TCS Discussion 2 - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 68 Old 01-06-2002, 12:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I hope it is okay to start a new TCS thread by addressing TCS people. To try and post my question on the original TCS thread seemed a bit daunting as it is more of an argument about TCS, and I really just have a question for it in practice. Not to dispute it, but to gather information. I am posting this for APers as well on a seperate thread. Please let me know if this is not okay. Okay?

So my question might be silly, but I wondered how the TCS theory applied to infants, and if there are any specifics you have in reading their body language and/or cries? Aside from ignoring a babies cries, which would be awful, I wonder sometimes how it is for him if he fell asleep in my arms, and then woke up alone in his little sleeper, if that is in a way, coercement? (by TCS theory)

Of course I immediately retrieve him when I hear him waking, and it is only during the day because we sleep together at night. But the look on his face of "what the heck is going on?" I can't help but wonder if he feels afraid or betrayed somehow.

Believe it or not, I am not a new parent, because re-reading this makes me sound like an over paranoid new parent, but I am always curious about different theories and/or studies, and wonder if TCS has any on this young age.

TIA

MK
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#2 of 68 Old 01-07-2002, 01:23 AM
 
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****So my question might be silly, but I wondered how the TCS theory applied to infants, and if there are any specifics you have in reading their body language and/or cries? Aside from ignoring a babies cries, which would be awful, I wonder sometimes how it is for him if he fell asleep in my arms, and then woke up alone in his little sleeper, if that is in a way, coercement? (by TCS theory)****

I think that we, as parents, are only able to respond to actual communication to figure out if an infant is in a coercive state. Crying, wimpering, frowning, etc., are all signs that seem to suggest a coercive state of mind.

***Of course I immediately retrieve him when I hear him waking, and it is only during the day because we sleep together at night. But the look on his face of "what the heck is going on?" I can't help but wonder if he feels afraid or betrayed somehow.***

I suspect that you would be able to tell. Just pay attention to his cues.

****Believe it or not, I am not a new parent, because re-reading this makes me sound like an over paranoid new parent, but I am always curious about different theories and/or studies, and wonder if TCS has any on this young age.****

There is a TCS list for babies and toddlers <TCSBabiesToddlers@yahoogroups.com> which you--or anyone else--are welcome to join if you'd like more support for TCS-style parenting.

Hope this helps :-)

Netty
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#3 of 68 Old 01-07-2002, 02:17 AM
 
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Baby falls asleep in mother's arms and mother puts baby to sleep in crib.

Baby wakes up and cries for mother.

Therefore, since baby has cried and communicated distress - mother has coerced baby?

Or perhaps, Mother has simply reenforced that when baby cries, mother responds. Maybe it isn't coersion. maybe it is simply responsive parenting.

So are you saying that it is bad to put your baby down, because it may cause coercion? How do you test this theory? by trying coercion (by doing the above scenario?)
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#4 of 68 Old 01-07-2002, 02:22 AM
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Having closed "TCS Discussions - Post Here" due to length I've opened this thread to continue the topic in an organized manner. I'll soon be moving the TCS Discussions - Post Here (changing it to "TCS Discussions 1")thread to the GD archives so that it can be easily located rather than lost in the pages of GD.

~Cynthia

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#5 of 68 Old 01-07-2002, 04:08 AM
 
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for awhile, i was concerned about this too. during that time i put a mattress on the floor in the middle of the livingroom, and would put the babe down there to nap (it was also big enough to lay down myself and nurse). that way i could see if the baby got restless and was going to wake, and as this all seemed okay with the babe i didn't worry about it. i spent so much of the day carrying, as well as some naps, it seemed alright to me, and eventually it also seemed better to put the babe in bed in another room, within hearing.
i think if you keep paying close attention, as netty said, your baby will let you know. certainly, i learned when it was not okay to put the baby down because baby would wake up as soon as i did so! or other signals. i'm sure you'll know all kinds of things your baby will tell you about what s/he wants, without ever being able to explain how you know this, to anyone else!
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#6 of 68 Old 01-07-2002, 12:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You're right Netty, since I am always looking out for any signs of distress, I can always respond. I guess my questions was more about him falling asleep in one situation and waking up in another.

As an adult, that could seem disorienting, unless I was in a moving vehicle, plane etc, I could expect to find myself somewhere else when I woke up. I suppose if baby and I were moving about when he fell asleep, something deep inside of him might understand that he would be moved elsewhere when he woke up, but no longer in my arms and/or sling?

I just wondered if that specifically was addressed in TCS theory since it is something they could likely have no control over- where they are. But if he wakes up crying, it could just as easily be hunger than feeling disoriented, so I would never really know if moving him put him in a state of coercement or not.

BTW, the link you posted seems to be an email address. Is that right? Do I need to email someone? Thanks so much for responding too.
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#7 of 68 Old 01-07-2002, 12:44 PM
 
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The TCSBabiesToddlers List can be found by going to

<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TCSBabiesToddlers>

Once there, you click on "join this group" (if you're already registered at yahoogroups). If you are not registered, simply click on "register" and follow the process.

I *hope* this works.

I'll try to respond to other messages today, but am pressed for time as the new term has begun (where did the holidays go?) and I have to spend *some* time on the career that earns some income ;-))

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#8 of 68 Old 01-07-2002, 01:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Both of my boys said that in their minds they would consider the tactic you suggested both trickery and coercion.
I disagree in Netty's scenario. There was no deceit in the example given, all parties had access to all information and were totally free to make their own choice. I read from Netty's scenario that the friend did forget that the cute cashier worked there, making that new information.

Quote:
When I asked why, the youngest said "Because you are not really interested in what I want.
This is not true in the example Netty gave. The person who wanted company at the store knew that the other *wanted* to possibly meet the cute cashier.

Quote:
You only said that in the hope that I would cooperate so that you could get what you want.
This we agree on, this is exactly what happened. She figured out a way to get what she wants (company at the store), and a way to get what the other wants (meet the cute cashier).

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#9 of 68 Old 01-07-2002, 04:13 PM
 
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****In checking the last locked thread, there are some unresolved issues to me, raised by comments you have made.****

Okay.

****original quote:
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You *chose* to make those vows. And you are *free* to leave your marriage at any time. And if you choose to leave, you can find plenty of support for doing so. This is not so for children. They have no choice in this respect. And they had no choice in being "entered into the social contract" either.
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My marriage is based on vows "Until death parts our ways". I knew this would be the case before I married my husband, and decided that I was not prepared to make those vows, unless I was prepared to honour them. In order to do that, there has to be the commitment at the start to a life-long relationship. ****

Okay. But you still made a conscious choice. My point is that you had a choice in the matter. And you *are* free (whether you act on that freedom or not) to leave that marriage and break those vows. And you were free not to make those vows in the first place. And if your husband began beating you, I doubt you would continue to honour those vows.

****Some people take those words lightly. I did not. And that steadfastness of vows has meant that there are no issues which go unresolved. Each and every one is worked through as they come up.****

Sounds great. I don't make vows to do that. I do that because I believe in autonomy-respecting relationships.

****Sometimes, some people who go into relationships knowing in the backs of their minds that if it doesn't work out, they can always opt out, fail in their relationships, precisely because the opt-out clause in the back of the mind can lead to that lack of commitment from the start, and also does not make them seriously consider and take time to find out if that person is really the right one. Obviously it doesn't happen to everyone. ****

Personally, I would never enter into a commitment which compromised my freedom and autonomy. That does not mean that I do not take my responsibilities seriously in any and all relationships I choose to enter into. It simply means that I only enter into relationships where my autonomy (and my partner's autonomy) will be respected.

