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Is some GD philosophy *too* gentle??? - Page 11

post #201 of 322
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nora'sMama
At 14 months you think she wants to do the socially acceptable thing? My DD doesn't even know what that is!

I appreciate the explanations re the sockets (good to know they're not as dangerous as I thought!) and the cigarette butts.

I think the "what ifs" are really the only way to establish the parameters of an idea, so I'm sorry if they are tiring, but how else are we supposed to discuss the issues?

gotta go!
The cigarette butt situation is a perfect example of why this assumption works for my family. My DS became fascinated with cigarette butts, and all trash, around that age. Yooper and Aira already discussed this, but I wanted to spell out the philosophical differences I see with this example.
When my DS spotted a cigarette butt and was interested, I would squat down and get interested with him. Say something along the lines of, "Oh, a cigarette butt. That should be in the trash. But if we touch it we might get sick. Let's use this paper to pick it up." (scrap paper=whatever old receipt I have in my pocket )
I'd pick the butt up with the paper, put it in the trash. Next time we saw one and he'd get interested, I'd hand him a paper. (He'd pick it up as best he could. I'd pick him up so he could reach the trash can.) If I didn't have a piece of scrap paper at the time, I'd tell him that I didn't and pick it up and then wash my hands, or pick it up with a stick, or something that would not only allow for but actively facilitate his interest in that.

Here's the philosophical difference: I don't need to prevent him from doing things that would get him hurt [e.g., "no, don't touch"]. I need to show him how to do the things he wants to do safely. We're on the same team. So far, he accepts this. He may not always (he's only 18 months.) I get that.

He always seems interested in doing the socially acceptable thing. When it comes to something like sharing with other toddlers, sometimes that desire gets trumped by a need for a toy, of course. But even then the results are always better if I come from the assumption that he actually wants a solution that helps everyone. Just tonight, he was playing with two other toddlers and I saw this happen. I don't want to blather on too much, though, so I'll leave that story to another time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by aira
Perhaps it's the personality, but DS has never accepted anything less that being treated like a competent human who can use tools correctly, and who moves about the world like other humans. He's very sensitive to it and lets me know fast if I ever condescend to him. It's been this way from birth, I swear.
Ditto.




ETA: quote correction!
post #202 of 322
Quote:
Originally Posted by GearBear
I suppose some may tell me that because this is my first post ever on MDC, I am prying. For that I am sorry. I have been lurking (reading and learning and applying what I've learned) on MDC for years now, but I never did feel comfortable posting. I have been slightly mainstreem (gently though), but mostly AP with GD. CL does interest me a lot and this thread has perked my curiosity and I have lots of questions.

What scares me about CL is the the problems I may face in future with my children if I decide to parent that way. I have many questions about how sucessful CL is for preteens and teenagers. I understand what CL is. But, may I ask you CL'ers how you would deal (uh? cant think of a good word) with the following situations? I am not trying to debate or say your way is wrong, I am just trying to educate myself so I can make the best decisions for myself and my son. These questions keep popping up in my head, and I'm curious how a CL parent would handle it.

What if you have a 15 year old and they wanted to hang out with kids at school that are known drug addicts? What if you could see the path they were heading towards, and it seemed very dark and dangerous? What if they disagreed with you and insisted on maintaing the friendship and hanging out unsupervised? If what I understand about CL is true, then it would NOT be consensual to stop your child from that path. Or am I wrong?

What if your 16 yr old decided to marry? What if you knew she/he was not at all ready for marriage, and perhaps had picked someone that was not healthy for her (ex: abusive, alcoholic, ect). Would you try to stop her/him? In most states he/she would need a parent signature...

What if your child at 14 started smoking and refused to listen to reason? What does a CL parent do then?

PLEASE don't think I'm trying to start a big debate. I admire all the mothers on MDC. I am just wanting to learn more about the differenting parenting styles. Thanks in advance.
The main thing that comes to my mind is that there ae few situations that are really as "cut and dry" as the hypotheticals you mentioned.

