What's TCS? - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-21-2005, 02:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I glanced at the gentle discipline archives and found something called TCS. What is that?

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Old 09-21-2005, 02:29 AM
 
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It's short for a philosophy called "Taking Children Seriously." It is completely non-coercive and involves finding common ground between two viewpoints...you can suggest to a child why they may/may not want to do something but do not force them to comply. Google "taking children seriously" and you'll find lots of info. HTH!

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Old 09-21-2005, 02:43 AM
 
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Originally Posted by canadiyank
you can suggest to a child why they may/may not want to do something but do not force them to comply.
This seems something worth discussing. It's something I think about a lot. IMO it is central to GD, not just TCS - which I think is an unfortunate name for the movement, as it implies that parents who do not embrace it are not taking their children seriously.

I would love to be able to talk about its precepts but there seems to be a ban on the subject. There probably aren't any "TCS" mamas here, as a result of that, to offer any info...
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Old 09-21-2005, 05:07 AM
 
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TCS'er here I differ from TCS in a few ways I imagine (one being that I don't have any problem with compromise), but most of it makes sense to me. I did not know there was a ban on TCS talk here.

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Old 09-21-2005, 09:53 AM
 
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Here's one thread: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...&highlight=tcs

If you search this site for "tcs" you'll come up with some other threads on the subject.

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Old 09-21-2005, 12:30 PM
 
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UnschoolnMa - I'm curious about this, but if you don't want to answer, I understand. How do you handle situations where it's imperetive that you force your child to comply? Like dangerous situations.

Or any other TCSers could answer this
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Old 09-21-2005, 12:51 PM
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If it's a situation where time is of the essence, you just do it, of course. According to TCS theory, children are rational beings who only act rational out of coercion. It's irrational to want to be run over by a big truck, so the parent assumes that a child would not really want that, even if he's standing in the street screaming, "I want to stand here forever!" as a truck bears down upon him, and that the reason he's standing there is either that he's not aware of the danger or that he's been coerced previously and thus is acting irrationally as a result, but since he truly does not want to be hit by a truck, allowing this to happen would be allowing further coercion.

OTOH, this rarely comes up, in real life. First, children who have been raised non-coercively do generally act rationally, so if you're able to explain the danger so that they understand it, they're willing to take steps to avoid it. Secondly, usually there is time to explain what's going on and work out a mutually agreeable solution.

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Old 09-21-2005, 01:32 PM
 
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Can you tell me about things like doctors' appointments and getting to school on time? The last time I had an online discussion about NCP, I bowed out when someone said that if a child didn't want to quit what they were doing to go to a scheduled appointment, the parent just rescheduled it.

Is there any possibility for NCP/TCS to work for those of us who will parent as well as work outside of the home? And send our kids to school?
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Old 09-21-2005, 02:00 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frog
Is there any possibility for NCP/TCS to work for those of us who will parent as well as work outside of the home? And send our kids to school?

I think anyone can do this if they want to--they just need to be open to working things out and looking for alternatives. Parents working outside of the home wouldn't necessitate coersion of the children. The school thing doesn't have to be coercive, (although, if one is starting from the point that "the kids will go to school whether they like it or not," then that's a different story.)

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Old 09-21-2005, 02:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by famousmockngbrd
This seems something worth discussing. It's something I think about a lot. IMO it is central to GD, not just TCS - which I think is an unfortunate name for the movement, as it implies that parents who do not embrace it are not taking their children seriously.
Yes but calling it central to GD implies that parents who do not embrace it are not practicing gentle discipline.
I think that the GD heading is much broader than that. I think that TCS is one way of looking at GD, like Unconditional Parenting etc. . .
But it falls within the range of GD, rather than defining it.
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Old 09-21-2005, 03:35 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johub
Yes but calling it central to GD implies that parents who do not embrace it are not practicing gentle discipline.
I think that the GD heading is much broader than that. I think that TCS is one way of looking at GD, like Unconditional Parenting etc. . .
But it falls within the range of GD, rather than defining it.

I TOTALYL AGREE.

Its not fair to say that parents who don't do things the TCS way are not practing GD.

There is a range of GD. IMO,what is central to GD is not punishing, shaming etc...

I think TCS is one choice, but not the only GD choice.

