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raising UNoppressed children - Page 3

post #41 of 89
Oh, and it's certainly not oppressive to give our kids information (in response to their interest) about finances and budgeting, and about how much income different kinds of careers are likely to generate, and about what standards-of-living you can achieve at various income-levels.

I think the best information is gained, though, when kids grow up getting to decide how they want to budget and spend their own money (both their part-time job earnings and their allowances) rather than having their parents stand over them saying, "This much goes to savings, this much to charity," and so on.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with suggesting that a child might like to set aside something for savings or charity or whatever, but when parents take the choice away, it seems dishonest for them to act like this is really the child's money.

Although some children are certainly less money-oriented than others, I've yet to meet a child who has no interest in financial matters. My parents thought I had no interest in money, but really I loooved getting to buy candy to share with my friends (and eat myself, of course!).

Maybe if they'd been more willing to respect my perspective and try to see things through my eyes, I would have been more willing to listen to what I now realize was some very sound advice, that could have saved me lots of financial heartache as an adult.

Since the advice always seemed to come couched in criticism of how I felt and how I wanted to do things -- and since every. single. decision I made counter to their advice was treated by them as an absolute tragedy (whether it involved one dollar or several thousands), their advice always felt just too constricting to even consider.

So, in a way, I think my parents' attempt to control my financial decisions has primarily worked against their desire to help me become a financially-secure person. Gentle, child-respectful guidance is helpful. Coercion/pressure/oppression (no matter how well-meant) is much more likely to cause harm than to help.
post #42 of 89
Oh, and since someone's probably bound to point out how irresponsible, and unproductive, it is to blame my parents for my problems and shortcomings -- I'll throw in here that I already know that.

My previous post was not for the purpose of blaming my parents and absolving myself of all responsibility: it was for the purpose of illustrating that coercion usually has the opposite result from the one the coercer is trying to achieve.
post #43 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
Regarding the idea that Consensual Living (or UNoppressive, or non-coercive, or whatever-you-want-to-call-it, parenting), results in children who can't get jobs or find a way to rise above poverty -- that just sounds like another big dose of oppressive fear-mongering to me.

I personally think it would have the opposite effect. Of course, I can't provide proof, because neither I nor anyone I know has been raised without heavy doses of parental oppression in the form of coercion, pressure, and punishments.
Actually, Anna Brown who coined the term "Consensual Living" wrote the following in an old thread:

Quote:
My parents were AWESOME! We (there were 3 of us) were always treated with respect and my mom always says how much she loved our teen years. We were not "rebellious" at all. I loved my parents and trusted them. I could talk to them about anything and they would listen and offer advice but they were not coercive, never hit or even yelled - heated discussions maybe but we were all given equal say.

So I am parenting this way, in part, because of my parents and in part because it is what feels right in my heart.

Anna - need to go call mom and tell her I love her!
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...&postcount=124

Pat
post #44 of 89
Well, I guess now I know "of" someone who wasn't raised under oppressive parenting! I'm so glad for Anna, and for all the lives she's now getting to have an impact on. And you're having a tremendous impact too, Pat!
post #45 of 89
I've always thought that this was the one thing my parents did well. They never had any specific expectations for us as children. All they wanted is that we stretch ourselves, find our bliss and live up to our own potential, if that makes sense. We were expected to do our best and if I had be a C student then my parents would have been fine with that as long as I was doing my best. Well they probably would have offered to get me help but I wouldn't have been punished or a disappointment to them. As for career they just wanted me to be happy and self-sufficient. They're ok that I'm only having one child. etc., etc.

I hope to give dd that much room to find herself and grow and explore. I'm hoping that by having more information than my parents did that I don't end up stifling her interests but can only help to add to her exploration.

My roommate freshman year in college had a mother who dropped out of college to be a music teacher in order to get married and have kids (she was resentful about that) and her father was a failed business man. My roommate's double major was music and business. Her parents pushed her to live out their unfulfilled dreams. I'm not sure I've ever met anyone more stressed in my life.
post #46 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by siobhang View Post
Well, there is defining success based on income and then there is poverty.

Poverty can be so destructive and limiting to an individual, it is definitely something to be avoided, period.

Oh, and "voluntary" poverty - i.e. starving artist but could get a day job if required - isn't poverty, IMHO - poverty involves a definitive lack of choice about it.

Oh and I LOVE what hippymamma69 said



exactly!!!!
I'd use this as my sig, but it is too long. :
I realise that my fears are my fears I know that I need to battle to overcome the issues that I have regarding financial security. I know that the most important thing is raising my son to make informed decisions for himself.


