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#301 of 589 Old 12-22-2001, 01:38 PM
 
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larsy,

Your explanation leads me to more questions - which is probably what it was meant to do, since TCS is a philosophy.

TCS seems to be too abstract at this point to actually be able to concretely put it into practice. Many philosophers did write detailed descriptions of how to implement their ideas. (Although, I do not think any one here would appreciate Plato's ideas on child rearing...) Has any one written any thing further than the thought? How do you know you are properly practicing TCS?

And, how do we know coercion causes impairment of creativity? There are and have been many brilliant people in our world. Were they not coerced as children?

TCS also seems to imply that family relationships some how hurt each other. I can see that in some families that may happen. But, it seems to be an over generalization. Not all relationships, family or otherwise, hurt.

When a child who is raised by the mores of TCS is in a peer situation, how does he/she handle coercion?

And, what about instincts? Where do they fall into play? What about a mother's instinct to protect her child from imminent harm? Do you suppress your instincts in order to practice TCS?

~Laura
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#302 of 589 Old 12-22-2001, 01:52 PM
 
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Our "dirt road" is only 3 1/2 miles long, but it takes almost 15 mintues to cover the distance and it is rare to pass another car, so I don't consider this a risk for not having our dd in a carseat.

Driving down the highway at 70 miles an hour without our dd in a carseat I do consider a risk. During these times I stop the truck to take her out and don't put her back in the carseat until she will go there willingly. I will use several different kinds of distractions (most are already listed above) to keep her happy in the seat. I will sit there on the side of the road until she is ready to go again. For me it is a matter of personal priorities. I am more concerned about dd's emotional state than I am about missing an appointment or getting somewhere sooner than later.

I still can't see that a crying baby is trying to manipulate a parent. They are crying for a reason, maybe it doesn't make sense to me, but it does to them. I do think that, yes, they will eventually stop crying while in the carseat if you leave them there, but that is no different than letting them cry in a crib until they get used to it. I think you lose something with a child that you can never get back and by losing it you never knew what was there. A missed appointment or shopping trip can be rescheduled.

I'm not saying this way is the only way, but it works for me!
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#303 of 589 Old 12-22-2001, 02:08 PM
 
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Let's begin by considering the idea of choice and the responsibilities that personal choice entails. Children cannot choose to be born. They are in the world as a direct result of their parent(s) choice (this is true whether the parent(s) intended to have a child or not). Parents are responsible for helping children out of coercive states because they are responsible for the child's existence in the first place. The child would not be in the particular state of coercion (whatever that may be) if it were not for the parent(s) decision to engage in an act of procreation. No one else is responsible for that child's happiness unless they *choose* to take on that responsibility (such as adoption). Though others (aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc.) may decide to take on such a responsibility as well, it is the child's primary caregiver who is ultimately responsible for helping hir learn and grow and thrive in ways that do not involve coercion.

The TCS definition of coercion is as follows: "The psychological state of enacting one theory or impulse while a conflicting theory or impulse is still active in one's mind." Hence, the act of coercing another person is the act of *causing* someone to be in a state of coercion or not helping someone *out* of a state of coercion (for which one is responsible -- and, as argued above, parents or caregivers are *always* responsible for their children's coercive states as a direct result of their choices to take on that responsibility).

The relationship between child and caregiver/parent is one of powerlessness and power. The child is dependent on the adult for hir primary concerns (food, shelter, freedom, love) as well as any secondary concerns arising out of these. Any act of coercion on the part of a child's caregiver is a direct threat to a child's primary concerns or secondary concerns. Coercion is always, therefore, an abuse of power.

A child can in no way coerce hir parent precisely because a child can never be held responsible for hir parent(s)' existence. This does not mean that a child may not choose to help hir parent out of a coercive state (and many non-coerced children actually *want* to do this!); but it is not the child's responsibility to do so and it is never the child's fault when a parent is in such a state (even when the state of coercion results from an act of the child's).

For example, let's say a child wants to go to the zoo. The parent does not want to go to the zoo. But, because the parent is responsible for the child, s/he goes to the zoo against hir will. Has this parent been coerced? I say not. Firstly, s/he has made a decision to take the child. If s/he is unhappy with that decision, then it is hir responsibility to find or create a common preference (for the reasons outlined above). Hir state of coercion is self-inflicted. S/he does not *have* to take hir child to the zoo. S/he simply has to help hir child out of a state of coercion. How might s/he do this? S/he might offer some other activity that the child would prefer. S/he might find someone else to take hir child to the zoo. S/he might find a way to enjoy (and therefore prefer) a trip to the zoo. If this parent chooses coercion of the child, then this parent is abusing hir power and abrogating hir responsibility. S/he is also failing to help hir child learn how to avoid self-coercion in the future.

I can think of no example wherein a child could be responsible for a parent's state of coercion. If anyone could offer me one, I'd be extremely interested in learning from it.

Hope this helps :-)

Netty
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#304 of 589 Old 12-22-2001, 04:40 PM
 
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****Anyone who knows anything about the composition of faeces, its acidity and a bit of high-school science could work that out. Apart from that, a friend of ours discovered it by actual experience. They had a car crash, and while the parents were being attended to the baby was in her car-seat watching, and not complaining at the time - but later when someone got round to changing her nappy, her bottom was an absolute mess, and took a few days to return to normal. ****

A child who does not want hir diaper changed should be taken just as seriously as an adult who does not want to be force-fed or stripped in public or fondled. Just because the adult may have "a good reason" for changing the diaper, the child suffers and has no idea of that reason (s/he only has hir own reasons until or unless a parent can offer others in whatever way is possible). If the parent's reason for changing the diaper is because of a fear of diaper rash, there are many non-coercive ways of preventing diaper rash. And, indeed, there are children who *do not* get a rash even if left in a diaper for a long period of time. I agree that it is irresponsible for a parent to leave a child to get a rash. I also contend, however, that it is *more* irresponsible to change a diaper against a child's will. If a parent cannot find/create any other solution, then leaving the child in the diaper *may* result in a state of coercion (having a rash when s/he would prefer not to have a rash), but changing the diaper against the child's will *is,* without a doubt, an act of coercion.

