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TCS Discussion Threads - Archived - Page 2

post #21 of 589
What an interesting post, erika, you really bring up a lot of good points.

I wouldn't exactly say that AP or gentle discipline is a luxury, but I do agree that it might be more challenging for parents who are stressed due to lack of time, money, or good health.

On the other hand, many aspects of AP might lead, eventually, to less stress or financial burden - breastfeeding costs nothing and requires less work than formula feeding, cosleeping can be done in tiny apartments, expensive cribs aren't needed and mom and baby sleep better, babywearing promotes bonding and results in happier babies, and so on.
post #22 of 589

not a luxury but....

It is difficult in a culture that centers on the nuclear family and independence to create a nurturing web of people not only for our children but for ourselves. I think that it is more difficult to ap if the rest of your relationships are mainstream. If you (the general you, not erika specifically) don't have family nearby to help when things get rough, you end up doing whatever works for just that moment to relieve the tension.

That is why dh and I have moved closer to relatives we trust. And we've made sure that dd has formed a close bond with them. Dh and I work part-time jobs so that dd doesn't have to be in daycare, and we all get time together as a family. So I guess that AP isn't a luxury to us, it is part of a greater philosophy of how we live our lives. But dh and I are without a doubt weird. As a child, I thought being called a 'non-conformist and malcontent' was a compliment.
post #23 of 589
I have AP'd during many life changes: Working out of the home, then as a single mother (the kids were 4 years old and 9 months old), now as a SAHM who is happily married.

All along, I just followed my instinct. The situation we were in didn't change what I felt was the right way to parent.

I am, however, much more TCS than I used to be. I think this stems more from getting older and wiser than a change in my life status.
post #24 of 589
Pardon my ignorance, but what is "Taking Children Seriously"?

Is this a style of parenting?

post #25 of 589
Thank you too, Alexander!

I think there's been a slight misunderstanding, though. The only place where we draw the line is safety and health, even though we hardly have to because Audrey pretty much knows. When I wrote that a diaper change cannot be avoided, I meant that it can't be avoided in the long run. What we do is we talk about it being necessary and she says "don't like that," then we say she can let us know when she's ready and where she wants it done, and then 5 minutes later she'll usually come up and say "diapy floor" or something.

The main learning process is to switch off that autopilot that has allowed me for 20 or 25 years to choose which shoes I get to wear, and when I get to go to the store. My main problem is to get out of the mindset that "letting her have it her way" is something negative. Intuitively I know that anybody deserves to have it her/his way, but I sometimes just need to hear it from someone else because there sure as hell isn't very widespread support for this kind of thing!!

PS I love your description of your girls sharing their last strawberry, Alexander. That alone will boost my confidence for weeks. Audrey likes to tell everybody that .... is hers (like we go to the zoo as we do a lot, and she'll anounce "pink birds (flamingos) MINE!!") Just so there's no confusion there.

And one thing I know: "traditional" (i.e. last 100 years) parenting styles have definitely not resulted in grownups who know how to share!! After all, sharing is death for free-market economies!!
post #26 of 589
I know just how you feel. I am desprately trying to get over myown hangups on this. Most days I end up disapointed in myself because I get rude and force her around. But this is a new concept for me and I have only been at it a week or so, and I totally notice the bad things I do. I am working at it! I am just so disapointed in myself sometimes. My latest "problem" Is that yesterday I bought this little outfit for her. I didn't think to ask her if she liked it. I am not used to her having such preference yet. Well, she hates it. We were very bad parents and forced her into it yesterday, but today it was rejected. I am proud that she is so grown up as to have preference. I will just have to start letting her picko ut what I buy for her.
It is really hard to get over the social ideas that they can't have their way are they will be brats. Why???? How often do I get my way? Pretty much all day long. One question I have is can they learn to compromise? and how early? Like if I wanted to wear my black shoes and she wants me to wear my white shoes...if I really really have a preference for the black ones is there a way to get a 1 1/2 year old to compromise?
post #27 of 589
MeMeMama, yes it is a style of parenting, as I found out myself only a few days ago.
Check this website:
or http://www.tcs.ac/
or any of the posts by Larsy (and Alexander) I think.