For us we do make demands on our kids and we don't try to "reach a middle ground" like TCS, at least not on a lot of issues. This does not make us non-GD, at least not for me.
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Old 09-21-2005, 03:47 PM
 
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Ok, I have to ask- the last time tcs came up, I did a search for it, and I came across a tcs website. On the site, I came across an article about making children use carseats in emergencies (I'm guessing in tcs if it's not an emergency and they don't want in the carseat, you just don't go?). The article (maybe it was a q and a and the answer was from a tcs parent) said- specifically- that it was not necessary to put a child in a carseat ever if they didn't want to be in it. So you should drive with them NOT in the carseat. It said that if you happened to get pulled over for a child not in the carseat, the police would see the emergency, and would make sure you got to the hospital faster (for example).
I'm all for respecting children's opinions. And there have been many times that I haven't gone somewhere because ds didn't want in his carseat. But....well, I'm sure you all know the rest lol.
I have to admit, that's as far as I got on that site. But now I'm thinking that that's probably an extreme view, and not everyone who practices tcs would go that far.
I should add that I really like the whole idea behind tcs. I like the idea that you give children suggestions and information and THEY get to choose what to do with that advice (is that right?).
I know a similar situation was explained in a pp, but I'm curious about this specifically. If you want to know what the site was, I'll try to find it again.
Anyone who practices tcs care to comment? If not, I understand

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Old 09-21-2005, 04:40 PM
 
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I don't know the "rules" of TCS, but I *am* Taking my Children Seriously.

Having said that, I ALSO take many other things and people seriously.

I take Safety seriously

I take Myself seriously

I take My Husband seriously

So in my mind if the TCS idea was about taking ONLY the children seriously, it should be renamed to TOCS or something :LOL
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Old 09-21-2005, 05:06 PM
 
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Ahhh, then I gues I TCS.

I am (slowly) making my way through the old thread.

I was just wondering cause some people take things to extreme. "Oh, you don't want to climb down from the computer monitory? Ok, that's your choice..."
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Old 09-21-2005, 05:47 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irinam
I don't know the "rules" of TCS, but I *am* Taking my Children Seriously.

Having said that, I ALSO take many other things and people seriously.

I take Safety seriously

I take Myself seriously

I take My Husband seriously

So in my mind if the TCS idea was about taking ONLY the children seriously, it should be renamed to TOCS or something :LOL
:
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Old 09-21-2005, 06:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Deva33mommy
The article (maybe it was a q and a and the answer was from a tcs parent) said- specifically- that it was not necessary to put a child in a carseat ever if they didn't want to be in it.
So, that was ONE parent's opinion of what SHE would do in that situation. TCS is not a listing of do's and don'ts. As someone else said, it's a philosophy. You have to make your own decisions about what you're comfortable with. Sure, some people drive without their kids in carseats, but, as you know, there are other solutions to a child not wanting to ride in a seat.

People still need to think for themselves. There aren't specific rules for specific situations--that's the whole idea. One of the key things that I've taken away from my readings on tcs is that all assumptions should be questioned. So, starting from, "We must go to the store, therefore dc must go in the car seat." one parent might physically force the child into the seat, another might threaten, another might bribe. Using a tcs philosophy, one might question whether going to the store that instant is imperative--maybe they postpone the trip, maybe they walk to the store instead, maybe dp picks up whatever is needed at the store, maybe etc. etc. But critical to this is that the child's wishes are taken as seriously as the adult's.

Quote:
I like the idea that you give children suggestions and information and THEY get to choose what to do with that advice (is that right?).
I think that's part of it. That's what we do, anyway. But it's also finding solutions that everyone is happy with rather than the adults in the family getting their way simply because they're the adults.

It's been a long time since I was on a tcs list, and I'm not professing in any way to be an expert on the subject, just relating what I've gotten out of the philosophy myself.

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Old 09-21-2005, 10:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johub
Yes but calling it central to GD implies that parents who do not embrace it are not practicing gentle discipline.
I think that the GD heading is much broader than that. I think that TCS is one way of looking at GD, like Unconditional Parenting etc. . .
But it falls within the range of GD, rather than defining it.
Yeah - I worded it poorly. What I meant to say is that the *issue* of forcing children to do something is central to GD, in other words it's a discussion worth having, a question that needs to be considered when talking about GD.

