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TCS Discussion 2 - Page 2

post #21 of 68
I was thinking about the breakfast scenario, and the treatment of the child who did not want to go out to the store and the parent who could find no other solution.

As Taking Children Seriously also includes Taking One's Self Seriously, I mused on through this:

Suppose an adult is out of their favorite breakfast food, but simply does not want to venture out to the store as they are tired, it's cold and dark out, and they are happily engaged in interesting activity at home (or whatever).

Does this adult- let's call him Fred- try to coerce himself into going to the store, for the sake of having his favorite breafast food ready and waiting for him in the morning? I wonder what tone of voice Fred uses in his head when discussing this with himself. Might he be trying to persuade himself kindly, or guilting himself into going right now, or berating himself for not wanting to get off his lazy duff and take care of business? Does he feel compelled, against his will, to do this chore before he is 'allowed' to relax and enjoy his current activity? Is it a voice from the past, or is it a rational process of decision making?

Perhaps he weighs the pros and cons of stopping what he is doing and getting bundled up and going out and starting the vehicle or walking the distance to the store versus doing the same in the morning instead of tonight, versus eating the leftover pizza for breakfast instead of his favorite breakfast food, versus fasting until he gets to the store or maybe he wanted to start a fast anyhow, versus asking a friend for help, versus ordering the groceries on the internet and having them delivered. Maybe Fred is accustomed to taking a brisk walk in the morning, and having a destination like the store for a few items is just the ticket. Maybe he respects the fact that he just doesn't want to go now, and will decide in the morning what the best course of action is. If Fred can see that there are many options, some of which are better, by his lights, than forcing himself to go now whether he wants to or not, he can make a decision and feel comfortable with it, and get on with his enjoyable evening.

In the morning, does he get up and berate himself for not going to the store last night, so that the favored breakfast items could be available? Does he stand glumly at the refrigerator, feeling chastened because he doesn't really care for the selection of food that is available to him, but it's his own fault, and he's just going to have to live with it? And maybe next time he will remember this lesson and get on out there and get the breakfast food before he runs out.

Or does he find something in the cupboard that he likes and enjoys it, or goes off to the store happily to get his supplies?

If Fred takes himself- his preferences in the moment- seriously, he is able to make good decisions that support his desires and interests and obligations. He is confident that he is able to engage his creativity to find solutions as problems come up.

What does this have to do with the kid at the table faced with food s/he doesn't want and the burden of guilt- 'you were the one who refused to go to the market'- and the lack of help to get hir what s/he wants?

I think that a parent has to learn to take their own self seriously, in the process of learning to take children seriously- to respect their own autonomy and right to want what they want, and to get what they want in ways that everyone can win.

If a parent treats their own self with respect and helps their own self figure out ways to get what they want within the framework of consentual family relationships, they will also be willing to work out consentual solutions with their children. It is good for everyone. You can't expect a person to treat others better than they treat themselves, imo.

If the kid is experiencing psychological coercion (a la TCS definition) at the breakfast table (and the systematic coercion that is likely to be found in other parts of the parent-child relationship), which Fred is that kid likely to grow up to be like? The compelled and berated Fred, or the Fred finding good solutions?

Of course, the kid might be creative enough to avoid feeling coerced about the breakfast situation. A parent can never know in advance what situations will be percieved as coercive by the child. Solving problems by consent will avoid- as much as possible- anyone having to feel coerced.

[please assume that this is a hypothetical situation and not a comment upon anybody's particluar parenting methods. This is a TCS discussion, not an evaluation of any particular person's parenting.]
post #22 of 68
This thread is getting so lengthy, so quickly, it is hard to keep up

I apologize if I have missed a response to one of my posts. I am wading through all the new stuff in this thread and getting a bit lost. Just point me in the direction of a reply if I missed it.

I have been reading the posts regarding concerns over the adversarial quality to this forum. I have been thinking about this and would like to add my thoughts.

One problem I see is simply the expectations of each person participating here. I think that sometimes when a person posts a question about TCS theory, hoping to further debate or critique the issue, the person who responds was only looking to answer the question. When they find themselves being questioned/challenged, it isn't welcomed. On the flip side, their response, unintentionally, comes across as dismissive or elusive to the person trying to debate TCS theory.

I think we can better integrate this into a support/debate forum just by being clearer of our intentions when we post. I find TCS theory tremendously interesting, and would like to better understand what I feel is right about it, and challenge what I feel are it's weakness's. I have tried to be up front about this, but moving forward, I will make an effort to say in my posts whether I am just looking for an answer to a question I have, or am looking to debate an aspect of TCS theory.

Hope this helps improve everyone's satisfaction with this forum...

Heartmama
post #23 of 68
Quote:
Originally posted by heartmama
I have been reading the posts regarding concerns over the adversarial quality to this forum. I have been thinking about this and would like to add my thoughts.

One problem I see is simply the expectations of each person participating here. I think that sometimes when a person posts a question about TCS theory, hoping to further debate or critique the issue, the person who responds was only looking to answer the question. When they find themselves being questioned/challenged, it isn't welcomed. On the flip side, their response, unintentionally, comes across as dismissive or elusive to the person trying to debate TCS theory.

I think we can better integrate this into a support/debate forum just by being clearer of our intentions when we post. I find TCS theory tremendously interesting, and would like to better understand what I feel is right about it, and challenge what I feel are it's weakness's. I have tried to be up front about this, but moving forward, I will make an effort to say in my posts whether I am just looking for an answer to a question I have, or am looking to debate an aspect of TCS theory.
I agree with what you're saying Heartmama, but I also think there are those against TCS who are just trying to blow holes in the theory. They have no interest in debate - their minds are already made up and they want to show the rest of us (who are interested, as you mentioned) that TCS simply won't work. I also think that some of the hypothetical situations are extreme.

For example, if a family had planned an exciting vacation, with all members eagerly looking forward to it, I seriously doubt one would back out at the last minute "for no logical reason." Has this actually happened to anyone? I have never even had to cancel a casual outing because a common preference couldn't be found. (Even before I knew what a common preference was.) And I have a child who would much rather spend time with friends than family, but we can nearly always accomodate everyone.

