“It is just not the case that a crude description of a situation would apply to others in roughly the same situation. There are too many variables, not least of which is the uniqueness of every individual mind.”
– Sarah Fitz-Claridge
From the archives: The original post was posted on 25th December 1995
“Oh, this is total cr*p. Sarah has in the past sometimes discussed what she would do in a particular situation, but parents react incredulously, or sputter ‘Well, maybe YOU can do that, but I can’t!’.”
A second poster replied:
“Sarah often says things she would do. She never says what she does do. I’ve become convinced that this is because she is a ‘coercive’ parent herself. Nobody can deal with children the way she advocates. She can wish all she wants that she and other parents were the way she describes, but it’s actually a bad idea and terribly unrealistic.”
That is because:
(1) The ghastly situations parents ask me about just would not happen in a non-coercive family, so there is no “what I do” to tell you (and just to be clear, I have never claimed to be perfectly non-coercive—I am a fallible human being).
(2) As I have said at length in several postings, I have no intention of invading my children’s privacy by plastering their business all over the net. I know teenagers and young adults who feel very upset and embarrassed that their parents wrote about them when they were younger, but also, I don’t want my children to be defined by anything I publish about them. Why should they have to suffer for my cause as it were? I don’t think they should.
(3) Real life examples prove nothing. Yes they are useful in that they are a way of transmitting inexplicit knowledge, but fictional parables, or “what I would do”, are just as good for that. As must surely be obvious, it is just not the case that a crude description of a situation would apply to others in roughly the same situation. There are too many variables, not least of which is the uniqueness of every individual mind.
- “What if…?” questions revisited
- “You gotta be kidding. That would never work with my kid.”
- Bathtime and hairwashing
Sarah Fitz-Claridge, 1995, ‘How to transmit inexplicit knowledge without using real life examples’, https://takingchildrenseriously.com/how-to-transmit-inexplicit-knowledge-without-using-real-life-examples/