## Taking Children Seriously

Get their minds right...for their own good.
viscousmemories
Posts: 677
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:22 am

### Taking Children Seriously

I'm not a parent or an educator, but I stumbled on this movement a few years ago and after reading a lot of the literature on the site I became convinced that there are some really great ideas there. The general premise is that parents can (and should) have a collaborative rather than dictatorial relationship with thier children.

I'm not really interested in arguing for or against the idea because as I said I'm not really vested and I don't know everything about it, but it seems worth mentioning here and I'm not averse to discussing it conversationally.

Taking Children Seriously
iain
Posts: 187
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Location: Cheshire, England
Not sure. I looked at the site and took a look at the self-proclaimed brief introduction. Well, after 6 pages of small type (about one third through the brief intro) I have to say I'm really none the wiser .

If that's the briefest introduction that they can manage, I suspect a family will all have died of old age before the TCS method has had time to work.
viscousmemories
Posts: 677
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:22 am
iain wrote:Not sure. I looked at the site and took a look at the self-proclaimed brief introduction. Well, after 6 pages of small type (about one third through the brief intro) I have to say I'm really none the wiser .

If that's the briefest introduction that they can manage, I suspect a family will all have died of old age before the TCS method has had time to work.
Hmm... I couldn't find anything that said brief introduction just now, but I did find this excerpt, from the Introduction to TCS Theory:
TCS stands for Taking Children Seriously. It is a radically new and different idea about child-rearing. Its most distinctive feature is the idea that it is both possible and desirable to bring up children entirely without doing things to them against their will, or making them do things against their will, and that they are entitled to the same rights, respect and control over their lives as adults. TCS is an educational philosophy in the broadest sense, in that it is about the conditions under which human minds do and do not thrive, and about how people learn and how knowledge is created, and it has far-reaching implications for all relationships and for all areas of life. It is a whole new world-view. It is the first and only educational philosophy in existence which is not inconsistent with the prevailing idea of how knowledge grows, and with other ideas which are widely held in other spheres.
Huntsman
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Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 8:28 pm
TCS stands for Taking Children Seriously. It is a radically new and different idea about child-rearing. Its most distinctive feature is the idea that it is both possible and desirable to bring up children entirely without doing things to them against their will, or making them do things against their will, and that they are entitled to the same rights, respect and control over their lives as adults. TCS is an educational philosophy in the broadest sense, in that it is about the conditions under which human minds do and do not thrive, and about how people learn and how knowledge is created, and it has far-reaching implications for all relationships and for all areas of life. It is a whole new world-view. It is the first and only educational philosophy in existence which is not inconsistent with the prevailing idea of how knowledge grows, and with other ideas which are widely held in other spheres.
It is absolute bunk and a sure fire way to raise more spoiled brats.

Do nothing against a child's will? I'm sorry, but as a father, these people are so far outside the realm of reality that I need to nominate them for the wierdest belief award.

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't think parents should ignore their childrens wishes. But I am NOT going to let my 3 year old eat candy all day, or stay up all night, or go outside at 3 in the monring, just to avoid doing things against his will.

I call bogus.

Now, of course, I base this on that quote. IF that quote is accurate, it's bunk. If he later qualifies that statement with things like "not letting your child stick forks into electrical outlets" and such like, then maybe.
Cloverlief
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I did not read the whole site, but I did read parts of the "What is TCS?" section which basically involves a dialogue between a woman named Wendy and a woman named Sarah. Basically from what I gleened from that is that TCS is about taking your child's wants and needs into consideration when making a decision, and I have no problem with that. It is how I am attempting to raise my children - I make plans, the child objects, I listen to their objections and take that into consideration when making my final plans. Same with the child's approval.

I really feel that parenting should be a benevolent dictorship, which means that the parents are in charge and their decisions are the final word, but that a child has the ability to have a say in the situation and that although the parent will make the final choice, the childs wishes are taken into account. I often over-rule my children because I don't agree, like or approve of their choices or objections, and I see that as my job as a parent.

No, I am not infallible, and I do make mistakes, but I think as a parent, I should own up to my mistakes as well, and so when I am wrong, I will apologize to my children and attempt to make it right.

Yes, children should be treated with respect and decency, but they should not be treated like little adults, and children do require boundries and that is the parents job. So, no, at all times the child will not get his/her way, but hopefull in most situations an equitable compromise will be found.
viscousmemories
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Huntsman wrote:Now, of course, I base this on that quote. IF that quote is accurate, it's bunk. If he later qualifies that statement with things like "not letting your child stick forks into electrical outlets" and such like, then maybe.
Well yes, it's an educational theory. There are reams of information available on that site to clarify every question you might have if you really wanted to know. Again, I'm not going to argue about it, especially with parents. I've had more than my fill of that. But if you are one of those (very rare - in my experience) parents who's open to alternative approaches to childrearing and educational philosophy, you might find something of use there.
viscousmemories
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Chanileslie wrote:Yes, children should be treated with respect and decency, but they should not be treated like little adults, and children do require boundries and that is the parents job. So, no, at all times the child will not get his/her way, but hopefull in most situations an equitable compromise will be found.
FWIW, I think you sound like a very good mother. However, I would still say that if you are at all open to the possibility that you may be mistaken about what can and cannot work, I encourage you to read through some of the literature there. It just made me question a lot of things I'd always taken for granted, and IMHO that's always good. :)
Huntsman
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viscousmemories wrote:
Huntsman wrote:Now, of course, I base this on that quote. IF that quote is accurate, it's bunk. If he later qualifies that statement with things like "not letting your child stick forks into electrical outlets" and such like, then maybe.
Well yes, it's an educational theory. There are reams of information available on that site to clarify every question you might have if you really wanted to know. Again, I'm not going to argue about it, especially with parents. I've had more than my fill of that. But if you are one of those (very rare - in my experience) parents who's open to alternative approaches to childrearing and educational philosophy, you might find something of use there.
I'll give it a look sometime.

