Originally Posted by Shami
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!
|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.
|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?
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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