****then if a child refuses to eat (as I saw in another thread) will not go to sleep, refuses to allow their teeth to be cleaned, hair crushed, dirty hands washed, or be dressed, you will allow them that "right" without coercive intervention? ****

Firstly, a TCS parent does not "allow" or "disallow" anything. To do so is to imply that the parent has a right to control the child's autonomy. Certainly parents have that power. But TCS advocates do not believe that power equals right. If a child does not want to eat, then why not assume that the child is simply not hungry? If the child has not eaten in awhile (and the parent is concerned), why not find something that the child would like to eat? I can think of no reason why a child would starve hirself if a) s/he were hungry and b) s/he had food available that s/he enjoyed. Can you? If a child doesn't want hir teeth cleaned, consider why that may be the case. Also, there are many ways of preventing tooth decay besides brushing. And some children are not prone to decay even when their dental hygiene is less than exemplary. A responsible parent would strive to keep a child's teeth clean in a non-coercive way. An irresponsible parent would leave the teeth to rot (neglectful) or force the child to clean them (coercive). I won't go into your other examples as I hope that you can get the gist of the solutions I'm suggesting in lieu of coercion.

***To change a diaper with faeces in it, standing, is quite ridiculous, since the child's bottom will need to be washed. That is virtually impossible to do properly standing.***

Is it? Do you clean your faeces by lying down? Can you not reach all your genital parts with a cloth when you are standing? Why could a parent not do so with a child?

***If you don't know the difference between inate [sic] autonomy, and decisional autonomy, what you are doing here attempting to debate this issue? ***

I'm not at all clear on how you are using these terms. Autonomy is "the right or condition of self-government" or "freedom of will". I suppose that "innate autonomy" would be self-government or freedom which is inborn or inherent. I would contend that autonomy (whether innate or decisional) is every individual's *right* to govern hirself and that all individuals strive for autonomous existence. Infants and children, however, cannot govern themselves without the support and assistance of a caregiver. They are *dependent* on others in retaining or excercising their autonomy. Anyone who chooses to interfere with, rather than support, a child's autonomy is guilty of an abuse of power equal to the abuse of power enacted by someone who forces an adult into doing something against hir will. I would say, however, that the abuse of power in the relationship between parent and child is far more dangerous and harmful than an abuse of power between two adults.

****My mother had NO IMPACT on my inate [sic] autonomy but total influence on my decisional autonomy [b]. The .... two... are.... completely.... different. ****

Could you clarify how these concepts differ and their relevance to the discussion? Your mother (or your caregiver) had absolute influence on your ability to exercise your autonomy. She either helped you or hindered you. If she hindered you, she interfered with your ability to self-govern. If she helped you, she found common preferences rather than resorting to coercion when faced with conflicts.

****SOME people might....., most people with an inate backbone don't ever lose their inate autonomy, and what is more, they immediate take back control of their decision autonomy when they are able. ****

What is an "innate backbone"? The "innate" ability to stand up for oneself? How does a child develop this "innate" ability in the face of coercion? And if autonomy is hindered, then how can an individual be said to retain their "innate" autonomy? Do you think that black slaves had "innate autonomy" and therefore need not have been freed from slavery? Do you think that women had "innate autonomy" and therefore need not have been empowered by changes in societal structures? Why is it that a child's autonomy can be hindered in this way and that such a hindrance is not only tolerated but actually *encouraged* and *applauded* in forums such as this?

****I did say that avoiding coercion actually has nothing to do with TCS, but everything to do with sensible parenting.****

Avoiding coercion has everything to do with TCS. *That* is what TCS ("Taking Children Serioulsy") *means*. If you are arguing that "sensible parenting" is non-coercive parenting, then you and I are in full agreement. If you are a non-coercive parent, then you are a TCS parent (unless you are non-coercive in a neglectful manner, which has nothing to do with TCS). It doesn't matter whether you have ever heard of TCS or not. But if you advocate coercion--for whatever reason--you are not a non-coercive parent and you are not a TCS parent. Since you argue, above, that an infant's diaper should be changed against hir will, then I don't see how you can claim to be a non-coercive or "sensible" (to use your term) parent.

***Go and look up the word amorphous, Larsy. It does not mean confusing. ****

Amorphous: "Having no determinate shape or structure; unorganized; shapeless" (OED)

TCS is a philosophical theory based in critical rationalism. It's terms are clearly defined at the website glossary. It is open to criticism, of course, because it is also based on the premise of human fallibility. TCS is not a closed system. To claim so would be to advocate absolutism. The very premise of TCS is non-absolutist and non-authoritarian. If there is a better parenting theory than TCS, I would love to hear it. I have read many parenting theories and none of them is as convincing to me as is TCS. I have not yet encountered any criticism of TCS theory that holds up under critical rationalism. But, because I strive to be the best possible parent to my children, I continue looking to improve my theories. I keep my theory open to criticism and gratefully welcome it. After all, isn't that why we are all here?

****I entered this debate, because I considered your, and other TCS-protagonist posts to actually be potentially mentally and emotionally "coercive". In the same way that Jehovah Witnesses, or the Mormons can be when they stand and expound on your doorstep. I felt, having studied TCS for some time, that I had something relevant to offer to the discussion of an amorphous ideology. ****

When a Jehovah Witness comes to your door, do not open it. Similarly, when a TCS advocate writes a post, do not read it. But if you are open to criticism and learning, you just might want to listen to the Jehavah Witnesses (after all, they can't *force* you to join) and you just might read some TCS posts (after all, they can't *force* you to raise your children non-coercively). There is no coercion in argument and debate. This is how knowledge grows and theories are improved. But if you want to keep your theories intact, no one can force you to change them. You are an autonomous human being. I do not feel the least bit coerced by your arguments. Why would you feel coerced by mine?

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#305 of 589 Old 12-22-2001, 05:27 PM
 
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Is it not responsible parenting to help our children learn about their responsibility to others. We live on this planet in cooperation, not isolation. I see nothing wrong with pointing out to my child that there are other people trying to walk down the aisle in the grocery store, and that he should step aside to let them by. By doing that I now have a son who says "excuse me" if he needs to get by, and apologizes if he is blocking someone's way. Although my primary responsibility is to my family, I have a responsibility to respect others also. By letting my child walk down the center of the aisle I am not only disrespecting others, but I am missing a great opportunity to teach my child about the needs and wants of others, and how to respect them. If you feel that your entire responsibility lies with your child and only your child, and that you owe no respect or thought to others, I hope you don't live in my neighborhood.
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#306 of 589 Old 12-22-2001, 05:42 PM
 
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I think the definition of "coerce" is different for each person or situation and depending on wether the person feels coerced. What might be coercion for one person might not be coercion for another. I personally don't think my dd could ever coerce me into doing something no matter how subtle she is.

