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WuWei 08-02-2006 04:37 PM

Consensual living is a process, a philosophy, a mindset by which we seek to live in harmony with our families and community. It involves finding mutually agreed upon solutions, where the needs of both parties are not only considered but addressed. Everyone’s wants and needs are equally valid, regardless of age. Conflicting wants or needs are discussed and mutually agreeable solutions are created or negotiated which meet the underlying needs of all parties.

Beginners to this concept are welcome to join this list, living consensually is an ongoing process of discovery. We ask that you be open to or on the path toward living consensually. We hope to explore the issues by asking questions, and sharing our experiences. Parenting and partnering is a sensitive issue for many people but we are all here to practice this process, and can do so if the environment remains one of respect, compassion, exploration and understanding.

Here is a link to the Consensual Living yahoogroup:


P.S. UA reminder, copied from sticky at top of forum:
7- Posting to discuss the statements or behavior of a member or members on the board, or to criticize another discussion on the boards. Such issues should be directed to the moderator or administrator privately and not made a subject of discussion in a thread.
ETA: Consensual Living book list:

WuWei 08-02-2006 04:52 PM

Recently, I have seen a lot of discussion advocating and espousing Consensual Living. I am delighted! I'm pasting below something that Anna and I worked on related to Consensual Living. Not a definitive work, by any means but it may help people see where we are coming from related to CL. We'd love to discuss this more here, or on the CL list.

Creating a Climate for Consensual Living

Consensual living is a process, a philosophy, a mindset by which we seek to live in harmony with our families and community. It involves finding mutually agreed upon solutions, where the needs of both parties are not only considered but addressed. Everyone’s wants and needs are equally valid, regardless of age. Conflicting wants or needs are discussed and mutually agreeable solutions are created or negotiated which meet the underlying needs of all parties.

There are several key factors that help create an environment where consensual living can thrive. First, there needs to be a climate of respect and trust. Trust in a child’s ability to know their body and know their mind. Respect for their feelings as true, valid and important. If a child feels safe and comfortable they can explore their feelings and are more interested in understanding the feelings of those around them. There is no room for punishments or rewards in this environment. Punishments and rewards are really just tools of manipulation and when you are working together as a team for shared solutions there is no need to manipulate.

It is critical to have the belief that there really are solutions. In fact, the reality is that there are often many solutions. It is just a matter of hitting on the one that works for everyone. That process can be broken down into a few steps but will become more fluid and simple the more it is practiced. The first step is to identify the underlying needs. Often there is a stated need or desire. When in conflict, it helps to go deeper. It may just be that the two stated needs are in conflict on the surface. When you get to the underlying needs, typically there are several ways they can be met. When you have the underlying needs on the table then new alternative solutions are more apparent.

For children and adults both, understanding how biological needs play into problem solving is critical as well. The short cut for this is the much talked about HALT theory – Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. When we are hungry or tired it is hard to see beyond our immediate needs, our head is not clear to be creative, this goes for kids too. When we are angry about something, that anger can become misdirected and interfere with communication. The same for loneliness, our behavior can really be a call for attention, which is often a need for engagement. So when we keep in mind that the underlying need may be biological it helps us find solutions more quickly. Sometimes stopping to address the biological need is all that is required to get us back on track.

At times, conflicts can be heated. There can be a lot of emotion behind requests. In those situations, it is often helpful to begin with some basic communication skills like validation and reflective listening. Both of these tools help us to explore the underlying needs. Validation is the simple process of acknowledging what someone is saying with no judgment, “you really wish that ...”, with no “buts” attached. Often times after a few minutes of validation the person feels free to move forward to more in depth communication, but sometimes validation is all that is required to resolve a situation. Reflective listening is similar but it used more for clarification, “what I hear you saying is that you don’t want to be here now”. This allows the person to hear how what they are saying is being received. At that point, they can agree and feel validated/heard or can restate to make their point more clear.

Once everyone feels heard and validated you can move to “I” messages to state your own needs for a given situation. That gives the person you are talking to a chance to hear your feelings. Sometimes it is easy to fall into “you” mode: “you make me. . .”; but if you can stay with the “I” statements the lines of communication remain open.

