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#271 of 434 Old 11-16-2005, 07:42 PM - Thread Starter
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See, I don't agree that things are so black and white.
So does that apply to everything? Either you yell or you don't? Either you practice all the principles of AP or you don't...you can't be in "the club?" Either you let your child make EVERY decision they want to make, even at the expense of physically hurting other people or animals, or you don't?

See I believe you can strive to an ideal and attempt to practice and impliment it in your daily life to the best of your abilities, taking still into consideration the physical and emotional well being of other beings on the planet around you.

If one was to TRULY be non-coercive in EVERY SINGLE ASPECT of their child's decision making, I think it would be a recipe for disaster in many instances. I take real - life circumstances into consideration. Such as if my child is in a really bad mood or someone upsets her, yes, I would *coerce* her, if all else failed, into NOT punching someone in the face.
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#272 of 434 Old 11-16-2005, 07:44 PM
 
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: (glad it it popcorn) :

Pat :

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#273 of 434 Old 11-16-2005, 07:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captain crunchy
See, I don't agree that things are so black and white.
So does that apply to everything? Either you yell or you don't? Either you practice all the principles of AP or you don't...you can't be in "the club?" Either you let your child make EVERY decision they want to make, even at the expense of physically hurting other people or animals, or you don't?
Well, yeah, that's exactly what I was saying when this whole values conversation started! I expressed that I saw that for ScubaMama, the reigning value is non-coercion. That is the most important value in her home, I believe. There is nothing that can override that, except in times of imminent danger, is how I have come to understand it. (Please correct me if I'm wrong, Pat!)

But, for me, there are other values that are more important. I rarely coerce, in fact I've been keeping track since this conversation started, and I really don't even try to talk my dd into doing much that she doesn't want to. And, as I've said before, no one can force that squirmy strong little girl to do anything. One might say it's a tool I use rarely.

Sooo, am I right in assuming that you're saying I convinced you? That it IS okay if I choose not to distract my dd from the fact that she doesn't, in the immediate second that she refuses, want to brush her teeth, rather than working towards a mutually agreeable situation?

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#274 of 434 Old 11-16-2005, 07:56 PM - Thread Starter
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I mean, where is the line in the sand then? While I recognize my child's choices are her own, I also have to recognize when she is taking away the choices of others, and that creates a conundrum.

Now, I know cows can't talk, but given the choice, do you think they would choose freedom and green pastures, or would they chhose to be tortured and killed? Would the child at the playground choose to be pushed down? I mean, how does allowing your child to actively take choices away from other people and things factor in to this discussion?

I see the meat thing as really a non-issue. I could see an issue arising if one spouse ate meat and one spouse was adamantly against it, how that would factor in on what was introduced... but it is not going to be introduced...and when it is by someone else, the choice will be hers... but the people I keep company with anyway, respect our ethics enough not to offer...if she expresses an interest, and there is no agreeable solution...then we will cross that bridge when we come to it.
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#275 of 434 Old 11-16-2005, 08:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Sooo, am I right in assuming that you're saying I convinced you? That it IS okay if I choose not to distract my dd from the fact that she doesn't, in the immediate second that she refuses, want to brush her teeth, rather than working towards a mutually agreeable situation?
Huh?

Let me read that again....

I don't believe I ever said I wouldn't use playful parenting, or a different toothbrush, or a song, or a fun toothpaste, or a silly game or whatever to attempt to make brushing her teeth something fun, playful, enjoyable, not scary, etc... I just said if it became an issue, where we couldn't reach a mutually agreeable solution, I would never, ever force a toothbrush into my child's mouth... or say she couldn't leave the bathroom until she brushed, or couldn't watch a video until she brushed or whatever...
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#276 of 434 Old 11-16-2005, 08:18 PM
 
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Ok, I am off to have dinner and wine with ambdkf.

Will post when I return. You all are doing great. I LOVE this discussion. I believe the ethical dilemma "had to" be dissected in order to see the 'edges' of the issue.

I agree with Joline. An aspect of the paradox is the role self-defense (of self and others).

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#277 of 434 Old 11-16-2005, 08:18 PM
 
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I dont actually agree that you either do coerce or you do not.
I do not think That is black and white.
Because there are parents all along that spectrum.
I also avoid coercion to be nice, but what is different from the average jo who avoids coercion and somebody who believes in non coercion, I believe is the underlying belief that children are their own agents and are capable of making rational choices when presented with all of the information and those choices should be respected.
I also do 50 different things before resorting to coercion. And have to coerce rarely. But what makes us different is that I do not have the above belief.

I do think that either a child is rational or not. I dont think a child can be fully rational in all ways except when it comes to the moral values of the parents. I think the belief in the child's authority over themselves IS black or white.
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#278 of 434 Old 11-16-2005, 08:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, but again, one has to consider whether your child's choices are physically or emotionally harming someone else -- thus taking away THEIR choices.

Of course all attempts would be made to meet the needs to both parties involved, but my child eating steak doesn't exactly meet the needs of the cow now does it?

Anyway, with regard to people...yes, I believe my child should have the right to sleep when she wants, eat when she wants, brush her teeth when she wants, etc and so on... however, perhaps she doesn't want to go to sleep... cool with me, but it begins to infringe on MY choice TO sleep if she wants to blast her music at the highest decibal... of course, there are alternatives... headphones, lower volume, I would even offer to wear ear plugs, no big deal... but if she INSISTED that she HAD to listen to music at a certain volume to the detrement of others.... should my choice to sleep come after her choice to blast loud music?

I mean, that is a cut and dry example that would probably never happen but do you see my point?

Sure, my child's choices are her own and in 99% of cases I do think a mutually agreeable solution can be found, but not one parent here is perfect and I don't believe one person on this planet is completely 100% non -coercive in all situations....okay, buddhist monks maybe...
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#279 of 434 Old 11-16-2005, 08:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captain crunchy
Yes, but again, one has to consider whether your child's choices are physically or emotionally harming someone else -- thus taking away THEIR choices.

Of course all attempts would be made to meet the needs to both parties involved, but my child eating steak doesn't exactly meet the needs of the cow now does it?
<snip>
I mean, that is a cut and dry example that would probably never happen but do you see my point?

