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TCS Discussion 2 - Page 3

post #41 of 68
i am interested to know why any TCS advocates are interested in the Mothering Magazine. I ask only because of an ealier post, on a previous thread, in which the term "Gentle Discipline" was debated as a coercive statement.
post #42 of 68
(sheepish grin) thanks for your answers i.s. + l
post #43 of 68

Iguanavere's ?

I can't speak for anyone else, but I have been a Mothering magazine subscriber since 1989. I've found lots of good information there, though I find much more that I disagree with as I learn more about non-coercive parenting and education. Still, I support alternative (from mainstream) sources of information. I figure that people who are already questioning mainstream party line might be more open to the alternative ot TCS theory, especially people who are questioning parenting and education issues- and I find that, like mainstreamers and alternative thinkers in other areas, some are and some arent'. I appreciate having another place to discuss TCS, here at mothering.com- I learn from any discussion of TCS, anywhere.
post #44 of 68

Ice-cream and a box of cookies...

****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.****

I agree that a bribe by any other name is still a bribe. But perhaps we disagree with the *definition* of bribe, so we should begin there. The way that I understand, and am using, this word is an act of offering something to someone else *on the condition* that one gets something in return and in order to get someone to do something against hir will *that s/he does not want to do.* Suggesting to a child that s/he go get some ice-cream is not a bribe. If it were, then it would be a bribe to suggest anything to anyone if one had any self-interest in their agreement. It seems that people here think that any suggestion is a bribe if one's reasoning is not fully revealed or if both parties do not share the same reason for wanting the offered distraction/inducement. The child wants to go to the ice-cream shop because s/he wants ice-cream. The parent wants to go to the ice-cream shop so that the child will make way for the person wanting to go down the aisle (and maybe she'd like some ice-cream too ;-)). The child is not going to the ice-cream shop simply to please the parent or because s/he is being coerced or manipulated. S/he is simply agreeing to a suggestion because s/he *wants* to do it. She *wants* ice-cream. S/he is free to say "no" to the suggestion if s/he doesn't want ice-cream or doesn't want ice-cream right now. If s/he *prefers* to stay in the aisle looking at the object, then obviously the suggestion is not a common preference. If s/he *prefers* to get ice-cream, then it *is* a common preference. There is no manipulation of a *person* here and no one is in a state of coercion.

Compare the above non-coercive solution with the following coercive solution offered in a previous post:

**** Child wants to eat a whole box of cookies, which Parent knows will throw child into a diabetic shock. Parent explains to child the complex theories about how a pancreas doesn't produce insulin, etc... child has no idea what the hell parent is talking about - parent, says that the cookes will make child sick, child maintains that child wants the whole box of cookies. Parents says no, child can have some sugar-free dessert. Child is sad, but takes the sugar-free dessert.

TCS would say this is coersion. I call it common sense. This was a compromise for the child and in the child's best interest.****

This is coercion. Why? Because the child *does not want* the sugar-free dessert. If s/he *preferred* the sugar-free dessert, s/he would not be sad when s/he takes it. The child is in a coercive state, which is "the psychological state of enacting one theory (eating the sugar-free dessert) while a conflicting theory(eating the box of cookies) is still active in hir mind." Of course, the parent is acting, quite rightly, on the theory that the child does not want to go into a diabetic shock. The child may not understand what that is or what causes it, but there is little doubt that s/he would not choose it if s/he *did* understand. Similarly, there is little doubt that the toddler would choose to move out of the person's way if s/he understood *that* situation as well. But, in both cases, *the child does not understand the parent's reasoning*. Is the best solution, then, to coerce the child into doing what the parent wants according to the parent's reasoning? I think not. The child learns nothing (since we have already established that s/he cannot understand) and is put in a state of coercion. I think that the best solution is to find something that the child wants according to the child's reasoning (a reasoning which may be limited not by a lack of rationality but by a lack of knowledge and experience) which *also* solves the larger problem which the child does not understand. What this solution is depends entirely on the very specific child's very specific preferences. In the store scenario, the parent thought that the child might *prefer* to go to the ice-cream shop over looking at the toy. Since the child agreed, it is fair to assume that the parent was correct and succeded in finding a common preference. In the diabetes scenario, the parent might seek something that the child *prefers* to the box of sugary cookies. To do so is not to trick or manipulate or coerce the child. It is to ensure that the child is not in a state of coercion (either by eating a dessert s/he doesn't like or by going into a sugar-induced diabetic shock). It is a way of helping the child see that if s/he cannot have what s/he originally wants, s/he can have something *even better*. Why would anyone be in a state of coercion by getting *something better* than hir original choice?

