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#211 of 589 Old 12-19-2001, 02:33 AM
 
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You mean you are driving down the road with your baby in a sling rather than a car seat?

And you are considering leaving your home where your child could fall down steps and land into stone and wall??

I think it is considered child endangerment and is illegal. Kids die from stuff like that.
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#212 of 589 Old 12-19-2001, 02:45 AM
 
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Mommy22b's question brings up another one for me... how do TCS parents deal with rules imposed by outside society? For instance, what if a 6 year old wants to go to Toys R Us but wants to be barefoot (no slippers, boots, princess shoes, or sandals will do)? There are laws against going shoeless in stores. This is just one example of the obstacles one could come up against. Wouldn't it be coercive to tell the child she needs to decide whether to wear shoes and visit the store, or go barefoot and not go to the store? But what other choice do you have? This is just a hypothetical example of an outside rule that could cause a problem... one must run into a million of them.

I'm still digesting the reply to my last question!
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#213 of 589 Old 12-19-2001, 03:30 AM
 
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Mommy22B, very good questions. As far as the xmas party goes, could you prepare DD for it by letting her know in advance? I'm sure she would have fun as well, could you start pointing out to her what will go on at the party and see if you can't generate some excitement on her part? (p.s. I'm really new to TCS, so if I am giving bad advice, someone pls let me know...) Would it be possible to arrange for a back-up plan - someone to come sit w/ her at a moment's notice if she decides she doesn't want to go? I don't think you and DH should have to miss out if DD doesn't feel like going, since this is important to you... Maybe you could even let her know ahead of time that if she doesn't want to go, so-and-so will come over to play w/ her and Mommy and Daddy will go to the party. Maybe she is too young for this type of interaction, I don't know. I believe they understand way more than we give them credit for!

Now, with the store thing, preparation is key. My sister has a rule - she never buys ANYTHING for her 2-yr-old when they're out together. So far, this has worked for her - he doesn't expect it. The problem with toddlers is that they tend to over-generalize: "We went to Walmart. Mommy bought me a book. When we go to Walmart, Mommy buys me a book." Some parents give children a verbal warning before entering the store, "Darling, we are here to buy such-and-such. You may look at the books if you like, but we won't buy them today." I also use this as an opportunity to practice self-restraint. In order to teach my children to resist that impulse-buying, I must model that behavior myself!

With the cart issue, I allow her out of the cart only in certain stores. This works for us, I don't know if it would be considered coercive, but otherwise I'd have to leave her home to get the grocery shopping done! Much of the time she accepts being in the cart, much as she accepts that when she rides in the car, she must be fastened into her carseat. Believe it or not, I find STAPLES to be a great store for her to run around - she plays in the office furniture w/ big brother, "talks on the phones" etc and the staff don't seem to mind. Allowing her freedom in some stores seems to satisfy her need to explore or to push the cart herself.

As far as putting items back on the shelves, I leave that up to DD. I do not sneak them back. I have found that if I say, "OK, it's time to put that [item] back on the shelf now. Say bye-bye to the [item] now." That works wonders for some reason. She is in control and she has closure. The item itself is not so important to her at this time and usually she knows she is only "borrowing" it, so to speak. I don't usually buy her things at the store when she is with me, so she doesn't have a problem returning them to their proper place. (This even goes for things one might expect her to part with only after having thrown a tantrum.) I hope this method will work for you, too.

As far as your DH being "inconsiderate," I don't really see it that way. If DD is slowly meandering through the aisle, holding up traffic so to speak, don't you think it is up to the people behind her to say, "Excuse me, little girl. Would you mind moving to the right so I can pass by?" I would encourage DD to have her own interactions w/ people. Maybe they are senior citizens w/ no time constraints and love being close to the energy of your daughter. Maybe watching her explore at a leisurely pace was the highlight of their day! I try not to interfere too much when it comes to my childrens' interactions w/ others. Just a thought.

It sounds to me like you are on the right track. I hope what I have said here makes you think of looking at these situations from a different (not necessarily better, mind you) angle. Good luck and I hope you and DH have a wonderful time at church Christmas party on Friday! (Let us know how it all turns out...)
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#214 of 589 Old 12-19-2001, 08:52 AM
 
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Hi Grisltine,

As you know, I know nothing about TCS. However I agree with Linda in Arizona in that it is not sensible to ever put your child in danger. I can not imagine TCS would advocate that in the least, because (from what I have seen from these discusions) TCS seems on the whole to be sensible.

You must NOT put your child in danger for the sake of not coersing.

I have noticed that children who are not coersed, or those who are coersed a lot less than normal, they are far more willing to comply to your will. Just don't use up your "credit" with truely unimportant stuff.

When it comes to putting MY kids in the car seet, there is no discussion. Remeber thought that kids love to emulate their elders, so if you always point out that you are wearing a seat belt, they are more inclined to want to too.

Nor is there discussion when there is something dangerous being done in the kitchen. We had a barrier to the kitchen until our children were old enough to understand what was dangerous and that they must not touch certain things. This meant that if they wanted to come into the kitchen, either DW or myself either carried them or was at their side ALL THE TIME.

As for your stairs, keep and use the barrier. "practical non-coersion" here would be to help the little one up or down when-ever she asked. Let her practice with you. One day she will be confident about doing it on her own, and you will recognise the steps towards independence as they occure.

So to summerise:

1) On danger, I lay down the law.

2) I educate to the max of their ability to comprehend.

3) If they are not capable due to age or education, I make special effort to enable them to achieve their objective by being near by to protect them.

4) When they are capable, the "law" desolves.

