or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Consensual living
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Consensual living - Page 2

post #21 of 153
Thanks for this thread. I try so hard to CL but sometimes I get so frustrated!

I'm too tired to quote but the whole issue of violence between and older child and a younger child is one I can't figure out. My DS has Aspergers so he just doesn't get it that when he hurts someone -that they hurt! It is driving us crazy. I need to get more educated and more creative but I'm grasping at straws here.

Otherwise, I love CL!
post #22 of 153

I need more insight please

Help me understand more.

I went on the consensual living website and the 3 principles of CL are equality, trust, and self determination.

I have trouble with the equality and self determination for the young children. Yes, they are equal in that they deserve to be heard, and respected. Where they aren't equal in my eyes is that they don't have the maturity to decide everything for themselves.

How do children raised under the CL philosophy have any self discipline? I feel like I need to teach them to wash when they are dirty, brush their teeth, eat nutritious foods, pick up their toys, and on and on. If I make all of these things optional and they can do it on their own time because 'they know what is best for their body' how will they become self disciplined adults?

Re: the job/employee issue. I see your point (I don't remember who made the point) that the relationship is consensual. My fear is that my kid will grow up to think that a job is an option and she can quit whenever she doesn't like it anymore. Sometimes you have to keep a yucky job to pay the bills until you can work something else out.

Anyway, I love this philosophy...to a point. Or maybe I love it in my adult relationships. I do my best to be this way with my husband...no expectations just requests. I just can't wrap my mind around letting my kid decide EVERYTHING. I picture her all grown up with ratting hair and decaying teeth, homeless and dumpster diving because she just quit her 99th job since the demands were too much and the boss' breath stank. If everything in life is optional in the formative years, what kind of adult does this produce?
Anyone raise kids with CL philosophy and now they are adults?
TIA...enjoying this thread
post #23 of 153
See the way I see it, CL is MORE likely to give you an adult who is completely responsible for themselves. Too many people I know IRL have a tendency to blame someone else for their problems. (Boss, partner, parents, whoever). And I think it has to do with being "forced" to do things as a child and having someone convenient to blame.

I think that if from an early age you have been encouraged to make your own choices (with guidance that you sought or were offered) then I think that you will quickly realize that the "consequences" of your actions are due entirely to your own decisions - good or bad.

I love your image of the dirty dumpster diving girl - so funny! - but I just don't see that being a natural outcome of CL...If anything I think someone who is raised CL would be MORE sensitive to the consequences of their decisions, not less.

I think the key issue is really the guidance issue. For me, I see very young children as needing lots of "guidance" in the sense of us providing them with alternatives, helping them articulate their needs, etc Because they just can't do it yet on their own - or at least not as fully as an adult. But I'm not to sure about coerced guidance....there are areas where I still do that (note: hairbrushing) but I hope to relinquish that as soon as we can find a solution that makes us both happy.

I think it's the consensual part that is important - it's not about "do what you want" - it's about "how do you get what you want while respecting others?" What's the MUTUALLY agreeable solution...As the mom, I'm part of the equation naturally...

....just rambling here - but does this make sense?
peace,
robyn
post #24 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shami View Post
Help me understand more.
Hi Shami! I'll do the best I can to offer what information I have. If you are truly interested in exploring CL more deeply, and getting these wonderful question answered by more than just me, then I would highly recommend becoming a member of the yahoo group. While shifting to a CL lifestyle has definitely created a harmony within my relationships that I never knew could exist, there are folks much more experienced and versed in ways to bring CL in. It is a very compassionate and supportive group of people, and I have found so much wisdom and so many ideas there!

Quote:
I went on the consensual living website and the 3 principles of CL are equality, trust, and self determination.

I have trouble with the equality and self determination for the young children. Yes, they are equal in that they deserve to be heard, and respected. Where they aren't equal in my eyes is that they don't have the maturity to decide everything for themselves.
Before I jump in here, I'd like to state that everything I write here is *my* experience with CL. It really does look different for everyone. While those who live a CL lifestyle may all share similar values and principles, CL takes into account the uniqueness of individuals and situations. It accounts for each person being on their own journey, and thus, has different needs.

The first part of CL for many people is a shift in energy, in thinking, in paradigm. For me, it was the hardest part. I had to let go of *everything* I had *learned* from (read: been ingrained with by) my parents, by our culture, by other parents. I had to really explore my thought processes, and determine what I actually *felt* as opposed to what I *thought* was 'right'. I do not look at things as so black and white any more. No right or wrong, just what *is*. I find it challenging to articulate these concepts, which is why I direct people to the yahoo group...

Part of this paradigm shift happened through doing 'The Work' (Byron Katie). A lot of people are not interested in doing 'The Work', and that is fine. For me, doing 'The Work' was *essential* in moving forward with CL.

I don't think of my children as 'un-equal' based on maturity level. I think maturity and equality are completely different.

I think there is a misconception that CL is permissive parenting under the guise of CL. Living consensually is not a parenting style. There are not rules, but rather principles that apply to all aspects of life. *Every* person involved is considered valuable, with valid thoughts, feelings and needs. And those are taken seriously, regardless of age. With CL, the search for mutually agreeable solutions is something that is done together, in co-operation, rather than one authority-figure making decisions for one or more members of the group to best suit his/her needs, or even what s/he *thinks* the needs of the group are.

Quote:
How do children raised under the CL philosophy have any self discipline? I feel like I need to teach them to wash when they are dirty, brush their teeth, eat nutritious foods, pick up their toys, and on and on. If I make all of these things optional and they can do it on their own time because 'they know what is best for their body' how will they become self disciplined adults?
I have come to the realization that while I may know what's best for me (and do I really?) I may not know what is best for another being, young child or no. Yes, I have lots of experience to share. I have insight and wisdom I have gained throughout my life that I choose to share with my children. However, I have found that when I try to make choices for my children, when they are not a part of the process and problem-solving, I essentially strip the experience away from them, and take away opportunity for interanalization and growth.

