Do you prefer a family Hierarchy or Consensuality? Updated! - Page 35 - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: Family Dynamics: Hierarchy or Consensuality?
Definite hierarchy with rules, strict structure; decisions made on behalf of children. 17 2.81%
Hierarchy with guidelines, routine, soft structure; most decisions made for children. 176 29.14%
Consensual family; decisions round table, children are self determining; few or no rules. 56 9.27%
Mostly Consensual; guidelines, choice where possible, highly structured 61 10.10%
Combo; children know their place in hierarchy but have as much freedom as poss within that structure 277 45.86%
I don't know what you are talking about. 17 2.81%
Voters: 604. You may not vote on this poll

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#1021 of 1044 Old 05-20-2009, 01:52 PM
 
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Who knows though - do you think you would have consented to that if he didnt manipulate you by making it sound like the most fun game ever and tricking you into thinking you were making all the decisions but then limiting your mind through manipulation so you were forced to really just be doing what he wanted? Or if he said "will you do this?" and you felt you could say "no" and he would accept "no" would you have said no? can you really even KNOW if you would have said yes or no in that situation, without reliving it? without reliving your whole life and being in a place at that time where you felt you could say no? Or being at a place where if he tried to manipulate you could say no to the manipulation?
I did consent in some instances. That is he asked and i said "yes" or "ok". Initially, yes it was the big-talk about how great the game was that made me consent, but even after i knew the game i would sometimes consent or even initiate to curry favour with him (it didn't take ME long to learn from him how to manipulate). The consent in the sense of me agreeing at the time was there, the consent in the sense of me agreeing to the abusive act, the next act which i would do because i agreed to the first and the years of suffering that followed when i had to come to terms with it all and get through to find normality, was not. And how could it have been? I was not informed enough to consent. The FIRST time i came right out and said "no" to him was the last time he ever tried to abuse me. He was never going to go against an outright refusal, just as his abuser didn't, and thus he carefully avoided eliciting one for nearly 6 years.

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Honestly I have very strong feelings about the subject of abuse and how that card is being played here. I understand you are trying to explore but I have to bow out of this if its going to continue again (we discussed it a few pages back). *I* feel its really inappropriate and offensive, it makes *me* really uncomfortable and I understand all the people trying to disprove CL will say "I didnt take it that way" blah blah blah (of course they don't because they think its proving their point ) but to someone who DOES practice CL to have some one say it is because they are defining consensual in a way that NO dictionary does, I feel its irrelevant and an attempt to just bring abuse into a conversation that is unwarrented. Take care.
It is unfortunate to be felt to be "playing a card" when discussing one's only experience of childhood (i.e. i don't have one without abuse in it i can relate to you all). It is HOW i learned about consent and how i know i DIDN'T know about consent when i was a child. If it's any comfort, on balance i'd rather not have it as a card to play! Please don't bow out SGM, you are the best (talkative, knowledgeable, open) CLiving poster in the thread, and without you there will be not much of a conversation. Either i can stop posting (and this would be my last post in that case), or you can put me on ignore for this thread?

As to my meaning of "consensual", my dictionary says it is "with mutual consent" and "consent" is "to give assent or approval". It seems informed consent is a different matter indeed. And i suppose if consent doesn't need to be informed to "count" (not very eloquent, sorry!) then of course it would be perfectly possible to live consensually with children. I suppose i have a more narrow view of what consent is. To me if consent is not informed then it is false, or at least unreliable. That doesnt "disprove" anything, it's just that i don't consider consensual living to be truly consensual because i don't consider children capable of true consent. That doesn't change or devalue the way in which you live. You are living in your life and know it IS consensual for all of you, how on earth could anyone disprove that? The spade is a spade to you, no matter how much it is a shovel to me, and it REALLY IS a spade, perhaps it just isn't NOT a shovel?
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#1022 of 1044 Old 05-20-2009, 02:07 PM
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We are just looking at it totally different thats all. I agree, I cant be disproven nor can I disprove, nor do I desire either.

I see it this way:

I feel that being manipulated into consent (such as you and my sister were) is not consent.

"Consent is giving permission to someone. There is a difference between consent and true consent. Many individuals can be tricked into giving consent or they may not fully understand what they are agreeing to."
http://www.kmolnar.com/Consent.html

Which I think is what we are both saying. The difference is that I think children are born feeling they can say no, and then moved away from that practice and have to find their way back into it. Where as you think a person can only gain this ability with age.

For you (and my sister) there was manipulation taking place, and to you you think only with age can a person realize manipulation is taking place. I know that adults can easily be manipulated and I also know that children can easily say no to manipulation if they aren't conditioned to say yes to it first.

People of all ages are manipulated into giving consent for all kinds of things. Age does not fix this. Nor does age prevent the ability to say no to manipulation. You were forced into consent. That was no true consent. My sister wasnt forced into consent because she was incapable of informed consent - but because she was misinformed and manipulated into giving false consent. Uninformed consent is not the same thing as being unable to give informed or true consent.
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#1023 of 1044 Old 05-20-2009, 05:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Super Glue Mommy View Post
yes but we can't compare me and my kids to you and your kids because you have raised thm with "giving miles" and we are living with "having miles" So therefor you can't know what your child would say after getting to the point they could trust that there wasn't some kind of "allowance" of miles or that they need to find where the road ends. Maybe they would just keep going and going and going and going until they came full circle, maybe you are right and they would just go so far they would be lost wandering around because you didnt want to follow them and they kept going, but we don't know, because thats not what you do. and thats okay. You are happy with your life, your children are happy, it works for your family, and it is right for you.
how do you change over... my kid seems to expect me to say 'no', always hear one even when it's not intended or go looking for one... i am always working to say it less, but at what point will he trust that i really don't say it all the time?
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#1024 of 1044 Old 05-20-2009, 05:41 PM
 
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I could have done many of those *if he agreed*... he was not in any mood to do that. He has moods where things work and moods where it's not happening. He is known to agree to things in advance, then go back on them, sometimes causing hassles for other people. If I were at home where we have a membership- sure, leave. But too many times we have paid for things only to leave, but that brings me back to opting out of doing things so that doesn't happen only to then wish you had those things to do and it's harder with never doing them. Maybe you go to do that for a while to appreciate them more.

