Thursday, 23 September 2010

Taking Children Seriously

Somebody commenting here mentioned the idea of common preference parenting. I thought that this article was quite interesting on the topic of non-coercive parenting.


  1. Thanks for the link, a pretty balanced article considering it's written by someone who ultimately disagrees with TCS. This parenting style has been our aim and, we discussed our experience earlier after comments here. We concluded that our children usually initiate common preference finding these days and they are much quicker and better at it than we are!

  2. BTW, they have their own web site if anyone is interested in reading more.

  3. Initially counter-intuitive to those of us raised in coercive environments, it has, when we remember to use it properly, proved to be the most wonderful way of parenting.

    Children even only partially raised on the principles now thrive in adulthood.

  4. I was in the TCS online group some years ago for a while until I was less than politely informed that I had "violated" their rules by offering my experiences with my son as help - or so I thought - to a mother who was anxious about her son's picky eating. Apparently, talking about one's children is taboo. Abstract principles only! I thought that was completely daft and didn't like the tone of the notification and moved on. I do however agree fundamentally with Sarah Fitz-Claridge as it was then (presumably Sarah Lawrence is the same person) that children should never ever be forced to do anything against their will. I've lived by that philosophy for 25 years with excellent results.

  5. Bob

    The TCS list was helpful to me, turning problems into abstract principles helps understand them in a more general way so one practices how to find better solutions to all problems not just to the problem we are currently faced with.

    Not sharing personal details about our children is a matter of respect rather than taboo.

    The tone on there can be snappy, personally I found cutting to the chase helpful. Getting down to the essence of issues had a profound effect on my parenting.


    I don't wear a TCS t-shirt, inspite of being influenced by it. There are many other sources and inspiration for parents who strive not to coerce. It's not some secret society out to quietly evangelise without being honest about the source.

    The writings of AS Neill, John Holt, Naomi Aldort, Marshal Rosenberg, Alfie Kohn, Pam Leo, Herbert Spencer, Alice Miller, Deci and Ryan, to name a few, are strongly supportive of non-coercive parenting. Many others like Rosseau don't quite get it but move in that direction.

    There are plenty of examples on Bob Collier's monthly parenting email.

    To make TCS/Autonomous ed out to be a specific and extreme philosophy on parenting and learning ignores the many other parents, educators, writers and thinkers who have similar perspectives or are at least moving in that direction.

    While the use of the phrase "common preference" does seem specific to TCS it means pretty much the same as the everyday phrase "win-win solution".