****to me, no-one should go into marriage without the commitment to do their very best to make it work. For me, those vows are a living reminder that my marriage commitment is very very serious, and therefore requires serious work.****

I don't require such reminders or commitments. I act according to my responsibility and my love for those with whom I've chosen to have a relationship.

****I think maybe Cassidy sees it this way as well. For me, there is no option. I cannot walk away, therefore this marriage has to work. And does. ****

Okay. I personally wouldn't want to live that way, but I respect your choice to do so.

**** original quote:
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You could also find somewhere for the child to stay while you and the other children went.
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Nope, I would not put someone else out on the spur of the moment, just at the whim of my child.****

It may not be putting the person out at all. If so, you could look for other arrangements. It's just a *possible* solution.

****original quote:
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Or you could wait until the child *did* want to go.
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That might or might not happen. *****

Yes, of course. But, then again, it might.


****original quote:
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Or you could ask a friend to get them for you.
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Nope. Why should my friend, who has her own life to live, drop what she is doing to do something to "please" me because my child had a preference not to go to the market?****

Because she's your friend? I have friends who would be willing to do this for me and I would certainly be willing to do this for a friend.

****After all, by the same token, what say my friend had just rung me and asked me to help her out, because her child didn't want to go to the market, and I couldn't because my child didn't want to either. "Oh sorry, I can't help you, because my child is also doing his own thing today.....****

My friend would accept that reason. And I would certainly understand if my friend said s/he couldn't go. But it wouldn't hurt to ask. But the friends I count on to help me don't require reasons to do so. They help because I asked and because they are able to help.


*****quote:
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Or you could go next door and ask the neighbour if you could borrow some milk, bread, & cereal.
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Nope. Why should my neighbour have to provide what she already has , which I do not , but am perfectly able to get for myself at the market, but for a child's preference? *****

Because s/he's a helpful neighbour? Personally, I don't ask my neighbours for their reason if they if they pop over to ask for something. If I have it, I give it to them. My neighbours tend to do the same for me.


****quote:
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Or ask the neighbour if he is going to the market at all and, if so, could he pick these up for you?
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Nope, why should I add to my neighbours work-load just because of my child's preference? ****

Ummm. Again, because the neighbour is willing to help you out and you don't want to coerce your unwilling child.


****BUT____If my child was sick, well, that might be different, and maybe she would accommodate that since it was IMPOSSIBLE for me to do it --- but on the whim of a child? - I don't think so.... ****

What you see as "the whim of a child," I see as a child's preference. I would do all I could to honour my child's preference if it were possible. Imagine how you would feel if you didn't want to do something but couldn't find a "good" reason (according to the person you were depending on)? How would you feel if that person forced you against your will? A "good" reason to you may be a very "poor" reason to me. That doesn't, however, give me the right to force you into acting in accordance with my reason, does it?


****quote:
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And if, in the morning, the child complained that there was no breakfast (though surely there would be *something* for them to eat, no?)
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Most likely, but what say it was not what the child wanted to eat, and they were carrying on because what they wanted was on the list of what you needed to get?.......

That they prevented you getting, because they didn't want to go.****

I would tell them that and try to find a solution.



**** original quote:
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, you could remind hir that you couldn't get to the market yesterday but that you could go later if she'd like.
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The child created this mess in the first place. Why should they not take the consequences of their decision? Why do other people have to go out of their way so that that child gets what they want? What will that teach the child about the real world? ****

How did the child *create the mess*? How is s/he responsible? Who is the adult in this situation?


****After all, if I, as an adult, asked a friend to do something for me because I couldn't be bothered, I know exactly what they would say. It would have to be a good reason. And not wanting to do it for myself, is not a good reason. Two broken legs, or another bout of Epstein Barr might be, though.****

Personally, I wouldn't call such a person a friend. My friends are willing to help me when they can without demanding my reasons. They trust that I wouldn't ask them unless I had to. And they respect that my reasons may differ from theirs. And they also know that I would not be the least bit upset with them if they couldn't help, nor would I ask them *why* they couldn't.


****This sort of option taking will not actually solve the problem. It will teach the child that "I will always get what I want, because others will wait on me hand and foot." ****

Not in my experience. The child may learn that problems can be solved without coercing others. The child may learn that hir needs and desires are just as important as everyone else's. The child may learn to value relationships which support and encourage personal autonomy.


****I would handle the situation quite differently. I would simply say to the child that if we don't go to the market, then this is what there is for breakfast tomorrow. If they are prepared to eat that, then we don't need to go. If they want X, then we do need to go. Then I would say - if we go, we need to go by such and such a time, because... and give the reasons. If you are prepared to come with me, let me know by X time. If not, we won't go, and that is what you get for breakfast. It is your choice. ****

If the child agreed with your reasoning and changed hir mind about going, then that approach seems just fine. But if the child still didn't want to go but didn't want "Y" for breakfast, then I would keep searching for a better solution. You see, JW, I am a *non-coercive parent*. I advocate *non-coercion.* You aren't and you don't. We differ in this respect.

****(But I will not involve other people, in order that a child gets their own way. They can have their own way, but they will accept the consequences)****

Again, we differ on our approach to problem-solving. Mine is to seek common preferences and yours seems to be a kind of "natural consequences" approach. Again, that is another way that TCS-style parenting differs from your style of parenting.

****Just say the child says we don't go. Fine.

But knowing my kids, I can guarantee that it would only happen once. Because they like what they like, and not what they don't. ****

Yes, that seems to be my experience with children, too. Where you and I differ, though, is that I strive to help my children get what they like and avoid what they don't like. I don't use what they don't like to get them to do something else that they don't like just so that they'll agree to do what *I* like.

****So just say the next morning the child starting complaining that the breakfast they wanted wasn't there, I would just wait, then I would remind them of the previous day's discussion and then say:

"So Carmel (for the sake of a name) why is there none of the breakfast you like.......?

You knew that if I didn't go, this is what would be on the table. So why are you complaining that there is none of your normal breakfast for you?

It was your choice not to go." ****

In other words, you would say "I told you so. Now suffer the consequences of your actions." I wouldn't do that. I would help my child solve hir present problem by seeking common preferences.

<snip rest of possible morning conversation where child either has to eat the breakfast in front of hir or go hungry>

****Scenes like this only ever occurred once in our house. Because they soon got the message, that if they decide that I can't go shopping, then they will have to eat what's there, not what they want. And if they don't like that, then they should rethink their entrenched theories, shouldn't they?****

Well, JW. Once again, we differ here. I wouldn't want my children to think that there is only one solution to a problem and that that solution must involve coercion. I want my children to learn how to be happy and how to solve problems without robbing others of their happiness. I think that the best way to help them do that is to provide them with as many opportunities to find common preferences as possible.

****Your last scenario. I got my kids to read your post to see how they would react. Here is the answer of the one who has a girl-friend:


quote:
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Let's say that I wanted to go to the store but you wanted to stay home and read. And let's say that I really wanted you to come along. One way to convince you to come would be to find a good reason (by your lights) for *you* to go to the store. So, let's say I remembered that you had a crush on one of the cashiers there and so I reminded you that hir (I changed this to conform to your normal gender neutral stance, since I have boys) would be working at that time.
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"Mum, I know she works there now. If I had wanted to see her, I would already be there, so why are you weaselling with my head? You know that's manipulation, and I hate it."****

Well, then I would assume that you didn't want to go (though I would be a bit upset that you thought I was trying to "weasel with your head" since that was not my intention at all.) I might try to find some other reason. And if you insisted you didn't want to go and didn't want to hear any more reasons, I would stop bothering you and try to solve the problem on my own.