Please note that I agree that if the parent is unable to find something that the child *prefers* to the box of cookies, s/he is right to insist on the compromise. But the compromise is simply the lesser of two evils. It is not the best solution and it is not a common preference. A TCS parent would apologize for not being able to offer a better solution and would try to ensure that the same problem didn't come up again (for example, s/he would continue to look for foods that the child really loves but which do not have the potential to cause diabetic shock or s/he would continue to find a way of helping the child understand hir disease [or both]).

Does this make sense?

Netty
post #45 of 68

I Love Mothering Magazine!

****i am interested to know why any TCS advocates are interested in the Mothering Magazine.****

I love Mothering Magazine and have been reading it since before I had children. Mothering Magazine helped me tremendously in looking beyond conventions of parenting. The wonderful articles and Peggy's editorials challenged my entrenched theories about so many things: breastfeeding, co-sleeping, responding to baby's cries, vaccinations, and on and on and on...I love the photography. I love all the media suggestions (books, videos, music) for children and parents. I care about the environment and so I find many of the articles about cloth-diapering and other "green solutions" to be tremendously helpful. I also *love* the poetry that Mothering publishes (which is always non-sentimental and truly moving). Of course there are articles in Mothering that I do not agree with. But that doesn't mean that I don't learn from them.

****I ask only because of an ealier post, on a previous thread, in which the term "Gentle Discipline" was debated as a coercive statement.****

Yes. I don't believe in any kind of "discipline" because I don't believe in the idea of "teaching" children anything. I am a facilitator of my children's learning. To assume that I *know* what my children should or should not learn is, I think, extremely arrogant. I certainly make suggestions and offer things that I think my child might like, but I take my child's cue in these matters. I base my shared theories on my experience and knowledge in the world, but I also accept that my theories are fallible and should be open to criticism (from any source, and that includes children).

Netty
post #46 of 68
Heartmama wrote:

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

Agreed.

"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". "

What the parent sees as 'fact' is actually hir theory about what needs to happen- what is going on with child, ways to deal with it, what the options are.

"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."

I would expect more questions and answers, looking at alternatives, maybe researching and getting more information, over a period of time. But, it could be that simple.

"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. "

But it would not be help for that problem. If the child is afraid of being hurt, a parent can talk to the doctor and other sources and find out what the options are for pain relief.

"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."

Find solutions to the problem xyz.

"One reason is because I think it is unrealistic to confuse a willingness to go with an absence of reluctance. "

That would be a faulty theory.

"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."

If it is truly a common preference, the child prefers going and solving the problem, than not doing so. Child might still be scared, but determined to confront the fear and do what child feels must be done to help with hir problem. A parent can support their child in this.

" IMO, this will still leave the child in the state of coping with "opposing" viewpoints as TCS defines coercion. "

If the child is having a problem that is bothering hir, and the parent and child have entered into a process of finding solutions for that problem, they might have consulted more than one doctor and done research on the problem and talked to many other people with that problem and discovered lots of good information that can help them figure out if, indeed, the problem must have intrusive and painful treatment to be solved, or if there are alternatives, or if the treatment can wait for awhile until the child comes to terms with it, what measures can be taken to control pain, can child listen to music on headphones to help distract hirself, or the child might decide s/he would rather live with the problem than the solution.

If the child gives any indication that s/he is still in a state of coercion over the doctor visit, and wishes to put it off, barring a life-threatening situation, I would back off and continue to help child to find solutions that we are both happy with. I would let the child know the consequences of cancelling a doctor's appt- if we had to pay for it anyhow, we might not be able to get another for a long time- in a non-accusatory way. I would let hir know my feelings about the matter, whatever they are, but I would also acknowledge that it is hir body and it is hir decision as to who touches it and what is done to it.

"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."

A use of force would not be compatible with finding a common preference.

" 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."

This doesn't sound like finding common preferences. Neither person has all the facts- that is assumed in falliblism.
A parent shares hir theories about the situation, and the child shares hir theories about the situation. If they disagree about some point, they can find out more information to help them get closer to the truth of the matter. Neither would a TCS parent just accept any resistance without question. There is a great deal of questioning going on in finding common preferences- questioning of one's theories- which is what you are terming 'resistance' which is simply the child acting on their best theories, just as the parent is doing. They need to question and discuss and find out more information and get more input and create new knowledge for their selves.

