Curious about 'control' as it relates to parenting - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-11-2007, 05:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So I've recently thought about this and noticed that both AP/NFL and mainstream parents do their fair share of controlling their children. What are some thoughts as to why 'our way' of controlling is better than 'their way'. Doesn't it just boil down to controlling your kids, or contolling their lifestyle as a means of squelching your own anxiety about parenting?

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Old 10-11-2007, 06:33 PM
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Can you give some hypotheticals? Do you mean like, telling her she can't wear striped tights with a flowered dress? Or do you mean like, telling her she has to wipe after she poops? I believe in total freedom in the first instance, blind submission in the latter. Most other things fall somewhere in between. I don't think it's so much about squelching my own anxieties as it is about wanting her to be a healthy and happy member of society.
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Old 10-11-2007, 06:53 PM
 
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Well, I am never really good at these types of threads but I was thinking today that isn't playful parenting just another means of trying to control our kids? We are trying to get our kids to do something they would rather not do, but we do it in a playful, fun way. So yes, I do think that all parenting will involve control.

In our society, we are all controlled in some way or another. I am controlled by my boss, by the government, etc. But it is all in the way someone chooses to control me that affects how I react. For example, my boss could say "It is my way or the highway, like it or leave". My feelings would turn to rage and uncooperation. But she could say "What do you think?", listen to my thoughts, maybe choose to use some of them or not, explain why she doesn't think it is a good idea, and make the final decision herself. In this instance, I would have felt heard, appreciated, and better able to understand her position. I may still not agree, but I will still have respect for her.

I think it is the same with my kids. They may not have any choice to get in the car becuase I have to go somewhere. But if I can make it fun or explain why I need them to get in the car, give them some choices to make them feel part of the decision, then they will feel a lot more respected than if I just said "Get in the car now or I am going to punish you."
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Old 10-11-2007, 06:58 PM
 
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My daughter is only 14 months old. So far what I've done is to try and keep a running evaluation of my motivations when I'm finding myself in a position of "needing" to control what she's doing.

My overarching parental philosophy is "don't box her in." Basically, unless someone, or something important is in danger, I try and let her be. There have been many times when I have had to force myself to just take a deep breath and step back. It's work for me to realize that I can be seriously bugged/stressed out by something, yet it's still okay for DD to do it.

On the other hand, we do have some "family rules" that might seem controlling to others, especially those with mainstream ideas. We try to eat pretty healthy, and will most always decline a super junky treat if it's offered to DD. While it's not shouted from the rooftops, we do strictly limit battery/"junk" toys, super-genderized toys/clothes and licensed characters. Typed out, it even strikes me as a little controlling, but much thought went into these decisions, and I believe it will be good for our family. Of course these policies will be continually evolving.

DD is entering quite a tantrum-y stage, so my main goal at the moment is to go for the zen when she starts freaking out in public. I see so many parents being overly harsh (controlling) with their children, and it oftentimes seems motivated by shame at being judged by their children's "bad" behavior. I rarely care what others think about my parenting, but it's hard not to feel that pressure when we've got screaming in aisle three!
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Old 10-11-2007, 07:00 PM
 
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And to add one more point, I think that mainstream parents have a different opinion on how much a child should be able to choose. For example, I was talking with a mom the other day and she said at her house, children are not to question authority, whatever the parents say is what happens. So she told her son to take a bath. When he refused, she spanked him. She spanked him simply for saying no to her.

At our house, I would have told my son it was bath night and given him some options as to when, how, where, etc. If he had said no, I would have tried to understand why he didn't want to take a bath and invited him to help problem solve a way that we could both get what we wanted.
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Old 10-11-2007, 07:49 PM
 
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And to add one more point, I think that mainstream parents have a different opinion on how much a child should be able to choose. For example, I was talking with a mom the other day and she said at her house, children are not to question authority, whatever the parents say is what happens. So she told her son to take a bath. When he refused, she spanked him. She spanked him simply for saying no to her.
Is that sort of thing currently considered mainstream? It strikes me as a completely horrifying and powerless way to grow up. I would really hope that most parents would feel that such authoritarianism is harmful.
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Old 10-11-2007, 08:03 PM
 
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What are some thoughts as to why 'our way' of controlling is better than 'their way'.
Its not.


I totally agree with you, OP. Parents, in general, are pretty into "control"...it amazes me. I dont know if its out of fear, or if they think its expected, or they like it or what. I actually think there is LESS "control" in mainstream parenting than there is in AP/NFL circles.