*****which negates the next bit of course.....

quote:
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With this information, you changed your mind and decided you *wanted* to come to the store with me.
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Both of my boys said that in their minds they would consider the tactic you suggested both trickery and coercion. When I asked why, the youngest said "Because you are not really interested in what I want. You only said that in the hope that I would cooperate so that you could get what you want. That stinks." ****

Well, if you said this to me, I would apologize and explain that I didn't intend to coerce or trick you. I just wanted you to come to the store with me and I thought that you might *want* to come knowing that that cashier was there. I would then ask what you wanted and try to find a common preference.

****Those are the opinions of my 20 and 18 year old adult sons.

If adults feel this way, why would you want to use this tactic on a younger child? Isn't the whole point of TCS based on "if you wouldn't treat an adult this way, why would you treat a child this way?"****

Well, not really. Some adults treat other adults really horribly. And some adults are very suspicious of the motives of other adults. I think that such suspicions may result from being raised in a coercive family.


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#10 of 68 Old 01-07-2002, 04:23 PM
 
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JW wrote:

****quote:
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Crying, wimpering, frowning, etc., are all signs that seem to suggest a coercive state of mind.
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Crying might suggest that a baby is hungry, or wants to be picked up. ****

Yes. Then I suggest one feeds hir or picks hir up.

****Whimpering might suggest that a baby is cold, or has uncomfortable nappies. ****

Yes. Check the nappy. Put on warmer clothes or a blanket or put baby is sling. Whatever makes the baby feel better.

F***rowning might suggest that the baby's position is such that the light falling on the baby's face is too strong. Or, in the case of my oldest "I don't like you playing the flute..." and if I didn't stop, would progress to crying.... ****

I play the flute too! (though I'm pretty bad, I admit, so I'm sure any baby would complain if I were playing ;-))...Again, do whatever you can to help baby feel better.

****None of these would indicate "coercion" to me. They do indicate a discomfort or need that may need to be resolved.****

I think you may have misunderstood my point. I didn't mean to imply that the baby was *being* coerced by the parent. I was simply saying that the baby may be in a *state of coercion* and in need of help to change hir state of mind.

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#11 of 68 Old 01-07-2002, 05:12 PM
 
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I've cut and pasted your post that I think you referred to as lost in the previous long TCS thread.

Iguanavere wrote:

"I'm not sure if this was answered?
So if the family has planned an outing and child A decides on the day of the outing that they do not want to go, yet the entire family wants to go - discussions take place and still child A does not want to go - What would happen?

Certainly TCS would state that there is always a solution - but I would say that the solution is likely to be a compromise - not always a common preference. "

Right, imo. There is a difference between theory and application. People aren't always successful in finding the common preference, and sometimes events move fast. But having made the paradigm shift to non-coercion, the chances are infinitely greater that they will find a common preference. With practice and as trust grows amongst family members in the process, finding common preferences becomes more and more successful.

IME, with common preference finding, everyone's preferences can shift many times in the process, in the light of what they learn about other people's preferences. A parent might weigh thier preference for the activity against their preference to not coerce their child into doing what parent wants against the child's reasons. One of the parents might not be that keen on the outing, and be glad to stay home with child and get some other things done. The other kids might decide they don't want to go with the one that doesn't want to go, because experience tells them that it wouldn't be a pleasant experience. maybe they can come up with an activity that they all want to do, rather than the one that was planned.

I think a TCS family would acknowledge the failure, that they have not come up with a great solution. The parent might prefer to take the coercion upon their self- yes, self-sacrifice- rather than coerce a child. After all, the parent is responsible for the child being in the position in the first place.

"For example, let's say you are a single mother of 3 children. You work all week long and don't have much time with your kids. As a family you all plan a special trip to the zoo, bought special tickets for a special animal show. On that day, Child A decides that he doesn't want to go. Discussion takes place and no health problems are present, so child A simple doesn't want to go.

TCS - would advocate leaving the child at home with another care giver - that is assuming the mother can even afford a babysitter, since she just broke the bank buying the special zoo tickets. "

TCS theory advocates finding common preference, in the face of conflict. The particular solution that works for each family, each situation, can be vastly different.

That could be one solution. Many families do child care exchange, or barter services in other ways that don't involve money. Having a community of people around that are willing to help out when such occasions arise, if it fits with their day, is a possibility for some.

This parent might learn about spending lots of money on something that the whole family might not be interested in. The family might learn that it works better for them to make more last-minute, spontaneous plans. And that they would rather not spend their money on tickets that could not be refunded, in the future.

The person in the family who has decided that they didn't want to go on the outing, might well change their mind if they have the information that the money would be lost if they didn't go, if that is important to them. Or not. They might have some good ideas about how they would rather spend their limited resources.

These are all possibilities, plus many more... once the paradigm shift is made, imo. A person has to be open to the possibilities, and willing to change their preferences, and ready to look at ideas and solutions outside of the box.

"Mother is still going to be disappointed and ultimately this is a compromise, because Mother had planned for this to be a special event for the whole of their family. "

But if the whole family is not equally enthralled with the special event, it isn't going to be such a great experience, or a common preference, anyhow. Why would a family want to drag along an unwilling participant? IME, it casts a pall over the whole day. The unwilling participant isn't going to be happy, and is capable of making life as miserable for everyone else around, as s/he is hirself.

"In my opinon, Mother would be self-sacraficing her happiness for her sons, in an effort to not coerce her son. "

If a parent's happiness is all tied up in this one event, then there might be many changes that could be made to help hir life- and the other family members'- be happier. Why is this one event so important to this parent? If it is something that parent absolutely does not want to miss, then it seems to me that a parent would think of the possibility that one of their kids might not want to go when it came right down to the moment of going, and have an alternative plan for that child, so that parent would not miss what was important to hir.

"Or she could remind him of his committment to his family and advise him to get into the car. "

Who has made this commitment to the family for the child? The child or the parent? What does this commitment involve? Is it voluntarily entered into?

"Help me - am I missing something?

Also - as for self-sacrifice - it is easy if you are a middle-class, two-parent family of one child to spend a great deal of time and energy trying to find common preferences and working towards consent. "

Maybe, maybe not. It is impossible to tell what is or is not easy for another person or family. I expect we all carry plenty of baggage/entrenche theories that makes what is easy for one person, quite difficult for another. Assumptions and expectations are often wrong. Becoming aware of assumptions and expectations and examining the unrealistic and/or mistaken theories they can lead one to hold, maybe unconsciously, can be very enlightening.

"However, if you are a poverty-stricken, one parent family with 3 children all under the age of 4, including one special-needs child - some things go by the wayside."

We all have a framework of situation to work within. We might feel coerced by the situation/time/circumstances, and can take a good look at what exactly is causing the coercion we feel in our minds about it, and take steps to change that. I've heard it said- and I think it is true- that making one little change for the better can lead to another better solution, and so on.

"Certainly I would advocate that we should all strive to work cooperatively with our children, but in a family dynamic, in which there are many children or children with special needs, sometimes compromise is the best alternative we can offer. "

A family can find one common preference. That can lead to another. There might be lots of compromise in-between, but *if* there is interest in non-coercive relationships, they can find their way to more and more common preferences, and less and less compromise. I'm not saying it's easy, I don't think any sort of family dynamic is easy- there is constantly more to learn and adjust about close relationships.