Peace
post #47 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by siobhang View Post
Well, there is defining success based on income and then there is poverty.

Poverty can be so destructive and limiting to an individual, it is definitely something to be avoided, period.

Oh, and "voluntary" poverty - i.e. starving artist but could get a day job if required - isn't poverty, IMHO - poverty involves a definitive lack of choice about it.
Absolutely. But how do you prevent that, as a parent? Short of leaving your kids an enormous inheritance, how can you protect them from poverty? Especially while being un-oppressive? I really wish I knew. Poverty is hell. Unemployability is hell. Being different often leads to unemployability.

Better question: how can we unoppressively parent while also preparing our children to survive as best they can in an oppressive world?







Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
Regarding the idea that Consensual Living (or UNoppressive, or non-coercive, or whatever-you-want-to-call-it, parenting), results in children who can't get jobs or find a way to rise above poverty -- that just sounds like another big dose of oppressive fear-mongering to me.

I personally think it would have the opposite effect. Of course, I can't provide proof, because neither I nor anyone I know has been raised without heavy doses of parental oppression in the form of coercion, pressure, and punishments. I can't even claim that my own children are growing up totally free from all that. I keep digging deeper, and finding layers of unsuspected oppressiveness, within my own parenting.

So ... about the only case I can make is that parental oppression sure hasn't made me rich. Every time you interfere with children's and young people's explorations, and keep directing them to the pursuits YOU feel are more useful, there's an increasing risk that they're going to end up totally out-of-sync with their own hunches, interests, and passions -- which, according to most entrepreneurs, are what you have to keep believing in to get rich.

To me, the reasoning that "we have to coerce/oppress our kids to prevent them from ending up in oppressive situations due to poverty," is a lot like the mainstream reasoning that parents have to force weaning, separation, and solitary sleeping arrangements so their children will be secure and independent.

Most parents here would agree that the opposite is true: children who are allowed to wean and separate from parents at their own paces, tend to be more secure and independent than those who were pushed.

Of course, how each of us sees this is going to be heavily influenced by our views of human nature. If we see our children as naturally inquisitive and eager to learn, and also eager to gain skills that will help them navigate the world and get the things they want, we're going to be less likely to let fear guide us in our parenting. We're going to apply our energies toward helping our children succeed in getting more and more of the things they want.

On the other hand, if we think the only way children will learn is if we push them, and provide positive reinforcements when they jump through the right hoops, and punishments when they dilly-dally -- then naturally we're going to have lots of fears that Consensual Living (or UN-oppressive parenting) is going to ruin our children's lives.

This weekend we visited my mom, and our 7yo was demonstrating how rapidly she could run on all fours. Mom kept saying, "I don't really see that as an accomplishment for a 7yo; I can think of lots of other things that would be an accomplishment." I jumped in and said I thought it was an accomplishment, because dd was going really fast.

Mom's comments (and subtle attempt to re-direct my dd toward pursuits that she -- Grandma -- would be impressed with) remind me of how underhanded oppression can be. It wasn't like my mom was directly saying, "Stop that!" and telling dd she HAD to do XYZ, or else.

She was just using dd's hunger for her attention and approval, to try to get her to jump through some Grandma-approved hoops that I'm sure she thought would really be "for dd's own good" in the long-run.

In a way, the underhanded oppression can sometimes be more powerful than the straightforward kind. When adults use blatant force to get kids to do what they want, at least the kids have no illusion that it was really their (the kids') idea in the first place.
That is a valid point, certainly. Parental oppression didn't make me rich. But it did make me functional. Had I been raised unoppressively, I would probably be completely asocial, completely self contained, and of course completely unemployable. And maybe I would have been happy that way. In fact, I am almost sure that I would have been very happy that way! I would love just to be by myself, left to my own devices, not burdened with communication or interaction. That would be a great life to me. But, I would be completely powerless. Completely at the mercy of others.

This would be much easier for me, probably, if I didn't so blatantly view my older daughter as basically *me.* I am so much less worried about the 4 year old, and even the babies, but that 7 year old daughter, that mini-me.... will she inherit my socioeconomic powerlessness? I feel such a strong urge to prevent that. To make her functional and conformist, not to change her, but to change her prospects. So that she will never have to live the misery of being completely at the mercy of another person.

And yet I know this is not rational. No one is truly independent, with the possible exception of maybe some survivalists in the woods, and really not even them... everyone is at the mercy of someone else, of an employer, of clients, of a spouse.... we're all interdependent. I know this. But. I want all of my babies to be employable. So that at least they will have some semblance of a choice. But. I do not want to oppress them. I do not want to be like so many other parents and force them into a conformist box to assuage my own anxiety. And, really, I am an argument against myself. I am financially secure only by virtue of my spouse. Without him, I'm sunk. And still I am anxious. Financial security is financial security, and anxiety is anxiety. The first does not guarantee freedom from the second. I should know that. But, still I worry.