CL is not about directly controling your child's actions. "Why" is the most important evaluation in our lives. Why is the 14 year old smoking, why is the 15 year old hanging out with these people? Why do you believe that they are drug addicts? Why don't you think the 14 year old should smoke? Why don't you want the 16 year old to get married? Why would you give your consent for them to get married if it was not agreeable to you.

I had the usual run of drugs when I was young and with my own parents they definatly could not tell who were the druggies and who were clean. They generally followed the guidelines of "Long hair and messy clothes = Druggie" This is particularly frustrating to a teen trying to stay sober, who is not allowed to hang out with any of his strait friends because of how they are percieved, but is encouraged to hang out with the real drug users because they are polite.

Here would be my actions on this matter:
Invite the "druggie" friends into my house. Make them pizza rolls. Let the have run of the playstation.

Offer a deal with the 14 year old that you will do something else of her choice (reasonable) to make her "cool" to her "friends" An $80 pair of designer jeans may cost a week's worth of groceries, but they will fulfil the childs need to be "cool" and they will fulfil your need to protect the child. I know you can't bribe forever, but I feel that early teens are so desperate to fit in and stand out that all you can do is foster the most healthy ways to do that. And if you smoke and your child begins to smoke, you should know who should be the first to quit

The 16 year old marriage thing would be the toughest to deal with and I do not have a great answer for that one except you have to get to the bottom of what the child is after. Love? Lust? Independance? Rebellion?

You cannot address the problem if you only work on the symptoms.

14 year old smoking, 15 year old with the "bad crowd", 16 year old wanting Marriage consent. --- These are not problems. These are symptoms.
post #203 of 322
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmom
Here's the philosophical difference: I don't need to prevent him from doing things that would get him hurt [e.g., "no, don't touch"]. I need to show him how to do the things he wants to do safely. We're on the same team. So far, he accepts this. He may not always (he's only 18 months.) I get that.
ITA.


Just to point out... That second quote was me, not yooper.


---

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaggyDaddy
14 year old smoking, 15 year old with the "bad crowd", 16 year old wanting Marriage consent. --- These are not problems. These are symptoms.
This really is the crux of the matter.

And communication. What do the kids really need? And the answer is never more control, punishment or authority - or those things disguised with the euphamism "discipline". It always requires more listening and kind probing into their feelings.

More when I have a chance...
post #204 of 322
great posts, shaggydaddy, aira, and emmom.
post #205 of 322
Quote:
And communication. What do the kids really need? And the answer is never more control, punishment or authority - or those things disguised with the euphamism "discipline". It always requires more listening and kind probing into their feelings.
ITA. I have issues with the theory that some children BEG for someone else's idea of control to be exerted over them, or punishment. Not even the child of a permissive parent would need these things. What they would need would be an invovled parent who cares, guides, and expresses a healthy amount of emotions, wants, needs, and boundaries for the child to learn how to do those things themself with normalcy and feel loved and safe.

I obviously have never parented a teenager, but similar questions have definitely come to mind. I do not feel that being controlling and disallowing their freedom of choice would solve any of the situations brought up. It seems the same things would apply as when they were younger. Educate them about their choices, talk about your feelings and listen to their's, etc.
I too would have the child invite the friends over if I suspected drug use, regularly even. Appearances and rumors can be deceiving. And to me the most important thing to find out would be what drug are they using if they are using. Then I could proceed to gather info about that drug for my child if it was seriously something to be concerned about.
For the teen who wanted to marry again educating them on their choices and finding out what the feel they could gain by being married right now this minute that they could not wait a couple years for.
And if someone was 'abusive' (I'm imagining a man's fists on my daughter's face and body) I would intervene. This would be life threatening. I don't imagine dissent could stop my momma rage from boiling over, but who knows, I hope to never have btdt on this one. I'm having a hard time imagining a scenario without me 'abusing' the young man, and I am not violent, so wouldn't that be a pickle?
And the 14 yr old smoking? What are you going to do? I'm sure by this age you have already educated them on this choice. And as ShaggyDad said if you smoke you should be the first to quit. I was that 14 yr old by the way and all of my parental role models smoked. They never DID anything about it. What could they have done that wouldn't have driven a wedge between us? And you know what? I quit smoking when I turned 18 and they are ALL still smoking. BY CHOICE and on my own time. I knew when I started it was a habit that stunk and had health risks. I also knew that I enjoyed the feel of it and I would quit the habit, I had no intention to smoke for the rest of my life. Now I'm pleased to say my kids live in a smokefree home.

