Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Chester County, PA
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There are many reasons for this. Children often feel angry or embarrassed later by things their parents have written about them. I have heard from a number of children whose parents have written about them publicly, and they all strongly resent it. Moreover, in a few cases, the children had not objected to their parents writing about them at the time; it was only later, when they were teenagers and young adults, that they started feeling embarrassed and angry about it. In another case, I am told that the person written about felt very uncomfortable about it at the time, but didn't feel able to tell the parent. Knowing that one's behaviour is going to be subject to public discussion (even if this contains only praise) can be extremely burdensome.
Another very important reason is that writing about your children can cause you to ‘objectify’ them in your mind. This can be a very damaging source of coercion. For further details, see my article, Beware the Curriculum Mentality.
TCS List posters use various devices to avoid even the possibility that the List will end up as a forum in which particular children's minds are publicly dissected. For instance, TCS List posters hypotheticalise anything they want to say about their children (or any other children) in such a way that the children will be unable to recognise themselves in the post.
Even when writing about yourself, consider phrasing your post in a hypothetical form. This will make it much less likely that your post will attract replies painfully picking apart your life. When discussions become personal, it can be very unpleasant for the person whose life is being discussed. Taking a little time and effort to phrase your post in a hypothetical form is well worth doing in order to avoid such unpleasantness. TCS List posters have found that far from making the TCS List useless in terms of helping people solve their problems, keeping discussions depersonalised in fact facilitates much deeper and more helpful discussion than would otherwise be possible.
Use hypothetical forms of words such as “If X were to happen, then...” or “Suppose such-and-such were to happen... What would a TCS parent do/think/say?/How would TCS explain that?/Wouldn't that prove that coercion is necessary?” or “I want to raise an issue that I think many parents worry about. How might a TCS parent deal with [such-and-such an issue]?” Use hypothetical forms such as “Suppose such-and-such were to happen...” or “I want to raise an issue that I think many parents worry about. How might a TCS parent deal with [such-and-such an issue]?”
For example, suppose your 8-year-old daughter is being bullied by the other children at her Judo class, and you want advice about this situation from TCS-minded people. Even so, there is no need to mention specifics. Almost certainly, you can hypotheticalise it by posting something like “Suppose 6-year-old Billy was being picked on by the children at his swimming class...” and so on. Even with the changed details, you are likely to get helpful answers. But if everyone starts going off at a tangent about the changed details – the swimming pool, or the age or sex of the child – simply post a further message saying “OK, well suppose it was an Art class instead of a swimming lesson. What would you say about that?” Or “Well imagine that it was a ten-year-old instead. – wouldn't that change things in such-and-such a way?” And so on.
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