"Tell me, does TCS have any recommendations about family size or child spacing?"

None officially, that I am aware of, but there are certainly implications. Since currently, most TCS families came upon TCS theory after they had already had one or more children- on up to large numbers, maybe 11 is the most I've heard of- people are finding that TCS has made a big positive difference in the way their families live together at home and out in the world, with all sorts of combinations of numbers and spacing and situations.
YMMV
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#12 of 68 Old 01-07-2002, 05:40 PM
 
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Netty,

I was going to amply respond to your reply and the example of the grocery store, but I think that JW said exactly what I would have said. If I stated that I wanted to stay home and read, I have made my decision very clear. To try to entice me to do what you want to do seems very selfish and coersive. Of course, I personally think that children raised in the TCS theory will grow up to be selfish and inconsiderate of others wants and needs, contrary to what TCS claims to be trying to accomplish. I think that you manipulate the word "coersion" to fit into whatever example you need to give, because to me, your response was manipulative and coersive. I told you what I wanted (to stay home and read) and you discounted it to get what you wanted (me to come along) by attempting to persuade me to see the cashier. If I chose to come it would more likely be to put an end to the discussion and aggravation, rather than because I "chose" or "wanted" to. It seems to me that your answer was simply coersion in TCS clothing.
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#13 of 68 Old 01-07-2002, 05:41 PM
 
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Hmmm. maybe that means that we are not so different after all.
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#14 of 68 Old 01-07-2002, 09:30 PM
 
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I find the same thing, JW, except that we have all the electronic stuff available, too. There is sometimes the person who is involved in what they are doing and doesn't want to stop to run to the post office or whatever, but that is a different issue than a whole day planned trip.

I think life in a family where everyone scatters their different ways for the majority of the day must be different than life in a homeschooling family that spends much of their time together, eat together frequently and so on. Maybe there is just more pressure to schedule time to be together, I don't know.
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#15 of 68 Old 01-08-2002, 12:04 AM
 
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Genevieve Says:

"Certainly TCS would state that there is always a solution - but I would say that the solution is likely to be a compromise - not always a common preference. "

larsy says:

Right, imo. There is a difference between theory and application. People aren't always successful in finding the common preference, and sometimes events move fast. But having made the paradigm shift to non-coercion, the chances are infinitely greater that they will find a common preference. With practice and as trust grows amongst family members in the process, finding common preferences becomes more and more successful. "

OK - this is what I was trying to understand. I think I read that TCS is a philosophy of (or acknowledges) fallibility - in that TCS parents acknowledge that they make mistakes. Clearly then, as you've illustrated above, TCS would acknowledge that there could be scenarios in which common preference cannot be achieved.

Having said that - I appreciate your comments regarding making a paradigm shift to non-coersion. That is, TCS families would work to the most positive outcome - common preference.

After participating in this discussion, what I have concluded is that TCS has a lot to offer families - in that the desire for common preferences is considerate of all members. I also imagine that if parents approach family life with the idea that they are there to help their child acheive their desires, then in general, family life will be smooth.

However, for me and my family, I will not use extrinsic motivation. I still feel that if I ask my son to please move out of the way of someone in the grocery store, I should not have to provide him with some external motiviation (I'll get you ice cream - or worse yet, do it or I'll wack you.) I've read the above posts responding to the issue of bribery and I simply disagree with the TCS advocates position.

Also, I do not agree with the TCS definition of coercion, so I cannot ever completly subscribe to this philosophy. I do not think it is coercion to grab my 18 month old son as he runs toward the street - whether a car is coming or not.

Well that's it.
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#16 of 68 Old 01-08-2002, 07:04 AM
 
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please excuse me for dropping in in the middle of this

i have been lurking on the side lines for sometime and reading over dp's shoulder - until we found that dp seemed to be reading more over my shoulder
- i am with laelsweet by the way
; )

we both find ourselves gravitating towards tcs and are very interested in thinking about ourselves (our behaviour and actions) in relation to the theory

although i was particularly interested to read the article posted by larsy yesterday (06/01/2002):

*** for your 'what if' question, maybe the article at http://www.tcs.ac/Articles/WhatIf.html might help? ***

(thanks larsy)

i have also been intrigued by the range of arguments presented and awed by the wealth of experience i have encountered

it is with this in mind that i have finally decided to put fingers to keyboard and post myself

the thing that stands out for me most in these discussions is how frequently common terms seem to have become a major sticking point

i think that i can see how for some, tcs appropriation of certain words might seem inappropriate and/or mis-judged
but i don't think that it is an uncommon or unacceptable practice for language to be used this way historically, socially or theoretically
at the moment tcs is raising a number of questions for me and i am pleased that dp and i have decided to explore the ways we relate
i would like to share some thoughts in the hope that they could become a constructive part of the discussion

a point from the "what if" article that made an impression on me
and helped shape my current appreciation of this discussion
the author explains that in attempting to come to terms with or to criticise tcs, the questions that are asked are the kind of "what if..." questions that have been such a prominent feature of this debate

without wanting to simplify the argument too much, i think that the author's point is that such questions can never be answered to the satisfaction of both parties because the form of the question is incompatible with a tcs answer

primarily the author believes that most questions that begin "what would *you* do if..?" would more be more accurately phrased as "what do you think i should do if..?"
which presents the answerer with a tremendous conundrum, because it is very difficult to appreciate all of the contributory factors
- i think that i see this in the most recent exchanges between netty and jw
i believe that jw's points are completely valid - there are things to consider that netty did not refer to, especially in relation to jw's geographical location
but i do not believe that netty is at fault for not being able to provide that level of intimate knowledge either

to that extent i do not think the argument will ever be settled - at least not whilst it is on those terms

it is my understanding from the "what if" article that the tcs position is that we should try to avoid relying on a given solutions
rather we should begin to think of each situation as specific and unique
and so rather than provide a list of possible or potential solutions tcs is more about encouraging a particular strategy for dealing with situations as they present themselves
i welcome a framework in which i might be able to integrate problem solving skills in a way that increases the collaboration and involvement of our family members

netty, larsy and icicle spider have all, i believe, conceded, at some point, that they are fallible and do on occasion - and despite their best efforts - find themselves acting in ways that are contradictory to the goal of leading their lives non-coercively

i really don't think that on that basis we can or should dismiss tcs out of hand or claim that it is invalidated

i also think that everybody has agreed that they would rather their children understood and valued the processes involved in finding common preferences and relating to others in that way
presented this way i think that tcs has a lot to offer

i don't believe that tcs is about raising selfish children (certainly tcs would not have a monopoly on that...) nor do i think that it is about lack of structure

as i try to embrace and come to terms with a different way of being in the world my thoughts are that i would very much like our child to grow to value hirself and our family life (again i do not think that tcs has a monopoly)

from my experience so far i think i can say i have found one of the hardest things is coming to terms with what a common preference actually is
how difficult it is to work towards finding a solution that is satisfying to all the parties involved rather fall into complacency and apathy

at the moment i feel inspired by some of the ideas within tcs and opportunities i envision for our family

what is it you say, jw?

a tome, i'm afraid

goodnight

j
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#17 of 68 Old 01-08-2002, 10:23 AM
 
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First I'd like to welcome you laelmoresweet! Glad to have you here at Mothering! Please hop over to the welcome board and introduct yourself - that way more of the community can get to know you and welcome you!

