Is some GD philosophy *too* gentle??? - Page 7 - Mothering Forums

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#181 of 321 Old 07-27-2006, 06:40 PM
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Faith, you seem to have a lot of anger.

Anyway, extinguishing my child's interest in the outlets wasn't my goal, but rather, became her CHOICE when she saw they really don't do much and that they weren't forbidden had she wanted to play with them (or continue exploring them).

You on the other hand, take the whole choice out of the mix, what with your refusal to "budge" and all.

See, "budging" isn't in our dynamic around here. No one really budges or doesn't budge. We choose to set PERSONAL boundaries (for our bodies and personal belongings, a light socket isn't a personal boundary in my book)... and we choose to work towards mutually agreeable solutions. Why is that so offensive to you?

Oh, and the *we* you asked about before refers to my husband, myself, and our daughter -- all equal "we's" around here, I wasn't speaking for others who practice a CL approach.
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#182 of 321 Old 07-27-2006, 07:04 PM
 
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CC, I'm surprised you'd let your daughter explore an electrical outlet, but obviously that's within your comfort zone. Is there anything she's not free to explore? If she picks up a cigarette butt on the ground, what do you do? I'm asking completely seriously, because this comes up a lot with Nora (who is the same age as your DD). With the cigarette butts I say "that's dirty, here's a leaf/stick/whatever to look at" - I simply redirect and when she is older I can explain to her more in detail why we leave cigarette butts on the ground. I understand her interest but I am not comfortable with her exploring them.

With the sockets (which I must confess completely freak me out) we have all of ours covered and she doesn't care about them but if she sees an uncovered socket at someone else's house she often goes right towards it and attempts to stick her finger in. I say "NO, DANGER." and this is the only thing I have ever had to do that with. I also will remove her from the area around the socket and direct her interest elsewhere.

She now has lost interest in the sockets FTMP (we were around some this morning and she did not attempt to stick her finger in and she does seem to get it now that these are not things to play with) so apparently my danger warning, while I won't say it "worked" 'cause you never know what she'll do tomorrow, has not made her MORE interested in the sockets. Do you let your daughter explore everything? If not, what is she not permitted to explore? How could I have let her explore the sockets in a safe way? The cigarette butts?

Looking for ideas here. I am always looking for a different way to approach things.
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#183 of 321 Old 07-27-2006, 07:38 PM
 
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We allow our kids to use the sockets. I'd rather teach them to do it safely than to just assume they aren't able and have them explore while I'm not around


 

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#184 of 321 Old 07-27-2006, 08:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Nora'sMama
With the sockets (which I must confess completely freak me out) we have all of ours covered and she doesn't care about them but if she sees an uncovered socket at someone else's house she often goes right towards it and attempts to stick her finger in. I say "NO, DANGER." and this is the only thing I have ever had to do that with. I also will remove her from the area around the socket and direct her interest elsewhere.
Outlets used to make me very nervous, too, but when my dd was about the same age as Nora, my dh took a screwdriver and stuck it into one of the slots to show me that they're not as dangerous as them seem. You have to complete the circuit, and especially in newer homes (after about 1980, I seem to remember), the circuit breakers would blow before anyone got hurt.

Just an aside to alleviate a little of your nervousness!

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#185 of 321 Old 07-27-2006, 08:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by captain crunchy
Okay for those who completely reject that you see your children as *selfish* or bratty* or whatever (you don't neccessarily have to use those exact words), how do you feel? I mean, when your child is expressing an opinion or preference that you won't budge on, I imagine you have to approach it with a different mindset than people who practice consensual living -- so what is that mindset?
Even though The4ofUs responded so eloquently to this, I wanted to reply as well.

I have a son who is also 14 months old. He is a very persistent, stubborn child. I admire him for that, and he has a great memory, it seems, for his age. This makes life interesting, but most things I'm able to work around. However, there are times I can't, and at those times, my mindset is this:

He has a need that is unmet. His need is very important to him. However, his need (to be swung in the hamper over and over, to bang his sister on the head with the serving spoon, to stay outside and play his whole life) will pass pretty easily. His health and overall happiness will not be impacted by the fact that his need can't be met at this time. He is too young to be drawn into the decision making process, and I am going to make the decision for him. I have empathy for him, I'm sorry he may have brief negative feelings while I redirect and distract him, but I know that he's capable of weathering this small disappointment, and that in time, he will learn that too.

I don't think his reasons aren't valid, but his experience and reasoning ability is too limited. Therefore, I will help him by making most of the major decisions for him now. As he grows, and his brain develops, I will be less and less in charge, until he is eventually able to care for himself.

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Originally Posted by captain crunchy
Okay, so you don't see them as bratty, but it leads me to believe some part of you feels their wants or needs in certain situations aren't as valid or important as yours, otherwise, we wouldn't be having this discussion.
So I guess, in summary, it doesn't have that much to do with my wants and needs being more important. Almost all of my wants and needs involve my children, their future and their happiness, anyway. I don't make him leave the park before he's ready so I can come home and watch soap operas and eat bonbons, but because I can tell he's getting sleepy and I think that getting enough sleep is crucial to healthy brain development. I don't make him stay with my sister so I can work occasionally because I love to remodel old houses, but because I want to be able to give him the opportunity to go to college.

