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Consensual living - Page 6

post #101 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by momileigh View Post
I have tried to wrap my head around CL several times to little avail, but I do want to understand it and give it a "fair shake" in my head.

Here is an example of the type of scenario I get hung up on. Let's say I want to take the family on a picnic at the park during the weekend. We all agree this is a great idea, do the shopping for it, etc. Then when we're supposed to be getting ready to go, someone would rather not get ready to go. This one person doesn't want to get dressed, brush her teeth, or leave. Everyone else is excited to go on the picnic.

Now, in this situation, *I* would first explain that the whole family is going on a picnic, and it is time to do xyz. If she still refused, I would as gently as possible get her ready. (The "gently but firmly" positive discipline ideal.) I would tell her it is her choice if she eats or not, but she doesn't get to ruin everybody else's picnic by refusing to go, because we can't leave her home alone.

How would a CL family handle this differently? I imagine if I was trying to do CL: her refusing, me resorting to every manipulative tactic to try to talk her into doing what I want, and then if that didn't work to get her to do what I want, me spending the rest of the day just fuming about her ruining the day for the rest of us and worrying that she's being totally spoiled. Because this scenario doesn't appeal to me whatsoever, I've never seriously looked into CL. But I am curious to know if I've got the wrong idea, and how exactly. I imagine hardcore CL'ers to be so zen, they would be able to just say, "Oh, let's just picnic here in the front yard, then, and you may join us if you like." Me, I couldn't just give up my picnic in the park. And I don't think I should have to. And everyone will probably end up with a good time anyway once we're there.

The thing is, I have very cooperative children most of the time. I very rarely have to be coercive. That picnic scenario hasn't ever happened, nor do I forsee it. (A little complaining about brushing teeth, sure. Refusal, not really.) But I don't know what I would do if I didn't have a little coercion in my back pocket, kwim?
OK, I might be wrong but to me consensual living implies a consensus. It doesn't mean that one person can suddenly change his or her mind and expect everyone else to follow along with them. A child saying "I don't want to go on the picnic so we're not going." really is no different than an adult authoritatively stating "I don't want to go so we're not going." It's giving too much authority to the child IMO.

I tell my kids that we are a family. And part of being a family means that you can't do everything you want all the time. There are plenty of times I don't particularly feel like going to swim lessons or the park and would rather stay home and read my book but I go anyway. So my kids know that while there may be times they have to go along somewhere they don't want to go (grocery shopping or whatever), there are also times when they get to go places they want to go.
post #102 of 153
But the thing is, like you say, you CAN put your foot down and say, "No I don't want to got the the swim lesson." But you go b/c you want to. B/c honoring other family member's choices is important to you. Honoring your commitment is important to you.

So, there's no reason to think kids won't have that same line of reasoning.

We do things we aren't THRILLED about doing all the time. But we don't HAVE to.

So I think there's this assumption that if kids were given the choice to not do stuff they weren't THRILLED about doing that they never would.

That has not been my experience at all.

My children are willing to do many things they aren't thrilled about doing b/c they understand the same give and take will come around to them, and commitment honoring, and putting other family member's wishes as a priority to their own.

But not being thrilled about doing something and choosing to do it for another is not the same thing as HAVING to do something you don't WANT to do.

And, for our family, abondoning the "have to do stuff you don't want to" mentality opens up a lot more "choosing to do stuff you aren't thrilled about for the sake of another."

Less have to = more want to. It's kooky but it's been what's happened here.
post #103 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sari Mama View Post
I think parents feel a need to subscribe to one philosophy, and mind the rules. Perhaps it starts with pregnancy when we are encouraged to make our birth choice, and it always seems like you are just supposed to go down one road after you choose it, no stepping on the grass.

I subscribe to nothing, but find I'm a bit of everything. I handle my kids with empathy and respect, this leads to a lot of what could be CL, however, I do see that my young undeveloped offspring need some control too, then I appear more GD, yet, there are times when things are going really wild, and I flat out remember and remind them, that I am the mother, and YES, that DOES give me the final say. Period. And that can almost make me seem mainstream. But we have a wonderful household. Everyone is helpful, respectful, empathetic, and above all HAPPY. And it is an everchanging culture. As we all age, have new additions, move, etc., the "rules" are ever flexing and elvoving so that they meet all of our needs.

