TCS Discussions 1 - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 86 Old 01-01-2002, 04:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi everyone!

As I explained in TCS on the Mothering Boards we would like all discussions about TCS, whether of theory or practice to be limited to this thread. So please do post any discussions or questions you have related to TCS or that you would like TCS advice about within this thread. If you would like clarification or have any questions you may contact me by PM or at [email protected] or PM Ms. Mom, our GD moderator.

Thanks so much for your understanding and help in this matter.

~Cynthia

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#2 of 86 Old 01-01-2002, 07:20 PM
 
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[Thanks, Cynthia, for providing this forum for TCS].

****I do not think that [that children learn by conjecture and refutation] is what Elkind is theorizing . In fact, I would propose that Elkind would say that excessive conjecture and discussion of theories would be, for lack of a better phrase, way over most children's heads. *****

This may be a misunderstanding caused by confusing the terms "reasoning" and "rational." What you are saying, above, is that reasoning with a child (i.e. providing them with *your* explanation of the reasons why s/he should or should not do something) must be appropriate to the knowledge and experience of the child. I agree. A toddler, for example, would not understand the reasoning behind remaining restrained in a carseat for the sake of safety. Demonstrations may help, but it's probably better for the child if the parent is able to find a good reason--by the child's lights--for sitting in a carseat. Ultimately, TCS parents strive to help their children *want* and *enjoy* the things that are best for them. If a parent is quite certain that a child must be in a carseat when the car is moving--and I happen to be one of those parents--then s/he is responsible for helping that child *enjoy* doing this or else of finding an alternate mode of transportation that the child prefers. The child would still be learning by the process of conjecture and refuation. Let's say for example, that the child has a theory (conjecture) that the carseat is uncomfortable and so does not want to ride in it. S/he is basing hir decision on a prior theory which s/he has formed through hir prior experience with the carseat. Parent adds foam padding to the belts and a sheepskin on the seat. Child sits in the carseat and is comfortable. Aha! The child then revises hir theory that carseats are not comfortable (refutation), now adopting the altered theory that carseats can be comfortable. This is how we all learn, whether we are 1 minute or 100 years old. Learning *is* this process. Learning *is* rationality.

When I say that children--even infants from the day they are born--are rational, I am saying that they learn by conjecture and refuation of theories (and by "theory," I do not mean a complex system of thought but merely an agent of action or inaction, such as a desire, an idea, an impulse, etc). One does not need a "reasoned argument" to go through a rational conjecture and refuation of theories. Children learn language (which, btw, is a symbolic/abstract form of thinking) through this process. They learn to walk, to see, to roll over, etc. through this process.

****I bring up the topic of miseducation mostly because so many of the TCS suggestions in this forum revolve around a lot of explanations to the child about why they should do what we want them to do. Most of the suggestions are simply not age - appropriate. *****

Yes, many of the suggestions are merely ways of getting the parent to begin thinking 'outside the box' of conventional solutions to problems. Some TCS suggestions involve explanation and some do not. The solution must be right for *you* and *your child,* two individuals whom I do not know and would never claim to know.

I think that many who disagree with TCS theory may do so based on a misunderstanding of what TCS advocates are, in fact, advocating. When I suggest possible solutions to problems, for example, I am not advocating *one* or really *any* of the solutions I offer, per se. I am advocating *non-coercion,* and striving to offer some examples of how situations may be dealt with non-coercively. Many, for example, think that all TCS parents love television and video games because they defend a child's right to have them. I happen to dislike both. I never watch television and I never play video games. *For me* they are a waste of time. I have *my own* reasons for not liking television and video games. But that does not give me the right to decide--for another person (and children are people, right?)--that television and video games are wrong or bad. Obviously, if my child is enjoying the television or the video game, they do not share the same theory as I do. I can, of course, share my theory with them. If I am really concerned that they are doing these things out of boredom, I can seek more interesting things for them to do. But I have no right to coerce someone into acting in accordance with my ideas. As my child's advocate and trusted advisor, my responsibility is to help hir act in accordance with *hir own* ideas. S/he will no doubt alter those theories with time, knowledge, and experience. But s/he will not be able to alter those theories rationally if s/he is subjected to ongoing coercion. If I am so sure that my theory is right, then I should feel assured that any rational person would adopt it. But then I also have to realize that I am *not* that other person and that I am a*fallible* human being. My ideas may not be right, and they may not be right for someone else.

For some interesting reading on rationality in infants, I recommend T.G.R. Bower's "The Rational Infant."

Netty
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#3 of 86 Old 01-01-2002, 09:42 PM
 
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thanks netty, that made a lot of terms clearer for me

i have a situation:
a parent and toddler head out for a walk in the rain, wearing waterproof gear. child gestures an interest in going down to the beach and so they do so. child eats the sand, parent talks about why parent doesn't eat sand. child steps into the ocean. parent suggested touching the water with bare fingers to feel its temperature, voices theories about how 'waterproof' child's clothing is, observes that no other clothing is available for the walk home, that it is january and while not very cold out, what can happen sometimes when one gets one's feet wet. child continues walking into the water and parent struggles with conflicting theories about safety/health of getting wet in wintertime, freedom to explore, etc. ideas?
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#4 of 86 Old 01-02-2002, 01:09 AM
 
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****thanks netty, that made a lot of terms clearer for me ***

Glad I could help :-)

**** i have a situation:
a parent and toddler head out for a walk in the rain, wearing waterproof gear. child gestures an interest in going down to the beach and so they do so. child eats the sand, parent talks about why parent doesn't eat sand. ****

Sharing one's own theories is always helpful (no matter the child's age), but if the child is young it may help to suggest other things that s/he may do with the sand (throw it, build hills, run it through fingers, etc.). IME, telling children what *not* to do puts them in a state of coercion, but telling/showing children fun things they *can* do keeps them out of coercive states of mind ;-). If child really seems determined to eat the sand, the parent could be careful to examine it first (perhap create an "edible" pile of sand) to ensure that s/he is eating *only* sand.


