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There are reasons why my children learn ethics primarily from me, and secondarily from sources of my choosing. They aren't made to think that all adults should be heard regarding these things.

 

As Christians, our worldview is to obey the law of the land unless and until it violates the law of God. Period. Good citizenship means respecting the law and preferring others above ourselves.

 

Now, we're pretty big on marching to the beat of our own drummer, in my house. We opt out of public school and many other sources of institutionalized nonsense, just so our children don't feel like slaves to arbitrary and petty preferences held by tinpot dictators.

 

And if there is a way to legally petition for change, we're pretty big on that, too. Civil disobedience has its place, and does not resemble anarchy.

 

But we don't speed through school districts, fudge on our taxes, go 'out' the 'in' and abuse the generosity of the bulk sample counter, just to flip the bird to the world because we're so much smarter and more reasonable and autonomous. We don't see "what we can get away with," although we would boldly go to the death resisting tyranny.

 

 

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I think with questions like this, its always better to go back to - what do we mean by honouring a parent, or anyone?  What do we mean by obedience?  What makes obedience lawful, or unlawful?

 

I don't think obedience is the most fundamental social principle, but it is among a sort of secondary set of principles.  To me, it is about respect for others, and that means respecting them in terms of their greater knowledge or experience, or in terms of respect for the social institutions that place them in a position of authority. 

 

So - its about recognizing that we are not the center of the universe, but are part of a web of relationships or a society.

 

As far as children - yes, this is something that they don't always have the capacity to really appreciate.  Sometimes they understand in a more intuitive way, or resent it intuitively.  Often, they need some experience to really appreciate it.

 

Many people have at times misapplied this idea of obedience as if it is primarily about teaching a set of right behaviors, rather than an orientation towards others.  Even worse, they see it in terms of what someone is owed, and lack of payment becomes an insult even when that is not at all what is going on.  These things can create a harsh teaching environment and often backfire.

 

On the other hand, there are others who seem to think that children will intuit all of these things by nature,, without anyone really taking the time to explain them.  Or they forget that selfishness can easily become a habit too, because it is also pretty natural and intuitive.  Or - I think what might be most serious is they themselves think obedience is fundamentally arbitrary, and they maybe even see disobedience as heroic, so they give confusing signals to kids.

 

I think its always worthwhile to think about why a particular idea is true or important.

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I'm an old fashioned mom.

 

I don't tolerate disobedience or disrespect.

 

When I say something, I mean it.

 

I follow through every time no matter what.

 

I give consequences for bad behavior.

 

I reward good behavior.

 

 

Apparently, those memos did not make it to my oldest dd. I tried everything I knew to mold her into an obedient compliant child.

 

I failed.

 

She will never be obedient or compliant just because I said so.

 

She's strong, independent, and critical minded. Until she was old enough to dialog about stuff, "Because I said so" was a recipe for tantrums and disasters. And no matter how much she was punished, the same behaviors still occurred.

 

Some kids have feelings so big that logic will not penetrate in the moment. When they are wound up, no spanking, time out, punishment, time-in, or withdrawal of privileges will get them to stop the insanity.

 

Now that she's older, she is turning out to be a really great kid. Until I stepped away from the "I am the parent and you will obey me instantly no matter what" paradigm, I was not gaining ground with her.

 

When I stopped to try to circumvent emotional breakdowns

 

When I tried to meet her basic needs (rest, good food, social time, time with parents, etc.)

 

When I began to treat her like a real person and LISTEN to her viewpoints (whether or not she actually agreed, it helped a ton for me to simply hear her out)

 

When I got on her side and made it easy for her to obey (giving directions in a step by step way helped her get her room clean rather than me saying, JUST CLEAN IT UP!)

 

When I changed the way I parented, I totally changed our dynamic.

 

She's not an easy kid.

 

She will never be easy.

 

But she is an excellent kid with a good head on her shoulders and I can't wait to see where she goes with her life.

 

(BTW, I have 3 other kids who are much easier. It's not parenting, It's the way they are made.)

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Except that you will still get a ticket for driving past the speed limit in a school zone if there are children present. The officer won't care how careful you were being or how capable a driver you are. You're breaking the law and you'll get a ticket.

 

Why differentiate school zones from any other place?  Police can give tickets anywhere they see speeding, no?  So why is one area ok with some and another area not ok if one feels they are to obey laws because they are the laws?

 

Non-compliant folks don't care if there are laws.  They might care about the ticket due to finances if that's an issue, but whether they choose to speed in any area or not will depend upon their view of how fast they should be going.  This is why education is important to these types - to help them care.  Just saying "it's the law" is pointless.

 

But we don't speed through school districts, fudge on our taxes, go 'out' the 'in' and abuse the generosity of the bulk sample counter, just to flip the bird to the world because we're so much smarter and more reasonable and autonomous. 

 

And the same here.  Just because someone is of a non-compliant nature doesn't mean they do these things either.  I know I certainly don't.  I don't even speed through residential zones as I feel those are as important as school zones.  It wouldn't matter if there were laws about it or not - or even if I worried about a cop being there or not.  Taxes are our responsibility for the things we get from the gov't.  I like many things we get from the government, why would I want to step out on taxes?

 

The difference in compliant vs not isn't at all related to how they actually act IRL (once up to the reasoning stage).  It's just how they get their motivation to do something or ignore something.

