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What all is Non-negotiable? - Page 5

post #81 of 261
I really respect the impulse to parent 100% non-coercively. It sounds like an ideal to which I should aspire.

BUT - and here is the rub - it does not seem to make sense in light of what I know about how the brain develops, and the psychology of the growing child in general.

Those of you who are firmly non-coercive (is that an oxymoron? ) - what led you to this path? If you are a promoter of this "Taking Children Seriously" movement, are you a believer in the Objectivist philosophy underlying it?

I think that especially for people who were harmed in childhood, something called "taking children seriously" is very attractive. It speaks to what we DIDN'T get growing up - no one took us seriously. However, when you look at the actual movement, it is just Ayn Rand for kids. And I find Objectivism to be completely unrealistic, among other things.

One of the basic tenets of TCS is that children are rational beings. Umm, hello??? ADULTS are not rational beings. Look around you. Is the world we live in rational? Are resources allocated rationally? Do you behave more rationally than not? I don't.

'Rationality', besides being in the eye of the beholder (I think I am paraphrasing a Virginia Woolf quote on this one) is but a part of our human nature. It does not seem that believing that we and our children are 100%, or even preponderantly, rational is in harmony with embracing our full humanity.

So those are some of my thoughts as I read countless threads on this forum to get a sense of where I want to go as a parent. Intentional parenting, yes. Gentle parenting, yes. But parenting with the belief and expectation that both I and my child can behave rationally and in mutually acceptable ways, in all situations? That doesn't even make sense to me.

I think I have more to say but of course, I have a little DD who needs me! I just wanted to add my $.2 and maybe get an answer to these questions that are bugging me about TCS.

Elizabeth
post #82 of 261
Quote:
Umm, hello??? ADULTS are not rational beings. Look around you. Is the world we live in rational? Are resources allocated rationally? Do you behave more rationally than not? I don't
...and that is what rubs me the wrong way about parents. They will admit that in one sentence, then in the next wax poetic about how they are their child's authority on what is rational and just. To me, children are often more rational than adults in many situations. Adults just see certain behaviors as irrational and I find it worthy of mentioning that usually the child's "irrational" behavior is the opposite of the parents' agenda at that given moment

ETA: consensual living is not TCS. Though I find TCS facinating and do agree with *some* of its philosophy, it is not the same as living consensually.
post #83 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.
Pat, I bear you no ill will, but it's statements like this that diminish my enjoyment of visiting MDC. I come to MDC for interesting discussions. I enjoy lively and even heated debate. But when it gets into comments that imply that "If you don't believe what I believe and do what I do then your children are suffering," well, that really, really turns me off. The thing that unites us all on MDC is our desire to be the best parents we can be. If someone else's (or many people's) sincere efforts to do that are actually sucking the joy out of your life, well, to me what that means is that you are not very open to other people's differing ideas and lifestyles, not that you have found a superior way to parent.

Namaste!
post #84 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain crunchy
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.
First I would like to say that one way in which this is no accurate comparison is because unlike with parenting. Even owners who are crate training animals acknowledge that this is something they are doing for their own convenience. and except in the case of a young puppy who is chewing and can seriously harm himself by eating inadvisable things when unattended, this is not an issue of what is best for the dog, but best for the owner.
In addition can we TRULY objectively say that the dog woudl be happier?
One reason for crate training in the first place is that dogs are den animals. They prefer to rest and sleep in small enclosed spaces, they feel safer.
And they also sleep much of the day.
So while they certainly would not choose to be locked in all day and all night every day, we may overestimate how much they dislike this treatment based on our own biases.
And even usign the "despite the fact" that children are coerced etcetera relies on the presumption that coercion is by default negative. Perhaps children are happy "because of the fact" .

I for one dont think my childrne are happy, joyful and well adjusted "despite" the fact that I am coercive. Any more than they are happy, joyful and well adjusted "despite" the fact that I have brown hair. Or despite the fact that they have siblings.
post #85 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by sledg
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.
ITA with every word of that Pat
post #86 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nora'sMama
However, when you look at the actual movement, it is just Ayn Rand for kids. And I find Objectivism to be completely unrealistic, among other things.

get an answer to these questions that are bugging me about TCS.
I don't care for Ayn Rand OR TCS but we still choose to live consensually because it is what works best for our family. I do find my children to be incredibly rational so I guess we differ there.
post #87 of 261
Pat -

Quote:
"...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."
It is precisely because my dc have faith, respect, and trust in me that makes living with them consensually highly possible. Of course they understand I have more life experience and knowledge. They do not need to be forced into that role, they have accepted this as real and true from birth without the 'proof' of force.

One reason not to force a child against their will would be so they don't have unnecessary, unwelcome feelings they would not otherwise have- like feeling aggression towards their mother. What child would want to feel agressive towards their mother? There lies a possible tangled mess of inner emotions for being forced to do something- anger, aggression, guilt, shame, etc. I challenge everyone here to truly think how they would feel if forced to do something- TRULY to theirselves and give me a reason why their child wouldn't experience something similar. I find it hard to believe there is anyone who is okay with being forced by threats, intimidation, or physical force to the point that they would not feel angry ar agressive about it.