ETA- the abuse was a pretty wicked 'what if' I'd rather NOT have thought about this morning
post #206 of 322
I am not a CL parent, but I think the answer that I have come up with for myself for your questions, Gearbear, for any parent---it is not so much a question of WWYD with a teenager doing those things if you were xyz type of parent.

I think the key is, that by the time they are that age, even if you are an authoritarian parent, there is not a whole lot you can do if a kid really wants to go down those types of paths--meaning, if you are a stricter parent, you are not going to totally be able to prevent a 14 or 15 year old from doing these things. I worry about those things, too, and I think the key is that I need to have a strong and connected relationship with my kids, that I work hard to maintain as they grow. I don't think you need to be CL to have that. I think you can be much more toward the authoritative end of things even than I am, and have that. If you have the relationship, hopefully the kids will be more open to your POV and guidance. I could be wrong, but I don't think CL would be saying they would just go ahead and buy the 14 yo the cigarettes and let them smoke in the house. But a 14 yo that wants to smoke--unless you keep them in a cave, I imagine they can find a way to smoke behind your back, if they want to.

As far as the 16 year old getting married, I wouldn't sign for that. I am not "CL", but it seems to me that the word "consensual" is key, there. If it is is not agreeable to the parent, it wouldn't be consensual.
post #207 of 322
Regarding the teen issue, I agree that some of those things are symptoms of bigger *problems* but not always. For instance if my 16 year old wanted to marry, maybe she is really in love? I don't know as I would be jumping for joy but I don't think love is impossible at 16. Secondly, if it were illegal in our state to marry at 16 without parental consent, well, that is where consent comes in. I wouldn't outright refuse not knowing the whole story, but if we are seeking *mutually agreeable solutions* it is not mutually agreeable to me to sign a paper allowing my 16 year old to marry and it bears repeating that one is actually allowed to have personal boundaries while practicing consensual living.

However, if my daughter wanted to marry at 16, while some parents may be dismissive (that's ridiculous, no way!) or punitive (you can't see that boy again, he's crazy!), or coercive (you really don't want to marry him, you are too young/immature etc) --- I would approach it like I approach my 14 month old now, in terms of there being a need that isn't being met. Does she feel she can see the boy whenever she wants if they marry? Does she want to solidify their commitment? Maybe we could have a commitment ceremony? Does she just feel so strongly about this boy that she feels the only way to show it is through marriage? Do I know the boy? Does he treat her well? What kind of parents does he have? Do they respect my boundaries and comfort zone as much as I attempt to respect theirs (the boy and my daughter I mean)? Is my daughter pregnant and scared that we won't support her and feels marriage is the only way? (I hope we don't raise her to ever feel like that)... I mean there are a million things. I would try to get to the bottom of why. I wouldn't so much explore why she wanted to marry him (though I would do that too) but why it has to be NOW, at 16.

As far as drugs and the like, hanging out with people who do drugs isn't exactly a 100% that a person will do drugs. I smoked a lot of pot in my day....man, a lot.. but I was around people who smoked pot way before I ever smoked it, and even when I did smoke, I was around people who were doing *harder* drugs and I never got into it. I never recall being pressured or feeling pressured, it was more like "it's here if you want to try it" type thing -- but no afterschool special type situation of "'cmon...don't you wanna be COOOOOOOL cooool coool ooool ooool" (that's a 70's echo effect for those wondering).

Raising our daughter the way we have chosen goes a long way towards prevention. I am not suggesting that people who raise their children in this manner will NEVER have children who do drugs/get into *bad* crowds/have issues etc .... you can never say never....