I have postponed trips to the store, etc. I have also forced a screaming toddler into his car seat. It's easier to postpone making a trip than it is to postpone going home from it. So if we are standing in a parking lot in the pouring rain and DS refuses to get into the car, in my mind there is not a lot of room for negotiation there. That's just me, and my approach to it - if someone else has a different approach, that is fine and dandy and actually I would be interested in hearing about it.
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Old 09-22-2005, 01:24 AM
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Originally Posted by frog
Can you tell me about things like doctors' appointments and getting to school on time? The last time I had an online discussion about NCP, I bowed out when someone said that if a child didn't want to quit what they were doing to go to a scheduled appointment, the parent just rescheduled it.

Is there any possibility for NCP/TCS to work for those of us who will parent as well as work outside of the home? And send our kids to school?

Sending your children to school when they'd rather not be there is not compatible with TCS. You're already coercing them for 8 hours a day. OTOH, if you can find a school that your child wants to go to, then it could work.

To me, the core of TCS isn't not coercing, but the focus on finding mutually agreeable solutions. Honestly, the schedulecd appointments thing just has never come up. I don't make appointments for my daughter without her input, and I tend to plan lots of extra time for things like that (well, I did when she was younger; now it's not an issue), and she was usually fairly eager to go. If she wasn't - like we had a bad experience with a dentist once - we didn't go back.

If we had an appointment to go somewhere and my daughter decided she didn't want to go because she would rather keep doing what she was doing, I would not say, "Okay, I'll cancel it" and move on. We would talk about why she didn't want to go, discuss alternative suggestions, and come up with a solution that we both liked. That's how it's supposed to work, and 99% of the time, with kids raised this way, it does. You have to be open to unconventional solutions sometimes, but I think that's a good thing...

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Old 09-22-2005, 01:56 AM
 
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I was talking to a friend today about this and she brought up the good point that TCS sounds like it would work much better with older children than with younger kids. I just can't see having the exchange Dar describes with a two year old. How do you use TCS with preschoolers?
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Old 09-22-2005, 02:35 AM
 
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Originally Posted by famousmockngbrd
I was talking to a friend today about this and she brought up the good point that TCS sounds like it would work much better with older children than with younger kids. I just can't see having the exchange Dar describes with a two year old. How do you use TCS with preschoolers?
Yeah, there is that whole irrational "I am a flying octopus named Superman, I defy gravity..." stage, isn't there.

It was not a turn-on for me because the main proponents (Sarah Fitz-Claridge and David Deutsch) appear to be heavily tied to Ayn Rand, objectivism, pro-capitalist/anti-left-wing politics...and many of those philosophies sorta rub me the wrong way. Ayn Rand for Preschoolers is just not for me. I think Alfie Kohn is a more OK alternative in definitely the same vein (I reread his book last night - and he even uses the phrase Taking Children Seriously). To be honest, in my experience, frequently TCS comes across as a little aggressive, shaming and name-calling, on the main website at least. I would not feel included, being a vegetarian ("eco-fascist?") pacifist who doesn't watch many soap operas or enjoy a lot of candy while marvelling on the beauties of capitalism. While I'm all about individual rights - the tone of the main website (the above article on carseats was written by David Deutsch) is sort of um...not for me.

But I am much more an "adbusters" girl...
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Old 09-22-2005, 02:42 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Dar
Sending your children to school when they'd rather not be there is not compatible with TCS. You're already coercing them for 8 hours a day. OTOH, if you can find a school that your child wants to go to, then it could work.
Okay, say they like it four of five days of the week. Do you let them stay home? What if you have to go to work, and so they can't stay home alone? Isn't it dp's responsibility to help your child develop self-control, a very important skill that takes lots and lots of practice to master.

Also, like the pp said, how does it work for little kids? For example, today my dd was pouring water out of the bathtub onto the floor. I assume she wanted to see what would happen, but I didn't want her to. I coerced her into stopping, I guess, because I asked her not to. When she continued to do it, I took away the cup. What would a TCS parent have done in this situation?

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Old 09-22-2005, 03:14 AM
 
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Before I go on let me just say that much of my experiences with this would match Dar's posts here. I will just say that now rather than quote her followed by excessive :tup LOL. Her Dd is just a bit older than mine if memory serves too.


Quote:
Originally Posted by natensarah
Okay, say they like it four of five days of the week. Do you let them stay home?
Yes I would. Of course the school may take issue with that, and there would be that to discuss.

