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What all is Non-negotiable? - Page 4

post #61 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by maya44
Well what do you mean by "force." It is pretty broadly defined by some here to mean telling your child they are expected to do something with no negotiation.

By that definition I do/did "force" my kids to do things on a daily basis including get in the car seat, sit at the table, pick up toys, clean their rooms, take a bath etc...

What I didn't do was invest much force into my force. There were seldom consequences for not doing what I asked except a reminder that this is what was expected of them. (Though I did gently place recalcitrent children in car seats when a sibling needed to be picked up on a tight schedule)
I don't necessarily see this as force- "telling your child they are expected to do something with no negotiation." And I agree with what MissRubyandKen said in response to it.
I think that expectations are a completely different thing. Especially when there are no bribes, threats, physical force, no consequences for choosing otherwise, etc. Which, ultimately, leaves the choice up to the kid. That's the way your posts read, anyways. I'm guessing that they choose to do the "acceptable" thing most of the time.
Not everything has to be negotiable to be considered non-coercive, imo. Or consentual.

Tbh, I don't think that falls under force at all. Have you read TCC? They have a lot of expectations for their kids, but they don't coerce anyone to do anything (as far as the book says). The kids do what is expected, because it's expected. Not "I expect you to x" which implies that you don't really expect they would do x unless told to do so. But they just expect that their kids WILL do the socially acceptable thing.
post #62 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by irinam
One is not better or worse than another.
I wish everyone here believed that. Or at least acted like they did.

Namaste!
post #63 of 261
Bolding is my emphasis
Quote:
Originally Posted by irinam
I think the difference in our opinions on the particulars of GD (as I saw in many threads about coercive/non-coercive, and this negotiable/non-negotiable thread) come from the difference in one of our core believes.

It seems that some of us firmly believe that no matter what, the parent is, how shall I say it, the head figure in family life. Yes, the parent will be gentle, considerate and respectful. Yes, the parent will attentively hear child’s point of view. Yes, the parent will go great length to educate him/herself on many subjects as pertains to parenting. But at the end of the day, it is the parent that will make a final decision and if need be, impose this decision on the kids because he/she felt it was best. Kinda “benevolent ruler” if you will

Then there are others that believe that the family is a homogenous entity, where albeit the parent has more experience, knowledge, physical strength, he/she is an equal “part of the clan”.

One is not better or worse than another. Just some of us identify ourselves as former and some as latter
irinam, I think this is a REALLY good observation.
post #64 of 261
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by irinam
One is not better or worse than another. Just some of us identify ourselves as former and some as latter
I guess it depends on if you are the parent or the child to wheather one's opinion agrees with this statement or not. The child's perception makes it so, not just intent of the parent.

It has been with a heavy heart that I have read about the extensive use of coercion, rules enforcement, non-negotiation and ignoring a child's emotional expressions of dissent that are repeatedly condoned on this site. I try to see how and why this prevails, and I do see that some choose to live as the one who makes the rules and others choose to honor the autonomy of the individual to make decisions about their own body. I will forever contest others usurping the right of the child or another to decide for himself. And some try to find a cooperative way, until they get frustrated, impatient and default to force to get their way.

But, seeing these parenting philosophies advocated, espoused and embraced is sucking the joy out of the life that I *choose* to live without the use of coercion and force.

Gotta go.

Pat
post #65 of 261
Quote:
And some try to find a cooperative way, until they get frustrated, impatient and default to force to get their way.
You know, the way you phrase this makes it sound like the things in question are just things the parent selfishly wants. It's like you think we're all holding our kids down to force them to wear the green hairbow, not the blue one, because we think it looks cuter.

Yes, at times I default to force to "get my way" if "my way" is "making sure my child is safe and healthy." It is not about a power struggle and wanting to "win."