However, I feel that some of the most prevelant reasons for becoming involved with drugs/abusive relationships (whatever else) stems from needs that aren't met. Feelings of loss of control, feelings of isolation, feelings of wanting so desperately to fit in somewhere, so desperately to be heard, to be loved, to be taken seriously, to be accepted, that one seeks situations where they can feel all those things -- even if it is temporary and not genuine.

If one grows up in a home (imo) where their opinion is always valid, their voice always heard, their body, spirit, desires, needs and wants always addressed, honored, respected ---in a home where they are trusted, comfortable in voicing dissent and that dissent is taken seriously, where they are not punished or shamed or berated or hit or yelled at or timed-out....not manipulated, dumbed down or talked down, where they know they can feel free to discuss anything without sanctions imposed.... while it may not entirely erase the possibility of the above scenarios completely, goes a long way to preventing them.
post #208 of 322
I have been thinking and feeling about all this stuff for a couple days now, and have so appreciated all the careful and articulate posts. I have not posted about this topic (CL) before -- our family is also committed to CL behavior, is composed of 3 people, 1 of whom is still a toddler. GearBear's post prompts me to respond.

"What if you have a 15 year old and they wanted to hang out with kids at school that are known drug addicts? What if you could see the path they were heading towards, and it seemed very dark and dangerous? What if they disagreed with you and insisted on maintaing the friendship and hanging out unsupervised? If what I understand about CL is true, then it would NOT be consensual to stop your child from that path. Or am I wrong?

What if your 16 yr old decided to marry? What if you knew she/he was not at all ready for marriage, and perhaps had picked someone that was not healthy for her (ex: abusive, alcoholic, ect). Would you try to stop her/him? In most states he/she would need a parent signature...

What if your child at 14 started smoking and refused to listen to reason? What does a CL parent do then?"

The main things that I see in these examples are these: worry that we won't be able to cope with the situations our children are faced with (a normal human worry), and the insidious fallacy that CL/GD parents end up having to accept a slippery slope of horrible destructive choices by our children. (This fallacy is ingrained in our culture, and I slip into this thinking myself, so I am NOT pointing fingers!)

I think all the examples above involve *safety* of children (assuming we really have the correct info -- the friends really are using, the fiance really is abusive, etc). The easiest one is the marrying example -- we can refuse to sign a paper, but not so much to withhold authoritative consent as to say, "I cannot comfortably participate in a situation that feels dangerous to me." I am not sure what I would do in the other 2 situations, but I try to remain confident that I will find a way to communicate with my kid and keep him safe.

I also might totally act imperfectly and try to put my foot down! "No, you will NOT see those kids; no, I'm flushing those smokes and I'd better not ever see them again!" But I am pretty sure that if I *did* slip up in these ways, I'd go back and work on things according to established family patterns of CL.

I have a lot of sympathy for those feeling they might not be able to really carry out CL over time. I myself was actually raised in a mainly consensual household, but the larger culture also has an impact, and the cumulative effect of decades of schooling and employment makes itself felt. Not most days, but some days, I find that my first reaction to my son's behavior is to impose my will, discount his motives, "put my foot down" for "his own good," etc -- and then as a philosophical bonus, beat myself up about it later! And there is an occasional fear about unforseeable events too, just as in GearBear's post . . .

So in addition to all the philosophical underpinnings of creating the respectful reality I want to live in etc, one thing I remind myself of on difficult days is: CL IS THE MOST SUCCESSFUL STRATEGY I HAVE TRIED. I am often a grumpy, shy, easily triggered person, and I spent a lot of years indulging in ways of interacting that just always left some part of me unsatisfied. Once I committed to trying mutual consent and assumption of good motives, all of my relationships improved immensely. Maybe I get my first idea of "my way" less often, but I am calmer, I feel emotionally fuller, I am safer and gentler, and I am a good mother and partner. So it is both a moral issue and a practical life strategy for me, and I do have to work at it sometimes. I admire those to whom it seems to come more naturally, and am even secretly a little jealous!

