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TCS Discussion 4

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 
Just opening the new thread. Carry on!
post #2 of 56

Re: TCS Discussion 4

Originally posted by Ms. Mom
Carry on!
You wouldn't be trying to Coerce anyone, would you?

Thanks Ms. Mom for all your efforts!

post #3 of 56
Thread Starter 
LOL :LOL Your too funny! Like YOU could be Cohersed into ANYTHING against your will!!!
post #4 of 56
lunarmama wrote:

"Something is missing here. This feels devoid of soul, of life force. It feels robotic to me. It is a mental excercise for those who can keep up, but leaves most mums way out of the picture. "

That's a pity. TCS is a philosophy that is changing how many people live, including moms and dads and children as well as others who are not parents but wish to interact with children non-coercively.

I think what is different is looking at life from a rational viewpoint, that this is what can seem 'Stepford Parent'ish, sort of like Mr. Spock in the original Star Trek- 'Love is illogical, captain'. But it's not like that.

There is nothing inherently wrong with feelings and instincts and spirituality, but I think we benefit from critiquing them through reason. There are times that feelings and instincts can be wrong, because they arise out of an irrationality.

Think about anger. There are times when anger is an appropriate response, like when someone is intentionally harming you. There is anger that arises out of frustration from not being able to solve a problem.

A person can learn to avoid anger in response to a problem by becoming better at solving problems so that it doesn't have to get to the point where the parties involved become frustrated and erupt into anger. TCS theory offers ideas about what to do in the face of conflict

Most- all?- of us have bad ideas that we picked up while growing up, that cause us to feel and act in ways that, when we think about them in the light of reason, we regret. The more we can realize this and think about it, the more rational we become.

We are still creatures of emotion and instinct and spirituality. But we can wield our emotions and spirituality more appropriately.
post #5 of 56

Reponse to JW (painting)

****I hope you continue in this way, Netty. I feel that had you started out this way, there would have been far fewer problems between us. What I appreciate is sensible solutions. What I have reacted to is what I saw as hypothetical theory ramming which makes it look like some proselytisation drive.. And I think that is what others here might have reacted to as well. ****

I simply respond to the questions or comments people offer. If someone asks a theoretical question, I will answer it theoretically (though I often try to include an example for clarification --though, as we've discovered, sometimes the examples end up causing more confusion! LOL). Practical questions are often trickly and I am careful not to invade my children's privacy when offering ideas and solutions from my own life.

****But more than that from my point of view, there is little to disagree with your ways of doing things in your house, or why you do them, because (and I'm sure you know this already, since you've read enough examples that I have given) the way you solve things now - and why - is almost identical, given the technological differences to how I solved things then. ****

I'm glad to hear it.

****A question. What sort of painting do you do?****

I work mostly in acrylic paints and watercolour (when my children paint with me). My subjects are still lifes and figures. I love interiors and people (and people *in* interiors ;-)). In summer I will sometimes do flower paintings because I also like to garden, but even then I often make an arrangment and paint it as a still-life rather than the Monet "plein-air" style.

I've been enjoying your posts lately, JW. It's good to see that we have more in common than we originally thought

post #6 of 56
Please, please, please excuse my ignorance but what does TCS stand for?!
post #7 of 56

TCS stands for Taking Children Seriously which is a parenting philosophy. Here is a brief description taking from the home page of the TCS web site:

"TCS is an educational philosophy. Its most distinctive feature is the idea that it is possible and desirable to bring up children entirely without doing things to them against their will, or making them do things against their will, and that they are entitled to the same rights, respect and control over their lives as adults."

The TCS web site has lots of information about it, and can be found by clicking this link.

If you would like to discuss any aspects of TCS, this is the place!

post #8 of 56
Thanks for relieving my confused little mind!

I have not yet followed the link but it sounds a bit confusing to me. I will go to the link as soon as I have posted this reply but before I do here's what I think so far...

I think all children - no matter how young - deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. I don't think that yelling or smacking are productive (in my personal opinion...) and that there are many gentle ways to let your child know when you are unhappy with their behaviour. However....I also believe that there has to be limits. If I continually allowed my 18 month old Dd the freedom to do what she wanted to without doing things against her will I shudder to think where she'd be now....dead? Where does one drawer the line?

I am all for allowing children to discover how the world works and not jumping to attention each and every time they fall or wimper or scream. I am in no way trying to say one should ignore their children....obviously one needs to exercise logical deductions. I make a point of not running to my dd's rescue every time she bumps her head or has a fall and 99% of the time she just gets a little fright and then gets up and carries on going. Children are extremely resiliant but they also need guidance (not dictation) and lots of love. They need to know that what they choose to do affects not just themselves but others too. IMHO I believe that the parent needs to provide that guidance more than any other adults in a childs life, especially in the early years.