One last thing, I previously said I don't think of my children as selfish, but in retrospect, I have to admit that I do. I don't fault them for that, I think it's developmentally appropriate. I think children have evolved to be selfish so that they can ensure their needs at met until the time when they have matured enough to be altruistic.

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#186 of 321 Old 07-27-2006, 08:36 PM
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I didn't say that other methods didn't "work" but we can all agree I think that just because something seems to "work" doesn't mean it is the way we do things (think spanking and children who *behave). I am not comparing your actions to spanking AT ALL, just simply saying that it wasn't even an issue of what "works". We don't choose to live consensually because we think it "works", that is simply one of the fringe benefits.

As far as the cigarette butt issue, we haven't encountered that yet and I suppose I will cross that bridge when I come to it. I certainly won't encourage it by any means, I suppose I would try to prevent it all together. If I saw cigarette butts on the ground that she may want to grab, I would probably focus on other fun things going on around us. If it were really important to her to pick it up though, like to the point of either pick it up for a second or have a full on power struggle, well that is why I carry purex until we find a bathroom to wash hands. Remember, consensual living is NOT about children just doing everything and anything no hold's barred without our input, information, and personal feelings on the subject. I truly believe my daughter has the best of intentions, wants to do the socially acceptable thing, and truly believe she trusts my judgement. It doesn't mean she will always listen to my input or even want it.

I prefer though, to live in the "what is" instead of the "what if". We could what if all day long, I could answer the cigarette butt question completely to everyone's satisfaction, then it would be "well, what if it were a drug addict's used needle????" or something.

There is always a "what if" to everything, and it will always be my ultimate goal (and hopefully outcome) to find a mutually agreeable solution to those issues that may arise.
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#187 of 321 Old 07-27-2006, 08:42 PM
 
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I wrote out a post (while nak too) about the butts outlets that vanished into another cyber-dimension.

I'll come back when I have time to address it again...
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#188 of 321 Old 07-27-2006, 09:18 PM
 
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I've only caught the last two pages of this heated thread. It seems that there is some interest in understanding how CL differs from GD or PD. Anyone is welcome to join the CL list: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Consen...guid=140240070 for clarification of specific questions or situations from a consensual manner.

The main issue is if there is dissent, it isn't consensual. Having an "expectation" that a child must adhere to my desire, or be made to comply, regardless of his objection, is not consensual in any way that I can conceive of the word being used. We have had some discussion of the term "collaborative" on the CL site to convey the parent considering the child's desire, but the parent still determining the outcome of the child's actions or exploration based upon *her* judgement. When each individual is acting upon his own judgement, ie. CHOICE, then their action is consensual. When made to act in a pre-defined manner, that is imposing one's will on another.

Does that help to clarify? Of course, the parent can choose his or her own actions, just as the child can. One goal of living consensually is that a positive consent or mutually agreeable solution is determined. Sometimes, our Fears preclude us from being open to the possibilities of our child's desires. I find that when I trust our child by providing my experience and information AND supporting his exploration, he makes sound choices. Sometimes those choices are different than *I*, as a separate individual, would choose for myself. Sometimes, we both learn from his autonomous choice. Never has he made a life threatening choice, nor acted with danger toward another being.

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#189 of 321 Old 07-27-2006, 09:27 PM
 
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I let my dd play with cigarette butts when she was at the age that she found them interesting I also helped her explore outlets and taught her how to use them properly. She did not get electrocuted, learn to smoke, or get any nasty diseases. I admit that the butt issue freaked me out but then dh pointed out that when we were kids, we used to sneak butts off the ground when no one was looking and play with them and even put them in our mouths! We would much rather she feel free to explore them while being supervised so we can wisk in and clean her hands afterwards than not know and have her getting all sorts of ickies while we have no idea. Also, most of the time the butts are so sunbleached from being on the ground that any ickies that were there got cooked. She quickly found them quite boring and only explored them a couple of times. At those times we had a lively discussion about germs, how gross smoking is, how littering is irresponsible, etc......