Hope this helps

a

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#215 of 589 Old 12-19-2001, 09:00 AM
 
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This is an interesting scenario. My dh and I had an agreement long ago that even if we did not support each others choice (like giving the intact patty to ds) then we would bit our lip and discuss it later.

It's not that we beleive you shouldn't argue in front of your children. But contradicting your spouse in front of a child is so confusing.

When parents don't agree on parenting styles, they really need to work hard on keeping communications open and try to come to a resolve. In the mean time calling a truce on contradicting each other would be a good idea.
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#216 of 589 Old 12-19-2001, 11:06 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by larsy
BTW, there are TCS families with all numbers of kids. It is a matter of attitude, not numbers.
best wishes!
As far as interaction between parent and child is concerned I agree, but sometimes getting kids (or one in particular) to respect the other. . . . phew! : negotiation can rapidly turn to dictation!

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#217 of 589 Old 12-19-2001, 11:59 AM
 
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Thank you all, very much. I have read what everyone has written, and thought about it for the last weak, and realized that the title is not what I think, or have come to think.

A better tiltle would perhaps be "understand your instincts before you follow them."

a

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#218 of 589 Old 12-19-2001, 12:15 PM
 
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I would like to reply to a thread by Laelsweet from Monday concerning non-coercive methods to keep a young child from touching and possibly breaking the old family's traditional objects. The young couple could try to introduce what I call "the one finger touch rule." Any object may be touched as long as the child uses only one finger. Many times this is enough to satisfy the young one's curiosity, but prevents hir from using enough brute force to injure the object in any way!

Another option (depending on the exact age and comprehension of the child) would be to sit down and discuss how these objects are important to [grandparents?] and how it is important for us to respect the property of other people. Maybe give an example of how child would feel if someone broke hir favorite toy? Then the parents could suggest that the child ask [grandparents] permission to explore the object with supervision. I believe that all the "don't touch" talk only makes these delicate objects more desirable for toddler touching! If one can find a common preference for satisfying child's curiosity while keeping objects safe from harm, all the better for everyone.

Good luck and happy holidays.

P.S. As an aside, I see that we have NOT dropped this debate for a week as Sierra suggested, but I feel glad to have noticed a bit more respect from everyone. I also noticed a few new threads have started up - can't wait to check them out! AND I just wanted to point out that if this thread seems like a debate between AP and TCS, well isn't that the point? This thread was started specifically to talk about TCS, isn't a comparison to other methods a natural consequence of that? I also disagree w/ the idea that this debate has overtaken the Gentle Discipline boards - there are still many unrelated topics up for discussion on other treads!
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#219 of 589 Old 12-19-2001, 12:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The quote from the TCS website, in the context of Sarah Lawrence explaining that while she owns the journal and the TCS list...

"But there can be no official definition of what it means to take children seriously, just as there can be no official definition of what it means to be a Conservative, a Liberal or a Socialist. No one “owns” such labels. Various thinkers and writers, who want to apply such labels to themselves, simply have to enter the fray in the field of ideas and try to persuade others that their version is true.

So to answer the question directly, “who is to decide whether an evolved version is still TCS or not?”, the answer is no one. Or anyone who wants to. "

I take that to mean that anyone who wants to can criticize and refute the ideas of TCS, in order to determine *to their own satisfaction* what is true. I don't think truth is relative- one truth for me, another for that guy over there, and it is all equally true. I think truth is objective, and we are all capable of knowing it to our best ability. Many people are content with the version of truth they are handed by previous generations, many are not and strive to get closer to the truth.

How to know whether one is closer to the objective truth about morality (right and wrong) or not? That is a question that many have been struggling with in the light of 9/11 which has thrown this question into stark relief. My current theories have to do with the fruits that actions bear, but I am acutely aware of my fallibility in all matters, including morality and parenting and education. I speak the truth as I see it at this time. Like the blind men examining the elephant, I might have ahold of the trunk while another is describing the toenails. By sharing information and experience and looking for more information and bearing in mind that we could be wrong about any part of our most cherished theories, we can all inch closer to the truth of any particular matter.

It's a slippery fish, truth. No one has a monopoly on it. What can we do but speak it tentatively and be willing to learn? Oh, well, I suppose we could remain silent. That doesn't do much for learning, though.
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#220 of 589 Old 12-19-2001, 12:34 PM
 
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Biting into something hot...

My dd will not put anything in her mouth that is hot. I'm not really sure how she knows something is hot, I can only quess. She will either feel it is hot when she picks it up with her fingers, or as she moves a fork/spoon full of food towards her mouth she can feel the heat of the food. Once she determines the food is hot, she will then say "blow" and proceed to blow on her food until it cools down to her liking. She has only been doing this since age 18mos, before this age I never served her food that was hot. I always waited until it cooled down before placing it on a plate for her. Not to say that I now give her hot food all the time, but she has become aware of the temperature of food by wanting bites of our food. That's where the word "blow" comes from. I would say "hot" when I placed the food up to my lips and then say "let mom blow" on it to cool it off.

Why serve a child hot food in the first place? This is not a natural consequence, it is one that is set up to teach a lesson. This is not TCS.

In Ksmami's example sounds like, imo, that the father has a power problem. This has happened with my dh on occassion, usually when he has been working log hours and feels left out. I believe this has to do with father not always being around the child and in his attempt to help with child responsibilities he feels slighted and acts out in a defensively.

TCS has carried over into other relationships. My relationship with my dh has taken on a whole new calmness. After implementing TCS into my relationship with my dd I found that I was also taking everyone else around me seriously. One extreme change in attitude is with my mother. We had a strained relationship since dd was born due to our differences in parenting styles. Now when she makes unwanted comments about dd I don't react so defensively and try to see where she might be coming from.

