Questions for non-coercive mamas - Page 5 - Mothering Forums

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#121 of 173 Old 07-16-2007, 10:56 PM
 
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phew! it's taken me all day (in between walks, peek-a-boo, and food flinging ) but i've finally read this entire thread.

i've always leaned, naturally, toward non-violence and non-coercion. that is, i'm of the "treat others how you'd like to be treated" mindset. of course, just like i can't, and probably never will be able to live up to this standard in any other part of my life, i'm not able to live up to it in my parenting (not 100%, that is).

and i don't think anybody is. or anybody (on this thread, at least) has tried to say that they do. from what it sounds like to me, non-coercion (and, indeed, gd in general) isn't about being perfect, it's about an intention, and striving to find new ways of letting your actions come from our intention.

like non-violence, non-coercion can be very complicated. there are a million what-ifs and i don't think anyone can answer them. all we can do is practice practice practice and learn from the world around us.

like i said, i lean towards non-coercion naturally, but have never thought of it -- or haven't been able to implement it, at least -- with my infants. when dd became a toddler, i let her chose when i changed her diaper -- but as an infant, for some reason (programming?) i just went with "what needed to be done". i've done this with ds so far, too, and we're finally starting to hit the power-struggles (he's almost a year). well, after reading (especially the first part of) this thread, it kind of hit me like -- wow, that doesn't really NEED to be done. lately, the big thing for ds has been diaper changing. he hates it. he cries. i get frustrated. so today, when he protested my suggestion to get the poop off his butt, i said "okay. we don't have to do that right now." i came in the other room, got lunch ready, then went back to the living room and said, "you want to get the poop off your butt now?" while picking him up and laying him down for a change. there was no protest and the whole thing went smoothly!

anyway, i just wanna thank the mamas on here for helping me expand my mind a little bit. it's not that i now thing "i will never use coercion again!" in the same way that i can't say "i will never yell or act inappropriately" -- but taking certain things out of my tool box has really helped me to feel less stressed and relate to the kiddos better.

on a side note, i really don't see how the "debate" on this subject is helping anyone. it seems that it has gotten a bit heated, even slightly (passive?) aggressive. i don't think anyone wants to threaten anyone else or their parenting styles and i would love to see some NVC practiced here!
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#122 of 173 Old 07-16-2007, 10:56 PM
 
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Okay, this finally hits on something about the consensual living methods that I've been trying to put my finger on.

"I'm disappointed...."

It's labelling the parent's feelings, true. But I had a grandmother who never lifted a finger or raised her voice. Instead, she expressed "disappointment" when you didn't do what she asked.

And she was the most coercive of all my grandparents. "Guiltmongering" is the phrase we use when we remember it.

WHy is expressing "Disappointment" in your child's choices noncoercive? Your object is still to tell them why what they're doing is not what you want them do to, and you're doing it by making them feel bad for having made you feel bad, yes?
Yeah, that part still sticks in my craw, too. It sounds very manipulative, almost shaming. But more than that, it just doesn't really make sense. The child's motivation for cleaning his room shouldn't be to avoid disappointing mama, right?

Isn't that the focus of avoiding over-praising -- trying not to link, in our kids' minds, their efforts with our reaction? Why isn't it okay to label our positive emotions when our kids do something well but it's okay to label our negative emotions when our kids don't do what we want?

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#123 of 173 Old 07-16-2007, 11:20 PM
 
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No, I do not think your toddler is suicidal. I think your toddler may run into the street in front of a truck because she doesn't have the experience and the knowledge to know how dangerous it is to run in front of a truck. I am certain that in the face of an ongoing truck you would, indeed, grab her out of the way whether she agreed or not with your choice. Why? Because you know that a truck can kill her and she may not. That is a part of parenting. This is protecting her from her own actions. If you really, truly believe that you are not protecting her from herself in this situation then I can't help but conclude that you are playing with semantics and that ideology is more important than reality.
I am having a hard time understanding why you are getting so personal here.

No, I am not playing with semantics. No *sigh* Ideology is not more important than reality (see how that sounds like a low blow?). I do "really, truly believe that I am not protecting her from herself" in this situation, because I know she doesn't want to get hit by the truck. Gosh, that seems so logical to me. I really do feel that I would just be hauling my daughter out of the road to protect her from the truck.

But, it doesn't bother me one bit if you want to protect your daughter from herself. It's ok if we have different ways of doing things.
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#124 of 173 Old 07-16-2007, 11:26 PM
 
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Yeah, that part still sticks in my craw, too. It sounds very manipulative, almost shaming. But more than that, it just doesn't really make sense. The child's motivation for cleaning his room shouldn't be to avoid disappointing mama, right?
I agree, that part doesn't sound quite "right" to me, either.

I'd rather hear, "Listen, I am ASKING you to help, but if you say, 'no,' I'm probably going to be pissed." At least it's honest!
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#125 of 173 Old 07-17-2007, 12:13 AM
 
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Good for you.