I am now going to follow that link....
post #9 of 56
Hi Raven,

you wrote:
***I think all children - no matter how young - deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. I don't think that yelling or smacking are productive (in my personal opinion...) and that there are many gentle ways to let your child know when you are unhappy with their behaviour.****

I agree. The best way, IMO, to let a child know you are unhappy is to say, "I'm unhappy. Let's find something that makes both of us happy." And if the child is preverbal, then the parent can skip the words and head straight for the common preference ;-)

***However....I also believe that there has to be limits. If I continually allowed my 18 month old Dd the freedom to do what she wanted to without doing things against her will I shudder to think where she'd be now....dead? Where does one drawer the line? ****

TCS-style non-coercive parenting does not advocate "letting" children do whatever they want to do without regard to their personal safety or the health and happiness of those involved with their care. In a TCS family, a child is helped to do what s/he wants to do in ways that are safe, or if that is not possible s/he is offered alternatives that s/he might *prefer* to hir original desire. So if, for example, my child wanted to drink bleach, I would not help hir do so. I would, however, try to establish what it is s/he really wants to do (I would assume s/he is not trying to poison hirself). Perhaps s/he wants to play with a plastic bottle. Or perhaps s/he's thirsty. Or maybe s/he knows that reaching for the bleach bottle gets a reaction out of me or gets my attention (so I should give hir more attention). etc...

****I am all for allowing children to discover how the world works and not jumping to attention each and every time they fall or wimper or scream. *****

If a child falls and seems okay, I agree that a parent can leave them to carry on with what they are doing. But if a child whimpers or screams, I would see those as signs of distress and I would help that child in whatever way I could.

****I am in no way trying to say one should ignore their children....obviously one needs to exercise logical deductions. I make a point of not running to my dd's rescue every time she bumps her head or has a fall and 99% of the time she just gets a little fright and then gets up and carries on going. Children are extremely resiliant but they also need guidance (not dictation) and lots of love. ****

I agree that children need lots of love. "Guidance" is a tricky term, so it would depend on what you meant by "guidance." I believe that parents should certainly share their best theories with their children based on their own knowledge and experience and the resources they have access to. But I don't think that parents should decide *beforehand* what a child must learn and then find ways of "making" the child do what the parent thinks best.

****They need to know that what they choose to do affects not just themselves but others too.****

I would think this would be something children learn quite rapidly, especially if parents are there to provide information and assistance in helping the child meet hir needs without interfering with others.

****IMHO I believe that the parent needs to provide that guidance more than any other adults in a childs life, especially in the early years. ****

Again, my agreement or disagreement would depend on how you are using the word "guidance." I think that parents are responsible for helping children satisfy their needs in ways that are safe and preferable to all involved parties. If the child seeks a parent's advice or guidance in a particular area, then the parent should certainly offer it.

***I am now going to follow that link....****

Great. I'd love to know your thoughts after reading further about TCS.

post #10 of 56
Thank you for taking the time to reply to my post. I did follow the link and found it most informative. I think it is easy to pre-judge something on a little piece of information and in so doing gain a slightly warped perspective. I purposfully aired my immediate opinion before following the link.

I didn't have a lot of time to go through all the pages on the site but what I did read (FAQ, theory,etc) was inlightening in many regards. However there is still a cord within me that pulls back a bit if you know what I mean...

I agree that children need lots of love. "Guidance" is a tricky term, so it would depend on what you meant by "guidance"
To me guidance means steering your children out of harms way and giving them the choice to do something more costructive.

IMHO I dont think that one specific parenting style can work for every single parent and child. I believe that as long the child feels safe and the parents treat their children with respect and give them ample opportunitites to grow and learn everyone will flourish.

Thanks again for taking time out to reply!
post #11 of 56
er...hold on....
post #12 of 56
OK, what I meant to say is:

Heartmama wrote (from her post on TCS discussions 2 page 3):

" I maintain that asking about pain relief etc. is little more than
gathering info to better inform the child. "

Isn't that a good thing? Helpful in solving the problem/s the child is having about the health problem and the ways of treating and the doctor visit.

In the original post on this subject, in TCS discussions 2 page 2,
my understanding is that heartmama thinks that parent sharing just the facts with a child is the only truly non-coercive way to present the problem and solution to the child. I disagree. That would be withholding important information that would have a bearing upon the child's decision to pursue this route of help for hir medical problem or not. Not the least of the factors in this, is the child's trust in the parent's information.