There are some things I am picky about. I am not a miser, but I do budget money- he can't just spend our funds right and left. I feel that if he gets to do some of what he wants, I also should get to do some of what I want (laundry, buying cat food, eating a snack). I do watch our time- NO ONE would be happy if we got home extra late. I think we are in a big power struggle a lot of the time over who gets their 'way'... sometimes, he's willing to come to the peace table and work it out, and sometimes he's just not. That's what's hard, I can see everyone's needs, they conflict, and often kiddo is not willing/able to work out a solution (he's 4).

My life *does* have a lot of 'have to's' compared to some... he HAS to go to school because I HAVE to go to work. He might choose for me not to work, but that's a choice about MY life that I don't let him make, though I do adjust for him quite a bit. I do not have any family/friends to take him instead. And he likes school, but it's the whole issue of HAVING to do things, I know if adds up for him.

I really would like to totally get into a new dynamic... he and I are so alike, stubborn to a fault. I let go so much of what I want for time with him, I don't know how to meet his needs, we both are lost. We end up just running aronud like crazed monkies. That is why this discussion is interesting to me... I wonder if CL would help us, but I get bogged down in how to make it work.

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SPOTTIEW: The hard thing with specific examples (like that) is that no one is your family, and no one knows all the specific details....so with that in mind.

I noticed a lot of Have-to's or musts in that scenario - rather than working on consensual solutions. Some of those: having to pack of the camp first, not being willing to be later getting home, and not being willing to leave (because of the money). It doesn't seem like the whole Zoo situation was consensual - not saying it *has* to be, but you did ask in a consensual forum.

Could you go to the zoo earlier and come back and pack up camp later (a lot of campsights dont really care unless they are full?

Could you have taken him to the Zoo while DH packed up

Could you have waited for the train thing, and gotten off half way through? Or stayed on and just gotten home later?

If he wasn't enjoying the experience, and you werent (because of his behaviour) then why couldnt you leave?

In my mind - anyways - there wasnt a lot of consenuality for anyone in the situation. You and your DH had to suck up a Zoo trip with a child who didnt want to be there, after listening to him be upset at the campsight - and he had to experience the Zoo in a way he didnt want to, and as such didnt enjoy it.
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#1025 of 1044 Old 05-20-2009, 05:41 PM
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My whole post just got deleted... again... but I spoke to my uncle (lawyer) and the gist of it is there are all kind of legal forms of consent, and age does play a factor in those, however he said legal consent as it applies to sexual situations isn't even in the same ball park as day to day consent - legally or otherwise. The law does limit a childs ALLOWANCE to consent, but it does not mean a child's ABILITY to consent is limited. However, the reason for this is due to the law's opinion of a child's comprehension skills, but thats when you get into the cases of one philosophy versus another. I am not asking my child to be able to comprehend whether or not something is sexual abuse, nor am I raising my child in a way that even when no is an okay answer they still don't know it is. Nor am I using manipulation in trying to get my child's consent. The two are two far from related to be comparable - but according to my uncle thats pretty much the only thing I was right about when it comes to laws on consent.
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Any misspellings or grammatical errors in the above statement are intentional;
they are placed there for the amusement of those who like to point them out.
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#1027 of 1044 Old 05-21-2009, 03:37 PM
 
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My whole post just got deleted... again... but I spoke to my uncle (lawyer) and the gist of it is there are all kind of legal forms of consent, and age does play a factor in those, however he said legal consent as it applies to sexual situations isn't even in the same ball park as day to day consent - legally or otherwise. The law does limit a childs ALLOWANCE to consent, but it does not mean a child's ABILITY to consent is limited. However, the reason for this is due to the law's opinion of a child's comprehension skills, but thats when you get into the cases of one philosophy versus another. I am not asking my child to be able to comprehend whether or not something is sexual abuse, nor am I raising my child in a way that even when no is an okay answer they still don't know it is. Nor am I using manipulation in trying to get my child's consent. The two are two far from related to be comparable - but according to my uncle thats pretty much the only thing I was right about when it comes to laws on consent.
See that's another big factor SGM, i do not believe at this point in time (though i definitely work constantly on being self aware) that i am able to RELY on my not being manipulative with my kids. I use manipulation all the time. I had a very manipulative mother and she used it mainly for good (i.e. was a counsellor for parents of children with ADD/ADHD and was capable of completely turning around the way someone looked at themself so they were freed to take steps to really change their lives - she wasn't a magician but i have letters written since her death by some people who paint her as such because she made such a difference to their lives) though sometimes for bad (which oddly was never as effective - you can convince someone something good about themself forever, but unless they are very damaged it generally takes a lot of work to convince someone something bad about themself). I manipulate. I know i do it. Most of the people i a close to keep me around BECAUSE i do it (i.e. i know i am not toxic, but that my ability to give people a new viewpoint on their lives is appreciated, my DP will consistently think and believe the worst of himself and of the opinions others might hold of him, and is always pleased to have me smash it all away and show him the reality, it is IS reality i show him, i don't lie and tell him he's great when he isn't). I manipulate DD. I know i do it.

It is such a massive part of who i am, i couldn't be without it. It is subtle, not a major thing anyone would see, but i do it without thinking. When i see diamonds i say so, and i say it in such a way that those looking in the mud for years before, suddenly see the diamonds too.