And if you understood all that, you deserve a cookie.
post #48 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brigianna View Post
Being different often leads to unemployability.

Better question: how can we unoppressively parent while also preparing our children to survive as best they can in an oppressive world?
.
:

On the fear note...I was trying to think of the circumstances where I am most opressive, and I came up with bedtime.

I have to fight with my kids every nap and every bedtime almost to get them to go to sleep. It's not because they don't need sleep either. I am not sure why we fight about it so much. I am not loosing that battle-not because I am afraid to loose, but because I am not going to allow my children to loose sleep because I was "respecting their needs." IMO, children dont know what they need sometimes (in our case-SLEEP!) and in order to respect that need, I have to put up a fight.

It sucks.

But it really has nothing to do with fear.

It has everything to do with them getting the sleep they need.

If I have to be opressive to give them something they NEED, so be it.

That said, I try really hard to find alternatives every chance I get at bedtime. And sometimes it helps bedtime to go smoothly.

Mostly though, I have accepted the fact that bedtime is going to be a battle every night with 3 kids.

post #49 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brigianna View Post
That is a valid point, certainly. Parental oppression didn't make me rich. But it did make me functional. Had I been raised unoppressively, I would probably be completely asocial, completely self contained, and of course completely unemployable. And maybe I would have been happy that way. In fact, I am almost sure that I would have been very happy that way! I would love just to be by myself, left to my own devices, not burdened with communication or interaction. That would be a great life to me. But, I would be completely powerless. Completely at the mercy of others.
But ... there are lots of opportunities for introverted people to earn money, even by doing work on their computers from home. I hate it that introversion is so often treated as a disability to be overcome.

Quote:
I feel such a strong urge to prevent that. To make her functional and conformist, not to change her, but to change her prospects. So that she will never have to live the misery of being completely at the mercy of another person.
I'm puzzled, because on the one hand you say your parents' oppression made you functional, yet down here you say the opposite:

Quote:
And, really, I am an argument against myself. I am financially secure only by virtue of my spouse. Without him, I'm sunk. And still I am anxious. Financial security is financial security, and anxiety is anxiety. The first does not guarantee freedom from the second. I should know that. But, still I worry.
See, I'm not seeing how parental oppression really helped you.

If, instead of trying to force you to be more social (or whatever form the oppression took, you know better than I do), your parents had provided opportunities for you to exercise your true gifts (and of course I don't know your parents, maybe they did), I think you probably still would have married your husband -- but also would have some skills to fall back on, in case something ever happened to your husband's income.

When you say that without oppression, you would have been completely asocial, self-contained, and unemployable -- are you saying that you truly had no interests? That you just sat around staring into space, and were deliriously happy doing just that and nothing else?

I'm sorry, but that picture just doesn't "jive" with what I believe about human nature. Of course, I know I need to be open to having my theories disproved. But it's really hard for me to let go of my theory that everyone's interested in something, and everyone has a desire to gain mastery in some area.

I realize some parents get stuck in a rut when it comes to what skills they see as "practical" and "employable." But I honestly believe that when parents are willing to just pull out the stops and wholeheartedly help their children follow their own passions -- the children themselves will eventually find a way to make it work in the world of economics.

I think your belief that it's important to have power, so you're not living your whole life at others' mercy, is a part of you and not just something your parents taught you. Thus, my hypothesis (which of course I can neither prove nor disprove) is that if you'd grown up without oppression, but with tons of encouragement to follow your own dreams, you would have found a way to support yourself.

I recall reading the book, Coloring Outside the Lines, and hearing how the author kept nurturing his son's love of subways. He had no idea what this meant in terms of a career, but when his son asked what he should major in in college, he said, "Subways," and told his son to figure out a way to do that. I think his son went into urban planning.
post #50 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by transformed View Post
I have to fight with my kids every nap and every bedtime almost to get them to go to sleep. It's not because they don't need sleep either. I am not sure why we fight about it so much. I am not loosing that battle-not because I am afraid to loose, but because I am not going to allow my children to loose sleep because I was "respecting their needs." IMO, children dont know what they need sometimes (in our case-SLEEP!) and in order to respect that need, I have to put up a fight.
I only have 2 kids, not 3, so I can't say I've "been there done that." But what happens if you don't fight them? Don't they eventually go to sleep?

Quote:
If I have to be opressive to give them something they NEED, so be it.
I clearly don't know your situation, so of course I don't have the answers -- but I can't help thinking there's a way to help them meet their sleep needs without force.