It seems to me that people ask questions, not really caring to listen to the answers, but only to keep the debate going. I think this is a waste of everyone's time. Maybe we can start a different thread called "Debate TCS - Post Here," so that those of us looking for support can get it here...
post #24 of 68
i understand that tcs is supportive of pretty much any media children might find interesting, tv, video/films, videogames, computers, the internet, books,
now certainly i've got a number of entrenchments around those first three which i am currently attempting to review! however where i am running into trouble is around c o n t e n t

i can see how one can talk with a person, say while watching a video or playing a computer game, or reading a book, about racist or sexist imagery or interactions, say, without necessarily to prevent a family from having those particular games or books or videos around, right? we don't have to censor what we look at, we just need to understand it, and in fact child may find that, like us, s/he often prefers to use materials which have not got sexist or racist content, when they can be found, they can sometimes be very exciting! especially when well made, and we wish there were more. i regularly watch tv shows which have sexist representations, for example, and while sometimes i get too mad about it, sometimes i can accept that i am reading through those texts (i am not simply absorbing sexism and embodying it unconscious, at this point, i hope. certainly dominant culture can be pretty, uh, dominant.) so we can help children to read texts in different ways, if they are interested.
where i come undone is content which is not so easy for *me* to detach myself from enough to analyze it a bit: the least bit of suspense or violence and i am a twitching, vibrating wreck of nerves, and i carry violent images for years and years, they affect me very deeply. this runs in my family. sensitive, you see. so how can i reconcile these things? how would tcs view content appropriateness? while i am examining my theories around the *bucket* theory of learning, i know that things i see and hear affect me profoundly, and i can understand them all i like, i still have seen violence (representations of) and feel hurt by it.

p.s. above, fascinating discussion of self-coercion, i was just thinking about how my theories about self-discipline have affected the decisions i've made and how i have lived, thinking about motivation through desire, and how much further i am propelled, and how much happier. i think being accomplishment-centered is a theory i need to look at.

thanks for letting me share my thoughts
post #25 of 68

Limiting choices limits solutions

JW wrote:
****My scenario was that the child the next morning knowing that is all there is, starts complaining. I.e. they have changed their minds as they sit down at the table. They have two options. Eat or go hungry. ****

I understand what you are saying, JW, but I think you are overlooking a very crucial point: The child certainly has more than two options, but the parent has chosen to narrow it down to two. And both of these "options" are not the child's true choice at all. The child--as we have already established--does not want to eat that particular breakfast and the child does not want to go hungry. So, for the child to "choose" one of those options is for the child to be in a state of coercion. S/he has not been "allowed" any other choice and the parent seems unwilling to help the child find a better solution. Why narrow choices when one can expand them?

****So you are saying that if the child still didn't *want* to go, dind't want what was in the house (you were the one, as I recall who said surely there is something else in the house - I agreed, and said "here it is, kids, but you cahnge it again.....)but still wanted to have those things on your list, you would then attempt to involve other people, even early in the morning say, in order that your child could by choice

a) stay at home and then the next morning change their minds and

b) still have what they want for breakfast? *****

If that were their choice, I would do what I could to help them solve the present problem without referring to the "mistake" they made solving (or actually not solving to their satisfaction) the previous problem. If we really think about it, we can see that the child didn't cause this present problem at all. And the "mistake" the child made the night before was not really a bad "choice" at all. The child was given narrow choices (either go to the store now or eat Y for breakfast), niether of which s/he preferred (hence, they were both bad choices). Having been given such narrow choices, the child chooses the least coercive which, at the time, is to not go to the store. I think it is unfair for the parent to coerce a child into making a choice and then blaming hir, later, for making it. And it is untrue to claim that the child really made that choice in the first place.

****In otherwords, you are teaching your children that they can do what they want, and have what they want, by "coercing" others to do what they should do THEMSELVES in the first place? ****

No. I don't see how anyone is coerced if we find/create a common preference (which is what I would strive to do). I am not "teaching" my child anything. I am solving a problem.

****I use the word "coercing" because to me, that is exactly what it is. It is coercing, and imposing on other people for frivolous reasons. You think otherwise. ****

Yes, I do. We may have different ideas of what it means to ask someone to do something. If I ask someone if s/he would be willing to do something for me, I trust that s/he will only agree to do it if s/he wants to. If s/he doesn't want to, I respect that choice and seek a different solution to my problem. By *asking* if s/he will do something, I am not imposing my will on my friend. You seem to be suggesting that it is okay to impose one's will on one's children but it is not okay to ask a friend to do something.

****Now, maybe your solution might be this. Child says "Well I want to go to the market now and get what I want for breakfast!" and Mommy says "Yes dear, the car is there, there is nothing stopping us now that you are ready and willing, we can do that....off we go..." Hmmmmm ****

That might be a solution if I wanted to go to the store and everyone was happy to do so. The solution would depend on the desires of everyone involved. I cannot tell you what my solution would be. To do so would be to suggest that I have pre-fabricated "solutions" to various problems which is not in keeping with TCS. The solution would depend on countless individual factors that I cannot possibly predetermine.

****What messages is that sending one's child?****

I wouldn't be doing this in order to "send a message" to my child. If I want to "send a message" to my child, I speak to hir directly. I don't really believe in covert messages or in "teaching a valuable lesson." I would be doing this in an effort to solve a problem to everyone's satisfaction. As for the "message," my child might realize that hir desires are just as important as mine or any other member of the family and that problems can be solved without resorting to coercion. But again, that wouldn't be my *reason* for seeking common preferences. My reason would be to help everyone get what they want.

Netty
post #26 of 68
Paula Bear wrote:

Quote:
I agree with what you're saying Heartmama, but I also think there are those against TCS who are just trying to blow holes in the theory. They have no interest in debate - their minds are already made up and they want to show the rest of us (who are interested, as you mentioned) that TCS simply won't work.
This is a two way street. I could have written the same thing but replaced my method of parenting where TCS appears and the statement would have been just as accurate, in my humble opinion. Those of us who don't buy the whole TCS 'theory' practice it over and over everyday in our parenting, we just don't subscribe to the whole theory. I choose to leave my options open when it comes to parenting. TCSers seem to think that coersion is the evil of perenting and those of us that occasionally coerse our children are making big mistakes in our parenting. Not true, IMO. I'm not saying that you don't have a point in your above statement, I'm simply saying that you could apply that statement to both sides debating here and it would be just as true.