So perhaps my conclusion from this discussion is that because of my own personality, coupled with my (as we have definitely established now) narrow view of the meaning of "consent", CL is not a possibility FOR ME or for my family. Which of course, as also established, says nothing about the idea or possbility of it, for you and yours, in general.

And in fact i doubt we live very differently in terms of actual "acts" of parenting and family life, it's just that you can concretely know you are CL, and i cannot fee that about myself.

And SGM thankyou, truly, for discussing this with me even when the topics became very challenging for you. I really appreciate your patience.
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#1028 of 1044 Old 05-22-2009, 08:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have to read the last page but if I have any chance of keeping up, I'll post what I have now.

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My children are not given miles. They have miles
Semantics.

There are different personality traits, even within CL, whoodathunkit! People won't always fall into our preconceived ideas, some people raised in a CL way still "pull" on the universe, the abundant, fullness of Her who gives infinitely. I know this because I read the CL yahoo group, amongst other CL resources, and the kids are just like ... kids! Sometimes a mother goes in there reefing her own hair out because her kids are taking and taking and she has raised them consensually from birth. It happens. So what. They're kids.

Your kids have miles and don't ask for more because they have all they need... I hear you. I'm saying that it isn't the case for others, even in a CL construct.

Which leads me to the direct question: given my situation (and yes, I know you'd never find yourself in that situation... think outside your square for a sec, wear another's shoes, just for a moment...) what would you do?

I'm committed to it for the long haul and I still found myself in situations without consensual solutions. Which negates your idea that all it takes is commitment to finding consensual solutions. I'm not alone in this either. There are many like me. They are just conveniently forgotten, and the only ones put to memory are those who *claim* to be 100% consensual ALL the time and never found themselves without a mutually agreeable solution - or at least, never found themselves in a situation without a mutually agreeable solution. I can only name two such people, Anne and Pat.

Hunger is political.  Wherever there is widespread hunger, it is because people with guns are preventing other people from bringing in food.  
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#1029 of 1044 Old 05-22-2009, 08:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The point is no matter what they are doing and what you do around them you could "distract" them so by that thinking one could NEVER be consensual.
I don't think pushing someone over is the same as someone accidentally tripping on your foot. One has intent, one does not. Intent is everything. My child notes I am around, and may be distracted by something I'm doing.

That is not the same as intentionally organising circumstances so that I impart my will upon her.

For instance, there is a choice, a clear cut choice when a child is about to walk into the road. You let them. Or you don't let them. Those are your choices. Next time you'll organise things so they aren't (and you aren't) faced with that choice. But for now, you are. And those are your choices. If you fall into the "don't let them" category, you then have to find a way to consensually impart your preference upon your child and make them want it also.

If they are of reasoning age, you can engage them in a kind of negotiation, and reach some kind of mutual agreement. If they are not, then you do not even have that choice. No matter HOW you do it, IF your intention is to interfere in their plan, then you have imposed your will upon them.

Hunger is political.  Wherever there is widespread hunger, it is because people with guns are preventing other people from bringing in food.  
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#1030 of 1044 Old 05-22-2009, 08:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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so when someone makes a comment against CL and then says "so I think that proves ..." thats not trying to disprove CL?
No. It proves there is faulty logic in some of the guidelines. It doesn't disprove “CL”. I live in a consensual home, I just don't need all those laws I listed earlier and it is those laws I take issue with. Do you think CL dissolves if one or all of those statements are proven false? I can prove it doesn't because I still consider myself consensually living even though I know they are false. I don't need those statements to work CL in my life. And I will tell anyone who is listening that they too can be a CL family and not buy into those statements also.

I guess it depends on how far you want to take it. 100% consensually living with a toddler may end up with a dead toddler, let's be frank. I have thought about all the logistics and this is the fact of it. In certain situations you decide for the universe and for your child that you know best, that your child should live, and you take their tongue out of the power point, zoom them away from the road, stay parked when they are sitting on the roof of the car shouting "go go go!", or about to flush your 2000 dollar camera down the toilet (could be considered life and death if daddy found out )... and so on.

Hunger is political.  Wherever there is widespread hunger, it is because people with guns are preventing other people from bringing in food.  
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#1031 of 1044 Old 05-23-2009, 12:24 AM
 
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im replying again just cause im still thinking on this i know i'm talking to myself, but it helps me, so...

the other thing i am 'picky' about is driving- we commute too much as it is, and it has a negative effect, so we try to be careful about not having extra car time, backtracking, etc. it would have added an hour or more to the day to go back to packup later, and when he already had 7 hours in the car the day prior, he would have been unhappy the whole way home... even if i had suggested it and he agreed, he would more than likely either changed his mind and said we couldn't do it that way after all (after he already got what he wanted, we lose out), or been unhappy- while maybe even saying he was fine, but crying and moaning, etc. he is just not a kid who can 'get home later', when he is tired, he is a crab-sometimes for days.

i offered... him clean up camp, him play, him use the water facuet that he loved the night prior, one of us go to playground- i asked him his idea, he wanted 'no breakfast for anyone'- while the stove was already on. he likes to control everyone, and always has to know WHY... 'we are eating' isn't good enough becuase 'well i am not, and i want YOU to play with ME'...

i am not good at finding my way out of things, so i often chalk it up to 'bad day' and try to plan ahead more the next time... i came up with- hubby and i don't make hot bkfst, eat granola cars in the car'. not what we really want, but better than his being a big stinker while we frantically gulp cocoa and try to shush him.

really, that's what set a lot of it offf... he likes to get up and go, but he also hates being told he's loud. well they had quiet hours... he's usually OK about other ppl having rules, but doesn't like being told to be quiet (which is rare, but he is a big gabber).

the 'don't want to walk' thing is new, he does not LIKE that he is too big now usually, it means time to leave, but i don't like that ALWAYS being the answer... that means he often gets as far in as he can, then we have to pack him out.

oh well. i keep trying that's MY reality of CL- it's always 'trying'. for those who are living it, you are able to do something that so far, eludes me. i really would like to handle better what to do when he isn't in any mood/ability to find an agreeable solutioon... i know, he has needs, but i can't always meet them?