Sure, my child's choices are her own and in 99% of cases I do think a mutually agreeable solution can be found, but not one parent here is perfect and I don't believe one person on this planet is completely 100% non -coercive in all situations....okay, buddhist monks maybe...
Ok but, if a child turns out to NOT be rational enough to be trusted to make good decisions. Doesnt the whole theory just start unraveling from there?
I mean isnt the whole premise that when you tell your dc that hitting makes little Suzy feel bad and perhaps we could find another solution to the problem (perhaps of a toy taken away) that the child will be rational and not resort to hitting? And that they will not behave irrationally (by hitting more) for example because behaving irrationally is a symptom of having been coerced.
And so a rational child who is capable of making his own decisions without coercion will take the advice of the parent and find a different way to solve that problem and that is how the hitting is solved without even needing coercion.
But if they do not respond to advice and instruction by making a rational and kind decision that considers the needs of all involved (including Suzy's need not to be hit) and respond instead by hitting more so that the parent needs to coerce them into not hitting. Doesnt the whole argument about the effectiveness of non-coercive parenting just fall apart?
I mean if children really arent rational enough to be making this decisoin, are they really rational enough to be making all of their other decisions for themselves?
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#280 of 434 Old 11-16-2005, 08:58 PM
 
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Who says hitting is irrational? No one said a non-coersed child will make "good" decisions every time. Who does? Rational does not equal "good". "Good" is more ditated by cultural norms.
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#281 of 434 Old 11-16-2005, 09:16 PM - Thread Starter
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*sigh*


Just because a parenting philosophy is effective doesn't mean that a child, or anyone for that matter is going to make the *right* decision every time, in every circumstance, in every situation...

I have yet to meet someone in my entire life though, who given a choice, or has had a choice not given or removed, has been really pleased about that...furthermore, just because a choice is not presented at one particular point and time, does not mean that the choice is off the table... my daughter wanting a neat tatoo like her Uncle Spanky would be off the table at say, 4 years old... but if she wanted to revisit that at say, 14, it would definately be on the table.

That is what I mean...you cannot completely be non-coercive all the time, unless your version of being non-coercive is brow-beating your kid to death for hours and days on end under the guise of a "discussion" so that they will make the decision you want them to make. I prefer to flat out admit, yes, if my 4 year old wants a permanant tattoo, I would try to find a mutually agreeable solution... temp tattoo, henna, draw on her with safe markers or whatever... but if she was hell bent, I want a permenant tattoo like Uncle Spanky's...that NEVER EVER WASHES OFF EVER FOREVER... yeah, that would be a instance where I would unfortunately refuse her....

I can't believe that people who claim to be completely non coercive, would allow that....but see, I think in a lot of cases, this "discussion" that comes in is days or weeks of basically convincing your child not to do what you don't want them to do...

I freely admit that it is my goal to be as non - coercive as possible, in as many situations as possible... but things like tattoos at 4 years old, or a 5 year old boy wanting to have a penis that looks like daddy's (would you have him cir'ced?)... or my daughter wanting to see if she can fly with an umbrella off the Grand Canyon.... yeah, I'd probably "coerce"... if a mutually agreeable solution can't be found...


... but I don't think I claimed to be completely non- coercive in every situation that ever crosses my path... I basically said I wouldn't coerce in all the situations mentioned before the vegan thing -- toothbrushing, banana split for breakfast, car seat, clothing choice, bedtime, whatever...
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#282 of 434 Old 11-16-2005, 09:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captain crunchy
*sigh*


Just because a parenting philosophy is effective doesn't mean that a child, or anyone for that matter is going to make the *right* decision every time, in every circumstance, in every situation...

I have yet to meet someone in my entire life though, who given a choice, or has had a choice not given or removed, has been really pleased about that...furthermore, just because a choice is not presented at one particular point and time, does not mean that the choice is off the table... my daughter wanting a neat tatoo like her Uncle Spanky would be off the table at say, 4 years old... but if she wanted to revisit that at say, 14, it would definately be on the table.

That is what I mean...you cannot completely be non-coercive all the time, unless your version of being non-coercive is brow-beating your kid to death for hours and days on end under the guise of a "discussion" so that they will make the decision you want them to make. I prefer to flat out admit, yes, if my 4 year old wants a permanant tattoo, I would try to find a mutually agreeable solution... temp tattoo, henna, draw on her with safe markers or whatever... but if she was hell bent, I want a permenant tattoo like Uncle Spanky's...that NEVER EVER WASHES OFF EVER FOREVER... yeah, that would be a instance where I would unfortunately refuse her....

I can't believe that people who claim to be completely non coercive, would allow that....but see, I think in a lot of cases, this "discussion" that comes in is days or weeks of basically convincing your child not to do what you don't want them to do...

I freely admit that it is my goal to be as non - coercive as possible, in as many situations as possible... but things like tattoos at 4 years old, or a 5 year old boy wanting to have a penis that looks like daddy's (would you have him cir'ced?)... or my daughter wanting to see if she can fly with an umbrella off the Grand Canyon.... yeah, I'd probably "coerce"... if a mutually agreeable solution can't be found...


... but I don't think I claimed to be completely non- coercive in every situation that ever crosses my path... I basically said I wouldn't coerce in all the situations mentioned before the vegan thing -- toothbrushing, banana split for breakfast, car seat, clothing choice, bedtime, whatever...
I hope you didn't think i was implying that the "right" parenting technique would mean a child will make the "right" decisions. I was just pointing out that "Rational" does not mean "right" which is probably a much bigger discussion.

I am on your side

Correct me if I am wrong, but rational means having the ability to reason. Non-coersive parenting assumes that all children have this ability just as adults do. But that does not mean that they will always make "right" decisions and that is where common preference finding comes into play.
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#283 of 434 Old 11-16-2005, 09:55 PM - Thread Starter
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No probs Yooper, I was just responding to the notion that it is an all or nothing situation... either you never coerce anyone at any time in any situation ... or you are a coercin' fool....

I mean, cmon people. Seriously, which instances do you think are more likely to come up in the course of my daughter's childhood? Eating what she wants from every food option in the house, going to bed whenever she likes, brushing or not brushing her teeth, watching what she likes, listening to what she likes, wearing what she chooses, --- or permanent tattoos at 2 years old and wanting to jump off the Grand Canyon with an umbrella?

Nothing is black and white. I think stealing is wrong and under normal circumstances would never think of it... but present me with a situation where my family would starve or I steal a loaf of bread and well, that bread is mine.

I think capital punishment is wrong, I am staunchly against it as a government mandate. I think killing is wrong in general... but present me with a situation where my daughter's life was in danger and I would probably be able to kill in a heartbeat.

I am a staunch animal rights activist who hasn't eaten any form of meat in 10 years... put me on a desert Island where I couldn't find any edible plant sources and I would think about fishing.