Another helpful tool is to assign positive intent. When we look at someone with whom we are in conflict, sometimes we feel they are deliberately trying to thwart us. If you can shift that paradigm and begin to apply positive intent, it again leads to more open communication. This involves believing that everyone is doing the best they can right now, that they want to be a part of a solution and that they aren’t attempting to stop your needs from being met. Everyone wants harmony to return.

After everyone involved is feeling heard and understood, you can move on to the creative problem solving step. This can look different each time. Often it is a series of ideas being thrown out by each party. Each idea is accepted, rejected or modified to fit the underlying needs which have been communicated. This often requires “thinking outside the box” always keeping in mind the underlying needs. At times, we enter this step with preconceived notions about how it should turn out. When we can release this, we are able to access the full range of possible solutions. Children have an amazing gift for problem solving and tend not to fall into that trap. Let them lead the way when you are feeling stumped.

While, on paper, the process seems a bit laborious, once a commitment is made to live consensually, the fun begins. When your energy is used to work together as a team to meet everyone’s needs, you create an environment of mutual respect, consideration and joy. The skills gained by daily practice transfers to all kinds of situations where people come together and reach an impasse. Each time, it becomes easier and easier, the tools become habit and over time for 99% of situations solutions will be found quickly. For the 1% of occasions where it takes a while, the time will be spent in positive connection with the other person, not locked in a negative, adversarial exchange. As everyone becomes secure in the fact that their needs will indeed be met and honored, they are able to branch out and enjoy engaging in the process of helping others meet their needs. It becomes a fluid partnership, a beautiful dance of connection.

Anna Brown

aira 08-02-2006 06:46 PM

I'm here for roll call!

captain crunchy 08-02-2006 09:17 PM

Count me in! Woot woot

abbieandlady 08-02-2006 10:42 PM

I'm intrigued. Can you explain how this is different than non-violent communication?

Emmom 08-02-2006 11:55 PM

I'd just like to ask, who else here had a process that went like this:

1)These consensual living people are totally nuts

2) That CL life must be nice for them, but it's just not realistic in my life

3) I'm getting some great ideas from consensual living. What a great tool to have in my toolbox! (ever-present parenting toolbox analogy. wouldn't toolbelt make more sense... at least for those of us chasing toddlers?)

4) I really aspire to incorporate consensual living into my life as much as possible. It's a nice voice to have in my head, but I'm not patient enough to actually try it.

5) OK. I give up. I'm going to try to live in a consensual household, even I don't always succeed.

6) You know, this isn't harder. It's easier...

Anyone else?

Thanks Pat and Anna for changing my life!!!! :

RootBeerFloat 08-03-2006 12:48 AM

Originally Posted by Emmom
I'd just like to ask, who else here had a process that went like this:

1)These consensual living people are totally nuts

2) That CL life must be nice for them, but it's just not realistic in my life

3) I'm getting some great ideas from consensual living. What a great tool to have in my toolbox! (ever-present parenting toolbox analogy. wouldn't toolbelt make more sense... at least for those of us chasing toddlers?)

4) I really aspire to incorporate consensual living into my life as much as possible. It's a nice voice to have in my head, but I'm not patient enough to actually try it.

5) OK. I give up. I'm going to try to live in a consensual household, even I don't always succeed.

6) You know, this isn't harder. It's easier...

Anyone else?

Thanks Pat and Anna for changing my life!!!! :
AMEN!!! Although I seem to be moving in all 6 stages simultaneously.

Here for roll call and glad to see it. Thanks so much.

super kitty 08-03-2006 02:42 AM


irinam 08-03-2006 03:15 AM

Cool !

So-o-o, what should we discuss first? CL with little kiddos? CL with teens? CL with SO's?

I am ready

francesca'smom 08-03-2006 04:18 AM

This sounds kind of like what I already aspire to do, but I never realized there was a name for it. I am totally fascinated, I'd like to join and listen in.

captain crunchy 08-03-2006 10:47 AM

Cool to see an active thread already!

I dunno what to talk about first either

thismama 08-03-2006 10:51 AM

I'm lurking, coz I'm not sure if I think consensual living is practical in my life, but I am very interested in the concept. If I can find a way to do it without feeling like a martyr, I'm all over it.