****child steps into the ocean. parent suggested touching the water with bare fingers to feel its temperature, voices theories about how 'waterproof' child's clothing is, observes that no other clothing is available for the walk home, that it is january and while not very cold out, what can happen sometimes when one gets one's feet wet. child continues walking into the water and parent struggles with conflicting theories about safety/health of getting wet in wintertime, freedom to explore, etc. ideas?****

This is a tough situation. I think the idea of offering other options is a good one, and voicing theories is good as well. Let the child have as much information as possible for making hir decision. Again, I find distraction a good alternative if a child is very young. Something completely different can change a child's frame of mind and hir desires: start clowning around to entertain hir, tickle hir, play chase, etc.. Parent could also calculate the risks of helping the child do what s/he wants to do. How far is it home? Could the child be hurried home if s/he gets cold? The fact that it is raining suggests that it is not freezing weather. Could parent wrap child in parent's coat? Could parent suggest going home to play in water there or finding some other water games? If child insists on going in the water, help hir do so carefully. Perhaps remove hir shoes so s/he gets a real sense of the temperature (it can take time for the cold to seep through layers of clothers such as socks and shoes).

I find it helpful not to think, "Oh no, how can I stop hir from doing that?" but rather, "Hmmm. How can I help hir do that safely?" and then go from there. Finally, if parent can't think of any alternatives that the child prefers and ends up coercing hir (based on parents theories about cold water and sickness), then it would be important for the parent to apologize and make it clear that s/he is sorry s/he couldn't think of a way to help the child. But hopefully it wouldn't come to that.

Hope that helps,

Netty
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#5 of 86 Old 01-03-2002, 03:40 AM
 
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So surprised to find this thread!

Before the boards went down we were having a TCS discussion, I think in the Parenting Issues forum. I had been looking forward to continuing it when the boards came back but never saw the thread there again. Now I discover, the GD board has been all about TCS discussion for months :

Had no idea it was going on here! What the heck did I miss???

Heartmama

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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#6 of 86 Old 01-03-2002, 04:57 AM
 
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#7 of 86 Old 01-03-2002, 05:13 AM
 
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i have a question which might fit better in parenting issues, if so let me know and i'll move it, but since the tcs thread is here...

in searching for common preferences with other family members, what are some ways of speaking and working through conflict verbally, which have been successful for people? i wonder if people run up against years of winning and losing power struggles (rather than having found solutions that make everyone happy), and find that old habits, reactions, ways of speaking, are difficult to overcome? this is my experience. simultaneously, the revelation of an underlying lack of trust (fear of being coerced) and while each common preference found does build trust, nonetheless some communication tools would be helpful in showing that people sincerely wish to find common ground (are trustworthy).

to begin with, attempting to say " i want ____."

ideas?
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#8 of 86 Old 01-03-2002, 03:21 PM
 
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laelsweet, about the beach situation... I think you are right about considering theories about wet feet in the winter and so on. I've heard theories about 'going out with wet hair' in the winter and about getting wet clothes and feet and getting really cold and that it can lead to getting sick. I have found that, for myself, I can go out with a wet head and end up getting really cold, but I can get warm again and suffer no ill effects. Same with, say, going out in the snow to play. No matter how well bundled I was/am, I end up with snow getting into places and melting and getting wet and cold. At times in history and some places, it might not be possible to get warm and dry after getting chilled, and the continued depletion of bodily resources- especially if a person is not well nourished and supporting a strong immune system- could lead to life-threatening illness. Or a person who is already fighting an infection might make it worse by getting a severe chill. But for a healthy kid to play and get wet and then be able to get warm again, I don't see a danger. YMMV

We spend a fair amount of time playing on beaches, at all times of the year. When it's cold in the winter, big rubber boots come in handy, though they are not necessarily foolproof. I have found that my expectations that kids will stay out of the water are completely unrealistic, when it comes to beaches, so I always assume that wet and sandy are the order of the day, and take along towels, blankets, extra clothes (if appropriate) or suggest swimsuits under clothes (in warmer weather). Beaches are such wonderful places to play Every time I have gone, thinking 'this is going to be a quick trip', it ends up not being so and that's ok because there are a lot of wonderful things to do and see there, let alone the moment's revery for me as the kids are happily occupied beside the energy of the moving water.