If it this board sucks the life out of you solely because not everyone here is completely noncoercive/TCS, perhaps another site where everyone IS noncoercive would be a better place for you. I'm not saying this snarkily. But I don't think this board will ever be 100% noncoercive/TCS, and I think it is unproductive to bemoan the fact that it is not.
post #66 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by ambdkf
I don't think of treating someone as an 'adult' or as a 'child', I try to treat people how they want to be treated. It has never been an issue here.
Yet I see a difference. A child might want to be allowed to run across the parking lot and an adult might want the same thing.
However because we care for and love our child and are responsible for them we might intervene, but if our spouse or friend were running around a parking lot we would respect their freedom (and responsibility to keep themselves alive)
Both want to be treated with respect to their freedom and personal autonomy. But I certainly would not treat them the same.
So yes, I think that respect is treating someone as they want to be treated. HOwever I think that there are limits to how that can be acommodated for children.
post #67 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by johub
Yet I see a difference. A child might want to be allowed to run across the parking lot and an adult might want the same thing.
I seriously doubt a child has a burning desire to "run across a parking lot" they might, however, have a strong desire to run and you might happen to be in a parking lot. So, we would talk about what is happening in the parking lot and find a safe way to have the need met. Dh has never wanted to run across a parking lot either - but I would also explain to him that it might not be the best spot

It boils down to a belief that kids are rational beings. I understand that hasn't been your experience with your children. I'm just saying it has been and continues to be the experience I have had with my two very different dds - both are rational and neither has a death wish. Even my dd that regularly climbs 30 feet up the tree out front
post #68 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by scubamama
I guess it depends on if you are the parent or the child to wheather one's opinion agrees with this statement or not. The child's perception makes it so, not just intent of the parent.
Good point. May be that is why I always identified myself as "latter" (part-of-the-clan type of parent)?

However I did see very good points made by "the other side" (for the lack of better definition) and learned from mamas insights.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scubamama
I do see that some choose to live as the one who makes the rules and others choose to honor the autonomy of the individual to make decisions about their own body.
Another good point and interesting restatement of what I said. Would like to think more about it / read thoughts of others on this
post #69 of 261
I have been thinking about this thread so much, and I happened to read some words of Thich Nhat Hanh's that pretty much sums up how I think about being a parent and being part of a family: "...because if you are a teacher and you have much more experience and insight, your vote has more value than the vote of a novice who has not got much insight and experience...we have done that with a lot of success in our community, because the younger and less experienced people always have faith and respect toward the elder ones." This resonates with me so deeply. I have great respect for those with more experience, more information, more knowledge regarding something than I have. Those who go before us often do have more insight, and with their insight and experience do make better or more fully informed decisions than those of us with less experience. Not always, to be sure, but often. And I think this applies to the parent-child relationship. Children, without question, do have less experience and insight to bring to life and decision making-as they grow they gain more.

I am not at all interested in turning my family into a mini dictatorship, where dh and I make all the decisions without consideration of our children. I do put a lot of time and effort into taking into consideration the needs, feelings, preferences and desires of my children. I do put a lot of time and effort into including them in many of the day to day decisions we must make, I do put a lot of time and effort into trying to make our days and decisions comfortable for all of us and to making decisions and plans that will meet everyone's needs-the children's needs and the adult's needs.

I also believe that part of respecting my children is respecting the fact that solely because of their age, not because of their inherent worth as people, my children have more limited information, more limited knowledge and insight, more limited experience, more limited understanding, and more limited decision-making skills than I or my husband. My children are every bit as valuable as people as any adult. My children are every bit as deserving of respect and compassion as any adult. However, my children are not equipped to make many of the decisions about life that must be made-not on their own. They need guidance. In other words, because of my greater experience and insight my vote "counts" more. Not because I am omniscient, not because I'm worth more, not because I am infallible, but simply because I know and understand more and am better able to make certain decisions and judgments.

As an example, I do not believe it is at all respectful to my child to allow them to wear a dirty diaper until they get a rash because they don't want to take the diaper off. My child who is still in diapers cannot understand fully the consequence of the decision to wear the dirty diaper, that consequence being a rash (which for my children are painful). I do believe that simply allowing my child to wear a dirty diaper until she has a rash is not respecting her bodily integrity. I do believe it is possible most of the time to remove the diaper from a reluctant child without force. I want nothing more than to avoid using force with my children, and the vast majority of the time I am able to do so. I am able to engage in daily living without the use of coercion or punishment or manipulation or rewards-but that doesn't mean that I don't have rules or expectations or that sometimes my kids do things that they really don't want so much to do. We are able to cooperate well enough, the vast majority of the time, to live happily and peacefully together while meeting everyone's needs. Have I ever used force or coercion? Yes, but not until I had made exhaustive effort to avoid it and I have never taken it lightly. I'm human, so it has happened. I don't think any mom her takes the use of force or coercion lightly, I think we all do our best to avoid it. Being human, we don't always. (I also don't think the terms "force" and "coercion" really fit what a lot of moms here actually do.)