Of course, as I already stated, I do believe in talking with my son about what he wants, and I respect his wishes (while at the same time setting limits on his behavior). That quote, though, means he either lies in his introduction or it means he'd let a child stick forks in electric outlets. I tend to distrust any "new improved child-rearing technique!!!" immediately. It's my opinion that there is no single best method for child-rearing. One thing children have in common with adults is that each is different, and has their own personality and mannerisms and habits. My belief is that the parents have to work with each child on an individual basis, rather than apply any type of blanket theory. Of course, inherit in this is the fact that you have to understand what your child wants, needs, and so forth. The job of the parent is to try to allow the child to express his/her individualality and develop themselves, while at the same time limiting behavior that will harm the child (physically, socially, or intellectually). It's a balancing act.
Huntsman
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Okay, after reading it in more detail, I need to add to my earlier statements.

It's crap.

I see nothing profound, or even much original in the philosophy. It's hardly ground-breaking or new. And much of the crap posted there is just that, crap.

By the way, I noticed your bit of poisoning the well (But if you are one of those (very rare - in my experience) parents who's open to alternative approaches...), but I am open to alternative approaches. This, however, is not an alternative approach so much as glurge...sweet and sappy sounding banalaties with no real meaning.
viscousmemories
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Huntsman wrote:Okay, after reading it in more detail, I need to add to my earlier statements.

It's crap.

I see nothing profound, or even much original in the philosophy. It's hardly ground-breaking or new. And much of the crap posted there is just that, crap.

By the way, I noticed your bit of poisoning the well (But if you are one of those (very rare - in my experience) parents who's open to alternative approaches...), but I am open to alternative approaches. This, however, is not an alternative approach so much as glurge...sweet and sappy sounding banalaties with no real meaning.
I wasn't poisoning the well. It is my experience that most parents are not open to alternative approaches. And if you feel you have learned enough about an entire educational theory in less than an hour to dismiss it as "nothing profound, or even much original", forgive me for disbelieving your claim that you are not one of those parents.
Huntsman
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Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 8:28 pm
Disbelieve what you want. Makes no difference to me.

However, if you read the site (which I have, apparantly my hour was better spent than your time) they specifically deny being an educational theory.

Of course, not that what they say matches what they suggest, which was my point about the quote that "it is both possible and desirable to bring up children entirely without doing things to them against their will, or making them do things against their will" which, by their own admission, is an impossibility.

The site bounces around inconsistantly, providing no real data beyond banalaties.

Perhaps you could point me to something I missed? Where are the stunning new insights in this TCS approach? Just how do they propose one sits down and discusses with a 3 year-old to work out a compromise?

They contradicted themselves several times in the few pages I read. When they can't keep their own commentary straight within a few page-clicks, yes, they're crap.

These people are living in a world of ideals, and the theory doesn't last when reality hits.

Not saying there aren't some good notions there, such as listening to and cosidering what your children want, but there is nothing new or even remarkable about it. I find it utterly useless.

I'm sorry, I thought you wanted people's opinions and didn't want to argue for or against it. Apparantly all you wanted was to advertise this site for whatever reason, and have many people post how wonderful it was.
viscousmemories
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Huntsman wrote:However, if you read the site (which I have, apparantly my hour was better spent than your time) they specifically deny being an educational theory.
Here is the opening paragraph of the article TCS Theory and Practice from the site:
TCS is an educational theory. It asserts that, “it is possible and desirable to raise children without intentionally coercing them.” But it doesn't say that such a thing is easily or immediately available to all parents who want to translate this theory into practice in their own homes. Wanting helps, but it needs to be the right kind of wanting, and it needs to be sustained with the right kind of critical input.
Of course, not that what they say matches what they suggest, which was my point about the quote that "it is both possible and desirable to bring up children entirely without doing things to them against their will, or making them do things against their will" which, by their own admission, is an impossibility.