That happens so frequently and is one of my major pet peeves. Just say "excuse me," already. He knows what it means!
I hear you! I cant count the number of times when my DD innocently took an object from a counter/cashier to look at and when the lady wants it back, she would go 'er.....er...er...' and look at ME. I mean, huh?? Why not just ask for it back the way you would with an adult? My Dd is nearly 3, doesnt she looks like she understands basic english?? :
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#126 of 173 Old 07-17-2007, 02:36 AM
 
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But I think it's a lot easier to be disrespectful if you're not at least being mindful about the level of coercion you're practicing. I know that's the case in my own parenting.
I loved your entire post, Dragonfly, but this part really resonated with me when I read it. I've been really working on using less coercion but have also struggled with when and why I might find it appropriate. I also do it a whole lot more than I'd like. But I love what you've said about simply being mindful about the level of coercion one is practicing. I feel like in that regard, I'm doing so much better...I'm finding myself really paying more attention to my interactions with my ds. I'm reflecting much more and approaching issues that arise more slowly and with more thought.

I know that when my oldest was a toddler, I found it pretty easy to problem-solve with him...he was very verbal and it just came naturally. But now I struggle much more with the sassy stuff and rudeness...those are big triggers for me. So the depth of my learning and the work of it all has become more challenging...it's all good, no matter how tough at times.

I hope MDC doesn't shut down these discussions...for me, there is so much richness in it all. It would be great if the defensives didn't run so high, but that is simply human. There's so much to learn in the muck.
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#127 of 173 Old 07-17-2007, 04:00 PM
 
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I am having a hard time understanding why you are getting so personal here.

No, I am not playing with semantics. No *sigh* Ideology is not more important than reality (see how that sounds like a low blow?).
Well no, I think the low blow came with the image of a suicidal toddler.

No this is not personal. This is an energetic discussion. Personally I enjoy them and find them extremely interesting and stimulating. Perhaps my style is to forceful for you and some others. I was on the debate team in high school and I enjoyed debates and discussion all through college and grad school. To me the most fascinating were the ones about differing philosophical beliefs be they social or political or religious or whatever. That is what we've had on this thread -- a vigorous discussion.

I also see nothing passive-aggressive -- it's all been quite straightforward. Certain people have expressed the belief that a philosophy they believe in, non-coercive parenting, is the approach they believe works best for them and ultimately for society. Others have questioned some aspects of this belief. And the discussion took off. I see no muck. I see lots of thoughtful comments and people trying to understand each other. May it continue.

With that in mind I'd like to continue with my questions. My perspective comes from having a toddler. I spend a lot of time on the toddler forum. Many of the threads about toddlers is from mamas asking advice about behavioral issues: toddlers hit each other, they grab binky's from each others mouths, they don't want to share, they don't always like their new siblings and can be downright violent with them. Most of the responses can be summarized as: it's their developmental age. They are acting like typical toddlers. I remember one mama saying something like "3 year olds can be pretty selfish." Again, this doesn't mean they are bad or evil, it means they are learning and developing.

So how does one reconcile that reality with the philosophy that one assumes that toddlers want to do right? I simply don't see that. I think toddlers can be parented in such a way that they will grow up into children who want to do right, but they are not born that way. They have to learn to be that way. And, hopefully, many or maybe most, do actually want to do right from their soul. But not right away. They have to go through the development and ARRIVE at that point, they don't begin at that point.

That's why I don't see the purpose of analyzing every bit of behavior that emerges from a toddler. It may be valid but not always deeply meaningful. As Sigmund Freud said, "sometimes a dream is just a dream." Sometimes a toddler will do something, and they do it, and that's that. Then they go on to something else.

I think that looking at every possible nuance in behavior can often mean missing the forest for the trees. IMO, what's more important is the bigger picture. Is the home a loving home? Is there joy and laughter in the home? My DH and I believe in the importance of music and art and we share that with our DD. Does the child feel safe and secure? Is the home non-violent? Does the child feel that she can come to mommy and daddy when she is scared or worried or happy or wants a hug? If you have created an excellent environment, then I think a child will survive a small amount of coercion when the parent deems it necessary -- which is (hopefully) only on rare occasions.

Peace to all.
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#128 of 173 Old 07-17-2007, 04:39 PM
 
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I know she doesn't want to get hit by the truck. Gosh, that seems so logical to me. I really do feel that I would just be hauling my daughter out of the road to protect her from the truck.
And in the context of this scenario, why are you pulling her away from the truck in the first place? Because she, through her actions, wanted to get into that situation. Why? Because at this age (my daughter is 16 months) they don't have the cognitive knowledge and foresight to *KNOW* that trucks and roads and traffic are dangerous. It was her curiosity that led her to being in a dangerous situation. Of course we protect our children from themselves. Unless, of course, the truck has run up the side walk and into your front yard... then we can protect them from a truck. THAT seems logical to me. :

My daughter has just discovered the joy of electrical outlets. She tries to take the covers off so she can put pointy objects in them. This is through HER own doing. SHE wants to do it. HER actions could cause her to get electrocuted. No, I don't want her to be electrocuted, that's just a small part of the problem at this age, because right now I AM protecting her from herself. If it's not electricity, it's traffic, and if it's not traffic, it's climbing. It's par for the course at this age. She doesn't know that a truck running her over can hurt her, not enough to know that she doesn't want to run into the road. She just thinks it's fun to jump off the curb!