I do not coerce or force my kids to do things...not to clean up, not to brush their teeth, not to go to sleep at a certain time. The food one was hard for me, but upon letting go, I have found a place of peace and harmony that has been simply beautiful. The question about self-discipline questions brought a smile to my face.

How would a child raised consensually have self-discipline? Well, first, what I hear from you is that you are concerned with how your child will 'turn out'. What will they be like as grown-ups? I have let go of this type of thinking. I *trust*. I *trust* that their journeys will take them wherever they need to go. I *trust* their process, just as I *turst* my own.

I don't know what will happen as they grow up, and I don't plan to waste my time worrying about it. When I spend time worrying about every decision I make, and how it will affect them when they are older, I end up being totally out of touch with my kids, with the situation, with the present moment. I wind up debating in my head whether or not the kids 'should' or 'shouldn't' have ice cream. My kids see me doing this. It serves to sever the connection, rather than bring joy and harmony. If I have a thought about why *I* don't think ice cream for breakfast is a good idea, I will share it. Ultimately, the choice is up to them.

Self-discipline...I trust my children. I share my journey and experience with them. I answer their questions, explore concepts and ideas, and work through their processes and challenges *with* them. I don't ultimately decide for them. I do not listen to them and 'hear' what they have to say, but then say that *I* have the final decision...to me, that completely invalidates the decision. I don't think another person can *make* another have self-discipline. I think that is something one can do for themselves. If my children make their own decisions, learn from their own experience, then all will be well.

Again, when someone is pushed, they are bound to push back. I always thought my young daughter was rebellious (at age 3? 4?). Once I stopped forcing and pushing, our relationship is built on unconditional love, support, and trust. We now both listen to one another, and I see her not only considering the needs of her family members more and more, but friends too. Her play has changed because she is now ready to problem-solve *with* her friends, rather than hit them and melt down because she wasn't getting her way.

My parents *forced* me to eat certain foods, to clean my room, to go to bed at a certain time, to do my homework, etc. I railed against all of it. Now, I have absolutely *no* self-discipline...because it always came from outside of myself. Arbitrary rewards and punishments served to take away my experience, to take away the chance to learn and grow. A child will learn SD by learning what works and what doesn't for *herself*. How can she learn how her body feels after eating too much ice cream if she has never experienced that feeling? How will a child learn to trust her own internal rhythms and go to bed when she is actually tired, if she is forced to *sleep* at an arbitrary time when she's not tired?


Quote:
Re: the job/employee issue. I see your point (I don't remember who made the point) that the relationship is consensual. My fear is that my kid will grow up to think that a job is an option and she can quit whenever she doesn't like it anymore. Sometimes you have to keep a yucky job to pay the bills until you can work something else out.
First of all, when I make decisions based on fear, I am not being present, and I am not in tune with my child or the situation at hand. I am now dealing with a hypothetical future situation that may or may not happen. Where is the joy in that? Where is the connection?

And so what if your kid grows up and thinks it is an option to quit a job whenever she wants? Is it up to *you* to decide what your kid thinks? Maybe once she is finally set free from someone else's thoughts about what is 'right' and 'wrong', she can decide for herself what works for *her*, and what doesn't. And I don't find that sometimes you *have* to keep a yucky jon to pay the bills...that is a choice. There are many other options, but many are probably way outside of the box. Perhaps they are not clear, perhaps they seem impossible to you.

The whole point is that the possibilities are endless. There is *always* a choice. Yes, there are consequences (I am not talking about punishments or imposed consequences). Many people do not pay their taxes because they don't feel it is 'right'. The consequences are many...they may get audited, they may have to pay back-taxes, their wages may be garnished, they may go to jail. They still *choose* not to pay their taxes, and this is a decision that is right for them. They are aware of the consequences, and they will deal with it if and when the time comes. Do you think their parents agree with them? Maybe some do. Maybe some don't. Maybe some don't know about it in the first place. Either way, they made their own decision.

Quote:
Anyway, I love this philosophy...to a point. Or maybe I love it in my adult relationships. I do my best to be this way with my husband...no expectations just requests. I just can't wrap my mind around letting my kid decide EVERYTHING.
I find this really interesting. It is in my relationship with Dh that I have the toughest time with!

CL is not about *letting* kids decide everything. First of all, there is no *letting*, because they are autonomous individuals on their own journey. By *letting* them do anything, they are still under your *control*. I do not want to control my children. The other thing is, no one *decides* everything. Consensus is such that people work together to find mutually agreeable solutions.

We went to a part a few weeks ago. People were eating foods I wouldn't have normally wanted my kids to eat. I completely let go. I did not force them to eat veggies and protein *before* they had the chocolate like many of the other parents were doing. (I totally related to why they were doing this. I do not judge these parents, because they were doing what was right for them, at that moment). My kids came to me about the chocolate and marshmallows (ew), and asked what I thought about it. They asked what the marshmallows even were. I reminded them to just listen to their bodies. Dd has an allergy to chocolate, although she likes it. She had a small piece and that was it. I didn't say 'you're allergic, you can't have any.' She chose to eat enough that satisfied her sweet tooth, yet that her body could handle. She roasted three marshmallows. Ds had 2 and chose no chocolate. I didn't think about how this moment was going to affect them as adults. I didn't worry that there might be a tummy-ache later. I didn't force them to eat 'real' food before they had that stuff. I simply backed off.