But, I almost wish I had not answered because someone is going to swoop in with a "yeah, but what about......?". We take it one thing at a time, one day at a time, one activity at a time...... And you know what? It really is not that hard. It is not a constant struggle. It is not hours of discussion every day. I have never had to pee and not been able to. Because we always consider dd's opinions and do what we can to help her get what she wants/needs, she usually trusts us when we make a suggestion. So we do not spend our days catering to her every whim.
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#190 of 321 Old 07-27-2006, 09:34 PM
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The main issue is if there is dissent, it isn't consensual.
I agree with you on almost every point Pat, but I wonder if you can clarify this for me (and everyone else). Do you mean any dissent at all? I ask because I think that is where mutually agreeable solutions come in (imo), when someone is not agreeing with whatever. If everyone agreed all the time on everything there would be no need to find mutually agreeable solutions. In other words, the dissent, by either party (me or my child's, or husband's or whoever) leads to finding a mutually agreeable solution. That is the way I understand it at least. Meaning, suppose my daughter poops (we don't practice ec). She doesn't like the feel of the poopy diaper, I want to meet her need to get out of it, but there is immediate dissent on her part to be changed. Now, I would never make her change her diaper, but when I leave it be (at the first sign of dissent), there is upsetment on her part to get out of it. That is where the mutually agreeable solution begins. Does she want to continue playing? Does she just want me to get the diaper off, wipe really quick and let her go naked? Does she want a bath (sometimes this is the case)? ...and so on (which are all fine with me). So there is no force or coercion and the ultimate *result* is something we both want (she doesn't want to sit in poopy diaper, I want to meet that need and prevent diaper rash) ... but in the whole thing, there is the first protest of not wanting it off, then coming to me when I let it be and fussing because she is poopy... know what I mean?
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#191 of 321 Old 07-27-2006, 09:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by captain crunchy
I truly believe my daughter has the best of intentions, wants to do the socially acceptable thing, and truly believe she trusts my judgement. It doesn't mean she will always listen to my input or even want it.
At 14 months you think she wants to do the socially acceptable thing? My DD doesn't even know what that is!

I appreciate the explanations re the sockets (good to know they're not as dangerous as I thought!) and the cigarette butts.

I think the "what ifs" are really the only way to establish the parameters of an idea, so I'm sorry if they are tiring, but how else are we supposed to discuss the issues?

gotta go!
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#192 of 321 Old 07-27-2006, 10:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by IncaMama
just a guess, but mightn't she have been referring to herself and her husband? the parents of her child? the child that she is only raising "in theory" since she's only 14mos old at this point? like i said to faithnj, there are many people with children older than CC's (like myself) who parent the same way. since i notice you have no signature, might i ask how old your children are that make your views on this infinitely more valid?
Yes, that was clarified, thanks. I just didn't understand. I detect a lot of snark here, and I can only think that you must have read my post in a way that I did not intend, to respond so. Tone is difficult over the internet. My kids are 4 and 1. I never said my viewpoints were more valid because of that. I do think mamas who have already been through particular stages and are committed to gentle parenting can sometimes be more helpful in offering support or advice for a particular issue (I don't feel I have much insight and would probably not respond to a thread asking about particular issues that a 7 yo is going through, for example).


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so what's your beef? that she chose a different term for her philosophy than you did? i don't get it.
No, I do think that captaincrunchy and I differ in philosophy, as she last defined it. What I quoted of her that I agreed with was that I do consider my childs needs and wants as a person, as valid as my own. However, she believes in complete noncoercion of her child. I see that as the adult, there are times when that is not desirable or even possible, in my own family.



Quote:
is this meaning to suggest that those of us who say we follow a consensual living philosophy don't have contingency plans for issues of safety, other persons, personal property, and physical needs? that these issues don't matter to us?
I don't know? : I think for me, the core issue is that I am having difficulty understanding exactly what CL is. I really do want to understand. I don't understand how one could always avoid coercion to the point that when it comes down to it, the child's needs will ultimately trump the parent's (as captaincrunchy described it), and still ensure these concerns are addressed.

As I said, in every example cited so far, there is nothing specific to CL that I can detect, that would be different from what many mamas here at MDC would do. BTDT with the outlets and cigarette butts, too. And I don't intend to set up a straw man and say "what about xyz scenario, what then?" because I don't find it productive. But the particular instances I am imagining, where noncoercion is not an option for me, are more extreme issues of safety for an older child who cannot be redirected or thwarted by simple babyproofing. Or, in particular, where the needs and wants of a tired mama (who constantly has to pee! LOL), a baby, and a preschooler conflict.

IMo that is the issue with this whole thread--that some of us are not understanding where the other is coming from.
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#193 of 321 Old 07-27-2006, 10:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Yooper
I let my dd play with cigarette butts when she was at the age that she found them interesting I also helped her explore outlets and taught her how to use them properly. She did not get electrocuted, learn to smoke, or get any nasty diseases. I admit that the butt issue freaked me out but then dh pointed out that when we were kids, we used to sneak butts off the ground when no one was looking and play with them and even put them in our mouths! We would much rather she feel free to explore them while being supervised so we can wisk in and clean her hands afterwards than not know and have her getting all sorts of ickies while we have no idea. Also, most of the time the butts are so sunbleached from being on the ground that any ickies that were there got cooked. She quickly found them quite boring and only explored them a couple of times. At those times we had a lively discussion about germs, how gross smoking is, how littering is irresponsible, etc......

But, I almost wish I had not answered because someone is going to swoop in with a "yeah, but what about......?". We take it one thing at a time, one day at a time, one activity at a time...... And you know what? It really is not that hard. It is not a constant struggle. It is not hours of discussion every day. I have never had to pee and not been able to. Because we always consider dd's opinions and do what we can to help her get what she wants/needs, she usually trusts us when we make a suggestion. So we do not spend our days catering to her every whim.
Ahh, thank you, Yooper!