I was really suprised at how much control i saw when i first came to these boards, but it did help me understand one of my friends a little better. Some parents want to control food, sleep, tv, computers, videogames, what toys the child plays with (whether they are wood or plastic, whether they were made here or in China, whether they contribute to gender stereotypes, i could go on and on), the clothes a child may wear (see list under "toys"), how a child plays (is it too violent? etc), the particular shows or games or websites the child may view if s/he is able to even use the tv/game system/computer (screentime, ack!) While mainstream parents tend to control in the broad sense (say, limiting tv to an hour a day, or making a kid eat his veggies, or whatever), i see those broad areas broken down into the tiniest minutae here.

I have a friend, and when she visited with her boys she was just so....controlling. And i know she was actually controlling HERSELF the most, to seem flexible and to not totally kill any sense of fun her kids were having here. We totally avoided discussing our parenting differences, but i could see that she was just so tightly wound.

Sometimes there will be posts here, where a parent has seen a child get swatted in a store, or scolded meanly, or they know of a child who has to CIO...and the poster is so sad, and everyone (rightly)posts how terrible for that child, what is the parent thinking, how could they treat their child so badly, but for me, respecting your child doesnt stop at just the family bed, or breastfeeding.....i feel just as sad for the kids i read about here, who's mother may totally denigrate their love for Bratz dolls, or forbid them to watch their favorite kids program because its (insert whatever negative word here), or who can't eat a freakin' hamburger because their parent simply won't allow it. Kids who's parents make the global issue more important than the needs and desires of their own child right in front of them.

I am not saying this is all parents here, or that one can't share important values with their children.

Maybe its because we're radical unschoolers, i dont know....but i just don't feel like the boogeyman will come steal my child and ruin him forever if i dont control his every action. Or guilt him into choosing what i think is best.

I absolutely think that a parent should share information with their child, give them a wide range of choices, provide guidance and support, etc. Thats imperative. But when i read how someone takes a toy away from a child because it doesnt fit into the parent's political or personal philosophy....that makes me wanna cry every bit as much as a child treated disrespectfully in any more "maintream" way.


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Old 10-11-2007, 08:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MtBikeLover View Post
For example, my boss could say "It is my way or the highway, like it or leave". My feelings would turn to rage and uncooperation. But she could say "What do you think?", listen to my thoughts, maybe choose to use some of them or not, explain why she doesn't think it is a good idea, and make the final decision herself. In this instance, I would have felt heard, appreciated, and better able to understand her position. I may still not agree, but I will still have respect for her.

I think it is the same with my kids.
But its NOT the same as with your kids. Your kids don't have a choice. And you do. You can CHOOSE to stay at the job with the mean boss, you can choose to lodge a complaint, you can choose to try to change the boss' behavior, you can choose to find a different job. Same with the govt, you can choose to try to change laws you don't like, you can choose to ignore laws (and suffer any possible consequences), you can (usually)choose to move to a different country, even. Any many laws are for issues of safety, and not arbitrary things that affect what you do in your own home (what if the govt said that you couldnt have green paint on the walls of your living room, just because? That wouldnt make you feel so respected would it?)

Yes, you can absolutely get your kids to comply by making it fun....but if its truly not their choice, then you are controlling them. There may be certain few instances where this is required. But even in situations that people bring up ("He HAS to get in the carseat, its nonnegotiable!") there ARE often options so the child and the parent have their needs met. For example, if a parent is vegan, is totally opposed to meat and simply can't deal with having a dead animal in their home, fair enough....they can help their child explore other ways of eating meat if the child truly wants that. That doesnt mean that vegans should feed their toddlers meat if they dont want to. If one is "tv free" (gag...i hate those kind of terms, tv free, screentime, grrrr), thats fine...i wouldnt expect them to out and get a tv for their baby or toddler. But if, as time passes, their child expresses the desire to have one, i think that should be respected. I think a child's needs being ignored or suppressed or turned into a control issue does FAR more "damage" than a tv program. Or as someone wrote on a board "A twinkie eaten in joy better nourishes the body and soul than an organic sprouted muffin choked down with guilt and sadness and disrespect." or something like that.

I know this is a whole can of worms, here, and i certainly dont expect anyone to agree with me. Its such a paradigm shift to go from "who controls" to there being no *control*, but people living in a family sharing information, values, respect, help etc. Its hard to see how it could possibly work, but it does.