Yooper 08-03-2006 11:02 AM

Count me in

I post very sporatically because I work a lot some weeks so forgive me if I am here then gone on a regular basis.

We have hit some pretty challenging times with my 3 yo lately. We seem to be coming out of it but my conviction to CL has been tested. Dh and I goofed up a bit and it showed Everyone chalked it up to the "terrible 3's" but it is clear that family stress brought it on. Has anyone else had to go through a healing time with regards to CL? We are working to regain dd's trust.

irinam 08-03-2006 03:51 PM

All right. In the attempt to start a discussion I am copy/pasting a few posts that got on the tangent in the "Is some GD philosophy *too* gentle" thread

Originally Posted by aira
ITA sledg.

Sometimes DH beats me over the head with the "being heard" thing. (I mean that totally figuratively!) But he sets up complex requirements that he says are the only way to make him feel heard, and to me they are just tangential demands of a tantruming child. I get that, and I want to help the tantruming child. But the dominant actions really speak to my victim self, and I lose all ability to actually form words or verablize at all. Ironically, what he wants most to feel safe is excessive verbiage. So we set each other off.

One solution we have found is that if I can remember in the moment, I make a sign and hold it up. Doesn't always happen, and even then, doesn't always dissipate the tension. But it's a start.

Oh well, sorry to go so far OT...
Originally Posted by sledg
Ah, that's tough. Communication is so simple yet it's definitely not easy. It's especially hard when a person's actions or demands trigger older issues.

I feel really vulnerable and stupid saying this, but it's my kids who trigger my older issues. That is what makes parenting so difficult for me. I actually worked out a hand signal with my kids, similar to what you do with your dh-for their safety and for all our peace (now skulking off feeling pathetic in the presence of such wonderful moms....).

I guess we all have our easy things and our issues, eh?
Originally Posted by irinam
I totally agree that communication is the key, and if you hear our convesations you will think that "this couple communicates wonderfully", but sometimes (often) I see/hear DH passionately saying something and I agree and believe and go with it and then... he does exactly opposite to what he spoke so passionately about. Then he can just as passionately apologize and I again believe and "buy" it. Or he can claim he does not remember the conversation.

So I do not know how to classify this - "fruitless comminucation" may be?

I am trying and trying to implement CL in our relationship and yes, I am *somewhat* successfull. May be I want (need? ) too much?
Originally Posted by aira

I usually feel like a completely inferior and incompetent wife. :

And daughter... : :

I generally find myself thinking that everyone I don't see arguing on TV has a more peaceful and harmonious marriage than I do.
Originally Posted by sledg
, aira. I simply cannot imagine you being an inferior anything-you just don't come across that way.

Yk, I woke up thinking about this in the middle of the night. I was thinking of how things my kids do trigger issues buried within myself, and how this is so common to relationships. To illustrate, I have this adult male relative who does things that I find rather obnoxious. For a long time I was really bothered by him, really disturbed and defensive and angry and uneasy. It took about 10 years for me to figure out that my reaction to him had more to do with my own internal stuff (memories of a particular abusive person and relationship) than it did with this actual person and the things he was actually doing. Once I saw that, I could be free from it-sort of recognize it and set it aside so I could see him more clearly. This is what I have to do as a parent, too. We see others and what they do through the lens of our history, assumptions, point of view, etc. And sometimes that's helpful, and often it gets in the way. To really begin to become the parent I want to be, I've had to learn to get out of my own way-to recognize the things triggered within that have more to do with my past than my present, and to let them go so I can be present and see clearly. That's really, really hard to do in the moment when emotions are running high.

Irina, I think sometimes communication is just ineffective despite how effective we think we're being. That's part of being human. And what you described again makes me think of something to which I can relate, which is how as a parent I can be heard passionately speaking about what I believe about parenting and then I could be seen doing the exact opposite. And it's not that I'm inconsistent in my beliefs, it's that I'm human and have difficulty sometimes living up to the ideals I have. And then again, sometimes people feel differently about things in different moments. And again, how I perceive someone's behavior sometimes says more about me than about them. And also, attacment to outcome is something that hampers my ability to communicate as well and sometimes I'm not fully aware of how attached to outcome I am-again a huge problem for me in parenting, but at times a problem in my interactions with adults as well. (Believe it or not, I actually do think about a lot of these things when there's a conflict, which dh thinks of as odd because he doesn't. For him self-awareness, effective communication, and effective listening just happen (at least I perceive his communication and listening as effective), he says he doesn't think about it much.)