On the way home, Dd asked what was in the marshmallows. I told her. She said 'ew, gross!' She said they sure tasted good. I said 'yeah, kind of funny how something so unhealthy for you can taste so yummy, huh?' She said 'yeah...I just don't want to have any more of those for a long time.' Then she said 'how about we make a fruit and yogurt smoothie when we get home.'

She was in a space where she was able to listen to her body, and decided what was best for it. She ate little chocolate, a couple of marshmallows, then felt what all that synthetic stuff was doing inside her body, and needed to balance it out...fresh bananas, strawberries, whole milk yogurt, lemon juice, flax meal....what a healthy choice! I'm so glad I trusted her...in doing so, she learned to listen to and trust her body. I don't think it is up to me to know what her body can handle....only she will know that. Self-discipline.

Quote:
I picture her all grown up with ratting hair and decaying teeth, homeless and dumpster diving because she just quit her 99th job since the demands were too much and the boss' breath stank.
First of all...so what? She will still be your daughter. She will be living her own life. Perhaps this is a part of her journey that needs to happen. Again, it is a what if scenario, and I try to stay away from those. Why bring that kind of energy in? I think when kids feel validated, their voices are heard, they are unconditionally loved, and they are supported, and they have people in their lives who model healthy lifestyle and sound principles, then there is nothing to worry about. I have been trying lately to focus more on joy and connection rather than desired outcomes. I want my kids to be who they are, not who *I* want them to be. That is unfair to them, and sets them up for failure in my eyes.

By the way, my husband slept over after our first date (I picked him up hitchhiking that day) and we have been together ever since...I have dreadlocks (ratty hair) and I go to the transfer station (read: the 'dump') to pick up used items that I have a use for....it's called re-using and it is one of the many gifts I give to the Earth...keeping it out of the landfill (it is also free). For the first 4.5 years of my motherhood journey, I chose not to work, even though we were piss-poor, because I knew it was important to be with my kids. In the past, I have quit several jobs based on my principles. I have now chosen to work from home both for a local artisan, and I make my own crafts to sell.

Judgements and expectations cloud our vision of reality.

If everything in life is optional in the formative years, what kind of adult does this produce?

I am not worried about production. I am a mother. I want to be *with* my children, experiencing joy and harmony, where all people are considered, are seen as equal, valuable, and are supported. I trust that their journeys will take them wherever they need to go, and I will always be here to love them unconditionally, share my insight with them, and support them when needed.

Quote:
Anyone raise kids with CL philosophy and now they are adults?
TIA...enjoying this thread
Yes, on the yahoo list you will find people who have grown children. I would consider that the end product is not what a lot of people on the list are working *towards*. It is more working *with*, in the present moment. But I won't speak for others. This is *my* view, it is what works for me, right now.

Hope this helps...visit the list if you are interested in exploring more!
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Consensual-living

Love.....
:
post #25 of 153
See the way I see it, CL is MORE likely to give you an adult who is completely responsible for themselves. Too many people I know IRL have a tendency to blame someone else for their problems. (Boss, partner, parents, whoever). And I think it has to do with being "forced" to do things as a child and having someone convenient to blame.

I think that if from an early age you have been encouraged to make your own choices (with guidance that you sought or were offered) then I think that you will quickly realize that the "consequences" of your actions are due entirely to your own decisions - good or bad.

I love your image of the dirty dumpster diving girl - so funny! - but I just don't see that being a natural outcome of CL...If anything I think someone who is raised CL would be MORE sensitive to the consequences of their decisions, not less.

Quote:
I think the key issue is really the guidance issue. For me, I see very young children as needing lots of "guidance" in the sense of us providing them with alternatives, helping them articulate their needs, etc Because they just can't do it yet on their own - or at least not as fully as an adult. But I'm not to sure about coerced guidance....there are areas where I still do that (note: hairbrushing) but I hope to relinquish that as soon as we can find a solution that makes us both happy.

I think it's the consensual part that is important - it's not about "do what you want" - it's about "how do you get what you want while respecting others?" What's the MUTUALLY agreeable solution...As the mom, I'm part of the equation naturally...

....just rambling here - but does this make sense?
peace,
robyn
Robyn, this is very clear and makes a lot of sense to me! I like the way you articulated what CL is for you. I hold very similar values as what you have written here!

My dd had the same deal with the hair. She likes to feel the wind in her hair. Did not like to have it brushed. She had dreads for awhile. She got annoyed by hair in her face, but didn't want to wear it tied back.

One day, her dad and little bro shaved their heads. She wanted to do it too, so she did. *BEST* decision of her life. She loves having short hair...she can feel the breeze without hair in her face. She doesn't have to tie it back...although now she does like to put barrettes in it from time to time. She made the decision, she was very happy with it, it doesn't bother her when people call her a boy or mistake her for her brother, and it *feels* really good to her. Is this what *I* would have chosen for her? No. She is herself...and no one else. She made the choice, after we all talked about our concerns...

There are always choices. We may completely disagree, but that doesn't mean we have the right to take that choice away.

Blessings!
:
post #26 of 153
I can quote but its long lol....

The poster above has reminded me of things I constantly need to remind myself. Mostly - living for *now and not then *when and *then in life.

I just had a thought so I wanted to put this down.

Our society focuses so much on 'tomorrow' I feel.
I find it interresting that a lot of the 'parenting' techniques that are constantly throw at you in the 'mainstream' society focus so much on how our children are going to 'turn out' in the end from it all....yet, the techniques in practice actually only focus on the there and now with a child. From time outs to use praise to manipulate our children into doing something we want them to do as well as the use of punishments, etc... Whilst CL doesnt focus on the future our children may have (as the poster above has expressed), it does focus on the here and now...yet I feel it also is the best way to go to provide for our children a healthy future.