 

Based upon what I see at school, I believe even compliant kids do better with positive encouragement, reasons, and rapport than just with a "because I told you" statement.  The difference is they will do something because someone told them to do it.  They're wired for it.  Non-compliant will not and are wired to go against it.

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I'm an old fashioned mom.

 

I don't tolerate disobedience or disrespect.

 

When I say something, I mean it.

 

I follow through every time no matter what.

 

I give consequences for bad behavior.

 

I reward good behavior.

 

 

 

 

When I changed the way I parented, I totally changed our dynamic.

 

 

I don't see anything in your new dynamic to contradict your original principles.  I parent your new way, I think (as far as I can tell from your description).  I am still the Mom and have not given up any authority.  I just don't see a need to throw it around.  My authority is there, whether I show it or not.  I personally understand it as a God-given thing.  It is mainly there as a responsibility for me to seek the best for my children and to help them to achieve that.  I can do that by appealing to their reason, by being gentle, by any number of ways tailored to my kids and the circumstances.  

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Even if you are around the family for years, unless you live with them you aren't privy to what happens day in and day out.

 

Marco threw such a long tantrum tonight that he vomited. For 30 minutes he literally threw himself on to the hardwood floor (with me close by to catch him if his head starting going first), lurching out of my arms, and throwing himself at the office door; he was so hysterical and out of control that he had snot and tears running in a stream down his precious face. He couldn't calm himself. That's daily life with him these days. Even his therapists, though, who see him weekly, only have the ability to see him in such a state a couple times a week - they, however, realize that they only see part of the picture, no matter how "regularly" they see him. He doesn't generally work himself up so much that he becomes sick, but he did tonight. At the end of it, I had to forcibly undress him, undress myself (with DH's help because I was holding Marco) and get in a lavender scented bubble bath with Marco - because he was shaking so badly I didn't trust that he could sit in the badly needed, calming bath on his own (safely) - it took 20+ minutes of me sitting in that bubble bath with him, DH at the side of the tub playing music on his iphone for Marco and pretending to talk to Marco's toy elephant, for that precious boy to break a bit of smile and move from my arms.

 

But even those who see him weekly aren't around often to be privy to THAT. They see my (and have told me as much) parenting and shake their heads at the lack of boundaries. I don't really care, if I'm frank - because if the alternative to giving in is him slamming his head into the floor, less is more in the "control arena". Lack of boundaries be da*ned - my kid's safety is more important that boundaries right now. Boundaries can wait until he is better able to control his obvious fragile emotions, has a better grasp on language skills (again, being addressed in therapies), and isn't so easily frustrated.

 

But even those who see me weekly, and have for many years, rarely know that I'm in survival mode these days. They just see a bratty little boy and his coddling mother. The only ones who are SINCERELY privy to the "inside" are the (very) few who have been trusted to watch him occasionally.

I am so sorry you are going through this!! We had one who literally cried the entire first 2 yrs of her life...not exxagerating. She wouldn't go to anyone besides dd or me, not dad, any family members, no one. She screamed dead murder if anyone attempted to hold her, and at about a year and a half she wouldn't take a kiss or hug from her own dad. She didn't walk til almost 2yrs old, not because she couldn't, but because she didn't want to. We read so many parenting booms, watched videos (The best baby in the block, the best toddler in the block, and 1,2,3 magic are some of the ones I remember that helped). With my post I never meant to come as critical or judgmental, and believe me, with 5 kids ages 19 to 11months we have had our share as well. Parenting is a topic I enjoy learning about, and by no means I am perfect, but I worry a lot and try to be a decent parent. However, sometimes, in some cases, I do get the impression that some situations could be better with some consistency from the parents. There are frightening behaviors out there, between children, towards adults, and yes, sometimes a blatant disrespect for authority supported by the parents. Is it always the case? No. But it happens. Teachers, peers, church teachers...you name it, have to put up with attitudes that could be maybe improved with some guidance. I wish you the very best with Marco! Will pray for you, sounds like things are tough with him right now. Must be very, very draining!
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Teachers, peers, church teachers...you name it, have to put up with attitudes that could be maybe improved with some guidance. 

 

While this is true with some, there are many where parents are trying.  It truly isn't their fault all the time.  Probably not even the majority of the time.

 

Kids are quite good at learning how to act at school, with peers, and at church - even acting differently for different people in the same situation.

 

It has nothing to do with demanding obedience - although that works for compliant kids.  It can keep non-compliant kids in trouble all the time. That doesn't have to happen if one were to choose a different style of dealing with them.

 

I don't actually recall the last time I had to write up a behavior referral, yet I rarely have behavior issues in my classes (aside from some laziness).  The same kids I have can be in trouble multiple times with others.

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lol, i do think it is often arbitrary, and I do think disobedience can be mighty heroic. I honestly can't think of any situation with my children, other than immediate safety issues,  where I feel they need to 'obey' rather than 'understand and make thoughtful choice about compliance or non-compliance.'

 

They are good citizens, btw. No selfish rule-breakers for the hell of it in my family. So my signals worked out fine :)

 

That disobedience can be heroic doesn't mean that it is in every or even in most cases. I think it can just as easily become a cop-out as being obedient can be.  It's kind of a cultural trope for us, the brave iconoclast who changes stupid or destructive convention, but it can also be a kind of self-will.