The example of being told that "Daddy wants you" is not coercion (by my definition). The goal was to get mom out of the room, the means used to do this was a lie. Same as if you wanted him out of the room and told him his dad wanted him, you did not coerce him out of the room, you lied to him to get him out of the room. But, you felt that you were coerced so who am I to tell someone else how they should feel or not feel about a situation!?!
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#307 of 589 Old 12-22-2001, 06:10 PM
 
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I agree w/ Just Wondering, in that consistency from the beginning is key to heading off many car seat "battles." With both children, I did not put the car into motion until they were securely fastened in the appropriate restraint. They never expected anything less... Yes, many times I had to pull over on the New Jersey Turnpike to nurse or comfort, but I had no choice. If a 2.5 hour trip took twice that, so be it, we all made it home safely, eventually!

I also agree that the parent must investigate possible reasons for the child's discomfort or unhappiness. Make sure to put up sun visors - the sun in a child's eyes in excruciatingly painful, and they have no way to protect themselves. I used to keep a lightweight hat w/ a big brim in the car so that solved that problem, as well as sunglasses for older children (they just love wearing them.)

Also, with regards to temperature, it infuriates me when I see how many people over-dress their little ones. After the car heats up in wintertime, remove hats, mittens, even jackets to help children be more comfortable - it is well worth the time and effort.

And many car speakers are louder in the back - it put a bit more sound in the front so that my kids don't get blasted by the radio, although my seven year old complains that s/he would like it louder! An infant may not like the music too loud, I always turned it down to "background" level...
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#308 of 589 Old 12-22-2001, 06:13 PM
 
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There is another option:

3. Don't go!

As part of our AP/NP practice, we don't use caregivers and we don't let her cry when there is something that can be done to prevent it, so #3 is my only option. I'm fine with that option, but I know not everybody is. Just like I'm not fine with option #1 or #2, but others are.
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#309 of 589 Old 12-22-2001, 06:52 PM
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Just Wondering, I am nearly in tears that you took so much time to try and help me out. I really try to think that all of Jackson's behavioral issues are simply normal and a part of who he is: he is so sweet, and so bright, and so very funny. He is so imaginative and compassionate and it is so startling how much he is his own person, and I thank my lucky stars constantly that he needs me and loves me and that I have known the joys of motherhood. However, there are a few little things about him that concern me very much, i.e. the hearing/listening and absolutely hating to havve to be dressed/washed etc. You know what is so strange is that sometimes he's fine and relaxed and goes along with it: but at those times he has this strange, sleepy, far away look in his eyes. I need to let go of the denial and make sure he is ok. I mean, he is starting to repeat everything I say, etc. so maybe he is just very moody: I am very moody, so much so that my mom and dad had me evaluated regularly through out my childhood, and I was so much in my own world that I was tested for epilepsy. Having children is at once joyous and heartwrenching, you know? You all know, I am sure of that. I am so glad to have found these boards and my new home, too because I don't know how I coped before. Thank you Just Wondering, for the lovely suggestions. I need to strive every day to give my child peace. Thank you... I really am crying now and need to go.... Dena
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#310 of 589 Old 12-22-2001, 08:13 PM
 
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Yikes!
I'd forgotten the first rule of fire safety: stop, drop and roll. Rather I ran hyterically and impassioned. Therefore, I am deleting the reply I posted a few days ago (the inappropiate, sarcastic one) and would like to apologize to everyone who was subjected to reading it. Eventhough I have been annoyed (sometimes overly so) with the dynamic of the TCS discussions, my own addition was hypocritical at best, an attack at its worst. We at the Mothering boards come together with the same basic premise, to parent consciously, whether that means TCS or AP or whatever, and I had forgotten to celebrate that. No matter what the discussion, there exists that effort to maintain this integrity. I'm thankful for that. So, let me ask (dispite my own behavior) for us to support the mothers as well as their children in these discussions. Afterall, "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." (quoted in jest, please take with a grain of salt)

I love you momas, each and everyone of you!

Again, I am sorry for the negative engery and harsh words,
Peace and good will,
Stephanie
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#311 of 589 Old 12-22-2001, 11:29 PM
 
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I have been following all this (silently), and just want to thank you Just Wondering for giving voice to sanity.
Peace to us all.
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#312 of 589 Old 12-22-2001, 11:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Just Wondering said:

Dear Alexander:

You say

quote:
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Research in the UK indicates that people are extremely poor at evaluating risk. To get it "right" we generally need the advice of experts.

----------------------------------------------------------------------


Given that statement, why then, would you assume that a baby, or a toddler, can make an accurate risk assessment for themselves?
I don't!

Quote:
The "expert" according to you, may be the parent. But the parent may not have made an accurate risk assessment either.
Such as not insisting on car-seat on a busy highway!

Quote:
The reality is to me, that given the experience of the baby and toddler, the
"expertise" is firmly on the parent's side, regardless of how 'little' expertise
they have. So to allow a child to decide whether or not they wish to be in a
seat is irrational.
Yeah, but why do you think I do not agree with this? :

The difficulty I think is that many/most parents saturate their parenting with yelling and ranting, coercion and threats. (A few wake up and see themselves. ) A child raised under these circumstances is less likely to co-operate about things we really would like them to co-operate about.

Non coercion after a history like that is very difficult!

a

The anti-Ezzo king
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#313 of 589 Old 12-23-2001, 12:46 AM
 
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****I disagree. If a parent has tanke the child to the zoo against their will because they have been deluded by an ideology that because the child didn't ask to be born, they owe it to the child, ...then that parent has been co-erced. ****

By whom has that parent been coerced? How is the parent being *forced* to enact one theory or impulse while a conflicting theory or impulse is still active in hir mind? (btw, hir is a gender-neutral pronoun replacing him/her). Even if, as you say, the parent is "deluded," then s/he is acting according to hir own will. S/he has decided to take the child to the zoo. No one has forced hir to do so.