I married my husband for better or for worse, forsaking all others and 'til death do us part and I intend to uphold that... but I discover that he was having sex with a 15 year old girl or worse, touching our daughter, I would divorce him I am certain...

I mean, I can go on. I don't parent for the extreme circumstances that *may* or *may not* come up once or twice in the course of a whole childhood (except for maybe the vegan thing), I parent for what I am likely to encounter every day out of the week -- which is my daughter choosing her clothing, food, bedtime, where she goes, what she does, etc and so on... and in those cases, I would say I am pretty darn non - coercive....
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#284 of 434 Old 11-16-2005, 10:44 PM
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I have skimmed everything that has come up recently, but I'm in a rush here.

I haven't been upholding non-coercion as an ideal because Simon's rationality needs to be respected. I do NOT feel that his decision to brush or to not brush his teeth at this stage in his life are based on reason. I don't think he'll be able to really make a full decision about that type of thing for some time to come.

Why then would I support non-coercion as ideal in cases in which no one is being harmed? Because his interests and his feelings are important. Because I've been forced to do things against my will and that is horribly disempowering and I do not want to do that to him (the instances I have in mind deal with physical compulsion, like being playfully forced down in the snow and having someone bigger and stronger than me rub snow into my hair -- great fun, that was). The biggest cases in which non-coercion are important to me are cases in which a child is being needlessly physically compelled to do something -- e.g., forced into a carseat, head held in a vice between one's legs and forced to stay open and in place so that the teeth may be brushed (I've heard of dentists recommending this!).

I'd like to say more but gotta go.
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#285 of 434 Old 11-16-2005, 11:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by yoopervegan
Who says hitting is irrational? No one said a non-coersed child will make "good" decisions every time. Who does? Rational does not equal "good". "Good" is more ditated by cultural norms.
I did use poor wording. While it has not been said in this thread it has been in others that children are rational if not coerced, and that children who are used to problem solving have fewer problems coming to compromises. And that it makes them super empathetic and concerned that everybodys needs are met . . . And that children are born wanting to meet social expectations and if they are just not coerced they will more often than not etc . . .
While I do not see here in this thread that a non-coerced child will make good decisions every time. But I have heard it said that they have 'no reason' to not be fully willing to take the advide of their parent/mentor because of the trust and lack of coercion or power struggles.
In fact I have seen this reasoning several times.
So while it is not a guarantee of good decisions, one of the claims IS that children are rational. That children want to do what is expected of them. That children who are not coerced will happily follow the gentle guidance of their parent.
And while "rational" does not equal good. I would think that if a parent was proposing an option which meets social expectations and meets everybodys needs, it would be "rational" for the child to take that wise advice rather than say, continue to hit the other child. And so by rationally following the advice of his wise mentor the child does the "good" thing.
I also should not have used the line about 'effectiveness' because effectiveness is really not the pont at all.

eta. after further reading it also appears taht my "working definition" of Rational is not the same as some posters. I generally think of a "rational" decision as one that makes sense, and serves the purposes intended. And not simply as rational meaning the ability to negotiate and understand.
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#286 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 12:46 AM
 
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You know, it just occurred to me that while we are arguing about non coercive parenting. I remember now that a distinction has been made between NCP and TCS. One even describing tcs as a "religion" and it could possibly be that my arguments probably apply more to TCS than NCP. DOes that make any sense? I have yet to really separate the two in my mind so an argument that has been used for one gets easily confusd as an argument for the other.
Now Dal, you summed it up in a nutshell. I ALSO support non coersion whenever possible because my children's feelings and interests are important to me.
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#287 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 01:16 AM
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I have to rush again here. I'm loving this discussion and wanting to participate in it but I have some less exciting things that need to get done. So... please excuse me if I'm missing something here.

I agree that children whose interests and feelings are respected will be more apt to respect the interests and feelings of others. This is a generalization. I was initially going to say that I don't think there is any reasoning involved, using modens ponens as an example, but when I wrote out the "if p then q, p, therefore q" as an example of something that is beyond Simon, I wasn't convinced. I do think that Simon already intuits the logic in that, e.g., if mom bumps her head and says ouch while holding her head, then mom is hurt and I'll kiss her head cuz she does that to me and it helps me to feel better. Mom is saying ouch and holding her head, here Mom, let me kiss your head." With a still very limited vocabulary, Simon thinks in this way quite often.

I do think that there are pre-linguistic or more accurately pre-fully-linguistic modes of reasoning, but of course they do have their limitations. Moreover, the reasoning ability in a toddler or young child can be easily overpowered by a more intense emotional response (though I think that their reasoning response is largely emotional as well).

Not sure where I'm getting with that other than offering up my sketchy and preliminary first thoughts on the rational capacities of a toddler/young child.

Though I try to assume more rationality rather than less to be charitable to Simon, and I take his feelings and interests as legitimiate, there are cases in which my rationality and knowledge based on experience does exceed his and in which it would be a disservice to him to not intervene. When it comes to Simon wanting to suck on the spray hose that we use to rinse his poopy diapers, well, I'm not convinced that he fully understands me when I let him know that he may get sick from doing this. Even if it looks clean and tastes fine, it probably has some poop splatter on it. If Simon were adamantly insistent about sucking on it and was going to descend into total meltdown over it rather than give it to me or at the very least let me scrub it for him so that he can suck on it, I'd probably let him take that risk (justifying it to myself by thinking of all the filthy things that toddlers are known to stick in their mouths). The thing is, though, that it doesn't come down to this. He trusts that I'm not going to demand that he give it to me, and that if I tell him it's dirty, and that I'd like to clean it before he sucks on it, he just hands it over to me. This happened earlier tonight. By the time it was scrubbed, I saw that he lost interest in it and I put it out of the way because I really would rather he not suck on it. Tonight I'll put it away so that he isn't tempted to suck on it again any time soon.

When it comes to safety issues (my ever-surfacing knife example), he understands that he must give the dangerous item up right away. He has no issue with this at all. We have very, very few power struggles. I think that because of this, it is easier for Simon to accept that the extremely few issues that we do not budge on are serious issues.

Back to rationality (if I ever left that topic): it is not only to Simon's future more rational self that I feel more than justified in raising him as a vegan, it is also to his ethical and compassionate/empathetic self as well (or course there are many overlaps between these). And beyond this, it is because his interest in this situation is TRITE in comparison to the harm to animals that thwarting it creates, encourages, and condones. His minute of upset (if this can't be avoided and it usually can) is nothing compared to a life of torture that is snuffed out and rendered into a chicken nugget.