Katherine

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Old 10-11-2007, 08:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Katherine....you're totally getting my point.

I wonder though, how as a population of women here, we decided that these AP/NFL values would be things that we would control as opposed to the more 'mainstream' things?

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Old 10-11-2007, 10:13 PM
 
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Is that sort of thing currently considered mainstream? It strikes me as a completely horrifying and powerless way to grow up. I would really hope that most parents would feel that such authoritarianism is harmful.
I don't know how "mainstream" it is but that's how I was brought up. I would never EVER have dared to just say "NO!" to a parental demand, I would have been spanked immediately.
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Old 10-12-2007, 01:20 AM
 
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And to add one more point, I think that mainstream parents have a different opinion on how much a child should be able to choose. For example, I was talking with a mom the other day and she said at her house, children are not to question authority, whatever the parents say is what happens. So she told her son to take a bath. When he refused, she spanked him. She spanked him simply for saying no to her.
I know there's a tendency here to label everything we don't like as "mainstream," but I *really* don't think that qualifies as "mainstream." I mean, try to imagine an article in Parents magazine advocating that kind of treatment. Try to imagine the American Academy of Pediatrics coming out with a statement recommending immediate spankings for the slightest disobedience.

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Old 10-12-2007, 01:39 AM
 
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I know this is a whole can of worms, here, and i certainly dont expect anyone to agree with me. Its such a paradigm shift to go from "who controls" to there being no *control*, but people living in a family sharing information, values, respect, help etc. Its hard to see how it could possibly work, but it does.
:
what an interesting discussion.....
peace,
robyn
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Old 10-12-2007, 01:56 AM
 
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::

Wow, deep thouts.

Doing what I can to make better choices every day!
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Old 10-12-2007, 11:26 AM
 
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probably because I grew up with them :P

I see plenty of controlling "crunchy" parents and TBH I don't think they are necessarily good parents even though they do all the "right" things wrt to lifestyle issues.

I also see good parents who do non-crunchy stuff and I think they are great even though they are not doing all the "right" things.
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Old 10-12-2007, 12:14 PM
 
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I really like the term "mindful parenting" -- because I think it's when we shift to "automatic pilot" that we run the risk of not listening to our kids, and of running roughshod over what's important to them. Like the parents mentioned by the pp, who denigrate their children's love of Bratz dolls; I've also heard parents denigrate their children's love of TV by calling it "mindless entertainment."

In my own life, I'm finding tremendous inner healing by letting go of the idea that parents have to be "in control" in order to be "good parents." I like what Alfie Kohn said in Unconditional Parenting about having our automatic pilot/default response (if we have to have one) be set on "yes" instead of "no."

So, if we have to have an "automatic pilot" approach -- it should be that of helping our kids to get and do the things they want. When it comes to situations where we feel a need to redirect our children or get them to modify their goals, that's where we should switch out of "automatic pilot" and move into "mindful parenting."

Then we should honestly ask ourselves why (and if) redirection/modification is really necessary.

Makes sense to me -- and also makes some important people in my life think I'm :. If my mom thinks my child needs to dress warmer, and I say I suggested it, but this was what she wanted to wear (and of course, if we're going out in cold weather, I'll bring warmer stuff in case of the likely event that it's needed), she's like, "You don't let THEM make these decisions!"

I'm thinking, who better to know if she's hot or cold than the actual person in question?:

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Old 10-12-2007, 12:51 PM
 
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Katherine....you're totally getting my point.

I wonder though, how as a population of women here, we decided that these AP/NFL values would be things that we would control as opposed to the more 'mainstream' things?
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I know there's a tendency here to label everything we don't like as "mainstream," but I *really* don't think that qualifies as "mainstream." I mean, try to imagine an article in Parents magazine advocating that kind of treatment. Try to imagine the American Academy of Pediatrics coming out with a statement recommending immediate spankings for the slightest disobedience.

Word. Control is control, no matter how you slice it. And I have plenty of mainstream friends who spanking for saying no would horrify.