Well, this is longer than I intended. Everything written is the way our family handles TCS and not to say that our way is the only way or the right way. That is TCS, everyone is allowed to have their opinions, no matter how young or old they are.
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#221 of 589 Old 12-19-2001, 12:47 PM
 
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Why serve a child hot food in the first place? This is not a natural consequence, it is one that is set up to teach a lesson. This is not TCS.
I can imagine a scenario when the hot patties have just finished cooking and are cooling on the counter, but the toddler does not want to wait and asks for one immediately. I don't think the poster meant she purposely set the child up to be burned by giving it to the child before it cooled, and before the child asked for it. And she did explain to the child that it was hot and could burn.

I'm interested in this because I'm still unclear about why natural consequences are against TCS philosophy (as stated on the TCS website). I understand trying to come up with alternative ideas that the child might enjoy safely ("Would you like to bite into this apple while you wait for the patty to cool?") but in the end, if the child insists that only biting the hot patty will do (and if it hasn't cooled off enough already due to the length of the discussion!) then how is it un-TCS to allow the consequence to occur (and of course, provide comfort to the child afterwards)?
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#222 of 589 Old 12-19-2001, 12:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just Wondering wrote:

" Before I had children, I had theories. Now I have children and no theories, because both children had to be brought up quite different to each other, and quite differently to my husband's first three children. "

Parents have theories about parenting, whether they are conscious and articulated or not. Theories are complicated and shifting and often a combination of explicit and inexplicit, imo, so it does take some stopping and really thinking about what one thinks about this or that situation and what is the right thing to do. Parents often act in the grip of memes and unconscious motivations (my parent's words came out of my mouth! I was never going to do that to my child!). Dragging out the theories behind the actions and dismantling them and criticizing them in the light of reason is very helpful, ime&o, in figuring the morality of parenting actions. If we were appalled by the way people treated us as children, what suddenly makes it right to treat children that way, now that we are the adults?


Quoting Just Wondering again:

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“by the way, if you say ‘fuck’ in front of Grandma, she may react badly”. In this respect, TCS agrees with enlightened conventional opinion. The big difference concerns what happens when the children reject your best theories. TCS advocates scrupulously respecting children's wishes in regard to the conduct of their own lives.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Interesting. So if the said child litters the neighbourhood and grandmas house with said word, you scrupulously respect your child's right to swear in the presence of the grandmother and just let them carry on... Hmmmm. this gives interesting pointers about the possible NATURE of the people concerned. "

Yes, people who respect individual autonomy. The child has the information they need to avoid offending people who would be offended by what is, after all, simply a word, albeit one that is loaded for a lot of people in this society. Child can protect hirself from unwanted consequences of using that word around people who would be offended by it, and those people don't have to hear the offensive word.

"Children learn by seeing behaviour repeated by their parents. What sort of parents constantly swear in front of their children? "

Er...so all children who pick up swear words, do so at home? This is not consistent with tales I have read, probably some on these boards, by parents who do not use certain words who are wondering what to do with their child who has come home with this or that word. And I suspect that all sorts of parents, from horribly abusive to loving and respectful, use some of these loaded words when in the presence of their children. Word choice is not a dependable predictor of character, perhaps.

"I assume the people who set the site up...which raises serious questions about the validity of the ASSUMPTIONS upon which their theory is based. After all, we have to accept the assumptions, to accept the theory."

Assumptions can sure lead a person astray. Assumptions are tremendously subjective. A person can assume they are projecting all sorts of moral messages by the choices they make, while others will interpret their actions and words according to their own assumptions.

Which leads me back to the question of how do we determine objective truth? At this point, I think that critical rationalism is a good way to evaluate information. Conjecture and refutation. Humans are capable of creating knowledge based upon observation and information and experience. We create theories, and we adjust them according to our observations and information and experience.

So, yes, TCS is based upon the theory that coercion is harmful. If a person is not convinced that this is true, then they will not agree with TCS theory. I've yet to hear a convincing argument that coercion in the parent-child relationship is better- that is, a preferable moral theory- than non-coercion.
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#223 of 589 Old 12-19-2001, 12:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Linda in Arizona


I'm feeling the same way. NCP/TCS folks say that they believe that their children are the ultimate best judge of their own best interest, but they don't seem to believe that of other parents.
I see this as an instance of defensiveness on the part of people who happen not to agree w/ some or all of the tenents of TCS. I would like someone to show me (in the form of a quote) where they have experienced such coercion from TCSers. If one finds oneself reacting violently to another's idea, it usually means that one must examines one's own ideas, not "attack" the offending one, IMO anyway...

Quote:

NCP/TCS says that parents offer their experience, but don't assume they are right. (without boundaries pg. 96) Yet the people who say they feel this way toward their children can possible admit here to other parents that their "theory" of non-coersion might be wrong. And they seldom offer their experience, just the theory that children should be allowed to do whatever they want to.
I disagree w/ this statement. Again, please show me where TCSers are working on the assumption that parents who follow other methods are wrong! I really think this defensiveness is an indicator that one needs some self-examination. TCSers DO offer their own experience, only they do it hypothetically in order to protect the identity of the children involved. (see TCS website for explanation behind this.) It just takes some getting used to, but I have found a wealth of useful info that I was able to apply to my own situation, in addition to discussions of the theory behind it all.

I would also like to dispute the statement that TCS theory infers that "children should be allowed to do whatever they want to." This is NOT TCS, this would be laissez-faire parenting (or negligence depending on exactly what the child was doing.) The theory behind TCS is to seriously consider what the child wants, and not to automatically impose one's own will. The goal here is to FIND A COMMON PREFERENCE, which may or may not take the form of what the child originally wanted. I think this is a huge difference from allowing a child whatever they want.