This is almost exactly what I had typed that got lost... with the exception that we didn't pick up the butts, but looked at them and poked them with sticks, and talked about germs, smoking, littering, and all. It was a great opportunity for discussion. The fascination faded fast.


About the outlets. I sorta had little choice in the matter as DS started around 5-6 months defeating every safety device I could find. (He's extremely mechanically adept.) So it was inevitable that I faced the reality that he felt a tremendous need (starting before 1 year) to use the outlets like adults. (He had a serious vaccuum cleaner obsession going on then... ) He felt very excluded from the group and seemingly untrusted by us if he was told he couldn't participate in plugging the vaccuum cleaner in. So I bit the bullet and we practiced together until it was quite easy for him.

He has always shown fantastic judgement, control, and used the plugs with great care. For that matter, it's a consistent trait of his to use care when he does everything. For example, I have never made him sit in a shopping cart, and he has never caused any raucus or damage ever, though he loves to explore everything on the store shelves. Even the tea service section at Homegoods! : He investigates it all with great care, and I don't have to worry about it.

Perhaps it's the personality, but DS has never accepted anything less that being treated like a competent human who can use tools correctly, and who moves about the world like other humans. He's very sensitive to it and lets me know fast if I ever condescend to him. It's been this way from birth, I swear.

Anyway, Nora'sMama, I hope this explains a little further about tots wanting to do socially acceptable things...
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#194 of 321 Old 07-27-2006, 10:55 PM
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I don't understand how one could always avoid coercion to the point that when it comes down to it, the child's needs will ultimately trump the parent's (as captaincrunchy described it)
Hold the phone lol .. This reads to me that when a mutually solution can't be reached, we always err on the side of the child and *give in* to her. I hope I didn't imply that. I basically meant in my posts that since I am older, more mature, more experienced, and more *wordly*, hopefully more patient than that of a one year old, that at times instead of even looking for a mutually agreeable solution, I am at peace with going with what she wants for time time being --- which actually, is mutually agreeable when you get down to it because I don't feel angry or mean spirited like I just "gave in at my expense" but rather feel at peace with knowing that I am modeling for her compassion and a healthy amount of selflessness.

This doesn't mean this happens all the time, or even a lot. We find solutions which are mutually agreeable to everyone involved almost all the time. In fact I can't really think of something that was not mutually agreeable except when it related to my personal boundaries and right to be safe in my body -- we had a biting phase which is on its way out and one of my personal boundaries is that I have a right to not be bitten to the point of pain. She can bite anything else, or even give me *love nibbles* (think soft, non painful bites) but my personal boundary is that I deserve not to be hurt. We even found a mutually agreeable solution in that case too, because I felt that there was a need not being addressed (the biting usually happened when she wanted my attention immediately, or when she was tired/hungry/angry --
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#195 of 321 Old 07-27-2006, 11:06 PM
 
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CC, what was the solution you hit on for the biting thing? When Nora bites me (usually a playful bite when she is done nursing) I tell her I don't like to be bit, that it's an "owie" (I do the sign for pain) on my breast, and then if she does it again I put her down to play or pick her up and go do something else. I try not to make a big deal out of it but, like you, I'm not OK with being bitten (I can't imagine who is! ). What I do seems to work fine (i.e. she does it less and less and has never gotten upset in the least when I do it) so to me that is a mutually agreeable solution.

Regarding the word "work" as in "what works or doesn't"...you said you are not primarily concerned with what works but with finding mutually agreeable solutions. But that is pretty muich what I mean when I say something "works"...I mean I have found a solution to an issue that has arisen.
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#196 of 321 Old 07-27-2006, 11:18 PM
 
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I suppose some may tell me that because this is my first post ever on MDC, I am prying. For that I am sorry. I have been lurking (reading and learning and applying what I've learned) on MDC for years now, but I never did feel comfortable posting. I have been slightly mainstreem (gently though), but mostly AP with GD. CL does interest me a lot and this thread has perked my curiosity and I have lots of questions.

What scares me about CL is the the problems I may face in future with my children if I decide to parent that way. I have many questions about how sucessful CL is for preteens and teenagers. I understand what CL is. But, may I ask you CL'ers how you would deal (uh? cant think of a good word) with the following situations? I am not trying to debate or say your way is wrong, I am just trying to educate myself so I can make the best decisions for myself and my son. These questions keep popping up in my head, and I'm curious how a CL parent would handle it.

What if you have a 15 year old and they wanted to hang out with kids at school that are known drug addicts? What if you could see the path they were heading towards, and it seemed very dark and dangerous? What if they disagreed with you and insisted on maintaing the friendship and hanging out unsupervised? If what I understand about CL is true, then it would NOT be consensual to stop your child from that path. Or am I wrong?

What if your 16 yr old decided to marry? What if you knew she/he was not at all ready for marriage, and perhaps had picked someone that was not healthy for her (ex: abusive, alcoholic, ect). Would you try to stop her/him? In most states he/she would need a parent signature...

What if your child at 14 started smoking and refused to listen to reason? What does a CL parent do then?