Quote:
What if you have to go to work, and so they can't stay home alone?
Then you discuss that with the child. I assume since we are talking about school we are talking about a child who is around 6 at least right? I think even young children can take part in these kinds of conversations. Perhaps you could find a sitter for that day? (I realize this is not always easy) Or a few sitters that would trade off. Maybe the child would enjoy going somewhere else instead of school that day...like a child care center or some other program. A parent might work from home that day, or see if bringing the child along was an option. There is no one right answer here obviously.


Quote:
Isn't it dp's responsibility to help your child develop self-control, a very important skill that takes lots and lots of practice to master.
Sure parents are there to help children learn things. TCS isn't at odds with that as far as I know. I might have missed what you were responding to with this statement though.

Quote:
For example, today my dd was pouring water out of the bathtub onto the floor. I assume she wanted to see what would happen, but I didn't want her to. I coerced her into stopping, I guess, because I asked her not to. When she continued to do it, I took away the cup. What would a TCS parent have done in this situation?
I would probably have said " Wow the floor is getting really wet. Do you like pouring the water?" If the floor being wet was a problem for me I might have asked about other ways we could play with and pour the water. I might offer some suggestions, or just start playing myself.

Things like measuring cups, a plastic bowl or a funnel, turkey baster or squirt gun could be interesting. I might put two big bowls or pots on the floor for her to pour into. Then when we were all done I would just say that some water got on the floor and would she like to wipe it up (not sure of your Dd's age?) with me. The key would be to work together to find the things that work.

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Old 09-22-2005, 02:21 PM
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Yeah, or throw a big towel onto the floor and let her pour... it's just water, really.

When my daughter was little (and I was most active on the TCS list when she was 3-5; I haven't been on it now for years) her wants were simpler. It was more about offering alternatives that were more acceptable to me, and than she would chose one that she liked better than what she was doing that I didn't like. I also did a lot of creative problem solving... I think there was a 6 month period when I didn't change her diapers when she was lying down, because she hated that. I got good at changing her while she was standing, and for poopy diapers I'd stand her in the bathtub and swish her off while she played with the water.

Communication with a young child is generally not about words as much, but about actions...

Quote:
Isn't it dp's responsibility to help your child develop self-control, a very important skill that takes lots and lots of practice to master.
I don't think controlling a child is the most effective way to help her learn self-control... I mean, feeding a child isn't the best way to help them learn self-feeding, right?

TCS children learn what is modeled. They see their parents working to find non-coercive, mutually-agreeable solutions, and they pick up these values. The youngest TCS kids are often amazing problem-solvers, because they're so used to this as a way to resolve issues.

TCS children have control over their own actions, unlike most children, and therefore they always have self-control. Because they're controlling their own actions, they can see directly the effects these actions have on others and the world.

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Old 09-22-2005, 07:45 PM
 
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I would probably have said " Wow the floor is getting really wet. Do you like pouring the water?" If the floor being wet was a problem for me I might have asked about other ways we could play with and pour the water. I might offer some suggestions, or just start playing myself.

Things like measuring cups, a plastic bowl or a funnel, turkey baster or squirt gun could be interesting. I might put two big bowls or pots on the floor for her to pour into. Then when we were all done I would just say that some water got on the floor and would she like to wipe it up (not sure of your Dd's age?) with me. The key would be to work together to find the things that work.
[/QUOTE]

Okay, I see what you're saying. And probably 95% of the time I would do something like that. But last night dh was working late and I was trying to get ds ready for bed, and just didn't feel willing to take the time to come up with an alternative for her. So I guess I can see how you could do it, and how it would really work well for some families, but I'm just not willing to give up the power of veto.

I think what I originally thought this meant was that you would never try to dissuade dc or offer alternatives. Like if your four-year-old said, "I'm going to 'insert destructive behavior here'", you'd just have to grin and bear it. That was why I made the comment about self-control.

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Old 09-22-2005, 09:06 PM
 
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Yeah, or throw a big towel onto the floor and let her pour... it's just water, really.
Yea untill you realize that the excess water you childs spilling (in this case from splashing in the bath) is warping the foor and the landloard comes and hands you the bill for the damage. (not us happended to my brother)
There are points to TCS I really like but its just not an overall parenting style I personally care to embrace. I tend to fall more into a child led parent dirrected way, but thats us.

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Old 09-22-2005, 09:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by natensarah
So I guess I can see how you could do it, and how it would really work well for some families, but I'm just not willing to give up the power of veto.