I need to remind myself to live for the now more - and not get so hung up on the what may be and the possible future of my son. Though this is more my nature, my virgo side, my organises self, my OCD... I didnt choose to live consensually because I am raising my son for his future. I just sort of got there. Though it is very important to me to know that I am raising him as best as I can to provide an emotionally healthy future for him.

In some ways I feel it was easy for me. My own 'crappy' childhood. My own grasping at some control over my own life that led me to belief that I didnt want my DS to have the childhood I had...why...and how can I do it differently, to my understanding of the simple fact I can not stand someone trying to control me added to the connection I have with my DS and never wanting to force him or coerce him... just wanting to live in peace and harmony...those words have been used many times in this thread and really, that is what it is its so wonderful...just living consenually.

It is hard though I feel. Its deffinatly something that doesnt always come naturally. I find at the moment, its hard for me as I have a pre-verbal child though his speech is deffinatly improving - its sometimes hard to see how we can come to something consensually but there is more to understaning my DS than him just using words for me to listen.
post #27 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by mountainskymama View Post
My dd had the same deal with the hair. She likes to feel the wind in her hair. Did not like to have it brushed. She had dreads for awhile. She got annoyed by hair in her face, but didn't want to wear it tied back.

One day, her dad and little bro shaved their heads. She wanted to do it too, so she did. *BEST* decision of her life.

Oooo thanks for the ideas....I had already thought of suggesting the dreadlock route but it is nice for her to have a choice. Maybe I'll sit down with her this week and try to explain what the options might be for her...not sure she'll "get it" with her language delay, but she always surprises me with what she DOES understand....and she does better when given two or three options to choose between....she might like having it super duper short....hmmmm....and I think we will both be happier

eta: I just realized that sometimes its so easy to get locked into the idea that it's "easier" to just force a child to do something than it is to really sit down and hammer out a solution...but then the forcing is this ongoing, low-level struggle that detracts from our relationship. It would be better for me to just spend the quality time, really thinking through the options, discussing them with DD and coming up with a mutually agreeable solution ONCE, then we can move on.....just thinking out loud.



peace,
robyn
post #28 of 153
I've really enjoyed reading these posts.

Thanks, especially to moutainskymama.

A lot of what you wrote struck a chord with me. I've been trying to let go of a lot of anger and resentment in my adult relationships by trying to really internalize (rather than just acknowledge intellectually) that everyone is on his/her own journey and that I can't control what they're doing or how they've chosen to make that journey.

Yet I've never viewed my own DS or our relationship from that angle. I do get caught up in "how he'll turn out" even though I know with ever fiber of my being that I'll love him no matter what. You've given me a lot of food for thought.
post #29 of 153
Wow...thank you Mountain and Hippie. Things are becoming more clear, but it is going to take a while to digest. I am definitely heading over to the yahoo group.
Let's see if I can do this quote thing... Nope, I'll just do copy paste.

Mountain "However, I have found that when I try to make choices for my children, when they are not a part of the process and problem-solving, I essentially strip the experience away from them, and take away opportunity for interanalization and growth."

Besides needing my entire thought processes rewired, this is what I am looking for in raising my kid. I too was forced to make my bed, etc. Now I never make my bed. I am very messy by nature. However, I strive to pick up my things because I like living in a less messy environment, not because my mom made it a huge ordeal. So, yeah, I think you're right, self discipline comes through your own experiences. Something internal needs to happen before the action occurs.

I haven't heard you speak of modeling. Would you say this is the majority of 'guiding' your children, along with the the problem solving skills?

Re: the matter of what kind of kid will I produce.

I view my child as a gift from God given to me to love, to nurture, to meet needs, to discipline, to enjoy life and to simply be with her. As such, she has been entrusted to me and the way she 'turns out' is important because I don't want her to suffer like I did. Ok, I know, I know, her journey is hers and mine is mine, but I'm a mom. I don't want her to go through what I went through, using drugs to numb myself, cockroach infested houses, poor, and making bad choices by the dozen. So, on one hand she came from God and it is His job to care for her, on the other hand I feel responsible. I don't know how to let the feeling of responsibility go. You mention 'the Work'. I'll check that out.

Mountain "Judgements and expectations cloud our vision of reality."

So true... thank you for pointing out my judgementalness. I hate it
when I do that! I like the way dreds (sp?) look and I have picked up a couch or two on the side of the road, so what am I worried about??!!! When it's my own kid I want her to have the best because I don't want her to suffer. This is MY problem, huh?

Hippie your post made a lot of sense. I love reading others experiences with this philosophy. It's helping me a great deal.

Ann glad to hear your thoughts 'out loud'. I really believe in living in the here and now, but it's so difficult to practice at times!

Gotta run...hoping to hear more from you all and others.
post #30 of 153
Quote:
but it is going to take a while to digest.
This is an on-going process. I am still chewing and deciding what to swallow and what to spit out Like I mentioned in an earlier post, while there are principles that many CLers value, it will look different for everyone...even within the same family. Also important to remember is that the journey is dynamic, not static...so something that worked for our family last month (or even last week) may not work right *now*. The point is to do what *feels* good and works best *in the moment*. That does not mean just following our impulses without a second thought. It means working together to find what will work for everyone. I have found that my children actually come up with many more ideas (and usually better ones!) than I do, now that we have been practicing this way of living.