PLEASE don't think I'm trying to start a big debate. I admire all the mothers on MDC. I am just wanting to learn more about the differenting parenting styles. Thanks in advance.
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#197 of 321 Old 07-27-2006, 11:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Pat
The main issue is if there is dissent, it isn't consensual.
Captain Crunchy,

Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I meant dissent about the decision that is implemented, not the initial dissent that leads to creating a mutually agreeable solution.

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#198 of 321 Old 07-27-2006, 11:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MissRubyandKen
I do not think of consensual living as being permissive. When I think of a permissive parent a few things come to mind. A parent who doesn't involve theirselves in what their children do, doesn't guide them through life. A parent who doesn't explain to their children when their behavior is negatively affecting them or someone else. A parent who is not comfortable expressing their own boundaries and often feels walked all over because of it. A parent who alternates between being a doormat and a very resentful, angry person. Any and all of these things come to mind when I think of permissiveness.

Consensual living on the other hand brings to mind a parent who is comfortable expressing their boundaries, limits, feelings, wants, and needs and exploring other individuals' too. A parent who will guide their children through social and community involvment. A parent who will tell their children when their behavior is negatively affecting themselves, someone else, or property. A parent who guides and explores with their children this world, its peoples, animals, plants, etc. discussing interdependence as well as independence. And a parent who is as willing to look at theirselves and their behavior and how it affects others and learn. A parent who is comfortable telling their children when they don't feel respected and comfortable hearing their children express when they don't feel respected too. A parent who trusts and expects their children to care about their feelings, wants, and needs. I know there is quite a bit more that comes to mind for me, but I'll leave it for now.

I just don't get the comparison of consensual and permissive. They wouldn't go hand in hand.



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#199 of 321 Old 07-28-2006, 12:43 AM
 
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GearBear...

I'll dig up a couple of old threads that may address what you are thinking about. I'm on borrowed time right now...

It may be tomorrow AM...
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#200 of 321 Old 07-28-2006, 12:55 AM
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Originally Posted by scubamama
Captain Crunchy,

Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I meant dissent about the decision that is implemented, not the initial dissent that leads to creating a mutually agreeable solution.

Pat
No problem Pat, I wasn't at all trying to be difficult That sentence threw me for a loop for a minute and also I was afraid others may have had the same initial reaction.

I am going to sleep now though...so....very...tired....but I am sure this discussion will continue tomorrow. I wanted to address the other question about teens and living consensually.
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#201 of 321 Old 07-28-2006, 01:20 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Nora'sMama
At 14 months you think she wants to do the socially acceptable thing? My DD doesn't even know what that is!

I appreciate the explanations re the sockets (good to know they're not as dangerous as I thought!) and the cigarette butts.

I think the "what ifs" are really the only way to establish the parameters of an idea, so I'm sorry if they are tiring, but how else are we supposed to discuss the issues?

gotta go!
The cigarette butt situation is a perfect example of why this assumption works for my family. My DS became fascinated with cigarette butts, and all trash, around that age. Yooper and Aira already discussed this, but I wanted to spell out the philosophical differences I see with this example.
When my DS spotted a cigarette butt and was interested, I would squat down and get interested with him. Say something along the lines of, "Oh, a cigarette butt. That should be in the trash. But if we touch it we might get sick. Let's use this paper to pick it up." (scrap paper=whatever old receipt I have in my pocket )
I'd pick the butt up with the paper, put it in the trash. Next time we saw one and he'd get interested, I'd hand him a paper. (He'd pick it up as best he could. I'd pick him up so he could reach the trash can.) If I didn't have a piece of scrap paper at the time, I'd tell him that I didn't and pick it up and then wash my hands, or pick it up with a stick, or something that would not only allow for but actively facilitate his interest in that.

Here's the philosophical difference: I don't need to prevent him from doing things that would get him hurt [e.g., "no, don't touch"]. I need to show him how to do the things he wants to do safely. We're on the same team. So far, he accepts this. He may not always (he's only 18 months.) I get that.

He always seems interested in doing the socially acceptable thing. When it comes to something like sharing with other toddlers, sometimes that desire gets trumped by a need for a toy, of course. But even then the results are always better if I come from the assumption that he actually wants a solution that helps everyone. Just tonight, he was playing with two other toddlers and I saw this happen. I don't want to blather on too much, though, so I'll leave that story to another time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by aira
Perhaps it's the personality, but DS has never accepted anything less that being treated like a competent human who can use tools correctly, and who moves about the world like other humans. He's very sensitive to it and lets me know fast if I ever condescend to him. It's been this way from birth, I swear.
Ditto.




ETA: quote correction!
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#202 of 321 Old 07-28-2006, 03:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by GearBear
I suppose some may tell me that because this is my first post ever on MDC, I am prying. For that I am sorry. I have been lurking (reading and learning and applying what I've learned) on MDC for years now, but I never did feel comfortable posting. I have been slightly mainstreem (gently though), but mostly AP with GD. CL does interest me a lot and this thread has perked my curiosity and I have lots of questions.