Eating sand... I am fascinated with the fact that little kids want to eat the sand/dirt/leaves- but I suppose it should not be suprising, as they are trying out everything. I always want to ask them, do you like the way it tastes? Do you like the grit between your teeth? Well, and passing on the knowledge of Frank Zappa, 'watch out where the huskies go and don't you eat that yellow snow', extrapolated to whatever medium child is eating. After trying it a time or two, I wonder that a kid would continue to prefer to eat sand. And if they are absolutely enamored with the texture, say, 'dirt' brought from home (crunched up chocolate cookie crumbs) or similarly manufactured 'sand' (crunched up graham crackers) maybe complete with a couple of gummie worms in it, might be a preferable consumable. Especially if child likes to use the rolling pin to make the 'sand' in the first place

Just a few thoughts.
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#9 of 86 Old 01-03-2002, 05:22 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by laelsweet
i have a question which might fit better in parenting issues, if so let me know and i'll move it, but since the tcs thread is here...

in searching for common preferences with other family members, what are some ways of speaking and working through conflict verbally, which have been successful for people? i wonder if people run up against years of winning and losing power struggles (rather than having found solutions that make everyone happy), and find that old habits, reactions, ways of speaking, are difficult to overcome? this is my experience. simultaneously, the revelation of an underlying lack of trust (fear of being coerced) and while each common preference found does build trust, nonetheless some communication tools would be helpful in showing that people sincerely wish to find common ground (are trustworthy).

to begin with, attempting to say " i want ____."

ideas?
Breaking the cycle of coercion *IS* a long and trying process. I have been working on it for many, many years and I still fail and am learning constantly about it. I know this doesn't sound encouraging, but it can take literally years before true trust is regained.

Some things that helped me was to explain my new theory about the harms of coercion to all family members and what it is I am trying to strive for. I acknowledged and apologized for past coercion, which was an amazing cleansing process unto itself. I acknowledged that it is sometimes very difficult for me to recognize what is coercive because of the coercion in my past. And children are amazing barometers of coercion and have given me incredible insights about coercion that have applied to all relationships in my life.

However, even with this all said and done, it is not that simple. Children will be rightly skeptical. There have probably been similar attempts before that were really attempts at...for lack of a better term...Gentle Discipline, rather than attempts at throwing out the concept of discipline entirely. They are going to test the waters of your attempts at non-coercion to see if it really is for real, as I hope they would. I hope they use that amazing rational mind of theirs to determine for themselves whether or not I *really* mean it when I say that I will not make them do anything against their will.

And a big problem with non-coercive parenting (aka TCS), is that it is either all or none. You can not be partly non-coercive, any more than you can be partly pregnant. You either are coercive or you are non-coercive.

I have always liked the analogy of the Doctor/Patient relationship to the Parent/Child relationship with regard to coercion.

The kind of doctor that I want is a doctor who is my trusted advisor. They have more knowledge than I in the area of their expertise, but I have more knowledge about myself. I want a doctor that will inform me about my condition to the best of their knowledge and then let me decide. If my decision is counter to the doctor's advice, I might or I might not want to share my additional knowledge about myself with them to see if common preference can be found. It is not only my decision about what to do about my condition, it is also my decision to decide how much about myself I want to share with the doctor.

Imagine having to use a doctor that *in certain cases* will force a medical procedure upon you no matter what your decision is. Of course, they only do this under certain "non-negotiables", what *they* perceive is clearly a life threatening situation. They will force this procedure upon you, even if you decide to share with them all of your knowledge about yourself in an attempt to explain your line of reasoning.

Now image that this doctor gives you advice about some minor condition and since this situation is clearly non-life threatening, they "allow" you to make the final decision. Well, I know what I would do, I would purposely choose the opposite of whatever that doctor suggested, even if I thought it was the correct choice, just to show them that they can be wrong!

Some things to contemplate, I hope this is more encouraging than discouraging.

Pat
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#10 of 86 Old 01-03-2002, 06:58 PM
 
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Wheat germ and oat bran might be helpful sand substitutes too.
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#11 of 86 Old 01-04-2002, 04:06 PM
 
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Cassidy wrote the following excellent post in the "dilemma (long)" thread:

Quote:
Icicle Spider, I don't want to discount your opinions without understanding how they fit into an overall parenting philosophy, but I see a difference between forcing/coerceing a child to do something against his/her will and wanting a child to learn/understand that he/she is part of something bigger (a family and a society) that includes other people with their own wants, desires, and expectations.
I admit that my suggestions taken out of context of an overall parenting philosophy sound exactly like permissive parenting, which I think is usually worse than authoritative parenting.

I also want the same for my children and it is possible for them to learn this without it being literally forced upon them within the family relationship.

Quote:
In friendships, we have the luxury of selecting the others, in families we don't. Either way, we have certain responsibilities to these others simply by virtue of being in relationship with them. I think I would be remiss in honoring my responsibilities as a parent if I were to allow my children to think it is okto do whatever they want, whenever they want, to whomever they want, regardless of the consequences.
I agree most emphatically with this statement, but with a slight modification. I would say: "I think I would be remiss in honoring my responsibilities as a parent if I were to allow my children to think *that I think* it is ok to do whatever they want, whenever they want, to whomever they want, regardless of the consequences."

But I would still allow them to do it. If I were to force them to do something, I would be contradicting this very statement above. I would be doing whatever I want, to whomever I want, regardless of the consequences.

If there really are true consequences of whatever it is they are doing (and I keep reading that most people here think consequences are a good learning tool), they *will* learn from those consequences.

