Taking Children Seriously

Catty Coercion 2

Posted by David Deutsch on the TCS List on Mon, 21 Oct, 1996, at 17:37:51 +0100

A poster hoped:

We have started to step out of his interactions with the cats, other than commentary. This seems to be no big deal as one of the cats has taken to defending herself fairly effectively. I'm assuming that my role as a non-coercive parent is not to save my son from the consequences of his actions (coercion by the cat).

Then you're assuming wrong.

It has gotten pretty interesting as she will sometimes hide and ambush him, biting and scratching his legs (eliciting signs of marked distress from our son). We have been offering commentary about the consequences of his actions during this and since the cat doesn't leave marks (on his skin), we have not been too concerned. I am interested to know what Sarah or David think of this. I am suspecting they think he should be rescued.

I suspect that you are feeling a little guilty about this, or you wouldn't ask. Well, you are guilty. This distress is your fault. At least the ancient Romans, who like you were very interested by the spectacle of people being bitten and scratched by cats, and who enjoyed watching the marked distress that this caused, did not claim that this was non-coercive.

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