Having said that, I am a parent who does compel her children to do things sometimes, but I also try to make it as fun as possible if it's something I know they don't really want to do (I'm talking hygiene, basic safety issues, getting to appointments). But I don't outright forbid them from doing many things, other than ones that could potentially seriously harm them or someone else, or destroy property....and not forbidding includes sometimes having plastic toys, sometimes eating fast food, sometimes watching TV, and sometiems wearing shorts when it's chilly out. There is absolutely something to be said for living more healthfully and more naturally, and we do that; but, there's also something to be said for havign minimal exposure to the wide variety of experiences that life has to offer. Barring medical conditions that limit food intake and other medical issues like that, I can only think of a few things that in moderation would harm a child...and the potential long term ramifications of living a rigid lifestyle (even if it's rigidly "natural") are not ones I want to expose my kids to. More is not always better. Even in AP/NFL. :

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Old 10-12-2007, 01:20 PM
 
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...and not forbidding includes sometimes having plastic toys, sometimes eating fast food, sometimes watching TV, and sometiems wearing shorts when it's chilly out...
The thing is, some parents here will actually accuse us of progressively, irretrievably destroying our children's health every time we buy them a McDonald's happy meal, or every time they get to suck on a plastic toy. Some of these issues truly are life and death to some parents.

Sometimes, when I get in a hurry cleaning the kitchen, and throw the old plastic mayo container into the trash bin, rather than washing it out and putting it in the recycling bin -- I picture some MDC mama cringing at what I'm doing to the environment

(and of course, some would cringe about me buying mayo in a plastic container and supporting the plastics industry ... and some would cringe about the recycling bin being plastic.).

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...I can only think of a few things that in moderation would harm a child...and the potential long term ramifications of living a rigid lifestyle (even if it's rigidly "natural") are not ones I want to expose my kids to. More is not always better. Even in AP/NFL. :
Yes! You hit the nail on the head.

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Old 10-12-2007, 02:18 PM
 
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(and of course, some would cringe about me buying mayo in a plastic container and supporting the plastics industry ... and some would cringe about the recycling bin being plastic.).
True, I see your point - and now that I've goen and posted what I did above, I need to backpedal a little bit...: I haven't participated in a thread like this in a while - but I remember a thread a while ago where people were confessing their non-crunchy stuff, and then other people were blasting. And honestly, I see their point. I don't usually talk about my non-AP/NFL stuff here because I figure it's not the place for that, and certainly not the place to extol those things. This is the place for me to discuss my passions for breastfeeding, genital integrity, gentle discipline, family beds, and babywearing. This is also a place for me to learn new things about AP and NFL and incorporate them into my life as much as I think is appropriate for us.

I understand that this board is a haven and needs to be somewhat protected as such. And while sometimes the stuff I read here makes me shrug and say, "whatever", a lot of it is useful and has led me to *become* a more thoughtful parent. I do 'get' that middle of the road parents like me can be seen as half assed or poser by the most zealous of AP/NFL parents, but that's OK. This is a very valuable community for me, whether or not I think that the mom who old gives her kid organic sugar free everything is a little strict or not. Cause while I can kind of fit in and mix with the more 'mainstream' crowd, she probably can't (and probably doesn't want to) - she needs a safe place, too. Sooo, I keep my comments about french fries and cartoons to myself, for the most part.

Would that we could all be as gentle (which still leaves room for challenging and questioning) with each other as we are with our children...and as willing to learn from each other (both mainstream to AP and AP to mainstream) as we are to learn from our children. :

[/end backpedal :] Just didn't want to see this turn totally into a bashing thread based on my post.

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Old 10-12-2007, 03:38 PM
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So I've recently thought about this and noticed that both AP/NFL and mainstream parents do their fair share of controlling their children. What are some thoughts as to why 'our way' of controlling is better than 'their way'. Doesn't it just boil down to controlling your kids, or contolling their lifestyle as a means of squelching your own anxiety about parenting?
You say "control" like it's a bad thing.

No, I mean it.

It's not.

I have not only earned the right to make major decisions because of my forty years' worth of life on this planet and the experiences that go with it, but I have earned the obligation to make those decisions by my choice to be a parent.

Decisions are best made by people who have a sense of what is involved in the decision. To give a reasonably decent example, if someone asked me whether or not I should get 1 or 2 gigabytes' worth of memory in a portable laptop, I'd basically have no clue until someone told me, "Well, if you want it to run Windows Vista, you'll need at least one -- but if you want it to run decently, you'll need two."

Similarly, a child has limited information. OBVIOUSLY it is the parents' task to provide information so that the child may make a decision; however, there are many decisions a child may be faced with which essentially require life experience in order to evaluate appropriately. To use my example again, I might not know what "decently" means for me when running Windows Vista -- and I might not know that until I played around with a laptop with one gig versus two.