Well I am rambling, partly because my son just learned to say f*** when I dropped something on my foot, and says it delightedly and begs for ME to repeat it, all of which is totally fine with me, but we are going to the inlaws' this weekend and I worry that my sister-in-law will think a little less of me for it. (She's lovely and we like each other, but she's more authority-based in her discipline of our nephew, etc . . . you all know the temporary feelings of insecurity, right?
post #209 of 322
Quote:
Originally Posted by CC
I never recall being pressured or feeling pressured, it was more like "it's here if you want to try it" type thing -- but no afterschool special type situation of "'cmon...don't you wanna be COOOOOOOL cooool coool ooool ooool" (that's a 70's echo effect for those wondering).
:

Yeah, me too. I never got into it, but I hung out with lots of pot smokers and users of harder stuff. I never got pressured - in fact, to the contrary every one of my friends and acquaintences respected that I wasn't interested and tried to shield me from it. I thought it was sweet, though I was never offended by their habits or anything. I always knew that they were looking for an escape too. I just used other things to escape like music and sports.

Well, I never knew anyone who was stealing or hurting people to get the drugs... I have no experience with that. But I would imagine that it still applies that one must protect their boundaries with those kids too, just like in every other case.

Getting tough with kids dosn't help IMO.
post #210 of 322
Thank you everyone for your responses to my questions. You really gave me a lot to think about and made a lot of sense. I appreciate you taking the time to tell me your point of view.

post #211 of 322
Quote:
Originally Posted by aira
Just to point out... That second quote was me, not yooper.
oops, sorry!
post #212 of 322
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nora'sMama
At 14 months you think she wants to do the socially acceptable thing? My DD doesn't even know what that is!
I believe even a child this young does have a sense of what the socially acceptable thing is. It is certainly not as broad as an adults, but you and the people she interacts with daily are her social experience. Children do want to do what is acceptable to others around them. They are born innately 'good'. Barring hunger, tiredness, etc or someone wanting something that would infringe on them, they do want to do what is acceptable. And when something infringes on them this is where they dissent and working towards something mutually agreeable comes into play.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nora'sMom
There are times when the only solution agreeable to the child will require the parent to set aside their needs. That is only natural, but I see a real imbalance in "consensual living" with the young child. The parent is the one who is able to bend and reconsider their wants and needs in order to accommodate the child. The child does not choose to alter their desires in order to accommodate the parent, even when doing so will ultimately benefit them. So a totally CL paradigm is very child-directed by necessity, and I don't think that is healthy. However the idea of trying to find mutually agreeable solutions whenever possible is very powerful and has been a real paradigm shift for me. So I am not anti-CL at all. I just think that it is not an adequate framework for parenting and that taken to an extreme it results in a way of life that I do not find...agreeable!
At 4 and 6 my children do choose to alter their desires to accommodate me and each other often enough. Its more of a flowing with each other and the situation around here than someone being mostly directed by someone else. Sometimes something is more important to me, sometimes one of them. We actually spend very little time in conflict with each other in the whole scheme of things. They follow my lead alot, and I follow their lead alot too.
post #213 of 322
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmom
oops, sorry!
Ain't no thang!
post #214 of 322
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissRubyandKen
Children do want to do what is acceptable to others around them. They are born innately 'good'. Barring hunger, tiredness, etc or someone wanting something that would infringe on them, they do want to do what is acceptable. And when something infringes on them this is where they dissent and working towards something mutually agreeable comes into play.
Children are far too egocentric at 14 months to have any concept of socially acceptable behavior. Is this a consensual living concept or somebody's opinion?

ETA: my definition of "socially acceptable" is the ability to understand what society (peers, parents, caregivers, etc.) thinks is "proper behavior"
post #215 of 322
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveBeads
Children are far too egocentric at 14 months to have any concept of socially acceptable behavior. Is this a consensual living concept or somebody's opinion?