Again, many discussions are boardering on personal attacks.

There are some wonderfull ideas being exchanged here and many people really want to discuss and learn.

Again, I'd like to remind everyone...

Tolerance - The capacity for respecting the opinions or practices of others.

I would like to remind everyone that we need to be respectful of everyone on the Mothering boards. Gentle Discipline is a topic that evokes passion in most parents. We have strong ideas on how we want to raise our children. This is one of the beauties of these boards. We can exchange these ideas and gather new knowledge.

Everyone here has several options when they want to discuss something in deeper detail. You could use our PM system to discuss things privately. You could start a new thread to discuss something in further detail. Or you could selectively ignore things that don't sound or feel right to you.

Please be considerate when posting of all the members that are reading your post. Consider there feelings, just as you would want them to consider yours.

If anyone has a question or concern, feel free to PM or email me jsavageau@earthlink.net any time. I do care, and would love to address your questions and concerns. As a volunteer, I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I promise to do my best to find the answers or information you need.


Sorry to just cut and past the same thing over and over, but I do feel that is sums up what I want to say.
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#18 of 68 Old 01-08-2002, 11:15 AM
 
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Thanks, Ms. Mom, for the reminder.

I am enjoying this discussion, but I do find that I feel annoyed when I see it becoming adversarial. I too would like to see some of the past grievances put to the side, so that we can all learn something. Please, everyone, you can make your point known in a diplomatic way without insulting anyone. You can say, "I disagree with your views," without having to add, "And I think you are [*@#! - insert insult here]"

For those of us who would truly like to learn about TCS and how to apply it in our own families, this is very frustrating. I almost feel as if some are so anti-TCS that they want to "disprove" it so others will also leave the camp. I don't think this is right. Personally, I don't know if I can live up to all the tenants of TCS, but I certainly want to try to eliminate coercion from our family life. And I have found some very useful information through this discussion. But I shouldn't have to weed through personal attacks and extreme hypothetical situations that CANNOT be solved. I would rather hear about situations that CAN be solved, and the thinking process behind those solutions.

Thanks for listening,
Paula Bear
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#19 of 68 Old 01-08-2002, 01:21 PM
 
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Great post laelmoresweet, I agree with it all.

I also encourage you to investigate the TCS List itself and the various TCS related lists on Yahoo.

Pat
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#20 of 68 Old 01-08-2002, 02:17 PM
 
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Quote:
However, for me and my family, I will not use extrinsic motivation.
This got be thinking about extrinsic versus intrinsic motivation. I also agree about the use of extrinsic motivation, I will not use it. I want my child to have intrinsic motivation for what they do.

So what is "intrinsic motivation"?

It is doing something because you want to. It is doing or getting what you want because...well...that is what *you* *want*.

Quote:
I still feel that if I ask my son to please move out of the way of someone in the grocery store, I should not have to provide him with some external motiviation (I'll get you ice cream - or worse yet, do it or I'll wack you.)
I don't remember the exact post where ice cream was proposed, but I agree with this statement if it was offered as an extrinsic motivation (which "because I ask" also is). On the other hand, I see where such an offer could just as easily be merely a distraction to help everybody get what they want. The child could be young enough that they do not yet have the knowledge nor the experience to understand the implications of plopping down in the middle of the aisle. The ice cream got them to say, plop down somewhere else, where they were no longer in the way. It was not an extrinsic motivation that is trying to teach them that if they move out of the way, they get ice cream.


So what would be an intrinsic motivation in this case? Why would *anybody* *want* to move out of the way for an intrinsic motivation?

IMO, the reason is because one has gained the knowledge that the more you help other people get what they want, the more you get what you want.

So, in this example, one would move out of the way because you realize that you might very well want to get by someone else later. Or you just might need some other kind of help in getting what you want, and this very person might be the one to help you. Or maybe this very person helps somebody else, who then helps somebody else because they where helped, who eventually becomes the one who helps me, because they were helped.

In other words, there is nothing altruistic about moving out of the way of someone, it is part of getting what you want.

I do not expect a young child to yet have the knowledge to understand this. It takes having already experienced it to truly have the intrinsic motivation to want to move out of someone else's way. This is one of the main items I would like my children to understand on an a true, intrinsic level.

The more they help others get what they want, the better the chances are that they will in turn get what they want.

So I am "teaching" them this by doing it. I am always actively trying to help my child get whatever it is they want. (Which, btw, I am doing because I think it will eventually help me get more of what I want.)

So it has been my experience that a child that has learned this does not even think twice about getting out of the way.

Pat
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#21 of 68 Old 01-08-2002, 04:01 PM
 
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I was thinking about the breakfast scenario, and the treatment of the child who did not want to go out to the store and the parent who could find no other solution.

As Taking Children Seriously also includes Taking One's Self Seriously, I mused on through this:

Suppose an adult is out of their favorite breakfast food, but simply does not want to venture out to the store as they are tired, it's cold and dark out, and they are happily engaged in interesting activity at home (or whatever).

Does this adult- let's call him Fred- try to coerce himself into going to the store, for the sake of having his favorite breafast food ready and waiting for him in the morning? I wonder what tone of voice Fred uses in his head when discussing this with himself. Might he be trying to persuade himself kindly, or guilting himself into going right now, or berating himself for not wanting to get off his lazy duff and take care of business? Does he feel compelled, against his will, to do this chore before he is 'allowed' to relax and enjoy his current activity? Is it a voice from the past, or is it a rational process of decision making?

Perhaps he weighs the pros and cons of stopping what he is doing and getting bundled up and going out and starting the vehicle or walking the distance to the store versus doing the same in the morning instead of tonight, versus eating the leftover pizza for breakfast instead of his favorite breakfast food, versus fasting until he gets to the store or maybe he wanted to start a fast anyhow, versus asking a friend for help, versus ordering the groceries on the internet and having them delivered. Maybe Fred is accustomed to taking a brisk walk in the morning, and having a destination like the store for a few items is just the ticket. Maybe he respects the fact that he just doesn't want to go now, and will decide in the morning what the best course of action is. If Fred can see that there are many options, some of which are better, by his lights, than forcing himself to go now whether he wants to or not, he can make a decision and feel comfortable with it, and get on with his enjoyable evening.

In the morning, does he get up and berate himself for not going to the store last night, so that the favored breakfast items could be available? Does he stand glumly at the refrigerator, feeling chastened because he doesn't really care for the selection of food that is available to him, but it's his own fault, and he's just going to have to live with it? And maybe next time he will remember this lesson and get on out there and get the breakfast food before he runs out.

Or does he find something in the cupboard that he likes and enjoys it, or goes off to the store happily to get his supplies?

If Fred takes himself- his preferences in the moment- seriously, he is able to make good decisions that support his desires and interests and obligations. He is confident that he is able to engage his creativity to find solutions as problems come up.

What does this have to do with the kid at the table faced with food s/he doesn't want and the burden of guilt- 'you were the one who refused to go to the market'- and the lack of help to get hir what s/he wants?

I think that a parent has to learn to take their own self seriously, in the process of learning to take children seriously- to respect their own autonomy and right to want what they want, and to get what they want in ways that everyone can win.

If a parent treats their own self with respect and helps their own self figure out ways to get what they want within the framework of consentual family relationships, they will also be willing to work out consentual solutions with their children. It is good for everyone. You can't expect a person to treat others better than they treat themselves, imo.