Quote:

The very nature of the NCP/TCS system is that you must be willing to admit that you might be wrong and someone else i.e. your child might know what is better for them, so how I can you say that is what you think and then be so evangelical and preachy? After all, you might be wrong. We might know what is best for our kids. It is a possiblity.
Again, I see this statement as a knee-jerk reaction. Where does one get the idea that TCSers think one or one's parenting styles are WRONG? In all the relational "problems" we have seen as a direct result of these discussions, I see the main culprit to be the defensiveness of those refuting TCS theory. That is my opinion, and may very well be wrong, but I have the right to express it here. Please give concrete examples of how TCSers are "evangelical and preachy." I just would like to see where this judgement is coming from - maybe I haven't read all the threads you have.

As far as the actual discussion (see how these arguements detract from our primary purpose?) I think a better term to alexander's use of the word "instincts" might be "entrenched theories." (see TCS website for clarification of that term) The only instinct we humans are born with is the desire to suck. The only fear we have at birth is that of falling. All the other "garbage" is learned along the way, mostly from our family of origin. So when people have responded, "Yes, I do follow my instincts, and my childhood was just as screwed up as anyone else's..." A more accurate way of describing this would be to say that one has identified entrenched theories and decided to change them. Otherwise, it would be impossible for us to do things differently than our parents.

Well, I'll leave it at that. Hope I didn't step on any toes, but I feel that TCS is constantly under attack and no one has brought up this issue. I would like to see us face it head-on. AND IMO the responses from TCSers haven't been nearly as [insert negative adjective of your choice] as some have made out...
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#224 of 589 Old 12-19-2001, 12:59 PM
 
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This is where maybe the "luxury" of time comes in. I had a terrible time with the carseat after dd turn 6mos and stoped falling asleep the minute the vehicle started. One very frustrating trip was when it took me 2hrs to drive a 45min trip home from the grocery store. I didn't have anywhere else to be and since we live so far from the grocery store I always take a cooler to keep the food in, so no worries about spoilage. Sometimes dd is testing, little whines here and there. This usually means she is bored so I sing songs to her or offer toys and books. But when she is crying, I always stop the vehicle and take her out of the carseat until she will go back in it on her own. This usually happens after a long outing and I think she wants to reconnect with me by being held. She almost always wants to bf.

We don't have stairs, but have been to houses that do. We spent 5 days at BIL house one time, our first experience with stairs. They did not have a child gate so there wasn't an option as to wether to use it or not. Later on I realized this might of been a good thing because we were unable to control the scary situation and had to work with it. Again, time was a "luxury" as we were visiting and had no worries about having to be anywhere or do anything else except hang out. But this also would have been the case if we were at home, I'm a SAHM who hates to go anywhere. In your circumstance I would keep the gate up, but take it down when dd showed interest in the stairs. You could even tie a bell on the gate so you could hear when she is pulling on it. Then she can explore them with you by her side. Stone floors scare me, so I would try to pad it with something just in case. When dd was done with exploring I would put the gate back up. By making stairs off limits, as with anything else, it makes them more appealing. By working with dd through the curiousity she can explore while you are there with her as a safety net.

This advice is given as an example of what our family would do and not in any way to say that it is the only way or right way to handle situations.
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#225 of 589 Old 12-19-2001, 01:21 PM
 
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Just wondering where Just Wondering got all those quotes - I do recognize some of them from TCS or these boards, but others are new to me. I just responded to alexander's thread regarding all the flack directed at TCSers these past few weeks. Why do you think that one theory causes such a violent reaction from people?

I disagree with your assertion that three women are dominating this debate and trying to decide what others should think, although I think I know the individuals to whom you refer. I for one have gleaned some useful information from ALL the posts, all the while retaining my right to disagree. And I have not found it necessary to post every disagreement I have with every idea that causes a negative reation in me. Personally, I believe that my negative reactions can serve as an indicator that I need to take a look at my own ideas and do some serious self-examination. I think all would benefit from at least examining their own feelings before immediately responding to ideas they find provocative.

Anyway, you brought up many interesting points for me to mull over myself. Thanks for your post!
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#226 of 589 Old 12-19-2001, 01:37 PM
 
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I agree that in situations where safety is an issue, sometimes we must impose our will on the child. But I also believe that, much of the time, we can enlist cooperation from the child w/out having to coerce.

Take the example of the carseat - child has never riden in a moving vehicle outside the carseat, so s/he has no reason to expect that s/he will not be asked to sit in carseat. Sometimes it helps to let hir climb in and help me fasten one of the buckles. S/he feels a bit more in control. I also try to provide engaging objects for the ride - books, toys, snacks, etc. And I try to focus on the destination or activity to which we are headed. DH and I have had some resistance lately - child throws head back and tightens body when put in seat - imagine trying to buckle up a long board. We find this very challenging and hard to handle w/out some bit of coercion as child seems to have temporarily lost all ability to reason... (I would welcome additional advise from others on how to handle this situation w/in the confines of TCS.)

I would leave up the gate at the stairs and, as others suggested, explore them together as requested by the child. Same goes for other potentially dangerous areas of the home. TCS is a very logical and rational theory and sometimes it simply makes good sense to childproof the home, removing restrictions as they become unnecessary. There are plenty of other ways one can provide child w/ freedom to explore and learn w/out compromising on safety.
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#227 of 589 Old 12-19-2001, 01:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by discovermoma
Biting into something hot...

My dd will not put anything in her mouth that is hot. I'm not really sure how she knows something is hot, I can only quess.