***Not just by the child (unintentionally - the "tool" of the coercion), but by whatever ideology that stated that a parent should do it,****

The parent does not have to do it. The parent has the experience, knowledge, and resources to find or create an alternative solution that both s/he and hir child will be happy with. That is the point I was making. If the parent *does* choose to do it--against hir will--then *s/he* is the agent of coercion (self-sacrifice).

***for no other reason that the child didn't ask to be born(the source of the coercion) And if the child did the constant nag, nag, nag, drip drip drip - wear away the sock syndrome, then that is direct coercion. And under those circumstances to take the child to the zoo is just setting up the child for major future problems***

If the child has to resort to any of those strategies, then that child is obviously being coerced to begin with and is probably not used to getting what s/he wants simply by asking. How would the child be set up for future problems by being taken to the zoo? If you are referring to the mistake of self-coercion, then I agree. This is a poor model for problem-solving and could affect the child's future ability to solve problems in better ways.

****Any ideology that creates a mind climate where someone goes against their self-interest out of guilt, is not self-inflicted.***

What ideology are you referring to? TCS does not advocate that parents do things out of guilt. TCS advocates that parents act according to their responsibilities. The ideology you seem to be offering is one that creates a mind climate where someone (the child) *is forced* to go against their self-interest by someone who claims to love hir.

****It is brainwashing, imposed from outside, or even delusional, as various cults demonstrate - i.e. Jim Jones****

Brainwashing is a very systematic and controlled form of coercion. In order to brainwash someone, the "brainwasher" must gain power over them in some form. Most brainwashers strive to disorient their victims through various forms of manipulation and deprivation. I have no power over anyone in this forum. The only people I have real power over are my children. I choose not to abuse that power. I also choose not to self-sacrifice. I find/create common preferences when faced with a conflict. Is AP a cult? Do you breastfeed your children out of guilt or because you are convinced that it is your responsibility to give your child the best nurtrition possible. Do you choose "gentle discipline" because you have been brainswashed by anti-spanking advocates or because you have been convinced that spanking is harmful and cruel?

****That a parent doesn't want to take the child [to the zoo]puts the child into a state of coercion? Oh come now! How do you figure that out? the child intitiated the dilemma in the first place, now the parent has created coercion? ****

The state of coercion is a psychological state where one is acting on one theory or impulse while a conflicting theory or impulse is still active in one's mind. The child has an active theory in hir mind (s/he wants to go to the zoo). S/he is enacting another theory or impulse (staying home, shopping, or whatever it is the parent is forcing the child to do). The child is, therefore, in a state of coercion. The parent did not force the child to want to go to the zoo, but the parent is preventing the child from enacting hir theory or impulse. Rather than helping hir child out of a state of coercion, s/he is abrogating hir responsibility and choosing, instead, to hinder hir child. A responsible parent would *help* the child by finding/creating a common preference. The child might *prefer* to get icecream or watch a movie or go to the library. If the parent offers this alternative and the child freelly chooses* it, then the child has been helped out of the state of coercion (of course, if the child is pressured into this choice by the parent, then it is not a choice freely made and is coercive). The conflict has been resolved, not by coercion or self-sacrifice, but by the process of finding or creating a common preference.

****But surely the child is still coerced according to your definition, since anything else is not the stated preferred activity......and therefore the parent coerced the child into changing her/her mind****

No, the child is not coerced if s/he *prefers* the alternative. The parent would only be coercing the child into changing hir mind if s/he put some kind of overt or covert pressure on hir. For example, if s/he were to get angry at the child and yell or sulk, that would be coercive. In order to avoid such a reaction, the child might agree to the parent's offer.

****quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
S/he might find a way to enjoy (and therefore prefer) a trip to the zoo.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

but you just said the parent didn't want to go. Obviously this is one pathetic parent, who is tossed around by the winds of different persuasions, and truly doesn't know his or her mind.... ***

Have you never not wanted to go somewhere but then changed your mind because someone pointed out something that you had overlooked or hadn't considered. For example, perhaps the parent realizes that while s/he's at the zoo, s/he can do some sketches that are due for hir art class. Or perhaps s/he will reconsider hir first idea because hir child informs hir that hir good friend is going to be there that day. A person *can* change hir mind, can't she? Does changing one's mind imply that one does not know one's own mind? I think, conversely, that changing one's mind is a sign of opennness, flexibility, and consideration.

Since the rest of your post consists of meta-discussion and personal attacks and does not seem to contain any actual argument, I will refrain from commenting on it.

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#314 of 589 Old 12-23-2001, 03:39 AM
 
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First of all I want to say that this is a fabulous discussion. I've really gotten a lot out of it.

I have a 9mo old dd and after learing about TCS decided to put it into practice (or at least try) to see how it fit into our lifestyle and her personality. I ran across one small problem: I don't know how to explain things to her.

Let me put it into context with an example.

I had to make an appointment (I won't go into details but let's just say the the consequences would be dire if I didn't make it). I asked her if she wanted to go for a ride with Mommy. In return I got a blank stare. Okay, I thought, this isn't exactly brimming with enthusiasm but it works. I put her in and as I started to buckle her up she began to fuss. I interpreted this as her not wanting to be there. I lifted her out and the fussing stopped. I checked for pokey things in the seat, checked her clothes, even warmed the seat with a hot-water bottle. I explained to her that Mommy really had to make this appointment and what would happen if we didn't. It was no use, she still fussed in the carseat.

I came to this conclusion: I had no idea how to communicate with her to determine what her needs were and how we could come to an agreement. In the end, I strapped her in, played with her until she settled, and made the appointment (albeit a little late).

My question is this: how does one apply TCS values to children this young?

Thanks for any input!