What scares me about CL is the the problems I may face in future with my children if I decide to parent that way. I have many questions about how sucessful CL is for preteens and teenagers. I understand what CL is. But, may I ask you CL'ers how you would deal (uh? cant think of a good word) with the following situations? I am not trying to debate or say your way is wrong, I am just trying to educate myself so I can make the best decisions for myself and my son. These questions keep popping up in my head, and I'm curious how a CL parent would handle it.

What if you have a 15 year old and they wanted to hang out with kids at school that are known drug addicts? What if you could see the path they were heading towards, and it seemed very dark and dangerous? What if they disagreed with you and insisted on maintaing the friendship and hanging out unsupervised? If what I understand about CL is true, then it would NOT be consensual to stop your child from that path. Or am I wrong?

What if your 16 yr old decided to marry? What if you knew she/he was not at all ready for marriage, and perhaps had picked someone that was not healthy for her (ex: abusive, alcoholic, ect). Would you try to stop her/him? In most states he/she would need a parent signature...

What if your child at 14 started smoking and refused to listen to reason? What does a CL parent do then?

PLEASE don't think I'm trying to start a big debate. I admire all the mothers on MDC. I am just wanting to learn more about the differenting parenting styles. Thanks in advance.
The main thing that comes to my mind is that there ae few situations that are really as "cut and dry" as the hypotheticals you mentioned.

CL is not about directly controling your child's actions. "Why" is the most important evaluation in our lives. Why is the 14 year old smoking, why is the 15 year old hanging out with these people? Why do you believe that they are drug addicts? Why don't you think the 14 year old should smoke? Why don't you want the 16 year old to get married? Why would you give your consent for them to get married if it was not agreeable to you.

I had the usual run of drugs when I was young and with my own parents they definatly could not tell who were the druggies and who were clean. They generally followed the guidelines of "Long hair and messy clothes = Druggie" This is particularly frustrating to a teen trying to stay sober, who is not allowed to hang out with any of his strait friends because of how they are percieved, but is encouraged to hang out with the real drug users because they are polite.

Here would be my actions on this matter:
Invite the "druggie" friends into my house. Make them pizza rolls. Let the have run of the playstation.

Offer a deal with the 14 year old that you will do something else of her choice (reasonable) to make her "cool" to her "friends" An $80 pair of designer jeans may cost a week's worth of groceries, but they will fulfil the childs need to be "cool" and they will fulfil your need to protect the child. I know you can't bribe forever, but I feel that early teens are so desperate to fit in and stand out that all you can do is foster the most healthy ways to do that. And if you smoke and your child begins to smoke, you should know who should be the first to quit

The 16 year old marriage thing would be the toughest to deal with and I do not have a great answer for that one except you have to get to the bottom of what the child is after. Love? Lust? Independance? Rebellion?

You cannot address the problem if you only work on the symptoms.

14 year old smoking, 15 year old with the "bad crowd", 16 year old wanting Marriage consent. --- These are not problems. These are symptoms.
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#203 of 321 Old 07-28-2006, 09:55 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Emmom
Here's the philosophical difference: I don't need to prevent him from doing things that would get him hurt [e.g., "no, don't touch"]. I need to show him how to do the things he wants to do safely. We're on the same team. So far, he accepts this. He may not always (he's only 18 months.) I get that.
ITA.


Just to point out... That second quote was me, not yooper.


---

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaggyDaddy
14 year old smoking, 15 year old with the "bad crowd", 16 year old wanting Marriage consent. --- These are not problems. These are symptoms.
This really is the crux of the matter.

And communication. What do the kids really need? And the answer is never more control, punishment or authority - or those things disguised with the euphamism "discipline". It always requires more listening and kind probing into their feelings.

More when I have a chance...
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#204 of 321 Old 07-28-2006, 11:44 AM
 
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great posts, shaggydaddy, aira, and emmom.
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#205 of 321 Old 07-28-2006, 12:25 PM
 
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And communication. What do the kids really need? And the answer is never more control, punishment or authority - or those things disguised with the euphamism "discipline". It always requires more listening and kind probing into their feelings.
ITA. I have issues with the theory that some children BEG for someone else's idea of control to be exerted over them, or punishment. Not even the child of a permissive parent would need these things. What they would need would be an invovled parent who cares, guides, and expresses a healthy amount of emotions, wants, needs, and boundaries for the child to learn how to do those things themself with normalcy and feel loved and safe.