I don't expect there to be a great many of these minutes of upset. This hasn't been the case in other vegan families I know. We're at the network building phase of our lives. We're looking to move somewhere this summer and a key factor in this is the availability of like-minded families. We aren't going to have him routinely exposed to festivals of delicious-looking nonvegan foods. While this may sometimes happen, we'll do what we can to make it comfortable for him by preparing for it ahead of time. Vegan parents often call and ask what will be served and bring vegan equivalents (or superiors as the case may be!). We will go to vegan potlucks. We'll have friends who are vegan, or who understand and respect our veganism.

There are other things to be considered here besides just how rational Simon is and whether it is o.k. to force my will on him. Simon is not the only being on the earth. Being that I assume the best of him, I assume that he would full-heartedly agree to me helping him to avoid harming others -- be they myself, dh, other children, or other animals. Even if he were a monster (let's say that some people are born sadistic sociopaths), well, it still isn't o.k. for him to harm others and I am not about to help him do that. As one of his guides in life, I'm not going to watch him make choices that are so obviously harmful to others -- to eat part of someone's body as if that being's entire life is worth no more than lunchmeat.

What if the wedding festivities involved not balled up bits of corpse, but a cultural tradition of beating a lamb (to sacrifice or whatever)? If Simon thinks that looks like a mighty fun thing to do it would be wrong for me to intervene? I have no justified moral authority in this situation to prevent his involvement in this? It is not morally corrupt to beat a lamb? I'm entitled to this belief for myself, but imposing it on Simon is going to thwart his healthy development? Really? I can help to take a knife from him, I can prevent him from beating the crap out of other kids or from biting chunks off of me, but no, it's too much for me to prevent him from beating a lamb? How does this teach him to question what is going on around him? That sometimes the majority of people he is exposed to might be doing nasty, loathsome things? Watching as he beats a lamb or eats a corpseball is akin to treating those actions as acceptable. He does not yet fully understand the arguments against these things, nor has he developed a full and more or less consistent sense of compassion and empathy. To watch him eat a corpseball, perhaps while saying, "That is a dead animal, Simon, are you sure you want to be eating that?" (like he has any idea of what dead means, or like he's really going to grasp the connection between what looks like food and a live animal (how could he have a concept of innards, he has no experience with death?) -- how is that supposed to be the right response? To me this is pretty much akin to standing back while a child writes a horribly nasty and hurtful letter to another child and helping her mail it. Let's say the child adds a smear of peanut butter to it, knowing that the child on the receiving end is allergic. Just because someone is not in the room does not make it o.k. to contribute to their suffering.

How about the relationship between laws and the discussion here? If animals were properly protected under the law (rather than protected property), then would it be o.k. to intervene on their behalf? If you agree that animals should be properly protected by the law (at the very, very least, that there should be an end to "factory farms"), then how can it be o.k. to sit back and do nothing as your child participates in the likes of "factory farms"? How does that jive with social consciousness, with going against the grain when it ought to be abundantly clear that what the grain is doing is morally corrupt? Very young children don't see all of this. If they see other people happily enjoying a corpseball, they assume the best. "Nothing bad is going on. People are good. They aren't hurting anyone unless they are hurting someone now and in my face." But is this what a socially responsible adult going to feel in the same situation?

What about slavery? If a family visits someone who uses other humans as slaves, is it o.k. for Simon to start treating them in the same way? (This is a huge stretch, so take it at that, but my grandmother treats my aunt as a servant. She is extremely rude to her and issues commands at her.) It may look harmless and like the slaves (or my aunt) are/is happily compliant. Simon may want the slaves (or in the lesser case, my poor aunt) to do things for him. I should let him decide this on his own? For what? Why would he agree to that if he had a full moral understanding of the situation? Shouldn't I assume the best of him, that he'd be outraged by slavery (and maltreatment of aunts and others) and want no part in it, save to do something to help those who are being abused?

I loathe relativism. We need not accept only the most obvious, in-your-face injustices and ignore the rest (which is opposed to relativism, though I've yet to meet a relativist who is radical enough to agree that there are no objective ethical standards, whatever it is that they end up calling them).

What is the point in freeing Simon from arbitrary power and control? From empowering him to be in control of his own body and space and so on, with the sole exclusion of actions that unduly infringe on the rights of others? Why raise him this way? Because I want him to be happy, eudaimon, to live well and fare well. To be a good person who enjoys being a good person (or finds it the least painful of competing alternatives -- sometimes we rightfully choose to do things that aren't entirely pleasant and that even cause us some pain). Ethics is a HUUUUUUUUUGE part of why we're raising Simon as we are, probably the biggest part. I don't at all see how allowing a child who is not yet a full moral agent to make and act on decisions that when done by a moral agent are immoral and harmful to others is a good thing to do. I think it's a downright crappy thing to do. He does NOT have to be empowered to disempower others in order to become eudaimon. Rather, doing this normalizes it. It is alreay so normalized in our society that this is a huge risk to take. Disempowering others is diseudaimon, antithetical to well-being. It makes us feel bad, or at least it ought to. It takes away from our sense of pride and integrity. Compartmentalization sucks.
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#288 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 03:01 AM
 
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I have caught up. I trust that our son will choose "good" for himself and others. Not based upon any definition of "good" that I deem moral. I guess I am a moral relativist. (I know at the beginning of the thread, I thought I still held onto some of my Objectivist beliefs. You all talked me right out of them.) I do not believe that there is an objective moral "good". Or else I believe we would be able to agree what "moral" was or wasn't. And we can't even agree that eating a banana split for breakfast is "bad". (Unless all who disagree with one's own "morals" are by definition "irrational".) The judgement of "good" morals depends upon how aware one is and how one views a choice. What you know determines what you see.

I tend toward pacifism. Remove the victim not obstruct the 'hitter'. The arguement that offensive (or defensive) aggression is rational or irrational is a complex one. [Bush be damned?] The issue of complict condonation of an act of aggression/violence is multi-faceted. Against what degree of not knowing is one held complict, or no apparent choice exists? (Ignorance is no excuse?) Judgement is subjective. One may choose not to judge the military actions in a defensive war aggression. One may. Coercion is a choice. Autonomy ending at another's nose justifies self-defensive aggression? Offensive first strike when threatened/coerced? Assuming that one (adult or child) is morally undeveloped because they don't choose the same "moral" action as you is an absolutist pov, imo.

