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Gingersnap
03-31-2009, 11:56 AM
It's your call, kid

According to the growing consensual living movement, parents and children have equal say in family life - even at bedtime, Adriana Barton reports

From Tuesday's Globe and Mail

March 31, 2009 at 4:53 AM EDT

VANCOUVER One morning last September, Melanie Leavey's six-year-old daughter, Savannah, insisted on wearing a Halloween cat costume instead of normal clothes. She wore it all day long, and the next too. Eventually, she agreed to take off the costume so it could be washed, but the minute it was laundered, she pulled it on again. Weeks passed, then months. It wasn't until February, almost six months later, that Savannah finally decided to put the cat costume to rest.

But at no point did her mother try to make Savannah stop wearing it, says Ms. Leavey, who lives in Burlington, Ont., with her husband Brandt, Savannah and Sebastian, age 4.

Getting Savannah dressed in the morning had long been a battle. "I tried all the mainstream parenting guru advice, but nothing worked," she says.

So, Ms. Leavey began to practise consensual living, a set of principles designed to help family members understand each other's feelings and meet one another's needs.

(snip)

In the consensual living model, father doesn't know best. Neither does mom. Instead, parents and children are equal partners in family life, according to the principles laid out at consensual-living.com.

Founded in 2006 by a group of families in North Carolina, consensual living is gaining ground in alternative parenting communities and online, including a Yahoo group with about 900 members.

Devotees study books such as Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn and Marshall Rosenberg's Nonviolent Communication, and they consider parenting based on punishment and reward structures to be "coercive."

In contrast, "consensual" parenting is non-hierarchical.

"When parents put themselves in the role as authorities, they may believe they are doing it 'for the child's good,' " writes one of the movement's co-founders, Anna Brown, "but they could be missing an opportunity to have more connected relationships with their children."

Lindsay Hollett of Nanaimo, B.C., says that she began to snap less with her husband, Craig, and her 18-month-old daughter, Kahlan, after she adopted the consensual-living mindset about a year ago.

Her days became more relaxed when she focused more on Kahlan's needs, she says. If she had a doctor's appointment but her daughter was feeling grumpy, for example, Ms. Hollett would not force Kahlan to wait with her to see the doctor. Instead, Ms. Hollett might cancel the appointment or arrange alternative child care, she says.

(snip)

Consensual living 101

CORE PRINCIPLES

Everyone's wants and needs are equally valid, regardless of age.
Children can be trusted to know their own minds and bodies.
Punishments and rewards are tools of manipulation, unneeded when family members work as a team.
There is a creative solution that works for everyone.
Each family member has a positive intent and desires harmony.
When all are secure that their needs will be met, they will branch out and help others meet their needs.

TECHINQUES

In a conflict, identify the underlying needs - usually there are several ways they can be met.
Pay attention to the underlying needs in someone who is hungry, angry, lonely or tired (HALT). Sometimes addressing biological needs helps get everyone back on track.
Otherwise, explore underlying needs through validation ("You're feeling sad that we're about to leave the toy store, aren't you?") and clarification ("What I hear you saying is that you want more time to look at the marbles, right?").
Once others feel heard, revert to "I" statements to express your own needs ("I want to head home so there's enough time to make dinner before everyone gets really hungry").
Think outside the box with other family members, including children, to come up with a solution for each situation.

If my folks had adopted this plan with me, I would currently be living in a tipi and shooting tourists in the Medicine Bow National Forest. Most of the valuable things I learned as a child were not necessarily things I enjoyed or found personally interesting.

Globe and Mail (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090331.wlconsensual31art1835/BNStory/lifeFamily/home)

linda22003
03-31-2009, 11:59 AM
"Ms. Leavey began to practise consensual living, a set of principles designed to help family members understand each other's feelings and meet one another's needs.

(snip)

In the consensual living model, father doesn't know best. Neither does mom. Instead, parents and children are equal partners in family life, according to the principles laid out at consensual-living.com."

This is where I stopped reading. Picturing my parents doing this in the late '50s and early '60s just cracked me up too much to go any farther.

lacarnut
03-31-2009, 12:12 PM
No wonder kids are so screwed up today with this type of insanity. If I was told to do something and did not, I could expect a good ass whipping.