Of course, I think that my dh and I are parenting in the way that
is best for us and our family. Diving in head first and practicing the TCS theory in our household would be a disaster. I am just not comfortable with the extreme that it goes to to avoid coersion, which I personally think is just a fact of life. I am sure you think I am wrong in my thinking. The difference is that I can agree to disagree, but whenever that is mentioned it is rebuffed as a horrible option, as if there was one correct way to parent. I see nothing wrong with saying "hey, it's not my style, but if it works for you, great!"

Are you honestly going to tell me that the way I choose to parent my child is WRONG? It seems as if I have heard that over and over everytime a TCSer says that coersion is wrong. Do you (not personal to anyone) really feel that you have the right to judge my parenting style as wrong. If you are a perfect parent with who never makes any mistakes, then feel free. I don't think any of us fall into that catagory
post #27 of 68
Quote:
Originally posted by Just Wondering
But is it not a truism that many people can unknowlingly be coercive, and they don't even realise they are. They might not consider it coercive, or they may call it something else.
JW, *THIS* is something I completely agree with you on.

Pat
post #28 of 68
Quote:
Originally posted by Just Wondering
Dear Iciclespider.

You say you agree with the statement you highlighted.

Please could you clarify exactly what you mean, and in what context?

In general?
Yes, most definitely in general.

Quote:
Is this a generalised statement, with no unspoken message?
Yes, it is a generalized statement, but in addition there is an unspoken message.

Quote:
Or are you suggesting that I am a coercive parent and don't know it?
I don't know whether or not you are. What I do think is that some of your suggestions to problems here on this forum are coercive.

But what I am also suggesting is that *I* am sometimes a coercive parent and don't know it. I am always striving to learn what is considered coercion by another and consider if I also think so. It seems like the more I learn about what really is coercive to another individual, the more there is to know.

JW, I have carefully read your counter arguments and tried to very carefully consider if in fact I was missing something and so far I do not think that I have. I think both positions have been repeated more than once and at this point we just need to, for lack of a common preference, "agree to disagree".

Let's let the poor dead horse rest in peace...

Pat
post #29 of 68

A quote by Voltaire:

"No problem can stand the assault of sustained thinking."

I thought you all would appreciate this...

I just read this in Barbara Coloroso's book, "Kids Are Worth It: Giving Your Child the Gift of Inner Discipline". In Coloroso's book she uses some criteria in judging whether a parent should intervene:

Is the problem life threatening, morally threatening and/or harmful.

This rings true for me - I want common preferences - but if the challenge is life threatening, morally threatening and/or harmful to my child or someone else - I draw a line.

Icicle Spider says:

" The child could be young enough that they do not yet have the knowledge nor the experience to understand the implications of plopping down in the middle of the aisle. The ice cream got them to say, plop down somewhere else, where they were no longer in the way. It was not an extrinsic motivation that is trying to teach them that if they move out of the way, they get ice cream."

A yes - they may not have the knowledge or the experience - but if, as all TCS'er's assume - that all children is rational at any age - then isn't it safe to say that they will rationalize that they can use this tactic to get whatever they want in the future? IMO, you are setting yourself up for power struggles if your use bribes. Even if, as you suggest, they are unaware that the ice cream helped you get them to plop elsewhere - they are still rationalizing that if Mom wants we to do something, I can use this kind of negotiation to get what I want.

Now, before you tell me that *that* is what you are trying to teach your children - that there is always room for negotiations - please allow me to illustrate why I think the above scenario is wrong:

Let's say I am parallel parked on a street with cars ahead and behind me. I am about to pull out into traffic, when a car pulls up and parks directly to my left (in the US, that is) completely blocking me from moving into traffic.

I calmly get out of the car and ask the driver if he could kindly move his car, as he is blocking me and I need to be on my way. The driver says, "What will you give me." "What do you mean?" I ask. "How about $50." says the driver.

Should I give in to this tyrant so that I can get on my way or should I call the police and have him forcebly removed?

I say the latter. And how does this relate? Well we have community rules that we all agree upon ( well, for the most part, especially if you are active in voting, etc..) I also think that we have a societal code of common decency, which we as parents are responsible for deseminating to our children. you know, we don't kill, harm, mame, impede, etc...

Since technically we are responsible (in criminal courts) for our children until they are of age (18 here in the US) if our child does not comply, we need to do what we must to get the child to comply.

So back to Scenario A, if my child was in someone's way and was refusing to move and was aware of our social code (or perhaps not aware, but simply feeling obstinate) I would *help* my child by kindly picking them up and moving them out of the way. I would not offer them an *incentive* as their incentive should be because it is the right thing to do. If they are not behaving right - then I will help them until they can do it on their own.

And latter when we were talking the situation through I would try to understand their position if it still was not clear to me, but I would not feel that I had coerced my child.

Also - in the scenario in JW's post earlier, in which the child decides not to go to the store and then does not have the breakfast that they want - isn't this really the childs problem to solve. Isn't this a natural consequence? If a common preference was acheived the night before, is it coercion to simply say to your child in the morning, "I am happy to help you find something that you will want to eat that we have in the house." And then work to a common preference in that situation. Or perhaps simply say to the child, "well we acheived a common preference last night. If there is a new problem, I am happy to help you with a new solution." And if the solution the child presents, is "LEt's go now" and that is not acceptable to the mother, then isn't this a situation of natural consequences? It is ok for the parent to have preferences, right? Or how else would the child learn to consider other people ever?
post #30 of 68

Re: A quote by Voltaire:

Quote:
Another great post by Iguanavere
"No problem can stand the assault of sustained thinking."

I thought you all would appreciate this...

I just read this in Barbara Coloroso's book, "Kids Are Worth It: Giving Your Child the Gift of Inner Discipline". In Coloroso's book she uses some criteria in judging whether a parent should intervene:

Is the problem life threatening, morally threatening and/or harmful.

This rings true for me - I want common preferences - but if the challenge is life threatening, morally threatening and/or harmful to my child or someone else - I draw a line.
Life threatening, in principle, I agree. Sometimes there is just not time to negotiate a common preference and the only way out is to coerce (as in the TCS definition of coerce, not Webster's definition, this is the TCS Discussion thread after all). This still doesn't make it right, IMO.