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Originally Posted by poiyt View Post
SPOTTIEW: The hard thing with specific examples (like that) is that no one is your family, and no one knows all the specific details....so with that in mind.

I noticed a lot of Have-to's or musts in that scenario - rather than working on consensual solutions. Some of those: having to pack of the camp first, not being willing to be later getting home, and not being willing to leave (because of the money). It doesn't seem like the whole Zoo situation was consensual - not saying it *has* to be, but you did ask in a consensual forum.

Could you go to the zoo earlier and come back and pack up camp later (a lot of campsights dont really care unless they are full?

Could you have taken him to the Zoo while DH packed up

Could you have waited for the train thing, and gotten off half way through? Or stayed on and just gotten home later?

If he wasn't enjoying the experience, and you werent (because of his behaviour) then why couldnt you leave?

In my mind - anyways - there wasnt a lot of consenuality for anyone in the situation. You and your DH had to suck up a Zoo trip with a child who didnt want to be there, after listening to him be upset at the campsight - and he had to experience the Zoo in a way he didnt want to, and as such didnt enjoy it.
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#1032 of 1044 Old 05-23-2009, 09:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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ok, i popped over to the CL tribe and there was no one there, so maybe i can ask this here, even tho it's in the middle of another conversation... i'm just looking for 'what's the CL approach to this type of thing', because it happens all the time, and while in the middle of it, i have no ideas.

this past wknd, we were out camping 90 mins from home. well, 90 mins if your car doesn't break, so 7 hours for us. kid is happy through 99% of things, gets tired on the last leg in the car but otherwise OK.

next morning, wants to break camp and go to the nearby wildlife park RIGHT NOW. won't stop yelling- there's a quiet rule, so we spend all our time trying to get him quieter, get packed up, while he's yelling ZOO! NOW! (btw, he's 4). there's a playground in this campsite, he would be happier there, but will not agree to go.

we happened to get free passes to this animal park... it's the kind of thing i would do anyway with him (always asking him first) if the price were less. he finds out that there is a 'bus tram' to the various habitats- only it's hourly, we have a 40 minute wait. all he wants to do it go and wait for it- we really need to use that time for the rest of the park, or else we miss them or be very late home. we keep saying that the animals are on the way to the bus tram (in a way they are), but yells the whole way that he wants nothing but the bus tram (and he is the ONLY loud one there). i give snacks, he got the same amount of sleep as normal, he WONT walk. he's dragging himself all over the ground, climbing and hurting us, just WONT walk.

we say maybe we need to leave, but no one wants that. i don't mention money, but often i would- we paid, we stay. i do say 'we made this choice, we live with it'- but he wants to change his mind. after all that, he got tired of the bus halfway through, then wanted to go hom. he's not the world's best traveler, but was just a horribly unhappy non-consenual thing... other than never go anywhere (which would also drive all of us bonkers, he NEEDS to get out), what to do... leaving is sometimes but not an option. cheering up does sometimes work, but not then. we asked 'what would make you happier here'- no ideas.

i'm not sure that even conveys things accurately... we did enjoy it, but we always have this kid climbing and attacking us, being dramatic and wacky in a very 'in your face' way... let me know what y'all think. maybe i can plan ahead better next time.
Firstly, let me validate you: that sounded like a ROUGH time, and if you go through that regularly, you are a saint and deserving of all those precious mama hours that will one day be yours again!

I hear in what you wrote that you really did try to give him what he wants, that he seemed to negate every opportunity presented to him to be agreeable. I read a response from another post that said it didn't look like the situation was very consensual, I see it differently. I see that you are being constantly torn in all directions because he seems to want the most difficult option. You didn't say that much, but I like to read between the lines. I know desperation when I see it. In a further post I notice you say he likes to control.

My first thought is to wipe off plans to go anywhere with a "quiet rule" for quite some time. Save yourselves the headache of that, because then you can have half a chance of honoring his desire to be other than that. I have a screecher, so I don't say that offhandedly. It can be painfully overwhelming, all on its own with no other childhood behavioural quirks.

However, like myself, you find yourself in situations as they are, not as you will prepare for them to be in future. This is personal preference, but I say screw the rooolz, man. When in a situation that demands "quiet", unless there is an escape (such as a cinema) or someone's life depends on it, then people have to deal with the fact that they share this planet with children. Day AND night. I give my share of respect by not going to fancy adult restaurants with little children, not going to the cinema, .... and so on. I give those who have done their child raising a break, and those who choose not to raise children their space. But by the same token, we do share some spaces on this planet, such as malls, parks, planes, campsites, zoos, toilets... and if I still cannot escape then it's every one for their dayyyyyym self, yo.

It was during my first child's toddlerhood that I learned to release my "people pleasing" tendencies regarding my children's noise and not far behind that went my "random unnecessary rule following" tendencies.

Regarding his desire to stay and wait for the tram, it sounds like the very human tendency to hope that something other that which we have might make us feel better. His mood might have been low, for some personal reason, and he could have been searching for something to fix it. A larger scale of this is "retail therapy" or even larger would be addiction or an extra marital affair - that kind of thing. Sometimes you need to know that it isn't your parenting or the choices you've given but just how he feels right now. And that only he can lift his spirits. How was the mood between you and whomever was there? You did what he wanted, you waited for the tram and it wasn't all he hoped... it also sounds like he had a problem with something in his environment.