Most parents aren't , and that's fine too.



Quote:
I think what I originally thought this meant was that you would never try to dissuade dc or offer alternatives. Like if your four-year-old said, "I'm going to 'insert destructive behavior here'", you'd just have to grin and bear it.
Sometimes my kids have done destructive things, and I have not stopped them. I have discussed what would happen as a result of the behavior though. (item would be ruined or broken resulting in it no longer being functional or fun, a mess, a possible safety hazard, anger from someone if they are bieng destructive to someone elses things, etc) and I have offered alternatives.

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Old 09-22-2005, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by natensarah
Okay, I see what you're saying. And probably 95% of the time I would do something like that. But last night dh was working late and I was trying to get ds ready for bed, and just didn't feel willing to take the time to come up with an alternative for her. So I guess I can see how you could do it, and how it would really work well for some families, but I'm just not willing to give up the power of veto.
It *is* hard work. With young children especially, I think it's one of the hardest ways to parent. It's must easier to just say, "No" or move the child or whatever. In the long term, though, I think it's easier. I know Unschoolnma's kids and mine are all about the same age, like from 11-14, and that's just not an age range most parents enjoy... but I truly find it to be a true pleasure 99.9% of the time... we rarely argue over stuff. We just don't, because we have 12+ years of working towards mutually agreeable solutions.

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Originally Posted by octobermom
Yea untill you realize that the excess water you childs spilling (in this case from splashing in the bath) is warping the foor and the landloard comes and hands you the bill for the damage. (not us happended to my brother)
The point isn't whether or not that particular solution would work for any particular person (it was a great solution for us when Rain was little, because we lived in Arizona where everything was dry as a bone, so nothing warped). The point is that there *are* other "outside the box" solutions, if you look for them.

Dar

 
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Old 09-22-2005, 10:57 PM
 
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he point isn't whether or not that particular solution would work for any particular person (it was a great solution for us when Rain was little, because we lived in Arizona where everything was dry as a bone, so nothing warped). The point is that there *are* other "outside the box" solutions, if you look for them.

Dar
Oh don't worry I know we do a lot of out of the box solutions I'm huge on playfull parenting.. I was just pointing out for some things like "its only water" is a big deal for others its not. We make around $14,000 a year so moneys very tight and we rent so we for us we find we do need to set more limits I'm completlely not willing to allow our dd to destroy toys or risk damage to our home and risk fines we cannot afford. However if I found my DD pouring wate on the floor I also wouldn't be yelling or ranting that she was a bad child. I probably would have just redirrected her to dump into the bath tub probably making a game out of it and brought in diffrent containers sponges etc to experment with and stayed with her to make sure water did stay inside.
One thing that I think is at the core of being a GD parent (TCS or Parent dirrected) is respect and grace. We just approach this from slightly diffrent POV.
Oh and kinda OT but I live in Yuma AZ so quite familier with the dry weather :LOL It was 104 this afternoon

Deanna

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Old 09-23-2005, 12:34 AM
 
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i think one thing about tcs that isn't being addressed here is that it is supposed to be about (briefly) finding a "common preference". if the parent is opposed, it is not a common preference! tcs theorists operate under the assumption that there is always a common preference (perhaps a third alternative that both parties want more) and we are just not swift enough to think of one. failing to reach a common pref and just doing nothing (not coercing) is bad too. the deal-breakers for me with tcs are the idea that if no common pref can be found, then defer to the child; and the idea that children are rational beings (rational being defined in their own tcs way - lots of words are being defined in a different-than-conventional way in tcs theory). overall though i find that being Less Coercive is something that feels right to us while being Non Coercive is a beautiful thing when one can achieve it, but it is not always achievable nor even always desirable in our family structure...OTOH,TCS definitely helps in exercising the creative solution part of ourselves and our children! Children can come up with the most amazing alteratives - even really little , irrational ;-) ones.
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Old 09-23-2005, 12:46 AM
 
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Yeah,
I find that to be a sticker for me too.
I do respect children and value their experience, opinion and feelings etc. . . but I do not beleive them to be fully rational (or even biologically capable of being so most of the time due to incomplete brain development), nor have the life experience necessary to guide their decision making.
I think the process where parents guide decision making while gradually passing on the responsibility as children mature makes most sense for me.
I dont knock TCS and other styles like it, but after serious consideration, they are not for me.
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