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TCS Discussion Threads - Archived - Page 6

post #101 of 589
i think that taking children seriously is being confused with laissez-faire parenting, and certainly i can understand that one might therefore see tcs as neglect. actually in my experience (short but sweet) tcs has led me to be m o r e involved than my version of 'gentle discipline'. i pay more attention to what is being communicated, and think more about why i think something is not possible and how else it could be, we come up with more creative solutions which everyone is happiest with, and my child assists with finding these commonalities, despite not having many words yet. i am consistently astounded at how much a very young child is able to understand, and so now instead of assuming that something can't be understood, i attempt to find some way to communicate, or some other way to approach this. for example, i believed that i had to clothe children to protect from cold, and that not only would they not know if they were cold and needed clothing, but i would not know if they knew. on this i am happy to say i was quite wrong, and now regularly come to agreements to put on clothing based on asking questions like, how do your legs feel? would you like to slip your foot in here i can pull your trousers on? no? ...then why don't we take them with us and we can put them on upstairs if you feel cold. then i might ask again later, or my child might signal that legs are cold now and ready for trousers. i must say that sign language is critical at this stage! but what is happening here in my opinion is that i am engaged to watch and see what my child communicates, a n d my child is alerted that i am trusting in a small person's ability to recognize discomfort from cold. this is working for us, it makes my child feel proud to handle this and not have to struggle with a chasing, force-dressing parent, it brings us closer! i also believe that my child struggled with me about getting dressed when ready to take more initiative about dressing, if you see what i mean?
i think that my child welcomes opportunities to ask me why? and having read a little about tcs i am less willing to answer " because" (because i say so and have the power to, because i think you can't understand, because i am not willing to find another way to show you why, because that is the way it is and there is no other way). in a way i think that my child's ability to think and act critically and creatively about the world is something i hope to preserve and encourage, rather than strictly the ability to behave appropriately, which i believe is something that children strive to learn anyway. (i think alexander talked about this with 'modeling')
why do people get dressed before going out? maybe more discussion and investigation into this could be done. i suspect larsy has already talked about this...
post #102 of 589


I can already forsee many pages to print out to put in my TCS notebook.

I'll start something...

A mother, new to implenting the TCS philosphy is working very hard to recognize the coercion that she inflicts on Ds. Dh is not only critical of these attempts at non-coercion, he tries to interfere. For example, the family is at dinner and they are eating hot patties. Dh opens one up for Ds to eat. Ds refuses because he wants the mother's neatly intact pattie instead. The mother sees no problem with switching (she is happy so long as he eats the food) so when she hands Ds the pattie, Dh snatches it out of his hands and tries to give him the one that he broke up for him. Ds refuses and protests, Dw says to leave Ds alone, that it is her patty and she doesn't care if Ds takes it. This starts the long discussion about not letting Ds have what he wants for fear that Ds will think that "he can always get whatever he wants".

The mother has tried to appeal to Dh rationally but he does not seem willing to let go of this entrenched theory, let alone discuss that it is just a theory. The mother fears that Ds will encounter a great deal of coercion damage due to Dh's theories. The mother herself has already used coercion to keep Dh from hitting Ds (mother threatened divorce if physical punishment is used) and will find it very difficult to coerce Dh into following it and also acknowledges that coercion would not be the best/most moral way to ensure Ds' safety from this coercion.

What ideas do you have regarding this?
post #103 of 589
Well, there are now two threads about TCS! Here are some of my random thoughts, after closely following the recent conversations but not posting much myself.

First, the whole topic of TCS both intriques me and infuriates me, and this is often my first clue that there is something there for me and I need to pursue it. I suspect that my parenting style is not too far from TCS theory, but some of the *language* of TCS is bothersome to me. Just the name, for example. As in, excuse me, but I *do* take my daughter seriously. She is not a joke to me. We did not choose to have a baby solely for our enjoyment, although she does bring us great joy. So some of the language of TCS rubs me the wrong way, but that does not mean that there are not some nuggets of great wisdom there for me, and I really am trying to understand TCS.

I also do not subscribe to any *one* parenting philosophy. I do not really call myself an APer even though I do most things that would be considered AP. It just so happens that what I do tends to be APish. I believe I do much of my parenting by instinct, even though according to another thread I should follow my logic instead of my instinct. I have read The Continuum Concept and that has influenced my parenting tremendously. Even with TCC, I believe that it is a goal to strive for, but in this society nearly impossible to achieve. I can give my daughter the run of the house so that she can explore and learn at her own pace, but I do not have family in the area, I do not live in a tribal society, and some aspects of TCC are simply impossible for me to implement. It seems it will be the same with TCS - I will probably take from it what I can use and not worry about the rest.