As a parent I must make what seems like a thousand decisions a day, including the decision of what kind of and how much input into each decision is appropriate for my children to have. I put a great deal of care and thought into including my children in the decisions that affect them. I do a great deal of talking with my children. I do a lot of learning right along with my children. I strive always for cooperation, I always expect to be able to find a way for us all to cooperate, and most of the time I am successful in finding cooperation. But there are times when I am better equipped to make a final decision than my child is, there are times when it is my responsibility to protect my child's health and well-being, and there are things I wish my child to learn. I am not infallible, I do know this. But I am my children's guide and I am doing the best that I can. My children are happy. I don't think that's too terrible.
post #70 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by irinam
I think the difference in our opinions on the particulars of GD (as I saw in many threads about coercive/non-coercive, and this negotiable/non-negotiable thread) come from the difference in one of our core believes.

It seems that some of us firmly believe that no matter what, the parent is, how shall I say it, the head figure in family life. Yes, the parent will be gentle, considerate and respectful. Yes, the parent will attentively hear child’s point of view. Yes, the parent will go great length to educate him/herself on many subjects as pertains to parenting. But at the end of the day, it is the parent that will make a final decision and if need be, impose this decision on the kids because he/she felt it was best. Kinda “benevolent ruler” if you will

Yes. This is eactly how I parent. I don't make rules or "coerce" (in the sense of being the rule maker) because I am frustrated or tired.

This is the way I run my family. I believe with all my heart that it is what is best for my child. That they need to grow over time in their judgment/decision making and impulse control abilites and that it is my job to provide these things for them until they do.

There are many things I believe can and should be negotiated and that list grows and grows as my children get older. But there are some that I do not believe should be and those deicsions reamin for us non-negotiable.

I am gentle in that while I make the rules I certainly consider my child's thoughts and feelings. And I don't use consequences to enforce those rules unless it seems necessary (to me) to protect their person or the person or property of another.

But my rules/expectations do not go away.

I am sad that Subamama feels that this way of parenting, which is the way I was parented and which brought joy to my life and appears to be bringing great joy to my children's lives somehow effects her joy.
post #71 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by scubamama
But, seeing these parenting philosophies advocated, espoused and embraced is sucking the joy out of the life that I *choose* to live without the use of coercion and force.
Maybe now would be a good time to let you know that I come here to work out things on a more philosophical level and for "intellectual entertainment" as Piglet put it. Often times, when I'm working out the issue of coercion, it's on this level and it may appear that I have more tendencies towards this than what is actually going on between my child and myself.

I am also often very confused regarding the issue of force. I'm not sure if we're talking about physical force or "cognitive manipulation" as you put it recently. The issue of cognitive manipulation is VERY complex for me. For instance, I don't understand what is significant about the difference between not exposing your child (censoring, imo) to some unwanted thing and just not letting them have it.

We're also dealing with all of our perceptions of ourselves. I, personally, see myself as very coercive and manipulative and I come here to work out those issues. I don't think this is an accurate way to describe myself ~ it's just what I choose to work on. If my goal was to be more authoritative or controlling, you might see me talking more about how "permissive" or how burdened I feel by having to find common preferences with my child.

Why do I say that? Because you seem to feel really badly about what you read here and it's important to me that you know that, at least for me, you're only seeing a limited part of how I process parenting.

But then I struggle with this because I am not able to live the live I would like to live. I'm a little jealous that you are able to find a way to live a non-coercive life with your family. The culture where I live is messed up and that is really sad to me and it gets in the way of many, many of my ideals. And, it makes me a little mad to read that that you're feeling sucked of joy to read about my challanges.
post #72 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by scubamama
I guess it depends on if you are the parent or the child to wheather one's opinion agrees with this statement or not. The child's perception makes it so, not just intent of the parent.
And those of us who know our children, and live with them and hold them and love them and listen to them and understand them are in a pretty good position to be aware of this for our own children I believe.
post #73 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by scubamama
But, seeing these parenting philosophies advocated, espoused and embraced is sucking the joy out of the life that I *choose* to live without the use of coercion and force.