Common preferences isn't just about persuading the other to come to your preference. It's about finding preferences that both like better than their original preference.

"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?"

If these questions have not been answered above, let's discuss more.
post #47 of 68

I read Mothering Magazine

because I like much of what it has to say about Natural Family Living. What made me decide to subscribe was their article on Circumcision.
post #48 of 68
I was going to respond, but it seems pointless.

Thanks JW and others for validating my opinions.

BTW, Netty. I used to teach preschool and there was a child who lived on cookies and ice-cream for over a week. By the end they had to finally say 'enough is enough' (which they should have done sooner, IMO) and take him to the pediatrician because he had screwed up his system so much that he was having trouble with his BMs and was in pain by that point.
post #49 of 68
****BTW, Netty. I used to teach preschool and there was a child who lived on cookies and ice-cream for over a week. By the end they had to finally say 'enough is enough' (which they should have done sooner, IMO) and take him to the pediatrician because he had screwed up his system so much that he was having trouble with his BMs and was in pain by that point.****

That sounds horrible. I don't quite understand the relevance of this example, however. Are you suggesting that a child who is not forced to eat "healthy" foods will choose to live on cookies and ice-cream even to the detriment of their health and well-being? Do you not think that there may have been "healthier" alternatives that this child's parent's may have offered. I think that what you are describing above is an example of neglect and irreponsible parenting. It has nothing in common with TCS-style parenting.
post #50 of 68
Sorry, Netty. It shouldn't have been you I was referring to. I was actually replying to IS. These were the quotes. Again, my apologies.

My quote

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!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Icicle Spider replied:


Quote:
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.
I was just stating that in MY direct experience, sometimes they do.
post #51 of 68
am i the only one who thought that the article on non combative communication {in the new issue} was pretty much just another name for tcs?
i personally dont think the name taking children seriously is helping anything. i mean, if you really want other people to take their children "seriously" you shouldnt start off by {trying to } piss them off.. kwim?
i agree with the ideas but prefer to call it consentual parenting.
post #52 of 68

Demanding respect is disrespectful

**** 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?****

Look for something else that one or both children would *prefer* to play with. Offer to play an entirely different game with one or both of them which they would prefer. Suggest a way that they might both play with the dixie cups in a way that satisfies both of them....etc.

****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. *****

In what way did you manipulate his opinion/decision concerning which cups he wanted? By suggesting that he might prefer the red cups??? Please explain to me how this is manipulative.

****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.*****

So if he actually *preferred* the red cups over the dixie cups, you would maintain that you had coerced him into preferring them? So, if my child were eating some carrots and I offered hir some cake, would I be *manipulating* hir into taking it if s/he chose it over the carrots??

****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. ****

Perhaps. But if we were to parent *non-coercively* by your conception of coercion, we would think it coercion to offer our children anything we think they might like. My parenting philosophy is *about* finding preferences rather than resorting to coercion. If I define a *preference* as "coercive" then I'm really at a loss for helping my child solve problems.

****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.****

And all of the above are coercive. A TCS family does not have rules because they seek common preferences whenever there are conflicts. TCS families do not restrict one another's diets. A variety of foods are availabe at all times and any member of the family can eat what they want, when they want. Members of a TCS family do not demand respect simply because they are older, or stronger, or in a position of power. They strive to treat one another according to the idea that each member of the family is a human being and, therefore, worthy of equal respect.

****I miss the days when children addressed adults as Mr. and Mrs. rather than by first names,****

as a way of reminding children that they are less important and lower on the social ladder than adults?

****when children were taught to respect adults -- not to always question them. ****

so that they will be unable to think for themselves as they get older and will, therefore, slavishly follow conventions rather than challenging them and living an authentic life?

****Does this make me old fashioned? Maybe, but it is certainly a different world today, and not all of the changes are good ones. ****

I think that the changes you have mentioned are all good ones. I would call them progressive changes. I'll give you an example of how "hierarchical coercion" influences people. I am a university professor. My students are all adults (ranging from the age of 20 -58) and are, no doubt, my equals. I always tell my students to call me by my first name. Interestingly, the majority of students still continue to call me "Dr." or "Professor" rather than using my first name. Even when I remind them to use my first name, they quickly fall back into the more hierarchical forms of address. Those students who refer to me by my first name are usually the most confident, intelligent, and inquisitive students in the class. They are not afraid of challenging my ideas and, therefore, learning more in class. They are not afraid of asking me to justify my assertions when they do not make sense to them. They do not merely accept what I tell them because I am the professor and therefore must be right. And I learn more from those students than from any of the more "respectful" and deferential ones. I think that demanding respect is often a way of refusing to deserve it. And it undermines ideas of equality and human autonomy.