As far as the rest of this thread goes, I wonder the same things Erika does. I believe that neither AP nor TCS takes up more time or effort in the long run than traditional parenting, but it depends on how you view your child. If you consider yourself a unit during the hours you spend together, it only makes sense to co-everything. No getting out of bed at night with a baby, no need to heat bottles of formula or fret about balancing all those nutrients into tiny portions, fewer endless tantrums because you listen to the child before it gets to that point, and babywearing so you don't have to fold and unfold a stroller all the time, can only save time and effort. If you consider your child a little "counterforce", someone who's out to manipulate you and make your life harder, all these things are only going to seem like "extra work." In that case, AP or TCS is definitely not for you; in that case, you may even wonder if you need assistance so your parenthood doesn't weigh so heavy upon you.

Traditional parenting may seem simpler because there's less time-consuming negotiation and other interaction involved, and children that fear a parent will quickly learn "better" than to interfere. There must after all be a reason why this style is so preponderant in our instant gratification society! Still, a parent like Erika who resorted to this style probably would have been fine if she had found another way to cope with her stress. And, Erika, no matter what your parenting style had been, it would have been much harder with the new baby.

I think the decision to go with any non-mainstream philosophy, whether it's childrearing or something else, requires time. THinking about it, doing research or communicating with other adherents, gaining the ability to articulate a defense when you're forced to do so (and it happens a lot ), takes a lot of time. Time that not every double-jobbing single parent (or 60-hour workweek executive) may have. If you choose to live your life in a way that makes many AP or TCS things recognizable, you'll find caretakers, preschools, etc. who think alike. You don't have to spend 24 hours a day with your child to take her or him seriously. On the contrary -- no better way for a time-starved parent to be close to a child than to wear her, sleep with her, and try to listen and negotiate during the hours you do get to spend together!!!

post #28 of 589
i'll just try and tackle one or two of these issues and tell you how i *think* a TCS parent might handle them. (by the way, i am FAR from the perfect TCS parent--if such a thing exists ), i have just been reading lots about it and trying to practice it for the last several months.

as far as leaving the toy in the car: TCS would ask: why is it so important to leave that toy in the car? could you explore the idea of allowing your child to take the toy with them? whose toy is it, anyway? you could explain to the child that taking the toy would mean that they'd need to hang on to it, etc. ultimately if the toy belongs to them, they should be able to make the decision about it.

getting in the carseat: TCS parents would try to come up with a way to get their child to agree to getting in rather than giving the child "chances" to get in and then simply doing it for them. you could give them some stickers or something special in the car, talk to them about where you will be going, etc.

no matter what, TCS parents wouldn't force their child to leave the toy just because that was their (parents) preference. arriving at a common preference would mean that maybe the child could take a less expensive toy into the store with them or agree that putting the toy into mom's bag when they were finished would be a good plan.....

can someone who is more TCS savvy (larsy? you know me as ally's jill) verify if what i've said here makes some sense?
thanks and hope that helps some!
post #29 of 589
anyone heard of abraham maslow? he was one of the humanistic psychological theorists way back in the day. he also taught at brandeis university.

anyway, i bring him up because he had a theory of human behavior that had to do wiht what he called "the hierarchy of needs." (imagine a pyramid with different levels) basically, food, shelter, etc. were on the bottom, and what he called self-actualization was at the top, with other stuff in the middle (get the idea?) anyway, he said that it was impossible to self-actualize or even move to the middle levels without first having met our lower level needs for food and shelter, etc.

anyway, perhaps maslow would agree, erika, that a homeless mother or someone having to work 3 jobs just to put food onthe table, would have no time to parent AP or TCS, not because she wouldn't have the time, necessarily, but because her mind would be on surviving the day to day, not on helping raise her children in an optimal environment.

but on the other hand....i think lots of AP is just how a lot of folks parent naturally and instinctively. so maybe even if a parent was stressed about "lower level needs" she might still choose to sleep with her child, discipline gently, etc.

a very good question. i think how we parent under stress has a lot to do with how we were parented. that's just my theory.
post #30 of 589
Thanks for the reply Sugarmama! I don't know why it irks me so much about the toy. I just know he's gonna lose it and then I'll have to deal with all that

Keep the ideas coming. I'm really trying so hard here. I get so frustrated with myself, so I know how frustrated the kids must be.
post #31 of 589
Originally posted by Mommy22B

One question I have is can they learn to compromise? and how early? Like if I wanted to wear my black shoes and she wants me to wear my white shoes...if I really really have a preference for the black ones is there a way to get a 1 1/2 year old to compromise?