It seems as though much of the TCS solutions are more like, um, searching for a word here... redirection, or convincing, or distracting the child. For example, I was putting shoes on my 10 month old this morning. She doesn't mind having her shoes put on, but this time she simply didn't want to sit still. So I gave her a book to look at while I put on the last shoe and she was instantly cooperative. Is this TCS? In the end I still forced my will on her - she has both of her shoes on. But I didn't coerce her into sitting still, I simply changed the situation so that she would *want* to sit still. Is this non-coercion or manipulation?

Oh, it seems my mind has gone blank and I have lost my train of thought. I will post this and try to post more later. I do look forward to discussing this further.

post #104 of 589

OOPS...This was supposed to be a post under COOPED UP...sorry!

With all respect, I am not here to debate the finer points of TCS as I know very little about it. I don't think people who practice it are neglectful. Anyone who puts such effort into discipline is most likely not neglectful. Additionally, my questions are serious ones to me. I want to learn more about TCS but am more interested in plain old respectful discipline. To me, and maybe I am missing the TCS disciples points, there are indeed times when I need Jackson to do something. I hope none of you see that as abusive or coercive, but that is how it stands. If it is 50 degrees and windy and raining and we have to go buy food or visit family or simply walk in the rain, then getting dressed is, to me, necessary. If he's been in a wet diaper so long that it's leaky, I feel that not to change it until he thinks it is his idea is not a good idea.
If he's been playing in our freshly composted garden, his hands need to be washed ASAP. He is struggling with me for his autonomy and I respect his struggle, but I am looking for ways to make his struggle less traumatic. I guess that there are no easy answers here: I hate the term, but that's where the idea of the terrible twos comes from, I guess. Do not get me wrong...I see nothing terrible about it. I suppose that the best thing for me to do would be to maintain my sense of humor and encourage his, as well. I really do like the idea of TCS but maybe it is hard for me to apply it to a toddler. I want him to make his own choices but I have real responsabilities and I have to meet them. Like I said, there are *wild* days where he is in charge but I just needed help figuring out how to apply gentle Discipline and or aspects of TCS to major issues like dressing. He simply does not respond to my offering choices. Like I said, he pretty much ignores everything I say, although I very much liked the idea of putting his clothes out and asking him to bring me the shirt, socks, etc. All this is making me wonder if maybe he is oppositional because it sounds like your kids are willing to work with you more than mine is with me. I might be missing the whole point but please, no one take offense to me because I truly mean none and I want to learn from you all. It is just a little frustrating to have tried most every suggestion here and not have it work. I will say, though, that he will let me dress him or wash his hands about 50% of the time so I am probably just being a big whiner, anyway.
post #105 of 589
Sorry, I accidently made my reply into a new thread...please read OOPS I meant to post this under COOPED UP
post #106 of 589
Beth, that sounded a bit nasty. My main point throughout this post was to step away from a view that someone "runs" a family. I tried to open my eyes to group interaction from a non-hierarchic perspective, without viewing someone as a boss. Sorry you have to feel so snippy about that.
post #107 of 589
As I was the one who said TCS didn't "ring true" for me, I feel I should respond. In that same post I said I respected that method and the fact that it worked very well for many families. I didn't say " Throw non-coercion to the Wind and Follow your Instincts!" I would expect the same respect from you.
To me, parenting is about heart and soul and not "cold hard logic"
Actually, I feel like I'm being "coerced" into your parenting style

This forum is about Gentle Discpline, which to me means that there is room for TCS and AP