Follow your gut, use your head, always feel with an empathetic heart, remember when you were their age, and don't forget to be selfish sometimes too!

I think this is more what I am striving for than complete CL. I think I've just gotten too close to the mainstream and have not used enough of the CL and GD practices--it's mostly that "final say" mentality here lately and 1) it doesn't work; 2) it doesn't make ANY of us feel good; and 3) it's not the mindset I want to teach my son.

By the same token, I do see a time and place for it (albeit the exception as opposed to the rule). Especially for my kid who is in the autism spectrum and has auditory processing disorder: he doesn't always care about others outwardly and in actions (although I know he cares, he's just not processing and showing it the way most kids do), and you can't always reason with him or have a conversation with him.

And I think if the firm/control times were so few and far between, my child would understand that it was a serious issue whereas now--everything kind of melds into one thing that's unpleasant.

I think if I strive towards CL, I will find my footing in the gray areas between what I'm doing now and full CL that works for our family.

Since I'm a complete newbie to CL, I'm sticking with this group!!!
post #104 of 153
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post #105 of 153
Hi there... I really enjoyed this thread and wanted to offer this:
Virtues Parenting-blending all my fave philosophies.

We approach CL from the pov that it takes work to achieve the ideal, and there are days with little ones where it is VERY hard to be consensual... but I know that the benefits will really reveal themselves later, down the road.

We use tools from UP, L&L, and other sources to supplement the principles involved in living in a consensual environment.

Recently I have begun to utilize the things I'm learning via the Virtue Project.

Find out more by checking out the above link to a discussion I started in Gentle Discipline.

Best wishes!
post #106 of 153
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post #107 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by PreggieUBA2C View Post


Angelbee, I ::: your signature line!!!
Thank you!
post #108 of 153

moving to CL with an 8 year old

I have been working towards a more consensual relationship with my 8yo DD and I find it hard to change our patterns. A previous poster asked about this with her 6yo and I was hoping for some advice but never saw it addressed. What do you guys think?

My daughter and I have gotten into a pattern of what feels like power struggles and I'm trying really hard to give up control while having both of us feel respected and cared for. For example; I know she is tired and ready for getting into bed and for me to read to her before sleep but she gets stalled getting ready for bed and is suddenly distracted by a toy. I am ready to help her if she needs it but I am also ready to read to her and maybe have an hour or 2 to do my own things before I get to bed. After a few times of asking her to get ready I admit to losing my temper a little and raising my voice. The pattern I see we're in is that if I don't raise my voice she doesn't get ready but if I keep talking to her and trying to find out what she's thinking or what she needs she can't articulate to me.

I really need some help to have more patience and how to communicate with her.
post #109 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by librarianmama View Post
My daughter and I have gotten into a pattern of what feels like power struggles and I'm trying really hard to give up control while having both of us feel respected and cared for. For example; I know she is tired and ready for getting into bed and for me to read to her before sleep but she gets stalled getting ready for bed and is suddenly distracted by a toy. I am ready to help her if she needs it but I am also ready to read to her and maybe have an hour or 2 to do my own things before I get to bed. After a few times of asking her to get ready I admit to losing my temper a little and raising my voice. The pattern I see we're in is that if I don't raise my voice she doesn't get ready but if I keep talking to her and trying to find out what she's thinking or what she needs she can't articulate to me.
My daughter was around 5 when I started letting her decide when she was ready to go to bed. She would drag out bedtime or I would have to force her to get ready and it just wasn't working for me or her. At first, she would go to bed really late. If I had some things I needed to do and she was engaged with something - I took that time to myself. Other times, she wanted me to play a game or something with her, so I didn't always get my quiet time for a while. Now she is almost always in bed around 10 - I usually stay up until 12 or so. I think it is good thing to let her listen to her body and learn for herself when she is too tired and has stopped having fun. It also took the power struggle out of bedtime and made it much more pleasant for both of us.
post #110 of 153
Hi Kacymoose, thanks so much for your reply. I worry about my dd getting enough sleep as we have to wake so early to get to school. Did you talk to your daughter about letting her decide when she was ready for bed or did you just start doing it? Another possible sticky point is that she stays with her father 2-3 nights a week and I'm not sure if he would go for it.