What if you empty your mind of 'the poopy diaper HAS to get changed' -like thoughts. Of course the poopy diaper has to be removed if there is a child who was in a diaper and pooped, we all know that. BUT if your mind is emptied of 'this HAS to be done' you will likely be more open to alternatives besides force if and when a child refuses IN THAT MOMENT.
post #88 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissRubyandKen
I find it hard to believe there is anyone who is okay with being forced by threats, intimidation, or physical force to the point that they would not feel angry ar agressive about it.

What if you empty your mind of 'the poopy diaper HAS to get changed' -like thoughts. Of course the poopy diaper has to be removed if there is a child who was in a diaper and pooped, we all know that. BUT if your mind is emptied of 'this HAS to be done' you will likely be more open to alternatives besides force.
Frankly, I'm not seeing the "threats, intimidation or physical force" when I read threads here. Okay, sometimes I read about physical force as a last resort.

Truly, the mamas I see here at MDC are all about finding ways of not reaching the point of force. No mama wants to force her kids. No one here wants to use threats or intimidation. We're all on the same page here. We want to work with our kids.

You know, I do think in terms of "the poopy diaper must be changed so my child doesn't get a rash" and immediately thereafter I think "how can I help my child agree to being changed, what would make it acceptable to her so that she willingly cooperates."

This is where I am so very confused. I don't see two warring factions here. I see moms who think they are the leaders or guides of their children, who also want to find ways of cooperating with their children (sort of "leaving the diaper on is not agreeable to me (as the mother) and I do not believe it is truly agreeable to my child (she doesn't understand she'll get a rash and if she did she wouldn't want to leave the diaper on) so I'm going to work with my child to find a way to change the diaper in a way that is okay with her). I see moms who talk about living consensually and finding mutually agreeable solutions-finding solutions that both the child and parent find acceptable and which both participate in willingly. I am honestly not seeing the difference between the two. So either I am very stupid, or people are not explaining themselves well.

Officially frustrated.
post #89 of 261
Quote:
This is where I am so very confused. I don't see two warring factions here. I see moms who think they are the leaders or guides of their children, who also want to find ways of cooperating with their children (sort of "leaving the diaper on is not agreeable to me (as the mother) and I do not believe it is truly agreeable to my child (she doesn't understand she'll get a rash and if she did she wouldn't want to leave the diaper on) so I'm going to work with my child to find a way to change the diaper in a way that is okay with her). I see moms who talk about living consensually and finding mutually agreeable solutions-finding solutions that both the child and parent find acceptable and which both participate in willingly. I am honestly not seeing the difference between the two. So either I am very stupid, or people are not explaining themselves well.
Truly I have thought on this myself and wondered if we are all saying basically the same thing. But why would someone argue against not using force if they have no intention of using force? I admit I am confused too. And I THINK we all are against threats and intimidation as force. So why argue against the idea of living consensually if you are opposed to using force? Just in case there is a tough moment and one feels they MUST use force or because some truly believe it is their right and duty to their children to use force if it is 'for their own good' even though there is likely an alternative?
post #90 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by sledg
Frankly, I'm not seeing the "threats, intimidation or physical force" when I read threads here. Okay, sometimes I read about physical force as a last resort.
Here is one recent thread to give you an idea.

http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=403335
post #91 of 261
I don't think we are saying the same things at all. I think we all love our children and I *think* we can all agree that we have decided to employ gentle methods in interacting with them. That is where the crossroads comes in.

I maintain that mutually agreeable solutions can almost always be found and I enter every single interaction with my child with that intention and determination to find it -- if a mutually agreeable solution can't be found at the moment...my rule is "doubt means don't" ... it is not worht a power struggle, or worse, resorting to force for things like brushing teeth or whatever. Barring CLEAR CUT cases of life or death, a decision doesn't have to be made that minute, or in that situation and can always be revisited.

More authoritative parents (or how I read it anyway) are all for being gentle with their children, but when it comes down to a decision between what a child may need or want or what the parent feels is best for them (if it happens to conflict), the parent is the final authority .. and force will be used if necessary.. even if that force is *gentle*.
post #92 of 261
Yes to CC's post.

I also sense that there is a different level of "trust" in kids abilities to reason and understand, hence the notion of limiting the allowable freedom of choice in fear (strong word, sorry!) that the choice made by a child will be a "wrong" one or "unacceptable" (by whom?) one.

Reading posts here and from my own experience I am often surprised by the choices my and others kids make/made when TRULLY given freedom to do so.

Food comes to mind - in our household it was never held as anything but means for not going hungry, so complete freedom there. "Even" my 5 yo is making healthy choices

(I know I am throwing ideas all over the place here, excuse my messy process of "realizing through analyzing" of my parenting. Much of it was/is done intuitively so I never took time to really take it apart and verbalize it)
post #93 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by irinam
Yes to CC's post.