My daughter has a fear of dogs. I will admit to forgetting this as an option when her behaviour goes off. She is seven now and it is still an issue. She will suddenly get aggressive and surly and there is absolutely nothing we can do to appease her or even help. Years of trial and error and I found that it was the threat of a dog, or the sound of a dog barking. Just the threat of a dog will trigger it. There were times when there was no clear sign of why she was off. For instance, walking past a house where she knows there once was a dog will set her off, even if there is no dog there now.

Something to consider, esp as you were in a zoo. Animals have powerful energy, and zoos are a haven of miserable frequencies. I am against circuses and zoos because of the misery within. Jailed animals will set kids off, esp sensitive kids, every time. I find it interesting that your son protested when you suggested that there were animals on the way to the tram.

Regarding his controlling tendencies, is he in kindy? Does he have a sibling, or in any way involved with other children who could be thwarting his autonomy? This is another issue we went through with my daughter. She started becoming very controlling and demanding when she started school. It was a little evident but totally controllable when she was in kindy. If I opened the door, she screamed that she wanted to open it and wouldn't settle until I actually closed the door again for her to open it. Yet another day if I waited for her to open the door, she freaked and demanded that I open the door! Confusing times. I sorted this issue, at least for the car, by removing the door as an option altogether and said that if she wants to get out of the car she has to climb out of the window. She loved that option, and still to this day sometimes winds it down to get out . She was about the age of 3 or 4 . It's an awkward, confusing age, hang in there. It gets worse.

JOKE!!

Sort of.



Anyway, back to the autonomy thwarting... I found that she felt a little powerless at kindy. This is not an easy find in that age bracket as what you see and what they say is not all there is. She was only there a couple of times a week because she said she liked it, but her behaviour started going off and we had to help her find her groove. Then at school it got uncontrollable. I pinned that one, correctly, on our connection. Although your son isn't in school, your connection may need some work. Hold On To Your Kids is invaluable for that, all the tips and nuances involved in maintaining the connection.

Your son seems to be grasping for control which can be a sign of a loose connection or thwarted autonomy or a sense of being out of control. A recent death can give a child (or adult) a sense of having no control also. So please don't think that you are creating it, but at the same time, don't overlook yourself as a participant if it resonates.

He "needs to get out", I see you have written. Why do you say this? Does his behaviour change to more serene if you are out? Do you prefer it? Again, I used to think my daughter needed many toys and for us to get out but it was really me that needed that. I found, paradoxically, that the less stimulation my child had the more serene she was. My son is the same, only we started out with less for him. DS gets bored and whiney unlike DD when she was little, but we Zen out the house and let him go nuts. I recommend trying that, if you haven't already. Let me know if it really does seem to be a big need to get out and about and you have tested the theory by giving him about two weeks worth of low lighting, low noise, low low lowness and he still busts to get out.

Running out of steam and time. I know there were few or no consensual solutions in there for your problems, but I do not believe there are always consensual solutions, remember. I believe there are myriad situations for growth. It is obvious to me that the situations you found yourself in had limited or no consensual options for you, or your son. You were probably not going to find consensus with him on any matter in that situation. If you could do the day over, what would you do differently?

Hunger is political.  Wherever there is widespread hunger, it is because people with guns are preventing other people from bringing in food.  
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#1033 of 1044 Old 05-24-2009, 03:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a new theory. I'll see how it goes if anyone is keen on a brief discussion on it.

Children are the only ones who are capable of real consensus with children.

I'd like to make a request: This is just a discussion. This theory is also for the heck of it, I am not “doing” anything with it, and it may even be wrong. So relax, and enjoy some philosophical debate/talk or just watch. I can't tell you to not be here, but I can suggest that if this discussion feels like you are defending your faith, then it may suit you best to just watch. Or get yourself banned or something. Whatever works. I'm not suggesting CL doesn't work and I'm not trying to “manipulate” you to the dark side (cue twilight zone theme) or equating CL with abuse and for all you know I don't even believe half the things I'm writing. Debate is like that, we need to be able to take either side and work it. If you find you can only take one side, you could be too emotionally invested and perhaps that is another reason you could consider leaving the discussion.

ok... children are the only ones capable of consensus with children. Whaddaya reckon?

As GBG and some others have touched on, how can an imbalance of power lead to a true consensus? Which then means touching on the finer points of "power", esp if you are a CL family like myself. I've had to examine my relationship with power and with force and the difference between the two. I may be in denial if I think I do not have power as the adult, and inadvertantly use this, even with the best of intentions.

For instance, two children are more likely to NOT try to find consensus on the reasons why they shouldn't cross the road. Or if they did, they would fight it on a level playing field, like kids. Or they would just double dare each other. I can see my daughter, for instance, saying "no way I'm doing that. I don't think you should either. You're crazy, you'll get hit by a bloody car." Honesty, her intentions very clear and no attempt to involve negotiations or do anything other than give her opinion.

Hunger is political.  Wherever there is widespread hunger, it is because people with guns are preventing other people from bringing in food.  
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#1034 of 1044 Old 05-24-2009, 03:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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PS is anyone else sick of posts in threads that pull the victim card on analogies that use negatives such as abuse? It's like, if the word is even mentioned, you are suddenly saying they are abusive. Of course pulling a child away from the road is not the same as abuse – Good Lord! But accepting giggling from a child as consent needs deeper analysis. I get it it, to me it is very clear even though it isn't my analogy. I understand even Einstein would be triggered by something if it was an emotional hot button... and I guess that's just what that is.

Which interestingly demonstrates one of my points from earlier in the thread that a child cannot be expected to separate her emotions from her logic and make a rational decision based on the facts presented to them. If adults often can't separate the two, how can we expect a child to? They trust in us, we are their filter the world passes through and this is hardwired into them. They have “nurture cues” that trigger us to protect and provide and this has been shown to cross species. The babies of another mammal can trigger that in us just as human babies can trigger it in other mammals.