Netty
post #53 of 68
jbcjmom wrote:

"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?"

No, really!

"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
post #54 of 68
I wrote
[quote]****I miss the days when children addressed adults as Mr. and Mrs. rather than by first names,****[/qoute]

Netty replied
Quote:
as a way of reminding children that they are less important and lower on the social ladder than adults?
Never once have I said that I feel that my children are less important than I or any other adult, nor have I said that they are lower on the social ladder.


I wrote
Quote:
****when children were taught to respect adults -- not to always question them. ****
Netty replied
Quote:
so that they will be unable to think for themselves as they get older and will, therefore, slavishly follow conventions rather than challenging them and living an authentic life?
First of all the key work in my sentance was "always." Perhaps if you had read carefully you would have seen that. I have no problem with my children questioning the authority of adults or others. I encourage them to question me because they often have good points that I may not have seen. I often change my mind when my children question me because they have shown me the situation in a different light. It is easy to get in your thinking. My children often open my eyes to new points of view. Sounds a little TCSish don't you think?

Do you really feel that by feeling that children should respect adults they will be unable to think for themselves and fail to live an "authentic" life (whatever that means.) Respect is a two way street. I also respect my children (contrary to what you must think). I also call my grandmother's friends by Mrs. because I feel that they deserve it. They have lived a long life full of experiences (my grandmother was born in 1911) that we will never know. They have knowledge in areas that thankfully we will never have to know. I think they deserve my respect. That doesn't mean that I don't question them. I question my "elders" all the time. Ask my mom, I'm sure she wishes that I didn't. I was raised "coersively" as you call it and there are few things that I don't question. Tacking Mr. or Mrs. to someone's name willl not stop me from questioning them or their ideas. If that is what you think, you must think I'm a real idiot stuck in the 50s.

I'm not going to respond to any of the other questions asked because I feel it is pointless. I have learned my lesson -- I am, after all, a terrible, coersive parent. I didn't realize that I was parenting wrong all this time.
post #55 of 68
Beth,

Your a lovely parent. From you past posts it sounds like you love your child and your always questioning and looking for the best answers. In my book - that's a good parent! I think the discussions get very intense over hear and sometimes things can be heard or writen in ways that can mean more than one thing - I think that's where the problums arise. So I'll say something direct to you - Your a GREAT mom!

I don't usually jump in here, but I'm really curious on this one.

I've always empowered my children with the word 'no'. If they don't want to kiss Aunt Ida, so be it. I've let them know that their body is personal and private. They get to decide what happens with it - they may say - or scream NO at anyone who doesn’t respect that. We try to let them know that adults aren’t big scary people who know everything.

However, I do think that children need to know certain adults are available for their experience. Just as they call us mom, dad, aunt, grandma. We like using Ms. and Mr. with a first name. I don't think my kids feel cohersed into calling them that and they actually like having a formal name on some adults.

I didn't always feel this way. I used to thing children should call people by their names. This theory evolved after having children and personal observations.

Ok (ducking my head) what do you think!
post #56 of 68
Beth, we all do coercive things in our parenting. For TCS folk, it is often out of ignorance- coercion that we haven't recognized yet. It's like the layers of an onion- a person realizes some coercion they hadn't previously seen, and figures out how not coerce around that issue. Then, another layer becomes obvious, and the learning goes on. I don't know that I"ll ever get to the end of learning about this. I don't expect to.

We could all take refuge in the 'I'm a horrible coercive parent, so why bother trying to change' mode. I'll bet every one of us feels that way, at times. I know I do. Parenting brings a new path for all of us. TCS parenting is an unblazed trail, to figure out ways to help children grow up without being coerced about life. It is a new path for me to figure out how to deal with myself, without involving coercion. It is a marvelous and moral way of doing things, which I find very freeing and empowering. YMMV

Just as children learn and grow by increments, from knowing nothing about living in the this world to becoming independent moral agents, so do those of us who are interested, learn and grow around how to live in non-coercive relationships. TCS is about the parent-child relationship, but it has vast implications about our relationships with our significant others and our extended families and our friends and co-workers and strangers in the shops with shopping carts .