I obviously have never parented a teenager, but similar questions have definitely come to mind. I do not feel that being controlling and disallowing their freedom of choice would solve any of the situations brought up. It seems the same things would apply as when they were younger. Educate them about their choices, talk about your feelings and listen to their's, etc.
I too would have the child invite the friends over if I suspected drug use, regularly even. Appearances and rumors can be deceiving. And to me the most important thing to find out would be what drug are they using if they are using. Then I could proceed to gather info about that drug for my child if it was seriously something to be concerned about.
For the teen who wanted to marry again educating them on their choices and finding out what the feel they could gain by being married right now this minute that they could not wait a couple years for.
And if someone was 'abusive' (I'm imagining a man's fists on my daughter's face and body) I would intervene. This would be life threatening. I don't imagine dissent could stop my momma rage from boiling over, but who knows, I hope to never have btdt on this one. I'm having a hard time imagining a scenario without me 'abusing' the young man, and I am not violent, so wouldn't that be a pickle?
And the 14 yr old smoking? What are you going to do? I'm sure by this age you have already educated them on this choice. And as ShaggyDad said if you smoke you should be the first to quit. I was that 14 yr old by the way and all of my parental role models smoked. They never DID anything about it. What could they have done that wouldn't have driven a wedge between us? And you know what? I quit smoking when I turned 18 and they are ALL still smoking. BY CHOICE and on my own time. I knew when I started it was a habit that stunk and had health risks. I also knew that I enjoyed the feel of it and I would quit the habit, I had no intention to smoke for the rest of my life. Now I'm pleased to say my kids live in a smokefree home.

ETA- the abuse was a pretty wicked 'what if' I'd rather NOT have thought about this morning

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#206 of 321 Old 07-28-2006, 12:32 PM
 
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I am not a CL parent, but I think the answer that I have come up with for myself for your questions, Gearbear, for any parent---it is not so much a question of WWYD with a teenager doing those things if you were xyz type of parent.

I think the key is, that by the time they are that age, even if you are an authoritarian parent, there is not a whole lot you can do if a kid really wants to go down those types of paths--meaning, if you are a stricter parent, you are not going to totally be able to prevent a 14 or 15 year old from doing these things. I worry about those things, too, and I think the key is that I need to have a strong and connected relationship with my kids, that I work hard to maintain as they grow. I don't think you need to be CL to have that. I think you can be much more toward the authoritative end of things even than I am, and have that. If you have the relationship, hopefully the kids will be more open to your POV and guidance. I could be wrong, but I don't think CL would be saying they would just go ahead and buy the 14 yo the cigarettes and let them smoke in the house. But a 14 yo that wants to smoke--unless you keep them in a cave, I imagine they can find a way to smoke behind your back, if they want to.

As far as the 16 year old getting married, I wouldn't sign for that. I am not "CL", but it seems to me that the word "consensual" is key, there. If it is is not agreeable to the parent, it wouldn't be consensual.
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#207 of 321 Old 07-28-2006, 12:35 PM
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Regarding the teen issue, I agree that some of those things are symptoms of bigger *problems* but not always. For instance if my 16 year old wanted to marry, maybe she is really in love? I don't know as I would be jumping for joy but I don't think love is impossible at 16. Secondly, if it were illegal in our state to marry at 16 without parental consent, well, that is where consent comes in. I wouldn't outright refuse not knowing the whole story, but if we are seeking *mutually agreeable solutions* it is not mutually agreeable to me to sign a paper allowing my 16 year old to marry and it bears repeating that one is actually allowed to have personal boundaries while practicing consensual living.

However, if my daughter wanted to marry at 16, while some parents may be dismissive (that's ridiculous, no way!) or punitive (you can't see that boy again, he's crazy!), or coercive (you really don't want to marry him, you are too young/immature etc) --- I would approach it like I approach my 14 month old now, in terms of there being a need that isn't being met. Does she feel she can see the boy whenever she wants if they marry? Does she want to solidify their commitment? Maybe we could have a commitment ceremony? Does she just feel so strongly about this boy that she feels the only way to show it is through marriage? Do I know the boy? Does he treat her well? What kind of parents does he have? Do they respect my boundaries and comfort zone as much as I attempt to respect theirs (the boy and my daughter I mean)? Is my daughter pregnant and scared that we won't support her and feels marriage is the only way? (I hope we don't raise her to ever feel like that)... I mean there are a million things. I would try to get to the bottom of why. I wouldn't so much explore why she wanted to marry him (though I would do that too) but why it has to be NOW, at 16.

As far as drugs and the like, hanging out with people who do drugs isn't exactly a 100% that a person will do drugs. I smoked a lot of pot in my day....man, a lot.. but I was around people who smoked pot way before I ever smoked it, and even when I did smoke, I was around people who were doing *harder* drugs and I never got into it. I never recall being pressured or feeling pressured, it was more like "it's here if you want to try it" type thing -- but no afterschool special type situation of "'cmon...don't you wanna be COOOOOOOL cooool coool ooool ooool" (that's a 70's echo effect for those wondering).

Raising our daughter the way we have chosen goes a long way towards prevention. I am not suggesting that people who raise their children in this manner will NEVER have children who do drugs/get into *bad* crowds/have issues etc .... you can never say never....

However, I feel that some of the most prevelant reasons for becoming involved with drugs/abusive relationships (whatever else) stems from needs that aren't met. Feelings of loss of control, feelings of isolation, feelings of wanting so desperately to fit in somewhere, so desperately to be heard, to be loved, to be taken seriously, to be accepted, that one seeks situations where they can feel all those things -- even if it is temporary and not genuine.