The site bounces around inconsistantly, providing no real data beyond banalaties.
Can you cite some examples of inconsistencies from the articles there?
Perhaps you could point me to something I missed? Where are the stunning new insights in this TCS approach? Just how do they propose one sits down and discusses with a 3 year-old to work out a compromise?
Your question has been asked and answered before, and the responses can be found by reading the site. Since you have read the entire site, you should not have to ask me to answer that and I'm not going to track down the answer for you. You are either interested in finding out or you aren't. I honestly couldn't care less either way.
They contradicted themselves several times in the few pages I read. When they can't keep their own commentary straight within a few page-clicks, yes, they're crap.
These people are living in a world of ideals, and the theory doesn't last when reality hits.
This is nothing but cynical rhetoric.
Not saying there aren't some good notions there, such as listening to and cosidering what your children want, but there is nothing new or even remarkable about it. I find it utterly useless.
Of course you don't seem to have actually read everything there, contrary to your claim, so I doubt you can really say that definitively.
I'm sorry, I thought you wanted people's opinions and didn't want to argue for or against it. Apparantly all you wanted was to advertise this site for whatever reason, and have many people post how wonderful it was.
Thank's for the cold reading, but I don't believe in psychics. As I said in the OP I posted it because I think it's a source of some interesting information, nothing more or less. Nowhere did I suggest that all I want is for people to post about how wonderful it is. The reason I said I didn't want to argue about it is because I have found most parents become very agitated and hostile when anyone suggests that they should reconsider how they raise their children, especially if the messenger is not a parent.

It's an understandable instinct, but not one I'm interested in exposing myself to for any length of time. As I said before, you can take or leave the TCS theory and I really don't care, but if you're going to shit all over it with your knee-jerk reaction to the few bits you've read without providing a lick of support for your opinions, I feel obligated to object.
Cloverlief
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viscousmemories wrote:
Chanileslie wrote:Yes, children should be treated with respect and decency, but they should not be treated like little adults, and children do require boundries and that is the parents job. So, no, at all times the child will not get his/her way, but hopefull in most situations an equitable compromise will be found.
FWIW, I think you sound like a very good mother. However, I would still say that if you are at all open to the possibility that you may be mistaken about what can and cannot work, I encourage you to read through some of the literature there. It just made me question a lot of things I'd always taken for granted, and IMHO that's always good. :)
I should mention that often, an equitable compromise is not found, especially with my lovely, brilliant and amazing, and also very headstrong 14 year old.

I agree with Huntsman, each child should be treated as an individual and their individual needs taken into account when working on discipline and raising a child.

I probably won't look more into the site because it did what irritates me the most, instead of answering the simple question of "What is TCS?", it gave a lot of "You won't understand." answers, and it didn't engage the subject honesetly from my view point, also the whole 'conversation' between Wendy and Sarah was not the appropriate way to do this - especially as it was indicated numerous times that "this had to be quick." Yet nothing in that 'brief' conversation really answered my questions, and that just smacks too much of intellectual dishonesty, and reminds me way too much of a get rich quick scheme - the sort that say, "Wanna make $5000 a week working part time?" But never gives any real answers as to what you are to do to earn this money unless you pay "$69.95 for our revolutionary book - if you don't make $12.50 in your first 2 years, you are guaranteed a full refund minus shipping and handling". That is my impressions. Also, it also sounds like pop psych to me as well, and I have yet to find any of that useful. Raise your children with love, consideration and respect - don't pretend to be a god and be willing to admit you make mistakes are the only things that I have ever found to be effective in raising a child. Maybe someday I will write a book, and make a few million dollars. :D viscousmemories Posts: 677 Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:22 am Chanileslie wrote:I probably won't look more into the site because it did what irritates me the most, instead of answering the simple question of "What is TCS?", it gave a lot of "You won't understand." answers, and it didn't engage the subject honesetly from my view point, Well, I disagree that "What is TCS?" is a simple question. As I said it's an entire theory of education based on a somewhat radically unconventional ideology. You can get an idea of it from reading through some of those introductory dialogues, but I agree that's about all you can get. also the whole 'conversation' between Wendy and Sarah was not the appropriate way to do this - especially as it was indicated numerous times that "this had to be quick." I can understand if you find the dialogue approach ineffective; I've heard that before, but I actually find it easier to follow dialogues than other methods of instruction. This is probably why I like Socrates a lot. :) Yet nothing in that 'brief' conversation really answered my questions, and that just smacks too much of intellectual dishonesty, and reminds me way too much of a get rich quick scheme - the sort that say, "Wanna make$5000 a week working part time?" But never gives any real answers as to what you are to do to earn this money unless you pay "$69.95 for our revolutionary book - if you don't make$12.50 in your first 2 years, you are guaranteed a full refund minus shipping and handling".
I think a roughly 3000 word dialogue should be accessible by most people in 15 minutes, but I confess as slowly as I read it probably took me a lot longer. In any case I don't know why you'd get the impression that they were trying to sell you something. As far as I know they have nothing for sale. (Though I admit I could be wrong about that).
That is my impressions. Also, it also sounds like pop psych to me as well, and I have yet to find any of that useful.
I don't know about raising kids, but I've found many things in pop psychology useful in my life. My Dad was crazy about the stuff and I remember reading TA [Transactional Analysis] for Tots when I was a little kid. I find some of those lessons fundamental to my life.
Raise your children with love, consideration and respect - don't pretend to be a god and be willing to admit you make mistakes are the only things that I have ever found to be effective in raising a child.
That's all you need to know? Hehe. You must think Dr. Spock is a crook. ;)
Maybe someday I will write a book, and make a few million dollars. :D
No offense, but if all you need to know to raise kids effectively can be summed up in your paragraph above, you probably aren't going to make a few million selling that book. ;)
Cloverlief
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viscousmemories wrote: Well, I disagree that "What is TCS?" is a simple question. As I said it's an entire theory of education based on a somewhat radically unconventional ideology. You can get an idea of it from reading through some of those introductory dialogues, but I agree that's about all you can get.
I beg to differ, it is a very simple question. A simple outline of what TCS stands for would have been a very easy answer explaining the principles and the concepts behind this sort of parenting paradigm is not that difficult. A simplistic overview would have worked as well, without getting to deep. Hell, if a low level physics book and sum up Quantum Mechanics in a few paragraphs then I am sure TCS can sum up their points in a few paragraphs. The whole, "Well, you wouldn't understand tone." Was silly and way overstresses the their self-importance.
viscousmemories wrote:I can understand if you find the dialogue approach ineffective; I've heard that before, but I actually find it easier to follow dialogues than other methods of instruction. This is probably why I like Socrates a lot. :)