 

I am not sure why you would separate obedience from someone choosing to be obedient.  We wouldn't separate being kind from someone choosing to be kind.  That's what obedience is, the choice to recognize that other people, other conventions, may have a wisdom behind them, that they may lubricate social interactions, whatever.  A recognition that our own experience is limited, and that we are living with other people who also have ideas that require respect. 

 

A habit of being kind isn't something that we need to think through every time, though it pays to be aware that apparent kindness is not always the right response or isn't always simple.  Obedience is very similar - while we need to be aware that it isn't always a simple virtue for many reasons, that doesn't mean that we have to always prove every situation to our own satisfaction before acting according to a rule or direction.  If we know the authority in question (your parents, say) has good principles, has generally been reliable, and there are no serious red flags in the particular instance, obedience may be a good and desirable standard response to that authority.  That doesn't mean not talking about the reasoning, but it may mean doing so later, or going along with it even if it doesn't seem to make sense to you.  Requiring an explanation for everything, though pretty natural for kids I think, is often just a preference for doing what they have decided.  That's a really strong human desire, but not very conductive to a healthy community life.

 

The difference in emphasis though I think points to what I was saying - when we phrase it as the individual choosing whether to obey or not, the implication is that the most important aspect of the choice is what that individual has decided, and relatively less importance to what others have decided - whatever their claim to authority.  I think that humility is very closely related to obedience, and especially the practice of obedience - most people tend to naturally put self above others, and recognition that self and others are on the same level, or that self can sometimes be lower, is what is at the center of obedience.  I don't know if you've ever read accounts by monastics - they almost inevitable say that obedience is the hardest of all the vows, and they connect it closely to humility - it involves a transcendence of self, a recognition that we are not set above all others.

 

The other thing I would say is that most people will be on both sides of obedience at various times in their life.  Being under obedience oneself is often an important instruction in how to behave when in authority.

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This is an important point. I often notice that adults address children in a completely different way than they do other adults, essentially reducing them to second-rate citizens without rights and autonomy. I disagree with that approach, and see children as people who deserve to be treated respectfully, just like adults. (Just as they do for adults, poor behavioral choices will also impact children, obviously.) Who among us does not want input regarding things that impact our lives? Who wants to be told what to do without understanding why? Children are no different.

 

I think that's really a kind of masquerade of obedience when really someone is being a bossy-pants, or worse.  And many people don't do this only with children, though they seem to get the worst of it, they do it anywhere they can get away with it - I think they haven't themselves learned the lesson of obedience,  they are using it for their own ego-satisfaction.

 

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Bluegoat, I think you'd like this, and might even be able to translate it into English for the rest of us.  :laugh:

 

Ivan Illich with Jerry Brown -- We The People, KPFA, March 22, 1996

 

They get on to the subject of authority about one-third of the way in, between the discussion of windshields, and musical intervals ("quint" = "fifth," BTW). 

 

Illich seems to present three options:

 

1) Traditional hierarchy, in which "power" isn't even talked about, because it's so deeply embedded in social roles -- king, queen, father, mother -- and which tends toward a greater or lesser degree of overt abuse.

 

2) Modern so-called equality, which gives everyone -- incl. children -- a chance to jockey for the newly abstracted "power."   Dominance and abuse are very much still there, but hidden, through manipulative systems and technologies.   (On reading this, I realized right away that this includes many modern child-rearing techniques, such as "offering choices" when the goal is really to get them to do what you want.)

 

3) "Proportionate" relationships based on love.  One person is in some sense "higher" than the other, and has power, but chooses to refrain from wielding it, and turns his or her attention to serving the needs of the other.   Really I'd call this a purified form of #1, and my sense is that traditional hierarchy has to be the basis for it.  (I don't see how you can get to #3 at all from #2, because it turns into such a morass of mutual manipulation, you can't really "see" each other.)  

 

I know there are "non-coercive discipline" people who would say you can go straight to #3 and reject both traditional hierarchy and manipulation, but I think this disregards human frailty.   To use your example, even in monasteries, with mature adults who've chosen a lifestyle of self-renunciation in community life, hierarchy has been found to be essential.

 

Anyway, there's another take on it!

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There are times when I wonder if the majority of compliant leaning folks will ever understand the natural mindset of the other side... 

 

It's not just this thread.  There were more of the same types of conversations at school today... from teachers having issues with students and discipline not working so trying more/harsher discipline and finding that it didn't work either.  Surprise, surprise.

 

So many of "my types" don't make it in this world.  (sigh)

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Bluegoat, I think you'd like this, and might even be able to translate it into English for the rest of us.  :laugh:

 

Ivan Illich with Jerry Brown -- We The People, KPFA, March 22, 1996

 

They get on to the subject of authority about one-third of the way in, between the discussion of windshields, and musical intervals ("quint" = "fifth," BTW). 

 

Illich seems to present three options:

 

1) Traditional hierarchy, in which "power" isn't even talked about, because it's so deeply embedded in social roles -- king, queen, father, mother -- and which tends toward a greater or lesser degree of overt abuse.

 

2) Modern so-called equality, which gives everyone -- incl. children -- a chance to jockey for the newly abstracted "power."   Dominance and abuse are very much still there, but hidden, through manipulative systems and technologies.   (On reading this, I realized right away that this includes many modern child-rearing techniques, such as "offering choices" when the goal is really to get them to do what you want.)