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Isn't that the focus of avoiding over-praising -- trying not to link, in our kids' minds, their efforts with our reaction? Why isn't it okay to label our positive emotions when our kids do something well but it's okay to label our negative emotions when our kids don't do what we want?
Ding, ding, ding!! That is hitting the nail on the head for me. I couldn't think of why this didn't feel right to me, and now I know why - verbal coercion. My dad does it ALL the time, in just that way. He expresses his "feelings" when all it is is disappointment in what I've failed to do. Rarely does he tell me how proud he is, or that he really respects me for certain decisions I've made in my life, buy by gosh, if I've disappointed him he's the first one to express his "feelings".

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#129 of 173 Old 07-17-2007, 04:46 PM
 
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verde, I loved this last post of yours. And I agree entirely. I only used the word "muck" because I think that's sometimes how people feel when their defenses start to crop up. We all want what is best for our children and I think when what we're doing comes into question, it is natural to get defensive.

I, also, learn a tremendous amount from these kinds of debates and it really opens up my mind (when I let it!) to what I'm doing and if a change is in order.

I realize that sometimes I use coercion because it's easiest and I want to believe that it's ok. So all these discussions have really helped me to see that there are often much more respectful ways to work with my ds during times when we don't see eye to eye.

For example, last night my dh and I were exhausted. The baby is sick and everyone was up late and we just wanted 5 minutes of quiet before going to bed ourselves. My 4 1/2yo ds wanted another song and dh lost it. He was spent and couldn't do anymore...so he said "get into bed!" and basically put up a road block. Understandably, ds was very upset and fortunately I was calm enough to talk it out a bit with him. But I realize that many times at night, I'm the one who puts up the road block because I just want him to go to bed. But if I take a little extra time to talk it out and problem-solve a bit, everyone ends the night more peacefully...doesn't mean ds is going to get another song or story, but at least he feels heard and understood.

I hope these discussions can continue...they are ever so helpful to some of us.
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#130 of 173 Old 07-17-2007, 05:52 PM
 
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Because she, through her actions, wanted to get into that situation.
I don't agree. She doesn't want to be in the situation. She wants to move in a certain direction. If we're going to say that children don't have foresight, then we need to be consistent. She doesn't have the foresight to know that roads are dangerous, she also doesn't have the foresight to want to be in a dangerous sitaution.

I think we protect small children from the world, not from themselves. They don't actively seek to harm themselves. They actively seek to explore a world that can be dangerous to them.
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#131 of 173 Old 07-17-2007, 05:55 PM
 
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verde, I loved this last post of yours. And I agree entirely. I only used the word "muck" because I think that's sometimes how people feel when their defenses start to crop up. We all want what is best for our children and I think when what we're doing comes into question, it is natural to get defensive.

I, also, learn a tremendous amount from these kinds of debates and it really opens up my mind (when I let it!) to what I'm doing and if a change is in order.

I realize that sometimes I use coercion because it's easiest and I want to believe that it's ok. So all these discussions have really helped me to see that there are often much more respectful ways to work with my ds during times when we don't see eye to eye.

For example, last night my dh and I were exhausted. The baby is sick and everyone was up late and we just wanted 5 minutes of quiet before going to bed ourselves. My 4 1/2yo ds wanted another song and dh lost it. He was spent and couldn't do anymore...so he said "get into bed!" and basically put up a road block. Understandably, ds was very upset and fortunately I was calm enough to talk it out a bit with him. But I realize that many times at night, I'm the one who puts up the road block because I just want him to go to bed. But if I take a little extra time to talk it out and problem-solve a bit, everyone ends the night more peacefully...doesn't mean ds is going to get another song or story, but at least he feels heard and understood.

I hope these discussions can continue...they are ever so helpful to some of us.
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#132 of 173 Old 07-17-2007, 06:11 PM
 
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I hope these discussions can continue...they are ever so helpful to some of us.
: I always gain a lot from the discussions ono the GD board, even if it's ideals that I don't completely agree with.

While I strive to be *low* coersion, *no* coersion seems to be an unattainable goal in my family, whether because of the stage my children are in (being unwilling or unable to discuss or accept alternative solutions to their original idea), or due to my own lack of creativity or emotional resouces. I am not worried about my low coersion parenting ruining our relationship or making my children feel unvalued, or making them unable to think for themselves or stand up for themselves or find happiness or feel like their opinions matter. The practicality of our lives dictates for us that when I offer several alternatives to my son, he will not agree to any of them, yet is unable or unwilling to offer his own ideas, well, we're at an impasse and since I am at the end responsible for his being on this earth and thriving, I will make a decision, take the path of least resistance, and just forge ahead. And he's a pretty great guy, if I do say so myself, so I must be doing something right.

I always enjoy the discussions about consensual living, if not to just give me some ideas how to be more creative in the future. I don't even think I'll be completely consensual, and that's OK with me, it's not really a goal of mine. I grew up in a low coersion household, and I have nothing but warm memories of my very gentle, if not occasionally 'bossy' parents. I know they valued me and my ideas, even if they didn't always use them when I offered. .