I think a roughly 3000 word dialogue should be accessible by most people in 15 minutes, but I confess as slowly as I read it probably took me a lot longer. In any case I don't know why you'd get the impression that they were trying to sell you something. As far as I know they have nothing for sale. (Though I admit I could be wrong about that).
Actually, you missed my point. My point being that in roughly 3000 words, nothing was explained really, and the whole concept that they couldn't provide a simple overview in that time period was absurd.

viscousmemories wrote:I don't know about raising kids, but I've found many things in pop psychology useful in my life. My Dad was crazy about the stuff and I remember reading TA [Transactional Analysis] for Tots when I was a little kid. I find some of those lessons fundamental to my life.
Well, I am happy for you that you found benefit from that sort of thing. I have yet to see anything of that nature to be of a real value. Of course, I will grant that I have never read 'TA for Tots'.
Chanileslie wrote:Raise your children with love, consideration and respect - don't pretend to be a god and be willing to admit you make mistakes are the only things that I have ever found to be effective in raising a child.
viscousmemories wrote:That's all you need to know? Hehe. You must think Dr. Spock is a crook. ;)
Actually that is not what I said. What I said is that raising ones children with love and consideration and respect is the only thing I have found to be effective. Is it all one needs to know? Nope - one needs to know how to change diapers, breast feed, what temperature is appropriate for a baby's formula or food, how to dress a child appropriately, etc. basically the mechanics of parenting.
viscousmemories wrote:No offense, but if all you need to know to raise kids effectively can be summed up in your paragraph above, you probably aren't going to make a few million selling that book. ;)
Oh, I can definitely flesh it out to a 300 page book, if I tried.
viscousmemories
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Chanileslie wrote:I beg to differ, it is a very simple question. A simple outline of what TCS stands for would have been a very easy answer explaining the principles and the concepts behind this sort of parenting paradigm is not that difficult. A simplistic overview would have worked as well, without getting to deep. Hell, if a low level physics book and sum up Quantum Mechanics in a few paragraphs then I am sure TCS can sum up their points in a few paragraphs. The whole, "Well, you wouldn't understand tone." Was silly and way overstresses the their self-importance.
Okay I think I understand your argument, and I agree that the dialogue is not the most efficient summary and reads as if it's geared toward a fairly simple-minded audience. But I assumed when I read it that her intention was to make the philosophy accessible to the broadest audience by "dumbing it down" and holding the reader's hand throughout. Perhaps a questionable method, but not worth dismissing the entire theory, IMHO.
Chanileslie wrote:Actually, you missed my point. My point being that in roughly 3000 words, nothing was explained really, and the whole concept that they couldn't provide a simple overview in that time period was absurd.
I didn't miss your point. My point was that I believe the dialogue does provide a simple overview of TCS theory. As I said above, probably not as efficiently or as eloquently as I'd like, but adequate nonetheless. In any case I don't know how you could say it explains nothing.
Chanileslie wrote:
viscousmemories wrote:I don't know about raising kids, but I've found many things in pop psychology useful in my life. My Dad was crazy about the stuff and I remember reading TA [Transactional Analysis] for Tots when I was a little kid. I find some of those lessons fundamental to my life.
Well, I am happy for you that you found benefit from that sort of thing. I have yet to see anything of that nature to be of a real value. Of course, I will grant that I have never read 'TA for Tots'.
I would be very surprised if you haven't been influenced by pop psychology in one way or another, whether or not you're aware of it. I believe Social psych movements like Transactional Analysis, for example, had a tremendous impact on the culture of the 60's and 70's. The TA movement is responsible for the book Games People Play, and the concepts of "Warm Fuzzies and Cold Pricklies", "positive and negative strokes" and "I'm OK, You're OK", for example. If you grew up in America I suspect you've at least heard of one or two of those things, and have probably been affected by them indirectly at least.
Chanileslie wrote:
vm wrote:
Chanileslie wrote:Raise your children with love, consideration and respect - don't pretend to be a god and be willing to admit you make mistakes are the only things that I have ever found to be effective in raising a child.
That's all you need to know? Hehe. You must think Dr. Spock is a crook. ;)
Actually that is not what I said. What I said is that raising ones children with love and consideration and respect is the only thing I have found to be effective. Is it all one needs to know? Nope - one needs to know how to change diapers, breast feed, what temperature is appropriate for a baby's formula or food, how to dress a child appropriately, etc. basically the mechanics of parenting.
I'm not really sure what your point is, then. I mean no offense, really, but it is self-evident that children should be raised with love, consideration and respect. Obviously that's not a rebuttal to the entire TCS philosophy, so I don't get the relevance of it.
viscousmemories wrote:Oh, I can definitely flesh it out to a 300 page book, if I tried.
I'm sure you could, and it might even be very good. As I said before your comments make you sound like you're probably a very good mother. :)
iain
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I'm with Huntsman and Chanileslie on this one. The dialogue was the intro I referred to - maybe I missed a more concise one. However, my impression of this as a parent is that it is not helpful. To the extent that it says anything in the thousands of words on the site, most of what it says is banal and would count as common sense for most parents. Where it differs from that, it seems nearer to nonsense.