I believe that it is not necessary to use coercion in order for children to choose "morally" by any definition. The act of imposing one's morals by force impairs a person from choosing the imposed moral for himself. Who here embraces holding imposed moral values? (Besides Bush.) This seems to be an oxymoron. Perhaps the definition of irrational and amoral is imposing morals in an absolutist manner. But I am not absolute about that. I am fallible.

I'd help the kid seek out having a permanent tattoo. I'd trust he would change his mind before all was said and done. Or not.

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#289 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 04:42 AM
 
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I guess when you break it down even further there are even divisions within the divisions of philosophy which make us GD.
Thank you Scubamama for your eloquent post and Dal.
You can be GD and be non-coercive or have no problem with coercion.
You can be non-coercive but make exceptions based on moral beliefs, or make no exceptions believing the child can and should come to these things on their own.
You can have no problem with coercion but have a big problem with any punishment and you can have no problem with coercion and use the rare time out and logical consequence.

We are a small group in comparison to how discipline is done in the rest of the country. But we've still got lots of variety!
Thank you all for participating in this lovely and lively discussion. It has been my favorite diversion for days now!
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#290 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 05:14 AM
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Sorry for the length. It's often quicker for me to write looong posts and sometimes I can't help but revisit them and keep blabbing. Some of this is just me blabbing with my fingers trying to sort this stuf out in my head. I think that some of my questions/concerns will be common and if not, they're still my questions/concerns and I'm curious to keep thinking about this and to get some feedback.

One last warning: I'm pretty tired. Hopefully I don't veer too far off topic!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by scubamama
The act of imposing one's morals by force impairs a person from choosing the imposed moral for himself. Who here embraces holding imposed moral values?
A child may be required to act in accordance with certain morals (e.g., not hurt their sibling). The child can indeed later choose this for her or himself. Why should I accept that requiring Simon to abstain from nonvegan foods or from beating on other kids makes it any less likely that he'll choose these values for himself? Doesn't the contrary seem just as likely if not more so? It's far easier for him to always be vegan than to choose to become vegan at, say 6 or 8 or 28 when some of his favourite foods, indeed, several of his staples, may be non-vegan. It's easier for him to refrain from acting out physically when he was sometimes restrained and redirected to help prevent this from becoming a habit. As the poet Evenus says, "Habit is but long practice, friend, and this becomes one's nature in the end" (Stolen from Aristotle's _Nicomachean Ethics_). I don't fully agree with this quote, but don't fully disagree with it either. It needs qualifications, to be sure. But I love the quote and do think there's something to it, so there you go.

Have you heard statistics on adults who were homeschooled by Christian parents and who have adopted their parent's values? It's insanely high -- 80% or more, if I remember correctly. These values were very much imposed on them. The numbers are significantly less for children who were less expected to hold the same beliefs and who were exposed to other beliefs in public schools or even in private Christian schools. I'm not praising this or saying that this is how I hope to guide Simon to accept the basic value that it is wrong to needlessly harm others. My point is just that this is a strong counter-example to your claim that the imposition of values makes it less likely for the child to accept it for her- or himself. That, and the fact that the only children that I know who are vegan were raised to be vegan, just as the children who believe that spanking is wrong have parents who believe this, and so on. How about the belief that wishy-washiness about one's beliefs, especially when they run counter to mainstream culture, makes a child far less apt to adopt them? I know a woman who was raised by laissez-faire vegetarian parents. They didn't really discuss the ethical aspects of it with her, to the best of her recollection. She isn't vegetarian. Why would she be? She was raised with vegetarian foods, but she wasn't raised as a vegetarian. She was more likely to follow the mainstream because it's mainstream and easier to do.

Simon is not yet able to make a full-fledged moral choice in cases in which he lacks the knowledge/experience that so doing requires. I don't think that anyone here embraces holding imposed moral values, but some of us refuse to agree that, e.g., bashing you in the face because I dislike relativism is as good a response as continuing to politely argue with you about it. How can you possibly hold that some things are not morally deplorable? Do you not know that child abuse is wrong? That it is wrong to violate the space and interests of others?

Simon is sleeping now. I'm not violating him in a major way if I go and smother him? That is not morally foul and repugnant? Human societies ought not to accept that doing that type of thing is wrong? Genital mutilation is a social construct just like any other and I'd be wrong to try to stop it from happening?

Wait... how can I think that I'm wrong from trying to stop something if everything is relative? Your stance of non-coerciveness seems to be an objective ethical one. You think that people should not impose their wills on their children because we're all fallible, and because so doing impedes the child's autonomy and so on and so forth (sorry, I need to get back to marking). Or even more than this... that there is no right and wrong. What then is wrong with CIO? That's an answerless question because you are removing the categories of right and wrong from the table, or at least the idea that we can arrive at a mutually agreeable consensus about boundary cases that do involve right and wrong, e.g., Peter Singer's famous example of saving a drowning child if I'm the only one around and this is easy for me to do, and the only negative consequence of doing so is that my clothes will get wet/dirty (this is actually part of an awesome argument that it is immoral to do nothing when people are starving across the globe and we can help to save their lives with very little effort). And of course... there is always that prime case of evil... the holocaust. A subjective wrong, that?

If I/we can't lay down boundary conditions of basic decency and respect for other beings -- because they can feel pain and because needless, unchosen suffering is a bad thing (which I think are intuitively known moral principles, which is not to say that they can never be thwarted) -- what is left? What is the foundation of non-coerciveness? What's the point? What does it matter what anyone chooses? It seems we're left with selfishness and isolation. Are we engaging in non-coercive parenting to raise up some Nietzschean ubermensches? Or is it coercion under the guise of a usually gentler, more strictly emotional and linguistic narrative?

This is fun!!! Will those papers ever get marked!!? Would it be objectively wrong for me to throw them down the hall and assign grades according to where they land? Can't we have a mutally agreeable contract (whether spoken or not) against so doing? Indeed, we do. In virtue of being social beings there are things that we come to accept and expect from each other. Actual rights and wrongs can also exist within a cultural framework, and this framework itself is not beyond scrutiny. Humans have shared characteristics -- rational and emotional -- that are not stamped out through enculturation. We can and do learn to work within other narratives -- however foreign -- and once there, we can bring helpful insights as well as oppressive mentalities. Sometimes it really is fairly easy to see the difference. Consider, e.g., the Talibani oppression of girls and women. That may have been widely accepted as justifiable in that culture, but it was not. It thwarted the real interests that girls and women have in self-actualization, self-determination, security, and on and on. This is a boundary flop. It's unacceptable however justified, even if most of the women have internalized their own oppression.