post #108 of 589
Your two year old is not being oppositional, he is simply being two. Testing limits is his job. This is how our children learn how the world works and how much they can get away with. I don't want to sound like I give my child no choices and expect him to smile and do what I say, but my older son is 3 2/1 and I would kill for the terrible twos again. This age sucks! I love him dearly and we have good days most of the time, but with two active boys (my younger one is 14 months) if I tried to bargain to find solutions to simple, everyday activites such as getting dressed I would go insane. It is simply not possible to please everyone in my household. If my son wants to wear his sandals on a day that is 40 degrees out I will, of course, try to talk him out of it. If it is feasible with what we have planned and if he really insists I tell him to bring socks. If he says no, tough! I'm not bringing them. The consequence is that his feet will be cold and he will be miserable. I feel it is important to learn consequences to our actions if possible, but every issue that pops up during the day doesn't need to be taken to the bargaining table. My problem with the TCS theory is that if the adult and child cannot reach a mutual agreement then the adult should give in to the child. That is just not how the real world works and that child is in for a big shock when mommy isn't around. Besides, I have rights to, like the right to grocery shop when necessary, the right to wipe the snot off my childs nose so I don't catch his miserable cold, and the right to expect my child to respect me as much as I respect him.
post #109 of 589
Alexander I understand that we do need to combatt some of our instinct certainly in order to attachment parent. I see it as though when my Toddler takes a chunk of skin from my back, while trying to climb up moms tower, my instinct or reflex is to throw him off me with great force. If I want him to learn to be completely compassionate and calm or atleast not retaliate instinctively(?) I need to stop consider my strength, his state his understanding. It is a very sensitive balance.
It is true too that instinct is what allows you to feel remorse for hurting someone.
post #110 of 589
I am very happy to have the ideals of Taking Children Seriously and non-cohersive. I am very grateful of this thread because I've been struggling in my mind trying to sort out balance of respect and compromise..ect I love the the idea of CONSENSUS and believe that it will bring great wonders of peace & joy. I am very willing to strive for it and soooo content to have a philosophy and vision to go by.

The obstacles may get bigger, the tools help and the rewards are bliss.

I do believe that some choices conscerning power struggles are stemmming from fear and as a soppy idealist I know a choice of love, faith and respect is always best.
post #111 of 589
AP is not a luxury but having the time to sit around and debate its finer points is. sorry for short reply, much nursing today.
post #112 of 589
I think that if your child is given the chance to "bargain" all the time he will not be a hindrance he will always consider barganing, sharing having every party happy...She will not try to control others she will always consider that everyone has valuable needs and everyone has right to equal imput regardless of sex, role, age, gender. Though I have only herd of TCS tonight, I beleive that is what strives for.
Surely we may be able to find reason for critisim and that is where we listen and allow concepts to evolve into ever better systems.
post #113 of 589
Originally posted by peggy
[B]Actually, I feel like I'm being "coerced" into your parenting style

I'm feeling the same way. NCP/TCS folks say that they believe that their children are the ultimate best judge of their own best interest, but they don't seem to believe that of other parents.

NCP/TCS says that parents offer their experience, but don't assume they are right. (without boundaries pg. 96) Yet the people who say they feel this way toward their children can possible admit here to other parents that their "theory" of non-coersion might be wrong. And they seldom offer their experience, just the theory that children should be allowed to do whatever they want to.

The very nature of the NCP/TCS system is that you must be willing to admit that you might be wrong and someone else i.e. your child might know what is better for them, so how I can you say that is what you think and then be so evangelical and preachy? After all, you might be wrong. We might know what is best for our kids. It is a possiblity.
post #114 of 589
Thread Starter 
Many thoughts, crowding around.

Instinct is about survival, isn't it? Perhaps one's instincts are honed upon what it is one has to survive. Parenting by instinct will then not be consistent across the population, but it will support survival on some level. It might not be optimum conditions for living a happy life, but one would be likely to survive. Human life is, however, richer than just survival level, at least I think we are fortunate in western civ countries
to be able to say this.

TCS is a philosophy about the parent-child relationship and the unique responsibilities that lie therin. Parents are responsible for the existence of their children, and so have responsibilities toward them that they do not have towards strangers or even other adult friends and relatives.

When a person is feeling coercion in their minds, it behooves them to figure out what that conflict is about, and find solutions. TCS is a challenging philosophy. IME, if evokes lots of strong feeling in most, if not all, people, myself included. When I first ran across, I thought the definition of coercion was so broad as to be meaningless. I left it alone for months, but it still popped up and niggled at me periodically, so I kept thinking about it. It took years for me to make sense of much of it, and there is
still much that I don't grasp, as yet. It's a process. Many people, no doubt, will never go down the TCS road- more's the pity, imo.