I think my responsibilities as a parent are to make sure that they are aware of my understanding of what the consequences really might be, but to then allow them to make their own decision on how to proceed. This is different from permissive parenting in that the parent is very involved with the child in sharing their theories about how the world works and their morals, but still "allows" the child to "do what they want".

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What I really want is what Iguanavere mentioned: for my daughter (all of my children, actually) do want to do the right thing without being coerced, reprimanded, rewarded, or punished; to want to do the good because it is the good.
So do I, but defining what is "good" has been a tough one for me. Be clear, I do think that there is such a thing as morality and that there is such a thing as "good" and "bad", but it is not a simple question. I have had a hard time coming up with what is a true, core attribute of "good", but I have determined what I think is a core attribute of "bad". So currently, what I define as what is "good" is simply what is not "bad".

What I think is "bad" is to force an individual to do something against their will, also known as coercion. So then, my best definition of what is "good" is non-coercion, or maybe to make it sound positive, voluntary cooperation (alright, this is redundant).

Attachment Parents know this is true for infants. As adults we know this is true for ourselves. I also think this is true for *all* people in between.

Quote:
How do we help our children to harness their will so that they may use it productively?
You must be very careful about examining your own "entrenched theories" about what is and is not "productive". What looks productive to one person looks like wasting time to another and vice-a-versa. This is really for an individual to decide for themselves. One of the better examples of this for me is the activity of fishing. A total waste of time to some, a life-long passion for others.

I would phrase the above to: "How do we help our children to harness their will so that they may use it to get what they want?"

Quote:
Not always for what we, as parents desire, but for what they truly want -not just as a reaction to our rules or requests? Compromise can be reached only when we let go of thinking that what we want at the moment is the only thing that will make us happy; we need to consider what someone else wants/needs as well. If everyone is happy enough with the compromise and the relationship is stronger, have you really been forced to do/accept something against your will?
I agree with the premise of this but with some clarification. First off, I do not like the term "compromise", a compromise to me is when nobody gets what they want. I prefer finding "common preferences", which is when everybody gets what they want. A common preference is when all parties involved share what they want, and after learning about what the other wants, change their preference in light of this new information. They do not "compromise", they truly change their preference in light of the new information. This really becomes what everybody now *wants*.

It is not easy at first to find these common preferences, it takes a lot of work and is a *more* involved parenting philosophy than using discipline. Also, a true common preference can only be found when everyone involved in the process knows in advanced that they will not be coerced.

I have just briefly touched on the subject of finding common preferences here, but it is one of the main differentiations of TCS from permissive parenting.

Quote:
We all know adults who are never happy because they don't appreciate what they have. They see only what the are missing and what they have given up--never what others have compromised for them.
Guilt trip alert!

Why should somebody appreciate something that somebody else did for them that they did not even ask them to do? Who ever did the compromising has the problem, not the other way around. The compromiser sounds like the unhappy one who is focused on "what they have given up".

DO NOT COMPROMISE, YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO WHAT YOU WANT!!!

And I don't mean material wants, I am assuming your wants are more sophisticated than that.

Quote:
They drive others away by insisting on all-or-nothing. They are unhappy because they choose to be miserable. I don't want this for my daughter, but I'm afraid that's how she will end up if she doesn't come to terms with the fact that there are other people in the world who have their own issues. That doesn't make her any less important to herself, but she will not always be the first priority of everyone else.
It is impossible to live with other people in a family and not learn this from the true natural consequences of being in that group of people, it does not require coercion.

What she needs to see is people striving to get not only what they want, but people helping other people get they want.

Pat
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#12 of 86 Old 01-04-2002, 04:49 PM
 
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...suggestions taken out of context of an overall parenting philosophy sound exactly like permissive parenting, which I think is usually worse than authoritative parenting.
As I'm not that familiar with the precice confines of TCS philosophy, how exactly is it that TCS is authoritative as opposed to permissive? I understand that there is no exact definition of "TCS", so is it a fair statement that some parents practicing what they perceive as TCS are indeed permissive while others may or may not be more authoritative?


Quote:
I think I would be remiss in honoring my responsibilities as a parent if I were to allow my children to think *that I think* it is ok to do whatever they want, whenever they want, to whomever they want, regardless of the consequences.
But I would still allow them to do it. If I were to force them to do something, I would be contradicting this very statement above.
Does this still hold true even if their actions are coercive or otherwise harmful to others?


Quote:
wanting a child to learn/understand that he/she is part of something bigger (a family and a society) that includes other people with their own wants, desires, and expectations.

I also want the same for my children and it is possible for them to learn this without it being literally forced upon them within the family relationship.
I disagree. I feel that the family is the primary setting for learning such skills--a training ground of sorts for learning to interact positively with others.


Quote:
Attachment Parents know this is true for infants. As adults we know this is true for ourselves. I also think this is true for *all* people in between.
As we have discussed before, this calls for an assumption of what all people perceive to be true or coercive or good. Clearly one cannot make such generalizations regarding other individuals' thoughts & feelings.


Quote:
I would phrase the above to: "How do we help our children to harness their will so that they may use it to get what they want?"
And I would add a modifying clause: "...so long as it is not harmful to themselves or others."


Quote:
Why should somebody appreciate something that somebody else did for them that they did not even ask them to do? Who ever did the compromising has the problem, not the other way around.
I believe that we should all appreciate all of the blessings in our lives, including the kindness & generosity of others. Rather than placing blame on others in their defense, I would be very saddened if any of my children failed to appreciate such blessings in life.