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#133 of 173 Old 07-17-2007, 06:31 PM
 
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With that in mind I'd like to continue with my questions. My perspective comes from having a toddler. I spend a lot of time on the toddler forum. Many of the threads about toddlers is from mamas asking advice about behavioral issues: toddlers hit each other, they grab binky's from each others mouths, they don't want to share, they don't always like their new siblings and can be downright violent with them. Most of the responses can be summarized as: it's their developmental age. They are acting like typical toddlers. I remember one mama saying something like "3 year olds can be pretty selfish." Again, this doesn't mean they are bad or evil, it means they are learning and developing.

So how does one reconcile that reality with the philosophy that one assumes that toddlers want to do right? I simply don't see that.
But selfish doesn't necessarily equal wanting to do "wrong." A toddler hits b/c he doesn't know how to express complex emotions--like anger or a need for personal space or how to initiate play, etc. They grab binkies b/c they want the binky--and there's a tunnel vision going on. Nothing wrong with wanting a binky and trying to satisfy that urge. Most of the time they're just not even considering that they took if FROM someone....just that they took it. All that stuff really doesn't have the bad intent that we adults often ascribe it. It's good intentions lacking finesse, if you will.


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I think toddlers can be parented in such a way that they will grow up into children who want to do right, but they are not born that way. They have to learn to be that way. And, hopefully, many or maybe most, do actually want to do right from their soul. But not right away. They have to go through the development and ARRIVE at that point, they don't begin at that point.
I think maybe you're conflating "doing RIGHT" and "doing POLITE." Does that make sense?

People with Aspergers aren't trying to do "wrong" when they don't kind of "get" or consider people around them. They just don't get the personal interactions that most folks consider polite.

I think toddlers are the same--just impolite.

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That's why I don't see the purpose of analyzing every bit of behavior that emerges from a toddler.
I don't see anyone recommending that. I'm too busy analyzing MY behavior 99% of the time. That's my advice to people--start with what you can control! Toddlers ain't one of them!

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If you have created an excellent environment, then I think a child will survive a small amount of coercion when the parent deems it necessary -- which is (hopefully) only on rare occasions.
I agree. But, really, I also think they will survive the times I've lost my $hi* and hit them. But I don't think it's ideal. And I don't think I would give people advice like, "If you've created a loving home I don't think you should worry about having to hit them every so often." But, lots and lots of people WILL give that advice. If people are striving to be non-coercive, telling them that there are times when coercion is OK and go right ahead--probably isn't going to help them get closer to their goal. Helping them brainstorm different ways to be non-coercive is probably more helpful.

It's really not that we're all standing around wringing our hands, scrutinizing our children's every move, tippy-toeing around trying to find some way to keep our kids perfectly happy in every moment. Really! Just trying to see what else is available to keep expanding our reality of "negotiable" and "agreeable," I guess.

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And in the context of this scenario, why are you pulling her away from the truck in the first place? Because she, through her actions, wanted to get into that situation.
But "that situation" that she wants to be in isn't likely to be in the headlights of the oncoming truck. More likely it's to be closer to that pretty butterfly. Or to get to that fun slide FAST. The fact that the truck is there isn't even on her radar.

If it were something that she knowingly put herself into, then you would be saving her from herself.

But she doesn't know about the truck. And she doesn't want to get hit by the truck.

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My daughter has just discovered the joy of electrical outlets. She tries to take the covers off so she can put pointy objects in them. This is through HER own doing. SHE wants to do it. HER actions could cause her to get electrocuted. No, I don't want her to be electrocuted, that's just a small part of the problem at this age, because right now I AM protecting her from herself.
But she's not deliberately trying to hurt herself. What part of herself are you saving her from if she doesn't want to get hurt? She doesn't know from elecrocuted--she just wants to explore and stick fun stuff into other fun stuff. If she has no idea that her explorations are going to bring her harm then how can you be saving her from something she doesn't want or know exists? Your saving her from the collateral damage that her explorations might bring.

It's subtle, I know. And I'm not sure I'm doing a good job of teasing out the difference.

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But I realize that many times at night, I'm the one who puts up the road block because I just want him to go to bed. But if I take a little extra time to talk it out and problem-solve a bit, everyone ends the night more peacefully...doesn't mean ds is going to get another song or story, but at least he feels heard and understood.
Me, too! When my well is low it's so hard to help those around me. It's been REALLY cool to watch my 5 yr. old start to recognize this and volunteer to do little things to make my life easier when I get like this. That's when I'm like : to people who say I'm teaching him he's the center of the universe and won't consider others.

gotta run....hope yhat was clear
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#134 of 173 Old 07-17-2007, 07:49 PM
 
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Cool old thread, with new life. Took a minute to get through it... wow! Just a couple things that stuck out, and some things I'd like to add that I didn't see in here:

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Originally Posted by lolalola View Post
<snip>

I didn't say anything to DD, but turned to the woman and said, "Ya know, she is a person...she may be small, but I'm sure if you say 'excuse me, may I get by you', she would gladly oblige". :

Of course, she just stared at me with that dead-fish-eyed expression. But really, it's not rocket-science...just manners.
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What's hard is that you're going against societal rules. I've been in this situation where someone needed to get by my daughter. I said, "Sweetie, would you please move so this man can get by?" My daughter looked up, and moved, and even said, "Excuse me". But the man scowled. If I'd said the same thing to my husband (Sweetie, would you please move so this man can get by?) he probably wouldn't have minded waiting the few seconds it took, but our society doesn't give children that respect. We're expected to move children immediately because the norm is that adults shouldn't have to wait a nanosecond for a child to move, but it's reasonable for an adult to wait a few seconds for another adult to move.

