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Old 01-12-2002, 08:10 PM
 
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My children nor do any of the children I know address adults that they know well as Mr. or Mrs. We have a couple of "aunts" as you say, but I find that people are uncomfortable being addressed with Mr. or Mrs. anymore. I think it makes them feel old. My friends kids address me as "Beth" and that is fine with me. We are close enough that they see me as a member of their extended family. It is equally alright with me that my children address them by their first names for the same reason, but it still sounds odd to me at times. I still address my high school friends parents as Mr. and Mrs. when I see them. In all actuality, I don't think I even know most of their first names. I don't think that they are any "better" than me, or that we are on different levels, so to speak even though I still address them in that manner.

I think part of my problem with this stems from the way I see our two neighbor boys (6 and 8) behaving. They are positively rude to not only the children, but the adults in the neighborhood. They feel that everyone is around to serve them. If the ball they are playing with goes into the street (we live at the top of a very steep hill) they will rudely yell at any adult (BETH, GET THAT) despite what the adult is doing. I personally think it is rude for anyone to talk to another person in the manner that they do, or act like they do. They have absolutely no respect for anyone, let alone adults. I'm not saying that they should have more respect for me as an adult, than they should for my sons, but they should have respect in general.

For example, one of their favorite activities at their house is to kick balls onto their roof so they roll back down and they can try to catch them. If their parents allow that at their house -- fine, more power to them. However, on several occasions this past summer they would come to our house while we were all outside playing and begin attempting to kick balls on the roof of our house. Big difference here is that we have a two story, they have a ranch. Thus the balls are hitting the front of our house and our windows. The balls are not always real soft either. I asked them several times to stop. I explained that we don't allow it and that it is disrespectful to our property. Keep in mind that the parents are not around. They will stop for about two minutes and then start again. I can only tell them so often before I tell them that they have to leave if they continue. They were sent home on several occasions.

Another example. We have the only basketball hoop in the neighborhood. They love to use it and came over one day to shoot. My dh had left the lawn mower under the basket and I was sitting in a chair nursing, so I was in no position to move it. They proceeded to shoot and hit the mower. I asked them to stop until I could move it. "THEN MOVE THE DANG MOWER!!!" was the older one's response. The younger one quickly echoed his statement. I said I would do no such thing until they could ask me in a nice way. I received several more rude demands like that so I finally sent them packing and told them that they couldn't us our hoop that night.

These kids are rude, beligerant(sp?) and obnoxious. Perhaps, if as young children they had been taught to respect EVERYONE, not just adults, they would be well liked (they are not well liked at school, and are made fun of often) and could better deal with social situations. They are no fun to play with because they have no concept of teamwork, thus when we get a neighborhood game of soccer, they ruin it for everyone because they are demanding that everyone, including the adults, do what they say. Not much of a fun game.

The parents are trying to get control of the situation now, but to no avail. I can't help but think that if they had been taught at an early age to respect adults, since that was who they interacted with most, that it would have carried over to an overall respect others, and others wants, needs, feelings, and rights.

It is because of these two kids that I think that the Mr. Mrs. thing wouldn't be such a bad idea. Isn't it a shame that a couple bad apples can spoil the whole cart?

Just a little backround into my Mr. and Mrs. thing.
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Old 01-12-2002, 09:17 PM
 
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Beth, I agree about how a few bad experiences can colour your feelings about social customs - those boys sound like they have little respect for others, of any age...

I found the Mr and Mrs thing odd when I first came to the US, but I accept it is a different cultural outlook and is the way that some families interact with friends. I find that the relationship with the children is what counts, not what they call me. I've had children call me Mrs X, but they are not respectful either to me or to their siblings, or to other children. So the name then makes no difference. Other children call me by my first name and our relationship is mutually respectful. The name can give an aura of respect, but that's all.

I think that respect is learned through example and through the whole remit of emotional development. To respect others you first need to respect yourself. An adult can 'demand' respect, but what they get may just be lip service! The only true way to gain respect is to earn it, through your relationship and dealings with others, no matter what the age. I suppose I separate out the name issue as being a cultural thing and not a lot more.

As an aside, I find the phrase 'what-ev-errrrr' really disturbing when I hear it used by some people. The word is quite innocent, but the connotation speaks volumes! I know parents who would flip at their child swearing at them, yet allow them to say 'what-ev-errrrrr' to others twenty times a day without flinching. It amazes me.
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Old 01-12-2002, 10:59 PM
 
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Hi Larsy, thanks for taking the time to reply to my questions.