I think it is important for parent to tell the child about what they think of the situation- what, in TCS lingo, we call 'share parent's theories' about what the problem is, what possible solutions could be, and to hear the child's theories about what the problem is and which solution child would prefer. IMO&E, this could take some time and happen in little bits, here and there, when child is receptive to talking about it.

Heartmama wrote:

"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."

I agree with this. The child is obviously feeling coercion, and the thing to do would be to back off and apologize and wait for a receptive time to to discuss the health problem and possible solutions. Once a solution is agreed upon, the appt can be made. And more common preferences might need to be found, over and over again, as preferences change.

I think it is possible to help a child solve a health problem and support them as they do what they have decided must be done, even if they are scared of the pain but determined to go through with the procedure. I could be wrong about this, but if a child is willing to go through with, say, getting a tooth pulled and is afraid of the pain even though it is allayed to the best of modern ability- the pain felt by the child might well be of the psychological 'anticipation' kind, as well, which might be helped by a tranquilizer and maybe a tv on the ceiling to distract hir while being worked on, but still, a factor. A parent can do what they can to help child work through their fear and to find ways to alleviate pain (whatever the cause), but there is only so much a parent can do. Each individual will have to figure out how to deal with pain and fear. Avoiding a medical procedure that will save lots of pain and suffering later on will only work in a person's best interests for so long.
post #13 of 56
Heartmama wrote (in her post on TCS Discussion 2 page 3):

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

Larsy responds: That would be a faulty theory.

Why is that a faulty theory? Have you never experiences the feeling of being
willing to do something you still harbored doubts about?? I have heard many
people describe such feelings, so I felt this was a possible condition the
child may experience. Why do you disagree?"

Actually, I agree. Sorry I wasn't clear about this. I agree, that would be a faulty theory, to confuse a willingness to go with an absence of reluctance.

Heartmama, again:
"larsy writes "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. "

Hmmm. I realize you will not agree, but you are essentially describing the state I feel TCS defines as coercion, which involves the feeling of coping with two opposing forces etc. I realize you feel it is not coercion for a parent to share a personal preference to the child about the situation they are in. I often feel TCS ignores the fact that such statements are more than
just objective observations when they happen in real life. It would be mighty hard for a sick 4 year old to not feel quite a lot of pressure from mommy worriedly noticing his symptoms and suggesting he go to the doctor."

I would think that a sick 4 yr old would be concerned about hir own symptoms, and turn to hir trusted advisor for ideas of what is wrong and what to do about it. How the communication over the issue goes can create coercion in the minds of the parent and/or child, or not. A child might trust their parents' advice, to go to the doctor for a look see and to explore the treatment options and decide to follow that course, despite feeling lousy and really not wanting to stir out of the house (gosh, remember when doctors used to make house calls?!).IRL, a parent might feel upset that their child is exhibiting certain symptoms and the parent's own medical past and possibly entrenched theories might be something that the parent needs to recognize as a factor in the advice they are giving their child- over-reaction would not be in the child's or the parent's best interests, for instance, or if the parent fears going to doctors they might not be the best person to be advising child about child's problem. Seperating out what is the parent's problem to deal with (without involving the child) and what is the child's problem to deal with (their symptoms) is important, to avoid coercion around medical issues- as well as, oh, about everything else

You are right, parents have a huge influence over their children. That is why we are thinking about it, so that parents do not misuse and abuse their power over their children. Some of what is accepted in our society as 'normal' interaction is, morally, abuse of power. It is hard and painful to realize, but I think it is true. Once realized, we can go on to find better ways to interact.

This is a matter of conscience as well as consciousness. Questioning and talking about it can help each person to examine the power issues for their self, honestly and openly, rather than accept possibly harmful memes from previous generations.

<snip> Heartmama wrote:
"I feel this is all good advice and would hope the parent would follow it. Unless the condition poses a health risk, I agree the child could just live with it. However, especially with a young child, I hope you are not saying to simply let a child die from untreated diabetes because it occasionally takes coercion from the parent to take the daily shots?"

I don't think children want to die; a parent has the obligation to help their child stay alive. If that includes life-saving medical intervention, then that is part of their life. If there is coercion in thier minds over this, they should continue to gather information and create new knowledge for themselves, in an effort to do away with the coercion.

"TCS parents here have made it pretty clear they agree to save their child from death even when it involves coercion. I assume this extends to getting treatment for a critically ill child, regardless of whether the child agrees. Does it?"