 

3) "Proportionate" relationships based on love.  One person is in some sense "higher" than the other, and has power, but chooses to refrain from wielding it, and turns his or her attention to serving the needs of the other.   Really I'd call this a purified form of #1, and my sense is that traditional hierarchy has to be the basis for it.  (I don't see how you can get to #3 at all from #2, because it turns into such a morass of mutual manipulation, you can't really "see" each other.)  

 

I know there are "non-coercive discipline" people who would say you can go straight to #3 and reject both traditional hierarchy and manipulation, but I think this disregards human frailty.   To use your example, even in monasteries, with mature adults who've chosen a lifestyle of self-renunciation in community life, hierarchy has been found to be essential.

 

Anyway, there's another take on it!

 

I was thinking about this today. I do like Illich... but I generally think we can't move away from all manipulation, simply because it's part of being imperfect humans that even when we're trying very hard to be open, it's impossible not to have our own wants and to convey them and for others to be affected by them. And in the case of kids, it's impossible for us as adults not to have more power in some ways - we're stronger, we're more worldly... We know more. We have the money. I like the ideal of forgoing that power to respect children as individuals, to refrain from using that power... but we have to use that power sometimes. There's inherently a power dynamic in paying for something for your child. Yet I wouldn't suggest we shouldn't buy our children clothing or food.

 

I was thinking about whether the limited choice thing is really a part of this abstracted equality with manipulation thing. Sometimes those limited choices, for example, are practice for having unlimited choices. I didn't let my kids do anything when they were little... I made them practice freedom in doses slowly so that they could get better at it as they grew. I was reading a book today where the character observes a parent offering choices to a young child and she reflects:

"To overwhelm a child of four with choices, to lay on her the burden of making a decision, was to deprive her of the bliss of childhood. Adulthood, after all, already loomed, where she would have to make grimmer and grimmer decisions."

 

That resonated with me. I mean, some kids want those choices, but they're arresting for others. We know that more choices makes us less happy as adults.

 

I know that takes it in a different direction than obedience and compliance... But in some ways it's the same... some kids are happier with just one (or just a couple) of choices, just like some kids are happier to be compliant. Others simply cannot be. As the adults in their lives, I think maybe the getting to a relationship of love piece is realizing which child we've got and honoring those needs.

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This has been a very enlightening thread. I often think of obedience as a good trait. Not that I am not familiar with tyranny, abuse of power, etc etc...but my thoughts don't necessarily go there right away. Of course I see and fully understand and know that obedience and compliance in those cases (and many other cases) is definitely a negative trait. Yes, we do talk to our kids about following what is morally right, not letting anyone r take advantage of them, etc. However, it is also frightening for me to see what lack of parental guidance,teachings etc (which I probably mislabeled under "obedience"), maybe parental guidance was a better term? Anyway, I also find frightening what the lack of boundaries, respect, direction...whatever we may call it, is doing in our society. Bullying, teachers not being able to speak up because sometimes they can be threatened to be sued, etc etc. It is a sad situation and I am sure all cases are different, sometimes the parents of the kids causing trouble are trying to guide their kids, sometimes they are not, sometimes kids are spoiled (because parents are wealthy or politically influential)...just so many scenarios!!! Kind of hard to cover them all.

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Well, the very word obedience makes me personally shudder a bit. Someone on another group I'm on asked for picture book recommendations about "obedience" and I couldn't stop myself. I was first in with "for it or against it?" Thankfully no one seemed to suggest many "for" and several people suggested "against." :D

 

I also think the kids who most want to avoid decisions and rocking the boat need to learn the most. But I've now dealt with a few of those kids and if you push them to rock more boats and make more choices it begins to feel exactly like when you're trying to get an unruly child to "obey." Because, in a way, it is a top down value of mine (that is, the value of disobedience since I was also a very not compliant kid) that I'm trying to impose on the child. Instead, they're likely to make fewer choices and avoid more choices. Of course, that's a choice too, but often one that doesn't lead to much of a productive life. I guess both extremes can be difficult... the kids who want to be on the conveyor belt of life and the kids who are determined to smash it up. This is not to say either is "bad." Just difficult from an adult perspective. I guess this is that power dynamic again... adults have the money, the life experience, the personal control. Even in a family where you're trying your darnest to give your child that autonomy, you run up against the fact that they just don't have it yet overall - not enough education to get a job to make the choices they want yet. And it's very easy from our end, with all our control to see how you have to walk some path to get it and not smash all the paths or sleep instead of picking one.

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Idk. I think the most compliant, reluctant to choose children - and I guess I'm talking about older children here, not little ones - need to practice choosing and assertiveness the most. 

 

My goal in raising children over the age of seven or so, is to do my damn best to make sure they grow up to be the ones risking their lives to hide Jews in their attic. Because if you can't be that person, what is the point of even being alive ? 

 

I don't see how making a fetish (not responding to Farrar here) out of obedience can take anyone even one step closer to that goal. The only way to get there is to raise children who know how to look behind the mask of obedience, compliance, conformity and who do that reflexively, as a lifelong habit. I don't want children who habitually comply with authority, because authority is so often malign.