If the kid is experiencing psychological coercion (a la TCS definition) at the breakfast table (and the systematic coercion that is likely to be found in other parts of the parent-child relationship), which Fred is that kid likely to grow up to be like? The compelled and berated Fred, or the Fred finding good solutions?

Of course, the kid might be creative enough to avoid feeling coerced about the breakfast situation. A parent can never know in advance what situations will be percieved as coercive by the child. Solving problems by consent will avoid- as much as possible- anyone having to feel coerced.

[please assume that this is a hypothetical situation and not a comment upon anybody's particluar parenting methods. This is a TCS discussion, not an evaluation of any particular person's parenting.]
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#22 of 68 Old 01-08-2002, 05:41 PM
 
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This thread is getting so lengthy, so quickly, it is hard to keep up

I apologize if I have missed a response to one of my posts. I am wading through all the new stuff in this thread and getting a bit lost. Just point me in the direction of a reply if I missed it.

I have been reading the posts regarding concerns over the adversarial quality to this forum. I have been thinking about this and would like to add my thoughts.

One problem I see is simply the expectations of each person participating here. I think that sometimes when a person posts a question about TCS theory, hoping to further debate or critique the issue, the person who responds was only looking to answer the question. When they find themselves being questioned/challenged, it isn't welcomed. On the flip side, their response, unintentionally, comes across as dismissive or elusive to the person trying to debate TCS theory.

I think we can better integrate this into a support/debate forum just by being clearer of our intentions when we post. I find TCS theory tremendously interesting, and would like to better understand what I feel is right about it, and challenge what I feel are it's weakness's. I have tried to be up front about this, but moving forward, I will make an effort to say in my posts whether I am just looking for an answer to a question I have, or am looking to debate an aspect of TCS theory.

Hope this helps improve everyone's satisfaction with this forum...

Heartmama

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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#23 of 68 Old 01-08-2002, 06:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by heartmama
I have been reading the posts regarding concerns over the adversarial quality to this forum. I have been thinking about this and would like to add my thoughts.

One problem I see is simply the expectations of each person participating here. I think that sometimes when a person posts a question about TCS theory, hoping to further debate or critique the issue, the person who responds was only looking to answer the question. When they find themselves being questioned/challenged, it isn't welcomed. On the flip side, their response, unintentionally, comes across as dismissive or elusive to the person trying to debate TCS theory.

I think we can better integrate this into a support/debate forum just by being clearer of our intentions when we post. I find TCS theory tremendously interesting, and would like to better understand what I feel is right about it, and challenge what I feel are it's weakness's. I have tried to be up front about this, but moving forward, I will make an effort to say in my posts whether I am just looking for an answer to a question I have, or am looking to debate an aspect of TCS theory.
I agree with what you're saying Heartmama, but I also think there are those against TCS who are just trying to blow holes in the theory. They have no interest in debate - their minds are already made up and they want to show the rest of us (who are interested, as you mentioned) that TCS simply won't work. I also think that some of the hypothetical situations are extreme.

For example, if a family had planned an exciting vacation, with all members eagerly looking forward to it, I seriously doubt one would back out at the last minute "for no logical reason." Has this actually happened to anyone? I have never even had to cancel a casual outing because a common preference couldn't be found. (Even before I knew what a common preference was.) And I have a child who would much rather spend time with friends than family, but we can nearly always accomodate everyone.

It seems to me that people ask questions, not really caring to listen to the answers, but only to keep the debate going. I think this is a waste of everyone's time. Maybe we can start a different thread called "Debate TCS - Post Here," so that those of us looking for support can get it here...
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#24 of 68 Old 01-08-2002, 08:49 PM
 
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i understand that tcs is supportive of pretty much any media children might find interesting, tv, video/films, videogames, computers, the internet, books,
now certainly i've got a number of entrenchments around those first three which i am currently attempting to review! however where i am running into trouble is around c o n t e n t

i can see how one can talk with a person, say while watching a video or playing a computer game, or reading a book, about racist or sexist imagery or interactions, say, without necessarily to prevent a family from having those particular games or books or videos around, right? we don't have to censor what we look at, we just need to understand it, and in fact child may find that, like us, s/he often prefers to use materials which have not got sexist or racist content, when they can be found, they can sometimes be very exciting! especially when well made, and we wish there were more. i regularly watch tv shows which have sexist representations, for example, and while sometimes i get too mad about it, sometimes i can accept that i am reading through those texts (i am not simply absorbing sexism and embodying it unconscious, at this point, i hope. certainly dominant culture can be pretty, uh, dominant.) so we can help children to read texts in different ways, if they are interested.
where i come undone is content which is not so easy for *me* to detach myself from enough to analyze it a bit: the least bit of suspense or violence and i am a twitching, vibrating wreck of nerves, and i carry violent images for years and years, they affect me very deeply. this runs in my family. sensitive, you see. so how can i reconcile these things? how would tcs view content appropriateness? while i am examining my theories around the *bucket* theory of learning, i know that things i see and hear affect me profoundly, and i can understand them all i like, i still have seen violence (representations of) and feel hurt by it.

p.s. above, fascinating discussion of self-coercion, i was just thinking about how my theories about self-discipline have affected the decisions i've made and how i have lived, thinking about motivation through desire, and how much further i am propelled, and how much happier. i think being accomplishment-centered is a theory i need to look at.

thanks for letting me share my thoughts
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#25 of 68 Old 01-08-2002, 09:01 PM
 
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JW wrote:
****My scenario was that the child the next morning knowing that is all there is, starts complaining. I.e. they have changed their minds as they sit down at the table. They have two options. Eat or go hungry. ****

I understand what you are saying, JW, but I think you are overlooking a very crucial point: The child certainly has more than two options, but the parent has chosen to narrow it down to two. And both of these "options" are not the child's true choice at all. The child--as we have already established--does not want to eat that particular breakfast and the child does not want to go hungry. So, for the child to "choose" one of those options is for the child to be in a state of coercion. S/he has not been "allowed" any other choice and the parent seems unwilling to help the child find a better solution. Why narrow choices when one can expand them?

****So you are saying that if the child still didn't *want* to go, dind't want what was in the house (you were the one, as I recall who said surely there is something else in the house - I agreed, and said "here it is, kids, but you cahnge it again.....)but still wanted to have those things on your list, you would then attempt to involve other people, even early in the morning say, in order that your child could by choice

a) stay at home and then the next morning change their minds and

b) still have what they want for breakfast? *****

If that were their choice, I would do what I could to help them solve the present problem without referring to the "mistake" they made solving (or actually not solving to their satisfaction) the previous problem. If we really think about it, we can see that the child didn't cause this present problem at all. And the "mistake" the child made the night before was not really a bad "choice" at all. The child was given narrow choices (either go to the store now or eat Y for breakfast), niether of which s/he preferred (hence, they were both bad choices). Having been given such narrow choices, the child chooses the least coercive which, at the time, is to not go to the store. I think it is unfair for the parent to coerce a child into making a choice and then blaming hir, later, for making it. And it is untrue to claim that the child really made that choice in the first place.

****In otherwords, you are teaching your children that they can do what they want, and have what they want, by "coercing" others to do what they should do THEMSELVES in the first place? ****

No. I don't see how anyone is coerced if we find/create a common preference (which is what I would strive to do). I am not "teaching" my child anything. I am solving a problem.