A good question. First I would like to point out that for people that are just starting to try this out, you must not expect quick results. Just b/c you start using a new parenting technique will not change the child's view of you over night.

From their point of view, and their entire life experience is of something entirely different, so it may take time for some children to learn the new relationship that you are trying to create. That said, there are perhaps 2 guide lines that are essential to follow:

1) have the patience of Jobe (my middle name)

2) be consistant

On compromise.

Children love to compromise! Yes it is true. They love to share power too!

"Not my kid!" Well you would be surprised! Children need to feel empowered b4 they can risk sharing or compromise.

Black shoes for Mama, but they want you to wear white? So wear white! A small gift for your child (satisfaction). Of course if it is raining, and you want to wear boots instead of ballet shoes, then there is a case to be made to the child. This kind of logic is something children lap up. It makes sense to them.

We, for such a short time in our lives must "out up with" the demands (sometimes very odd) of our children. In a flash it will be gone.

Complying with our children's peculiar demands helps them to form a model of how the world works. We can not transfere our model to them. They must build their own, and we have a responibility as their primary care givers to ensure that this is done as optimally and "humanely" as posible.

Last night DD#2 saw me pass the black chopsticks to dw, and I started to use the red ones.

"NOT THE RED ONE!!! Your BLACK ones. MUMMY is red!!!"

It was a nuisence to change, but change I did. In her world, she had noticed that Daddy uses the black (longer), and has not lived long enough to know that dw and I frequently interchange.

As children become more aware that they hold power over their lives, the more they DEMAND to interact with others around them, and that can only be done by continuously compromising.

Hope this helps

post #32 of 589
Where I draw the line is the kids telling ME what to do. I will wear whatever shoes I want and it isn't any of their business. Likewise, they can wear whatever shoes they want. End of story (I freely admit to putting their sandals at the top of the closet during the winter).

My kids are 3 and 5 and are good at working out comprimises with each other. For example, yesterday they both wanted to watch TV, but one wanted to watch PBS and the other wanted to watch an elephant video she got at the library. They came whining to me and I explained that they had to find a way for both of them to be happy. They started explaining their points of view to me and I stopped them and said they needed to talk to each other. They left and a few minutes later annouced they had agreed to watch the video first, and then PBS. They were both happy with this and it kept me from dictating what they would do.
post #33 of 589
Originally posted by Linda in Arizona
Where I draw the line is the kids telling ME what to do. I will wear whatever shoes I want and it isn't any of their business.
Awww, come on Linda! Kids need to tell us what to do! And it's fun!

Ever read John Holt "How children learn" and "how children fail"? There are some examples of how children learn about their environment that are similar to this in those books.


My kids are 3 and 5 and are good at working out comprimises with each other.


They left and a few minutes later annouced they had agreed to watch the video first, and then PBS. They were both happy with this and it kept me from dictating what they would do.
Now, I am impressed!

post #34 of 589
I think, in my self evaluation...that TIME and money play largely in the ability to parent ones children with love, and ofcourse having more children immediately affect those things, also, in my opinion, you will find things like, genetic nature, some people get upset easier than others, some people get more stressed-just because thats the way they are, then you could evaluate(if you wanted to<yawn>)diet and then ofcourse greatly factoring in would be the parents own upbringing and experiences with her/his own parents...
and it seems ALOT easier for some people to choose to parent AP or TCS...(I hate using categories but ...)than others
Me, I have 5 great great wonderful children (of my own) in my house...no dad living with us, and I am freakin STRESSED out- and Ive heard all the information on having less children and if I had it all to do over again I might have less(I even have an older child who lives on her own making the total 6) might have started older, might have this might have that
but I am older now, (41- and someone mentioned being older makes it easier, I agree)and as hard (can you sense some frustration here? its been a rough month)as it is to choose to parent lovingly because of all the factors and as IMperfect as I am...I know I am the perfect mom for my kids...I inately know this.
and so are you
and I can choose to decide to try and be a certain way, and reading about some of these perfect moms with non violent loving nurturing kids(okok, I didnt mean perfect) and reading some ofthese perfectly awesome living arrangements helps me,actually supports me and renews my resolve to have more patience,to try not to hit my kids(spank whatever),to try not to yell too loudly,
I can choose to try
and we can all choose -the extent of the challenges some face vary greatly- but
I am so thankful for a place like this-
oh man, that reeeeeealy turned into a vent, Im sorry but it was JUST what I wanted to post about
I camt to this thread because this week I did not discipline gently,
and Erika, you sound lkike a great mom, hang in there sweetie, its all about choice and mistakes and doing your best and yeah, maybe alot of it is time
a child spells love, T I m E so do I and for me its about conscious choice and effort
post #35 of 589
Thread Starter 

