointment with the sense of feeling that the child is bad or misbehaving, the child will feel like anything you do or say is punishment. If you can find a way to approach it from a place of understanding that the child is just being himself and not intentionally trying to bother anyone else, it's easier to find ways to accommodate everyone without punishments. I'm certainly not perfect at it but I try.
post #18 of 148
Thread Starter 

From what I recall with the CL discussions from way back CL is quite different from other forms of GD including UP.  While I'm sure punishment had no place in CL this is not where it differed from other forms of GD (as there are many approached to GD that also do not include punishment, UP for one).  From what I remember the main difference was in this idea that kids kind of intrinsically make good choices for themselves.  I remember CL discussions over things like food and television and how choices about those things in particular happened in a CL family.  From what I recall CL was pretty radical in this way.   

 

Here is from one website: "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."  

 

I think the "equally valid" think would be key here.  While I think many of us feel that our kids wants and needs are valid - CL may take this idea to heart and to practice way more than the average GD family.  

 

Do we have any parents that are still here that practice CL?  

 

Does anyone have experience with Taking Children Seriously?  I remember that idea as being pretty popular as well but can't remember how that is or isn't related to CL.  

 

post #19 of 148
Yeah, CL was where, like, you would have to make sure every person was happy with every single thing that happened. Like if you were going somewhere and the 2-year-old didn't want to sit in a car seat, you wouldn't make him sit in a car seat. But on the other hand, if the 4-year-old was looking forward to the destination, you'd have to find a way to make the 4-year-old happy too. Maybe mom takes the 4-year-old and dad waits until the 2-year-old chooses to go in the car seat? But everything- tooth brushing, bed times, TV, food, every single thing requires the child to be happy with what happens. That's where I'm not CL. I put a kid in a car seat if we need to go somewhere. I empathize, and stay nice, but the kid is forced in the car seat if we have to go somewhere, and I would include somewhere my older child really was looking forward to going that we'd planned in that. I would not take two cars. UP is just about not using behavioral techniques - rewards, punishments, charts, praise used in a behavioral way - but it is not about making sure the child is happy at every moment with every thing that happens. It's like if something has to happen, you simply make it happen and, if practical, explain what's going on, but you don't on top of that punish if the child is fighting doing it, or reward the child if the child doesn't fight it, or say "good for you!" when the child finally does agree to do it. People use the two terms interchangeably sometimes but they are really not the same at all.
post #20 of 148
Now, what I should have added is that, I did take a lot of good thoughts away from all those discussions about CL. I love the idea of opening up possibilities and considering other options that maybe CAN make everyone happy. I mean maybe in some cases, mom driving one child and dad driving the other won't be wasteful - maybe you're not going far anyway or whatever. There often ARE solutions that make everyone happy. I have really opened my mind up after reading about CL and I appreciate the viewpoint and now do look for mutually agreeable solutions. But there is not part-way to CL. The idea is that you can't do it part-way. Either the kids are always able to have things work for them, or they know they someone else can coerce them if they want to. The knowledge that someone has that power over them makes it no longer CL even if you don't use the power often. So if you do leave the option of coercion available for ANY situation - taking medicine, getting into a car seat, going to bed at night - ANYTHING, then it isn't CL.
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