Well, goodness, I would expect any rational person is going to help another person live! This isn't a case of, say, people who believe in a specific religion (I forget which one it is- Jehovah's Witness? Christian Scientist?) that dictates that God says to not avail themselves of modern medical technology! Parents who treat their children non-coercively will help their children to stay alive, yes, even if they cannot find a way to help their child avoid the state of coercion in regard to life-saving medical treatment. Here again, though, the child is not being coerced into staying alive- children want to live. If they are in pain or are dreadfully fearful of something, those are the problems that need solving, preferably in a non-coercive way; but if it is a matter of time and things are moving fast and life-saving action must be taken immediately or death is a certainty- of course, a parent is going to take those life-saving steps.
post #14 of 56
"I agree that it is always better for the child to consent. However, I disagree that without consent treatment is automatically wrong."

Treatment might be the best thing to do, to correct the medical problem. Engaging creativity and so on to do away with the obstacles to consent also might be the best thing to do. We all lack the creativity, time, energy, information etc to do that, at times, but that does not mean that it is not a preferable way to go.

" I believe it is psychologically unrealistic to expect a child to always "consent" to something they know will really hurt."

Wouldn't we all rather avoid pain? And do what we can to avoid it, as well as avoiding causing pain for others?

So, are we actually being coerced by the fear of experiencing pain? How can we deal with that?

" With a baby, I think it is unrealistic to expect them not to cry in protest if they experience pain."

I agree.

" IMO it can
help the child to be told "If we don't do this, you are probably going to die, and I can't let that happen to you"."

Unfortunately, a parent doesn't necessarily have control over whether a child lives or dies, so this would be a bad thing to say to a child.

" This can be a relief for a child, who may not fully understand death, or illness, and can only relate to the pain part of the treatment. Once a child knows a thing must be done, whether
or not they like it, it can actually lessen their resistance to what is
being done, which in turn makes it less traumatic. I realize this flies in the face of TCS theory, however, in my experience it can work this way so long as the parent is honest and loving and ever present in helping the child cope."

I think our differences have to do with pt of view, rather than what we might do.

A child who 'knows a thing must be done' has gotten enough information and input from trusted advisors to understand the situation and to decide to do what makes sense, what is in hir best interests. While they (just as any one of us) might not like certain aspects of the treatment, they have decided to go ahead with it and might welcome help, then, in ways of dealing with the pain and fear they might still be feeling. A parent who is 'honest and loving and ever-present in helping the child cope' does not fly in the face of TCS theory at all, it is rather a part of it. (sorry to disappoint you there)

"*sighing* Larsy I think we have wandered far from what I was asking"

But it is all good information

"With all of this, what I do not understand, is how TCS distinguishes the influence of "sharing preferences" from coercion. I feel that the qualities that define coercion according to TCS shift every time I try to hold them to a real life example. If a child doesn't want to do something, and we keep addressing their fears, creating incentives, sharing our desire that they choose to do it, and they come around to saying "okay I will do
it"...especially when the resist was out of fear, it is just *SO* unlikely, in real life, that a real child would have 100% set aside fear and become totally excited about doing the feared thing."

Someone else addressed the 'everything could be coercive' aspect of this... what I see might be a difference in the way we think about this, is in 'creating incentives' and 'sharing our desire that they choose to do it' in the efforts of finding common preferences. It seems to me that the parent, in order to enter into the process of finding common preferences, also has to open their mind to more information and the possibility that the child does not have to follow the course of action that the parent has set out. You are right; it is not just a matter of parent keeping at the child until child agrees to go along with the parent's course of action. While the parent and child might come back around to that course of action being the best one, in the course of looking for common preference, they might go far from that starting point (original preference) and find a better solution.
post #15 of 56

beautiful + poisonous

a parent and toddler go out for a walk and see some gorgeous red berries which the parent has been taught are poisonous (but is vague about just how toxic, if one must eat many to get sick, etc. and has never tasted them hirself) toddler really wants these berries and this conflict degrades into a bit of a tussle in order to get berries out of very fast toddlers hands. given that there was little time to talk about different kinds of berries, and the make-you-ill faces and sounds parent was making were having little effect, parent needed to do some apologizing about grabbing and arguing. better ways to handle something like this?
post #16 of 56
Thanks JW - I loved your s elf por t ra it - i needed a laugh today..... (dd's hel p ing with my tyeping)
post #17 of 56
JW wrote:

"I don't know anyone who has been through something like that, who would write about it, or discuss it in this cerebral theoretical way) "

Well, now you do.
post #18 of 56

JW - Self-portrait - very funny!??!

For the TCS-er's - What would say or can you comment on John Walker?