Quote:
It is impossible to live with other people in a family and not learn this from the true natural consequences of being in that group of people, it does not require coercion.
Although what some people perceive as "natural consequences" others may perceive as "coercion."
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#13 of 86 Old 01-04-2002, 05:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by amnesiac
As I'm not that familiar with the precice confines of TCS philosophy, how exactly is it that TCS is authoritative as opposed to permissive?
Oops, I didn't mean to imply TCS as being authorative, I meant to imply that as bad as I think authorative parenting is, permissive parenting is usually worse!

Quote:
I understand that there is no exact definition of "TCS", so is it a fair statement that some parents practicing what they perceive as TCS are indeed permissive while others may or may not be more authoritative?
While there is not a *precise* definition of TCS, there are certain attributes of TCS, which if those attributes are not present in the parenting style, they are not TCS.

The most distinctive attribute of TCS is non-coercive parenting. A parent encourages a child to do what *they, the child* think is best and never forces them to do anything against their will.

Quote:
Does this still hold true even if their actions are coercive or otherwise harmful to others?
This all depends on the situation at hand. I can think of cases where this is will be the case and others where it will not be the case.

If the other person involved was a complete stranger, and the option was either my child will be coerced, or the stranger will be coerced, and the level of coercion is essentially equal, then I will probably be on my child's side.

Pat
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#14 of 86 Old 01-04-2002, 05:26 PM
 
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I'm not really knowledgable of all of the labelling options, so if it isn't either permissive or authoritative, then what is it?

Quote:
The most distinctive attribute of TCS is non-coercive parenting.
The website says that TCS advocates, but is not characterized by the absence of coercion. So I repeat the question, I understand that there is no exact definition of "TCS", so is it a fair statement that some parents practicing what they perceive as TCS are indeed permissive while others may or may not be more authoritative?
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#15 of 86 Old 01-04-2002, 05:38 PM
 
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I just reread your post and have clarified some statements.

Quote:
Originally posted by amnesiac
I'm not really knowledgable of all of the labelling options, so if it isn't either permissive or authoritative, then what is it?
While I am also not familar with all the labels, the closest label that I am aware of is "non-coercive".

Quote:
The website says that TCS advocates, but is not characterized by the absence of coercion. So I repeat the question, I understand that there is no exact definition of "TCS", so is it a fair statement that some parents practicing what they perceive as TCS are indeed permissive while others may or may not be more authoritative?
I am really not following you here.

I could not find the reference you mention above in the TCS site, but I do remember a similar statement somewhere that I believe said that TCS is not *uniquely* characterized by the absence of coercion.

Are you asking that if somebody practicing what *they* perceive or what they *claim* is TCS are indeed permissive while others may or may not be more authoritative, whether or not what they are actually are practicing really *is* TCS?

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I suppose I find myself going in circles in attempting to understand the details of TCS philosopy.
This page explains that "TCS is part of the rationalist tradition, holding that it possible for human beings, through conjecture, reason and criticism, to come to know (tentatively) and understand truths about the world. TCS is also part of the fallibilist tradition, holding that human beings make mistakes, and that fallibility has important implications for parenting and education. " I don't see anything about coercion or the lack thereof in any of that at all.

The portion about how TCS is different from other parenting styles states that "TCS advocates, but is not defined by, the absence of coercion. " but later says "TCS is characterised by a style of decision making that bypasses coercion in favour of finding common preferences (unanimous consent). With the TCS approach, children spend their childhoods without anyone making them do things against their will or anyone doing things to them against their will. " which sounds an awful lot like TCS is precicely defined by the absence of coercion.

I also see that it explains that "“Permissive parenting” is often associated with “neglect” and may sometimes be carried out in a way that really is neglectful , TCS is the opposite of neglect! "
This again calls for an assumption regarding what one perceives as neglect.
This seems to me to indicate that when parent A is practicing what they define as "TCS", parent B may perceive it as both permissive & neglectful. Meanwhile, parent B is practicing what they perceive as "TCS", and parent A sees it as authoritative.
http://www.tcs.ac/FAQ/FAQTheory.html

Given the TCS position that "there can be no official definition of what it means to take children seriously,"
( http://www.eeng.dcu.ie/~tcs/FAQ/FAQAbout.html )

it seems to me to be a fair statement that sometimes TCS may indeed be either permissive or authoritative.
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quote:
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As I'm not that familiar with the precice confines of TCS philosophy, how exactly is it that TCS is authoritative as opposed to permissive?
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It's neither. TCS cannot be "permissive" because TCS parents do not feel they have a right to "allow" or "forbid" anything. It is not our place to grant "permission" to our children, just as it is not our place to grant "permission" to a spouse. It would be like saying that someone is in a "permissive" marriage. Of course, one may ask a spouse if s/he would be bothered by some action or other (and even base the decision on hir reasoning), but to ask "permission" would be considered ridiculous. The very idea of a relationship between two autonomous individuals being "permissive" or "authoritative" simply doesn't apply in a relationship of equals. An "authoritative" relationship is one is which one person is considered "superior" in some way to the other and, therefore, has the right to impose hir will on those within hir control. While parents certainly have more knowledge and experience than children, it's wrong to use this as a reason for coercion. Just as a doctor has more medical knowledge, parents often have more experiential knowledge. But just as a doctor should coerce a patient into accepting his advice, a parent should not coerce a child either. And just as a patient must gain trust in hir doctor's expertise, a child must gain trust in hir parent(s) expertise. And, of course, we must remember that both doctors and parents can be wrong. Just because someone may be an "authority" in a certain area of knowledge, it does not grant them the right to coerce others into acting in accordance with it.


