i'm happy to answer as many of those questions as i can before i get interrupted by the kids.
my kids are still quite young, 4 1/2 and 1 1/2. so yeah, the parenting challenges are going to change dramatically as they get older.
yes, i needed a much different style of parenting than i got as a child and i'm aware of the tendency we have as parents to either blindly repeat how we were parented or overcompensate in the other direction. that's one of the reasons i started this thread, as a reality check for me to be sure i'm not just overcompensating. i'm familiar with most of the objections raised so far and i truly have done a great deal of reading and research about them, which coupled with my own clear-eyed experiences of how my children are responding to our parenting so far, leave me feeling confident with my parenting choices. that said, i think you can find books out there to back up almost any style of parenting (i haven't read it, but this ezzo thing comes to mind.) so ultimately, it comes down to a gut check for me -- are there other reasonable voices out there saying this is healthy and functional? are there parents who have gone the whole way and can report back how it played out? (this is why i was so saddened to hear that tcs had been taken out of discussion here at mdc. i really want to hear what experienced tcs parents have to report) and lastly, how do i feel when i parent my child in this way -- do i feel conflicted, angry, anxious and frustrated with them or do i feel connected, joyous and loving. for me, this style of parenting *once i get past my internal objections that are voiced again and again in the threads above* helps me to see my children more clearly as the beings that they are and that opens up a wellspring of love for me. i can tell that they feel more connected to me too, with spontaneous expressions of love and kindness.
i have to say i completely understand the objections that various parents have raised on this thread -- i had many of those reactions myself and i spent much time asking myself, is this true? what do i observe in my own children?
i've explored parenting them with more rules and limits and how that affected them and me and our experience of the day. i've come to the conclusion that with my children and the personalities they have exhibited so far, they do very well if i let them develop self-discipline with a lot of feedback from me.
i do give them a great deal of guidance. i'm sure that didn't come across in the poll questions, b/c i wasn't really trying to explain or defend how i parented, just interested in who else parents like this. for example, dd may ask for cookies for breakfast and i suggest healthier foods. if she insists. i say, okay it's your choice. when the voices in my head are giving me grief about this, i may refuse to actually get them for her (which i think is inconsistent on my part, but i can't always overcome my reactivity) if she wants more, i repeat that i think her body needs good fuel, but i'll give her another. i'll ask her how she's feeling, i'll talk about the possibilities of stomach aches and sugar crashes. i never tell her she's going to get a stomache ache. that would be lying. i have no way of knowing whether she will eat herself sick or not. to be honest, she never eats enough to make herself feel bad (even though those voices in my head wish that she would so that she'll learn that i'm right and cookies aren't for breakfast!)
we give a great deal of guidance on healthy living but we ultimately tell her that it is her body and she must learn to listen to its needs herself. so far she has. the only time we have really forced anything on her was an emergency room visit and xrays for a tendon that had popped out of place in her forearm and popped back in on its own while we were waiting at the hospital.
so, i'm running out of time here, thank you for asking momtwice. i appreciate being able to offer a bit of clarification as to how i parent. i have read continuum concept, it was one of the first parenting books given to us by likeminded friends at our church. i thought it was very interesting but kept getting caught up by the idea that children want to see us live our lives. i couldn't figure out how to do chores and household tasks while carrying my baby around. it was a jumping off point for me but didn't really provide a complete framework that worked for me.
and i certainly will keep in mind that my children's needs will change. i am prepared to shift parenting gears, but i'll do it thoughtfully and i'll watch their reactions closely ... whups, kids are in conflict. gotta run