However, we still need to be very careful here about our own entrenched theories about what is *really* life threatening. A child standing near the edge of a huge drop off is probably just fine. A better way solution to such problems is to avoid them, of which there are many ways. And if you find yourself coercing (TCS coerce again), use that as a lesson to learn from. Maybe we should just not walk on this very busy street.

Morally threatening and/or harmful to my child or someone else. This is a much tougher one. We could go on and on here (in fact we already have!) about what all these terms really mean. Clearly we would harm someone else if they were going to harm us or our child. After that things start getting grayer and grayer for me.

Quote:
Icicle Spider says:

" The child could be young enough that they do not yet have the knowledge nor the experience to understand the implications of plopping down in the middle of the aisle. The ice cream got them to say, plop down somewhere else, where they were no longer in the way. It was not an extrinsic motivation that is trying to teach them that if they move out of the way, they get ice cream."

A yes - they may not have the knowledge or the experience - but if, as all TCSer's assume - that all children is rational at any age - then isn't it safe to say that they will rationalize that they can use this tactic to get whatever they want in the future? IMO, you are setting yourself up for power struggles if your use bribes. Even if, as you suggest, they are unaware that the ice cream helped you get them to plop elsewhere - they are still rationalizing that if Mom wants we to do something, I can use this kind of negotiation to get what I want.

Now, before you tell me that *that* is what you are trying to teach your children - that there is always room for negotiations - please allow me to illustrate why I think the above scenario is wrong:

Let's say I am parallel parked on a street with cars ahead and behind me. I am about to pull out into traffic, when a car pulls up and parks directly to my left (in the US, that is) completely blocking me from moving into traffic.

I calmly get out of the car and ask the driver if he could kindly move his car, as he is blocking me and I need to be on my way. The driver says, "What will you give me." "What do you mean?" I ask. "How about $50." says the driver.

Should I give in to this tyrant so that I can get on my way or should I call the police and have him forcibly removed?

I say the latter. And how does this relate? Well we have community rules that we all agree upon ( well, for the most part, especially if you are active in voting, etc..) I also think that we have a societal code of common decency, which we as parents are responsible for deseminating to our children. you know, we don't kill, harm, mame, impede, etc...

Since technically we are responsible (in criminal courts) for our children until they are of age (18 here in the US) if our child does not comply, we need to do what we must to get the child to comply.

So back to Scenario A, if my child was in someone's way and was refusing to move and was aware of our social code (or perhaps not aware, but simply feeling obstinate) I would *help* my child by kindly picking them up and moving them out of the way. I would not offer them an *incentive* as their incentive should be because it is the right thing to do. If they are not behaving right - then I will help them until they can do it on their own.

And latter when we were talking the situation through I would try to understand their position if it still was not clear to me, but I would not feel that I had coerced my child.
This is a good demonstration of the problem of these "What Ifs" and of the medium we are trying to communicate in. In the situation I described, I have been putting a very non-coercive spin on the situation beyond what was actually written, and it sounds like you put a very coercive spin on it. My spin on what it sounds like your spin is to me, is that the exchange between parent and child went something like this (this is partly tongue-in-cheek, btw):

Parent: "Johnny, somebody needs to get by, could you please move."
Johnny: "No."
Parent: "Please move, it is there isn't any room otherwise."
Johnny: "I really don't care."
Parent: "Listen Johnny, here's an ice cream bar if you move over."
Johnny: "Really? Okay, but how about two ice cream bars?"
Parent: "Sounds great! Another common preference, thank goodness I didn't have to coerce!"

Whereas the spin I was putting on it was:

Parent sees a person coming down the aisle and notices that their toddler is sitting right in the middle of the aisle. Not wanting to get into a possibly coercive situation with their toddler, the parent quickly grabs an ice cream bar from the shopping cart and offers it to the child in such a way that they had to get up and out of the way of the oncoming shopper. The child was never even aware of the possible conflict.

All of these scenarios can be spun to either succeed or fail I guarantee it, depending on the predetermined outcome you want. I strongly urge you to read the What If article locate at this link if you haven't already.

If you still want your "What If" addressed, please ask.

Quote:
Also - in the scenario in JW's post earlier, in which the child decides not to go to the store and then does not have the breakfast that they want - isn't this really the childs problem to solve. Isn't this a natural consequence?
What do you mean, that the parent would just refuse to help solve it?

Quote:
If a common preference was acheived the night before, is it coercion to simply say to your child in the morning, "I am happy to help you find something that you will want to eat that we have in the house." And then work to a common preference in that situation.
The problem with this is that you have arbitrarily eliminated possible solutions.

Quote:
Or perhaps simply say to the child, "well we acheived a common preference last night. If there is a new problem, I am happy to help you with a new solution."
This is better, you have not limited where the possible solution might be found, although it sounds a little too "I told you so" at the start.

Quote:
And if the solution the child presents, is "LEt's go now" and that is not acceptable to the mother, then isn't this a situation of natural consequences?
No, I would not call this a natural consequence, in that it is going to happen *no matter what*. This might or might not happen. What this is is the parent's *preference*.

Quote:
It is ok for the parent to have preferences, right? Or how else would the child learn to consider other people ever?
YES!!! YES!!! and YES!!!

Show me where a TCSer ever said that the parent *must* drive to the store in the morning. A counter argument might have spun it that way, but that is not what was said. It has been quite awhile, and this single thread format is hard to follow, but I recall (again with my spin) something along the lines of a *possible* solution *might* be to drive to the store in the morning. But that it would only be a true solution if that really was a true common preference of ALL parties.

Otherwise, the parent would be self-sacrificing and be in a state of coercion (TCS coercion), also called self-coercion. This is also a very big tenet of TCS, identifying when one is self-sacrificing and finding solutions to *this* problem.

Updated: There is a TCS article about self-sacrifice which is located at this link.

Now you can very well spin this further so that the child is more and more unreasonable, but this is just not what happens. Children and all people for that matter that have been helped in getting what they want, learn very quickly to help others get what they want. When their point of view has been taken seriously, they take other's points of view seriously. They know that Mom will try her *hardest* and has consistently gone the extra mile to help them get what they want, and that if Mom is now saying that driving to the store now is almost impossible, then it is time to consider other solutions.