When I hear someone working on being totally level (more than equality) to a child, and I mean TOTALLY, there is no hierarchy whatsoever to speak of and they are shooting for “friend” and 100% level playing field
a ) I wonder if that is even possible without serious effort (natural things usually take little effort) and
b ) what the effect of that might be on the continuum of a species that relies on a different kind of parent/child relationship.
And finally my question needs to be: WHY?
What is the point of shooting for such a goal? Are there some kind of results humanity has found or in other cultures that show this is a worthy goal or is this experimental? If it is the latter then I'm hip to that, too. I'm not against the idea, and I like ingenuity. However, it does concern me, mildly... enough to start a discussion on the merits of it at any rate.

Hunger is political.  Wherever there is widespread hunger, it is because people with guns are preventing other people from bringing in food.  
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#1035 of 1044 Old 05-24-2009, 04:01 AM
 
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I've been following along. I attempted to live consensually with my child up until very recently. He was stressed out. Once I started to make some decisions for him he relaxed, became more confident, and we now have the best relationship we've had yet. Funny story: his dad and I were having a talk about how he has been able to eat whatever he wants whenever he wants. We were talking about just giving him to eat what I make for dinner. No more choices, we said. And immediately DS started repeating "no more choices". So now when he tells me he's hungry and I start giving him choices, he says "no more choices". It makes me crack up, he remembers better than I do. He knows what food we have, we go to the store together, and he can go in the fridge and look. He just tells me what he wants now. Ahhhhhhh.... relief....

*Liz* : mountain mama to DS 12/04
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#1036 of 1044 Old 05-27-2009, 11:32 AM
 
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I feel that I am the one who makes the effort to be consensual, and he often does not/can not do the same. Hey, he's 4, but it puts me in the place of the one having to compromise to make him happy (ok, that's a choice not 'have to') more than he does the same. Some of the ideas that others have had were not agreeable to me- I don't want to drive an extra hour or get home late, so that makes them not mutally ok, and he doesn't want the ones that I see as my way of making peace- like one of us at the playground, one clean up camp. What I really wanted at the zoo was to find a way to have him be happy since we were already there so we all could stay and get something out of it- I don't think he even wanted to leave exactly, he just didn't know how to change his mood. (ps. it's a wild animal park zoo, no cages. that's why the bus-tram, the animals have fres range. the 'need to get out' comes from he will hit etc. inside, but be happier outside- seems that going out is a need- he is very on the go, needs to move his body or it moves itself). He's desperately feeling that no control thing, but I don't get why? HE goes to Montessori school, has choice of activities, I pretty much accommodate him in the afternoon outside my chores, and don't say 'no' to him unless he's pushing for it... he's not happy just doing what he wants, he wants ME to do it too.. we did use to be more connected, then age 3 hit- that's likely part of it, he's not secure and at peace with himself. i have always thought something is 'bugging' him inside, just don't know what/what to do...
In the future? I would probably only say once to be quiet- he knows. I would skip sit-down breakfast- not worth it. Not sure about the zoo...

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I hear in what you wrote that you really did try to give him what he wants, that he seemed to negate every opportunity presented to him to be agreeable. I read a response from another post that said it didn't look like the situation was very consensual, I see it differently. I see that you are being constantly torn in all directions because he seems to want the most difficult option. You didn't say that much, but I like to read between the lines. I know desperation when I see it. In a further post I notice you say he likes to control.

However, like myself, you find yourself in situations as they are, not as you will prepare for them to be in future. This is personal preference, but I say screw the rooolz, man. When in a situation that demands "quiet", unless there is an escape (such as a cinema) or someone's life depends on it, then people have to deal with the fact that they share this planet with children. Day AND night. I give my share of respect by not going to fancy adult restaurants with little children, not going to the cinema, .... and so on. I give those who have done their child raising a break, and those who choose not to raise children their space. But by the same token, we do share some spaces on this planet, such as malls, parks, planes, campsites, zoos, toilets... and if I still cannot escape then it's every one for their dayyyyyym self, yo.

It was during my first child's toddlerhood that I learned to release my "people pleasing" tendencies regarding my children's noise and not far behind that went my "random unnecessary rule following" tendencies.

Regarding his desire to stay and wait for the tram, it sounds like the very human tendency to hope that something other that which we have might make us feel better. His mood might have been low, for some personal reason, and he could have been searching for something to fix it. A larger scale of this is "retail therapy" or even larger would be addiction or an extra marital affair - that kind of thing. Sometimes you need to know that it isn't your parenting or the choices you've given but just how he feels right now. And that only he can lift his spirits. How was the mood between you and whomever was there? You did what he wanted, you waited for the tram and it wasn't all he hoped... it also sounds like he had a problem with something in his environment.

Regarding his controlling tendencies, is he in kindy? Does he have a sibling, or in any way involved with other children who could be thwarting his autonomy? This is another issue we went through with my daughter. She started becoming very controlling and demanding when she started school. It was a little evident but totally controllable when she was in kindy. If I opened the door, she screamed that she wanted to open it and wouldn't settle until I actually closed the door again for her to open it. Yet another day if I waited for her to open the door, she freaked and demanded that I open the door! Confusing times. I sorted this issue, at least for the car, by removing the door as an option altogether and said that if she wants to get out of the car she has to climb out of the window. She loved that option, and still to this day sometimes winds it down to get out . She was about the age of 3 or 4 . It's an awkward, confusing age, hang in there. It gets worse.


Anyway, back to the autonomy thwarting... I found that she felt a little powerless at kindy. This is not an easy find in that age bracket as what you see and what they say is not all there is. She was only there a couple of times a week because she said she liked it, but her behaviour started going off and we had to help her find her groove. Then at school it got uncontrollable. I pinned that one, correctly, on our connection. Although your son isn't in school, your connection may need some work. Hold On To Your Kids is invaluable for that, all the tips and nuances involved in maintaining the connection.