From a TCS point of view...

Compromise is not optimal, when it comes to having no one being coerced. If any one of the parties involved can look back at the solution and say 'I would have rather had X than what I got', then a better solution could have been found. Compromise is a win-lose or a lose-lose proposition. EVeryone has to give something up, that they want. Finding common preferences is the only way I know at present to find/create win-win solutions that everyone is happy with. And it doesn't have to mean throwing the children back on their own resources to figure it out (unless that is what they want). A parent can be a big help in figuring out common preferences- in fact, the more trusted advisors and sources of information and ideas invovled, the better. The larger the pool of potential solutions.

A parent makes a statement of hir theory that the parent does not tell the children what to wear just as the parent does not want to be told what to wear. This is a fine statement of supporting each other's autonomy- each person has the absolute right to say what goes on with their own body. However, hiding some of someone's clothes that one knows they might prefer, even though they are not the best clothes for the season or whatever, puts the lie to the statement of autonomy that goes before. The parent has all the power, and decides how it will be meted out. Just a couple of days ago, I was with a child who had thrown on a pair of sandals before getting in the car, and then on top of the mountain, wanted to get out and play in the snow. A lovely snowball fight ensued, child got cold cold cold, and was happy to get back into the car and go on, wrapped up in mom's snuggly shirt and a towel around hir feet. Yahoo! and not one ill effect.

Little kids are dressed by someone else from the beginning, and when they show their preference as best they can, they are often misinterpreted, and somight end up being over or under dressed, or have something uncomfortable sticking them in the where ever, for many months before they can effectively make that fact known. What a person is dressed in is not set in stone in this society any longer- thank the powers the be!!!

Why not ask children what they'd like to wear, out of the entire set of clothing available to them? Why not ask them if they think parent's clothing is appropriate? "Does this look alright? Do these shoes look ok with this? They're the most comfortable, and we will be doing lots of walking, so even though they are purple, I think I will wear them so that my feet feel good and carry me through the day" This kind of interaction gives kids lots of information about why people wear clothes without it having anything at all to do with them and so no implied pressure risking coercion.

Kids learn from their clothing choices. They learn if someone tells them 'that looks really stupid' and they might not care if it looks stupid to that person because it is their very favorite pajama shirt and cape and they like to wear it. The kid wearing sandals in the snow might not want to do it again, or might, in the face of the propect of playing in the snow or not just because of the sandals, choose to play in the snow in sandals again because s/he knows that s/he can warm up effectively after having fun and getting cold. Or this kid might prefer to change into shoes and socks before stepping out into the snow.

Kids know what they want. Some don't care about being cold, if the experience holds great promise of fun. Some don't want to be cold, so will avoid the cold experience or be sure to be bundled up so they can enjoy the fun. We parents can bring along the extra clothes so they are avaiable for those who want them. hypothermia is certainly something to be guarded against and prevented- that is something we parents can prevent.

But I am getting away from the 'child telling parent what to do' scenario. Most kids don't try it very often. They learn early on where the power lies, and it ain't in their court. Except for the stuff they can get away from behind a parents back. or manipulate or tantrum over. That is their only power, in those cases. imo. Kids will own their autonomy, any way they can. Why not help them own it straightforwardly?