Why serve a child hot food in the first place? This is not a natural consequence, it is one that is set up to teach a lesson. This is not TCS.
My children are the same and their definition of "hot" is way cooler than my own. I guess their palates are much more sensitive. I don't worry about the young ones getting burned, b/c they don't seem to allow that. Sometimes food is still hot (to them) when served and I don't do that to teach natural consequences - it just fits in w/ our mealtime arrangements. I still think I am following TCS, though.

Quote:

In Ksmami's example sounds like, imo, that the father has a power problem... I believe this has to do with father not always being around the child and in his attempt to help with child responsibilities he feels slighted and acts out in a defensively.

Yes, I agree it seems like DH has some of his own issues and entrenched theories to deal with. The fact that he seems very reluctant to do this, or even to recognise a problem w/ his methods, could very well turn into a HUGE obstacle to any sort of family harmony or partnership btwn the parents.

Perhaps DW could come from an entirely different angle - instead of "preaching," try to identify the source of these conflicts. Does DH feel left out of parenting decisions? Could DW try to let DH know that his input is valuable, even if she doesn't agree w/ it? Is there a way for DW to foster a more rewarding relationship btwn DH and DS? Maybe, in attempts to protect DS, DW is actually trying to coerce DH into accepting her theories... Just a thought. Perhaps DH could be "in charge" of something, say bathtime, and allowed to do it his way.

I hope k'smami reads these responses!
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#228 of 589 Old 12-19-2001, 02:20 PM
 
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[I have no idea how to do the quote response, so if anyone would like to write to me privately to explain, I'd be grateful :-)]

Originally posted by Mommy22B
Couple of situations for you TCSers.

***First, there is a Christmas party atour church this Friday. I am looking forward to going. Let's say on this evening dd decides she doesn't want to go out. If this happened in one of your homes what would you do? The basic core question here is if parent wants one thing and child wants another thing, 2 things that contradict each other, does the child always get her way in the end?***

It may help to think of the situation in a different way. What would you do if a house guest changed hir mind and decided s/he didn't want to go to a scheduled event? Would you not do your best to accomodate hir? Perhaps someone could stay home with the child? The parent could find something about the event that s/he knows the child will enjoy and remind hir of it? TCS families plan events carefully, ensuring that there are always alternatives available. If it is an important event for one person, then that person is responsible for planning in advance how s/he will be able to attend without coercing anyone else.

****Next, my husband is, IMO, inconsiderate of others. One example, in the grocery store today, we were letting dd walk around carrying something for us. She walks slow as she is only one and a half. She is standing in the middle of the aisles and moving very slow. I notice people trying to get by, waiting for her to move, when she really isn't on her way to move, but rather keeping a straight slow path in front of them. KWIM? I know I am generally care too much about what others think, but this bothers me to no end. My dh seems not to notice whos way she is in. Is it bad of me, in your opinion, to move her out of the way? Or pick her up?****

Again, perhaps it will help to look at it from a different angle. Do you think that it is more important to attend to the needs of strangers or the needs of your immediate family? For whom are you, ultimately, responsible? Why would you be more concerned about a stranger than your own child? And why would you be willing to coerce your child rather than a stranger? With whom do you strive to have a relationship of trust and compassion? While I agree that we should strive to be responsible citizens in society, we also must consider the experience and knowledge of the person in question. If it is possible to move the child or pick hir up without coercing hir, then it is fine to do so. But I think that parents have a responsibility to model appropriate attitudes towards children in our society. Would it be right for someone to be so impatient if the person were in a wheelchair, on crutches, extremely old and feeble? Would we consider physically moving or picking up such a person in order to clear the way for someone in a hurry? Children are people too. Do we physically move a child because it is right to do so, or merely because *we can*? Your child's needs and desires are just as important as that stranger's need. I think it is our responsibility to act as advocates for our children's rights whenever possible.

****One more example. We were in a small store the other day. DD was picking everything up and smelling it...(actually blowing her nose on it.) The store lady seemed to begetting frustrated. Dh was there with me so he took her outside for a bit, but if I had been alone it would have been awful! ****

Why would it have been awful? How is it harmful for someone to smell something? If s/he actually soiled the items, perhaps you could wipe them with a tissue afterwards. I find it helpful to pay no attention to store employees unless they actually address me or my child. If they are concerned that something will be broken, I assure them that I will pay for any broken item. I have even given my credit card to the employee to hold while my child explores the store. This way I can attend to my child rather than the store employee and I can help hir explore things safely and carefully. Children, ime, understand when something is breakable or fragile, and will learn how to handle such objects if given the opportunity to do so.

***Oh, I thought of another one! When we go to Walmart or whatever sometimes dd doesn't want to ride in the cart. But when we let her walk it is so so slow, looking at everything and touching everything, finding something she wants and then a fit when we put it back ( although we are getting very good and sneaking things back onto the shelves behind her back....very coersive I know, but we really can't afford to get her things.) You might say leave her home...This is kind of sensitive for me because I like going shopping with dh. He works alot so the time we have together is percious to me, so I would like to spend as much of it as we can together. ***

Again, in a TCS family, no one person's needs take precedence over another's. And the majority does not rule either ;-). It is the responsibility of the parents to find or create common preferences so that everyone's needs are met. If you like to spend as much time together as possible, why not slow things down and go at your child's pace? Is there a reason why you must hurry? If there are things you *must* get done, is it possible for one of you to go off and do these things while the other helps your child explore? Can you make it *fun* for your child to ride in the cart? Would s/he prefer to ride in a backpack? A shoulder ride? Also, why can your child not choose items to buy in the same way as you do? Have you considered that your child might be less likely to grab many items if s/he trusted that s/he could have whichever item s/he really wanted? I know that most parents are afraid that their children will want to buy everything they see, but ime children only demand lots of things when they are used to not getting them. When a child trusts that s/he can have what s/he wants (or that a preferable alternative will be found for hir), s/he is much less likely to hoard items and throw tantrums.