He "needs to get out", I see you have written. Why do you say this? Does his behaviour change to more serene if you are out? Do you prefer it? Again, I used to think my daughter needed many toys and for us to get out but it was really me that needed that. I found, paradoxically, that the less stimulation my child had the more serene she was. My son is the same, only we started out with less for him. DS gets bored and whiney unlike DD when she was little, but we Zen out the house and let him go nuts. I recommend trying that, if you haven't already. Let me know if it really does seem to be a big need to get out and about and you have tested the theory by giving him about two weeks worth of low lighting, low noise, low low lowness and he still busts to get out.
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#1037 of 1044 Old 05-27-2009, 05:55 PM
 
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I've been following along. I attempted to live consensually with my child up until very recently. He was stressed out. Once I started to make some decisions for him he relaxed, became more confident, and we now have the best relationship we've had yet. Funny story: his dad and I were having a talk about how he has been able to eat whatever he wants whenever he wants. We were talking about just giving him to eat what I make for dinner. No more choices, we said. And immediately DS started repeating "no more choices". So now when he tells me he's hungry and I start giving him choices, he says "no more choices". It makes me crack up, he remembers better than I do. He knows what food we have, we go to the store together, and he can go in the fridge and look. He just tells me what he wants now. Ahhhhhhh.... relief....
i've wondered if there are kids like that. sometimes i am not sure my kid does well with freedom, that he wants direction- if only to rebel against it! i guses i try to make it pretty benign direction...
calm, i think the '100% equal/friend' idea breaks down because one person (you) has so much more information than the other... you can't help but be a mentor. i once heard it described as an ambassador to a less developed culture... such that you then become the one having to make peace, i guess, rather than expect the same.
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#1038 of 1044 Old 05-28-2009, 12:31 PM
 
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i've wondered if there are kids like that. sometimes i am not sure my kid does well with freedom, that he wants direction- if only to rebel against it! i guses i try to make it pretty benign direction...
calm, i think the '100% equal/friend' idea breaks down because one person (you) has so much more information than the other... you can't help but be a mentor. i once heard it described as an ambassador to a less developed culture... such that you then become the one having to make peace, i guess, rather than expect the same.
Erica was/is such a person. As I have tried to convey here repeatedly. She needed an external set of rules/guidelines to her life or all she saw was chaos, not choices. It was my job as her parent to provide those rules/guidelines and to give her clear, limited choices that she could handle. And to tell her "no, that's not one of the choices" when necessary.

It is my belief (backed up by child development experts and other experienced parents) that parents are not to be 100% equal/friends to their underage children. That comes when the children reach maturity.

Chris--extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, APing, CLW, homeschooling before any of this was a trend mom to Joy (1/78), Erica (8/80), Angela (9/84), Dylan (2/98)
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#1039 of 1044 Old 05-29-2009, 05:13 AM
 
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PS is anyone else sick of posts in threads that pull the victim card on analogies that use negatives such as abuse? It's like, if the word is even mentioned, you are suddenly saying they are abusive. Of course pulling a child away from the road is not the same as abuse – Good Lord! But accepting giggling from a child as consent needs deeper analysis. I get it it, to me it is very clear even though it isn't my analogy. I understand even Einstein would be triggered by something if it was an emotional hot button... and I guess that's just what that is.
I find it incredibly hard to circumnavigate these emotional outbursts in what is to me an intellectual conversation, yes. If Einstein was indeed, as suspected by some, asperger's, i doubt very much he would react like this to "emotional hot buttons" or even realise that people were thinking in that way. I often miss it when people are actually factually trying to imply emotionally wired things about me in a mean way, particularly if we were having an intellectual discussion first. What usually happens is that i eventually realise that people are really kicking off and i have to read back/rewind the conversation in my head to figure out why. On the other hand i do see that when people have felt or been under attack for a long time on a given subject they DO begin to be hypersensitive when they sense (rightly or wrongly) another assault approaching.

I would say that yes, i agree that children can only really be consensual with certain peers, and are only capable of THAT for short periods of time. Some kids are very poor at being consensual, however "equal" they and their peers are.

I was a little leader as a kid, but i was scared by too many choices, and liked my parents telling me what to do. When i was 14 i dated a 20yo man and remained angry at my parents for 5 years for not forbidding it! If they had forbidden it i would have stopped dating him, but my mum, believing i would rebel given any opportunity (when i had NEVER been rebellious) decided to let me ake my own decisions. It was i suppose a valuable learning period, but i was beaten and raped by him and was NOT safe to be making decisions like that, and it took me properly growing up to realise that and to forgive them for not making a rule to protect me from my own stupidity.

Chris i was born 2 months after your Erica and i too found chaos in choice. And more than that, felt that chaos crept in to get me if there weren't guidelines, rules, given things i could rely on solidly. Perhaps it is my slightly autistic self - i really like rigidity and rules. I like to break them too, but i am miserable without them. I need another person, even now, to push against (for me, DP is this person, and he is also a bit autistic, so we seem to gel well and are able to push against one another's rigidity and have fun with it). I think it might just be who i am.
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#1040 of 1044 Old 05-31-2009, 02:26 AM
 
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Erica was/is such a person. As I have tried to convey here repeatedly. She needed an external set of rules/guidelines to her life or all she saw was chaos, not choices. It was my job as her parent to provide those rules/guidelines and to give her clear, limited choices that she could handle. And to tell her "no, that's not one of the choices" when necessary.