quote:
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I understand that there is no exact definition of "TCS", so is it a fair statement that some parents practicing what they perceive as TCS are indeed permissive while others may or may not be more authoritative?
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Well, certainly there are probably parents out there who claim to be TCS who are clearly *not* TCS at all. This often comes from a misunderstanding of TCS. This is why having a supportive TCS community is so important for those who are striving to be a TCS family.


original quote:
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I think I would be remiss in honoring my responsibilities as a parent if I were to allow my children to think *that I think* it is ok to do whatever they want, whenever they want, to whomever they want, regardless of the consequences.
But I would still allow them to do it. If I were to force them to do something, I would be contradicting this very statement above.
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response:
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Does this still hold true even if their actions are coercive or otherwise harmful to others?
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I would strive to help my child do what is best for hir. If harming someone else were the best solution, then I would support hir in it. If not, I would strive to find an alternative solution. Personally, I don't like coercing anyone in my life. But if someone were to try to grab my purse, I would not hand it to hir in an effort to be non-coercive. One can usually only find common preferences with those who are willing to enter into the process of doing so. And one only has a responsibility to do this with one's children.



quote:
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I disagree. I feel that the family is the primary setting for learning such skills--a training ground of sorts for learning to interact positively with others.
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I agree with you. I believe it is wrong to force people to do things against their will. I know that I do not like being forced to do things against my will. For this reason, I always strive to find/create common preferences within my family and in my other significant relationships. I live according to my beliefs. I hope my children will do the same.



quote:
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As we have discussed before, this calls for an assumption of what all people perceive to be true or coercive or good. Clearly one cannot make such generalizations regarding other individuals' thoughts & feelings.
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Precisely. I include children in the category of "other individuals' thoughts & feelings."



original quote:
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I would phrase the above to: "How do we help our children to harness their will so that they may use it to get what they want?"
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response:
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And I would add a modifying clause: "...so long as it is not harmful to themselves or others."
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Precisely again :-)...This can only be the case when one acts according to common preferences.



quote:
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I believe that we should all appreciate all of the blessings in our lives, including the kindness & generosity of others. Rather than placing blame on others in their defense, I would be very saddened if any of my children failed to appreciate such blessings in life.
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I think it is wrong for people to give praise and encouragement to others (especially those whom they claim to love) for choosing self-sacrifice over common preferences. I don't want my loved ones to sacrifice for me and I would never ask or expect them to. Despite the entrenched theories we are all raised (coercively) to believe and accept, I have come to see that self-sacrifice is seldom an act of genuine love.



quote:
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Although what some people perceive as "natural consequences" others may perceive as "coercion."
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If something cannot be avoided or controlled or altered, it is a natural consequence.



quote:
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The website says that TCS advocates, but is not characterized by the absence of coercion. So I repeat the question, I understand that there is no exact definition of "TCS", so is it a fair statement that some parents practicing what they perceive as TCS are indeed permissive while others may or may not be more authoritative?
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TCS is not characterized by the absence of coercion because "permissive" and/or "neglectful" parents may not be actively coercing their children and yet are certainly not TCS. They may either be ignoring their children or self-sacrificing their own desires for the sake of their children's. Again, neither of these are TCS. TCS is concerned with taking children seriously by finding/creating common preferences with them rather than resorting to coercion or self-sacrifice.


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Quote:
Originally posted by amnesiac
I suppose I find myself going in circles in attempting to understand the details of TCS philosopy.
This page explains that "TCS is part of the rationalist tradition, holding that it possible for human beings, through conjecture, reason and criticism, to come to know (tentatively) and understand truths about the world. TCS is also part of the fallibilist tradition, holding that human beings make mistakes, and that fallibility has important implications for parenting and education. " I don't see anything about coercion or the lack thereof in any of that at all.
Correct, because TCS is more than *just* non-coercion.

Quote:
The portion about how TCS is different from other parenting styles states that "TCS advocates, but is not defined by, the absence of coercion. " but later says "TCS is characterised by a style of decision making that bypasses coercion in favour of finding common preferences (unanimous consent). With the TCS approach, children spend their childhoods without anyone making them do things against their will or anyone doing things to them against their will. " which sounds an awful lot like TCS is precicely defined by the absence of coercion.
Again correct, one of the *precise* characteristics of TCS is the absence of coercion. Your first quote from the TCS site above is confusing and should read "TCS advocates, but is not uniquely defined by, the absence of coercion.".

Quote:
I also see that it explains that "“Permissive parenting” is often associated with “neglect” and may sometimes be carried out in a way that really is neglectful , TCS is the opposite of neglect! "
This again calls for an assumption regarding what one perceives as neglect.
This seems to me to indicate that when parent A is practicing what they define as "TCS", parent B may perceive it as both permissive & neglectful. Meanwhile, parent B is practicing what they perceive as "TCS", and parent A sees it as authoritative.
It is not TCS if it is coercive and it is not TCS if the parent is not actively involved with their children trying to help them get what they want. It is not TCS if conflicts are not being solved through a process of finding common preferences.

