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?
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.