With our own, dh and I often just go lie down when we get tired and eventually our girls join us.

Of course, I suppose as little ones get older, they get more comfortable with staying up on their own?

And then if you have a schedule where you have to get up early to be somewhere, they don't get enough sleep? But if they miss some sleep one night, wouldn't they just crash earlier the next?
post #51 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brigianna View Post
Absolutely. But how do you prevent that, as a parent? Short of leaving your kids an enormous inheritance, how can you protect them from poverty? Especially while being un-oppressive? I really wish I knew. Poverty is hell. Unemployability is hell. Being different often leads to unemployability.
I think this is where critical thinking comes in.

I have some friends who demand to be "taken as they are". But then complain that no one likes them. Well, sorry, we don't get it both ways - as my mom once said "when you dance to the beat of a different drummer, most people will think you don't know how to dance."

I am not arguing for social conformity - but a lack of social conformity has a price. 'Course, social conformity has a price. Heck, everything comes at a price - our choices are about what price we are willing to pay for which freedom. There ain't no perfect choice.

How do you try to protect your kids against poverty? By giving them skills that can earn them money and giving them skills to make good financial decisions (such as living with in a budget, avoiding predatory loans, making wise decisions for student debt, etc). Teach them about how certain choices may close doors for them in the future, while others will open many. Teach them that every decision has negative consequences as well as positive, and that they need to know what those consequences are before making an informed decision.

Teach them that money != value. Money can be a blessing to allow you to experience true choice and money can be a curse, trapping you in a life you cannot be your true self in.

And that poverty is a lack of power rather than a lack of money (though a lack of money definitely can contribute to a lack of power). Many things can mitigate against this lack of power - education and skills, hard work, family resources, good health, love and friendship, community - and that those things also need to be invested in and protected, especially when sh!t happens, as it always does.

Just some thoughts.

Oh, and another thing my mom always told me.

Quote:
When you come to a barrier, go over it. If you cannot go over it, go under. If you cannot go under, go around, and if you cannot go around, go through. But first, determine what is so wonderful on the other side of the barrier.
post #52 of 89
Why does an adult have to be "employable"? Why not the sole proprietor of one's own business? An author, an artist, a consultant, marketing resource, service provider, caretaker, manager, etc. etc. etc. Or, a content recluse?!

Brigianna, your passion about neurodiveristy, politics, parenting, religion, etc. etc. could be lucrative, if that were your desire. The depth and breadth of your knowledge is fascinating and useful! People enjoy (and chafe at) the benefits of your sharing every day. Mine too!

When we feel empowered, rather than a victim of others, we claim our power by making our own way. Even having been "oppressed" as a child, I never lost my sense of personal empowerment. It is innate. I believe it may well be taught out of children systematically, by the institutions which embrace conformity and compliance. But, every two year old, whom I've ever met, embraces his own personal power! I choose to facilitate that power in others, of all ages, so that they can recognize it.

There is an allegory of the bird who lived in a cage; but believed that he couldn't live in any other way. But, the door to the cage had always been open. However, the bird wasn't aware of it. The bird could always be free, but his beliefs kept him imprisoned.



Wishes can come true, if you believe in them with all your heart.~Jiminy Cricket



Pat
post #53 of 89
Thread Starter 
Ok, I just had a long thoughtful post and lost it! Anyway, it has been so interesting reading everyone's responses! Lots of stuff to think about.

I think oppression can come in many forms. I don't think setting safe limits is oppressive, its good parenting. (I am not going to let DD run out into traffic because she wants to, ect.) But I think you can be oppressive without spanking, unreasonable rules, ect. I think subtle comments, attitudes, and reactions can be even more oppressive.

For example...I wasn't told I COULDN'T try out for a sports team or COULDN'T go to a large university...but I was told countless horror stories from my mother about how awful her life turned out (and it wasn't awful, she just plays the victim a lot). I think there are better ways to gently guide your child, such as "I didn't enjoy my experience with that because of x,y, and z, but your experience might be different and their are many pros and cons to consider". Does that make sense?
post #54 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by WuWei View Post
Why does an adult have to be "employable"? Why not the sole proprietor of one's own business? An author, an artist, a consultant, marketing resource, service provider, caretaker, manager, etc. etc. etc. Or, a content recluse?!
Small business is the backbone of any economy. And women owned businesses are the fastest growing type of business in the US right now.

It can be a terrifying prospect to start out on your own, but it is also incredibly empowering. Taking risks is always like that.