This is a sore spot for me.
It is for me too. I treat dd in many ways, just like I treat any other denizen of this world: with (hopefully mutual) respect, courtesy, and an openness to preferences. But part of treating her that way is about modelling that behavior for her. It's not enough, for me, to inform her that the man has to get through so please move... Knowing that dd is not always ready to just up and move for another's convenience, I offer her choices I can live with, and let her pick what she can live with; example: "Dd, that man has to get through the door. Will you please excuse yourself?" If dd were to be reluctant, or unresponsive, I'd offer her a choice (aware, at this point, that the man might be getting impatient, but taking full advantage of a teachable moment) like, "Dd, you may chose to move your body so he can get through, or mama can help you move. What's your choice?" She invariably will chose to do it herself, cementing her feelings of independance and capability.

When we teach our dc's to use manners, we're teaching them how to engage with the other people they will encounter in a way that is more likely to be successful and/or positive. I think respecting people is important, really important... children treating adults with respect is important, and something we teach in our family... But likewise, I will try to encourage others to treat my child with that respect, and teach her that she deserves that respect... by respecting her preferences myself.

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I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with sharing your feelings with your child. Some people do it in a manipulative way--and that's not good. I think it's importnat to watch your motivations.
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I agree, that part doesn't sound quite "right" to me, either.

I'd rather hear, "Listen, I am ASKING you to help, but if you say, 'no,' I'm probably going to be pissed." At least it's honest!
I'll be honest, the disappointment piece didn't sit well with me either... BUT I recognize that it's due to my experience with the word in the context it was used in my upbringing. And MANY of us have that paradigm. The truth is, in its pure form, it's just a word to describe: noun
1. a feeling of dissatisfaction that results when your expectations are not realized.


I think without all the baggage we assign it, disappointment isn't a bad word... But I think things like "I'm probably going to be pissed" are covertly (said with enough heat, overtly) hostile, and that is damaging to a child. Expectations aren't great, they create room for disappointment. I'd rather avoid feeling disappointed with dd by not having expectations. I'd rather just model that when we're done playing, it makes things a bit easier to just put our stuff away, so there isn't an even bigger mess later. And if it's an inconvenience for me, then I need to re-evaluate, because parenting a small child isn't really about convenience is it.

To help clear up some of the semantics here, I got this:
Coercion:
noun
1. the act of compelling by force of authority
2. using force to cause something to occur


There were a slew of synonomous definintions, most of which implied intimidation, threatening, and force. Grabbing a child out of harm's way is not coercive, because it does not intimidate, manipulate, or threaten that child. And, when accompnaied by an apology and explanation like, "Dd, Mama's sorry that startled you. The road is not safe. It scares Mama when you go into the road because you could be hurt very badly. Will you stay close to Mama, or can I hold your hand?"... then it's even another teachable moment, where I can offer options.

Isn't the bottom line here, that we (ideally) are teaching our children the tools they will need to function socially? We're teaching them about the virtues of respect, tolerance, patience, etc. And we're teaching them (for better or worse) how to communicate. So, is it coercive parenting to offer choices we can mutually live with? No, I don't think so. Does it strengthen a child's sense of himself to usurp his decision making power and bodily redirect him because it's inconvenient to me to wait for him to come to it in his own fashion? No, I don't think it does. But, if we're seeking balance in this, then the other person's preferences need to be respected too... the guy needs to get thru and making him wait isn't respectful; so dc gets a lesson in respect as well as his own choice in how to exercise his ability to move and his capacity to respect.

It's all about context, intention. If you're going into these interactions with your dc intending to just get through it, with no intentions, or with overt or covert hositility, then just about any track you take may be considered coercive, or invasive. But if you're looking for these teachable moments, and striving to make these interactions impactful in a positive and affirming way, even if you fall short in the moment, or have a bad day, you're on the right path... no one could fault you if you're treating your child with respect and dignity. We all have bad days, it's what you do in the moment and after the fact that defines your child's experience of your parenting...
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She doesn't have the foresight to know that roads are dangerous, she also doesn't have the foresight to want to be in a dangerous sitaution.
Exactly. She doesn't *know*. She just knows it's fun to jump off curbs. She doesn't not want to be in that situation anymore then she does want to be in that situation, because BEING in that situation has absolutely no bearing on the fact that she loves to jump off curbs. She just loves to jump off curbs!

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I think we protect small children from the world, not from themselves.
Well, the "world" is not out to get our children. Unless a truck is trying to run her down, or by some strange phenomenon electricity is shooting out of the sockets right for her, or the poisonous plants on our walk come to life like the little shop of horrors, then I am most definitely protecting her from getting in a trucks way, and protecting her from putting something into the electrical outlet, and protecting her from eating poisonous plants.
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The fact that the truck is there isn't even on her radar.
Yes, exactly! She has absolutely no clue that a truck can hurt her, therefore, how can SHE not "want" to be in that situation?

