Whose plan was this?

“Instead of chore after chore, or rule after rule, it should be more like fun with child and more fun with child.”
– Rane


From the archives: Posted on 23rd January 2002

“I can totally relate to Jeremy and his parents Lot…but according the the posts. . . we are failures at taking our children seriously!”

Kim, everyone blows it, absolutely everyone. However, I think there is a fundamental difference between Jeremy’s parents and those who are attempting to find real solutions with their children.

Jeremy’s parents hold all the cards and “finding a solution” with them really means, somehow getting Jeremy happy to do what I want and calling it a solution. It isn’t. It’s manipulation.

“I admit I am new to Taking Children Seriously, but am really trying—somewhat hard when the other parent is coercive.”

Yes, that makes it even harder. If you think like Jeremy’s parents, then you need to change HOW you think. Instead of chore after chore, or rule after rule, it should be more like fun with child and more fun with child.

The child should feel like it is a good thing, something they want to do—to spend time with mom/dad, to play, to have fun, to have an easy-going, reciprocal relationship. That is a different reality from the Jeremy family.

“Suppose the 4yold decided that he wants to sleep in his parents room……Okay no problem. He gets up at 6am, as he needs an hour to be able to wake up…..Once up at 6 he wants to go and lay on the couch till it is time to get dressed….He wants to go to day care, and gets upset if we are late….So in reality the parents aren’t forcing him to get up, but going along with what the child had come up with? Isn’t this in line with taking children seriously?”

No, it’s all messed up. First, who says he needs an hour to be able to wake up? This sounds like it is regulated for him. If he’s up at 6 and then wants to go lie on the couch till it is time to get dressed…. why? Why would someone want to get out of bed and then go lie on the couch until it is time to get dressed (which also sounds regulated for him).

What is ‘time to wake up’? and what is ‘time to get dressed’?

Oh, and what is being late to daycare?

If this plan is what the child came up with, how did this come about? Did the child have a list of things to choose from? Get up and 6 and lie on the couch, or get up at 6 and get dressed, or get up at 6 and ….? If this is what child chose from, it has nothing to do with a real solution. It is predetermined that child HAS to get up at 6. Now, the child is left with having a choice, but really doesn’t have a choice, and that can be frustrating! It would be even worse for the child for that to be called a solution. The parents are forcing him to get up, unless the child wants to get up early in the morning to do something the child wants to do.

“I am confused…….Are we supposed to just let the child completely decided what is best, or does the family reach a concensus?”

The child knows what the child wants in terms of getting up or sleeping in. The ‘model’ of reaching a consensus in the Jeremy scenario would involve things that Jeremy wanted to do.., such as jumping on furniture, playing, talking about fun things, doing fun things, going to places that Jeremy wanted to go to, etc.

See also:

Rane, 2002, ‘Whose plan was this?’, https://takingchildrenseriously.com/whose-plan-was-this

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