TCS does not have any specific solutions to specific problems. TCS is providing a framework for finding solutions to any problem. It is to providing a way for individuals to fish for the solutions that work for that unique family, not providing the fish themselves.

Pat
post #31 of 68
I guanavere wrote:

"This rings true for me - I want common preferences - but if the challenge is life threatening, morally threatening and/or harmful to my child or someone else - I draw a line. "

If a situation is life threatening, a parent does what they can to save a life. First priority. Force ten emergency. People want to survive, including kids, so help them do so.

In a situation that is morally threatening (not sure exactly what that means)- Doesn't a parent do an ongoing sharing of their moral theories with their children? I think children want to do what is right. They might not know what that is, in any given situation, and act on their best theories at the time. A parent can help children improve their moral theories. And having children does much to help parents clarify and refine and improve their own moral theories, ime!

If harm is being inflicted, the first priority, again, is to protect those who are being harmed (unless they make it clear that they wish to deal with it on their own). I don't think that children want to be hurt or injured, any more than they want to die. They depend upon their parents and other trusted advisors to help them learn how to avoid being hurt. A parent has the privilege and responsibility to help children learn about what is right to do- which gives the parent the opportunity to examine their own theories about what is right and wrong in the particular circumstances, and how to communicate that to their child respectfully, listening to what the child thinks is true, and presenting what parent thinks is true, and together they just might create some new knowledge.

Iguanavere, again:

"A yes - they may not have the knowledge or the experience - but if, as all TCS'er's assume - that all children is rational at any age - then isn't it safe to say that they will rationalize that they can use this tactic to get whatever they want in the future?"

If a person is regularly helped to get what they want in life, they are not in need of a manipulative 'tactic' to get whatever they want in the future. They know how to get what they want by asking and creating common preferences, a process that respects each parties' needs.

Rationalize (to attribute one's actions to rational and creditable motives without analysis of true and especially unconscious motives, or to bring into accord with reason or cause something to seem reasonable- from my desk dictionary) is a different animal than rational (adjective form of reason- generally, processes that tend to create knowledge).

"IMO, you are setting yourself up for power struggles if your use bribes."

IMO, we are setting ourselves up for power struggles if we resort to coercion.

" Even if, as you suggest, they are unaware that the ice cream helped you get them to plop elsewhere - they are still rationalizing that if Mom wants we to do something, I can use this kind of negotiation to get what I want. "

That might be true for people who don't know how to get what they want in any other way than manipulating people.

If a kid can have ice cream whenever they want it, they are not likely to look for such a convoluted way to get it as manipulating mom into bribing hir with ice cream. In the aisle situation, offering an ice cream or anything else is an effort to help the child find something they might like to do *more* than whatever they are doing in the middle of the aisle. This is one way to find a solution that everyone is happy with, though it is not the only way.

IMO, if a kid is consistently not getting what they want in life, then they are sitting ducks for learning the manipulation game. If the only time they have enough power to be able to negotiate for what they want, is in the midst of crisis, it is quite rational to go for it, at that point. Kids are creative about finding ways to get what they want, be it by manipulation or sneaking or lying or whatever other strategies they need to learn. Much better, imo, to look for common preferences, right out in the open, with as much hlep as possible.
post #32 of 68
JW wrote:

****What I would like from you both is a clear explanation as to why you consider the ice-cream and check-out teller example are NOT coercion, and why you consider I am a coercive parent.****

I can try again to articulate my thoughts on the ice-cream example. In the original scenario, the child was too young to understand why s/he must move (s/he was a toddler) so I suggested that one possible solution is to offer the child a reason--by hir own lights--to move out of the way. The reason why offering ice-cream is *not* coercion or a bribe is that the offer would not be contingent upon the child moving. In other words, I would not say, "*If* you move out of the way, I'll get you some ice-cream." I would simply offer a trip to the ice-cream shop as something the child might like to do (and by choosing to do, would get out of the person's way). I agree that it would be bribery (and therefore coercion) if the child thought that s/he would not get ice cream *unless* s/he moved out of the way.

I don't know if you are a coercive parent, JW, I am simply responding to the comments and suggestions you offer concerning problem-solving. Some of those suggestions involve coercion. I am pointing out why I think the solution is coercive (and I am using the TCS definition of coercion when doing so).

****Netty, I also would like you to reconsider your statement that IYO, my children's suspicion about your scenario was as a result of living in a coercive family. And I guess in order to do that, you will have to explain in an understandable fashion, why I am a coercive parent. *****

Again, I don't know the reason for your children's responses, but I could not see any coercion or manipulation in the scenario I offered. I do believe that a coercive upbringing can result in a loss of trust between parent and child. The idea that offering an incentive to someone would be construed as coercion and manipulation suggests, to me, a lack of trust in people's motives. There is no question that my offer was made out of self-interest, but that does not necessarily imply coercion. Again, I think that we have all been raised to think that self-interent must imply a lack of interest in the needs of others. This need not be the case with common preferences.

****I consider that theoretically, the most conversant children with regard to what is coercion, are those children who not only understand exactly what it is, but how to see if before it happens, and who know how to counter it. I was surprised by your comments. Because I would have thought that TCS children would have picked up the manipulation/coerciveness of the check-out teller just as quickly as mine did. ****

But there is no manipulation or coercion in the scenario. The reminder of the cashier's presence was offered as information for the friend to consider when making hir choice. Yes, it is offered in the hopes that the friend will choose to go but there is no coercion involved. The friend's choices are not limited in any way by that suggestion.

****You said that to manipulate and coerce was not your intent in making the suggestion to your child..... But is it not a truism that many people can unknowlingly be coercive, and they don't even realise they are. They might not consider it coercive, or they may call it something else.****

Yes, indeed. And that is why I offered my response should my friend (or my child) contrue my suggestion as coercive. I would apologize immediately and assure hir that I did not intend to coerce and I would seek a better solution that we were both happy with. I think you are right when you say that someone could be in a state of coercion as a result of a suggestion such as I offered. But I think that that state of coercion would be self-induced because of past experience (where someone may have been made to feel guilty or selfish or uncaring for saying "no"). This is, for me, why I want my children to realize that they can say "no" to any suggestion I offer and I will continue searching for a common preference.