Has this gone way OT? Sorry for that.
Originally Posted by irinam
Sledg, your whole post made sense to me, but one little phrase made (yet another) click... "Attachment to the Outcome" I AM like that with DH.

Man, it's going way OT, shall we take it to the Consensual Living Tribe? Aira, Sledg, do you mind if I cut and paste the last few posts dealing with DH's to CLT?
So any words of wisdom on living consensually with your spouse/significant other?

For me it is way more challenging than to do it with kids. I swear, kids with all their "illogical" desires and unexpected "behaviours" are still much easier to find the common grounds with than DH (for *me*)

WuWei 08-03-2006 04:07 PM

I struggle with this too, from the other end. It's what I was getting at before. Needs and what we think we need. It's harder for me with DH...

...but DS wants to play (you guessed it) TRAINS!!!

I'll be back...


OK. I'm kinda useless mentally right now, but I'll attempt to express what I'm getting at.

DS's history is intertwined with mine. I know him - all that he's experienced, though not all the depth and thought he's had. I'm even largely responsible for the bad times. So I can relate to him without feeling victimized. Also perhaps he's not threatening to me because he's smaller, I held him in my body and cared for him when he was incapable of even holding his head up. I'm not sure what other factors might contribute to my ability to more easily view his underlying needs more immediately, but for whatever reason DS doesn't dredge up my childhood issues.

DH, on the other hand, well... we push each other's buttons all the time. He's a wonderful man and husband. Sometimes though he seems to interpret his "needs" in a way that I think are not needs, but demands that I find hurtful to me to accommodate. He feels the same about some of my issues. We really project our parents on each other. Learning to communicate what's going on inside in non-threatening ways is the only way through this. It's far from easy to accomplish, but we're trying.

I just don't know how to trust another's account of their needs, when I feel that their "needs" are for me to placate them to avoid the fallout if I don't. OTOH, circumventing what an adult claims is their need in the moment, and addressing what I think it the real deal can be a little patronizing and often gets interpreted as a "know-it-all" attitude. This is very hard for me to negotiate.
I wanted to include this one also.


irinam 08-03-2006 04:16 PM

Thanks Pat

So, is anybody else finding it difficult to live consensually with their spouses, even more so than with kids?

aira 08-03-2006 06:57 PM

Yeah, I'm interested to hear what others experience with spouses. I sometimes feel like I'm in a unique situation, but my logic tells me otherwise.

I thought I'd chime in on the other topic of how we arrived at a CL attitude... I approached it from the opposite side from the PPs. I was that freak you mentioned who had no one at all understand what I was thinking/feeling.

I had no real language to express how I viewed the potential for my relationships with others. It specifically crashed (and still does) with others about DS. If you were to look back a year or more, I posted some of this when I was flipping out about parenting advice that went so far against my intuition. Even otherwise "gentle" advice just flew in the face of my feelings about people and respect. I felt really lost (I believe I called it "drowning in others' ideas") because I was told I was "giving in", but I knew that wasn't correct. That I "should" do this with DS, or I "should" make him do that. I was told that I was a pushover and neglecting him. I knew it wasn't true. I knew that he was having deeper issues that needed addressing, and that forcing compliance was not going to help.

But I was (and still am) also dealing with PTSD myself, and having the world push me around wasn't helping anymore than if I had pushed DS around. Having the support, camraderie, and articulation of these ideas here has been life-changing for me.

Thanks Pat and Anna!

Maybe that's another possible sub-topic... living consensually IRL with those who refuse to respect your choices?


ETA: I re-read this and thought that I'd clarify that when I mention "others", I wasn't refering to DH, in my case. But I do understand that the 2 topics I addressed here may intertwine for many. In my case I was refering to parents, therapists, ILs... DH is remarkably on-board with my thoughts about parenting. Gotta love 'im!

captain crunchy 08-03-2006 08:30 PM

Well, I wanted to just expand on what aira was saying. I actually did a 180 when it comes to parenting, fortunately that change came long before I had our daughter. Five years ago I was against spanking but I was in the "kids need to know who's in charge, boundaries make them feel safer, some kids just act *bad*" camp which is almost like a different person to me.

