Posted by Sarah Fitz-Claridge
on the TCS List on Mon, 21 Oct 1996 21:29:36 +0100
A poster wrote:
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). It has gotten pretty interesting as she will sometimes hide and ambush him, biting and scratching his legs (illiciting 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.
Yes he should be, if that's what he wants, which presumably he does if he is “markedly distressed.” I find the idea of your standing by and watching a cat biting and scratching your son rather abhorrent. Would you also say “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 lion/poisonous snake/schoolteacher)”? If, on safari in Africa, he wanders out of the fenced area into the bush and gets eaten by a lion, would you dutifully “not save him from the consequences of his actions”?
I fear, ------, that what you are doing is nothing more than a rather cruel punishment. I think you see no marks on his skin, but you are hoping that the experience will mark his mind. It sounds as though you are hoping that the pain and distress you are inflicting (and it is you, not the cat, who are responsible) will change his behaviour in a direction more to your liking.
I think it is distinctly unpleasant to find the distress of your child “interesting” and not to be “too concerned”. I have no idea why you think it a good idea to stand by while your child experiences coercion, and I cannot see how you think that has any place in non-coercive child-rearing. The idea of non-coercion is... no coercion!
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