IME, TCS theory raises red flags of disagreement for people. Examining the disagreement can bring a person to a better understanding of their motivations in life, whether they end up agreeing with TCS or not. Becoming more conscious of one's motivating forces, convinced of the rightness of what they are doing, is a good thing, isn't it? More power to ya.
post #57 of 68
Ah, dear Ms. Mom, our ever-present and ever-patient moderator.

"I've always empowered my children with the word 'no'. If they don't want to kiss Aunt Ida, so be it. I've let them know that their body is personal and private. They get to decide what happens with it - they may say - or scream NO at anyone who doesn’t respect that. "

Yeah, 'no' is a useful word, handy when letting others know about one's personal boundaries.

"We try to let them know that adults aren’t big scary people who know everything. "

Hmmm, though, try to convince some of those 'scary' adults that!

"However, I do think that children need to know certain adults are available for their experience."

By this, do you mean, available to share their knowledge and experience with the kids?

" Just as they call us mom, dad, aunt, grandma. We like using Ms. and Mr. with a first name. I don't think my kids feel cohersed into calling them that and they actually like having a formal name on some adults. "

I think- and this is my personal opinion, I don't know that TCS has an official 'stand' on this issue- that it is up to each person to establish what they want to be called by any other given person.

The title puts distance between people. In some situations, that might be appropriate. People I wish to distance from me, can call me Ms. (but since I have a hard-to-pronounce last name, most people go right to calling me by my first name, anyhow!). But, say, my children's friends are welcome to call me by my first name. I prefer to have a relationship with a health caregiver with whom I am on a first name basis, since we have an ongoing working relationship. But a specialist I consult once a year or every few years and who wants to stick with the formal protocal, I'll call Dr., no problem.

As we go through our days, we give our children explanations about why people call others by this or that title and what that signifiies, in our society. We personally live an informal life outside of most societal institutions, so we don't use much in the way of titles unless we are specifically asked to. The kids learn about it as they encounter it.

If kids are in school, they learn about the way society and the school and teachers expect kids to address the adults who work there. Same at churches and clubs and lessons and at the bank where there is a nameplate identifying the person working at the window or desk.

"I didn't always feel this way. I used to thing children should call people by their names. This theory evolved after having children and personal observations."

Using titles does seem to uphold an authority meme, which imo deserves to be examined. I'm not convinced that people deserve the respect and authority of a title automatically, by virtue of an age or job description. Purely imo, each human being deserves a modicum of respect simply by virtue of being a human being. From there, the respect a person is due depends upon how they conduct their self in life.

I am willing to give every person the benefit of the doubt, and offer respect out of good will. If using a title is part of that, fine by me. If a person insists on using a title, it gives me information about what they think is important in life and how we might disagree about that. In some people, I know to be wary from the start.

All these things and more are good things for children to learn about, over time and at their interest. IMO.
post #58 of 68
Beth,

I apologize for the tone of my last post to you. I realize now that it sounded accusatory, which was not my intention. My questions were meant to be provocative, but not *that* provocative

I think that everything we expect of children communicates an idea about their place in society and within a family. Because I am an advocate of children's rights, I try to get adults to consider their reasons for expecting certain things from children, which they would not expect from someone they considered their equal. To ask anyone to address us as Mr. Ms. Mrs. Dr. etc. is to highlight a difference in stature and social role. I can't think of any other reason for requesting this of anyone. If someone whom I considered my equal asked me to call them Mr., I know that I would feel offended by that request.

Speaking from my own experience, I was told to always address adults as Mr. and Mrs. as a child. To me, adults were part of an entirely different world than the one I lived in. To be honest, I was always a little frightened of adults. Perhaps that's just my own experience, but I can't help but think that being told to address adults as Mr. and Mrs. contributed to my sense of alienation and subordination.

As another example, my husband once told me a story about a time when he went out with a girl whose parents were rather intimidating. He was in his early twenties at the time. They didn't think my husband was good enough for this girl, and they did all they could to convey that to him. One time they were all driving somewhere in a car and chatting about this and that. At one point, my husband said to this girl's mother (and this is after they had been seeing each other for two years!), "Do you prefer I call you Mrs. [blank] or may I call you 'Emily'"? and the mother said, "Mrs. [blank] will do." Well. I'd say that was her attempt at "putting him in his place." And my husband was, quite understandably, humiliated and mortified (as was his girlfriend who became very angry at her mother for that!).

I'm not saying that you would be asking your children to address adults that way *in order to* put them in their place. I'm quite sure that isn't your intention at all! I was trying to point out that a request such as that conveys an attitude which you may not even be aware of, but which may nonetheless affect your children's sense of self and position.