In retrospect I was acting from my own experience of being abused verbally and physically -- that belief subconsciously that I must have been *bad* to deserve being hit and verbally abused. The idea that by simply not hitting my future children or verbally abusing them I was changing the cycle and that was enough. I don't know exactly but I am so glad I was near consensual living through my pregnancy and have been living consensually with our daughter since she has been born -- I wasn't quite *there* when she was born, but I was so close to CL, I had a few months to learn way more about it because despite my previously more coercive beliefs, I still didn't believe newborns needed any *discipline* of any kind.

On the spouse end of it --- to be continued, Bailey needs me !!

Okay back this morning in the same post answer your question aira and irinam, yes, I have difficulty at times with practicing CL in my marriage. I think you both touched on important points regarding the reasons why. My husband and I were both raised in very punitive homes and we both carry the scars into our relationship. I feel my punitive upbringing causes me to sometimes react with more aggression and defensiveness than I may have if it weren't for the abuse in my childhood. I don't feel I am as trusting as I could be, would have been, am striving to be. Sometimes I read some of my husband's actions or inactions in certain situations as personal slights to hurtful actions when he wasn't even thinking twice about it. On his end, I feel in part because of his childhood he has learned to be very passive, to the point where it is almost like I am the parent sometimes (which I DON'T want to be!). Also, when there is conflict, I find my husband to be very passive aggressive. Here is an example: He had eaten a grapefruit and left the peels on the table, some small enough to be choking hazards. When he got up and began walking to the kitchen for something else, he didn't pick them up. I just said in a pleasant, informative tone (at least I felt I was) --- "hey babe while you're up would you mind throwing your peels away because I don't want Bailey to get ahold of one [and possibly choke]" He was all "FINE, I won't" I was like, *weird* inside and we have been talking a lot about perception. He percieved I was criticizing him in some way (I wasn't, or it certainly wasn't my intent) and felt defensive/embarrassed/taken back to childhood where he was constantly belittled. Anyway, we strive in our marriage to be consensual and we are making strides. We both acknowledge that we sometimes have issues with saying EXACTLY how we feel and EXACTLY what we need or want. For instance, if I am tired or cranky, I might say something like *sigh* I have to do these *sigh* dishes *sigh* -- all poor me martyr. I do need to be better at saying exactly how I feel without feeling inside like I am begging for help or something (which is my issue, I know). What would be so much more effective would be to say "honey, I am feeling really run down today and I'd like a clean sink so I can cook dinner more easily. Can you help me?" or "I don't feel like doing dishes, do you want to order out?" or a variety of things which would be more effective I imagine.

I don't know why it is so much easier for us to be consensual with our daughter. I suspect the same justification other people give to be coercive is the same thing which makes it so much easier for us *not* to be. In other words, you know in GD sometimes we hear things like "they don't have the patience/impulse control/reasoning/maturity of adults so I have to force them to brush teeth/go to bed/stay in stroller (whatever)" . Well, that same reasoning is partially why I think it is so easy for us to be non-coercive and to live consensually. We instead say "she doesn't have the patience/impulse control/reasoning/maturity of us right now so let's help her explore/get her needs and wants met (whatever) without coercion. I don't know if that is making sense on paper but it does in my head

With my husband I see him on the same level regarding those things our daughter is still learning about so I guess I have an expectation that he will be able to work more effectively than our daughter can at this young age to find mutually agreeable solutions. I suppose though, I can't view him where *I* think he should be emotionally (or whatever), I have to accept him for where he is.

All in all though, we have a pretty super marriage and for that I am so thankful.

aira 08-04-2006 12:01 PM

Originally Posted by Yooper
Count me in

I post very sporatically because I work a lot some weeks so forgive me if I am here then gone on a regular basis.

We have hit some pretty challenging times with my 3 yo lately. We seem to be coming out of it but my conviction to CL has been tested. Dh and I goofed up a bit and it showed Everyone chalked it up to the "terrible 3's" but it is clear that family stress brought it on. Has anyone else had to go through a healing time with regards to CL? We are working to regain dd's trust.
In a word, yes.