TCS seems a recipe for bringing up spoilt brats who are unable to function properly in society. I think referring to parenting as a benevolent dictatorship hits the nail on the head. Parents don't know everything, but they know a lot more than their kids. Children's brains are not properly developed until the late teens or early twenties; they are not equals of adults and should not be treated as such.
viscousmemories
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iain wrote:I'm with Huntsman and Chanileslie on this one. The dialogue was the intro I referred to - maybe I missed a more concise one. However, my impression of this as a parent is that it is not helpful. To the extent that it says anything in the thousands of words on the site, most of what it says is banal and would count as common sense for most parents. Where it differs from that, it seems nearer to nonsense.
I've already conceded that the intro dialogue isn't the most efficient use of words. Is that what you're referring to? Did you read any of the other more than 60 articles on the site? They're probably fairly light reading, given Huntsman's ability to zoom through 'em in an hour.
TCS seems a recipe for bringing up spoilt brats who are unable to function properly in society.
I can see how it might seem like that, but do you have any evidence that it is? Do you believe that a 3000 word, decidedly sparse introduction to an educational theory gives you enough information to make such a determination?
I think referring to parenting as a benevolent dictatorship hits the nail on the head. Parents don't know everything, but they know a lot more than their kids. Children's brains are not properly developed until the late teens or early twenties; they are not equals of adults and should not be treated as such.
I don't think it follows that children's physical immaturity and dearth of knowledge should earn them less respect and consideration than adults. Again, though, the whole TCS theory is pretty complex. I don't know if it can really be summed up or dismissed so easily.
tamiO
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### Re: Taking Children Seriously

viscousmemories wrote:I'm not a parent or an educator, but I stumbled on this movement a few years ago and after reading a lot of the literature on the site I became convinced that there are some really great ideas there. The general premise is that parents can (and should) have a collaborative rather than dictatorial relationship with thier children.

I'm not really interested in arguing for or against the idea because as I said I'm not really vested and I don't know everything about it, but it seems worth mentioning here and I'm not averse to discussing it conversationally.

Taking Children Seriously
It looks interesting. I took a radical approach as a parent. I was inspired by the parental tips of Frank Zappa. I didn't want to raise tame child creatures that play their high brow musical instruments for friends and family on cue then return to their place in the hierarchy by quietly behaving and speaking when spoken to.

Huntsman
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Alright.

Please, viscous, could you show me where AT ANY POINT I claimed to have read THE ENTIRE SITE?

I would appreciate you finding someone else to deride. Your venom does not wear well.

I will say I was rather hostile in my reply; perhaps I should not have been. However, I have always been one to call it as I see it and not hide behind mannerisms...the site is crap.

I gave an honest opinion of my thoughts on that site, which follow along with Chani's. I read their intro dialogue, some of a the posts and a couple articles. At that point, the entire thing was so muddled, inconsistent, and frankly uninspiring that I refuse to waste my time with the rest, seeing no indication that there was anything different there.

Which is why I asked you to, specifically, point me to the areas where you found relevent material.

In the pages I read, I found a lot of banalities, sappy little one-liners, and almost zero actual content.

If you have found actual content, which apparantly you have, could you please point me to the relevent pages? I have a job, school, and a family that I spend time with; my time is not worth wasting to read a few days worth of fluff.

As to contradictions, and my statement that they disclaim being an educational theory, try the quote found in their intro dialogue:
“The problem is that TCS is not an educational method or a parenting strategy, and if you think of it as a method, you're likely to get a wildly inaccurate impression of what it is like.”
I will stand corrected on this one, they claim it is not a method, they may still claim it's a theory.

However a theory that does not suggest a method is as useless as a theory that can't be tested. Which is essentially my point.

It's either a method, at which point it contradicts itself, or it's a theory and no method, at which point it really doesn't have application.

Of course, considering that the first article on their main page suggests "Smashing the TV and burning the books", which is described as "essential reading", I also get a feeling they are simply a reactionary group, and this also makes me consider that their grasp of psychology, human nature, and child-rearing issues is, as I stated, idealized and disconnected from the real world. There is nothing wrong with children watching television, and there is nothing wrong with a child reading books. Conversation is good as well (which is what they suggest as the only thing).

It's pop-psych with little grounding in real psychology, and while I may be cynical, their entire philosophy/nonmethod/theory/whatever it is today is based on an idealized view that doesn't stand up to reality.