Quote:
I haven't heard you speak of modeling. Would you say this is the majority of 'guiding' your children, along with the the problem solving skills?
This is hard to answer. Basically, I do what I *feel* is best for *me*, while also considering the needs of others. This does not mean I attempt to be super-mom or some kind of saint or martyr...I take *my* needs into consideration as well. There are many things I value: kindness, helpfulness, eating organic, supporting local farmers and businesses, spending a lot of time outside, etc. I suppose because I do these things, I am modelling for my children, though I don't (read: I try not to) expect that these will be their values. I am also human...when I am feeling lost or frustrated on my mother-journey, I slip back into what was comfortable for so long, which is coercion and a more authoritarian style.

However, I am learning that judging myself is just as dangerous as judging others...and it actually begins with me. We all project and reflect...we project our thoughts and feelings onto the world around us, and what we put out is reflected back to us. So if I want to see kindness, I certainly need to start with *me*. If I want to see helping, then I need to help.

I don't *expect* help (as in, with housework). I will ask for help when I feel I need it, I will explaing why I'd like to have help, I might talk about how I feel when I don't have help, I might find ways to make it a game...ultimately, if the kids don't want to help because they are busy doing something else, or because they just don't feel like it...I honor that choice. I think about the times when I am busy doing something and the kids ask for help, and I tell them not right now because I'm busy. Well, I think they deserve the same respect of what they are doing. While in my intellectual adult mind it may not be a big deal to me, that is their reality right *now*, so it is important to them, you know? This is hard for a lot of people because they feel that kids help make messes, kids should help clean them up...But as I also mentioned, I try to let go of 'shoulds'.

As far as guiding goes, I suppose I see it more as we are walking together...sure, sometimes I may lead the way when the kids are feeling uncomfortable with the 'unkown' that lies ahead...more often, I would say they are leading the way...carving their own paths, living their own truths. They are guided by their spirit, by their Truth...I am simply there to help, support, love, share in their journey. I am there to guide if that is what they need. Mostly, I would say we are walking together...sharing in each other's journey. Working within the context of each other.

Quote:
I view my child as a gift from God given to me to love, to nurture, to meet needs, to discipline, to enjoy life and to simply be with her. As such, she has been entrusted to me and the way she 'turns out' is important because I don't want her to suffer like I did
I believe that my child *is* spirit...each 'part' of her is a manifestation of her spirit. I believe I was chosen, by spirit, by *her* to be her mother, to walk her path with her. I also believe that *my* spirit chose her to walk my path with me. We are entrusted to ourselves, to each other. I don't feel I was chosen as her mother to walk her journey *for* her, but to be a part of her experience, to share. What is most important, to *me*, is connection, support, unconditional love. I trust that her journey will take her where she needs to go...many of her lessons may be the same as many of mine...many may not. At any rate, the more I focus on desired outcomes and expectation, I am taking the focus away from love and connection, and that is becoming what is most important to me...it is also what seems to bring the most joy into our lives....

I shared this with you not because I wanted to change your opinion...but just to show you how different people have different values and beliefs, and while moving into a CL lifestyle may challenge many of those beliefs...I think those that are really your core *Truth* are the ones that will stick with you, and the ones that were created by culture, but society, by parenting styles, by the mainstream, by religion, whatever, are the ones that will melt away to reveal simply what *is*.

Quote:
thank you for pointing out my judgementalness. I hate it
when I do that! I like the way dreds (sp?) look and I have picked up a couch or two on the side of the road, so what am I worried about??!!! When it's my own kid I want her to have the best because I don't want her to suffer. This is MY problem, huh?
By no means was I pointing out anything...just sharing my Truth, my experience.

Exactly, what *are* you worried about? I think that the thoughts/stereotypes we attach to life, and the stories we tell ourselves really frame how we think about and interact with the world (thank you Byron Katie!). Of course, no one wants their children to suffer...But if we took away their pain, would we also then take away their joy? I think there is a way to offer empathy and support without trying to 'fix' the child or try to create a certain outcome for them...this means that we trust the innate wisdom they brought into the world with them, that we trust that they will learn what works for them, and what doesn't, and when they make a choice that brings about 'negative' consequences, we are there to *respond* with love, support, empathize, validation, and help pick up the pieces...not scold, not react out of anger, belittle, say 'I told you so', or other such things, that server to sever relationships, rather then establish connection and build trust.

I don't think it is your 'problem' perse, but I do believe that, yes, your feelings are *yours*...not your child's. I think it is important to own our feelings as ours...rather than projecting them onto others, and then blaming and judging. Something that you may get very angry about, your child may let roll off of her without a second thought. Something that doesn't bother you in the least, may drive your child absolutely nuts. She is her own unique person, experiencing life only as *she* can...who are we to tell her how she *should* feel, or what is *right* for her?

Quote:
I've really enjoyed reading these posts.

Thanks, especially to moutainskymama.

A lot of what you wrote struck a chord with me. I've been trying to let go of a lot of anger and resentment in my adult relationships by trying to really internalize (rather than just acknowledge intellectually) that everyone is on his/her own journey and that I can't control what they're doing or how they've chosen to make that journey.

Yet I've never viewed my own DS or our relationship from that angle. I do get caught up in "how he'll turn out" even though I know with ever fiber of my being that I'll love him no matter what. You've given me a lot of food for thought.
Darius...thank you for your kind words...I think that while the first step may be intellectual in nature...it doesn't really sink in, deep within our beings (within every 'fiber'), until we are able to internalize it through practice. Sure...it is hard at first. I (and my family) experieced a lot of frustration when I first chose to shift my energy in this direction.

And for anyone who may wonder, Dh is not totally on board with this. He is slowly (much more so than I...I just kind of dove in head first) exploring. But as is the nature of CL, it is not my place to tell him how to parent, or even to agree. I do not believe that I should go with what he says when I don't find it to resonate with my truth, just so the kids see a 'united front'. I think to show my kids that I will do the opposite of what I believe in my heart, as Truth, is showing them that I don't trust myself, that I won't stand up for what I believe, that what I believe doesn't matter.