In my opinion, our problems tend to manifest as difficulties between DH and me, and then the resultant stress on DS. It is very challenging. But I know exactly what you mean about regaining trust and healing. It's true with DS, and also between DH and me when our trust is tested. : DS lets us know fast when we stress him out.

We are working through a rough patch lately too.

irinam 08-04-2006 01:37 PM

Another "aha" moment after reading your post CC.

One of the reasons I think it is hard for me (CL with DH) is maybe because I am subconsciously waiting/expecting for him to "grow up". Kinda like DD did, right? At 4 she was tantrum prone, but grew out of it. All it took is less than a year.

So if I wait patiently enough while "modeling" to DH CL principles, he will too "grow out" of it! WRONG. And then *I* get frustrated and resentfull when I realize that nope, nobody is growing out of anything : .

Sigh… Expectations expectations…

captain crunchy 08-04-2006 02:08 PM

I think we all have expectations, honestly. I know some people in my life have claimed not to have expectations of anything, all ~~~zen~~~ and whatnot, and I do believe in certain situations that can be a useful trait to master, but in my life, it is simply not possible.

For instance, I expect that my husband won't be unfaithful. I know I can't (and don't have desire) to control his actions or inactions, but based on my knowledge of him, what I need in a monogomous relationship, the vows he made to me, I do expect him to be faithful. That is just a *big* example, there are much smaller (seemingly) insignificant examples in all of our daily lives I think. For example, if you are waiting for a bus, you have read the bus schedule, there is no emergency etc, you have a reasonable expectation that it will come.

What has been an eye opening experience for me regarding consensual living, is that I have learned in most cases, people live up (or down) to [reasonable or previously agreed upon] expectations. With our daughter, I am very educated in where *most* children her age are developmentally, prevelant issues arising in her age group, coupled with knowing her as a person helps my expectations be reasonable. I don't know if I would call them expectations exactly, I don't "expect" my daughter to do or not do something, but I guess a better description would be that I am not suprised when she does or doesn't do something because I am aware of where she is at developmentally etc. For instance, if I say to my daughter "would you like to help mama clean up your blocks" She is agreeable, begins helping me, then gets involved in something else and completely leaves them sitting there. I am not suprised by this, I expect this almost because of where she is at this stage.

I am a bit less understanding with my husband. When we have agreed upon something and I have a reasonable expectation that he is going to fufill his end of the mutual agreement, I am suprised (and often take it personally even if it isn't) if he doesn't do or not do whatever it is we have mutually agreed upon. This becomes frustrating at times, but that is where complete honesty and full disclosure comes in. I don't think one can live consensually successfully with anyone unless there is completely honest, open communication.

There can't be any passive aggressiveness or assumptions. I am big on asssumptions which is something I am really working on in our marriage. I assume when my husband doesn't live up to certain expectations which were agreed upon, it is a personal slight, he doesn't care about my needs or wants, he thinks I will just pick up the *slack* etc.... when in reality, it has nothing to do with me. It is about HIM, his needs and wants at the moment, which may differ from mine ---- this is the pivotal point of communication imo .... how he could help the situation is by communicating his needs and wants too (no one is a mind reader) and say something like "hon I know we agreed about ____ but I wanted to read something online for however long, I just didn't want you to think I forgot about it or am ditching it"... or whatever... would go a long way in helping to meet my need to not feel dismissed or like our agreement didn't mean anything to him.

Anyway, long long ramble... I think honest open communication of exactly what you need or want (or what you think you need or want if you can't pinpoint for sure at the moment) goes a long way to make CL really smooth...

I think in relationships many people want their partner to know exactly what they want or what they are thinking or feeling because they *should* ..."they are my husband after all, if they don't know me, what do we have" type sentiment... and yes, some couples seem to know eachother so well that one can sigh and the other knows exactly what they are thinking down to the letter... but I don't think this is realistic with most couples most of the time.

gotta go for now, my babe needs me!

orangebird 08-04-2006 03:01 PM

Hm. I used to have a friend who lived on Zendik farm and I used to visit there alot. Does anyone know this place? Is this an example of CL? I'm just trying to see if I understand the idea.

aira 08-04-2006 03:42 PM

CC, I agree with everything you said.