It's like someone coming along and saying "Hey, I have this great idea! I know how to have world peace and make everyone happy! All we have to do is talk to each other and compromise, and everyone will be fine and there'll be no crime or war!"
roger
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viscousmemories wrote:I can see how it might seem like that, but do you have any evidence that it is? Do you believe that a 3000 word, decidedly sparse introduction to an educational theory gives you enough information to make such a determination?
Do you have any evidence that it is valuable?

Yes, I would say that if someone cannot articulate the general outlines of a theory in 3000 words they are either very poor communicators, or there is nothing there. I don't have any books right at hand, but last night when I read this topic I pulled the book "Bipolar Disorder" off my shelf and read the first 2 paragraphs. It starts by saying how difficult a disease it is to diagnose and test because of it's chameleon type appearance, but then quickly goes on and offers an outline of the disease. Two paragraphs in and you know _basically_ what bipolar is. By 3000 words you have a handle on the disease, and some idea of what you _don't_ know yet (which is a lot). You know enough to explain the disease to somebody else. This is pretty standard for psychriatic texts. I can summerize Freud, Jung, Gottmann, you name the therapist, in 3000 words. It's easy peasy.

In constrast, we have vaguely written introduction, and a poster (you) that states he is unwilling to defend or argue it. No evidence has been offered for the quality of the information in that site. It seems reasonable, given limited time, to walk away. Time is limited. Reading the introduction, and dipping into the various articles, reveals no emperical evidence, no labratory tests, no references, no peer reviewed papers, just more and more banal sentences. I admit to 'dipping', or sampling, but sampling, say, "Bipolar Disorder" reveals copious footnotes to other studies, significant emperical evidence, testable claims, case studies, charts, etc. A riffle (literally) through it will convince you that the book is at least serious. The data may be completely crap, the references could be made up - but a quick trip to the library will clear that up (as it turns out, the author is highly respected in the field, and the book is highly regarded). The site you offer gives me none of that (that I can find).

So, tenative conclusion - banal or wrong. I will give it another look if better evidence can be offered. I will not read 60 articles because someone who is unwilling to actually defend or define the concepts exhorts me to.
Huntsman
Posts: 157
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 8:28 pm
After reading roger's posts, I feel I must add something to my statements.

What he said.

Well put, roger :)
viscousmemories
Posts: 677
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:22 am
Huntsman wrote:Alright.

Please, viscous, could you show me where AT ANY POINT I claimed to have read THE ENTIRE SITE?
You said:
However, if you read the site (which I have, apparantly my hour was better spent than your time)[…]
Which I interpreted (incorrectly, apparently) as you saying you've read everything on the site.
I would appreciate you finding someone else to deride. Your venom does not wear well.
I apologize. I was being a smartass because I thought you were exaggerating about how much of the site content you'd read, but it wasn't my intention to be venomous.
I will say I was rather hostile in my reply; perhaps I should not have been. However, I have always been one to call it as I see it and not hide behind mannerisms...the site is crap.
The site may be crap (I find the arguments here compelling in that regard) but I still think the content has some value. I'll elaborate on that soon.
I gave an honest opinion of my thoughts on that site, which follow along with Chani's. I read their intro dialogue, some of a the posts and a couple articles. At that point, the entire thing was so muddled, inconsistent, and frankly uninspiring that I refuse to waste my time with the rest, seeing no indication that there was anything different there.

Which is why I asked you to, specifically, point me to the areas where you found relevent material.

In the pages I read, I found a lot of banalities, sappy little one-liners, and almost zero actual content.

If you have found actual content, which apparantly you have, could you please point me to the relevent pages? I have a job, school, and a family that I spend time with; my time is not worth wasting to read a few days worth of fluff.
Fair enough. I really should have done so to begin with, but I honestly intended this thread to be a simple link to what I thought was an interesting education related site to help fill the dearth of threads in this young forum. I didn't want to argue about it, frankly, because I'm too lazy to research it well enough to defend it. Particularly given the fact that it's not relevant to my life. I agree that I should at least present what I think is interesting about the bit I know, though, so I'll do that.
As to contradictions, and my statement that they disclaim being an educational theory, try the quote found in their intro dialogue:
“The problem is that TCS is not an educational method or a parenting strategy, and if you think of it as a method, you're likely to get a wildly inaccurate impression of what it is like.”
I will stand corrected on this one, they claim it is not a method, they may still claim it's a theory.

However a theory that does not suggest a method is as useless as a theory that can't be tested. Which is essentially my point.