Sometimes it feels like almost everything gets to be a power struggle and that she's really not hearing me, ya know? I'm going to try and be a bit more flexible and gentle on the nighttime routine.

This is a great thread and I will keep reading to remind myself how to be present and see where my own pre-conceived beliefs are coming from.
post #111 of 153
The no bed time thing just evolved on its own. I think she was really preoccupied with her own stuff one evening and I had work to do. I got so busy working that I didn't notice how late it was. She came to me telling me she was tired and wanted to go to bed. It was kinda an "AHA" moment, where I realized she could figure this out on her own. We home school so we don't have to worry about getting up in the am. IMO, lack of sleep for a few days isn't going to be detrimental in the long term. If I was in your situation with your dd staying with her dad several nights, I would just do things my way at home and let him do things his way at his house. He might not be on board, or start out on board only to bail out, leaving you frustrated. Kids are resilent and can easily understand that different places/people have different ways of doing things.
post #112 of 153
We had a situation here yesterday, and I'd love some feedback on what you would do differently.

My cousin and her two kids are staying in a cottage 2 doors down from our house. We were planning a walk to a nearby dam but my kids wanted to canoe instead, so we did that. On the way back T(6) and M(4) wanted to come with us. My kids don't enjoy playing with them very much--mostly a huge personality conflict, I think--my kids are quiet and sensitive and M and T are very sociable. So DS (4) told me he wouldn't go in the canoe if they came. I told T and M kids that we were almost too full (I also had my very pregnant friend riding along) but we did have room for one more. T was told firmly by his mother that he was going to walk back with her, and M could go in the canoe. T was so so very upset. I knew that nobody was happy, not my kids, not her's. My two refused to sit near M, and they fought over the two kid's paddles on the way back, while I'm trying to single-handedly paddle and steer us home into a headwind. Fun times!

When we got home my DS (4) had his train set out ont he floor when T (6) came over. DS is highly sensitive and has a very difficult time sharing his toys. I don't make him, but usually we put away his special non-sharing toys in his room with the door closed before other kids come over. That didn't happen this time, and T got right down on the floor and started playing. DS started to cry, wanting me to make him stop playing. I felt badly for T but at the same time I knew it was a REALLY big deal to DS. DS was beginning a meltdown (doesn't take long with him.) I very gently explained to T that these were DS's very special toys that he wasn't ready to share yet. And that at our house, everyone was in charge of their own things. I know that's not how it is at their house. This was probably the hardest part for me, knowing that he didn't get it because his mom always made him share. So I put away the train set and then I (and this was pobably the best idea) told T that I had a computer game that I wanted to share with him. He played it for a while and cheered up.

Now that I'm writing this I think I handled the train set thing alright. But what should I have done about the canoe? I know my cousin was tired and hot and didn't want to carry her crying 4 yr old home. I didn't want to hurt her by saying that my kids didn't want to be with her's. And truth be told, an extra kid in the canoe would not have put us under and I did have a life-jacket for him. The only reason he had to walk was because my kids didn't want to be with him. They'd had too much company and too little alone time.

Any thoughts--what do you do when there is a situation with another family that doesn't practice CL? I feel like my kids get what they want more often because I'm more willing to give and I take their feelings into account. I feel bad for the others who are told to do this because I said so.
post #113 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shami View Post
Help me understand more.
If everything in life is optional in the formative years, what kind of adult does this produce?
I wonder about this too.
post #114 of 153
Living consensually does not mean that everything in life is optional. For my kids, it means that their ideas and opinions are taken seriously. It also means that they hear my thoughts and opinions and learn to take those seriously too.

When I'm willing to negotiate with a child to help that child get what he needs, that child is more willing to negotitate and give in to help me get what I need. At least that's been our experience so far.