My thoughts:

Larsy writes:"What the parent sees as 'fact' is actually hir theory about what needs to happen- what is going on with child, ways to deal with it, what the options are. "

I fail to see the significance of this point? TCS is a theory. A theory is simply an unproven idea. But, the better the facts it is based on, the better the theory. Symptoms are facts, a diagnosis is a theory until tests confirm it. However, the better you (or a doctor) are at understanding the facts of your sick child's condition, the better your theory will be, and in turn, the diagnosis can be made faster and the treatment started sooner, all because of a sound theory.

Larsy wrote: "But it would not be help for that problem. If the child is afraid of being hurt, a parent can talk to the doctor and other sources and find out what the options are for pain relief. "

For practical purposes, I had hoped we would not overly dissect the clinical aspect of the family in this example. But, to clarify, I maintain that asking about pain relief etc. is little more than gathering info to better inform the child. It does not reflect interference on behalf of the parents preference in the situation. Expressions of personal preferences or feelings about the situation are more than just fact gathering IMO.

"However, if the child begins to cry and say they will not go for reasons xyz, then IMO anything you say at this point to allay the concerns, and make the doctor visit seem more attractive, and elicite a willingness to go...that is just coercion, IMO, and nothing more."

Larsy responds:
"Find solutions to the problem xyz."

If that is possible, I certainly would. But if the fear is "This will hurt" that might be unavoidable (even with the latest skin numbing cream, shots still hurt, unfortunately). The solution may be a compromise, and it is perfectly understandable that a child may be unwilling to make a compromise that involves pain.

"One reason is because I think it is unrealistic to confuse a willingness to go with an absence of reluctance. "

Larsy responds: That would be a faulty theory.

Why is that a faulty theory? Have you never experiences the feeling of being willing to do something you still harbored doubts about?? I have heard many people describe such feelings, so I felt this was a possible condition the child may experience. Why do you disagree?

larsy writes "If it is truly a common preference, the child prefers going and solving the problem, than not doing so. Child might still be scared, but determined to confront the fear and do what child feels must be done to help with hir problem. A parent can support their child in this. "

Hmmm. I realize you will not agree, but you are essentially describing the state I feel TCS defines as coercion, which involves the feeling of coping with two opposing forces etc. I realize you feel it is not coercion for a parent to share a personal preference to the child about the situation they are in. I often feel TCS ignores the fact that such statements are more than just objective observations when they happen in real life. It would be mighty hard for a sick 4 year old to not feel quite a lot of pressure from mommy worriedly noticing his symptoms and suggesting he go to the doctor.

larsy writes:"If the child is having a problem that is bothering hir, and the parent and child have entered into a process of finding solutions for that problem, they might have consulted more than one doctor and done research on the problem and talked to many other people with that problem and discovered lots of good information that can help them figure out if, indeed, the problem must have intrusive and painful treatment to be solved, or if there are alternatives, or if the treatment can wait for awhile until the child comes to terms with it, what measures can be taken to control pain, can child listen to music on headphones to help distract hirself, or the child might decide s/he would rather live with the problem than the solution. "

I feel this is all good advice and would hope the parent would follow it. Unless the condition poses a health risk, I agree the child could just live with it. However, especially with a young child, I hope you are not saying to simply let a child die from untreated diabetes because it occasionally takes coercion from the parent to take the daily shots?

TCS parents here have made it pretty clear they agree to save their child from death even when it involves coercion. I assume this extends to getting treatment for a critically ill child, regardless of whether the child agrees. Does it?

"If the child gives any indication that s/he is still in a state of coercion over the doctor visit, and wishes to put it off, barring a life-threatening situation, I would back off and continue to help child to find solutions that we are both happy with. I would let the child know the consequences of cancelling a doctor's appt- if we had to pay for it anyhow, we might not be able to get another for a long time- in a non-accusatory way. I would let hir know my feelings about the matter, whatever they are, but I would also acknowledge that it is hir body and it is hir decision as to who touches it and what is done to it."

I agree that it is always better for the child to consent. However, I disagree that without consent treatment is automatically wrong. I believe it is psychologically unrealistic to expect a child to always "consent" to something they know will really hurt. With a baby, I think it is unrealistic to expect them not to cry in protest if they experience pain. IMO it can help the child to be told "If we don't do this, you are probably going to die, and I can't let that happen to you". This can be a relief for a child, who may not fully understand death, or illness, and can only relate to the pain part of the treatment. Once a child knows a thing must be done, whether or not they like it, it can actually lessen their resistance to what is being done, which in turn makes it less traumatic. I realize this flies in the face of TCS theory, however, in my experience it can work this way so long as the parent is honest and loving and ever present in helping the child cope.