A willfill toddler will sometimes strike out at others. This should be prevented because it is wrong to walk up to someone and bash them on the head with a toy. There will be situations in which the toddler is not going to make this choice on her or his own.

Non-coerciveness paired with relativism seems to fall apart. How can I justify preventimg Simon from drinking turpentine should he get hold of some? That's imposing my value for health (which is an intrinsic good, imo), which perhaps he does not share. Maybe I'm mistaken in valuing health. Is this persuasive?

If you're going to try to save your child from the ER, you're imposing your preference on his continued well-being over its absense. This is a good thing to do! His continued well-being is OBJECTIVELY (well, little "o" objectively) preferable to his demise or to his needing stitches or whatever. Why is this the case? Because life is good. We value it. It is inherently pleasant. So long as our lives do not turn around so that they are far more painful than pleasant, none of us wants to die. We cherish our well-being and that of our loved ones and we care when we hear that others have been harmed in this way or that. I think that we can look into all of these nearly universal feelings and extract an objective ethics from them. I further think that most people already accept this ethics. We believe in right and wrong. Some things are harder to determine than others and some things are best categorized as neutral, but when it comes to harming other beings, and doing so needlessly, that imo is patently wrong. A mentality that upholds it as acceptable is a warped one. Such mentalities are antithetical to peace and to pacifism.

Do you want your son to be loving towards you and others? Would it bother you if he wants to throw stones at other children? At other animals? Do you not feel an inner drive to protect the other being in this situation? Do you really take this drive to be "your hang-up" as the TCS website puts it? I don't see it as a hang-up. I see it as a dial tone: a starting point that brings all of us together.

Wouldn't you think that someone who lacks the so-called hang-up of caring about harming others is morally deficient and even morally repugnant (or perhaps even suffering from a kind of mental illness or disorder)? How would you respond if you were at a park and a parent sat back and watched while her child beat a toddler or a dog? Parents have ZERO moral responsibility over harms that are caused by their children and that could have been prevented? It is not in the best interest of the child to be prevented from harming others? What do they get out of beating a dog? Many people who experiment with this type of cruelty come to enjoy it. Who is involved in the mutual part of mutual agreeability? Only you and your child? How about the dog being beaten? How about others who can be harmed by his choices? Have they no say? How is it justifiable to silence them? Simply because they are at a distance?

So what if a toddler or child cannot be compelled to stop hitting another child of her or his own volition? Hmmmmm. My words are denying the non-coerciveness of this. It may be less coercive than physically restraining the child -- then again, really? Mental coercion through words seems, perhaps, even deeper to me. We think with words. If you lay a "hitting is painful to others" narrative into your child's head through repetition and whatever other means you deem non-coercive, how is it that this is a belief that he has come up with on his own? He is absorbing your entire way of thinking. This is what children do. It is only when they are older that they start to question it. You (and your dh and his other central caregivers) are the epistemic and moral authorities in your child's life. Our narratives are not separate from our ethical beliefs. They are intertwined. We are social creatures. We are meant to learn modes of conduct from our parents and others. If left to their own devices, it seems that might makes right is a widely accept toddlerism.

In short, there seems to be a legit comparison between common beliefs about mental abuse often being as bad as if not worse than physical abuse and the belief that mentally imposing one's thoughts into a child's head by giving them information that is meant to lead them to a chosen conclusion is similar to, if not more coercive (because it will perhaps run deeper and have more profound, lasting effects) than physical compulsion. Despite the parallel, I'm not asserting that these forms of coercion are necessarily abusive. Of course this is complex. My key point is a general one: that the very act of indoctrinating a child into our culture (and our specific family's ways of acting and thinking) impacts on that child's autonomy, and that even more so than that, presenting the child with arguments/discussions that are so obviously geared towards complaince needs to be looked at further to determine that it is really and always less coercive than actual physical manouevres (e.g.) gently preventing a child from throwing rocks at another child, or than cases in between the two, e.g., cases in which someone might ask or even tell their child to do something (e.g., "Could you please get in your carseat?" when the intent is more like "I would like for you to get in your carseat"). The mini-arguments given in favour of toothbrushing are just that. Here are the reasons that you should accept in order to brush your teeth and take good care of them. I'm telling you a, b, c, d, e, . . . there are not really a variety of conclusions that follow from this this type of argument. A series of counter-arguments are not offered to give alternative perspectives (e.g., opting for dentures!). Rather, what seems to be happening is that this message is being conveyed: I want you to brush your teeth for the reasons that I'm giving you. If you don't, you aren't listeng to reason and your teeth will probably decay, which is a bad thing. I will however give you several options and we'll keep trying until we find something that is agreeable to you. If you don't like any of the options, your teeth will probably decay. That is a bad thing, as I've said. It may hurt. Choosing decayed teeth is clearly choosing the wrong response, whether or not shame and blame are laid down (which they shouldn't be). The entire argument is set up that way. Is the child complying of their own true volition, or because they want to please or displease their parent by, respectively, choosing the proper or improper actions that flow from the lesson being taught? Of course it may be a mix. But is it noncoercive?

Is it wrong to convey to a child that their choice to let their teeth decay (should this be their preferred response despite being given information that shows them that this is not a wise thing to do) is equally valid to taking care of their teeth? Would it be wrong to say, "Oh honey! I can see a lot of plaque on your teeth. I'm really worried about that. I want your teeth to stay healthy and strong. It's really important to take good care of them." I'm not seeing anything wrong with this. Should I be, according to my dissidents?

Some children learn through language to a better degree whereas others are more physical learners. Some may learn from more direct information than the more subtle type of manouevering that would lead to compliance ("Here are all the facts you need to know [no problem with this!?!], I'll tell you everything but the conclusion. You can follow the facts for yourself and see where they lead. What will you choose?"). Provided that the child is not upset about what is going on and is mutually agreeing to it, what's really the difference here? Or does it not count as mutual agreeability in some of these cases?

What would it mean for non-coercive parenting to be truly that? What should we take to count as mutually agreeable choices? Seeking for compliance about many issues -- e.g., teeth brushing, eventually getting into a carseat, not harming others -- doesn't seem problematic if the goal is mutual agreeability. But I'm having trouble figuring out the non-coercive bit. Why is it being considered a good to not impose a value system on to a child? Are all value systems harmful? And how is it possible to not teach one's value system to one's child? Is it not best to try to take care to impose a very good value system than to try to do without one, leaving everything supposedly up in the air for the child to decide? But again is this really the case? "Simon, when you throw a rock at Susie it hurts her. Oh look, she's crying." There is only one conclusion to draw from that. "Hurting Susie is my choice and it's o.k." is the wrong answer. That's not hard to decipher. If it were, gd wouldn't work very well. The right answer is that "Oh. I should stop throwing rocks because it is not nice to hurt Susie." So how is information given in a way that does not pass along a value system? How do you decide which information is relevant? And, why is preferable if it does not pass along a carefully thought out value system? Simply because some value systems are oppressive? If this is the case, we need more non-oppressive ones, right? I don't see how anyone can be raised into a truly neutral value system, and certainly don't see why this would be a good thing.