The worst part of this stupidity is the part about kids know best regarding their minds and bodies regardless of age. I am sure that type of parenting is going to reduce teen drug use and pregancy. :rolleyes:

Gingersnap
03-31-2009, 12:15 PM
My folks totally believed in family consensus: anybody who paid the mortgage that month got a complete and fair hearing in any family decision-making. :D

enslaved1
03-31-2009, 02:27 PM
If that isn't child abuse, I don't know what is. Parenting is not about being your child's buddy. It's about teaching them the basic skills and rules to survive as an adult. One of those rules is YOU DON"T ALWAYS GET YOUR FREAKING WAY. These parents and anyone advocating this stupidity needs taken out behind the woodshed and taught a little old fashioned parenting.

noonwitch
03-31-2009, 02:31 PM
My folks totally believed in family consensus: anybody who paid the mortgage that month got a complete and fair hearing in any family decision-making. :D



My sister does a lot of that consensual stuff with her kids, and it works to a certain point. It works very well with her 9 year old, who is a pretty obedient child. You give her a couple of choices, and she will make the right choice 9/10 times.

The 6 year old is a whole different story. I can get her to do what I want her to because I told her she always has 2 choices-do what I say or else. I enforced a 5 minute time-out on her once when she was 4, that involved me holding her down the whole time. I added on 30 seconds each time she squirmed. She really doesn't push me because I did that once.

I also have the biggest stick to hold in front of her-my dog is her favorite thing on earth (it's pretty mutual, but what dog doesn't like a little kid who shares all her food?). If the child is acting badly, she doesn't get to play with her.

My sister is getting tougher with her, though. Both girls are really smart, but the little one also has an extraordinary amount of energy-I wouldn't call it ADHD, because she can focus, but she has a lot of energy, more than most 6 year olds.

Gingersnap
03-31-2009, 04:50 PM
My sister does a lot of that consensual stuff with her kids, and it works to a certain point. It works very well with her 9 year old, who is a pretty obedient child. You give her a couple of choices, and she will make the right choice 9/10 times.

I think that's different. When I sit for my nieces and their helter-skelter broods, I always give choices. You can wear X or you can wear Y. You can have ice cream A or ice Cream B. You can eat what we all are eating or you can have nothing.

Offering extremely limited and appropriate choices isn't really consensual. Those kids would live off of chicken nuggets and chocolate syrup, preferentially, and they'd opt for "partially nude" as a clothing choice if allowed. Their mothers are always so amazed at how well they behave at Aunt Ginger's house. :D

asdf2231
03-31-2009, 05:35 PM
http://i99.photobucket.com/albums/l307/asdf2231/shortbus/0ac71f1a.png

bmovies
03-31-2009, 06:10 PM
http://i99.photobucket.com/albums/l307/asdf2231/shortbus/0ac71f1a.png

On the one hand I can see the humor in that image. On the other hand, due to my personal experience (I was raised by a psychotic), that image reminds me of me when I was a little kid.

So that should read: "If your child looks like that when you get home, then you have succeeded as a child abuser"

Gingersnap
03-31-2009, 06:37 PM
On the one hand I can see the humor in that image. On the other hand, due to my personal experience (I was raised by a psychotic), that image reminds me of me when I was a little kid.

So that should read: "If your child looks like that when you get home, then you have succeeded as a child abuser"

Did you turn out okay anyway? My folks were very strict and not "friends" with us although they were amiable when not crossed. I can remember being astonished in high school at the latitude some other kids had with their parents.

Turns out, my folks were right. I'm successful, happily married for many years, I have a deep religious life, and I'm blessed with zillions of skills and habits acquired in childhood from my folks. While we never had a touchy-feely relationship based on my instant needs and wants, I'm proud to be their daughter.

bmovies
03-31-2009, 08:16 PM
Did you turn out okay anyway? My folks were very strict and not "friends" with us although they were amiable when not crossed. I can remember being astonished in high school at the latitude some other kids had with their parents.

Turns out, my folks were right. I'm successful, happily married for many years, I have a deep religious life, and I'm blessed with zillions of skills and habits acquired in childhood from my folks. While we never had a touchy-feely relationship based on my instant needs and wants, I'm proud to be their daughter.

No, I didnt turn out ok. My mother (parents were divorced when I was very young) was not "strict" in the good parental sense. I'm talking wild eyed psychotic nutjob.

Gingersnap
03-31-2009, 10:21 PM
No, I didnt turn out ok. My mother (parents were divorced when I was very young) was not "strict" in the good parental sense. I'm talking wild eyed psychotic nutjob.

How's that working out for you? The psychotic nutjob part, I mean? :p

bmovies
04-01-2009, 11:31 AM
How's that working out for you? The psychotic nutjob part, I mean? :p

Oh fine. They say the strait jacket can come off in a couple weeks ;)