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Consent Based Parenting/ TCS

post #1 of 69
Thread Starter 
Are there any parents here who do consent based parenting? Where you try to find a solution to everyone's need based on a win-win, not a compromise, not enforcing your own boundaries? I really want to talk with moms who this works for.

I have just got back from a Home educators festival where a lot of the children are 'unschooled'. I am unsure of peoples parenting styles, but it seemed that a lot left their kids to it (whereas consent based parenting is about being very involved with your children and offering your opinions on things that your child is free to take up/reject).

Here is what I saw at this festival:
-Toddlers to young children - 6yrs left to their own devices, allowed to wander off anywhere without parents knowing where they were (1, 800 people at this festival).
-Teens left to it, to say Hi to parents at the begining of the day and that was it. Parents didn't know where they were or even where they were sleeping.
-Angry teens, dressed in back, dyed hair seemed to be the norm.
-Every night getting drunk, getting stoned, throwing up, taking hallucinagenic drugs, making loads of noise. (Last night I heard a girl screaming how 'it will be all your fault when I kill myself'- I have no idea where her parents were).

Is this where TCS/consent based parenting sends your child?

I ask because it is something I want to do more and more, but this makes me unsure, seeing these children behave like this. Other things that shock me I have heard of: allowing your 5yr old, and 9 yr old watch a horror/murder movie (18 rated) and then them having nighmares about it, with the 5 yr old now fainting at the sight of blood on anyone.

I am so confused now which way to go with this whole parenting thing. How do I know which way is right?
post #2 of 69
Here's the way I look at things...

I don't ever take just ONE thing and make it my complete philosophy on anything, so I refuse to do that with parenting!! Even being a christian, while I choose to believe the Bible as my *main* source for spiritual guidence etc...I still really get a lot from the teachings of Buddha, and from jewish mysticism, and from the koran etc and so on... (not wanting to veer off into religion, just using an example)...

That is the same as I approach parenting (or most things)... I feel one gets into trouble when they take ONE thing and base their ENTIRE WHOLE philosophy to EVERYTHING in it... like I call myself an *ap* parent, because I subscribe to almost everything that is ap...but I might not do *everything*...like say my baby doesn't care to be in a sling? Does it make me less ap? I don't think so...

Or I consider myself to be very into NFL... we eat whole foods, use almost all organic, natural products, recycle, are very concious of conserving energy and resources...but we will also probably use disposable diapers for a short while (due to several reasons)...does that *automatically* disqualify me from the nfl club? I would hope not...

Anyway, about TCS... I LOVE the concept of that, for most things. I LOVE the concept of unschooling and taking children seriously, and things of that nature and I plan to employ a lot of the philosophies and methods and all that--so I will probably say "I practice tcs" because it will most closely match what I identify with and how I parent.. but I, like you, am not too cool with allowing say, an 8 year old to watch a bloody, gory, violent film because I "don't want to stifle their desires due to my own hang-ups" or whatever---

So in conclusion...don't worry about labels... yeah, we all put labels on eachother and on ourselves and even I am guilty of this, because as I said, I will place a familiar label on myself based on things I most closely resemble or identify with, but that doesn't mean I follow every single guideline set to the tee..set in stone... you have to modify based on what works for you, your child, your family, your conscience...etc...

As far as the conference thing you were talking about... I dunno, as I wasn't there, but it doesn't sound a lot like TCS to me...kind of like it doesn't sound very *christian* to me when people like, bomb abortion clinics (just to be painfully clear I DO NOT AT ALL CONDONE THAT IN ANY WAY!!!) ....it is taking a label and manipulating it for your own agenda---thus giving the name...a bad name... know what I mean???

Good luck to you and take care!
post #3 of 69
Last I knew the concept of TCS had basically been banned from MDC (though there was a tribe at one point).
post #4 of 69
Didn't know that...

Why would it be banned I wonder? It employs a lot of GD and unschooling *concepts*...

See though, I don't see TCS as just allowing kids to wantonly do whatever they want, whenever they want all the time whether it be detremental to their safety (emotionally or physically)... to people who hold that outlook of it, I imagine it *might* be banned here...

*shrugs* I was just responding to a post..
post #5 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain crunchy
Didn't know that...

Why would it be banned I wonder? It employs a lot of GD and unschooling *concepts*...

See though, I don't see TCS as just allowing kids to wantonly do whatever they want, whenever they want all the time whether it be detremental to their safety (emotionally or physically)... to people who hold that outlook of it, I imagine it *might* be banned here...

*shrugs* I was just responding to a post..
I am NOT trying to shut this conversation down AT ALL. Please proceed, I would, in fact, love to discuss TCS.

