Taking Children Seriously is a new VIEW of children—a non-paternalistic view: children do not actually need to be controlled for their own good. An Oxford Karl Popper Society talk.
Pretending that the road to improvement lies in receiving punishment, or in exposing one’s life to public scrutiny so that one won’t dare do the wrong thing is just horrible. A grave mistake. It really can’t help, and for the same reason doing that to children can’t help, only hinders their improvement.
Overt coercion is less likely to corrupt children’s interpretation of what is happening to them. But given that part of our self respect as parents taking our children seriously comes from being non-coercive, it might well be that the coercion we inadvertently engage in is interpretation-corrupting double binds. So we need to be particularly aware of the subtle mind-messing forms of coercion.
Changing the word ‘child’ to ‘wife’ and ‘parent’ to ‘husband’ highlights the reality of what is being advocated and the paternalism in the conventional view of children.
Time out against someone’s will is nothing like a freely-chosen relaxing time out, and it is dishonest to use one term for the two opposite things.
Unless taught (a lesson) children will never learn?
It can be a big step forward to get that kids want to be responsible, contributing, loving people and that trying to push them in that direction is more likely to derail that than help it.
Life is not black and white, but rules are. Punishments try to make the world fit into the categories of black and white but kids judge that there are greys anyway.So we help our children learn about those greys instead of just ignoring them they way many parents do. Iit leads to safer children.
Why schools like Summerhill and Sudbury Valley can’t actually be non-coercive.
Parents call punishments ‘natural consequences’ when they are unwilling to accept responsibility for the unhappiness that is being caused, but accepting responsibility may be a necessary step to solving such problems.
So-called ‘natural consequences’ are a strategy for coercively controlling children while pretending not to be responsible for and intentionally imposing the coercion.
Biting children to deter them from biting—like hitting children to deter them from hitting?
Kohn has a gut feeling that behaviourist dog training techniques are bad, and he is quite right about that. But he has no explanation of why they are and how they are. All he has is (worthless) ‘evidence’ that they are.
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.
Coercion is stressful because it conflicts with most people’s wider ideas about morality, human relationships, and how to run a society, etc. Unless one mentions children or parenting, everyone agrees that consent-based solutions are better that coercion every time. That theory is held on some level by most people. They just suppress it in their parenting.
There is a difference between sitting on a chair to relax, and enforced sitting on a chair. Or is being strapped in the electric chair also not a punishment?
Sometimes it is really the parents causing the problem, so maybe the punishment is being misdirected?!
If parents don’t “do something”, like impose a penalty or bribe to change their child’s behaviour, will the child continue hitting forever? No!
The first priority should be to protect the victim!
The problem is that when coercion is used, it really doesn’t matter whether your reasons make sense, or whether the task is the right thing to do. They have to do it regardless. It precisely blocks their thinking in that area.
We parents delude ourselves that we are doing the right thing, viewing our coercion as ‘necessary’ or ‘unavoidable’.