'Mom, wear the red shoes!" "Why?" "Because I say so" Is this how children experience the world? Being told what to wear, with no explanation that makes sense to them? If a kid will talk to a parent, parent might find that child has a perfectly reasonable explanation for whay they want parent to wear a particular shoe or sit in a particular chair or eat with particular chopsticks. A discussion can ensue, where both parties can learn about each other and the things they are discussing. Coercion cuts off these opportunities to learn.

off for a walk...
post #36 of 589

Re: From a TCS point of view...

Originally posted by larsy
off for a walk...
Red or white sandles?

The " 'cos I say so" that children may use is likely learned from what is, IMO, coersive parenting.

I have never (I hope) coersed, and, as a result, our children have never used (or even understood) that phrase.

Thet have always sort to explain their reasons and ideas.

Great isn't it!

post #37 of 589

Awww, come on Linda! Kids need to tell us what to do! And it's fun!
May be it is fun for you. It is not fun for me. I'm not interested in raising little pint size dictators who think that want they want is MORE important than what other people want. I am working to raise my kids to know that what they want is AS important as what other people want.

I don't know how many kids you have or if you have pets, but teaching my kids that their autonomy ends with themselves is necessary. In the real world, the only families I know who are totally non-coercise only have 1 child, and the child has trouble playing with peers.

Ever read John Holt "How children learn" and "how children fail"? There are some examples of how children learn about their environment that are similar to this in those books.

yes, I've read those books.

I am not a NCP, though I am far, far less coersive than most parents. I've read about NCP, attended a conference, and even tried it for a while. I ultimately decided it was not the right path for our family. I believe that young children should be given a great deal of freedom and allowed to come to their own conclusions, but within the bounds of respecting other people (even respecting their parents!) and not hurting animals, not hurting themselves so badly they need to visit the ER, ect.

So if I say that I handle things a certain way and you shout that I'm not giving my kids autonomy, I don't care. We are doing what works well for us and allows our family harmony. My 3 year old is much happier being able to go in her room and dress herself and know that what ever she picks is fine, than needing to be concerned that half the choices are inappropriate. For me, finding ways for us to live happily together is the goal, not living up to someone else's definition of a parenting style.
post #38 of 589
I am really resistant to the idea that AP is a luxury. I look at AP as a stich in time. Look at your more mainstream friends with their kids. Do they actually seem to spend less time 'dealing with' their kids than you do? it doesn't seem to me that they do, and that much of the time they do spend is in crisis management mode.

My belief is that every child, indeed every person, requires a particular ammount of time spent with them to feel validated, cared for, etc. We then get to choose, do you want it to be time nurturing, teaching and loving or time correcting, punishing and haranguing? Most everyone manages to get the time they want, the question is whether it is the kind of time they want or not.

I am not sure I am being clear, so I may come back later and take another crack at it.
post #39 of 589
I think it is an interesting point. Although we AP don't necessarly spend MORE time dealing with our kids, we spend the time with them before things become a crises. If someone's life is in crises and they can only deal with the crises of the moment, doing those things that will prevent crises later just can't happen.

For example, I think that many kids mishave to get their parents' attention. Because I have the luxury to be home with my kids, and my DH has the luxury to come home to a house with nice hot meal, clean clothes, etc, we have both have a lot more time to spend with our kids. If there were only one of us or if we both had to work, it would be impossible for our kids to get the quality of time with each of us that they get now. Giving our kids attention never gets to the crises level, but if our situation were different it most likely would, even though our intentions and therories would be the same.

The price for us for this luxury has been moving frequently for my DH's job and not living near extended family, which put different stresses on us and different requirements on our kids.
post #40 of 589

I find humor, or making fave toys do something works a LOT of the time - it is not mommy or daddy doing it - but the toy?

I'm tired, it is 12:30am so bear with me if this is not making sense

for ex: I would say: orange cat (whatever toy is called) wants to stay warm and cosy in the car. do you think that would be ok?

wait for response - usually aggrees, if not...

then, if you really insist the toy stay in the car you can add: "she really does not want to get dropped and dirty, you can either hold her really tight, or let her wait in your carseat for you. which do you choose?"

I also pretend to be Supermom - and fly her around places

another of her faves is her papa pretending to be a giant when she needs her diaper changed (she is not ready to completely potty train yet) - he says in a loud deep voice "fee fi fo fumm... I smell a stinky bumm!"

humor does not always work, but when it does we all laugh and feel great.
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