****Anyway, I have to say I love most of what this theory has to offer. I am trying more and more to respect my dd's wishes. I still fail plenty but it feels good when I succeed. A few weeks ago i may have forced my dd to get dressed when I was ready for her to get dressed. Now I know to carve out an hour long block before we have to go somewhere to give time for her to decide to get dressed. This sounds like it is a bad thing, but it is wonderful not having to push her into something she doesn't want. It is amazing to dh and I how these social ideas are all stuck in our brain. That kids are lower class citizens and need to be pushed around. It makes me sad now when I do force her to do something. I feel so abusive because i am so much bigger than her...and I just don't care about what she wants at the time. That is so rude! Anyway, you ladies are really helping me alot to be a better mommy! Thanks. ****


That sounds great, Beth! Yes, TCS really challenges our entrenched ideas about children's autonomy. I also find it amazing how differently I see the world since discovering TCS. And it has not only changed my relationship with my children, it has most definitely affected all my personal relationships in profound and far-reaching ways. In a TCS home, *everyone* is liberated. And what an amazing world we create when realize our freedom to do so!

Netty
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#229 of 589 Old 12-19-2001, 02:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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From the TCS website:
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"Puzzled parents often ask questions of the form: “what if a child does [insert some absolutely awful thing, X, here]? Then what would a non-coercive parent do?” This question may seem meaningful, but it is pointless and misdirected. It assumes that children are inherently irrational, foolhardy or wicked and asks how non-coercive parents handle these ghastly problems. But such problems arise out of the relationships between coercive parents and their children. They are caused by coercion."
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Just Wondering asks:

"In other words, our children do what we don't want them to do because we coerce them?"

The perception of children as "irrational, foolhardy or wicked" comes with the mindset of coercion. Coercion can cause a mind to not be able to think rationally in areas/subjects/activities where coercion occurs. The person has a jumble of confusion going on in their mind- conflicting impulses, wanting to do X while being forced to do Y- and so is unable to think clearly about the subject. The oddest coping mechanisms can be laid down, that might serve in the moment, but do not serve well in the years ahead. Entrenched theories are set in place, which can keep a person from dealing effectively in that area, keeping their thinking irrational in that subject, for the rest of their lives. These entrenchments are remarkably difficult to dislodge- even when one can recognize the irrationality of their entrenched habits, they might not be able to stop doing it or feel bad when they force their self to stop doing it. I'll wager every one of us here can recognize an entrenchment (or 20) that give us grief in our lives. Such faulty theories make it difficult to be able to solve problems, let alone be able to think about them clearly ("thinking for one's self").

So, yes, families that operate through coercion will act differently than families that operate through non-coercion. A child who knows that a parent is not going to coerce to solve a conflict will not hesitate to approach parent for help and information about any subject, even one that might be controversial. A child who knows from experience that parent does not want to help hir do something that parent does not approve of, is more likely to try whatever it is out behind the parent's back, without the benefit of parent's information and experience to help child stay safe and to make an informed decision about doing it/doing it safely.

A parent who sees their child as a rational person will be sharing information and their theories (which often requires a parent to really examine their theories in ways that they haven't as they do this theory-sharing, it's a great thing!) with their child about all sorts of things, including drugs and sex and lighting matches and swearing and climbing to high places and playing in the street and how to treat friends and about traditions and on and on, rather than just feeding them what parent thinks is appropriate for child to know based upon their age/stage of development/some other objective or subjective criterion. When the subject comes up, that is the time to explore it as much as the child wants to. Help them learn, when they are interested in learning about it.

This does not mean that 'all TCS children will abuse drugs', for example. People abuse drugs for many different reasons, often, I conjecture, to escape from the painful life they are living and don't see any way to change (hmmm, I guess that also applies to many people who use legal prescription drugs, as well). A person who knows how to solve problems and how to recognize what they want and to figure out ways to get it without hurting other people, is an unlikely prospect for abusing drugs. Many people use drugs for various purposes-including aspirin and caffeine and antibiotics and alcohol and pot- and it improves their lives without causing them harm, and it is their choice to make as autonomous individuals.

I think that coercion bolsters a false sense of control. A person is going to find ways to do what they want. They can do it with support and knowledge, or they can do it sneakily and with limited knowledge. They can wait until they are 18 and then rush out to try all sorts of 'forbidden fruit', most likely with entrenched theories firmly in place and without good information and thought about possible consequences. This is so common in our society, that is thought to be 'normal'. It is normal because of coercion.


Back to Just Wondering:

"Here's another
quote: (from the TCS website)"
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"The basic human choice is not between ourselves and others: it is between right and wrong"
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Whose definition of what is right or wrong? They can't define that, and have admitted that. (though in not defining that they specifically exclude all previous groups as being "wrong". "

Morality is not subjective, imo, so that would be the search for objective right and wrong. I am thinking one can tell what is right by theories that seem to be closer to the truth.

And I think (and TCS theory ariculates) that people are quite rational (though lacking in experience and knowledge of the world and relationships) from birth, so yes, I am convinced that theories that do not treat people as rational and autonomous are wrong. YMMV

"So are we supposed to let the child decide what is right and wrong? "

Is there a magic age when suddenly people know what is right and what is wrong? How do people figure this out? Seems like a life long endeavor, to me, and the more input each of us has when trying to decide what is right and wrong, the better.