I hope this clarifes my earlier responses.

Netty
post #33 of 68
Netty wrote:

Quote:
I can try again to articulate my thoughts on the ice-cream example. In the original scenario, the child was too young to understand why s/he must move (s/he was a toddler) so I suggested that one possible solution is to offer the child a reason--by hir own lights--to move out of the way.
Now wait a sec, here. Let me get this straight. Offering ice-cream as an enticement to move out of the aisle is not a bribe or coersion. Hmmm. There's that semantic thing again. You can wrap it up and dress it up and call it what you like, but a bribe by any other name is still a bribe/coersion. Perhaps the reason I am so confused is that I have been using the English language when I read these posts. Perhaps I need to take a class in "TCS As A Language" so I can understand how that is NOT coersion/bribery/manipulation.

Quote:
the child was too young to understand why s/he must move (s/he was a toddler)
Doesn't the TCS theory believe that even the youngest baby is rational. Has it not been stated many times that even infants are rational? Please don't say "no" because I too have been reading these threads. This is a totally different answer from the answers given in the same situation in the other thread. I tried to go back through the old thread to find the original discussion about the child sitting in the aisle, but who has that kind of time? What a mess! In the old thread the TCS stand was that it was coersion to make the child move at all. It was not the parents responsibility for the wants/needs/or happiness of anyone other than their child. Then why would you even bother to offer your child ice cream in an attempt to move the child if you owe the person waiting for you child to move nothing. I find this a little wishy washy. It seems like TCS goes back and forth to find an answer that suitably answers whatever question is posed, despite the fact that it may contradict an earlier statement. A child is either rational or not, old enough to know or too young.

You can't have it both ways.

Has it not been stated many times that even infants are rational? This is a totally different answer from the answers given in this same situation on the other thread
post #34 of 68
Quote:
Originally posted by jbcjmom
Now wait a sec, here. Let me get this straight. Offering ice-cream as an enticement to move out of the aisle is not a bribe or coersion. Hmmm. There's that semantic thing again. You can wrap it up and dress it up and call it what you like, but a bribe by any other name is still a bribe/coersion. Perhaps the reason I am so confused is that I have been using the English language when I read these posts. Perhaps I need to take a class in "TCS As A Language" so I can understand how that is NOT coersion/bribery/manipulation.
The child in this case can already have all the ice cream they want, whenever they want. The non-coercive parent would never deny a request for ice cream just because it is ice cream. The ice cream in this scenario is nothing more than a distraction. It could have just as easily been, hey Johnny, let's play patty-cake.

Quote:
Doesn't the TCS theory believe that even the youngest baby is rational. Has it not been stated many times that even infants are rational? Please don't say "no" because I too have been reading these threads. This is a totally different answer from the answers given in the same situation in the other thread. I tried to go back through the old thread to find the original discussion about the child sitting in the aisle, but who has that kind of time? What a mess! In the old thread the TCS stand was that it was coersion to make the child move at all. It was not the parents responsibility for the wants/needs/or happiness of anyone other than their child. Then why would you even bother to offer your child ice cream in an attempt to move the child if you owe the person waiting for you child to move nothing. I find this a little wishy washy. It seems like TCS goes back and forth to find an answer that suitably answers whatever question is posed, despite the fact that it may contradict an earlier statement. A child is either rational or not, old enough to know or too young.

You can't have it both ways.

Has it not been stated many times that even infants are rational? This is a totally different answer from the answers given in this same situation on the other thread
Yes, a child is *rational*, but that doesn't mean that they automatically *understand* everything. Your quote from Netty claiming the contradiction has the phrase *to young to understand* in it, it does not have the phrase *to young to be rational*.

The child is still "too young to *understand* why s/he must move (s/he was a toddler)", to requote Netty. The child is also too young to understand differential calculus, but that doesn't mean that they are not *rational*.

This link is where Netty has a post with a message titled The Rational Infant.

Pat
post #35 of 68
hey! (waving arms) i asked you guys a question back there!
and laelmoresweet posted thoughts about why continuing to argue in this fashion will continue to be fruitless! no answer. should we go elsewhere? we were really hoping to stay here and talk about how to use tcs! please?
post #36 of 68
Was this the question?

Quote:
Originally posted by laelsweet
i understand that tcs is supportive of pretty much any media children might find interesting, tv, video/films, videogames, computers, the internet, books,
now certainly i've got a number of entrenchments around those first three which i am currently attempting to review! however where i am running into trouble is around c o n t e n t

i can see how one can talk with a person, say while watching a video or playing a computer game, or reading a book, about racist or sexist imagery or interactions, say, without necessarily to prevent a family from having those particular games or books or videos around, right? we don't have to censor what we look at, we just need to understand it, and in fact child may find that, like us, s/he often prefers to use materials which have not got sexist or racist content, when they can be found, they can sometimes be very exciting! especially when well made, and we wish there were more. i regularly watch tv shows which have sexist representations, for example, and while sometimes i get too mad about it, sometimes i can accept that i am reading through those texts (i am not simply absorbing sexism and embodying it unconscious, at this point, i hope. certainly dominant culture can be pretty, uh, dominant.) so we can help children to read texts in different ways, if they are interested.
where i come undone is content which is not so easy for *me* to detach myself from enough to analyze it a bit: the least bit of suspense or violence and i am a twitching, vibrating wreck of nerves, and i carry violent images for years and years, they affect me very deeply. this runs in my family. sensitive, you see. so how can i reconcile these things? how would tcs view content appropriateness? while i am examining my theories around the *bucket* theory of learning, i know that things i see and hear affect me profoundly, and i can understand them all i like, i still have seen violence (representations of) and feel hurt by it.
I agree with you about not liking violent movies *myself*.

I remember a great TCS discussion on this a few years ago, and one suggestion that helped me was to examine and take apart the movie from a directors view point. Talk about and examine what are the techniques used in the film to create such a scary effect on us. How did they make all that blood look so real? What did they do to build the suspense? How does the music track effect our mood? Pick the movie apart to pieces to at least understand that the movie is not really *real*, it is just a movie.