ETA: my definition of "socially acceptable" is the ability to understand what society (peers, parents, caregivers, etc.) thinks is "proper behavior"
Well, having an almost 14 month old, I can say from experience that my daughter definately does have a concept of socially acceptable behavior and is always observing and trying (of her own choice) to do the socially acceptable thing. Tonight for instance, we were all eating and I have never once forced or even encouraged her to eat with a fork, except for actually providing the fork and having it available. I have never put a fork in her hand, have never even said "we eat with forks" or anything of the like. She has just seen us eating with a fork. Most times she eats with her hands but lately she has been watching us eat and picking up her fork and eating with it. We don't praise her for it, but we do acknowledge it when she seems to be looking at us to show us what she is doing "I see you are trying out that fork, you seem happy that you know how to use it" things like that.

That is only one example of many, many. It was the same with toothbrushing. Never have we put a toothbrush in her mouth, told her "we brush teeth", coerced or even made a point of encouraging it. She has seen us brushing our teeth and expressed desire to brush her teeth --

I most definately believe that children are social beings who genuinely want to do the socially acceptable thing. The desire to please is present in every child I have ever met in my entire life...ever. It is the exploitation of the child's desire to do the socially acceptable thing, or the expectation on the parent's part that they always will choose to do the socially acceptable thing, or sanctions imposed when they don't, is what I take huge issue with.
post #216 of 322
I just wanted to thank all the posters on this very interesting thread! I am new to GD and I have read this whole thread with a great deal of interest and fascination. Thank you for the clarifications of the misconceptions. You all have a great night! Ciao! Clara
post #217 of 322
LoveBeads- I was offering up my opinion

I think CC's reply answers what I meant very well. A 14 mo old social experience would include those they are around on a daily basis, their caregivers, not an adult's well formed notion of society as it functions on a community, city, state, country, world basis.

Quote:
Originally Posted by captain crunchy
I most definately believe that children are social beings who genuinely want to do the socially acceptable thing. The desire to please is present in every child I have ever met in my entire life...ever. It is the exploitation of the child's desire to do the socially acceptable thing, or the expectation on the parent's part that they always will choose to do the socially acceptable thing, or sanctions imposed when they don't, is what I take huge issue with.
My children do want to do the socially acceptable thing and they are quite capable of it, that doesn't mean they will ALWAYS choose to do so or even be capable to do so, or even ALWAYS in every instance want to. They are like their momma in that way
post #218 of 322
ITA with CC and MissRubyandKen.
*plays her human development scholar card*
Lovebeads: you are right that 14mo are egocentric. they have no theory of mind, meaning that they can't put themselves in the shoes of others to determine how they would react. and they don't have an intellectual sense of "society" beyond the scope of their immediate actions. but to imply that they don't have a sense of social acceptance is really inaccurate. in fact, that's almost ALL they have a sense of. they are our mirrors. they are largely reflective of our actions, and remain so for several years. they watch us, they watch our behavior, they watch our emotions, they listen to our tone, they listen to our words. they are sponges and the information that they are learning is ALL SOCIAL. do they understand that screaming in a restaurant annoys other patrons? no, of course not. but they DO understand that doing so makes mommy tense up, makes daddy use his mean voice, and makes big brother laugh (just examples). they get it. most babies are VERY in tune with emotion (barring any spectrum disorders). they cry when others cry, they laugh when others laugh, they smile when others smile. as social creatures, they long to feel smiles and laughters and elicit them in others. it's an evolutionary adaptation for babies to be so "cute" and elicit smiles from others - it helps them survive to be so emotionally in tune with their immediate social circle.

so...yes, on the surface you are correct about their cognitive abilities...but if you look even a shade deeper, it's really NOT the case that they are unable to determine social acceptance and strive for it in every interaction.

*puts human development scholar card back in pocket*
post #219 of 322
Quote:
Originally Posted by IncaMama
in fact, that's almost ALL they have a sense of. they are our mirrors. they are largely reflective of our actions, and remain so for several years. they watch us, they watch our behavior, they watch our emotions, they listen to our tone, they listen to our words. they are sponges and the information that they are learning is ALL SOCIAL. do they understand that screaming in a restaurant annoys other patrons? no, of course not. but they DO understand that doing so makes mommy tense up, makes daddy use his mean voice, and makes big brother laugh (just examples). they get it. most babies are VERY in tune with emotion (barring any spectrum disorders). they cry when others cry, they laugh when others laugh, they smile when others smile. as social creatures, they long to feel smiles and laughters and elicit them in others. it's an evolutionary adaptation for babies to be so "cute" and elicit smiles from others - it helps them survive to be so emotionally in tune with their immediate social circle.

so...yes, on the surface you are correct about their cognitive abilities...but if you look even a shade deeper, it's really NOT the case that they are unable to determine social acceptance and strive for it in every interaction.