However, we do take each other's opinions into consideration, we agree to disagree, we have, more and more, been finding mutually agreeable solutions. There are times when there is intense conflict, and we work through the process...but I am finding the more skilled I become at this, the more I am able to apply the same values to him as I do to the kids...He knows how I feel about certain things, but that doesn't mean he is going to choose something different than what he wants, because I don't agree with it. It is getting easier and easier. What, at first felt somewhat contrived and superficial, now feels more natural and joyful.

Quote:
Oooo thanks for the ideas....I had already thought of suggesting the dreadlock route but it is nice for her to have a choice. Maybe I'll sit down with her this week and try to explain what the options might be for her...not sure she'll "get it" with her language delay, but she always surprises me with what she DOES understand....and she does better when given two or three options to choose between....she might like having it super duper short....hmmmm....and I think we will both be happier
The other thing I think is important to remember is to involve *her* in the process. If it's just you laying down the options, you may be missing what *she* is feeling/thinking/needing. 'Giving' choices has a very different energy to me than 'Brainstorming' choices. In my opinion, she should come up with the ideas too...then together you can discuss the ideas, and work out which one would feel good to her.

Quote:
eta: I just realized that sometimes its so easy to get locked into the idea that it's "easier" to just force a child to do something than it is to really sit down and hammer out a solution...but then the forcing is this ongoing, low-level struggle that detracts from our relationship. It would be better for me to just spend the quality time, really thinking through the options, discussing them with DD and coming up with a mutually agreeable solution ONCE, then we can move on.....just thinking out loud.
Yes...sometimes force is much easier...for the parent. I think the child is having a completely different experience, however. What I try to do is consider the child's perspective. While I may think it's time to leave somewhere, and to get to the next spot, I force ds into his car seat. I might be okay with that, I get what I want...but what about ds? What does this look like and feel like to him? Is there connection or division going on? Do I really *need* to go? Can I set up my day in a way that the kids are able to do what they want as long as they want to sometimes? Am I willing to give a little?

These are all questions I ask myself regularly. (And there are many more to be sure). Transitioning into a consensual way of life required me to examine not only my principles and core values (which are *huge*), but also my thoughts and feelings about every day things...Do I really *need* to 'go right now'? Why can't I just take the time for ds to stop and explore everything he sees? What is my rush? Of course, we unschool, so this makes it a heck of a lot easier (imo). But that does not mean you have to unschool to live consensually. Many folks on the CL list have kids who unschool *and* kids who go to school...because they choose to. Like I said...looks different for everyone!

I'm really enjoying this discussion and exploration! Thanks for joining me!

Love, love, love!
:
post #31 of 153
I am fascinated by all this but having a hard time digesting all of it at the same time. I can think of a million and one sitations where I would wonder what the CL way of doing things would be. Especially since I have a toddler, so we can't exactly negotiate things.

Today for example, we were out all morning and got home and he was sooooo tired. I carried him to our door and immediately set him down so I could find my keys in my purse. He took off towards the truck and telling me that he wanted to play outside. I opened the door, told him we could go later and went inside. He cried and cried, but as soon as I got him into our bed, laid down with him, he got excited about nursing and wanted to nurse. He was out within a 10 minutes.

So I thought about it and wondered what the CL way of dealing with this would have been. To listen to his desire to stay outside longer and play even though he was long over due for a nap? Because no matter how much longer we would have stayed outside, he would have cried about coming in, he would stay outside all day if we let him. And is the goal to not have your kids ever cry? Ds mostly cries when he can't have his own way. I am very flexible and try to gently let him know when we can't do things his way and then try to distract him with something else as soon as I can. But when things like today happen, I console him, let him cry all he needs to, and then we move on with our day.

Or what do you do when they refuse to wear a hat outside in the summer? Ds refuses to wear the hat I bought him for summer. I bought two new hats today so that I can give him a choice and hopefully that will get him more excited about wearing a hat, but what if he refuses to pick one and keep it on his head? It is way too hot here in the summers to not wear a hat. And we can't stay inside all summer.

How do you possibly do CL with toddlers? I did join the CL yahoo group and read the file on toddlers, but I still don't fully get it. He is not at an age where he can think about his needs and wants and the consequences of his choices. Should I just post my specific concerns on the group?
post #32 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by mountainskymama View Post
I don't *expect* help (as in, with housework). I will ask for help when I feel I need it, I will explaing why I'd like to have help, I might talk about how I feel when I don't have help, I might find ways to make it a game...ultimately, if the kids don't want to help because they are busy doing something else, or because they just don't feel like it...I honor that choice. I think about the times when I am busy doing something and the kids ask for help, and I tell them not right now because I'm busy. Well, I think they deserve the same respect of what they are doing. While in my intellectual adult mind it may not be a big deal to me, that is their reality right *now*, so it is important to them, you know? This is hard for a lot of people because they feel that kids help make messes, kids should help clean them up...But as I also mentioned, I try to let go of 'shoulds'.
Something that I struggle with is keeping my house clean. I was not expected to do chores around the house and I really wish that my parents had expected my to. I don't cook supper each night because I want to, I do it because I have a responsibility to take care of my family, and that involves providing meals for them. I don't wash my dishes because I want to, I do it because if I don't it makes cooking supper soooo much harder to do when there's no clean dishes. I don't do laundry because I want to, I do it because we need clean clothes to wear. So in a CL household, how do you teach responisibility? How do you teach kids that there is work to be done that has to be done at certain times, whether we want to or not. I would love to put off cooking supper or cleaning until I wanted to or felt like it but I can't. Okay, I recognize that I do have a choice, but the honest truth is that it would be a very bad decision to wait until I wanted to because I dislike cooking and doing the dishes and I almost always have to stop doing things that I would rather be doing instead in order to get those important things done. I am not planning on using force to get my kids to do chores but I am planning on somehow teaching them the importance of work and cleaning and so I will expect help around the house when they are old enough to do so. How can I fit these desires into CL?
post #33 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by bright_eyes View Post