*sighing* Larsy I think we have wandered far from what I was asking

With all of this, what I do not understand, is how TCS distinguishes the influence of "sharing preferences" from coercion. I feel that the qualities that define coercion according to TCS shift every time I try to hold them to a real life example. If a child doesn't want to do something, and we keep addressing their fears, creating incentives, sharing our desire that they choose to do it, and they come around to saying "okay I will do it"...especially when the resist was out of fear, it is just *SO* unlikely, in real life, that a real child would have 100% set aside fear and become totally excited about doing the feared thing.

To me, this child was coerced, the parental effort to change their mind was coercion, and I am hearing nothing that proves it isn't. Someone said in another post, something to the effect of "The fact that non tcs parents feel that this process is coercive indicates non trusting relations in the family...". I am just looking at TCS definitions and noticing that they define things as coercive, yet TCS parents say they don't, and I'm racking my brain trying to get an illustration as to why one thing isn't coercive and one thing is etc.

Heartmama

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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Old 01-12-2002, 11:21 PM
 
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***I am just looking at TCS definitions and noticing that they define things as coercive, yet TCS parents say they don't, and I'm racking my brain trying to get an illustration as to why one thing isn't coercive and one thing is etc. ****

The TCS definition of coercion is "to enact one theory or impulse while a conflicting theory or impulse is still active in one's mind."

Hence, if someone *changes hir preference* s/he no longer has a conflicting theory which is *active* in hir mind. That theory has been *replaced* with the new theory upon which s/he has chosen to act. This does not mean, of course, that people don't act on theories with trepidation or anxiety. But if they are acting on the new theory against their will and because of *external pressure* (rather than honest information), then they are in a state of coercion. In other words, the child does not want to go to the doctor and is going *unwillinging*because of external pressure rather than internal motivation. In order to create a common preference, the parent would need to find a reason--by the child's lights--to go to the doctor for the treatment. Hence, the child would have to be convinced that s/he *wants* to go rather than not go.

If I go to the doctor ("acting on one theory") when I really don't want to ("conflicting theory still active"), I am in a state of coercion. If I don't go to the doctor ("acting on one theory") when I really want to ("conflicting theory still active"), I am in a state of coercion. If I cannot decide whether or not to go to the doctor, I have a conflict (two theories active but neither being acted upon) which needs to be resolved. The parent's responsibility is to help the child resolve this conflict *non-coercively*.

Does this help? or have I only muddied the waters a little more?


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Old 01-13-2002, 12:01 AM
 
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what if a young child sleeps in unpredictable patterns. for example, up at 7, nap at 10-11:30, sleep at 19:45, up at midnight-2, sleeps til 10:30, awake til 16:45. naps are a possiblity even after 21:00! if parent attempts to follow suit, s/he ends up exhausted, awake at weird hours, etc. parent really hopes to have late evenings free to pursue interests and rest. parent is beginning to get anxious (and coercive) that child will not go to sleep at times when parent wants hir to, and this is very problematic to both people. when child wakes to nurse, parent experiences anxiety that child will get up, and becomes increasingly angry if other family members make noise. parent wants to let child sleep when hir wants to, and be free of anxiety around sleep, but is self-sacrificing. what are some things to do? (other parent needs to sleep to prepare for work, also, child is too young to be unsupervised)
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Old 01-13-2002, 02:13 AM
 
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Netty wrote:

Quote:
Hence, the child would have to be convinced that s/he *wants* to go rather than not go.
I don't want to start an arguement here, but I would like you to look at that statement from a non TCS point of view and see if you can understand how some people can see that as a manipulation/coersion -- ie: the phrase "would HAVE TO be convinced" especially. Can you kind of see where the semantic issue can get sort of fuzzy? BTW, I'm not trying to arguementative, and I think that trying to convince a child to want to go is a good thing. With my son we have tried to make it a fun morning by going to Mc Donalds afterwards, or telling him that we will be able to play with the barn that is in Dr. S's office. He is much better about going to the doctor now, but he much prefers it if the appointment is for his brother.

I'm curious here, for future reference, what do you do if everything goes well until the doctor actually begins to do the exam. What next? When we were in once for Jonah, I wanted Dr. S to look at Christian's bottom to see if he had a fissure or a rash around his anus. I had told him that I wanted her to do this and the doctor agreed. Of course, when the time came he didn't want her to look. I went ahead and told him that it was no big deal and we finally got it done, but I don't remember what I said to get him to do it, or if I coersed him to get him to let her look.