Quote:
Given the TCS position that "there can be no official definition of what it means to take children seriously,"
( http://www.eeng.dcu.ie/~tcs/FAQ/FAQAbout.html )

it seems to me to be a fair statement that sometimes TCS may indeed be either permissive or authoritative.
This quote is in response to the following question:

"Who is the “keeper” of the “TCS philosophy”? That is, if it is to evolve, who decides whether an evolved version is still TCS or not?"

and was answered by Sarah Lawrence with:

"I own the TCS list and the journal. But there can be no official definition of what it means to take children seriously, just as there can be no official definition of what it means to be a Conservative, a Liberal or a Socialist. No one “owns” such labels. Various thinkers and writers, who want to apply such labels to themselves, simply have to enter the fray in the field of ideas and try to persuade others that their version is true.
So to answer the question directly, “who is to decide whether an evolved version is still TCS or not?”, the answer is no one. Or anyone who wants to."

So your quote above is not saying that *anything* can be TCS, but that anyone has the right to call something evolved from the current TCS, TCS. Whether or not anybody else goes along with this new version of TCS is for the public to decide.

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#19 of 86 Old 01-04-2002, 08:12 PM
 
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Quote:
TCS cannot be "permissive" because TCS parents do not feel they have a right to "allow" or "forbid" anything. It is not our place to grant "permission" to our children
So in keeping with the Merriam-Webster definition of "permissive" as "being deficient of control" doesn't that indicate a parenting style involving the absence of parental control over a child? Seems TCS is exactly permissive following that definition.


Quote:
certainly there are probably parents out there who claim to be TCS who are clearly *not* TCS at all.
And although it is stated on the TCS website that there can be no precise definition of what TCS is & no one has the right to determine whether new versions of TCS are indeed still TCS, who is the judge of what is *not* TCS at all? It seems that it can be interpreted quite differently from one individual to the next.


Quote:
I include children in the category of "other individuals' thoughts & feelings."
As do I.

Quote:
This can only be the case when one acts according to common preferences.
Suppose a child is not willing to find a common preference? According to what I read on the TCS website, in such a case the parent should give in to whatever the child wants. I'm sorry, but if it involved harm to the child or someone else, I would insist on coercion of the child.


Quote:
I think it is wrong for people to give praise and encouragement to others (especially those whom they claim to love) for choosing self-sacrifice over common preferences.
I am certainly not an advocate of self-sacrifice, however I am an advocate of appreciation of kindness & generosity. I am also an advocate of communicating one's emotions.



Quote:
TCS is more than *just* non-coercion.
You've listed lots of things it is not. What all is it?


Quote:
your quote above is not saying that *anything* can be TCS
I suppose we'll just have to agree to disagree, that's exactly what it seems to be saying to me.
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Quote:
Originally posted by amnesiac
I suppose we'll just have to agree to disagree, that's exactly what it seems to be saying to me.
It is saying that anything can call itself "Taking Children Seriously". In fact, here is a web site that does just that. If you want to create a web site full of ideas and call it Taking Children Seriously, that is entirely within your rights.

What we are currently discussing however, is the version of Taking Children Seriously as described at www.tcs.ac.

Still not clear?
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#21 of 86 Old 01-04-2002, 08:38 PM
 
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Like I said, we just interpret the info presented at that site a bit differently that's all. It's perfectly fine to have different ideas about things. After all, we can't be certain that either of us is right in keeping with TCS philosophy!

I understood the second site you posted to be a research study & not a parenting philosophy, so I'm not sure I follow your intent.
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To say something is "deficient" in something, implies that there should be more of it. TCS people may not consider TCS to be permissive because according to the definition, it implies that TCS is lacking (to a fault) firmness or control but I think that TCS people simply see it as "without control" instead of "deficient of control". Sure those that do believe in using firmness or control will probably see TCS as permissive but I wouldn't. But, I guess my post is really about semantics.
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#23 of 86 Old 01-04-2002, 09:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by amnesiac
After all, we can't be certain that either of us is right in keeping with TCS philosophy!
Well, we can't be certain about anything.

But so far, I have yet to find any criticism that *I* think is valid of TCS as presented here www.tcs.ac.

I have noted your criticism about *this* specific point of the information presented there, the fact that TCS does not claim any right to prevent anybody else from claiming their version of TCS is the correct one.

However, I still agree with this TCS's statement about allowing others to claim they have the correct TCS. It would be coercive otherwise.

For your and anyone's else clarification, if you see me mention TCS, I am talking about this version.

If you have an alternative version, or know of an alternative version, I would really like to hear about it. In particular, I am interested in how it differs from this one.

Thanks!
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#24 of 86 Old 01-04-2002, 09:35 PM
 
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But, I guess my post is really about semantics
LOL! I find myself thinking this very thing a lot when I'm reading about TCS!
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#25 of 86 Old 01-04-2002, 09:36 PM
 
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amnesiac so far I agree with just about everything you have said with regard to TCS and it's definitions.

I don't have much to add as you have done a very thorough job in your responding, and I have enjoyed reading it.

We had a great TCS discussion going before the boards went down. Unfortunately, it seems to be lost. For myself, I discovered that by defining TCS according to what it isn't, the results are pretty much what you describe. A TCS parent response could be both permissive, authoritarian, coercive, or non coercive, yet the parent will still find a way to view it as holding to TCS theory.