Or what do you do when they refuse to wear a hat outside in the summer? Ds refuses to wear the hat I bought him for summer. I bought two new hats today so that I can give him a choice and hopefully that will get him more excited about wearing a hat, but what if he refuses to pick one and keep it on his head? It is way too hot here in the summers to not wear a hat. And we can't stay inside all summer.
I was that kid. In Taiwan, Houston, and now in southern California. My parents eventually just gave up. I wear sunscreen.
post #34 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by bright_eyes View Post
... I don't cook supper each night because I want to, I do it because I have a responsibility to take care of my family, and that involves providing meals for them. I don't wash my dishes because I want to, I do it because if I don't it makes cooking supper soooo much harder to do when there's no clean dishes. I don't do laundry because I want to, I do it because we need clean clothes to wear. So in a CL household, how do you teach responisibility?
These are great examples, bright_eyes. Do note that you don't wash dishes or clothes because someone else is compelling or coercing you to do it, no one punishes you if you don't and no one rewards you if you do. You do it because the consequences of not make the less-than-pleasant tasks worth the hassle.

To flip the question, I wonder how children who are constantly compelled or externally motivated in much of what they do learn responsibility. I hear "wash the dishes or else you won't get to watch TV" "If you clean your room I'll give you a donut" etc. and also the more subtle variations on those themes. I worry that over time, the ability to see the natural outcome of each choice gets lost and decision gets made based on "what's going to happen to me if I do/don't."

I think the #1 best way to teach responsibility is to model it. Children are pre-wired to want to get big and be like their parents. And even if it's not a straight-line path to get there, and sometimes washing dishes is met with resistance and the child opts out, in the big picture children like to help and learn what they live.

I think inviting children to help with everything parents do, giving them more responsibility than we often think to, involving them in the running of the house and letting them see the lessons in each banal example you posted all help children learn responsibility.

ETA: on the hat: since you said it's very hot where you are I'm guessing that you wear one? If not, be sure you do. That's my best tip for convincing toddlers to keep hats on: wear one yourself each and every time. Even if the "I want to be just like Mama" hasn't kicked in yet, it may pay off later. My favorite conversation last winter sounded like: "Mama...mittens?? Louisa mittens!! Louisa mittens!!" It doesn't work for every kid, (some probably really hate the way a hat or mittens feels), but I think it works for many.
post #35 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by mountainskymama View Post
The other thing I think is important to remember is to involve *her* in the process. If it's just you laying down the options, you may be missing what *she* is feeling/thinking/needing. 'Giving' choices has a very different energy to me than 'Brainstorming' choices. In my opinion, she should come up with the ideas too...then together you can discuss the ideas, and work out which one would feel good to her.
Yes! This has been so true for my dd and me.

I love reading your posts on the CL Yahoo group. I'm glad you're here, too!
post #36 of 153
Quote:
I think inviting children to help with everything parents do, giving them more responsibility than we often think to, involving them in the running of the house and letting them see the lessons in each banal example you posted all help children learn responsibility.
Yep. And recognizing and then sending the message in *ourselves* that it really is a choice. I really like a clean house. I really don't like to clean. So sometimes my want to put off cleaning is greater than my want to have a clean house. And then my house gets icky and I get annoyed by it and my want to clean gets greater than my want to NOT clean.

But recognizing that I have a choice to do it or not, or buy a one-way ticket to the Bahamas and ditch the whole thing are actual choices that many people make give me a lot of freedom.

So I work on modelling that for my kids and giving them the same freedom.

Great thread!
post #37 of 153
This is a really interesting thread for me. I do not practice consensual living, but we do have a relatively consensual home. We try to say "yes" as much as possible, and instead of "no" we try to work out an agreement with our kids ("i.e. it doesn't work for me for you to stay home from school today, but you can stay home on Wednesday next week"). But it seems that most of the posters on this thread who are practicing CL (or striving towards it) only have one kid, or one kid and a baby. I wonder how CL works in families with more children? My 5YO twins often have very different ideas about what they'd like to do, and it's just a lot of opinions to bring into the mix.

I had one run-in with a "CL" family that kind of left a bad taste in my mouth about the whole philosophy. A mom and her 4 YO were at our house for a potluck party (with several other families) and the 4 YO didn't want any of the food that was out for the party. So the mom helped him look through our fridge to find something else (without asking me first), and then he insisted on eating all of our peaches (which I had been saving for a pie). The mom said, "well, he really feels like he needs to eat them now, and I want to honor his feelings." Then, he told his mom that he wanted to bring one of my kids' toys home, and so she asked if he could. My sons said, "no," and then the 4YO had a huge fit. Was this just a bad example of a CL situation? It really didn't seem all that consensual, it seemed like the 4YO was in charge and his mom was following his every command.

Lex
post #38 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by lexbeach View Post
This is a really interesting thread for me. I do not practice consensual living, but we do have a relatively consensual home. We try to say "yes" as much as possible, and instead of "no" we try to work out an agreement with our kids ("i.e. it doesn't work for me for you to stay home from school today, but you can stay home on Wednesday next week"). But it seems that most of the posters on this thread who are practicing CL (or striving towards it) only have one kid, or one kid and a baby. I wonder how CL works in families with more children? My 5YO twins often have very different ideas about what they'd like to do, and it's just a lot of opinions to bring into the mix.
We're a lot like you in how we approach things. And I was wondering this, as well. I have one child, a DS who is 5.5. He is very "easy." I also have a great DH and we live a few doors down from DS' best friend. Best friend is part of a lovely family who have become good friends and are happy to take DS for a bit if something comes up.