Parents are there to help children learn about right and wrong, just as parents are learning about right and wrong. If child wants parent to make that deliberation for hir, all well and good- and that is certainly what parents do for their children before parents are able to understand their children's communication. But once there is no doubt as to what child thinks, and if child and parent differ in their conclusion, a non-coercive family will look for/create common preferences to resolve the conflict.

To default to coercion is to close off avenues of learning for both children and parents.
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#230 of 589 Old 12-19-2001, 02:34 PM
 
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"I know a few young mothers here who I think were pretty much brought up sort of TCS. Certainly not so much Laisse faire. They were never smacked, or yelled at, and always wore what they wanted when they wanted, and got the food they liked... And they are the mothers who are finding motherhood very very difficult. They didn't go through labour (why bother with pain) they didn't breastfeed, (they didn't WANT to)--- in fact, their children are emotional antagonists to their lives, because all their lives, they have got either what they wanted, or forced a compromise. "


Wow! What a sweeping generalization! Geez. What I hear you say here is that there are a few mothers on this board who used drugs during labor and chose not to breastfeed, and who are so used to thinking about themselves that they can't handle the fact that their kids have needs too.

It sounds like you are feeling very emotional about the whole TCS way of parenting. The thing is, it works for some parents. I respect any non-violent, respectful way of parenting. As I have read more about TCS I have come to the realization that a lot of decisions made for children by adults are abitrary at best. (Such as: clothes that match, eating everything on your plate, or riding in the shopping cart instead of walking)If nothing else, waking up to that fact has made me a better parent to my kids, and has lessened the conflict in my household dramatically. My kids are no less well behaved in public, it's just a switch in my reaction to things that happen on a daily basis. I can scream and yell, or spank them when they do something that pushes my buttons, or I can wait a moment, think about why those buttons are there (Usually because it was something I was not allowed to do as a child) and talk with them about it to come to a mutually satifying conclusion.

2 cents from someone who does not follow TCS at all times, but has learned a lot from it!

DS: 18 DD: 15 DD: 8  angel1.gif 11/10  angel1.gif 4/11
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#231 of 589 Old 12-19-2001, 02:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Paula_bear, I could be mistaken about this, but I think the three people that Just Wondering is referring to are Sarah Lawrence, David Deutsch, and Kolya Wolf, who were responsible for the discussions in the early TCS paper journal and so many of the underpinnings of the TCS theory.
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#232 of 589 Old 12-19-2001, 02:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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From Just Wondering:

quote: (from the TCS website)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"When someone complains of a child being, or growing up to be, ‘self-centred’ or choosing ‘self-gratification’, remember that what they are really saying is: “He is doing what he thinks right – and I fear what he may think.”
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A fear of people thinking for themselves, of acting in their own best interests. What should people act from, someone else's best interests? Not that others' interests do not intertwine with our own, because they do in close personal relationships, and that is part of acting in one's own best interests. The best interests of the community will also be in there, somewhere. What better motivation to act out of?

<snip>
"With such a new concept, we are looking at an experiment here and now. We cannot look back at a generation of TCS kids and look at them to see if "they turned out alright". No matter what system used, some will turn out alright, and some will not. "

It's all experiments, isn't it? Testing out theories and creating better ones, over and over, all our lives.

Children are not products. They do not 'turn out' like a cake or a wood working project. They are people, autonomous and complex and unpredictable, and it is right to respect each one as such.

TCS is not a system. It is a philosophy, and living one's life is a process. Trying to live by rules and systems and methods will surely bring disappointment. "I did it all by the rules, and it still didin't turn out right!"
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#233 of 589 Old 12-19-2001, 02:53 PM
 
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i only out her in the sling in the car when the situation is like discovermoma said... when weve been trying to get home for 2 hrs already... we liveout on a dirt road so with her in the sling and me buckled i dont feel too worried.. i know i shouldnt make a a habit etc... i know its wrong but sometimes my patience wears thin. i wish she was old enough to distract her with toys and things but she will have noneof it!
{i must add.. it is pretty rare that were in that much of a hurry... just wanted to know if tcs would advocate letting her cry until we got there.. which i couldnt do anyways.}

yes i was planning on the gate and pillows at the bottom.. just wanted to see others' thoughts.
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#234 of 589 Old 12-19-2001, 03:04 PM
 
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I wanted to add some other thoughts on the carseat issue. We have added additional padding to our toddler seat in the space directly where her back rest. For some reason our carseat didn't have any there. I have also noticed that if we get in the car after it has been sitting in the sun or it is a hot day, that her carseat is very warm to the touch. Our dd is a "hot" baby that sweats if covered up or overdressed. I think she would sometimes act out against being overheated or even remember how uncomfortable she was the last time she was in the carseat. I remember the "stiff as a board"!!! That was not a fun time for any of us. Trying to find out the cause of her refusal to sit in the carseat was at times frustrating, but not having to listen to screaming during the whole car trip made it worth the effort. It may seem silly to others, but I have actually canceled the "trip" and taken dd back in the house. It is hard to know what is going on in her head when she is unable to communicate this verbal to me. One time after going back in the house she went to get her baby doll then walk over to the door and said "go-go". I had no idea she just wanted to take the doll with her, but she went into the carseat with no resistance afterwards. Go figure!?!

Edited to add: We live off a dirt road, it is another 3 1/2 miles to our house after we turn off the highway. We allow our dd to be out of the carseat on this road. Also, don't require the carseat while she is riding around the ranch in the truck.

CIO is never an option for me! You can call it anything you want, but if dd is crying she needs something and I aim to help her get it.
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#235 of 589 Old 12-19-2001, 03:17 PM
 
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I am very touched by your honest and heartfelt post!

I TOTALLY agree that it is harder to be the parent we want to be when stress, illness, time, money etc. throw us a curve or several.