Gotta go.

Pat
I'm sorry that you're letting the way other people choose to live their lives suck the joy out of yours...I don't let other people's lifestyle choices affect me that way.

What troubles me is that while you espouse being very tolerant towards your child's opinions, desires, and needs, you seem pretty intolerant towards others and unwilling to explore the possibilty that any lifestyle other than what *you* believe in could be a loving, respectful family and result in well adjusted, independent, generous, happy individuals.

I can speak from the experience of my childhood, and state to you unequivocally that though I was sometimes coerced in my early childhood, my parents were very gentle, loving, respectful parents and I have grown up to be a fulfilled adult with no residual issues.

I also still believe that if we all lived in each others' households for a few days, we'd see that ourlives are much more similar than different.

I hope you can somehow come to peace with the fact that not everyone is going to parent or live their life like you, but that doesn't mean that they aren't living gently and lovingly.
post #74 of 261
My mil and sil have two little dogs. They are sweet and cute and loving. However, they are *crate-trained* which I don't believe in but that is another post. They spend all their time in their tiny cages when my mil and sil are out and then they are let out for a couple of hours when they are home, then when it is time for bed they are put in their little cages for 9 hours at night.

When we visit, they seem happy and loving and run around and let you pet them and lick you and all that.

That life is all they know. Would they be happier if they were allowed to run and play and be free in the home all day and night and allowed to lay where they wish and walk where they wish? I imagine they would.

I am not saying that parents here keep their children in cages, but I am using the analogy because I see many parents say how happy and healthy and well adjusted their kids are despite the fact that they are forced to do certain things and coerced and despite the fact that they know their place in the home as being under the authority of their parents. Would they be happier if they were not coerced at all? Who knows? I can only speculate on how I feel when I feel like I am being coerced or forced or told what to do.
post #75 of 261
sledg,

post #76 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by loraxc
sledg,

:
post #77 of 261
I love Pat and I love her passion for children everywhere. It is honestly beautiful to witness. I just shared a story with her on the phone and for some reason think maybe it would help here.

We are unschoolers, as most of you know, and on the unschooling boards there is the phenomena of people creating this unschooling composite family and then finding that they don’t measure up. In this composite family the dd just wrote a symphony and the ds biked across the nation raising money for charity while the other dd wrote and published her first novel – you get the idea. Well, no one family can live up to this. These are individual accomplishments that span multiple families and multiple years. So we remind the newbies to focus on the every day joy and trust their children.

I think a similar thing happens here. Here we have a composite family that is coercive  No one family on MDC is anywhere NEAR as coercive as this composite family. No one family – forces the stroller, car seat, toothbrush, vegetables, coat wearing, diaper changing, sleeping, etc., etc. every day. These are all moments in time of families that are struggling with individual issues.

Would I love to see the responses all be – listen to you child, find a common preference – heck yes!! BUT I see so many intentional parents that are crazy about their kids. Unfortunately, in the scheme of things that is pretty rare. So while, we (CL parents) get frustrated with the “other side” and the “other side” gets frustrated with us – it isn’t something that should suck joy  If it is then maybe it is time for a break and some fresh air. MDC will still be here and there will be a new toothbrushing and “back talking” threads next week/month –

I’m not trying to be trite. I really think we are a lot closer than we think. I think we polarize for discussion purposes and that can get dicey.