Not all cases of physical impositions are going to be unpleasant and not all cases of emotional impositons are going to be pleasant for the child. Sometimes a bit of unpleasantness is unavoidable and preferable than the alternative when, e.g., the alternative involves unjustly causing harm to another being. If, that is, it is ever unjust to harm anyone.

I hope I'm not discouraging conversation by my ongoing blabbery. I'm finally heading to bed so that should shut me up for awhile, plus dh won't be home today so I'm not likely to have much of a break to keep at this until later. Maybe that's a good thing, though I feel that I'm getting a lot out of this conversation. Still have a loooong way to go and still not even fully understanding what I'm arguing for or against. The end.
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#291 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 07:48 AM
 
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We are so far from talking about actual children and actual situations that I’m going to bow out This is more Pat’s type discussion than mine. I go by what I see in my home, how we feel and how it works.

I just wanted to answer a pp question about have my kids done something I’ve found morally reprehensible. They short answer is that they haven’t. They have done things that I don’t care for and that go against some core values on occasion but I’d never describe it as morally reprehensible. The thing I’m thinking of is my oldest. She is highly sensitive and very protective of her space. If it is violated or if she is violated (her word) there is no turning back, that person is not ok with her. That person could be a toddler that took a toy out of her hand (her being 8) or pushed her. There is no allowance for age with her, no redo, that’s it. I find that REALLY tough. At the time she did this to my best friend’s child, I found it REALLY, REALLY tough. It wasn’t that I couldn’t see her POV, it was valid but to never forgive to not give any allowances seemed awfully harsh. In the end, I realized that is just who she is. She values social rules and doesn’t understand when others don’t abide by them. I realized she doesn’t need to like everyone and she shouldn’t have to be around people that she feels don’t respect her. Me letting go of my need for them to work it out, freed her to move forward. I was contributing to her "harsh" reaction but not valuing her decision to separate herself. They still aren’t friends and maybe never will be but she isn’t so dug into her position about him. So yes, that was hard but it still wouldn’t (didn’t) work for me to impose my “be nice to everyone” mime on to her. I did try for awhile but finally got it. She can make those decisions for herself. She is the best/only person that can make those decisions. I was undermining the signals she was getting and asking her to basically ignore them. I made a mistake in doing that. Those messages are SO important and I don’t want to ever be a part of teaching her to ignore them.

Back to your high level philosophical discussion

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#292 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 10:52 AM
 
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a little here, but not really because I would like everyone's imput on this. I've been thinking about it lately, and I thought it would be a good example for NCPers to discuss?

My dd sucks her thumb. We have all heard that it can possibly damage teeth or cause them to grow improperly, etc. They look a little - different - if you really think about it, but I really don't think you would notice unless it was pointed out. Anyhow, I would like to encourage her to give it up but she is nowhere near doing so. And she's 4.5.

If you were worried about your child's dental health concerning thumb-sucking, how would you go about helping them give it up in a non-coercive way? Or, is this something you would let go because it is their choice whether they thumb-suck and damage their teeth or not?

~Sara, WAHSingMomi to girls R and AV, S.O.A.R. Scout Leader and Homeschooling In Detroit Blogger

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#293 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 11:26 AM
 
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Dal, I am reading with apt attention. But I just had to laugh at the preface "In short," of this looonnnngggg paragraph. I love philosophy. I agree that what we believe is what we live and what we model. Back to reading.

Can we have a show of hands who is still reading?


Quote:
In short, there seems to be a legit comparison between common beliefs about mental abuse often being as bad as if not worse than physical abuse and the belief that mentally imposing one's thoughts into a child's head by giving them information that is meant to lead them to a chosen conclusion is similar to, if not more coercive (because it will perhaps run deeper and have more profound, lasting effects) than physical compulsion. Despite the parallel, I'm not asserting that these forms of coercion are necessarily abusive. Of course this is complex. My key point is a general one: that the very act of indoctrinating a child into our culture (and our specific family's ways of acting and thinking) impacts on that child's autonomy, and that even more so than that, presenting the child with arguments/discussions that are so obviously geared towards complaince needs to be looked at further to determine that it is really and always less coercive than actual physical manouevres (e.g.) gently preventing a child from throwing rocks at another child, or than cases in between the two, e.g., cases in which someone might ask or even tell their child to do something (e.g., "Could you please get in your carseat?" when the intent is more like "I would like for you to get in your carseat"). The mini-arguments given in favour of toothbrushing are just that. Here are the reasons that you should accept in order to brush your teeth and take good care of them. I'm telling you a, b, c, d, e, . . . there are not really a variety of conclusions that follow from this this type of argument. A series of counter-arguments are not offered to give alternative perspectives (e.g., opting for dentures!). Rather, what seems to be happening is that this message is being conveyed: I want you to brush your teeth for the reasons that I'm giving you. If you don't, you aren't listeng to reason and your teeth will probably decay, which is a bad thing. I will however give you several options and we'll keep trying until we find something that is agreeable to you. If you don't like any of the options, your teeth will probably decay. That is a bad thing, as I've said. It may hurt. Choosing decayed teeth is clearly choosing the wrong response, whether or not shame and blame are laid down (which they shouldn't be). The entire argument is set up that way. Is the child complying of their own true volition, or because they want to please or displease their parent by, respectively, choosing the proper or improper actions that flow from the lesson being taught? Of course it may be a mix. But is it noncoercive?

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#294 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm still here! My aim is to get more responses than the "children on leashes" thread

It is great though, that although there are differing views, we have, for the most part remained really respectful of eachother and it hasn't degenerated into madness...madnessss I say....
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#295 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 11:50 AM
 
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I'm still here reading too. Though I don't have much to add at this point, I am thoroughly enjoying the deepness of the discussion, and believe some very good points have been made by people who live at differing points on the coersion spectrum.

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#296 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 12:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunRayeMomi
a little here, but not really because I would like everyone's imput on this. I've been thinking about it lately, and I thought it would be a good example for NCPers to discuss?