****I use the word "coercing" because to me, that is exactly what it is. It is coercing, and imposing on other people for frivolous reasons. You think otherwise. ****

Yes, I do. We may have different ideas of what it means to ask someone to do something. If I ask someone if s/he would be willing to do something for me, I trust that s/he will only agree to do it if s/he wants to. If s/he doesn't want to, I respect that choice and seek a different solution to my problem. By *asking* if s/he will do something, I am not imposing my will on my friend. You seem to be suggesting that it is okay to impose one's will on one's children but it is not okay to ask a friend to do something.

****Now, maybe your solution might be this. Child says "Well I want to go to the market now and get what I want for breakfast!" and Mommy says "Yes dear, the car is there, there is nothing stopping us now that you are ready and willing, we can do that....off we go..." Hmmmmm ****

That might be a solution if I wanted to go to the store and everyone was happy to do so. The solution would depend on the desires of everyone involved. I cannot tell you what my solution would be. To do so would be to suggest that I have pre-fabricated "solutions" to various problems which is not in keeping with TCS. The solution would depend on countless individual factors that I cannot possibly predetermine.

****What messages is that sending one's child?****

I wouldn't be doing this in order to "send a message" to my child. If I want to "send a message" to my child, I speak to hir directly. I don't really believe in covert messages or in "teaching a valuable lesson." I would be doing this in an effort to solve a problem to everyone's satisfaction. As for the "message," my child might realize that hir desires are just as important as mine or any other member of the family and that problems can be solved without resorting to coercion. But again, that wouldn't be my *reason* for seeking common preferences. My reason would be to help everyone get what they want.

Netty
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#26 of 68 Old 01-08-2002, 11:20 PM
 
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Paula Bear wrote:

Quote:
I agree with what you're saying Heartmama, but I also think there are those against TCS who are just trying to blow holes in the theory. They have no interest in debate - their minds are already made up and they want to show the rest of us (who are interested, as you mentioned) that TCS simply won't work.
This is a two way street. I could have written the same thing but replaced my method of parenting where TCS appears and the statement would have been just as accurate, in my humble opinion. Those of us who don't buy the whole TCS 'theory' practice it over and over everyday in our parenting, we just don't subscribe to the whole theory. I choose to leave my options open when it comes to parenting. TCSers seem to think that coersion is the evil of perenting and those of us that occasionally coerse our children are making big mistakes in our parenting. Not true, IMO. I'm not saying that you don't have a point in your above statement, I'm simply saying that you could apply that statement to both sides debating here and it would be just as true.

Of course, I think that my dh and I are parenting in the way that
is best for us and our family. Diving in head first and practicing the TCS theory in our household would be a disaster. I am just not comfortable with the extreme that it goes to to avoid coersion, which I personally think is just a fact of life. I am sure you think I am wrong in my thinking. The difference is that I can agree to disagree, but whenever that is mentioned it is rebuffed as a horrible option, as if there was one correct way to parent. I see nothing wrong with saying "hey, it's not my style, but if it works for you, great!"

Are you honestly going to tell me that the way I choose to parent my child is WRONG? It seems as if I have heard that over and over everytime a TCSer says that coersion is wrong. Do you (not personal to anyone) really feel that you have the right to judge my parenting style as wrong. If you are a perfect parent with who never makes any mistakes, then feel free. I don't think any of us fall into that catagory
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#27 of 68 Old 01-09-2002, 12:13 AM
 
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Originally posted by Just Wondering
But is it not a truism that many people can unknowlingly be coercive, and they don't even realise they are. They might not consider it coercive, or they may call it something else.
JW, *THIS* is something I completely agree with you on.

Pat
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#28 of 68 Old 01-09-2002, 01:03 AM
 
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Originally posted by Just Wondering
Dear Iciclespider.

You say you agree with the statement you highlighted.

Please could you clarify exactly what you mean, and in what context?

In general?
Yes, most definitely in general.

Quote:
Is this a generalised statement, with no unspoken message?
Yes, it is a generalized statement, but in addition there is an unspoken message.

Quote:
Or are you suggesting that I am a coercive parent and don't know it?
I don't know whether or not you are. What I do think is that some of your suggestions to problems here on this forum are coercive.

But what I am also suggesting is that *I* am sometimes a coercive parent and don't know it. I am always striving to learn what is considered coercion by another and consider if I also think so. It seems like the more I learn about what really is coercive to another individual, the more there is to know.

JW, I have carefully read your counter arguments and tried to very carefully consider if in fact I was missing something and so far I do not think that I have. I think both positions have been repeated more than once and at this point we just need to, for lack of a common preference, "agree to disagree".

Let's let the poor dead horse rest in peace...

Pat
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#29 of 68 Old 01-09-2002, 01:40 AM
 
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"No problem can stand the assault of sustained thinking."

I thought you all would appreciate this...

I just read this in Barbara Coloroso's book, "Kids Are Worth It: Giving Your Child the Gift of Inner Discipline". In Coloroso's book she uses some criteria in judging whether a parent should intervene:

Is the problem life threatening, morally threatening and/or harmful.

This rings true for me - I want common preferences - but if the challenge is life threatening, morally threatening and/or harmful to my child or someone else - I draw a line.

Icicle Spider says:

" The child could be young enough that they do not yet have the knowledge nor the experience to understand the implications of plopping down in the middle of the aisle. The ice cream got them to say, plop down somewhere else, where they were no longer in the way. It was not an extrinsic motivation that is trying to teach them that if they move out of the way, they get ice cream."

A yes - they may not have the knowledge or the experience - but if, as all TCS'er's assume - that all children is rational at any age - then isn't it safe to say that they will rationalize that they can use this tactic to get whatever they want in the future? IMO, you are setting yourself up for power struggles if your use bribes. Even if, as you suggest, they are unaware that the ice cream helped you get them to plop elsewhere - they are still rationalizing that if Mom wants we to do something, I can use this kind of negotiation to get what I want.

Now, before you tell me that *that* is what you are trying to teach your children - that there is always room for negotiations - please allow me to illustrate why I think the above scenario is wrong:

Let's say I am parallel parked on a street with cars ahead and behind me. I am about to pull out into traffic, when a car pulls up and parks directly to my left (in the US, that is) completely blocking me from moving into traffic.

I calmly get out of the car and ask the driver if he could kindly move his car, as he is blocking me and I need to be on my way. The driver says, "What will you give me." "What do you mean?" I ask. "How about $50." says the driver.

Should I give in to this tyrant so that I can get on my way or should I call the police and have him forcebly removed?

I say the latter. And how does this relate? Well we have community rules that we all agree upon ( well, for the most part, especially if you are active in voting, etc..) I also think that we have a societal code of common decency, which we as parents are responsible for deseminating to our children. you know, we don't kill, harm, mame, impede, etc...

Since technically we are responsible (in criminal courts) for our children until they are of age (18 here in the US) if our child does not comply, we need to do what we must to get the child to comply.

So back to Scenario A, if my child was in someone's way and was refusing to move and was aware of our social code (or perhaps not aware, but simply feeling obstinate) I would *help* my child by kindly picking them up and moving them out of the way. I would not offer them an *incentive* as their incentive should be because it is the right thing to do. If they are not behaving right - then I will help them until they can do it on their own.

And latter when we were talking the situation through I would try to understand their position if it still was not clear to me, but I would not feel that I had coerced my child.