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What part of herself are you saving her from if she doesn't want to get hurt?
The part where she is incapable of making decisions that garner her safety and health. If she doesn't know that getting hit by a truck can hurt her, how can she know that she doesn't want to get hit by it? I can't imagine at 16 months that, that is even a thought process she is capable of having.

Meh, semantics. I don't care one way or another that we're basically saying the same damn thing but wording it differently. What ev..

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#136 of 173 Old 07-17-2007, 08:05 PM
 
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I've been thinking about this entire discussion with my 4 1/2 yo in mind. When I think about my 14month old it doesn't translate as easily for me.

Honestly, I don't think I'd give nearly as much thought to coercion stuff with a baby/toddler as I do with an older child who is developing a sense of his identity and ability to make choices for himself in the world. Of course, I'm not going to just willy nilly coerce my toddler into things, but I'm also not going to overthink how to keep him safe (outlet and truck examples above).

Also, babies and toddlers are a lot of physical work. As children get older, it becomes much more mentally and emotionally involved and I think that's where thinking through these interactions is particularly important.
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#137 of 173 Old 07-17-2007, 08:06 PM
 
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It's all about context, intention. If you're going into these interactions with your dc intending to just get through it, with no intentions, or with overt or covert hositility, then just about any track you take may be considered coercive, or invasive. But if you're looking for these teachable moments, and striving to make these interactions impactful in a positive and affirming way, even if you fall short in the moment, or have a bad day, you're on the right path... no one could fault you if you're treating your child with respect and dignity. We all have bad days, it's what you do in the moment and after the fact that defines your child's experience of your parenting...
I totally agree. And I think it's entirely possible to mindfully, respectfully parent whether one chooses to use coercion or not.

About the whole "disappointment" thing, I'm relieved to see that it's not sitting well with people who practice CL either. I can't really imagine a GD parent saying that to their kid (unless it was one of those unthinking, bad-day moments).

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#138 of 173 Old 07-17-2007, 08:12 PM
 
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Exactly. She doesn't *know*. She just knows it's fun to jump off curbs. She doesn't not want to be in that situation anymore then she does want to be in that situation, because BEING in that situation has absolutely no bearing on the fact that she loves to jump off curbs. She just loves to jump off curbs!
Yes. I think we're saying the same thing here.


Quote:
Well, the "world" is not out to get our children. Unless a truck is trying to run her down, or by some strange phenomenon electricity is shooting out of the sockets right for her, or the poisonous plants on our walk come to life like the little shop of horrors, then I am most definitely protecting her from getting in a trucks way, and protecting her from putting something into the electrical outlet, and protecting her from eating poisonous plants.
The world isn't out to get our children but it is set up in a way that's frequently harmful to them. So, yes, as parents we spend a great deal of time protecting our children from the world.


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Yes, exactly! She has absolutely no clue that a truck can hurt her, therefore, how can SHE not "want" to be in that situation?
"DD, if you run in the road, you will get hurt very badly. Maybe so badly that mama can't fix it." (Or, with a younger child, "Ouch! That's a big ouch!" <insert extremely pained look on the face with much flailing of arms and scary, sad tone> )

I think that's enough to tell a child she doesn't want to be in that situation.

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The part where she is incapable of making decisions that garner her safety and health. If she doesn't know that getting hit by a truck can hurt her, how can she know that she doesn't want to get hit by it? I can't imagine at 16 months that, that is even a thought process she is capable of having.
I can. Children are, IME, able to understand a lot more of what we say than we give them credit for. That's sort of an aside, thought. The real issue it that I think you might be commingling two different ideas into one here. Knowing what she does not want is not the same as being capable of making the decision that keeps that from happening to her. The latter takes foresight and much more experience than most young children have. It requires being in a development stage where you look beyond the immediate. The former does not. It only takes that instinct to survive that we all have for us to know that we don't want to experience the big ouch.
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#139 of 173 Old 07-17-2007, 08:17 PM
 
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<snip>

Also, babies and toddlers are a lot of physical work. As children get older, it becomes much more mentally and emotionally involved and I think that's where thinking through these interactions is particularly important.
I agree, and I think we get acclimated to the process and make it more 2nd nature by practicing it on the little ones. With dd, when she was just starting to really branch out (at 9 mo she was running) I practiced by admonishing her gently "Whoops! No hands. Not safe... here ya go!" in a sing-song voice, and offering safe alternatives immediately.

By 15 mo, I had my first couple of scares with light sockets and the road... and it was a test of my ability to maintain composure to be sure... but after the initial reaction, one can always go back and insulate one's reactions with awareness, empathy and communication. Yeah, I grabbed dd and swung her up and out of the road, and then after I set her down on the sidewalk in front of me and got down on one knee, I pointed to the road and said, "Not safe." Not safe=non-negotiable. Now that she's a little bit older (almost 3) she knows that phrase and that it's serious.
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#140 of 173 Old 07-17-2007, 08:18 PM
 
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Honestly, I don't think I'd give nearly as much thought to coercion stuff with a baby/toddler as I do with an older child who is developing a sense of his identity and ability to make choices for himself in the world. Of course, I'm not going to just willy nilly coerce my toddler into things, but I'm also not going to overthink how to keep him safe (outlet and truck examples above).
I agree. I did find that I had to be careful of not treating my baby as merely an extension of myself, especially when he got to that point (pretty early on) of having strong preferences. It was just so easy to pick him up and move him around that I had to be mindful I wasn't unnecessarily overriding him at every turn.