I do believe in giving children the power to make decisions that are appropriate to make given their age and knowledge. I also believe that one should constantly evaluate how important that decision happens to be. Is it a "hill you want to die on," or is it something of less importance?

I also believe in seeking compromise and consensus as often as possible because that is the way I would want to be treated. I believe in persuasion over force, and I believe in trying to make decisions fair and fun. However, I do not forget that ultimately, the responsibility -- and yes, the control -- resides primarily with me and my DH. The fact that we are even discussing this at all demonstrates the control we ultimately possess, whether or not we wish to acknowledge it.
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Old 10-12-2007, 03:40 PM
 
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I know there's a tendency here to label everything we don't like as "mainstream," but I *really* don't think that qualifies as "mainstream." I mean, try to imagine an article in Parents magazine advocating that kind of treatment. Try to imagine the American Academy of Pediatrics coming out with a statement recommending immediate spankings for the slightest disobedience.
Sorry - I used the term "mainstream" because I know lots and lots of parents that truly feel that children are not to question authority and who use spanking. In my mind, I consider them "mainstream" so I used that term.
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Old 10-12-2007, 03:51 PM
 
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I have control issues.

In my head I *think* I wouldlike a utopian existance with my kids where we each respect eachothers individual needs and wants

but

When I am activley parenting I tend to think things like:

"When I say JUMP, you say HOW HIGH!"

Seriously. control is a huge issue for me. Because I dont practice what I preach! (And honetly cant find a practical way to do so.)

Can you say "internal struggle all the time?"
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Old 10-12-2007, 04:10 PM
 
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Is that sort of thing currently considered mainstream? It strikes me as a completely horrifying and powerless way to grow up. I would really hope that most parents would feel that such authoritarianism is harmful.

No. That makes mainstream sound like it equals bad parentling. It isn't mainstream to spank. All of my freinds are mainstream, and I am 60 % mainstream and 40% AP and I have never spanked, or used punishment. My friends parent the way I do. I think most parents just do what comes naturally to them unless they make a consious decision to change how they were raised.
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Old 10-12-2007, 04:15 PM
 
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Sorry, redundant post.
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Old 10-12-2007, 05:10 PM
 
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Its not.
I think it is better, and here's why.

We live in an *intensely* consumerist culture that has an absolutely grotesque view of what is meaningful and beautiful in the human person. And this culture is unprecedented in its intrusiveness, the way it targets children and saturates every part of their day from the time they put on their undies and eat breakfast to the time they read bedtime stories. Consumer culture and the building of brand loyalty from cradle to grave are very difficult to combat in children, whose consciences and abilities to discern truth from fantasy are not fully developed.

I am my child's first line of defense. If my child is to stand a chance of growing into a loving and peaceful person, and into a discriminating and critical consumer I must protect her from the effects of our culture while she is still young.

Call it controlling to refuse to allow lead-painted toys into our house, I don't care. This is my kin we're talking about. And I won't be guilted into being a more "laid-back" or "mainstream" mom who surrenders her children early on to the god of consumerism.

In my view "mainstream" consumerist parents control their kids in order to encourage the traits of efficient consumerism or to help them become more successful consumers. That's not my goal. As an attachment parent, I want my children to run to people, not things when the chips are down. But to get there in this particular cultural context at this moment in time, I have to help them run the gauntlet, every day, of an aggressive child-focused marketing that tells them every day that attachment is less valuable than consumption.

Let-them-eat-twinkies-with-love only works if the child is mature enough to understand the messages she is receiving, or if there isn't someone there giving those messages. It's not the twinkie to which I object, it's the message that goes with the twinkie.
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Old 10-12-2007, 06:10 PM
 
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Let-them-eat-twinkies-with-love only works if the child is mature enough to understand the messages she is receiving, or if there isn't someone there giving those messages. It's not the twinkie to which I object, it's the message that goes with the twinkie.
So the twinkie's fine, as long as the child isn't exposed to any untrue messages about it? Am I understanding you right?

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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Old 10-12-2007, 06:31 PM
 
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Iit targets children and saturates every part of their day from the time they put on their undies and eat breakfast to the time they read bedtime stories. Consumer culture and the building of brand loyalty from cradle to grave are very difficult to combat in children, whose consciences and abilities to discern truth from fantasy are not fully developed.

*THREAD DRIFT*
Sorry.

