"So my taking my child's hand and asking them to please move out of the way is coersion,"
This is not necessarily so. It's what happens next that might lead to coercion.
"but distracting the child with ice cream is not?"
Not necessarily so. It could or could not. It depends upon the situation, the people involved, and their theories, I expect.
" 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. "
Each person in the situation is using whatever power and ability they have available to them.
Using it to get what each person wants. The shopper wants to get by with their cart. The parent would like to assist the shopper in getting by, and assist hir child in becoming aware of the fact that the shopper wants to get by. The child wants to look at the toy, and is sitting in the way of the cart- not because child wants to be an impediment to shoppers, or to yank hir parent's chain, but because s/he is looking at a toy and that happens to be where s/he stopped to look at it.
The shopper could run into the kid with the cart. That would be morally wrong. The shopper could address the child "excuse me". If the child looked up from hir absorbing play activity and saw a cart bearing down on hir, with a stranger looking down at her and saying 'excuse me', would this child know what to do?
If not, hir parent is there to assist hir.
If the child has been dealt with disrespectfully in the past- had toys taken out of hir hands against hir will, by parent, and been picked up and bodily moved in the past by hir parent, without child's consent, child might rightly be concerned that any or all of this will happen again right now, and hunker down into hir first preference of sitting where s/he is, playing with that toy, and proceed to 'pitch a fit'. Seems like a rational response to me, in the circumstances. Child is rightly angry about the way s/he is treated.
So, yes, I can see where a person who holds theories that it is justified to use physical force to move a person and/or to take things away from them without their consent might also consider offering the child something that they might prefer to what they are doing at that moment (that is causing an impediment to another person) as a bribe or manipulation. I think this is a 'point of view' issue.
What are the deeper issues here? Perhaps the parent has a theory that children have to learn to give up something they want (playing with toy in aisle) for what someone else wants (to pass with shopping cart), and this is an opportunity to teach the child this valuable lesson. Parent is caught in the middle, as the party responsible for the child. Parent probably feels strong pressure to conform to societal mores, and the conventional expectation is to simply move the child. What are the moral implications? Does a person have the right to their autonomy (self-determination)?
Certainly, denying the child's autonomy and whisking hir out of the way is one of many incidents in a typical child's life that shows them graphically that they are less important than the adult with the shopping cart, and must give way. Why is the child less important? Simply because s/he has less knowledge and experience in the world than the adults around hir? The adults wish to help the child learn about the world, and this can be done coercively or non-coercively.
A parent and the person with the shopping cart can communicate to the child about their preferences, child can communicate about hir preference. This doesn't have to be a confrontational situation, and they can all get what they want without disregarding any one's autonomy. If that solution includes ice cream for everyone, is that a problem?
Many adults who learned this lesson well, that their preference is less important than other people's preference, would take their shopping cart and go back around the other way, in such a situation. Many adults who learned this lesson as a child, are now, as an adult, darn well going to force those children out of their because it is their turn to get the preferenctial treatment now, as an adult. They earned it, didn't they, by doing their stint as the child who didn't get their way. Either win or lose, right? And now it's their turn to win, by golly.
"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. "
I think many people find a lot of what they already do articulated in TCS theory. And, even though the philosophy can strike a chord when a person first comes on it, as the learn more about it they are likely to find many areas of disagreement as well. IME, it takes a long time to work through the areas of disagreement, and new ones come to light when old ones are worked through.
"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! "
Kids who have access to all foods can find out what they like and don't like, what makes them feel good and what doesn't. They should be able to eat what they want, when they are hungry, to learn what is best for their self, their appetite and their body. To interfere with this process of discovery is to risk faulty food theories, imo.
This doesn't happen in the absence of nurtitional theories or the example of what the other people around them are eating. Kids can benefit from hearing their parents' best theories about food, along with other theories- there's lots of them, about food, and I don't think anyone has come up with one that is absolutely true for everyone everywhere every time. Each person has to figure out what combination of foods is optimal for their own self. What is right for the parent's body isn't necessarily going to be the best for the child's body.
"What would you do in this situation that occurred in my home tonight? <snip red cup story>No one was willing to compromise. Now what? "
Compromise is usually a lose-lose scenario. Everyone loses something that they wanted. Why be willing to compromise, if you know you are going to lose something? Why be willing to compromise, if there is a better solution?
I wonder what would have happened if the parent in the red cup scenario would have take a Pokemon toy and hidden it under two of the red cups, and switched the three around, talking like a carny vendor about 'step right up, find the Pokemon toy and take it home with you!' kind of patter. If a parent comes into the situation and makes one little change, say, playing with another toy hirself, or bringing along a bucket of cornstarch and water and playing with it hirself, if that isn't enough to change the focus enough to render the original preference moot. It doesnt' have to be ice cream. It can be mudpies in the back yard or bubbles in the bathtub. I doubt that the children enjoy fighting and not getting what they want, and parent is not enjoying the altercation. Changing the dynamic is not bribery or manipulation or coercion. It is good, not harmful.
"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."
They weren't convinced. Fine, it was a good try, and it didn't help anyone's preference to change. Does that mean that the preference can't be changed? People change their preferences all the time. Helping them become aware of other possibilities is not manipulative or coercive, imo. That is what parents do for children all the time, help them become aware of and explore things that they didn't know were available or that they existed, before parent drew their attention to it.
' If one of them had decided to take the red cups instead would I have not coersed him?'
Not if the child took them out of hir own personal interest.
" In my opinion, YES. He would have taken the other cups only because I manipulated his opinion/decision of which cups he wanted."
You did not get into hir head and flip the switches that led to the decision to take the course of action s/he decided upon. You offered something to play with. The decision to take it or not was up to the child (autonomy, remember?). You don't know if it was the color, or the size of the cup, or a memory of something the child saw done with some cups like these, or some other reason that motivated the child to want to play with them. If the kid was happy to take it, no coercion apparent. Not that the preference couldn't change again in a minute.
"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."
You can certainly look at it that way. I see a problem to be solved, unless the kids are enjoying their battle and want the parent to butt out. If they are not happy with the situation, and would like help in finding solutions, then a parent offering other ideas of how to solve their problem is a good thing.
" 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."
Well, different, certainly.
" 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."
And it will continue to be a different world. Change is all around us, it is a characteristic of this universe, as near as I can tell.
The paradigm that includes TCS theories might not be one that interests many, and I don't want to force it upon anyone. When non-coercive and autonomous learning and parenting makes sense to a person, that is what they do. If it doesn't make sense, then they won't.
jbjcmom, if we on the TCS thread can help you make sense of something, please continue to ask. If not, I wish you well on your journey, with kindest regards