But once he got past that easily portable phase and into the "I AM HUMAN HEAR ME ROAR" phase, it did become much more difficult. His needs and wants have become more complex and his displeasure at being micro-managed and overpowered is, let's just say, a lot more apparent.
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#141 of 173 Old 07-17-2007, 08:19 PM
 
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Meh, semantics. I don't care one way or another that we're basically saying the same damn thing but wording it differently. What ev..
Yeah, mostly.

But I think the real cincher is if you're viewing the kid as needing saving from herself, then it makes sense to exert the saving over HER.

If you're view the kid as needing saving from "the world," then you might be more focused on exerting control over "the world"/NOT her.

Like if I had superhuman strength in the truck scenario, I'd rather block the truck than have to shove someone out of the way. But, I can't so I gotta move the body.

But, it just gets me out of that "it's for your own good" kind of mentality that can get kind of muddy and more coercive.
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#142 of 173 Old 07-17-2007, 08:29 PM
 
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I totally agree. And I think it's entirely possible to mindfully, respectfully parent whether one chooses to use coercion or not.

About the whole "disappointment" thing, I'm relieved to see that it's not sitting well with people who practice CL either. I can't really imagine a GD parent saying that to their kid (unless it was one of those unthinking, bad-day moments).
See, the "disappointment" thing is not the first example I've seen of things that set off my Guiltmonger Radar. I've seen a *lot* of examples of CL ways of responding to things that make me cringe because I can hear my grandmother using those *same* words... I know the delivery is key, but...

The thing is, I think that a parent can have the best intention in the world of just stating their feelings without shaming - but a child who is sensitive to that will respond to it as shaming. I can already hear the counterargument: "A child who hasn't been shamed won't experience it as that..." but I can tell you that my DD from very early on responded to *any* cue that she'd hurt someone with tears of her own and was clearly *very* upset -- when she bit me while nursing and I yelped in pain (not dramatized pain, honest OUCH), she'd look up and me and just start to sob. If I say "I'm tired and I don't want to pick up all the blocks alone," she comes running and clearly feels *bad* that I feel bad. It has been such a strikign response that I've backed off from even saying that kind of thing conversationally in front of her.

Her brother, on the other hand, if I tried any of the "If you don't clean it up, then I will have to, and that will make me tired." would shrug and say "Okay." His need to not be put out by doing something unpleasant is not outweighed by my having to do something unpleasant instead. Which I think is not unusual in kids - even those who "are born good and want to please." Wanting to please only goes so far

savithny, 42 year old moderate mom to DS Primo (age 12) and DD Secunda (age 9).

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#143 of 173 Old 07-17-2007, 09:00 PM
 
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See, the "disappointment" thing is not the first example I've seen of things that set off my Guiltmonger Radar. I've seen a *lot* of examples of CL ways of responding to things that make me cringe because I can hear my grandmother using those *same* words... I know the delivery is key, but...

The thing is, I think that a parent can have the best intention in the world of just stating their feelings without shaming - but a child who is sensitive to that will respond to it as shaming. I can already hear the counterargument: "A child who hasn't been shamed won't experience it as that..." but I can tell you that my DD from very early on responded to *any* cue that she'd hurt someone with tears of her own and was clearly *very* upset -- when she bit me while nursing and I yelped in pain (not dramatized pain, honest OUCH), she'd look up and me and just start to sob. If I say "I'm tired and I don't want to pick up all the blocks alone," she comes running and clearly feels *bad* that I feel bad. It has been such a strikign response that I've backed off from even saying that kind of thing conversationally in front of her.

Her brother, on the other hand, if I tried any of the "If you don't clean it up, then I will have to, and that will make me tired." would shrug and say "Okay." His need to not be put out by doing something unpleasant is not outweighed by my having to do something unpleasant instead. Which I think is not unusual in kids - even those who "are born good and want to please." Wanting to please only goes so far
There's a different counter-point, here... Your daughter is clearly an empathetic person. She doesn't intend to hurt you, and feels bad when she does. That's beautiful. If she feels bad that you feel bad then you've gotten a gift in that she's already done half the work in learning about compassion and justice, because it's in her nature. Backing off from being yourself and having your own feelngs won't cultivate that empathy. What would happen if you thanked her for being so kind? Can you nurture that without it feeling manipulative to you?