 

That's a good point. I am thinking about my two kids that I worry the most for their future and one is absolutely non-compliant and the other is super-compliant. I think both characteristics are dangerous. It has been much easier to teach my argumentative one to tone it down, consider the other side, and cooperate than it has been to teach my compliant child to be assertive and consider if the authorities are legit. 

 

I think it's partly because my super-compliant child gets so much positive feedback from everyone for the behavior and it's hard for this one to see that it's a problem. My voice is the only one saying it's not 100% good. My non-compliant child has many people saying in various ways to chill out and just follow the rules.

 

For my obedient and compliant child, it's a safety issue. I have no confidence that this one would refuse an order to go with an adult or do anything with an adult. This one has trouble looking critically at rules and laws and considering whether they are moral. I fear that with peers this one is also easily led and afraid to speak up and risk getting in trouble or to risk getting others in trouble. Teachers and adults love this one and think my child is perfect but I have concerns and have been working on assertiveness and feel proud when she has the confidence to say no to someone.

 

Like all traits, compliance and non-compliance are neither all good or all bad. 

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I actually think that when you respect children with the non-compliance module, they don't need to go around smashing things to make their point. Smashing things seems to be a function of lack of respect for the questioning personality. 

 

My daughter's preschool teacher actually changed my thoughts on this by pointing out that non-compliance can be a real strength in terms of protecting a child from malign influence. "She'll never ask how high when someone tells her to jump" is how she put it. 

 

I definitely meant the smashing metaphorically. And not always in a negative way by any means. Smashing an unfair system is a positive thing, right? Being the voice against something can be really good.

 

When I was teaching, at the high school at one point (I was at the middle school) someone brought a gun to school one day to threaten another kid. He told someone, who told someone, who told someone, and so forth. Finally, someone told a particular student, a real think for yourself kid and she said, wait? WTF? And immediately told the principal. Everyone else had just sort of accepted that this had happened and not said anything. I guess what I'm saying is that sometimes these things dovetail... the kid who can step out of line is the kid who can really do the right thing. And really, she's still smashing things... she works in homeless advocacy now.

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I don't really get all the "compliant vs. non-compliant personality" discussion.  Obedience is a choice, as far as I understand it.  A choice you make each time, so no "one-time-for-all-time" choice to be obedient.  And you make that choice based on what you know about the reliability and trustworthiness of the one asking you to make the choice.  I'm not perfect but my kids have generally come to the conclusion that I'm reliable and trustworthy as a parent to have their best interest at heart.  But they also know that esp. as they grow older that I really want them to understand why I'm making certain choices for myself and why I advise them to make certain choices for themselves.  They are at an age where they understand that I can't "make" them obey me without being abusive.  When they were little, I could.  (I'm thinking scenarios here like picking up a child who is rushing towards a busy street without obeying the word "stop".)  I can no longer make those kinds of choices for my kids.  So I don't even try.  I explain my reasoning.  I tell them what my boundaries are.  In most things they are free to make a choice without coming up against any boundary but if they choose to do something illegal, for instance, my boundary is that I will notify the authorities to protect society and others in our household.  That isn't manipulation.  That is my freedom to live according to my own conscience and is my choice to make.  

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Great discussion!

 

I, too, shudder when I hear obedience. Partly because it gets layered in with so much abuse of authority and weird control-games. And it's always interesting to me how people interpret "honour" as "obey" when, it doesn't say that. If the Hebrew said "obey" it would be translated as "obey." Honour is really a lot more tricky a concept

 

I tend to think of things a bit more simply. I think most kids need some help figuring out right and wrong, and how to behave in most situations, and that's what I'm here for-all under the principle of love God and love your neighbour as yourself (not more or less). So, kids need to learn what "no" means, from me and from each other and friends. They also need to learn when to say "no." Kids need to learn to treat each other and me with love and consideration. It's also helpful to learn to accept the odd arbitrary but harmless rule, simply to avoid conflict (time sheets, wearing the right shoes to violin, etc.) And obviously safety is an issue, and they need to understand that while they are small, my judgement about safety is likely better than theirs, given that I have 30+ years more experience. That may change as they age, but I hope they will trust my advice. 

 

Obviously, there are days things go well, and really more days than the reverse, but there are bad days, and they sometimes happen in public. And sometimes people judge, and that's really on them, not me. Of course, I have my judge judy days too, but those are my problem.

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Idk. I think the most compliant, reluctant to choose children - and I guess I'm talking about older children here, not little ones - need to practice choosing and assertiveness the most. 

 

They do need this, but yes, from an age where they can reason at least a little.  Before that it's totally overwhelming.  After that it becomes a difficult task, but possible to learn.

 

I still have compliant students who beg me to "Just tell me what you want!"  No dear.  If I told you exactly what I wanted, I might as well do the assignment myself.  Instead, I'm giving you suggestions from which you need to think.  This is easy for those who can think outside the box, but difficult for those who are used to reading directions and going from Step A to Step B with no thought required.

 

For those who want specifics - just to be sure I wasn't unreasonable  :lol:  - the assignment in question was to give me three specific examples and three interesting facts about a macromolecule of their choice (on a poster).  The student wanted me to give her examples... this is a 10th grader who had google at her fingertips.  She ended up doing well, just needed the push.

 

That's a good point. I am thinking about my two kids that I worry the most for their future and one is absolutely non-compliant and the other is super-compliant. I think both characteristics are dangerous. It has been much easier to teach my argumentative one to tone it down, consider the other side, and cooperate than it has been to teach my compliant child to be assertive and consider if the authorities are legit. 