*puts human development scholar card back in pocket*
Thank you and now I will take out my human development scholar card. It's interesting to "debate" these things with other HD people and I appreciate the answers from all of you. This is an area that is quite near and dear to my heart.

You think that I am inaccurate, and I think you are. Unless there is some definition of "socially acceptable" behavior that differs from the one I stated that you are using, you are assuming an intent and a cognitive ability in a baby that is absolutely not there.

You talk about them being our mirrors, yes, they are our mirrors but if you mirrored "socially unacceptable" behavior (such as throwing a rock at your DH's head), they wouldn't reason "hey, that's socially unacceptable so I don't think I'll do that". They would do the imitative thing and throw a rock. Being able to imitate is hardly an ability to distinguish something that is "socially acceptable." That capability can only come from an understanding of the world around you and years of experience.

What we are discussing is not an ability to imitate, not an ability to socialize and elicit reactions from people - we are talking about a cognitive ability to participate in a behavior. I disagree with you that a 14 month old baby is capable of that. The things that CC was describing in her response, of her baby watching her eat with a fork, is imitative behavior. There is no intent to "do the right thing" in that.

When a baby screams in a restaurant, it is your contention that they understand that doing so makes daddy use his angry voice and makes mommy tense up. I contend that are screaming because they have an unmet need and have no thought whatsoever about any adult reaction. That would take a level of cognitive ability that is not there at 14 months.

I also disagree with the notion that babies are in tune with their social circle because it helps them survive. At that age they are simply creatures of reflex and instinct. It is not that they don't have a will to survive - they do. But we differ on the notion of the cognitive ability - the purposefulness. You feel it is there, I feel it is not.

My reason for picking up on this is not to argue or be difficult. I am watching this discussion with interest. My reason for picking up on this is because I would hope that child-rearing techniques are formulated around child development theories. It alarms me to read about how babies are "manipulative" and you can "spoil" them (needless to say, I am talking NOT about CL but about something like Babywise) because it attributes cognitive abilities to children that are not there. It would be my dream come true if people understood the cognitive abilities of children so that they can understand proper discipline techniques for their child's age and stage.

If there is a false understanding of a child's cognitive ability then the discipline which follows will be completely different from what it would be if we didn't attribute that cognitive capacity. For example, if we know that a child understands what it means to lie, we will handle the lying in one way. If we know that a child is not capable then we SHOULD handle it a different way.

I'm enjoying the respectful discussion. Thanks for responding (all of you, I don't mean to single out one).
post #220 of 322
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nora'sMama
At 14 months you think she wants to do the socially acceptable thing? My DD doesn't even know what that is!
This was addressed to CC, but I wanted to say that I do think my ds wanted to do the socially acceptable thing at 14 mos, and much more so as he gets older (he's 2yo now). I think they understand what's acceptable based on their parent's reactions. They want to do what makes their parents happy. I do imagine that different children mature at different rates, so one 14 month old would visibly want to do and understand the acceptable thing, where another would show no such signs. But I think one would see a progression toward that understanding of what was the acceptable thing, kwim?
(I can only speak as a parent who *expects* that ds wants to do the acceptable thing. Expectations can mean a lot. So I suppose if one were to *expect* that dc had not interest in doing the acceptable thing, and be totally self centered, then dc would obediently follow through on that expectation.)
Even though he wanted to, it doesn't mean he always did- there are tons of things that can get in the way of doing the acceptable thing- lack of info, lack of impulse control, unmet needs, not knowing an acceptable alternative for unacceptable behavior, etc.
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