What do you mean by ‘theory’?

Theories can be unconscious states of mind as well as conscious ones, inexplicit ones as well as explicit ones, false ones as well as true ones, and conflicting ones as well as consistent ones.

What do you mean by ‘problem’?

A problem is something which gives rise to human thought—such as a conflict between two theories, a paradox or anomaly. It does not only refer to ‘bad problems’—conflicts between people, problems that seem to make people miserable, things we would rather avoid. Anything sparking thinking, including enormously enjoyable thinking, like when you notice something and wonder about it, following your curiosity wherever it leads, is a ‘problem’ in this wide sense.

Why no ‘common preferences’?

Most problems are solved without any explicit communication. To the extent that people think of ‘finding common preferences’ as requiring or implying the need for explicit discussions, that is an understandable but very unfortunate misunderstanding.

How is the word ‘parenting’ not taking children seriously?

Why is it that there is a word “parenting” but no word “childing”? Because in our culture, children are not taken seriously. Words like “parenting” embody the idea of hierarchical, top-down paternalistic/authoritarian parent-child relationships in which the parent is actively doing to the child and the child is passively done to. The parent is actively moulding and shaping the child from above.

Terminology troubles

One of the reasons terminology sometimes looms large in Taking Children Seriously discussions is that prevailing terminology systematically (and pathologically) glosses over the most important distinctions—not in concepts, but in reality!—that we want to make.

‘Enacting a theory’

Anyone who is interested in learning those subjects learns what ‘expressed’ and ‘executed’ mean without conscious effort. No sweating over the nuances of a definition is ever involved. What one does is start with any commonsense, flawed conception of ‘expressed’ or ‘executed’, and then one refines that conception in parallel with learning the theory.

Coercion—the meaning of the word

Discussion of the word ‘coercion’. The idea is not: “We want to be non-coercive. Now let’s consider what that means.” Nevertheless, there used to be a lot of argument about how we use the word here.

Punishing children using so-called natural consequences

The natural consequence of breaking something is that you have a broken thing. What happens after that is something someone or other decides. Describing making the child pay as a ‘natural consequence’ is at best misleading.

‘Influence’ versus ‘coercion’

If I disagree with the substantive theory assumed by your word choice, you can’t expect me to build that substantive theory into my language, because if I were to, I would be being forced to lie or contradict myself every time I use your term.