Fallibleism- sure, TCS theory could be wrong and parts of it probably are. There are a lot of people picking it apart and criticizing it thoughtfully, for many years now, on the TCS list, looking for those places where TCS theory does not stand up to the light of critical rationalism. Aren't we all interested in getting closer to the truth? I don't think that truth is relative. If it is true that coercion is harmful in the parent-child relationship, we are
capable of knowing this by examining the theory and criticizing and refuting it. I've seen many convincing arguments about coercion being harmful, and none that have convinced me that coercion is the best way of relating between parent and child- not to say that it might not be appropriate in other

I question as to whether a parent would truly believe that it would be beneficial to adopt the theory that a person should not react instincitively to protect their self, if they are being hurt, as in Fire's example. Yes, a parent might want to over-ride their instinct (though it can be very hard! when being hurt, to not react spontaneously) so that they do not hurt a child who has unintentionally hurt them in the process of playing, or even
intentionally (in exploring people's reactions to things). But a child's siblings will probably not be so understanding, and are much more likely to protect their selves when being hurt. Protecting one's self from being hurt is a good survival instinct, very useful in life, as is the knowledge that if you hurt someone, they are likely to retaliate and hurt you back.
That is learning about a very real boundary.

Gotta run!
post #115 of 589
I think what I'm seeing here is passionate, loving parents all fighting for what they believe in. Though this is a wonderful response when our children are concerned, I wonder how conductive it is?

What I'd like to see happen in this forum is for everyone’s opinions, views and theories to matter.

Isn't it wonderful that we have these boards to come and discuss gentle, loving ways to raise our children? Everyone here should be encouraging to others weather or not they share views. Making suggestions to those in need of new solutions is a wonderful gift we all have to give to each other.

I'm not saying we should go against our beliefs - we should absolutely go with our own feelings and beliefs. But, I would like to remind everyone to be tolerant and gentle with others here who come for advice and information.

Parenting is an honorable position in life - aren't we lucky to share this gift!
post #116 of 589
Dear Ms. Mom,
I appreciate the fact that you are here to keep the peace. But I am really surprised you felt you had to step in here. I thought we could have disagreements and be able to discuss them. There was no name calling or insults being thorwn around here.
Everyone currently subscribed to this thread always offers gentle advice to new Moms when asked. The topic of this thread was not about asking for advice, the very title of it implies a discussion about the difference between instinctive parenting and TCS was wanted.
I have read over the rules again and have found nothing in them against this kind of discussion, but this is your forum so I will withdraw from this thread.
I have to say though that I do feel like I just got my hand slapped and it's a very uncomfortable feeling.

post #117 of 589
Patti - What you said is something I've always wondered about too! If I know my daughter wants to play with the electric chords and I don't want her to, so I move the couch in front of them when she's not looking, I have used my physical and mental "superiority" to get MY way. If I know we may have a conflict in a store because there is too much there that she wants to play with, so I don't take her, once again, I am forcing her to not get her way. Is it OK to force your will as long as your child doesn't realize it?

Oops, I've been trying so hard not to get involved, but
post #118 of 589
Ms. Mom,
I, like Peggy, am surprised that you felt the need for peace-keeping on this thread. I have not posted on this thread but I have been a silent observer of the discussion. I have not felt the tone of the thread is a "fight," but perhaps the people who have been doing the posting have.(?) I find these discussions about different parenting philosophies to be extremely helpful to me, and they are the primary reason that I visit the boards. We learn from each other by having different opinions and *gently* expressing those opinions. From my point of view, the discussions here lately have been, for the most part, respectful.


post #119 of 589
Originally posted by Shakti
I have not posted on this thread but I have been a silent observer of the discussion. ...From my point of view, the discussions here lately have been, for the most part, respectful.
me too. I hope we can continue to "discuss" without be judged (as long as there are no hurt feelings)
post #120 of 589

Answer to Treelove

re: scissors and gum.

Perhaps a parent can help a young toddler learn about scissors under close supervision. Getting those safety scissors and sitting him down with them and showing him how to cut paper. Of course I would not recommend that a parent leave him to his own devices until the parent is sure that the child understands how to use scissors safely.

As for gum, perhaps a parent could offer something chewy like gum that the child could swollow- such as dehydrated apricot or papaya slices and find that the child prefers this.

re: only child housholds

TCS people would say that TCS is for all children, no matter what the size of the household. Of course those starting out with TCS will probably have more opportunities to be creative if they have 3 children instead of 1. However, I think that once children see that parents will do their best so that EVERYONE will have a common preference, they will be willing to come up with ideas and be patient enough to wait for a common preference to be found. IMO the key issue is trust. Once a child trusts that the parent will not make hir do something they find disagreeable or withold something that hir wants to learn about, they will be willing to wait and give input to find a common preferece.

I think that you should join the TCS toddlers list the larsy mentioned somewhere around here. Some of these people probably have more than one child and could give you ideas as to how to do TCS with more than one child in the house.
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