I think there's a line between educating and manipulating. Young kids (esp 2-7) don't have the experience, the points of reference and the wisdom to discern between emotions and label what they are, much less to have consistent control over their own. Labelling your own emotions, in addition to what you observe in them, helps them to understand the responses, desirable or not, that their behaviors will invite. I don't advocate for the emotional blackmail that goes on in dysfunctional situations... Telling a child that your happiness or approval is contingent upon their actions is just sick, and I suspect that you witnessed some of this, savithny.
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#144 of 173 Old 07-17-2007, 09:10 PM
 
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I agree, and I think we get acclimated to the process and make it more 2nd nature by practicing it on the little ones. With dd, when she was just starting to really branch out (at 9 mo she was running) I practiced by adminishing her gently "Whoops! No hands. Not safe... here ya go!" in a sing-song voice, and offering safe alternatives immediately.
I agree. I think my focus is a bit different now with two kiddos. I'm really noticing my need to learn and adjust with my older child...poor guy, he's kind of my training ground, I guess.
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#145 of 173 Old 07-17-2007, 10:56 PM
 
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Esp. if she's got some sensory issues, it might be really hard for her to have that going on. ??

I've definitely found that respecting those kind of "weird kid" issues has made them pass fairly quickly. Though your's might not if she's real sensitive to stuff like that.
Sigh. It always seems to come back to that. But you're right, I'm the adult, I'm sure I can figure out a way to get my own needs met....

Re: the disappointment example everyone is talking about....I'm just starting the NVC book but I think that it is exactly the kind of example that is shown an example of "violent" communication.

I think if you accept that no one else can make us feel anything, it is incorrect to say or imply that "because you did/didn't do X mommy is disappointed." It would be more accurate to instead say something like "when you don't help me, I feel disappointed because I was hoping to finish quickly so I could start dinner (or because I was looking forward to helping you organize your room or whatever the reason you had that expectation)" Then you could add "because I didn't have help I need some help from you to chop the onions if I'm going to get dinner on time" - or whatever. THat way you take responsibility for your own feelings/expectations and instead let the child in on your thought/feeling process. But it's important to draw a clear line between why you feel this way and their actions.

I'm not sure if this makes any sense as I'm just starting with this stuff....but it just seems like this is exactly the sort of communication that the book is talking about....and it's SO helpful to people like me that grew up with a passive agressive parent! LOL

Maybe one of you who know more about NVC can explain it better?
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#146 of 173 Old 07-17-2007, 11:07 PM
 
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I often wonder about the irritation in my voice. It's real and it's how I truly feel sometimes...irritating beyond belief. But it comes out a little barky and I don't want him to feel like he is 'irritating'. I often just say that I'm tired and cranky and I'm sorry that I've been short or whatever.

I think letting kids on how they are impacting our feelings is good but also tricky at times. It's very hard to rise above it all and clearly say "I'm beginning to feel irritated. I need a break." I'm usually pretty pissed by the time I need to say this.

This thread is getting my mind reeling...it's good, though!
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#147 of 173 Old 07-17-2007, 11:12 PM
 
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Sigh. It always seems to come back to that. But you're right, I'm the adult, I'm sure I can figure out a way to get my own needs met....
Just to offer a slightly different vantage point: In our house, I'm the one with the sensory issues. Ds, on the other hand, is a major noise-maker. He's the Rhythm King and loves to have as many different sounds and beats going at one time as he possibly can. I get over-stimulated very easily, especially when I'm stressed (which is a lot) and I often can't take more than one noisy thing going on at a time. So, if the TV on and he starts drumming, I have to ask him to choose. If we're listening to music and he has friends over and they start getting very rowdy, I have to either turn the music off (which is no fun for him because they're often doing something with the music) or ask him to go be rowdy in his room or outside.

I know it's frustrating for him and I try to accommodate as much as I can. But my sensory issues will only let me go so far.

I don't know if this is what your daughter might be feeling, too. If it is, though, then it isn't really a matter of having her preferences trump your needs. I'm sure it's still frustrating, though.
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#148 of 173 Old 07-17-2007, 11:15 PM
 
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swampangel - It's definitely tricky, isn't it? It takes a lot of self-awareness to recognize irritation before it manifests itself outwardly. That's something I could definitely stand to get better at. The barky voice comes out way too often.
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#149 of 173 Old 07-17-2007, 11:20 PM
 
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Dragonfly, I'm glad to know I'm not alone on that one! I think just remember that it is something to work on is better than not acknowledging it as a problem. Sometimes I let myself off the hook too easily - I'm exhausted, this is a tough job, I have little support during the day, etc. But none of that is ds's problem. I have to remember to continue to better myself and my responses....sometimes I wish I could just go unconscious about it all for a little while!!
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#150 of 173 Old 07-18-2007, 01:19 AM
 
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"DD, if you run in the road, you will get hurt very badly. Maybe so badly that mama can't fix it." (Or, with a younger child, "Ouch! That's a big ouch!" <insert extremely pained look on the face with much flailing of arms and scary, sad tone> )

I think that's enough to tell a child she doesn't want to be in that situation.
If that were the case, then every child on the planet would only run near the road once, because clearly their parent's reaction would "be enough to tell a child she doesn't want to be in that situation". But the crux of the issue is that their getting into that situation isn't based on wanting/not wanting to be hit by a truck.. it's what LED them to that (following a ball, chasing a butterfly, jumping off the curb).

Please explain how a 16 month is able to conclude that playing with a ball near a road is dangerous, and that if they don't *want* to be hit by a car, that they should move away from the road. Because everything I've read has indicated that at 16 months they are not developmentally "there" yet. :

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