Monday, June 25, 2007

Third way parenting

Heh. Here's a way of articulating it:

1) try to discipline our children so they do what we want and they don't always get their own way. This requires naughty steps, hitting the children, telling them off, praising the good and ignoring the bad - whatever discipline steps the mum takes, it's basically behaviourism a la Skinner - we are trying to alter who our children are and what they want by the provision or withdrawal of affection. And that's the standard kind of parenting.

2) let our children do whatever they want. disaster. Ends up with burnt out mums having breakdowns, years and years of self-sacrifice with more and more resentment under the surface, mum getting to the stage where she doesn't even really know what she'd prefer herself, she's got so used to servicing the desires of her children. Also very likely to end up with children who find it almost impossible to interact with other children or adults because they don't comply with every request. Likely to be called "spoiled brats".

3) consentual parenting. Unconditional parenting. Natural parenting. Taking children seriously. All sorts of trendy words for closely related philosophies which suggest finding common preferences. there's a battle where child wants a and parent wants b. In standard parenting a happens with a tantrum, or with mum getting hit and bit. In bratty parenting b happens with mum feeling angry underneath. In the third type of parenting, parent and child work together to find either a way of a or b happening which both are happy with, or discover c, which actually both are happier about than either was about a or b. It can happen with pre-verbal children, you just have to get good at reading their cues and offering possibilities in ways they understand. the parent is responsible for helping their child interact with society in constructive ways (ie not becoming a brat), but through reason instead of discipline.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I still think it's about parents who have absolutely no prejudice about their children being full human beings right from biths.

Parents being professional about wanting to help their children do what they want and finding other people even better than them to help them do what they want.

Parents that take their children interests as serious, professional endevours, not just as "play" or "education" or preparation for the real personhood stage, adulthood.

What I disagree with TCS is I find common preferences a fix for relationships based on conflict, not an ideal parenting situation.

I think parents should fulfill their own preferences without getting their children involved.

Maybe I am wrong.

TCS is the best of the 3, but it comes a bit like therapy for bad parents.

The problem with mother 2) is she doesn't like to be a mum. Simply. She feels guilty. She doesn't really know how to help. She sees children negatively as over dependent creatures who need her constantly.

Number 1) is keeping children as pets, because it's convenient, although most people don't conciously realise it, they honestly think this is the good way, that children cannot be real people without this training.

Most parent actually do a mix of 1) and 2), 3) can happen ocassionally in relaxed family moments but it's more likely people compromise than they truly find a better solution for everyone, the common preference.

It will be hard for any TCS parent not to be doing a mix of 1), 2) and 3).

Dr Ymous said...

Just as a adenum to the above is worth saying that, as was very well criticized in the Frog Pond, the thing to watch out for the professional parent idea, is turning children into products. Something to watch out for. Still I think wanting to help, knowing the child can learn anything anytime and should be helped to do anything anytime, has to be the preference of the parent.

I think I'll sign as Dr Ymous from now on as I don't want to be confused to any Anon that pops up.

stacy said...

"What I disagree with TCS is I find common preferences a fix for relationships based on conflict, not an ideal parenting situation."

the only time people ask other people for help is when conflict arises. When there's no conflict, there's no need for parenting advice. That is the only reason the emphasis is on conflict resolution. Nobody wins a battle of wills, ever. Many of us choose to avoid the battles altogether by finding that common preference instead, and teaching our children to do the same.

"I think parents should fulfill their own preferences without getting their children involved.

Maybe I am wrong.

TCS is the best of the 3, but it comes a bit like therapy for bad parents."

When you respect your children's autonomy, they learn to respect yours as well as everyone else's. That's what it's all about, isn't it? teaching our children to think for themselves rather than either depending on others to tell them what to do or else telling others what to do. And, it comes hand-in-hand with teaching them respect for others by giving them respect.

Anonymous said...

How would something like "help me time my shoes" be a conflict of preferences?

Only if the parent always prefers to do something else than helping the child.

mommycares said...

Good one on children are people - it helps a lot!

We clearly share similar parenting experiences and views.
I've been reading one that I'm hooked on - http://todayscliche.com/.
I have a feeling you'd get a lot out of it.

Incredible job on your blog; keep it up.

Thanks,
Amy