The other day I saw that the movie Jungle Book came out when I was a small child. I don't remember it coming out. My Mother never took me to see it. She never took me, because they didn't sell three isles of "jungle Book" themed toys in K-Mart. It wasn't marketed like movies are now.

The only TV marketed items we had were lunch boxes, and Peanuts Sweatshirts. (oh, and Mrs Beasley) <--Loved that doll!

They did market cereal, P-nut butter, Tennis shoes and other food items. Then we had the Sears Catolog and Commercials at Christmas.

But, how else would I have KNOWN I wanted a Baby Tender Love if I hadn't seen it on TV between Rudolf The Red Nosed Reindeer, and Frosty the Snowman?

I don't even remember when commercialism started to get out of control. Maybe Star Wars? That's the first I remember.
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Old 10-12-2007, 06:44 PM
 
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So the twinkie's fine, as long as the child isn't exposed to any untrue messages about it? Am I understanding you right?
Obviously good nutrition is important. To the extent that it would interfere with getting what my kid needs to function decently and grow (and no, she doesn't yet know enough about fats, carbs, and proteins to make that decision on her own) I would restrict them. But my kids do have snacks, including sugary "bad for you" ones.

Worse to me than the sugar or food colorings themselves though is the ad messages designed to create brand loyalty and shape my kids' views of themselves, their food, and their world, ie "you need this to feel good", "this is 'fun' and brussel sprouts are 'icky'", "eat these to fit in!", etc.

I mean it's become so pervasive we now have medical "specialists" warning parents not to avoid feeding their kids garbage because their kids will feel "different."

Quote:
“Even if it shows some increase in hyperactivity, is it clinically significant and does it impact the child’s life?” said Dr. Thomas Spencer, a specialist in Pediatric Psychopharmacology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

“Is it powerful enough that you want to ostracize your kid? It is very socially impacting if children can’t eat the things that their friends do.”
Something is wrong with that.
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Old 10-12-2007, 06:47 PM
 
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Where do I sign up to get a robot child that falls in line and does whatever is socially acceptable so that he doesnt get made fun of?



Why are parents signing up for this?

(My dh would be VERY concerned about his son getting made fun of....while I feel like its a good thing to be exposed to as long as you are given the tools to be self confident.)
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Old 10-12-2007, 06:51 PM
 
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And I won't be guilted into being a more "laid-back" or "mainstream" mom who surrenders her children early on to the god of consumerism.
Well IMO sometimes a Twinkie is just a Twinkie That's okay, I can agree to disagree. Actually we don't eat Twinkies and I really never did. Homemade chocolate chip cookies, yes. My husband grew up on Tastykakes (yum) and I grew up on Drake's FWIW.

But my point is that I'm not guilting anyone. I respect other people's choices. I don't think controlling people are good to live with but that doesn't mean that everyone should eat Twinkies. Everyone has to find their own way.
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Old 10-12-2007, 07:02 PM
 
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Let-them-eat-twinkies-with-love only works if the child is mature enough to understand the messages she is receiving, or if there isn't someone there giving those messages. It's not the twinkie to which I object, it's the message that goes with the twinkie.
I guess I just don't see why you can't have both - why you can't be a moderate, thoughtful consumer of a little bit of everything, and give your kids the message that *some* consumption is OK, it's *excess* consumption that's the problem. Kids are pretty savvy. For instance, I never tell my kids that McDonalds food is great for your body. In fact, I tell them that fast food isn't so hot for your body, but as long as you eat healthy most of the time that sometimes eating junky food is OK. But I'm also the mom that requests they take the toys out of happy meals - yeah, I always get the stink eye from the cashier when I request that. Heck, my 3-yo has been known to say when we do have a cookie or whatever that, "cookies are only OK as a treat" because I've taught him the difference between the food that's good for us and that we eat every day, and the treats and fast food we get. I don't think that you have to completely reject the whole thing to teach your kid to be a critically thinking consumer. Teaching moderation in consumption has very little to do with your attachment to your child, IMO.

I mean, don't get me wrong - reject mainstream consumerism completely if you want, totally your choice - but please don't imply that anyone that sometimes in 'the machine' is a slave to it and unattached to their kids. I'm plenty critical of a lot that goes on, and I make sure I inform my kids in age-appropriate terms. We're a very securely attached family who happens to sometimes enjoy indulging in the trappings of mainstream consumerism while not beign completely sucked in.

I see your point when parents *aren't* guiding their children to be thoughtful consumers, but then the problem lies in the family dynamic and not in the consumption itself.

Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
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