The highly elusive semantics you have discovered regarding the definition of TCS are certainly one of the greatest challenges when trying to discuss/debate this with someone.

Heartmama

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JW,

I read your post carefully and I think it is amazing how devoted your are to your son and how lucky he is that his mother has such extensive medical knowledge. I'm not convinced that it contradicts my orignal statement that:

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I don't want my loved ones to sacrifice for me and I would never ask or expect them to. Despite the entrenched theories we are all raised (coercively) to believe and accept, I have come to see that self-sacrifice is seldom an act of genuine love.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I don't think that you self-sacrificed for your son, unless you resented doing what you did or feel that you shouldn't have had to do what you did for your son. You also may have self-sacrificed if you now expect your son to pay you back in some way for what you did (by being grateful, behaving better, etc.). If you acted out of genuine love for your child (as it seems to me you certainly did), you did not coerce yourself: you *chose* to do what you did despite the "costs" to yourself because you felt that those "costs" were well worth it for the desired results. That is an act of genuine love.

In the original message, the discussion centred on compromise vs. common preferences and the idea that a compromise usually involves one or both parties having to "give in" or "give up" some part of their preference. A common preference, on the other hand, is a solution that all parties are completely happy with. Some parents argue that compromise is a good thing which they strive to "teach" their children to do by forcing them to "give in" or "give up" a little). The ubiquitous "sharing" idea which is foisted on children is a good example of this. TCS parents do not agree that this is a good thing to learn. Far better, we think, is it for children and parents to learn how to find/create solutions where no one has to give up anything. If someone volunteers to "give up" something because it makes sense for them to do so (without any outside coercion), then there is no self-sacrifice. For example, if my child is playing with a friend and the friend asks to play with hir favourite toy, my child knows that s/he can say "no" with just cause and I will support hir in whatever way I can. But if s/he chooses to say "yes," because it makes sense to her to do so (i.e. she *wants* to), then s/he is not in a state of coercion (through self-sacrifice). *Giving* is not self-sacrifice. *Giving in*(against one's will) always involves some degree of self-coercion. It may be a subtle difference, but I think it is an extremely important one.


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#27 of 86 Old 01-04-2002, 11:46 PM
 
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amnesiac wrote:
_________________________________________________
I suppose we'll just have to agree to disagree, that's exactly what it seems to be saying to me.
__________________________________________________

Can you be specific concerning what you disagree with?

Thanks,
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#28 of 86 Old 01-05-2002, 12:05 AM
 
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Netty, I read Just Wondering's post and your reply, and I disagree with the point you made.

you said: "I don't think that you self-sacrificed for your son, unless you resented doing what you did or feel that you shouldn't have had to do what you did for your son. "

Also, You went on to say that what she did was actually an act of genuine love.

I would bet that JW did what she did because she loved her son, and had more than a few moments of resentment at him and the situation along the way, because after all, it was a ROTTEN situation to be in, and it is perfectly human to feel both devoted and frustrated to doing the right thing.

She certainly did sacrafice of herself for her son, I mean, good lord Netty, that ordeal likely took years off her life! It certainly *was* a sacrafice, it was the right thing to do, and no doubt the only reason she was willing to sacrafice was *because* she loves him so.

To call it an "act of love" meaning it was without resentment just makes me laugh. As if an act of love has no room for resentment or frustration.

It does, trust me. As the parent of a child who has logged countless hours hospitalized for a serious birth defect, I can *Assure* you that long scary days spent by the side of a sick child you love more than anyone are filled with nights of fear, anxiety, and even resentment. But you still get up and love and stay with that child the next morning (while your tired who sat up all night turns in for his break).

Sometimes parenting is a sacrafice, and an act of love, all at once.

Heartmama

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#29 of 86 Old 01-05-2002, 12:11 AM
 
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Just Wondering wrote:
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
....it comes down to how someone sees the meaning of the word "sacrifice".
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. That's why I clarified what I meant by that word (and how, to my understanding, TCS theory uses the term). If you mean something different when you use the word "self-sacrifice," then I'm interested in hearing your definition of the word. And by working together, we might come to an agreement about how to use this term. But the "word" doesn't matter so much *as what we define it as meaning* when we are discussing it. So, I think it is wrong for one to do something for someone else that one does not want to do or feels coerced into doing. I use the term "self-sacrifice" or "self-coercion" for any action or inaction which one undertakes against one's will or judgment for the sake of someone else.

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#30 of 86 Old 01-05-2002, 01:14 AM
 
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Since TCS's most distinctive feature is that of non-coercion in education and family relationships, maybe disussing coercion and non-coercion would be helpful (based upon the definition at the TCS website) in understanding about TCS.

I think it can take years to understand what is on the TCS website. There is a paradigm shift necessary, imo. A person must decide whether or not it is right for parents to coerce their children. One's understanding of how learning happens needs to be examined and compared to the TCS theory of non-coercive education, as this is a basis for the understanding of how coercion can harm learning and the ability to think rationally and solve problems.

For those who are interested in learning more about autonomous learning and consent-based non-coercive parenting, I recommend Jan Fortune-Wood's books- 'doing it their way', 'without boundaries', and a new one out, 'bound to be free'.
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