It's either a method, at which point it contradicts itself, or it's a theory and no method, at which point it really doesn't have application.
I appreciate the concession and (I think) understand your objection.
Of course, considering that the first article on their main page suggests "Smashing the TV and burning the books", which is described as "essential reading", I also get a feeling they are simply a reactionary group, and this also makes me consider that their grasp of psychology, human nature, and child-rearing issues is, as I stated, idealized and disconnected from the real world. There is nothing wrong with children watching television, and there is nothing wrong with a child reading books. Conversation is good as well (which is what they suggest as the only thing).
I strongly suspect that piece was meant to be ironic. Particularly considering the reader comment ("I'm afraid the irony might be lost") immediately following it. From everything I've read the TCS folks are very far, ideologically, from book burners.
It's pop-psych with little grounding in real psychology, and while I may be cynical, their entire philosophy/nonmethod/theory/whatever it is today is based on an idealized view that doesn't stand up to reality.
That may be true, but you haven't proven it. Nevertheless I agree that the burden of proof should be on me – given my endorsement – so as I said I'll try to summarize the points I thought were important.
It's like someone coming along and saying "Hey, I have this great idea! I know how to have world peace and make everyone happy! All we have to do is talk to each other and compromise, and everyone will be fine and there'll be no crime or war!"
Understood. I'll try to respond to roger first, then I'll work on putting together something akin to a summary of the TCS concepts I found interesting.
viscousmemories
Posts: 677
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:22 am
roger wrote:Do you have any evidence that it is valuable?
Not currently. :) As I told Huntsman, though, I will at least try to present the few points I thought were interesting and/or important.
Yes, I would say that if someone cannot articulate the general outlines of a theory in 3000 words they are either very poor communicators, or there is nothing there.

<snip>

In constrast, we have vaguely written introduction, and a poster (you) that states he is unwilling to defend or argue it. No evidence has been offered for the quality of the information in that site. It seems reasonable, given limited time, to walk away. Time is limited.
Point taken. I suspect the culprit is poor communication, but concede that it may be that there is nothing substantial in the theory. Again, I'll try to summarize the points that stood out to me. I concur, though, that we're probably not going to find a lot of empirical evidence to confirm or deny the effectiveness of the theory. From what I can tell it's mostly a small, grass-roots social movement. I suspect there isn't a lot of hard science behind it.
So, tenative conclusion - banal or wrong. I will give it another look if better evidence can be offered. I will not read 60 articles because someone who is unwilling to actually defend or define the concepts exhorts me to.
Fair enough. Thanks for your response.
Abraxas
Posts: 68
Joined: Thu Jun 10, 2004 7:35 am
Location: petri-dish no. 9
First of all, I briefly flicked through the site (to read it all would take most of my spare period, something I don't give up easily...lol). Based on the few parts I read, I see nothing supporting their views, and feel it is (common in pedagogy) a rehash of old concepts.

During the late sixties and early seventies, it became fashionable to view children in a revolutionary light. The last time this happened was with Rousseau's views of raising children 'naturally', by giving them more freedoms and letting them learn through nature rather than through pure discipline.

Rousseau made some sense, however it was striking because it was in contrast with the concepts of raising children in the day (e.g., babies were swaddled to prevent muscular spasticity...an entirely false proposition). Academics constantly attempt to revolutionise education still today by treating children as equals, giving them freedom and expression and reasoning with their desires.

In practice, it constantly falls down. Why? Because children are not adults, and lack the reasoning skills many (not all, mind you) adults possess. Some children are indeed advanced thinkers, and the methods proposed by TCS may work with them. However the majority of children below a certain age need to have basic Pavlovian conditioning applied (sorry to say) where something dangerous is associated with a punishment, and something beneficial with a reward.

Schemes such as TCS chiefly rely on the natural consequences of a child's action to discipline their thinking. However, many social actions lack such direct consequences, or have consequences which are delayed. Stealing and not getting caught, having a poor diet, not completing work at school...all have short term rewards which, to children, can shape poor habits. Reason does not work in many cases because the child often has no real ability to rationalize through empathy or through non-egocentric understanding.

What of the opposite -- consequences which are extremely dire in the short term? For small children, no amount of discussion will make it obvious that some things are dangerous.

I'm a firm believer in balancing reason with reward and punishment. With an unruly student, I often reason the first few times, making consequences quite obvious ('I've told you that shouting out is unacceptable. It is rude and interrupts others. Now, if you shout out again, you are choosing to stay back during break to discuss why it is rude with me'), and reward those doing the right thing ('Thankyou Billy for putting your hand up. Now, what was it you were wanting to say?').

Nothing like experience to make this stuff obvious. I've seen teachers lose it with kids, and you can tell they won't last much longer in the industry. But when academics keep renaming the old hippy attitudes with new labels, I can't help but feel that many people are indeed sadly raising children who will lack social skills and be disadvantaged by that.

Abraxas
Huntsman
Posts: 157
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 8:28 pm
Abraxas:

I love you, man

Another "What he said" from me. He's given a clear and concise description of why I keep calling the theory idealized and non-realistic.
Sundog
Posts: 2578
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2004 4:27 pm
My methods have the advantage of having been proven successful, at least for my kids. I am in no way going to suggest that what I do would work for all kids, but it certainly works for mine.

I have always used a combination of these approaches. The kids have a huge amount of freedom, but they also know that Dad is Dad and lays down the final laws. They are free to argue and do (very well I might add), but in the end, I'm the boss, and they're fine with that.

All I do is respect their intelligence and appeal to their sense of reason. Of course this would be laughably inadequate for some kids, but mine have grown up beautifully and are model students. They have never been spanked. Far from being spoiled brats, they are active in community service and church work (their mother sends them to church; they aren't believers but they put up with it), have a great sense of moral responsibility (being Democrats ;) ), are all at the very tip-top of their classes scholastically, and in short are absolutely model kids in every way.