Here is something that I recently read:
"By Jeff Jacoby, Globe Columnist, 12/13/2001
IT ISN'T THE CASE that the parents of John Walker Lindh - the
Marin County child of privilege turned Taliban terrorist - never drew
the line with their son. True, they didn't do so when he was 14 and
his consuming passion was collecting hip-hop CDs with especially
nasty lyrics. And true, they didn't interfere when once he announced
at 16 that he was going to drop out of Tamiscal High School - the
elite "alternative" school where students determined their own course
of study and only saw a teacher once a week. And granted, they
didn't put their foot down when he decided to become a Muslim after
reading "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" and took to wearing long
white robes and an oversized skullcap.
On the contrary: His father was "proud of John for pursuing
an alternative course" and his mother told friends that it was "good
for a child to find a passion." Nor did they object when he began
spending more and more time at a local mosque and set about trying to
memorize the Koran. Nor when he asked his parents to pay his way to
Yemen so he could learn to speak "pure" Arabic. Nor when he headed
to Pakistan to join a madrassa in a region known to be a stronghold
of Islamist extremists.
And his parents didn't balk when he went to fight in
Afghanistan - but that, at least,they didn't know about: He hadn't
told them. Perhaps he had learned to take their consent for
granted. Only once, it seems, did Frank Lindh and Marilyn Walker
actually deny their son something he wanted. When he first adopted
Islam and took the name Suleyman, they refused to use it and insisted
on calling him John. After all, he had been named for one of the
giants of our time: John Lennon. Their refusal must have amazed
him. For as long as he could remember, his oh-so-progressive parents
had answered "yes" to his every whim, indulged his every fancy,
permitted - even praised - his every passion.
The only thing they insisted on was that nothing be insisted
on. Nothing in his life was important enough for them to make an
issue of: not his schooling, not his religion, not his appearance,
not even whether he stayed in America or moved - while still a minor -
to a benighted Third World oligarchy halfway around the world.
Nothing. Except, of course, their right to call him by the name of
their favorite Beatle.
Devout practitioners of the self-obsessed nonjudgmentalism
for which the Bay Area is renowned, Lindh and Walker appear never to
have rebuked their son or criticized his choices. In their world,
there were no absolutes, no fixed truths, no mandatory behavior, no
thou-shalt-nots. If they had one conviction, it was that all
convictions are worthy - that nothing is intolerable except
But even in Marin County, there are times when children need
to hear "no" and "don't." They need to know that there are limits
they must respect and expectations they must try to live up to. If
they cannot find those limits at home, they are apt to look for them
elsewhere. Newsweek calls it "truly perplexing" that John Lindh,
who "grew up in possibly the most liberal, tolerant place in
America ... was drawn to the most illiberal, intolerant sect in
There is nothing perplexing about it. He craved standards and
discipline. Mom and Dad didn't offer any. The Taliban did. Even
when it was clear that their son was sinking into Islamist
fanaticism, they wouldn't pull back on the reins. When Osama bin
Laden's terrorists bombed the USS Cole and killed 17 American
servicemen, John Lindh e-mailed his father that the attack had been
justified, since by docking the ship in Yemen, the United States had
committed "an act of war." Frank Lindh now says that the
message "raised my concerns" - but that didn't stop him from wiring
his son another $1,200. After all, says Dad, "my days of molding him
were over." It isn't clear that they ever began.
It came as a jolt to his parents when John Lindh turned up
at the fortress near Mazar-e-Sharif, sporting an AK-47 and calling
himself Abdul Hamid. But the revelation that their son had enlisted
in Al Qaeda and supported the Sept. 11 attacks brought no words of
reproach to their lips. John Lindh deserved "a little kick in the
butt" for keeping them in the dark about his plans, his father said,
but otherwise they just wanted to "give him a big hug." His mother,
meanwhile, was quite sure that "if he got involved with the Taliban
he must have been brainwashed.... When you're young and
impressionable, it's easy to be led by charismatic people."
Yes, it is, and it's a pity that that didn't occur to her
sooner. If she and Frank Lindh had been less concerned with flaunting
their open-mindedness and more concerned with developing their son's
moral judgment, he wouldn't be where he is today. His road to treason
and jihad didn't begin in Afghanistan.
It began in Marin County, with parents who never said "no."

Just wondering. I mean - I am just wondering what TCS would say about this family.
post #19 of 56
Love the pansies JW.
post #20 of 56
This article and the family were disussed on the TCS list back in December, for anyone subscribed there and wishes to read the discussion, access the archives. www.TCS.ac for info on the list and philosophy.

The family sounds laissez-faire and neglectful, to me. Need I say, not TCS.
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