If one grows up in a home (imo) where their opinion is always valid, their voice always heard, their body, spirit, desires, needs and wants always addressed, honored, respected ---in a home where they are trusted, comfortable in voicing dissent and that dissent is taken seriously, where they are not punished or shamed or berated or hit or yelled at or timed-out....not manipulated, dumbed down or talked down, where they know they can feel free to discuss anything without sanctions imposed.... while it may not entirely erase the possibility of the above scenarios completely, goes a long way to preventing them.
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#208 of 321 Old 07-28-2006, 12:45 PM
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I have been thinking and feeling about all this stuff for a couple days now, and have so appreciated all the careful and articulate posts. I have not posted about this topic (CL) before -- our family is also committed to CL behavior, is composed of 3 people, 1 of whom is still a toddler. GearBear's post prompts me to respond.

"What if you have a 15 year old and they wanted to hang out with kids at school that are known drug addicts? What if you could see the path they were heading towards, and it seemed very dark and dangerous? What if they disagreed with you and insisted on maintaing the friendship and hanging out unsupervised? If what I understand about CL is true, then it would NOT be consensual to stop your child from that path. Or am I wrong?

What if your 16 yr old decided to marry? What if you knew she/he was not at all ready for marriage, and perhaps had picked someone that was not healthy for her (ex: abusive, alcoholic, ect). Would you try to stop her/him? In most states he/she would need a parent signature...

What if your child at 14 started smoking and refused to listen to reason? What does a CL parent do then?"

The main things that I see in these examples are these: worry that we won't be able to cope with the situations our children are faced with (a normal human worry), and the insidious fallacy that CL/GD parents end up having to accept a slippery slope of horrible destructive choices by our children. (This fallacy is ingrained in our culture, and I slip into this thinking myself, so I am NOT pointing fingers!)

I think all the examples above involve *safety* of children (assuming we really have the correct info -- the friends really are using, the fiance really is abusive, etc). The easiest one is the marrying example -- we can refuse to sign a paper, but not so much to withhold authoritative consent as to say, "I cannot comfortably participate in a situation that feels dangerous to me." I am not sure what I would do in the other 2 situations, but I try to remain confident that I will find a way to communicate with my kid and keep him safe.

I also might totally act imperfectly and try to put my foot down! "No, you will NOT see those kids; no, I'm flushing those smokes and I'd better not ever see them again!" But I am pretty sure that if I *did* slip up in these ways, I'd go back and work on things according to established family patterns of CL.

I have a lot of sympathy for those feeling they might not be able to really carry out CL over time. I myself was actually raised in a mainly consensual household, but the larger culture also has an impact, and the cumulative effect of decades of schooling and employment makes itself felt. Not most days, but some days, I find that my first reaction to my son's behavior is to impose my will, discount his motives, "put my foot down" for "his own good," etc -- and then as a philosophical bonus, beat myself up about it later! And there is an occasional fear about unforseeable events too, just as in GearBear's post . . .

So in addition to all the philosophical underpinnings of creating the respectful reality I want to live in etc, one thing I remind myself of on difficult days is: CL IS THE MOST SUCCESSFUL STRATEGY I HAVE TRIED. I am often a grumpy, shy, easily triggered person, and I spent a lot of years indulging in ways of interacting that just always left some part of me unsatisfied. Once I committed to trying mutual consent and assumption of good motives, all of my relationships improved immensely. Maybe I get my first idea of "my way" less often, but I am calmer, I feel emotionally fuller, I am safer and gentler, and I am a good mother and partner. So it is both a moral issue and a practical life strategy for me, and I do have to work at it sometimes. I admire those to whom it seems to come more naturally, and am even secretly a little jealous!

Well I am rambling, partly because my son just learned to say f*** when I dropped something on my foot, and says it delightedly and begs for ME to repeat it, all of which is totally fine with me, but we are going to the inlaws' this weekend and I worry that my sister-in-law will think a little less of me for it. (She's lovely and we like each other, but she's more authority-based in her discipline of our nephew, etc . . . you all know the temporary feelings of insecurity, right?
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#209 of 321 Old 07-28-2006, 02:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by CC
I never recall being pressured or feeling pressured, it was more like "it's here if you want to try it" type thing -- but no afterschool special type situation of "'cmon...don't you wanna be COOOOOOOL cooool coool ooool ooool" (that's a 70's echo effect for those wondering).
:

Yeah, me too. I never got into it, but I hung out with lots of pot smokers and users of harder stuff. I never got pressured - in fact, to the contrary every one of my friends and acquaintences respected that I wasn't interested and tried to shield me from it. I thought it was sweet, though I was never offended by their habits or anything. I always knew that they were looking for an escape too. I just used other things to escape like music and sports.

Well, I never knew anyone who was stealing or hurting people to get the drugs... I have no experience with that. But I would imagine that it still applies that one must protect their boundaries with those kids too, just like in every other case.

Getting tough with kids dosn't help IMO.
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#210 of 321 Old 07-28-2006, 03:26 PM
 
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Thank you everyone for your responses to my questions. You really gave me a lot to think about and made a lot of sense. I appreciate you taking the time to tell me your point of view.

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