Again, I apologize. I hope you will continue to join in this discussion. I have found your posts thought-provoking and respectfully critical and I would hate to think that my post has come across as simply provoking and critical (sans the thought and respect).

Netty

P.S. BTW, "authentic" is an existential term which refers to a fully conscious life, which one recognizes as being self-created every moment by every individual self. An "authentic" life is one which is true to both self and other at every moment of existence. There is a very good book entitled *Why We Do What We Do: Understanding Self-motivation* (by Edward Deci) which discusses this term in a very TCS-ish fashion. I *highly* recommend this book as a good introduction to a TCS way of thinking.
post #59 of 68
Quote:
I'm not going to respond to any of the other questions asked because I feel it is pointless. I have learned my lesson -- I am, after all, a terrible, coersive parent. I didn't realize that I was parenting wrong all this time.
Larsy, Ms Mom, and Netty,

Thank you all for your wonderful posts, but now it is my turn to apologize. Evidentally my sarcasm didn't come across in the post. You all replied with the utmost caring and concern. I know that I am a good mom to my children, and the crazy thing is that if you knew me, you would too. Although, I question the whole idea of TCS as a parenting theory you would find that my dh and I practice a lot of it's priciples everyday. The main problem that I have is the way TCS comes off to those who don't live the theory. It is very much an impression that we are right and if you do not practice our theory then you are wrong. If I were beating, sexually abusing, verbally abusing or phsychologically abusing my children I would be parenting in a way that nearly anyone would say was wrong, but the occasional dose of manipulation on my part does not make me a bad parent. But at times it feels that way when I read the TCS thread. I wish that TCS would acknowledge that TCS doesn't necessarily make a parent a good paarent, nor does it make a person a bad parent if they don't subscribe to the TCS theory.

As I said in my thank you thread, these discussions have really helped in getting myself back on track (especially after our stressful holidays) with my boys by reminding me what parenting young children is all about. I just get tired, at times, when the arguements turn solely to semantic issues that will never be 'solved' so to speak. TCS uses a language all of it's own -- not a flaw, just an observation. At times it makes some of us seem like we live to coerse our children, while when we read your examples, they often seem coersive to us. Maybe I just need to back down and not let the sematics bother me so much, but it gets wearing when I feel like the TCSers think me a bad parent when I know that my solutions to problems are often so similar to that of the TCSers that I could post on either side of the issue. I also have a tendency to play devil's advocate when I feel that I am not being heard. I am not anti-TCS. I just don't feel that practicing the theory to a "T" in our home would work, although I do appreciate what it strives for and I use it several times an hour.

Again, I apologize if I was misunderstood. I will try to be more patient and open minded to your views, and a little less of a zealot, if you can give me the same in return.

Truce???

Thanks again for your concern for my feelings. It was nice to know you cared.


post #60 of 68
Just an observation about names. Yes, certainly insisting that children (or others) use a title could be done in a way to 'put someone in their place'. But equally, it can simply be a cultural and social norm. In Britain it is common for children to address their parents' friends as Auntie X or Uncle Y. That is how we refer to our friends here in the US, although of course we asked them first if that felt comfortable to them.

Some of our friends here in the US have children who call me and my husband Mr and Mrs Y. That's fine by me. In no way is it meant as a status thing, it is simply cultural and it is what they do in their family. Just as Grandad is Grandad in the UK, but Grandpa here. If my children decide to drop the Auntie or Uncle, or to take up using Mr and Mrs when they are older, that's fine too. As long as it is agreed between the two parties, what is the issue?

It seems to me that you can jump to conclusions that anyone -particularly anyone who questions TCS theory - who follows social norms is therefore treating their child as a subordinate. 'Auntie X' could be seen in two lights - as an attempt to belittle the child, or as a term of endearment that stresses the special relationship (and trust) between the two parties. I would suggest that the truth lies in the relationship between the child and parent, and either 'Mrs Jones', 'Auntie Chris', or 'Chris.'

Edited to add: I have worked in schools where children address staff by first names and in schools where they use formal Mrs or Mr X. My relationships with children were no different. It is purely window dressing. I imagine makes some people feel that they are more approachable to the students if they are on first name terms. Relationships are built on much more than names, although I do think it is important that teachers use children's names whenever they address them. Interestingly, some of my students would switch between one form of address and another depending on the social situation when they spoke to me. I was comfortable with this. Just as I speak to dh differently when I'm with the in-laws!!
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