OK, I’m rambling and may not even have a point but I’m going to hit submit anyway –
post #78 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain crunchy
can only speculate on how I feel when I feel like I am being coerced or forced or told what to do.
You make such an excellent point here and I really want to remark on it.
I feel the exact same way and I would venture to bet that our temperaments are very different. And what you feel when beign coerced and forced or told what to do is likely very different from how I feel in the same situation.
And as you anticipate your children will likely feel similarly to the way you do, I imagine we all likely project those feelings in a similar way.
Thankfully, while it is no guarantee, our childrens temperaments do have a genetic base so hopefully it is more likely that our children will have more similar temperaments to us than different. (of course it depends 50% on the temperament of dad too!) In which case those of us who imagine how our child would feel based on how WE would feel are more likely to be right based on our own children than with the general population.
(although as is the case with my oldest, her temperament is a 180 from mine and that does make it a challenge to even imagine how she might feel. My best bet is to think "how would I feel" and then guess the opposite! )

Thank you for raising such an excellent point on how our own personality and temperament plays into this.
post #79 of 261
Quote:
Thank you for raising such an excellent point on how our own personality and temperament plays into this
I think temperment plays a big role, and I strive to be non-coercive in the event that our daughter has a spirit like mine. If she has a spirit like my sister's, there would be no need really to strive to be non-coercive, because her spirit is such that she is so agreeable and easygoing and go with the flow kind of personality -- that being non-coercive would be an absolute breeze with her. Mom says "sweetie, we are going to the store can you please put your shoes on?" and sis says "sure sounds good!"

That is how some children's temperment's are and if you have children like that, then there is little need to even mull over coerciveness because by mere default you are never really coercing them because they are so generally agreeable....

That is where the paradox is. If you have a child with a spirit like mine, an independent, thinking, questioning, "I wanna do it myseeeelllf" type of personality, coercion and force is going to be hell of a lot more of a struggle than striving to live consensually. Everything becomes a power struggle or has the tendency to... so why would someone willingly set themselves up for that? The other alternative, which my parents employed, was to be tougher, more strict, more punitive... which didn't work out too well either because as soon as I got out from under their control I did whatever I wanted anyway -- and I think participated in much more destructive behavior than I otherwise would have.

So, if my daughter has my sister's temperment, parenting should be a breeze in many respects. "Honey, do you want to brush your teeth?" "Okay!!" (runs for toothbrush)....but if my daughter has the spirit I have, "honey do you want to brush your teeth?" would be met with "I don't wanna, why, I am doing something right now, I don't feel like it, why do I have to, can I do it tomorrow, I hate my toothbrush, who invented toothbrushes, what ingredients are in toothpaste, what are toothbrushes made of, let me finish building my castle...." ... and I am so much more in favor of working with her, than against her and forcing her to do something against her will.

To me that accomplishes what I want in the short term, but is damaging in the long term...
post #80 of 261
I believe, as others have stated, that it is vitally important to remember that what we read here at MDC always represents only a small slice of any family's life-and even then it's an inadequate representation that does not allow the reader full understanding of that slice of life. Personally, I can never write a post that accurately and fully represents my thoughts or any given situation. I imagine it's the same for everyone else here. Communication is tricky enough between two people in person, it's much more tricky among many people via the internet.

I think it is also vitally important to remember that each parent who posts on this board has only the best of intentions for their child. I think that each parent who posts here also has good intentions toward their fellow parents and the children of their fellow parents. Though our ideas may differ, I don't think our goals differ all that much. We want to help each other, we want to be helped, we want to do what's best for our children.

I think that at times we all end up in the midst of communication that isn't working terribly well, and we find ourselves feeling misunderstood and misunderstanding others. We cling to our ideas steadfastly at times, and it affects how we understand the people with whom we are communicating.

I want to reach out to Pat right now, who is hurting, and say that I am very grateful for the opportunity to hear her ideas. I think Pat wants nothing more than to promote peaceful family living and a peaceful society. It is not always easy to hear what others have to say, and it is not always easy to communicate in ways that might allow others to open up to our ideas and thoughts in ways that lead to satisfying discussion. I admire Pat's willingness to share her ideas and her willingness to invite us to engage in discussion. I may not always understand what Pat is trying to say (meaning, I don't feel I have any understanding of what life in Pat's home looks like), and I may not always agree (more often, I just don't know if I agree) but I am always grateful for the opportunity to hear what she has to say. I am truly sorry your heart is so heavy right now. You have an amazing vision of the peace that is possible in the world.

I admire every mother who comes to this board to bare her soul, to share her ideas, to offer to others what support and help she is able. This is a wonderful community. Even when we disagree.
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