One time when I had my second child...she was a brand new baby... DH was away on business. I was getting over an emotionally and physically traumatic birth. The baby was nursing constantly, and although a newborn, she did NOT NAP!!!!!

My toddler son suddenly became very jealous that I was cosleeping with the new baby but not him. He started to pitch a fit at bedtime. He was SO ANGRY.
I could not handle it. It is the ONLY time I was ever tempted to spank him! I am glad I managed not to spank but it was only by walking out of the room and giving myself time to cool off. I was horrified at my anger, which YES I think was caused by exhaustion and pain (emotional and physical.) And yes, I was spanked by my father, which is why, maybe, at that awful moment I felt I wanted to spank. (My mother says that her mother only spanked her once...and her mother was "very tired" at the time.) I was so ashamed of myself.

Soon after I decided to cosleep with both children. My son's anger disappeared, so did mine, and we all got a better night's sleep. (I won't say GOOD night's sleep....that came a couple year's later.)

I APPLAUD you for wanting to be a good mom. Naming the fact that you are not happy when you spank... is music to my ears...what sickens me is when people DEFEND spanking as necessary, morally right etc. We all fall sometimes and I applaud you for wanting to get back up and be a better mom and improve yourself. Be kind to yourself. There is no one parenting system that is always "right" but listen to your heart and you will do the best you can.

We were not meant to parent in isolation...yet so many time we have to. No wonder there is so much depression around.

Take the time to heal from your marriage before you move on with someone else. Make a list of all the qualities you would like in a new partner and then work on growing that way yourself. ~mandib50
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#236 of 589 Old 12-19-2001, 03:37 PM
 
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To Larsy and others--I've so enjoyed your explanations of TCS. I'm a first time mom of a 4 month old darling. I've been reading all of the TCS threads for a few days and it really resonates with me--its sort of exhilerating that my own natural (though unformed ) inclinations--regarding treating my precious being and all her discovery processes with the utmost respect--already elucidated so well and practiced by others. Very exciting!

One thing stuck with me a lot tha Just Wondering talked about: 'as an AP parent what you want is irrelevant.' I think she was explai ning why its not great to raise kids thinking they can do anything they want, because then they might not choose to do things that are better for other/more responsible, like AP, just because they don't feel like doing them. Sigh...This sentiment makes me feel a little sad. I've found through these 4 months of AP that my wants are in no way irrelevant. In my heart I want nothing more than to cosleep and breastfeed and comfort her when she cries. Our wants are deeply the same wants. It would kill me not to sleep with her sweet self, not to sing and rock and kiss when she cries. Sure sometimes I'm tired, but still, I want very very much to nurse her when she needs milk in the night. Just made me feel sad to think that lots of people's experience might be that they are forcing themselves to do these things out of duty or something, when doing it cancels out they're actual personal wants. Because I think the babes would feel that. And it might feel better to them to be parented in a different way even, if AP parenting is going to be this burdensome thing for the parent. Maybe Just Wondering meant something else. I just wish AP parenting could be joyful for all as it is for us. Sigh...

I would really be interested if anyone has stories or ideas about how to apply TCS to a little little babe. I'm pretty good at reading her cues at this stage (4 months) but about once a week she gets distressed and I try everything I can think of and she's still distressed...We,re going to start babysigning in a few months, which could solve some of the miscommunication factor, but it would be wonderful to avoid coercing her at this early stage just because I couldn't understand what it was she (didn't) want. If we're doing something and she becomes unhappy, I try to change/stop what we're doing, but there are so many variables sometimes (getting cold? tired? hungry? bored?hurting?)...Maybe I'd just like a little reassurance...Thanks for all the inspiration, sacred sisters in motherhood. Be well, all of you.
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#237 of 589 Old 12-19-2001, 03:40 PM
 
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Thanks, larsy, for the clarification regarding the source of some of the quotes used in the original post by Just Wondering. Can you direct me to the source of those papers by Lawerence, et al? I would be really interested to read them...
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#238 of 589 Old 12-19-2001, 03:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If there is coercion present-- as in, a crying baby- there is a solution to be found. I think a sling when driving on a dirt road is a common preference. I've used slings on airplanes and in cars and we've all lived to tell of it. Yes, car seats and seat belts help to keep us safe when traveling in cars and there are good reasons to use them. Children can understand those reasons- do the test of large stuffed animal on seat next to belted in child, do a sudden stop at a slow rate of speed, so that child can see what happens when the car stops. Child does not want to be hurt. Discovemama speaks sense, about children needing something and parent helping to get it. Not responding to cries is not responding to needs.

Life is full of risk, and we cannot avoid it all, nor would that be desirable. Parents and children can learn to do realistic risk assessment, do what they can to mitigate risks, take the risks that seem reasonable to them to take, and live life as they wish to live it.

The gate and pillow solutions sounds reasonable to me. When child knows that parent is willing to hir explore and will remove barriers to help hir do so, it sounds like a common preference.
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#239 of 589 Old 12-19-2001, 03:48 PM
 
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Thanks for the response to the "stiff-as-a-board" reaction, discovermama - I will try to take DD back to the apt next time. I agree whole-heartedly w/ your statement about a child's crying being an indicator that they need something! I never heard that phrased quite that way before, but trust me, I will be quoting (and silently thanking) you in explaining my [gentle, I hope] ways of dealing w/ my kids to people who think coercion is the only right way to handle children! WOW! This is such a great place to learn - every day I learn at least 10 wonderful things from y'all.

Fondly,
Paula Bear
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#240 of 589 Old 12-19-2001, 03:50 PM
 
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Hey Sagewinna,

I think that when just wondering said "here" she meant New Zealand.
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