I think this tribe thread isn't exactly what we're looking for. And we won't be getting a sub-forum anytime soon if it keeps getting lost and going dead for 2 months. How would it be if we had a weekly Consensual Living thread in the GD forum? I know it doesn't fit perfectly there but more people would see it and it'd be easier to keep active.
post #115 of 153
just wanna *bump* this to keep it alive and maintain a show of interest, so's we can get a jolly subforum!
post #116 of 153
This thread is leaving me feeling so inspired. It's like a breath of fresh air. Wow. I would love to try this approach to living...but I'm scared because my partner is very much of the 'if i say it, the kids must do it' school...not as in, spanking or anything, but he does believe there is a hierarchy and we as parents are at the top. So I don't know if its possible to do it with only one parent... probably not...but this idea speaks to me...

I am particularly interested in this because I am working on really deep seated issues from my childhood, of anger and abuse, and I find when I have a 'controlling' mindset in my parenting, like 'I MUST get him to do x', then the anger has more of a channel and is harder to control.

One thing does occur to me, though, and its similar to what Lotusbirthmama said about how do children raised this way fit into mainstream society - the other day a friend of mine (who is childless) said she was going to visit a friend but dreaded seeing her kids, because they were so impossible, such handfuls, a nightmare, etc. I asked why and she said because the mother had brought them up to be 'free spirits' and didnt use traditional discipline. She said, the mother didn't do them any favours in terms of their social skills and ability to socialise with the wider world. NOw, obv I've never seen this family in action and I dont know if she was just 'laissez-faire' in her approach or uses negotiation or consensual living or what, but I just thought, that's an interesting point, and probably a lot of people will say that. ANd it does concern me, to be honest. I guess I'm afraid that if I dont' make it very clear that, say, hitting or running around screeching in a public place are not acceptable, then my child will do that inappropriately and be rejected by his peers, or get in trouble at school, etc. Probably just a fear, but could anyone comment on that?

thank you.
post #117 of 153
I have been reading a lot about consensual living lately, and it really feels right to me. My DD is 15 months, and since becoming inspired I am finding the days much easier and my patience much greater.

I tried to find the CL tribe, but I can't post in it. I am sure I am not the only one but I do find it a bit intimidating to jump into a thread and start posting. I really hope they give a CL sub-forum a shot.

I would love to hear more about other's experiences. Are there any books you would recommend? I am currently reading Unconditional Parenting, and I love it.
post #118 of 153
Here's the Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Consensual-living/

As for kids with poor social skills, to be honest, I think a lot of adults just don't want to interact with kids. I certainly know kids from very authoritarian environments whom I don't have a great time with, and also kids I really enjoy. Kids are sometimes just a different pace. I suspect that this woman isn't going to her friend's house to be with her friend's kids - she's going to be with her friend. It doesn't have to do with upbringing. It's like when I have a friend whose boyfriend is around, when I just want girlfriend time. Maybe she wants the mother to be authoritarian so that she can tell the kids to go away and play quietly, and not interrupt the date.

Some kids ARE more gregarious and interactive, and the more consensually raised kids are probably less likely to identify an adult as someone they should not talk to, unlike other kids. YKWIM? Kids deserve the same respect as adults; if I am at a friend's house and her kids want me to play with them and show me their rooms and whatever, and I am not up for it right then, I just tell them I'm hanging out with so-ad-so, maybe we can play later. On the other hand, I often find that really interacting with someone else's kids when I first see them makes me less competition for Mom's attention, and makes them more open to my presence.
post #119 of 153
Love this CL thread!!! I am working towards this more and more everyday and I see the benefits of this already!

Is there a September CL thread anywhere I am missing? Or any word on a sub forum?
post #120 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by mummy marja View Post
I think this tribe thread isn't exactly what we're looking for. And we won't be getting a sub-forum anytime soon if it keeps getting lost and going dead for 2 months. How would it be if we had a weekly Consensual Living thread in the GD forum? I know it doesn't fit perfectly there but more people would see it and it'd be easier to keep active.
I agree with you. I have a hard time finding the answers I need pertaining to CL with a toddler in this thread. Its just too long. But I feel it is so important to start the groundwork NOW, as opposed to waiting until she is 6 to start with it.

I would definitely be interested in a weekly chat thread. And I will be more than happy to help keep it alive.
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