-----

You know what, I just saw a discussion for TCS and babies. I'll be over there... No need to reply to my post.
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#315 of 589 Old 12-23-2001, 03:59 AM
 
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thanks paula-bear!
i think it is time for sitting down on soft carpeting with breakable objects
dc is starting to get into redecorating the tree : )
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#316 of 589 Old 12-23-2001, 04:36 AM
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Thank you. Let me think. i will pm you soon, but he does have a fantastic sense of humor, tries to make us laugh, and most definately understands body language. On the other hand, his poops are quite funky and he REFUSES to eat almost any fruits or vegetables. I don't know. I guess I should bring it up to his pediatrician. After all, we are fortunate enough to have Dr. Sears and sons as ou ped., and I am certain they would listen intently. Thank you.
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#317 of 589 Old 12-23-2001, 04:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by jbcjmom
...We live on this planet in cooperation, not isolation. I see nothing wrong with pointing out to my child that there are other people trying to walk down the aisle in the grocery store, and that he should step aside to let them by. By doing that I now have a son who says "excuse me" if he needs to get by, and apologizes if he is blocking someone's way. Although my primary responsibility is to my family, I have a responsibility to respect others also. By letting my child walk down the center of the aisle I am not only disrespecting others, but I am missing a great opportunity to teach my child about the needs and wants of others, and how to respect them. If you feel that your entire responsibility lies with your child and only your child, and that you owe no respect or thought to others, I hope you don't live in my neighborhood.
What I was trying to say earlier is that it is a faulty assumption to think that we know what the other person wants. If the person in the store is not bothered by the toddler slowly walking down the aisle exploring, why should we interrupt the toddler? It will soon become apparent to us by the facial expression and body language of the shopper if intervention on our part is needed.

If you were wheeling yourself down the aisle of a grocery store, how would you like it if someone came up out of nowhere and pushed your wheelchair to the side so that another person (who didn't express the desire to necessarily do so) could pass? Would you not feel violated? And what about the other customer? Wouldn't they feel badly that your rights were not considered on their behalf?

I know on occasion I have appologized for my children or redirected their behavior because I *feared* what someone else would think of me if I didn't. It turned out they weren't bothering anyone and it was my own behavior that was wrong. Many people enjoy watching babies and have the patience to let them explore undisturbed, even if it costs them a few extra moments of their time.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't teach our children to be respectful of others, I just don't see why we can't model that by according them the same respect and autonomy!
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#318 of 589 Old 12-23-2001, 10:29 AM
 
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Although I use alot of TCS in my parenting, I always insist on a car seat. I always pull over in a safe spot if DD is crying, and sooth her and try to find out if there is another reason for her crying than "I don't want to be in a car seat". But it is difficult to leave them at home with another caregiver when you are already out

However...

The point has been raised that since government has legislated car safety standards and the seem necessary and life-saving, we must obey.

Sound an awful lot like the mainstream belief about vaccinations.

I do not vaccinate my child, yet I do not question the "law" on car safety issues even though some people *have* been killed by car safety devices.

I guess my risk/benefit analysis just came out as "no way am I taking that risk" on vaccines, and "I'll take the risk" on carseats.

Very interesting debate we have going here! Thanks...

Cindi
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#319 of 589 Old 12-23-2001, 11:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Good points, MeMeMama.

To my way of understanding, the legislation is besides the point. But if you have a population that is extrinsically motivated- that do not make decisions based upon their own best interests, but rather on the basis of what outside authority tells them- it seems that such laws would be necessary to motivate them to use seat belt restraints. IMO, that is how our society and conventional parenting is set up, to create people who are responsive to extrinsic authority.

This might be good for those in authority, but not always so great for the masses. When the law is for something good- that is, imo, something that supports people's best interests- it is no big deal, but when it is a bad law... well, that is a subject for another discussion.

When the motivation to use seat belts and car seats comes from inside- intrinsic motivation- there is no coercion involved. People do not want to hurt their selves or their children in car accidents. Car accidents do happen in situations where those of us driving have no control, and car accidents are often quite serious. It makes sense- intrinsically- to take reasonable precautions. It seems to me that statistics show that more injury is avoided by using restraints than are caused by them, so most people find that information convincing enough to want to use restraints in a moving motor vehicle.

Until a child has built up an experience base to the point where they are interested in what happens when the stuffed animal next to them on the seat goes flying when the brakes are applied, parents do what they can to make baby comfortable and happy to be in their car seat, or take them out of it and not travel, or make them ride in it in distress. The population of parents using these boards, tending toward the AP frame of mind with their little babies, sound like they are doing all that they can think of to help their babies not ride in distress. I find this heartening and hope that this attitude can spread.

When babies and then toddlers express distress at riding in the car seat, parents can figure out what the problem is and help the child be more comfortable and, as time goes on, to understand why the car seat is a desirable place to ride in a moving vehicle.

Respecting a child's desire to be comfortable and happy while they are in the car seat, is every bit as important as respecting the parent's desire for everyone to be belted in before the vehicle moves. That is what finding common preferences is about. AP parents seem to want to find common preferences with their babies- good practice for continuing to find common preferences with them as they become more able to communicate their ideas- they will be doing so before you know it!
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#320 of 589 Old 12-23-2001, 12:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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ooh, Paula, you said a mouthful!

This part:
"I know on occasion I have appologized for my children or redirected their behavior because I *feared* what someone else would think of me if I didn't. It turned out they weren't bothering anyone and it was my own behavior that was wrong. Many people enjoy watching babies and have the patience to let them explore undisturbed, even if it costs them a few extra moments of their time. "

This is certainly an entrenched theory for me, this fear of what others think. As much have I have worked to dismantle this one, it hangs in there. You are so right about assuming that one knows what the other person is thinking (and are likely to be wrong about it), about children being a nuisance- slow toddler, too loud, touching things, jumping around, whatever- and then a parent (because of the coercion they are feeling in that situation) tends to perpetuate some coercion upon their child/ren, responding to parent's own feeling of coercion. Yuk!

I just went throught this the other day... <sigh> I hate it and really would like to feel good about, say, going to homeschooling functions with my kids, rather than having this heavy feeling in my head and knots in the pit of my stomach and watching my kids for behavior that is totally kid behavior but that I learned long ago was not acceptable in public gatherings. Ack. I talk about what I think are expectations of behavior before we go, I give reminders while we are there when I feel pushed by the coercion in my mind (not that they are doing anything morally wrong, in my estimation, I feel like I am totally a victim of my entrenched theories at these times). I realize as I write this that I would like to talk with them about how this is my problem, that I am trying to work out, and I don't want to pass it on to them. <sigh> Another one of those areas, like food... argghh, entrenched theories really suck.