I found this to be a real learning experience for myself. I actually started to understand exactly what it is in these movies that effect me so, rather than them just effecting me. And after this understanding, I am much better able to be *not* effected by them.

I still don't like them personally, though.

It is my experience that TCS children learn very quickly what they like and do not like. They will watch what they are comfortable with and not watch something they are not comfortable with. I see it as my job to provide them with the information they need to find the movies they like and to avoid the movies that they might not want to watch.

Pat
post #37 of 68
laelsweet wrote:

<snip pretty astute observations about using media>
"how would tcs view content appropriateness?"

My theory is that it is up to each individual to decide. People without much knowledge or experience would likely welcome help and information about content.

"while i am examining my theories around the *bucket* theory of learning, i know that things i see and hear affect me profoundly, and i can understand them all i like, i still have seen violence (representations of) and feel hurt by it. "

You are the best judge about what you should see and what to avoid.

I was suprised when I recently saw the 'Lord of the Rings' movie. I am not a big fan of violence (to put it mildly) and I didn't watch many parts of the movie. I didn't realize it would be so graphic. The same great computer special effects they can do to make things seem so real, really makes the grisly body parts and so on look real as they are flying off the various creatures.

But I liked the movie, otherwise, and wouldn't have wanted to miss it. Same with a movie like 'Braveheart'. I like the time period and place and all the bonny men in skirts- really like the movie, but I didn't watch some of the more grisly scenes.

I've known kids who would get up and leave the room or fast-forward videos through parts that are too scary- sometimes the too scary is a scene where someone is being set up to be embarrassed. We don't know in advance what parts of a program will be offensive to another adult or child. If a kid is really interested in seeing a particular program/movie/video game/computer game, we can help them do so. We can inform them of the story line and anything we think they might find objectionable - including sex, which at certain stages of dawning self-consciousness many kids don't want to encounter. We can offer to watch it first, so that we can then watch it with them and warn them before something would come that they don't want to see.

I've never seen the attraction in slap-stick comedy. People falling over things and smacking each other by mistake or on purpose- like the 3 Stooges or Laurel and Hardy. I wince and cringe when I see that stuff, though I can appreciate the timing and the comedy. Many people love that stuff. When I was a kid, we were forbidden to watch the 3 Stooges because we were attempting to duplicate some of their stunts, and hurting each other. We could have learned a lot if, instead of being forbidden to enjoy something that we were interested in, we were helped to learn how to stage the stunts in ways that we didn't hurt each other.

"p.s. above, fascinating discussion of self-coercion, i was just thinking about how my theories about self-discipline have affected the decisions i've made and how i have lived, thinking about motivation through desire, and how much further i am propelled, and how much happier. i think being accomplishment-centered is a theory i need to look at. "

Oh, yes! I agree. Thinking about this has opened huge vistas for me. Accomplishing things that are important to one's self, over accomplishments that are held up for examination and approval, the coercion involved in having to perform and be watched and be picked apart vs. being satisfied with what one has done even if they haven't won a prize for it, even if no one ever knows about it- that's autonomy. Beats the hell out of dependence (not to be confused with inter-dependence, which we all are)
post #38 of 68
IS wrote:

Quote:
The child in this case can already have all the ice cream they want, whenever they want. The non-coercive parent would never deny a request for ice cream just because it is ice cream. The ice cream in this scenario is nothing more than a distraction. It could have just as easily been, hey Johnny, let's play patty-cake.
So my taking my child's hand and asking them to please move out of the way is coersion, but distracting the child with ice cream is not? You have got to be kidding, right? You are still using your power and ability to get them to do what you want them to do, thus violating what TCS stands for. My kids can have all the cereal bars (not ice cream) they want and they love them, but if I use it as a distraction to get them to do something that I want them to do it is just another form of manipulation. You can dress it up and justify it by saying that it isn't a treat, that they can have it any time they want, but you are still asserting your power and will over your child. If you can't see this I don't know what to say. I'm not saying that it is not a good solution, just that there is coersion/manipulation involved. Perhaps by your (not personal) definition of TCS I have been a follower for years, because much of what is suggested I do, but I don't see it all as free of coersion. I think this is where we differ.

Would you seriously let your child eat ice cream for bkfast, lunch and dinner and everything in between if that was what they wanted? Uugh!

What would you do in this situation that occurred in my home tonight? My ds2 was playing with three dixie cups -- the last three we had in the house. Ds1, of course, wanted them as soon as he saw his brother with them and tried to grab them away. I tried to get them to share the cups -- both screamed and wanted none of that. I got out three small, red, disposable, plastic cups and tried to extole the wonderful virtues of the new cups to ds1 -- he didn't want anything to do with them. I tried to get ds2 to see how wonderful they were and trade, but to no avail. No one was willing to compromise. Now what?

In the above scenario I tried to convince both son's that the red cups were an attractive choice in order to come to a solution. If one of them had decided to take the red cups instead would I have not coersed him? In my opinion, YES. He would have taken the other cups only because I manipulated his opinion/decision of which cups he wanted. Even if he decided whole heartedly upon seeing the cups that they were wonderful, I still manipulated/coersed to get one of them to give up the struggle for the original cups and end the battle. Perhaps my definition/opinion of what constitutes coersion/manipulation is much broader than yours and that is why I have a problem with the TCS theory. Of course that is only part of it because we have rules in our house which we expect them to follow, we don't allow my children to eat all the junk food they want, and we expect them to respect us simply because we are their parents. I miss the days when children addressed adults as Mr. and Mrs. rather than by first names, when children were taught to respect adults -- not to always question them. Does this make me old fashioned? Maybe, but it is certainly a different world today, and not all of the changes are good ones.

Anyway, now I am just rambling (tired).
post #39 of 68
This may just be one of those "agree to disagree" aspects of debating TCS theory that is so common here, but anyway, if anyone would like to discuss/debate this here is my post:

My example (I know, like we need another one floating around). I have tried to pick one from real life, as TCS parents have complained that the examples are too extreme:

If ds refuses to go to the doctor and I choose to take him kicking and screaming, that is one example of coercion.