Also - in the scenario in JW's post earlier, in which the child decides not to go to the store and then does not have the breakfast that they want - isn't this really the childs problem to solve. Isn't this a natural consequence? If a common preference was acheived the night before, is it coercion to simply say to your child in the morning, "I am happy to help you find something that you will want to eat that we have in the house." And then work to a common preference in that situation. Or perhaps simply say to the child, "well we acheived a common preference last night. If there is a new problem, I am happy to help you with a new solution." And if the solution the child presents, is "LEt's go now" and that is not acceptable to the mother, then isn't this a situation of natural consequences? It is ok for the parent to have preferences, right? Or how else would the child learn to consider other people ever?
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#30 of 68 Old 01-09-2002, 05:20 AM
 
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Another great post by Iguanavere
"No problem can stand the assault of sustained thinking."

I thought you all would appreciate this...

I just read this in Barbara Coloroso's book, "Kids Are Worth It: Giving Your Child the Gift of Inner Discipline". In Coloroso's book she uses some criteria in judging whether a parent should intervene:

Is the problem life threatening, morally threatening and/or harmful.

This rings true for me - I want common preferences - but if the challenge is life threatening, morally threatening and/or harmful to my child or someone else - I draw a line.
Life threatening, in principle, I agree. Sometimes there is just not time to negotiate a common preference and the only way out is to coerce (as in the TCS definition of coerce, not Webster's definition, this is the TCS Discussion thread after all). This still doesn't make it right, IMO.

However, we still need to be very careful here about our own entrenched theories about what is *really* life threatening. A child standing near the edge of a huge drop off is probably just fine. A better way solution to such problems is to avoid them, of which there are many ways. And if you find yourself coercing (TCS coerce again), use that as a lesson to learn from. Maybe we should just not walk on this very busy street.

Morally threatening and/or harmful to my child or someone else. This is a much tougher one. We could go on and on here (in fact we already have!) about what all these terms really mean. Clearly we would harm someone else if they were going to harm us or our child. After that things start getting grayer and grayer for me.

Quote:
Icicle Spider says:

" The child could be young enough that they do not yet have the knowledge nor the experience to understand the implications of plopping down in the middle of the aisle. The ice cream got them to say, plop down somewhere else, where they were no longer in the way. It was not an extrinsic motivation that is trying to teach them that if they move out of the way, they get ice cream."

A yes - they may not have the knowledge or the experience - but if, as all TCSer's assume - that all children is rational at any age - then isn't it safe to say that they will rationalize that they can use this tactic to get whatever they want in the future? IMO, you are setting yourself up for power struggles if your use bribes. Even if, as you suggest, they are unaware that the ice cream helped you get them to plop elsewhere - they are still rationalizing that if Mom wants we to do something, I can use this kind of negotiation to get what I want.

Now, before you tell me that *that* is what you are trying to teach your children - that there is always room for negotiations - please allow me to illustrate why I think the above scenario is wrong:

Let's say I am parallel parked on a street with cars ahead and behind me. I am about to pull out into traffic, when a car pulls up and parks directly to my left (in the US, that is) completely blocking me from moving into traffic.

I calmly get out of the car and ask the driver if he could kindly move his car, as he is blocking me and I need to be on my way. The driver says, "What will you give me." "What do you mean?" I ask. "How about $50." says the driver.

Should I give in to this tyrant so that I can get on my way or should I call the police and have him forcibly removed?

I say the latter. And how does this relate? Well we have community rules that we all agree upon ( well, for the most part, especially if you are active in voting, etc..) I also think that we have a societal code of common decency, which we as parents are responsible for deseminating to our children. you know, we don't kill, harm, mame, impede, etc...

Since technically we are responsible (in criminal courts) for our children until they are of age (18 here in the US) if our child does not comply, we need to do what we must to get the child to comply.

So back to Scenario A, if my child was in someone's way and was refusing to move and was aware of our social code (or perhaps not aware, but simply feeling obstinate) I would *help* my child by kindly picking them up and moving them out of the way. I would not offer them an *incentive* as their incentive should be because it is the right thing to do. If they are not behaving right - then I will help them until they can do it on their own.

And latter when we were talking the situation through I would try to understand their position if it still was not clear to me, but I would not feel that I had coerced my child.
This is a good demonstration of the problem of these "What Ifs" and of the medium we are trying to communicate in. In the situation I described, I have been putting a very non-coercive spin on the situation beyond what was actually written, and it sounds like you put a very coercive spin on it. My spin on what it sounds like your spin is to me, is that the exchange between parent and child went something like this (this is partly tongue-in-cheek, btw):

Parent: "Johnny, somebody needs to get by, could you please move."
Johnny: "No."
Parent: "Please move, it is there isn't any room otherwise."
Johnny: "I really don't care."
Parent: "Listen Johnny, here's an ice cream bar if you move over."
Johnny: "Really? Okay, but how about two ice cream bars?"
Parent: "Sounds great! Another common preference, thank goodness I didn't have to coerce!"

Whereas the spin I was putting on it was:

Parent sees a person coming down the aisle and notices that their toddler is sitting right in the middle of the aisle. Not wanting to get into a possibly coercive situation with their toddler, the parent quickly grabs an ice cream bar from the shopping cart and offers it to the child in such a way that they had to get up and out of the way of the oncoming shopper. The child was never even aware of the possible conflict.

All of these scenarios can be spun to either succeed or fail I guarantee it, depending on the predetermined outcome you want. I strongly urge you to read the What If article locate at this link if you haven't already.

If you still want your "What If" addressed, please ask.

Quote:
Also - in the scenario in JW's post earlier, in which the child decides not to go to the store and then does not have the breakfast that they want - isn't this really the childs problem to solve. Isn't this a natural consequence?
What do you mean, that the parent would just refuse to help solve it?

Quote:
If a common preference was acheived the night before, is it coercion to simply say to your child in the morning, "I am happy to help you find something that you will want to eat that we have in the house." And then work to a common preference in that situation.
The problem with this is that you have arbitrarily eliminated possible solutions.

Quote:
Or perhaps simply say to the child, "well we acheived a common preference last night. If there is a new problem, I am happy to help you with a new solution."
This is better, you have not limited where the possible solution might be found, although it sounds a little too "I told you so" at the start.

Quote:
And if the solution the child presents, is "LEt's go now" and that is not acceptable to the mother, then isn't this a situation of natural consequences?
No, I would not call this a natural consequence, in that it is going to happen *no matter what*. This might or might not happen. What this is is the parent's *preference*.

Quote:
It is ok for the parent to have preferences, right? Or how else would the child learn to consider other people ever?
YES!!! YES!!! and YES!!!

Show me where a TCSer ever said that the parent *must* drive to the store in the morning. A counter argument might have spun it that way, but that is not what was said. It has been quite awhile, and this single thread format is hard to follow, but I recall (again with my spin) something along the lines of a *possible* solution *might* be to drive to the store in the morning. But that it would only be a true solution if that really was a true common preference of ALL parties.

Otherwise, the parent would be self-sacrificing and be in a state of coercion (TCS coercion), also called self-coercion. This is also a very big tenet of TCS, identifying when one is self-sacrificing and finding solutions to *this* problem.

Updated: There is a TCS article about self-sacrifice which is located at this link.

Now you can very well spin this further so that the child is more and more unreasonable, but this is just not what happens. Children and all people for that matter that have been helped in getting what they want, learn very quickly to help others get what they want. When their point of view has been taken seriously, they take other's points of view seriously. They know that Mom will try her *hardest* and has consistently gone the extra mile to help them get what they want, and that if Mom is now saying that driving to the store now is almost impossible, then it is time to consider other solutions.


TCS does not have any specific solutions to specific problems. TCS is providing a framework for finding solutions to any problem. It is to providing a way for individuals to fish for the solutions that work for that unique family, not providing the fish themselves.

Pat
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