I think this is the sort of entrenched theory we are in danger of setting up for our children, if we push the 'what will other people think' meme upon them. While it is important to share a parent's theories with their chidlren, about the ways of relating to the other people in the world, I think it is imperative that a parent questions their own theories and not just pass on partially true but entrenched theories. I say partially true, because my current theory is that there is some value in the meme- we do need relationships with other people in this world- and why not do all we can to make them good relationships? But the responsibility for relationship must be taken into consideration as well- a parent's greatest responsibility is to their child, the relationship between sibs is different than the parent-child relationship, relationship to strangers is different, extended family, friends. aquaintances.

"I'm not saying that we shouldn't teach our children to be respectful of others, I just don't see why we can't model that by according them the same respect and autonomy! "

Teaching often just doesn't work. When a parent sets out to 'teach' a lesson, child could be learning something totally different from what parent thinks they are teaching. All of life is about learning, and unless it is something that someone specifically asks to learn about, teaching is a waste of time and energy, imo. Learning happens all the time. Sometimes, we are thrilled to actually be engaged with a child when a lightbulb comes on for them, and it is such fun! I am guessing that this happens as often if not more often for the child in the learning environment of the world, just living life doing what is interesting to them, than it does for children in contrived learning situations, because of the coercion factor (coercion gets in the way of learning).

Oh, geez, but I'm wandering off topic again. Please forgive me. Other than the reference to teaching, I agree with this last statement from Paula. I think that is exactly what a person would learn, by being treated with respect, is treat others so. Children are often disrespected, and then berated for disrespecting others. There are better ways, methinks.
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#321 of 589 Old 12-23-2001, 12:22 PM
 
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Forgive me if anything I say is redundant, because I didn't have the time to thoroughly read every reply.

Larsy, you've certainly established yourself as the TCS spokesperson on this site , and I usually find your thoughts to be quite interesting and worthy of consideration, even though I am not completely in agreement with TCS. However, I really think this is going to far. Other than stopping the car to comfort the baby until she seems happier with the carseat, I think that all the other "solutions" suggested here are dangerous, irresponsible, and just downright wrong.

Yes, we all have the right to make our own decisions about our safety. If I choose not to wear a seatbelt, that is my problem. Of course, as an intelligent person, I always wear it. However, choosing to drive, even on a dirt road, with a baby in a sling is not making a decision about our OWN safety. That baby has no choice. A baby depends on her parents to keep her safe. And btw, it has been proven that most car accidents take place less than ten miles from home, at speeds under 30 miles per hour. Even a small collision would slam that baby right into the steering wheel.

A demonstration with a teddy bear might work on my three-year-old, but a baby cannot come to a rational conclusion about safety based on such a demonstration. And I wouldn't completely trust my three year old to make such a decision, either. She's quite bright, but unless she's ever witnessed a car accident, does she really have any frame of reference to accurately judge just how dangerous it is to ride without a seatbelt? One of the reasons children have so many preventable accidents in our society is because parents mistakenly hold children responsible for their own safety, when they are truly too young to assess the safety of a situation. A mother doesn't hold her child's hand at a crowded parade, and the child wanders off when her back is turned. When she finds him, she scolds him for not staying close to her, as though it is his job to stay close rather than her responsibility not to let him out of her sight. This is a dangerous mistake, in my opinion.

To say that life has risks, yes, of course it does. But to say, "We all grew up fine without car seats," as a reason to justify not using them on occasion is just ridiculous. That seems to sound an awful lot like parents who justify spanking their children by saying, "I was spanked and I turned out fine." My mother smoked while pregnant with me, formula fed me, used a playpen excessively and occasionally smacked me around. I turned out to be a reasonably well-adjusted adult, so does that mean I should do the same?

You talk about the emotional risks of coercion being just as serious as the physical risks of not using a carseat. That's a personal opinion, I suppose, but I think I'd rather have a safe baby who is occasionally unhappy in a carseat than an injured or dead baby whose emotional health is intact if those were my only two choices.

That said, I would never wrestle a screaming baby into her carseat and just let her scream. But driving without her safely buckled in is just not an option. Taking extra time, maybe nursing before getting in the car, having one adult sit in the back to keep the baby company if another adult is available - these are all things that seem reasonable to me. But choosing to put a baby's safety in jeopardy in the name of non-coercion is simply irresponsible parenting.
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#322 of 589 Old 12-23-2001, 12:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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There seems to be a misunderstanding of what a 'hypothetical situation' would be.

Let's say a parent has a question about children riding in car seats. It's not necessary to drag one's own child into the discussion. A parent can pose the question hypothetically, using language that is not personal. " Suppose a baby fusses in the car seat. What could a parent do to make the car seat more acceptable to the baby? Say, a parent has an appointment that they need to get to."

Others can offer their ideas about how to help baby be happy in the car seat (again, without going into personal detail about their child). The possibility of rescheduling the appointment, of having another helper who has a good relationship with the baby being available to help, could be part of this discussion, to help people realize and evaluate their theories The more ideas, the more input, the more information to work with to find good solutions and to help articulate theory (which is the basis for action, whether the theories are at the level of consciousness or not).

It is not only the person who actually asks the question, who gets information from the discussion. Hypothetical discussion is more inclusive, imo. People draw on their real life experience and discuss their theories about it, without violating the privacy of other people (including and especially children).

Talk all you want about yourself. Reveal your deepest darkest secrets, if that is what you want. You are entitled to talk about yourself. But are you entitled to talk about other people's private thoughts/actions/bowel movements, on an archived public forum? Is this morally right?

I realize that there is no requirement on this forum to use hypothetical language, and that these ideas might seem off the wall to many people. Just throwing it out, for those who might want to consider these ideas.
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#323 of 589 Old 12-23-2001, 02:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Laurajean wrote:

"Your explanation leads me to more questions - which is probably what it was meant to do, since TCS is a philosophy. "

I guess philosophies do tend to bring up questions about things that might be uncomfortable to think about. I know that TCS has done this for me. But I still subscribe to the theory of 'question everything'.

"TCS seems to be too abstract at this point to actually be able to concretely put it into practice."

I think this is true for many people when they first come upon TCS. Others find that they are already doing much of what TCS talks about, and find the articulated theory to support what they had not previously put into words but were doing in action (at least, partially). Everyone has to start from where they are at this moment, and that is as individual as, well, the individual.