 

...

 

Like all traits, compliance and non-compliance are neither all good or all bad. 

 

:iagree:   There are pros and cons to each natural type.  The compliant folks have it much easier in this world, BUT they are the ones who can have the most difficulty if they get in with the "wrong crowd."  They are so eager to please - they'll go to that party, try that drug, not tell when they see something really off, and get super stressed out worrying about how they look.

 

Non-compliant folks have the trouble trying to learn how society works in order to get along in it.  When meaningful people try discipline, discipline, and more discipline it causes them to try to get away, pull within themselves, not try, smash things, or head to a crowd who accepts them for who they are - which also can be the druggie crowd.

 

EITHER group can grow up to be terrific adults.  They both just have to learn to do a bit of the other side.  The first group tends to make great employees - esp with a known job description.  The second group tends to make good natural outside the box thinkers - also treasured by many in the work world.

 

I actually think that when you respect children with the non-compliance module, they don't need to go around smashing things to make their point. Smashing things seems to be a function of lack of respect for the questioning personality. 

 

My daughter's preschool teacher actually changed my thoughts on this by pointing out that non-compliance can be a real strength in terms of protecting a child from malign influence. "She'll never ask how high when someone tells her to jump" is how she put it. 

 

Love it!  Non-compliant types will take on the world for you if you get them on your side.  They'll fight you forever - or walk away and disengage - if you don't.  Telling them what they have to do (order style) brings on that natural "no" thought, definitely not the "how high" bit!

 

I don't really get all the "compliant vs. non-compliant personality" discussion.  Obedience is a choice, as far as I understand it.    

 

It's all in how the brain naturally answers this choice without thought.  Compliant folks will default to yes.  Non-compliant will default to no.  Either can learn to choose the other, but it takes work, thought processes, and time.

 

It really isn't easier to teach a compliant child to say no.  It just seems "better" because often we want "yes" to our questions, not "no."  There are plenty of adults who get way too overloaded at work or with life in general because they can't bring themselves to just say no.  They want to, but they can't do it easily and it causes them stress to do so.

 

Teaching a non-compliant child to say yes involves giving them reasons and processing time to truly grasp those reasons.  It's rarely going to be an auto-response - even as adults.  Making something an order and expecting a quick yes is really risky.  AND, there are times where these folks are going to say no and nothing will change their minds.  It won't stress them out at all to do so.

 

Compliant folks wonder what the problem is with "just do it."  We non-compliant folks wonder why in the world anyone would "just do it."  It makes no sense to us.

 

ps  This doesn't mean reasons are needed for every single thing every time.  Once the reason is there, it's there.  For years, I wouldn't get a flu shot. A law would not have convinced me to get one.  However, a couple years back I read reasons for it that changed my mind.  I don't need to contemplate those reasons every single year.  I've already had mine this year.

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 No, I like my kids to think things through as much as possible, although they are free to use heuristics as they wish. 

 

Yes, I do think the most important aspect of the choice is what the individual has decided over what others have decided for them.

 

My kids don't have a problem with humility :) They don't think they are above others, but they certainly don't place themselves underneath others without thought and a process of consent.

 

Ds, for example, is compliant with his drama teacher, but only because he has considered her qualities as a teacher and his goals as a student and consented to compliance on that basis.

 

If she was a crap teacher, and I was forcing him to be there, non-compliance (in the form of refusal to go to class) would be a logical outcome. 

 

Different world view. 

 

As far as being under obedience oneself being instructional - sure! Where do you think I got my ideas about obedience and the damage it causes ? :)

 

Consenting to compliance is obedience.  That is actually the most perfect form of obedience. 

 

If you define obedience as doing things even when it is clear they are stupid or wrong, then yes, you will inevitably come to the conclusion that it is stupid.  But it didn't come to be seen as an important social and personal virtue in many cultures over many generations because it was obviously stupid.

 

Most people have times where they can't perfectly will the content of obedience, because of our human limitations.  Sometimes, we enforce it in society anyway, and parents are in the same position.  Kids are less able to always make good choices because they are less experienced and have a less developed brain.  So - sometimes we tell them that they need to consent to obey even when they disagree. 

 

They may or may not do that, and what one can do about that will depend on the child and his circumstances.

 

Coming to the conclusion that poorly wielded authority is bad when you've experienced it seems logical, but I'm not sure why that would logically mean it is bad altogether.  I have actually met very few people who live or parent that way, most people expect that parents should act as authorities when necessary, or that society should, and that there are appropriate and inappropriate ways to do so.  That seems to necessitate on the other end there is someone who is under obedience.

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There are times when I wonder if the majority of compliant leaning folks will ever understand the natural mindset of the other side... 

 

It's not just this thread.  There were more of the same types of conversations at school today... from teachers having issues with students and discipline not working so trying more/harsher discipline and finding that it didn't work either.  Surprise, surprise.

 

So many of "my types" don't make it in this world.  (sigh)

 

 

Well, I am arguing here that obedience is an important concept personally and socially, but I'm strongly non-compliant by nature.  So I don't know that it is such an impossible thing for that to happen.

 

I understand non-compliance as an emotional response, I see its utility, and I actually have a hard time related to people, even kids, who are naturally very bu-the-book.