All this means that, if DS, for example, doesn't want to go to the store, he can stay home with one of us or, if we both need to go out, DS can play with best friend for a while. Since he's relatively easy-going, we generally don't have a lot of conflict.

But I could imagine with more children thrown in, or a single parent, or not living near or in a supportive community, it could be much harder. I realize that there are no absolutes, and that every situation has to be approached uniquely, but I'd be interested to hear from CL families who have multiple kids and/or don't live near or in a supportive community.
post #39 of 153
I think I might be somewhere in the middle - as usual I don't fit in categories

We do a lot of brainstorming and discussion of what's safe and not, what's healthy or not, and honestly, if dd wants a jelly bean before lunch (like today) I give it to her and then give her lunch after (which we discuss before I do it). It seems like part of the word "consensual" would include telling the child of appointments and whatever with enough time before hand that they can get used to the idea. I mean, I hate when someone just pops and appointment on me at the last minute ("oh, by the way, you have a chiropractic appointment today" "umm, what??"), so things like that I try and make clear beforehand, and usually dd "gets" that because it's something w/a specified time, we have to go then, and then we can go do something fun (this is discussed at length - haha... w/my 2 year old, it's a very repetitive discussion).

When we're at home, my kids are what I call "free range babies", which means they pretty much have the run of the house, although since my 9 mo.old has been playing in the toilet (ew!), I've been keeping the bathroom door closed. DD just asks if she wants to go in (she can't reach the handle, yet).

I've found DD is really responsive to explanations lately (or she'll ask why and then sometimes disagree, but she sometimes has a good reason!), though, so that's been helping me be less controlling than I may have been before. I still tried to respect her before though.

The definition that was in a post on the first page resonates with me, but I'm not too sure that I'm doing what other CL's are doing... For instance, I don't feel that I have to give up "me" when dd wants to do something... I'm happy to tell her "I'll help you as soon as I'm done with X" rather than just jump up and help. I think that's reasonable, and she's told me the same thing before (me: ok, come get in your seat, it's dinner time! her: no, I'm coloring, I'll eat dinner later) and I respect that, because it's completely reasonable to let her finish (and so unreasonable not to!), kwim?
post #40 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by lexbeach View Post
But it seems that most of the posters on this thread who are practicing CL (or striving towards it) only have one kid, or one kid and a baby. I wonder how CL works in families with more children? My 5YO twins often have very different ideas about what they'd like to do, and it's just a lot of opinions to bring into the mix.
I have a 6 yr. old and a 3 yr. old. It just gets easier, it seems, as they get used to the process of talking, compromising, finding solutions, taking turns in meeting everyone's needs, etc. Sometimes I'll remind them, "Hey, your brother wants to do xyz, yesterday he did your abc, so let's make sure we're balancing things out, right?" And they just get used to coming up with ideas in the moment that will work for everyone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lexbeach View Post
I had one run-in with a "CL" family that kind of left a bad taste in my mouth about the whole philosophy. A mom and her 4 YO were at our house for a potluck party (with several other families) and the 4 YO didn't want any of the food that was out for the party. So the mom helped him look through our fridge to find something else (without asking me first), and then he insisted on eating all of our peaches (which I had been saving for a pie). The mom said, "well, he really feels like he needs to eat them now, and I want to honor his feelings." Then, he told his mom that he wanted to bring one of my kids' toys home, and so she asked if he could. My sons said, "no," and then the 4YO had a huge fit. Was this just a bad example of a CL situation? It really didn't seem all that consensual, it seemed like the 4YO was in charge and his mom was following his every command.
Holy cow. That would SOO not be OK with me. It's not consensual b/c YOU didn't consent to it. Just b/c some folks in the situation find something that works for them doesn't mean that they just do whatever at someone else's expense.

I can't imagine not being able to explain to either of my kids that we ABSOLUTELY would need to ask for alternate food and simply explaining that the peaches were needed for another dish later. Even if they were upset and crying about that, it would be off the table for discussion (I mean, obviously, I would validate their desire for the peaches and discuss their feelings about not having those peaches....but, it would no longer be a viable solution to the problem of not liking the potluck food.) And to go back even further, I can't imagine not bringing something my kids would like (we have severe food allergies so we travel with food at all times), but I think if you know you've got a kid who is not into lots of different or new foods then you plan for that. You don't make that the problem of your host. I'd leave the potluck before it came to my kids (or anyone in my family) eating out of the host's cabinets. I don't think it's unreasonable to *inquire* if there's a box of crackers or something "kid friendly," but I would never expect it or be upset if the host said no or ask for a separate meal to be made (if the host was truly OK with whipping something up or opening up his/her kitchen that's one thing....but I would NEVER expect that.).

Again, the key point is that the solutions work for ALL parties.

Just b/c my kids wanted to jump on the mattresses at a mattress store doesn't mean that we just do that. The store is not consenting to that. So we need to find some other avenue to satisfy the kids' desire to jump. But, I wouldn't just grab my kids and run home so they could jump on our mattresses either. We'd talk about how when we finished at the mattress store we could go home and jump on our mattresses. And how the mattresses at the store don't belong to us. And so on. And b/c my kids are used to me helping them get what they want, they trust that I'm going to make it happen and they're willing to wait for me to finish at the store. Does that make sense?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Parenting
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Consensual living