" Many philosophers did write detailed descriptions of how to implement their ideas. (Although, I do not think any one here would appreciate Plato's ideas on child rearing...) Has any one written any thing further than the thought? How do you know you are properly practicing TCS? "

The TCS website (parts of which are being translated into increasingly more languages) has lots of information. Discussion about the theory and how to implement TCS on a practical level have been going on for years on the TCS email lists and chat rooms and in private conversations and the TCS paper journal and where TCS speakers present the philosophy at various conventions and gathering around the world. The archives from the TCS lists are treasure troves of information, for those with questions. There are discussions about TCS in other places on the internet as well, like here.

"And, how do we know coercion causes impairment of creativity? There are and have been many brilliant people in our world. Were they not coerced as children? "

Undoubtedly. Brilliant people can also have entrenched theories that interfere with parts of their lives. I would guess that we all have areas of brilliance, and areas where we get stuck and are unable to find good solutions, make decisions, think clearly about. Such impairment to creativity is perhaps accepted as normal, since everyone has those impairments.

How do we know? Through critical rationalism. I think we are able to make conjectures about this problem of the impairment of creativity, and to criticize and refute these theories and gather more information and experience and come to better understanding about it. Each person must do this for their self, I think. The thinking and writing that has been done by those on TCS sites has gotten to a certain point in creating new knowledge about the truth of this matter, about how coercion impairs creativity. It is open to further refutation. I guess you would have to read and think and determine for yourself if you agree with the theory.

"TCS also seems to imply that family relationships some how hurt each other. I can see that in some families that may happen. But, it seems to be an over generalization. Not all relationships, family or otherwise, hurt. "

Everywhere I go, I see evidence of people being hurt in family relationships. I have experienced this myself, and I daresay that everyone here has experienced this as well. Sure, the entire relationship is (usually) not hurtful, but why put energy into hurting or thwarting another, when we can create solutions that do not hurt anyone? There is plenty of hurt in life that we have no control over; why not learn how to inflict less hurt, instead of more?

"When a child who is raised by the mores of TCS is in a peer situation, how does he/she handle coercion? "

The responsibilities in peer relationships are different than the responsibilites in the parent-child relationship. There are many TCS thinkers who are also mulling over the aspects of autonomy respecting relationships other than those in the family, on a yahoogroups list of that name (ARR).

It seems to me that TCS kids know how to look for common preferences in the face of conflict. Looking for solutions that everyone can be happy with, to find the win-win solution, is a useful skill in human relationship, don't you agree? Although, if up against other people who do not want to find a common preference, a TCS kid might find it hard to find the solution everyone would be happy with. In that case, any person would be right in acting in their own best interest, imo. They can go along with the group, they can go do something on their own, they can continue to argue their point-- whatever they deem to be in their own best interest at that time and place.

When a young TCS kid comes up upon someone who is not interested in helping hir get what s/he wants, who stands on authority or who will not consider changing their preference, this child will no doubt experience some coercion. A TCS parent would likely be handy to help child to get what s/he wants out of the situation, and avoid the coercion, in ways that are acceptable to everyone involved. And, kids can be quite creative in avoiding coercion- the trick is, parents cannot know ahead of time which situation is going to be coercive for child, or not, so seeking to avoid systematic coercion is a worthwhile endeavor, imo.

"And, what about instincts? Where do they fall into play? What about a mother's instinct to protect her child from imminent harm? Do you suppress your instincts in order to practice TCS? "

Nope. I think it is possible to evaluate instinctual response in the light of reason and to act in one's best interests. Instinct might be very useful in terms of survival, but humans are far more than a bundle of instinct. I think we learn and think and at times, when appropriate, we can over-ride instinct, in our own best interests.

Thanks for the discussion!
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#324 of 589 Old 12-23-2001, 03:06 PM
 
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I have never posted on the TCS threads before, because frankly, I'm afraid to. It is my opinion that if every single word posted on these boards is torn apart, (which seems to me happens at an alarming rate) you all would have a hey-day with mine! I have one question, though...

Do any of you know any adults who have been raised in accordance to the TCS ideas? I would be interested in hearing how well-adjusted these adults are, and if they suffer any psychological damage from any type of coercion they might have encountered after leaving the TCS home. If any one knows adults who have been 'taken seriously' as children, do any of them have children of their own? And how do they parent?

I'm really curious about this, because to me the number one thing that would convince me about any type of parenting would be long-term results/consequences.
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#325 of 589 Old 12-23-2001, 04:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Peacemama wrote:

"However, choosing to drive, even on a dirt road, with a baby in a sling is not making a decision about our OWN safety. That baby has no choice. A baby depends on her parents to keep her safe."

And depends on parents to help hir when s/he is in distress. Safety can be accomplished in non-coercive ways, is the point, not that children should be subjected to unreasonable danger. And it seems that people disagree about what is reasonable and unreasonable risk. So, who gets to say?

"And btw, it has been proven that most car accidents take place less than ten miles from home, at speeds under 30 miles per hour. Even a small collision would slam that baby right into the steering wheel. "

Hmmm, well, I wouldn't hold a baby if I were driving, in a sling or out of a sling. Yes, parents keep babies safe. Many adults do not wear seat belts on dirt roads, and so would not expect their kids to either. Maybe this is a mindset peculiar to the American West, rural areas. And as I've mentioned before, I know of at least one instance where a baby in a sling on a belted-in mama was safe in a potentially dangerous situation (previous post on this thread).

The 'we grew up fine not wearing seat belts' is perhaps a poor defense, but the fact of the matter is that we did manage to grow up, at least those of us that didn't get killed in accidents. Some of us got hurt in accidents, me included. But that was the stage of knowldege at that time. I would have prefered to not fly out a car window when I was 2. Parents would prefer that their children do not die in car accidents. We have created new knowledge around this situation. We saw the problem of people getting killed in automobile accidents, and found a reasonable solution. It doesn't solve the problem all the time, but much of the time it does. We continue to look for better solutions to the problem. Someday the whole durn car might explode into airbags at impact, if that is what is found to be most effective (though no one might be able to afford to buy a car anymore... that would certainly take care of the problem )

In the same way, a certain percentage of society has created new knowledge around the issues of spanking, and breastfeeding, and smoking during pregnancy, and responding to babies' needs, and hopefully this knowledge will grow and spread throughout the population, and even better solutions will be found as people create more knowledge around these issues. I think that TCs is part of this new knowledge about better ways to treat people in family relationships.

