Taking Children Seriously

Trying to be TCS

Posted by Sarah Fitz-Claridge
on the TCS List on Mon, 4 Sep., 2000, at 14:01:43 +0100

A poster wrote:

A trying to TCS adult is asked by child if he/she can stay up longer (he knows that a strange change has come over this adult).

...Trying to TCS (TTTCS) adult also wants this... [but is finding it difficult to find a common preference with the child].

What should TTTCS adult do to maintain creativity in these or other circumstances?

This idea of a TTTCS parent may imply something false, namely, that there exists a special group of parents who have “reached” a state of such near perfection as to be entitled to drop the “TT” in “TTTCS” and call themselves “TCS”, the ultimate accolade, reserved for only the most perfect parents.

There is no such parent.

To be a “TTTCS” parent is to be a “TCS” parent.

None of us is perfectly rational in every sphere of life. All of us make mistakes and fail to find common preferences on occasion. There is no one who has not coerced and who will manage to resolve all family disagreements non-coercively. Not now anyway – not at this time in history.

The distinction between TCS parents and non-TCS parents – or as I like to call them, “pre-TCS” parents (well, TCS requires an optimistic, or at least positive attitude) – is that TCS parents regard every instance of coercion as a mistake, a wrong, something to correct, rather than inevitable, right, or in any way a good thing. TCS parents therefore strive to find common preferences, strive to identify areas in which they are coercing their children, strive to improve. Pre-TCS parents don't regard coercion as a breakdown in the system, but as a necessary and important part of the decision-making system.

If that is what you mean by “TTTCS” then you should drop the first two “T”s.

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