We may fear that a given problem requires coercion or self-sacrifice on our part, but if we nevertheless assume that our fear is mistaken and have fun coming up with possible solutions, often, that can-do attitude can make a difference.
Non-coercive = embracing others exactly the way they are, and they can change if they want to and they don’t have to. Coercive = trying to control, fix or change others against their will.
What a moral person would do, and want, depends, among other things, on what he believes the rights of the various people concerned are. And the consistency of this moral background, helps the parties to interact with each other non-coercively.
Sometimes there can be coercive pressure on our children to help us do cleaning and tidying, for example by making our children responsible for our wellbeing.
Parents often believe that their financial support and other services for their children morally obliges the children to provide certain services in return. But there is no justification for that belief. It is just a rationalisation of the traditional status quo between parent and child. The truth is that there is a moral asymmetry between parent and child: in the event of an intractable dispute between them, the parent chose to place the child in the situation that caused the dispute; the child did not choose to place the parent there.
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.
Saying “Sand is not for throwing” is a euphemism for “I have made the rule that you may not throw sand, and I am going to enforce it.” This euphemistic construction is ubiquitous: “Food is not for throwing” (“I have made the rule that you may not throw food, and I am going to enforce it.”); “Hitting is not appropriate,” (“I have made the rule that you may not hit, and I am going to enforce it.”).
Parents are always saying, “It would just be easier to do it myself.” But then they don’t “do it themselves”. They don’t do it themselves because they feel an obligation to instil a moral lesson in their kids, namely, that they should keep things up to a certain standard (usually the parents’ unnegotiated standard).
Does financial supporting our children mean they must obey us? Is it right to expect quid pro quo for our support?