 

I also have a pretty good sense of the traps that kind of independence can set for a person - it is very easy to fool yourself about your motivations and being a free thinker or bucking the system can be a self-image that we cultivate in order to avoid things we don't want to do for some reason.  And I know first-hand it also can have a lot of negative practical consequences as well. 

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Bluegoat, I think you'd like this, and might even be able to translate it into English for the rest of us.  :laugh:

 

Ivan Illich with Jerry Brown -- We The People, KPFA, March 22, 1996

 

They get on to the subject of authority about one-third of the way in, between the discussion of windshields, and musical intervals ("quint" = "fifth," BTW). 

 

Illich seems to present three options:

 

1) Traditional hierarchy, in which "power" isn't even talked about, because it's so deeply embedded in social roles -- king, queen, father, mother -- and which tends toward a greater or lesser degree of overt abuse.

 

2) Modern so-called equality, which gives everyone -- incl. children -- a chance to jockey for the newly abstracted "power."   Dominance and abuse are very much still there, but hidden, through manipulative systems and technologies.   (On reading this, I realized right away that this includes many modern child-rearing techniques, such as "offering choices" when the goal is really to get them to do what you want.)

 

3) "Proportionate" relationships based on love.  One person is in some sense "higher" than the other, and has power, but chooses to refrain from wielding it, and turns his or her attention to serving the needs of the other.   Really I'd call this a purified form of #1, and my sense is that traditional hierarchy has to be the basis for it.  (I don't see how you can get to #3 at all from #2, because it turns into such a morass of mutual manipulation, you can't really "see" each other.)  

 

I know there are "non-coercive discipline" people who would say you can go straight to #3 and reject both traditional hierarchy and manipulation, but I think this disregards human frailty.   To use your example, even in monasteries, with mature adults who've chosen a lifestyle of self-renunciation in community life, hierarchy has been found to be essential.

 

Anyway, there's another take on it!

 

That is interesting, and I think your summary is really good. 

 

I think what I would say is that social hierarchy isn't just about roles that are laid onto people, but they reflect an organic fact.  This is the problem I think with political schemes that depend on their being actual concrete equality between people.  We can't get away from the fact that different people have a variety of qualities based on both nature and nurture - things like mental acuity, physical strength, insight, age and experience, and these create, and respond to, the need for social roles.  All societies at the very least have a hierarchy that divides children from adults and in some way defines elders or a leadership function, and we see the same thing in other social animals. (Though often they are actually much more complex.)

 

So authority and obedience within the social structure exists as the corollary of those roles, and if they are explicit than we can look at how they are functioning.  Even in a system where authority is abstracted - to a legislating body for example, its normally considered important that those mechanism be clear and stand in the light.  And under these circumstances, we can actually decide to obey or not.

 

So when we get a situation like what you are calling modern equality, the need for those roles still exists, and the differences in people that lead to then being in a particular role, that natural hierarchy will still be there just as it is in a group of chimps or wolves.  That particular vision of equality though, can push it underground, which makes it difficult to see the mechanics, much less respond to them.

 

I think the idea of convincing people they have power by giving them unimportant choices is in fact a type of manipulation, a way of managing them.  It's endemic in our society too, north americans are told and often really believe that the choices they make aare what Constitution their freedom, which is what makes them human.  All the while though the mechanics of power, especially those who are deciding what the choices are, remain hidden. (I am immediately thinking of the issue of 'choice" of health insurance providers in the US but there are lots of other examples, even including the cereal options in the supermarket.)

 

As far as giving young kids choices to practice making them, rather than to manage them - maybe.  I certainly think that's what many people think they are doing and are trying to do.  However - I think most of the time that actually, they are not just giving a choice in order to give the child practice. (I also have serious doubts that that actually works, I suspect there are plenty of real choices that need to be made in time for children to practice doing so before they are adults.)  Sometimes it is simply realizing that one option or the other really is irrelevant so there is no need to dictate.  But much of the time it seems to be done in the context of managing behavior when a child is likely to balk - although its unintentional the interaction is that the adult is still in control because he is defining what the choices are, he is giving the child the illusion of empowerment while hiding from him that the parent is in fact exercising power. 

 

I tend to think that as a general practice this is not a good thing - it doesn't teach about accepting authority consciously or with grace, or even much about real rebellion, and it tends to create a person who is used to being placated with false choices.  (You can choose the red party or the blue party, you and feel very satisfied with that....)

 

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That's a good point. I am thinking about my two kids that I worry the most for their future and one is absolutely non-compliant and the other is super-compliant. I think both characteristics are dangerous. It has been much easier to teach my argumentative one to tone it down, consider the other side, and cooperate than it has been to teach my compliant child to be assertive and consider if the authorities are legit. 

 

I think it's partly because my super-compliant child gets so much positive feedback from everyone for the behavior and it's hard for this one to see that it's a problem. My voice is the only one saying it's not 100% good. My non-compliant child has many people saying in various ways to chill out and just follow the rules.

 

For my obedient and compliant child, it's a safety issue. I have no confidence that this one would refuse an order to go with an adult or do anything with an adult. This one has trouble looking critically at rules and laws and considering whether they are moral. I fear that with peers this one is also easily led and afraid to speak up and risk getting in trouble or to risk getting others in trouble. Teachers and adults love this one and think my child is perfect but I have concerns and have been working on assertiveness and feel proud when she has the confidence to say no to someone.