I will be redundant here, and say again for those who are confused about this, I am not advocating that people do not wear restraints in moving vehicles. (but what do parents do when they ride busses with thier babies and chidlren? No one got any experience in this issue? And what about school busses?)

Peacemama wrote:

"And I wouldn't completely trust my three year old to make such a decision, either. She's quite bright, but unless she's ever witnessed a car accident, does she really have any frame of reference to accurately judge just how dangerous it is to ride without a seatbelt? "

There is plenty of information around to share with small children about the dangers of motor vehicles having accidents, without having to expose them to the actual grisley scene of a car accident. There is video footage of crash dummies in tests that makes fascinating viewing for all ages There is the feeling we get when we are riding in the car, and then the driver applies the brakes suddenly- feel how the unseen force pushes you forward into the seat belt? And see how the stuffed animal goes flying into the seat ahead of it?

A parent can apply their creativity to help a child understand (once the kid is interested in understanding). A parent is not obligated to drive a car with their child out of their car seat, against their better judgement. But they are obligated to help their child get what they want in life.

Peacemama, again:

"I'd rather have a safe baby who is occasionally unhappy in a carseat than an injured or dead baby whose emotional health is intact if those were my only two choices. "

Good thing that we are not limited to those two choices.

"But choosing to put a baby's safety in jeopardy in the name of non-coercion is simply irresponsible parenting."

And certainly not something that I or TCS theory would encourage.

If absolutely no risk was ever acceptable to put one's baby in, the baby would never come out of a hermetically sealed chamber, it seems to me. Riding in a car, even in a restraint, is a risk. We calculate risk in everything we do.

Where and how do we draw the line? I disagree with the parents I see in the city whose kids are walking around in the car, as we are driving in city traffic. Others disagree with a parent who would pull over and take their child out of the seat and nurse/change/comfort until they are ready to get back into the seat happily (spoiling the child). Many disagree with parents who go with their kid fussing in the car seat, and many parents who disagree with this do it anyhow, on occasion, in a state of coercion about it, their own selves. And some disagree about a parent strapped in with their baby in a sling, driving slow on a deserted dirt road.

I will defend the right of each individual to make the decision for their self and their child. And my heart goes out to all people who lose their children to accidents, preventable or otherwise, because there but for the grace of god go I. We are unable to foresee and prevent all risk, no matter how much we weigh consequences and access risk. We can take reasonable precautions- which, as we see here, differs from person to person- and do the best we can.

And there are parents who are criminally negligent, there is no question about that. But it is a minority, and I would be suprised to find anyone here who could be considered so.
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#326 of 589 Old 12-23-2001, 04:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Responding to Berglar's question (which I shan't quote, according to hir wishes ),

TCS as an articulated theory has been around for the past decade or so, so we are still in the first generation of the philosophy.

From the discussion I have been reading for the last five years or so, and my own experience, it seems that people's lives are vastly improved by TCS theories. This includes discussion with people of all ages, some of whom are under the age of majority and living in non-TCS homes. I know of people who have grown up with a somewhat TCS-like upbringing, though it was before the theory was articulated as it has been in this decade, and are now having children of their own and running up against the reality of real life children as opposed to just agreeing with the theory, as they strive to put TCS into practice. And many, many people have grown up with your normal coercive upbringing to some degree and TCS theory strikes a chord of truth with them and they incorporate TCS theory into their lives.

My conjecture is that upon leaving the TCS home, a child who has been taken seriously in the way of this theory, will be able to see the alternatives to allowing their selves to be put in a state of coercion, and find those solutions that they can be happy with. They know how to find more information and support for the things they want to do, how to define what it is they want, and to find ways to do them without hurting others along the way.

Take TCS kids who want to go to school. School is a coercive institution. Parents can help their children to know what to expect in school, and help them find ways around the things they find coercive, and to help them get what they want out of the school experience. They can avoid the risk of psychological damge from the coercion they encounter outside of their TCS home, because they see alternatives, they can use their creativity to avoid coercion, and they know they have other resources to help them avoid coercion.

Seeing as there is no perfectly non-coercive parent or family, given our fallibility as humans and that we are just learning about this theory and contributing to its evolution and the furthering of knowledge, how could we possibly ascertain what long'term results and consequences are due to TCS, and what is due to other factors? What would this tell us? People are complex. There are no guarantees, no matter what philosophy one subscribes to, are there?

If we are living a moral and respectful life with our children in this moment, and the next, how is it that the 'long-term results' would be an over-riding concern, a reason to use coercion in this moment? It is solving the problems we have right here, right now, in non-coercive ways that will determine how we are able to solve the problems of the long-term.

Children are not products, to be treated a certain way growing up, in order to get this kind of adult when they are grown. Life is a process that happens in the present. While it might be true that if we 'fail to plan, plan to fail', and reasonable forethought to the needs of tomorrow will help determine the activities of today, this does not mean that coercion must be part of this. I have yet to be convinced that coercion is a desirable in the parent-child relationship.

You would find this discussion in the TCS list archives, if you cared to pursue it.
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#327 of 589 Old 12-23-2001, 06:12 PM
 
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thanks for throwing it out here larsy

i do feel uncomfortable about previously divulging private things about my family! (mind you, mostly lost in the old boards) at the time i didn't consider that there may be other ways to talk about very personal things and get good information back

i certainly feel more comfortable posting on the internet since reading and beginning to adopt less personal language

i think there are many ways to write within that, so i'm experimenting
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#328 of 589 Old 12-23-2001, 06:16 PM
 
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just wondering: especially since it seems evident to me that there are a number of people who find the tcs threads valuable, i wonder if you might be willing to restrain your remarks to refutation of the theory, rather than using insults? i find it much easier to consider your perspective when you write in a respectful manner. if these threads were not interesting to people on the boards, they would simply fizzle out.
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#329 of 589 Old 12-23-2001, 06:22 PM
 
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#330 of 589 Old 12-23-2001, 09:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hardly.

Anyone who would like to explore that possibility, please subscribe to the TCS list and read the recent archives about that very subject. www.TCS.ac
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