It is my belief (backed up by child development experts and other experienced parents) that parents are not to be 100% equal/friends to their underage children. That comes when the children reach maturity.
from what i've read mine sounds like he is quite a lot like your erica at times... of course today, his friend's mama called him mellow- HA. I try to have a 'flow' for days which would help, but he fights it- then messes up MY rhythm and then isn't happy and we aren't either! i so remember being a kid like him... you want some 'rules' and structure but then you still want to fight and be you... without rules would seem odd and lost, so either alternative has it's downsides! i actually think it comes from a disconnect and lack of community just this idea that having a 'tribe' would moderate by child...
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#1041 of 1044 Old 06-01-2009, 01:52 PM
 
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I want to pop in with an alternative to the grab and swoop maneuver for a child running into the road. I feel that it is more effective and more consensual for me to intercept. I run several feet ahead of the child, turn and face, crouch down with arms open for an embrace. Now I am providing him with a new choice instead of stopping him outright. If the road is clear I may even go into the road to allow him to experience "road" if that is his goal, as you say, Calm. He can keep running straight into my arms. He can stop and engage in conversation if verbal. He can turn and run the opposite direction if he wants to run away from me. Lots of choices that don't end up with him running loose in the road with oncoming cars. Plus I think "grab and swoop" becomes a game where they run towards the road more frequently. I can always do that as a last resort, if he tries to do an end run around me.

You could still look at it as me imposing my will, I guess. But I look at it as engaging a toddler in a form of finding consensus. My intent is to say with my actions, "Whoa, I'm not comfortable with this, here are a lot of other options," in a concise, physical way that a toddler understands. After all, most of our communication is not verbal even as adults. Taking the ability to use speech as the primary form of gaining consensus out of the equation really can be a helpful teacher in learning to be very clear and honest in your communication with your facial expressions and body language and aura, if you believe in that sort of thing. I realize that all this is a slippery slope with regard to intent and inferring consent where it may not be authentic, especially with people (children) who seem to be born with a higher need for approval and acceptance. I just say I do the best I can. I don't find that this conflicts with the ideal that "There are always consensual solutions."

I would say that is true, but that it is impossible to find a consensual solution every time for a variety of reasons. No one is totally honest with themselves or others about their needs and wants. We often have conflicting wants or needs within ourselves. No one can be aware of all the options available to them all the time. Full informed consent or true consensus would require that we all know everything and never feel conflicted within ourselves. I don't think that's a necessary or desirable step. I like what we have. And I need/want something to call it. Consensual living is as close as I can get.

Also Calm, I believe the toddler running into the road was your dilemma, and you said you didn't get any responses for what you could have done on the spot. I would suspect that is because preventing it in the future would be considered a more practical route, because next time it will be a totally different situation you have to deal with, with totally different circumstances, and any suggestions I give you might not be applicable. In fact, I'll give you a whole list of what I might've tried, but I wasn't there, so there might have been reasons why they wouldn't have worked, or why they weren't acceptable to you or your son. Likewise I might have seen other solutions if I were in the moment. Either way it isn't helpful to say, "you missed this or that," or "you could have been more creative/playful/flexible/whatever." I don't want to say or imply that you somehow did it wrong; I don't even know that I would have found these answers in the heat of the moment. In retrospect, I think I would have:
  • gotten in the back seat of the car and let my son sit in the front and pretend to drive
  • gone somewhere else to kill time, either on foot or in the car
  • gone into the restaurant and play cave/house/peekaboo under the table
  • gotten dessert first, since dinner was delayed - ice cream anyone?
  • turned around and gone back home to pick up my sling
  • gone back to the house and come back without the kids or sent someone else to pick up the food
  • canceled the order and gotten food elsewhere with an easier environment

But you might have a lot of reasons why those things wouldn't have worked for you in your situation.

Your ongoing sling problem is something I faced as well when ds was too big and active to comfortably ride, but not quite mature enough to keep himself safe. I tied mine around my waist and made it a game to have him run circles around me and wind me up in it. Then he would tug and I would spin madly to unwind. It kept him close during a very difficult time period when he might have otherwise been prone to running off.
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#1042 of 1044 Old 06-01-2009, 02:12 PM
 
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I also wanted to say that I think it is possible to have a child who wants to challenge something and will search for some kind of rule or limitation to fight against even if they are very hard to find. Some people explore social connections through conflict and some need to be challenged in order to feel fulfilled. I also think it is possible to still live consensually with them, if that is your goal, if you put the challenge or contest on the outside of the relationship and point them toward it. I have done that with ds occasionally. A set of rules and a task to achieve or overcome using those rules can be a helpful tool, if that is the need. Or we can argue for the sake of arguing once in a while, if he seems to be expressing that he needs that outlet. Our arguments get pretty ridiculous though, and usually dissolve into laughter quickly, so I don't meet that need very thoroughly. I will point him at dh because they can get heated with their discussion and it actually is therapeutic for both of them. I don't understand the need to feel anger or fight or debate, but clearly they both do, so I am thankful they have each other, and I can bow out.

Living consensually doesn't mean that everybody involved is happy all the time. Or at least it doesn't mean that for us. Sometimes we want to feel other stuff too.
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#1043 of 1044 Old 06-04-2009, 11:18 AM
 
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I also wanted to say that I think it is possible to have a child who wants to challenge something and will search for some kind of rule or limitation to fight against even if they are very hard to find. Some people explore social connections through conflict and some need to be challenged in order to feel fulfilled. I also think it is possible to still live consensually with them, if that is your goal, if you put the challenge or contest on the outside of the relationship and point them toward it. I have done that with ds occasionally.

Living consensually doesn't mean that everybody involved is happy all the time. Or at least it doesn't mean that for us. Sometimes we want to feel other stuff too.
this sounds like where i am at. it's hard to see him sad tho, and feel that i should 'do' something, it's hard to believe he is making the choice to be sad... maybe because i see how we are alike and i am sad and can't find my way out.
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#1044 of 1044 Old 06-26-2009, 08:46 PM
 
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So much to chew on in this thread.

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Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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