I just faintly remember constant fighting over the matter and it was basically put on hold. For all I know it is fair game again. I just wanted to warn people that the thread *may* be shut down.
post #6 of 69
Toddlers wandering off with the parents having no idea where they were?
Woah.
I really love the concept of TCS (why would it be banned?) but I don't see it having anything to do with not supervising children.
The Goth thing is just a trend now, and I don't think it signifies anything in and of itself.
Teens openly doing drugs like that is quite odd, though.
At a parenting convention?
Weird....
post #7 of 69
Dear Mand, I agree with the other posts, that labels are often misleading. It sounds like you might be needing to find like-minded parents and that this festival didn't meet that need. I too have a strong need to meet other parents who take their children seriously, but who also give their children their opinions, guidance and care. Sometimes, it is hard to find a perfect match. I've just made a ton of effort to meet people in our city and have made some wonderful connections. It takes so much work to meet new people! But, since it is so important to me to meet people who relish in parenting, it is worth the time.

As far as whether that festival was a good example of TCS style, I don't believe that it is, based on the examples you gave. What you saw sounds more like what TCS calls laissez-faire parenting--not TCS--leaving the child to do whatever without providing guidance, advice and input) Do you know about the TCS website and e-mail list? The website is
http://takingchildrenseriously.com/

I'm so glad to hear about other parents wanting to take their children seriously!
post #8 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mand
Are there any parents here who do consent based parenting? Where you try to find a solution to everyone's need based on a win-win, not a compromise, not enforcing your own boundaries? I really want to talk with moms who this works for.
This would be my family pretty much, only I will say that for us compromise isn't a bad thing.

Quote:
I have just got back from a Home educators festival where a lot of the children are 'unschooled'. I am unsure of peoples parenting styles, but it seemed that a lot left their kids to it (whereas consent based parenting is about being very involved with your children and offering your opinions on things that your child is free to take up/reject).
My family totally unschools Often we just "leave our kids to it" too it if I am understanding you correctly. We let them be, and do pretty much their own thing in general. We are very involved with them in the larger day to day sense though.

Quote:
Here is what I saw at this festival:
-Toddlers to young children - 6yrs left to their own devices, allowed to wander off anywhere without parents knowing where they were (1, 800 people at this festival).
-Teens left to it, to say Hi to parents at the begining of the day and that was it. Parents didn't know where they were or even where they were sleeping.
-Angry teens, dressed in back, dyed hair seemed to be the norm.
-Every night getting drunk, getting stoned, throwing up, taking hallucinagenic drugs, making loads of noise. (Last night I heard a girl screaming how 'it will be all your fault when I kill myself'- I have no idea where her parents were).
I guess something that pops to mind is that all kinds of people homeschool and unschool. Many different parenting types chose not to put their kids in school. There will be people who are very controlling/strict with their kids, people who are not, and tons of kinds in the middle and beyond. We cannot know what is going on in each family or individuals life based on just superficial observation. (Not trying to say that is what you are doing, just sharing my .02)

I'm not sure about the rest except to say that some people are really comfortable with their kids wandering more than others? For the record my kids have hair dyed a variety of colors whenever they choose to, and my son prefers to wear black. These things just aren't an issue to some. Perhaps many of the people knew each other and had a sense of security about their kids being without them?


Quote:
Is this where TCS/consent based parenting sends your child?
Because it's so individual and circumstances vary widely, I wouldn't say it sends them either there or elsewhere always. TCS can go any number of ways just like anything else can really.

Quote:
I ask because it is something I want to do more and more, but this makes me unsure, seeing these children behave like this. Other things that shock me I have heard of: allowing your 5yr old, and 9 yr old watch a horror/murder movie (18 rated) and then them having nighmares about it, with the 5 yr old now fainting at the sight of blood on anyone.
My children at the ages of 5 and 9 would have been totally free to watch a murder-horror movie if that is what they would have wanted to do. We offered guidance, opinions, and any help they might need with any of that but the end decision would have been there own to make. If, after watching such a movie, my 9 year old had nightmares I would have comforted her and discussed what may have lead to them (though IMO nightmares happen with or without scary movies). If my 5 yr old was terrified of blood I would talk a bit about how we all have blood and that it's a very good thing. Maybe we'd investigate the subject of blood further, and maybe he'd be wanting to put off scary movies until a later date. There would be a variety of options.

Quote:
I am so confused now which way to go with this whole parenting thing. How do I know which way is right?
Perhaps there will be more than one "right" way for your family? I would just take it slow and do what feels right for you & your children. Learn, read, experiment. Bottom line here is that TCS doesn't mean not being involved with your kids...I tend to see it as the opposite being very involved but not controlling. I hope this helped you a bit. We've been really busy today and I am a little
post #9 of 69
Like you said, you don't know anything about those families.

Take it easy and follow your heart.
post #10 of 69
If you're doing this in the right way for your family then you aren't going to run into these types of issues. Obviously, these families have made choices with which they feel comfortable -- or, at least, they believe they feel comfortable with. Based on the win-win concept your family won't run into these situations because it could never be a win scenario for you. Make sense?

Also, I truly sense, from experience, that when you do this right from the beginning, lots of behavior issues just never come up.