More bragging: My 14-year old daughter is president of the National Junior Honor Society, was president of her Student Senate last year, is taking advanced classes in math and physics in summer school so she can participate in the Gifted program in high school, is an award winning artist, an award winning writer (we're talking statewide awards here), plays guitar as well as I do, is good at softball, and is immensely popular. She can discuss intelligently anything from politics to Heisenberg's uncertaintly principle (last night's dinner table topic). My 17-year-old son is in the National Honor Society, was ranked #5 in a class of over 800 , and plays half a dozen instruments (very well). My youngest daughter (11) has also won several awards for writing, and is also a straight-A student, just like the other two.

Repeating this for the third time, I do NOT think all kids will react positively to this atmosphere. Many would simply take advantage. These are completely exceptional kids and have never taken advantage of our liberal methods.

Respect their intelligence and don't try to browbeat them with your opinions, and lead by example; that's my method in a nutshell.
Abraxas
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Location: petri-dish no. 9
Sundog wrote: *snip*

Respect their intelligence and don't try to browbeat them with your opinions, and lead by example; that's my method in a nutshell.
Sundog, you can't do better than that. Is there a perfect parenting model? No, because kids are indeed individuals who follow their own paths. There are some mottos of parenting that work better than others (I don't believe in corporal punishment, however a quick smack for a child can often substitute the punishment they would otherwise receive if they drink bleach, cross a highway or tickle Bo-Bo the pet baboon where he don't like to be touched :D ). But for the most, you can only be a good role model, respect them as human beings and demonstrate that they should do likewise.

I teach a lot of spoilt kids, and you can see their parents' words in their actions. 'Don't take no shit from no-one' is a favourite, and one I hate. It is translated in the kids' mind into 'If anybody disagrees with you, don't accept it'. They feel they should be respected first, without the need for them to show it back.

I don't have kids of my own yet (something about the geneva convention and 'cruel and unusual punishment on the rest of society...'), but believe that from what I've done with my students achieves good results. Show love and respect, be human, lead by example and make your own expectations very clear.

Abraxas
(ps., congrat's to being a good parent. It can't be easy in today's world...)
Sundog
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Abraxas wrote:(ps., congrat's to being a good parent. It can't be easy in today's world...)
Thanks. It's quite frightening. I thank Grid every day that I wound up with such a batch of winners.
viscousmemories
Posts: 677
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:22 am
You know actually several of you have made some really good points, and I honestly don't know enough (or care enough, really) about TCS to produce even a reasonable summary, much less an adequate defense of it. So I'm not going to try to do either. I appreciate everyone's insights on this thread, though. (Even you, Huntsman :D ) and I look forward to more discussions on other topics. :)

I grew up in a family that was part of a very restrictive religious cult and I don't feel like my intelligence and critical faculties were taken into consideration in how I was raised, plus I was physically punished and I disagree with that, so the strong focus on kid's input and the eschewing of corporal punishment are probably the two biggest reasons I was drawn to the TCS method when I first stumbled on it.

Nevertheless, as several of you have very skillfully pointed out, it certainly isn't the only method that encourages (or discourages, as the case may be) those behaviors. Thanks again for the enlightening discussion. :)
Sundog
Posts: 2578
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2004 4:27 pm
viscousmemories wrote:You know actually several of you have made some really good points, and I honestly don't know enough (or care enough, really) about TCS to produce even a reasonable summary, much less an adequate defense of it. So I'm not going to try to do either. I appreciate everyone's insights on this thread, though. (Even you, Huntsman :D ) and I look forward to more discussions on other topics. :)

I grew up in a family that was part of a very restrictive religious cult and I don't feel like my intelligence and critical faculties were taken into consideration in how I was raised, plus I was physically punished and I disagree with that, so the strong focus on kid's input and the eschewing of corporal punishment are probably the two biggest reasons I was drawn to the TCS method when I first stumbled on it.

Nevertheless, as several of you have very skillfully pointed out, it certainly isn't the only method that encourages (or discourages, as the case may be) those behaviors. Thanks again for the enlightening discussion. :)
Yourself, and
WELCOME TO THE FORUM!
viscousmemories
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Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:22 am
Sundog wrote:Yourself, and
WELCOME TO THE FORUM!
Thanks! :pb:
Abraxas
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Joined: Thu Jun 10, 2004 7:35 am
Location: petri-dish no. 9
No...hang on...this isn't right!! Where's the fighting? The ignorant comments? The ad hom' attacks??

You can't just 'learn' something and then admit humility! It's not right!! It's...it's never been done before...

aaaaagggh!! :o

Abraxas
viscousmemories
Posts: 677
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:22 am
Abraxas wrote:No...hang on...this isn't right!! Where's the fighting? The ignorant comments? The ad hom' attacks??

You can't just 'learn' something and then admit humility! It's not right!! It's...it's never been done before...

aaaaagggh!! :o

Abraxas
:lol:
iain
Posts: 187
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2004 8:55 am
Location: Cheshire, England
It isn't really a parenting guide (and I haven't used it as one) but I have found "Mind Sculpture" by Ian Robertson to be a scientific evidence-based informative explanation our current understanding of how the brain develops in children and what implications that might have for how we raise and educate the little swines/darlings (delete as appropriate).

It explains that children aren't just adults with less knowledge : their brains are quite different in structure and operation. When children learn, they are creating new physical pathways in the brain and sometimes destroying old ones.