If you can find something you enjoy doing, and would do for free anyway, and figure out how to get paid for it, well, that to me is heaven...
post #55 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by turnipmama View Post
I think oppression can come in many forms. I don't think setting safe limits is oppressive, its good parenting. (I am not going to let DD run out into traffic because she wants to, ect.) But I think you can be oppressive without spanking, unreasonable rules, ect. I think subtle comments, attitudes, and reactions can be even more oppressive.
yes. I know that my parents, for example, would have been very disappointed if I didn't go to college or didn't have a professional job.

However, I do appreciate the dose of realism my parents tried to instill. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an actress - my dad told me that frankly, while I was good, I wasn't good enough (or well connected enough) for it to be easy. That achieving my dream would take A LOT of very hard work and sacrifices that I may not want to make to become a successful actress. And that he thought I might not be thick enough skinned for the constant criticism and vulnerability.

yeah, this made me change my mind about becoming an actress. I still acted in high school, but it became increasingly clear that I didn't have "star" potential - not thin and tall enough, not funny enough, not quirky enough to meet what hollywood was looking for (and I lived in LA, surrounded by potential actors, I could see for myself their lives).

Sure I could probably earn enough to eat, but I hated being a waitress.
post #56 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by siobhang View Post
I have some friends who demand to be "taken as they are". But then complain that no one likes them.
Hmmm. In my experience, when people are well-liked, it's not because they're "just like everyone else" -- but because of their genuine love for other people. My guess is that if your friends aren't liked, maybe it has less to do with their uniquenesses or "weirdnesses," and more to do with their lack of real, genuine, interest in or concern for others.

I'm reminded of the old saying, "If you want to HAVE friends, you have to BE a friend." Of course, since you claim them as YOUR friends, maybe they're not totally lacking in friend qualities, huh?
post #57 of 89
I had some more thoughts about what Siobhang shared about her dad's guidance regarding acting. When discussing highly competitive fields (and really any field), I don't think it's oppressive at all to encourage our kids to think about whether a particular field REALLY IS their passion.

I, for instance, liked the thought of being an actress because I enjoyed hamming it up for an audience. But I never really caught the theater-bug, as evidenced by my total lack of interest in involving myself in any other way, in school and church productions. In contrast, there were kids who just always had that "itch" to be a part of every production -- whether they were up front or busy behind the scenes.

I've realized I'm much more passionate about writing and verbal expression, than I am about theater. Though I'd love to be a best-selling author, I'm also happy getting published in our local neighborhood newspaper, and writing comments on message-boards. Writing's something I'll keep doing whether I ever "make it big" or not. And I also love to read, way more than I love going to plays and musicals.

So, if one of my children expresses an interest in acting, music, professional sports ... I'll encourage her to get to know that particular business inside-out. When you're passionate about something, I think it's natural to want to do that, anyway. But it can be a real damper to just mainly hear discouraging things, because so few people really make it big as actresses, athletes, or musicians.

There are so many ways to pursue your passion, if you're willing to think creatively and approach it from a variety of different angles.
post #58 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by transformed View Post
I am not loosing that battle-not because I am afraid to loose, but because I am not going to allow my children to loose sleep because I was "respecting their needs." IMO, children dont know what they need sometimes (in our case-SLEEP!) and in order to respect that need, I have to put up a fight.

It sucks.

But it really has nothing to do with fear.

It has everything to do with them getting the sleep they need.
You're sure there's no fear involved here? Why is it so important to you, then?

I'm seriously not trying to be offensive ... it's just hard for me to conceive of WHY fighting to get your kids to sleep is so important, if it's not that you're worried about some potential harm resulting if you let them stay up and choose their own bed/naptimes?

And to me, that's a form of fear -- because you're working hard to avoid some potentially negative result, that apparently you think would be more unpleasant than the battles you're now having.

Don't want to keep harping on the bedtimes thing; I know I've already posted once. I guess I just have sad/angry memories of this being a battle with my own parents.
post #59 of 89
In my own case, when I used to try to get my oldest to take some bites of certain foods before she could have dessert, my motivation was definitely fear: fear that she'd end up with a nutritional deficiency if I just let her eat whatever she wanted to.

Now I've realized that my children really will get the nutrition they need, if I simply make a variety of nutritious foods available, and share information (in response to their interest) on how various foods help/affect our bodies.

For me, the best way to counter fear is to remind myself of what wonderful creations humans really are -- and of what a wonderful drive each human has to live well and be healthy. It's not just ME wanting good things for my children: THEY want good things, too!
post #60 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by siobhang View Post
"when you dance to the beat of a different drummer, most people will think you don't know how to dance."
I love this LOL! Your mom has the best sayings!

peace,
robyn
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