Say instead you tell the child ONLY the facts, and they choose to go to the doctor. This strikes me as truly Non Coercive. By that I mean, you might say "Johnny, today you have a doctor appointment. This is because of symptoms xyz, which normally do not get better without the care of a doctor. The treatment for your condition involves xyz. The doctor is an expert in treating this, and expects the visit to last about 30 minutes".

Now, if the child, being rational and having been given all the info, says "okay let's go". I would agree there was no coercion here. In fact, even if the child did cry and say "The doctor will hurt me", and the parent says "Yes, this might hurt, that is common with this treatment". That is not a coercive answer either.

However, if the child begins to cry and say they will not go for reasons xyz, then IMO anything you say at this point to allay the concerns, and make the doctor visit seem more attractive, and elicite a willingness to go...that is just coercion, IMO, and nothing more.

One reason is because I think it is unrealistic to confuse a willingness to go with an absence of reluctance. The child may very well still harbor some of their original fears, but be willing to go because of the common preference they found with the promises and reassurrances of the parent. IMO, this will still leave the child in the state of coping with "opposing" viewpoints as TCS defines coercion.

Another reason I feel this is coercion is because of the use of force involved from the parent as they "find a common preference" with the child. From the moment you go beyond just providing facts for the child, and accepting any resistance without question, IMO you are simply using emotional/psychological/spiritual force to persuade the child. This is certain to introduce opposing feelings in the child, classic TCS coercion.

Do TCS parents see "finding common preferences" in this way as coercion? If so, what would be an example of a way you would handle such resistance from a child without coercion? If you don't think this is coercion, why not?

Heartmama
post #40 of 68
Quote:
Originally posted by jbcjmom
So my taking my child's hand and asking them to please move out of the way is coersion, but distracting the child with ice cream is not? You have got to be kidding, right?
I just did an search over both the TCS Discussion threads and could not find any example scenarios using the case of "taking my child's hand", so I am not sure how you concluded that TCS claims this is out right coercive. This could easily be a non-coercive solution that works in some situations.

Quote:
You are still using your power and ability to get them to do what you want them to do, thus violating what TCS stands for. My kids can have all the cereal bars (not ice cream) they want and they love them, but if I use it as a distraction to get them to do something that I want them to do it is just another form of manipulation. You can dress it up and justify it by saying that it isn't a treat, that they can have it any time they want, but you are still asserting your power and will over your child. If you can't see this I don't know what to say. I'm not saying that it is not a good solution, just that there is coersion/manipulation involved. Perhaps by your (not personal) definition of TCS I have been a follower for years, because much of what is suggested I do, but I don't see it all as free of coersion. I think this is where we differ.
Fair enough, I admit that determining what is coercive and what is not can be subtle. And remember, we are talking TCS coercive here, which is precisely define as:

"The psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind."

If the child still wants to be in the middle of the aisle, then it is coercive. If the child does not want to be in the middle of the aisle, then it is not coercive.

You can only "bribe" a child with something that you would only give them if it was contingent on some condition. It is hard to bribe anyone with something they have full access to regardless. So I do not see how you can call it a bribe or even a treat.

Sure I am using my knowledge to try to get what I want, but I am trying my best to make sure that the solution is a win-win for everyone, and I am always receptive to changing what my preference is.

And I disagree with your statement that if you offered a child a cereal bar that it is pure and simple manipulation. Let's say you are at the park and have a picnic basket full of goodies, including lots of cereal bars for in between snacks that any child can come up and take whenever they get hungry. A couple of kids get into a disagreement over some playground equipment. So you go over and ask them if either would like a cereal bar, hoping to distract at least one into wanting something else. There are no strings attached by the offer, they could take it or leave it.

Is this manipulative in your opinion?

Quote:
Would you seriously let your child eat ice cream for bkfast, lunch and dinner and everything in between if that was what they wanted? Uugh!
Certainly, and I have, but it did not last for more than one meal though before they wanted something else.

Do you seriously think that a child would only want ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if they had complete freedom to choose among all foods? Uugh! I can assure you from direct experience that they do not.

Quote:
What would you do in this situation that occurred in my home tonight?
I gather you did not read the What If article located at this link?

Quote:
My ds2 was playing with three dixie cups -- the last three we had in the house. Ds1, of course, wanted them as soon as he saw his brother with them and tried to grab them away. I tried to get them to share the cups -- both screamed and wanted none of that. I got out three small, red, disposable, plastic cups and tried to extole the wonderful virtues of the new cups to ds1 -- he didn't want anything to do with them. I tried to get ds2 to see how wonderful they were and trade, but to no avail. No one was willing to compromise. Now what?
How about ice cream? I bet that would have solved it!

Okay a cereal bar then? Maybe...but it doesn't seem to have quite the same effect.

Quote:
In the above scenario I tried to convince both son's that the red cups were an attractive choice in order to come to a solution. If one of them had decided to take the red cups instead would I have not coersed him? In my opinion, YES.
NO, not necessarily, not if for some reason they really, REALLY do now *want* the red cups, *by their own lights*.

Quote:
He would have taken the other cups only because I manipulated his opinion/decision of which cups he wanted. Even if he decided whole heartedly upon seeing the cups that they were wonderful, I still manipulated/coersed to get one of them to give up the struggle for the original cups and end the battle. Perhaps my definition/opinion of what constitutes coersion/manipulation is much broader than yours and that is why I have a problem with the TCS theory.
It is coercion/manipulation if you have pre-determined what *you* think *must* be the final outcome and make sure that no one else really has any choice in the matter. But there is nothing wrong for you to have an initial preference to the out come and to successfully convince everybody else that that is also a great solution, as long as they all have complete free will to decide.

Quote:
Of course that is only part of it because we have rules in our house which we expect them to follow, we don't allow my children to eat all the junk food they want, and we expect them to respect us simply because we are their parents. I miss the days when children addressed adults as Mr. and Mrs. rather than by first names, when children were taught to respect adults -- not to always question them. Does this make me old fashioned? Maybe, but it is certainly a different world today, and not all of the changes are good ones.
This is clearly very, very much the opposite of TCS.

I know that for me, I just ignore any theory that is totally counter to my philosophy and there is clearly no coming to terms. I would just be disruptive in any attempt to have a discussion with a view point so counter to my own.

Pat
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