This is the kinder, gentler, less confrontational me. How am I doing so far?
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Old 01-13-2002, 05:05 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by jbcjmom
Netty wrote:

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hence, the child would have to be convinced that s/he *wants* to go rather than not go.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I don't want to start an arguement here, but I would like you to look at that statement from a non TCS point of view and see if you can understand how some people can see that as a manipulation/coersion -- ie: the phrase "would HAVE TO be convinced" especially. Can you kind of see where the semantic issue can get sort of fuzzy?
I'll try, but if I just make a bigger mess, please feel free to ignore.

I read Netty's sentence above as describing what conditions are required *if* the child ends up going rather than not going and did not read into her statement any requirement that the child *must* be convinced. She was just stating that *if* the child does end up going, it was because they were somehow "convinced" that it is what they want to do. I think maybe the word "convinced" was taken as "manipulated".

Netty was describing what process would take place if the end result was that the child did go to the doctor after not wanting to. She was not describing what a parent *must* do.

I think the non-TCS point of view concluded this as a coercive action, because they assumed it is somthing that *must* be done. We must go to the doctor, so how do I "convince" little Johnny to go. I agree that this would be coercive.

Quote:
BTW, I'm not trying to argumentative, and I think that trying to convince a child to want to go is a good thing.
Your not at all argumentative and I think this sentence does sum up the opposing view points. I would not assume that convincing the child is automatically a good thing. But then I am thinking about all possible doctor appointments, and I think you are probably thinking about a more specific scenario. My guess is Netty was also thinking more generically than you.

Remember that TCS'ers generally do not try to solve *specific* problems in discussions like this, but instead strive to think in more general terms. That way we are better prepared for whatever situation we find *ourselves* in.

Quote:
With my son we have tried to make it a fun morning by going to Mc Donalds afterwards, or telling him that we will be able to play with the barn that is in Dr. S's office. He is much better about going to the doctor now, but he much prefers it if the appointment is for his brother.
This could easily be a true common preference with no Coercion (that's with a capital C to indicate TCS coercion) in this child's mind.

However, since this is in the TCS Discussion thread, I would be very concerned that there is actually Coercion going on. It sounds like he doesn't really want to go. I would try to understand his concerns and fears and *try* to figure out a way to address them.


Standing on soap box and addressing the generic "you", not any specific "you".

This is why I like the term "Taking Children Seriously". It means that you take the preference of the child just as seriously as the preference of an adult. You do not ever call the preference of a child a "whim" or irrational.

The other key point for me in understanding TCS is that the violation of one's autonomy, being forced to do something against you will, AKA Coercion, is felt just as strongly by everyone of us. Everyone feels distress from being coerced. The day old newborn, the centenarian, I do, and you do.

Think how *you* would feel if you were made to go to the doctor when you did not want to. And I do not mean if you were a child, I mean right now, as an adult. Really, how would it feel to you? I know how I would feel and I know that a child feels *exactly* the same way.

We are all *born* fully developed in terms of personal autonomy.

Quote:
I'm curious here, for future reference, what do you do if everything goes well until the doctor actually begins to do the exam. What next? When we were in once for Jonah, I wanted Dr. S to look at Christian's bottom to see if he had a fissure or a rash around his anus. I had told him that I wanted her to do this and the doctor agreed. Of course, when the time came he didn't want her to look. I went ahead and told him that it was no big deal and we finally got it done, but I don't remember what I said to get him to do it, or if I coersed him to get him to let her look.
There are many possible common preferences here. It is entirely possible that you in fact found a true common preference that time. Other possibilities are see if you can have another 15 minutes in private, reschedule the appointment (don't jump on this, this *is* a *possibility*), etc. And before this ever happens, I would (hopefully) have already made sure that the doctor I am using would be supportive of whatever my decision is (actually, my child's decision).

Quote:
This is the kinder, gentler, less confrontational me.
I actually like the confrontation and the points you have made are very relevant.

Quote:
How am I doing so far?
Since you asked , I highly recommend making things less personal by not talking about your prior actions and family. It appears to me that things became truly "confrontational" when the examples being debated were personal stories and any criticism where taken as personal attacks.

This is what I don't like, is when things are taken personally, when it really was just an attempt to critically examine a proposed scenario. It really is tough to brain-storm what possible Coercion (that's a capital C!) might be present when we are talking about real people and incidents.

Also, if you haven't, could you please read the What If article (located here). It is an explanation about why the discussion of these scenarios is usually counter-productive.

How am *I* doing?

Pat
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Old 01-13-2002, 02:11 PM
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Hi everyone!

I'm going to close this thread now since it's getting close to a 4th page. I'll be placing it in the archives and opening TCS Discussions 3. Thanks to everyone for their ongoing participation and cooperation with this And do feel free to continue the discussions.

~Cynthia

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