I also sense that there is a different level of "trust" in kids abilities to reason and understand, hence the notion of limiting the allowable freedom of choice in fear (strong word, sorry!) that the choice made by a child will be a "wrong" one or "unacceptable" (by whom?) one.

Reading posts here and from my own experience I am often surprised by the choices my and others kids make/made when TRULLY given freedom to do so.

Food comes to mind - in our household it was never held as anything but means for not going hungry, so complete freedom there. "Even" my 5 yo is making healthy choices

(I know I am throwing ideas all over the place here, excuse my messy process of "realizing through analyzing" of my parenting. Much of it was/is done intuitively so I never took time to really take it apart and verbalize it)
Exactly.

Scuba, I hope you are not really gone
post #94 of 261
What is the difference between TCS and consensual living? (Or should I start a new thread?)

I'm learning.
post #95 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nora'sMama
What is the difference between TCS and consensual living? (Or should I start a new thread?)

I'm learning.
I'd maybe start a new thread, if you don't get many answers here. And while you're at it, if you'd add "non-coercive parenting" to that too, I'd appreciate it

I'd be interested in that discussion, though I wouldn't have much to add.
post #96 of 261
Quote:
So those are some of my thoughts as I read countless threads on this forum to get a sense of where I want to go as a parent. Intentional parenting, yes. Gentle parenting, yes. But parenting with the belief and expectation that both I and my child can behave rationally and in mutually acceptable ways, in all situations? That doesn't even make sense to me.
I am not perfect or 100 percent anything in ALL situations, I can still strive for it though and not say I believe the use of force is necessary, my right, or my duty 'for their own good'.

As far as a child's ability to reason- I will believe no amount of RESEARCH telling me ANYTHING. I will believe what I see in front of my eyes in my life. At one point researchers believed people were either left or right brained now they say people are both. At one point researchers believed the human brain was done developing at age three now they say the human brains is making and pruning connections and therefore developing throughout life. At one point researchers said eggs, milk, red meat, etc etc etc was bad for you then good then bad then good again. Well maybe not that many times but my point is what is research if I don't feel it is true in my heart or witness it first hand? It definitely is not something I will mindfully allow to influence my parenting.
post #97 of 261
Regarding research, I hear you on the way things seem to "flip-flop" over the years as they learn more. BUT there are certain facts of physiology that aren't going to change. One of them being that our limbic brain, in charge of "gut" reactions (i.e. the opposite of the prefrontal cortex, where "rationality" is situated) is a very important player in human behavior, child, adult, any culture, any human, it doesn't matter. This isn't to say that we should give up on being more "rational" (if that is a goal we value), only to say that it is not a realistic goal to expect human beings to consistently make choices and behave according to "logic", or what would logically be best for all concerned.

But here I am substituting the word "logic" for "rationality", and it occurs to me that maybe part of the problem is the words we're using. LOGIC and REASON are words I use interchangeably, and I'm thinking back to the Enlightenment, when these attributes of the mind came to be particularly valued. Perhaps in this thread when people are using the words "reason" and "rational" they are meaning something slightly different than "logical". If so, please tell me what you're thinking when you use these words.

I have to go but maybe I will start a thread later asking for clarification of the different philosophies which seem to have non-coerciveness as a central tenet.

Elizabeth

Note that I edited my first paragraph because I left out some crucial words that changed my thought...in case you read this in the notification e-mail.
post #98 of 261
Quote:
What is the difference between TCS and consensual living? (Or should I start a new thread?)

I'm learning.
definitions
Here is a recent thread about definitions on different philosophies. I know close to nothing about TCS personally. I think there is a link to a website about TCS in this thread though.
post #99 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissRubyandKen
definitions
Here is a recent thread about definitions on different philosophies. I know close to nothing about TCS personally. I think there is a link to a website about TCS in this thread though.

Oh, thank you!
post #100 of 261
I don't know that I strive to be completely non-coercive, or consentual. But in everyday reality, there is very little (if any) coersion going on in our lives. I try to find mutually agreeable, or consentual ways to do things.
The reason that I try to live this way, is that I respect how my ds feels and thinks. I care about his desires and opinions. I don't necessarily believe that he's "rational" or capable of making a rational decision every time on his own.

I believe that kids are innately social, and that they want to do the acceptable thing. They need guidance to do so, many times. But guidance doesn't have to come in the form of force or coersion (and obviously not punishment). As a matter of fact, I think that kids learn less if they are being coerced, than if they have the opportunity to see the situation without the added feelings that coersion likely introduces.
I agree with what MissRubyandKen was saying a while back- kids are better able to follow the guidance of their parents if they don't have to deal with past coersion, power struggles, etc etc. (I know I'm not saying that well, but hopefully I made my point ) (I'll add that I don't think a small amount of coersion is inherently damaging for the long term.)

Just wanted to put out there that I don't think all "non coercers" believe kids are "rational."
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