Add the expectation and communication aspects to the childhood issues we all bring to a relationship, and -- whoa!!

When the inner-children are running things... <<shudder>>

AngelBee 08-04-2006 03:46 PM

This is a very interesting topic. :

I have never really heard of it before, so I will be taking :

RootBeerFloat 08-04-2006 04:02 PM

Can I change the subject a little? Something came up for me in the "too gentle" thread on the GD board. A mom was talking about her son hitting her dog with a toy and how to CL that issue, and I don't think that my response was very CL.

I think it's important to honor when others (people, dogs, whatever) don't give consent and I work with dd to do that. For example, if she were to hurt one of our dogs and the dog howled (like in the example from the GD forum), I would be inclined to help her stop by redirecting her to another behavior. I can't imagine that she'd protest but she might. That's not very CL--but the dog isn't giving consent to be hurt . . . .

This is a silly example, maybe, but I can see a similar situation around an infant who can't move away. I guess my inclination would be to be sure to supervise them and keep the new baby with me to prevent dd from hurting the new baby. This sets us up to be able to be consensual, I guess. But is taht manipulative?

so here's another example of what I'm talking about, maybe it will make more sense, I sort of feel like I'm rambling. We were at a playground today with dd's cousins and dd wanted to play on the teeter totter where her cousin was sitting. Her cousin didn't want to get off, so when dd went to climb on top of her cousin, I knelt down next to her, placed my hand around her waist, and said, "it's hard to wait when you want a turn. XXX is using this now, when she is done we can get on." My hangup is that maybe I prevented dd from following her impulse and sit on her cousin, who would have objected. That doesn't feel consensual to me, although it honored my neice's lack of consent to share.

Can someone help me unravel this? Thanks.

aira 08-07-2006 04:03 PM

I have a question for later... bumping to find this again easier.

MamaTaraX 08-07-2006 04:25 PM

I'm going to subscribe to this.
We try to be a Consensual Living type family. IT's very appropriate to find this thread right now as my DH and I are working conciously to "work together". We had a big to-do last night, in fact, and what my DH walked away from it with was the knowledge that we truly need to work harder at working together. He realizes this means that he is really going to have to listen to me more and asserts that it means I will have to honor his side more than I do sometimes as well, in all aspects of life, from our relationship to discipline to the future of our family and everything possible in between. I'm not glad that we had an argument or what happened at all but I am glad that it opened his eyes and that now we're working harder to work together than ever before. I hope to learn much from this tribe

Namaste, Tara

MyLittleWonders 08-09-2006 03:37 AM

Subbing as dh and I are working on making our family much more peaceful and mutually respectful - can't even define it right now, but both of us come from punitive/reward childhoods and it has taken over us. We have really been "tested" the last few weeks by ds#1 (5 y.o.) and realizing that our "helping" was actually making his problem worse (pooping issues). Once I realized what we were doing (making him more and more scared which resulted in more and more anger from him and rageful tantrums), I felt like such a bad mommy and realized we really need to learn to shift our thinking radically. Currently we are reading through Alfie Kohn's Unconditional Parenting where he talks about TCS - and I'm still so new that I'm trying to figure out the difference, if there is one, between CL and TCS. At any rate, I hope you all don't mind me hanging out to try to figure it all out. Thanks!

WuWei 08-09-2006 02:24 PM

It appears that people would like an accessible place to explore the consensual living process. Several of us have discussed starting a thread for anyone interested in resolving conflicts in a mutually agreeable manner. No one has to be "CL" or a "CLer" (whatever that means ) to share issues related to siblings, tooth brushing, manners, carseats, bedtimes, parent's needs, food, etc. We do ask that if you aren't seeking a solution which meets everyone's needs, that you not give advice to other posters on this thread.

What would you like to discuss?


P.S. The GD moderators request that issues outside of the GD forum focus, such as as partnering and in-laws, be taken to the appropriate forum. There is a Consensual Living tribe for this purpose also. Naturally, all conflicts are addressed considering the needs of all members of the family in the process of living consensually.

Eman'smom 08-09-2006 02:46 PM

I'd like to discuss something I love the idea of CL but with two kids with drastically different personalities I don't see how this is even remotely possible.

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