Oh, and TCS is not banned here. There were issues, about three or more years ago, with TCS posters making every single GD thread a discussion about TCS. So Cynthia created threads designated to the topic. Just check the GD archives.
post #11 of 69
:
post #12 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by PM
Oh, and TCS is not banned here. There were issues, about three or more years ago, with TCS posters making every single GD thread a discussion about TCS. So Cynthia created threads designated to the topic. Just check the GD archives.
Thanks!
post #13 of 69
Quote:
when you do this right from the beginning, lots of behavior issues just never come up.
I'd like to change that to: "issues just never come up" or they are perceived in completely different ways by a TCS parent than by an authoritarian parent, for example. TCS is not just a method, it is a way of thinking. And it's a huge leap for most people. Few parents who come from the standpoint of "I need to prevent my child from becoming an unruly teenager" or "my child does this to manipulate me" or "I want my child to be this or that" or "society won't accept my child" will succeed with TCS.
post #14 of 69
I don't think children under 6 wandering off my themselves with hundreds of people is good parenting or TCS parenting. OTOH, my 12 year old often dresses in balck and dyes her hair, and at an event like this, it wouldn't be unsuaul for her to say good-bye in the morning and for me not to see her for 24 hours. We would touch base via cell phone, though, and I would be able to get in touch with her that way. We've had events at our farm where I didn't know where she ending up sleeping...

I know kids raised in much the same way who are much older than Rain, 19 or 20, and I've never seen any drugs or alcohol at their get-togethers (mostly NBSTCers, btw), although I know that some of them have used at times. They probably occasionally have screaming fighst with their parents, too... but none of it seems to be the norm.

If my kid said she wanted to watch a movie that I thought would scare her, I would try to give her the information she needed to make a good decicion. I would research the movie, and give her an idea of what kind of scnes she might see (I did this before Rain watched American History X recently). I might try to find some more mild movies from the same genre and rent them first, and I'd definitely try to do this at home rather than in the theater, so we could pause or fast forward. I might also watch it first, so that I could warn her when a bad part was coming up.

Rain has watched a lot of movies with her hands poised two inches from her eyes, ready to cover, and my job was to tell her when that part was over.

Dar
post #15 of 69
Quote:
NBSTCers,
What does this acronym stand for?
post #16 of 69
Hi ladies, I'm a newbie. What does TCS stand for? I blush at my own ignorance!

Cheers!
April - mama to the awesome Kai - b.12/30/03 a.9/2/04
waiting for a referral for a baby girl
Vermont
post #17 of 69
TCS is Taking Children Seriously: http://www.takingchildrenseriously.com

NBTSC is Not Back to School Camp, a camp for unschooled teens: www.nbtsc.org

Dar
post #18 of 69
TCS is "taking children seriously"
NCP is "non coercive parenting"
NBSTC is a total mystery to me
post #19 of 69
When my oldest was my only, and a toddler, TCS really shook up my ideas about parenting in a good way I was challenged to really stretch my ideas about respecting children, to a whole new level.

It was amazing how many things could be worked out through consensus even with a small child. Now, all these years later and bigger family, it is my first choice for problem-solving, even when it takes a LOT longer, makes us late, tires us out. I think it's essential to use consensus as a family tool whenever possible, because it strengthens our connection so much more than using parental power.

That said, we are not just one or two people. We are 5 busy, sometimes moody, sometimes ill, sometimes pregnant, sometimes tantrumy, allergic or otherwise inflexible people whose needs compete on a daily basis. We've found that everyone has a better overall sense of emotional safety when some limits are set. I hesitate to say this because I hear the "kids like boundaries" rationale used for so many absurd rules and rigid schedules. It will suffice to say that we use our parental power when not using it has consistently and steadily made a child MORE unhappy.

Is it possible that sticking with noncoersion would have eventually worked out? hey, maybe. We weren't willing to endure the unhappiness and suffering of our kids long enough to see.

anyway, I think the TCS ideas are very worth exploring.
post #20 of 69
I know it would likely go against TCS philosophy for me to say that you can "take what works and leave the rest", like LLL. I mean, you can't *really* take children seriously while still trying to control them in some ways. But- my point, if I have one , is that for me, going into TCS one step at a time has been better than forging ahead fully as soon as I realized it seemed like way to go to me.

I have 5, 3 and 1 year olds, I was introduced to TCS here over a year ago now. There were some things I was already pretty TCS about, like food, clothes, etc. Others I struggle with- like unlimited TV. I figure doing what I can manage and trying to work more and more TCS into our lives is good. It surely wouldn't be perfect from a hard-core TCS POV, but- it keeps me on the right track, where I fear trying to go all the way right away with TCS would've scared off my husband and quite possibly driven me insane starting from where I was (I can see how it would be much easier with one child who is very young to adopt this philosophy fully and immediately).

So- my advice- work on questioning your "rules", work on respecting your child, and give yourself a break on finding the "perfect" way of doing things, most of us, IMO, grow into these things.

PS- what you saw with toddlers off without their parents doesn't seem a bit TCS to me either, that just seems neglectful, which, unfortunately, some neglectful parents use the TCS lable to justify what they do, IMO TCS is a lot more work, not the neglect you saw.
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