If you were worried about your child's dental health concerning thumb-sucking, how would you go about helping them give it up in a non-coercive way? Or, is this something you would let go because it is their choice whether they thumb-suck and damage their teeth or not?
It does seem OT but I'll chime in anyway My oldest sucked her thumb and I had heard the concerns. When I did some digging they seem to be myths. My dh sucked his thumb, never needed braces, I didn't and REALLY needed braces, I have 2 friends that did and 2 that didn't same played out with them. So I just let it go and she gave it up on her own time, which for her was around 6.5. She is 8 and her teeth are great. So just realize it is not a given that "teeth are damaged" so it is worth a power struggle for a might happen? Not for me and my dd has fond memories of it and no ill feelings about herself or that fact that she did it.

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#297 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 12:28 PM
 
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I'm still reading!

I think children naturally have empathy, so I can't imagine a child thinking, "I can throw rocks at Suzi and hurt her but that's OK and I'm going to keep doing it." Unless it's a young sociopath or something.

The vegan thing is a sticky issue because to me, meat and dairy are not relevant to an issue of hurting/harm. Though I do only buy free range beef and cage free eggs/chicken. I don't personally see that domesticized animals have a "natural life" per se as they wouldn't exist in the form they're in if not for being used for food. But I have enough vegan friends to know the other side of that arguement - to vegans any possible suffering of animals is not part of their lives through choosing to be vegan, and that's a very big deal to them.

Still, I don't think it's fair to say that if vegans compel their kids to be vegans that's a moral necessity, but if Christians compel their kids to go to church or participate in other religious activities, that isn't a moral necessity. To deeply religious families, the need for their children to embrace their faith is as important as veganism is to you (Dal? Cpt. Crunchy? LOL to all vegans I guess). I'm agnostic so I'm saying this as an outsider to religion.

I've said and I'll say again that I'm not nor could I ever claim to be entirely non-coercive. I try not to coerce unless it seems absolutely necessary. Maybe that's where we all are, but we define "absolutely necessary" differently.
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#298 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 12:53 PM
 
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I'm still here to!
And Id not worry about the thumb sucking. After all it is my personal opinion that any changes do not "ruin" teeth but make a purely cosmetic and fully correctible change. And that is only if there is any affect at all.

I am NOT non-coercive by nature as a parent but I do have a teenager. And I think that it becomes very important to let go of any control you have had or expect to have when children reach the age where they demand it. So while I have 4 kids, I would say I do practice NCP with my oldest (for the most part), but only because she is at an age where her autonomy is more important to her than pleasing her parents.
And I face daily the possiblity that she does things that I find if not repugnant, then morally appalling.
And I hold my breath and pray that she survives adolescence unscathed!
Letting go is so hard to do. Maybe it would be easier for parents who never were under the delusion that they had any control in the first place?

Hmmm
Anyway, I'm coercing my children to go to the zoo with me today! So I will be away from my desk!
Have fun
Joline
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#299 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
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I don't think it is a *need* of mine that my daughter embrace veganism. Would it be great? Sure it would. My only need for her as a very young child, is to know inside myself that I prevented her participation in what I believe to be are unspeakable acts against creatures that I seek to dwell in peace with until she is old enough to grasp the enormity of the facts. To me it is not enough to say to a small child "that burger is a dead cow"... yes, they may process it and even believe you when you say that, but as Dal pointed out so well, their ability to connect the two things in such a way to realize the process of getting that cow to your plate is simply not there yet. Maybe it is selfish on my part, but I don't want to sit my 4 year old in front of "Meet your Meat" so she can truly "get" it (and be scarred for life in the process like I was -- when I saw it at 16)...

In other words, if a choice has to be taken away, and in terms of veganism, ONE choice does have to be taken away. Either take away their choice to live a life completely free of consumption of another creature's flesh and milk by introducing something early on that they may find utterly appauling and ethically inexcusable when they grow to understand the process-- or taking away a choice that can't be made in full consciousness as a very young child to allow them to make a pure informed choice later on if they decide to eat meat. To me, restricting the unconcious choice to eat meat, which would be a choice made (imo) strictly based on the trust of adults around them (the same way a small child would trust that an adult wouldn't give them poison), is more desirable to me than allowing them to make a choice they can never take back.

Of course I do base this on my own personal life experience and the experience of several friends of mine who became vegan in their teen years. I still feel ill when I let myself think of being a kid and eating all the meat we ate...not having any real clue what it was. Sure, I knew chicken was a dead chicken, but I didn't GET what it was, the connection wasn't there, the knowledge wasn't there, the ability to process the idea that humans could be so dispicable to other animals. I dunno what I thought, other than I was indoctrinated at an early age to just consume without thought.

Indocrination is always happening, whether you believe it is intentional or not, whether you attempt to or not. Our children are like little sponges soaking in everything we say do,feel, express, and live. So for instance, if you brush your teeth twice a day every day and little Johnny sees you doing that, one doesn't even have to express to little Johnny that brushing your teeth is a desirable thing to do and that he should do it. Little Johnny, loving his parents and looking up to them as children do, will get the messege, even if words aren't spoken, that brushing one's teeth is desirable (whether he chooses to do it daily or not)...

So on the issue of meat, is the choice really a concious choice to a young child? Perhaps it is seen as something acceptable and desirable for a child to do because the adults around him or her are doing it and they seem to be thinking it a desirable choice. Dal brought up Nazi Germany. I think this is a great example. Did the children spitting and throwing stones on the street at the Jews REALLY hate Jewish people? Deep inside them, did they REALLY make the choice that Jews were dispicable and thus needed to be put in ghettos or exterminated? Or was it that they observed the adults around them that they loved, admired, and trusted, talking about Jewish people, or throwing stones at them, and made a *choice* that if their parents, whom they love, admire, and look up to were doing it, it must be desirable?

If my daughter chooses to eat meat later on, she will have years and years of meals to catch up for lost time...but if I can restrict an immediate choice with the honest intention of offering her a pure, educated choice, that is the route I am going to take.
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#300 of 434 Old 11-17-2005, 01:25 PM
 
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Still here! Have fun at the zoo, Joline!

Dal, you're teaching a class? I wish I could take it!

I just wanted to clarify my statement about you either coerce or you don't. Like CaptainCruncy said, of course you won't always be able to do it, but I meant that it is either your overarching philosophy, or it isn't.

Also, back to what Pat said about coercion being a slippery slope, a long time ago, I just have to say that I disagree with this. I "coerce" less and less as my dd gets older, and according to Joline, I'll be an NCP by the time she's a teen, anyway!

Mommy to kids

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