 

Like all traits, compliance and non-compliance are neither all good or all bad. 

 

I totally understand this. My oldest is the opposite of compliant. However, once we got right and wrong in her head, I don't worry about her as much as I do my second, more compliant, people pleasing dd.

 

I want my kids to think. (I'm thinking about mostly older kids here.)

 

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Well, I am arguing here that obedience is an important concept personally and socially, but I'm strongly non-compliant by nature.  So I don't know that it is such an impossible thing for that to happen.

 

I understand non-compliance as an emotional response, I see its utility, and I actually have a hard time related to people, even kids, who are naturally very bu-the-book.

IMO, this whole "compliant vs. non-compliant personality" discussion is a bit of a red herring.

 

For one thing, a habit of compliance with authority is a completely different thing from a habit of dependence on peer approval. 

 

You can find both in the same child, but it's also very common to find a "rebel" who hangs out with a group of other "rebels," and seeks to fit in with them. 

 

And conversely, there are are many children who are generally obedient to authority figures, but care little for fitting in with the bulk of their peers.   That would have been me (and I'm not saying my lack of caring about social approval was an entirely good thing, but that's another thread...).  At least one of my children seems to be turning out the same way. 

 

And I have another child who's friendly and social, appears compliant, but isn't always obedient.  The disobedience is more or less secret, and tends to be motivated by laziness (e.g., doesn't want to do chores) or appetite (e.g., desire for more sweets).  This was apparent from very early childhood.   Even though I can't imagine this child ever deliberately hurting another, this behavior is of great concern to me, especially the use of deception to avoid the consequences.   From a Christian POV, someone who stayed on this path would likely turn out to be spiritually mediocre and vacillating, at best.  And in reference to Sadie's scenario, someone with a weak will, and a tendency to self-indulgence, would be very unlikely to be able to take a great, sustained personal risk to help someone else, however high his or her ideals might be. 

 

I have to remind myself that while this particular child's weaknesses disturb me, they're pretty common.  We read the book Twenty and Ten last year.  It's not for nothing that the author included scenes where the German soldiers tried to bribe the children with candy and oranges, and she set up the plot so that the children did get the treats at the end.  Even among adults living under unjust regimes, for every one who betrayed his neighbor because of an exaggerated devotion to authority, I suspect there were many more who were motivated chiefly by fear of the loss of their own wordly goods and comforts, not to mention their own lives.

 

If we were to analyze any given case of moral heroism, I think we'd find that many different virtues worked together to produce the end result.   (This is something we've done a couple of times in our homeschool; now that the children are getting older, we should probably start doing it a bit more often. :001_smile: )

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All I can say, after my day today at school (I'm still here, but my classes end at 1:10), is that I loved today - seeing both my compliant and my non-compliant kids happily working on starting the next chapter's material - eagerly discussing the history of the cell and cell parts.

 

They were with me going over last chapter's test results too, and either rejoicing at their grade or telling me how determined they are to "get it up next time."

 

I'll be leaving them with a sub next M & T while we visit middle son on his fall break.  I'm not the least bit concerned that they will do well for her (even though some of them don't care for her).  I'm also certain they'll try their best on a project for me that I've set up while they are gone.

 

The compliant kids will do it because I asked them to, of course, but they're also extremely willing to please and a joy to work with.  It's pretty impossible to not love these students.

 

The non-compliant kids don't want to let me down.  They won't obey so to speak.  We're just on the same wavelength on why things ought to go the way they will be going - a positive wavelength.  I know some of them are capable of great things - one, esp, has already come huge strides in this class.

 

And this, to me, is how teams should work together.

 

It's also quite nice to hear from students who are telling me their grade is the highest it's been in science or that they wish they had me as their teacher in all of their classes... esp when I know they both worked for their grade (no gimmies from me) and can be problem students for others.

 

Quite honestly... it's why admin turns a blind eye to how/when I adjust things or skip out on things.  End results matter.

 

I believe my style works.  I see it work.  I love how it works.

 

But no, I don't care to go full time all the time... and I've no regrets about saying no.  I like my travel and leisure time too much. :coolgleamA:   Besides, I can't really go full time.  I never got an education degree, so can't technically teach at a high school level.  My degrees are subject degrees.  I missed all those "how to handle a classroom" and "how to do the paperwork" classes and don't really want to take them. ;)

 

But I do love working with (esp teaching) teens.  I really, really enjoy it - any type.  Just give me more time to break through the hardened shell of the non-compliant ones.

 

ps  Our state allows those of us with degrees, but not education degrees, to sub and work part time, but not full time (regular vs long term subbing).  Don't think my school is breaking the law.  They aren't.  They've even informed me that I could complete the classes I'd need while teaching (regular) full time, but...  I don't want to and would only do that if finances required it as there's no other job I'd rather have.

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I was thinking about this today. I do like Illich... but I generally think we can't move away from all manipulation, simply because it's part of being imperfect humans that even when we're trying very hard to be open, it's impossible not to have our own wants and to convey them and for others to be affected by them. And in the case of kids, it's impossible for us as adults not to have more power in some ways - we're stronger, we're more worldly... We know more. We have the money. I like the ideal of forgoing that power to respect children as individuals, to refrain from using that power... but we have to use that power sometimes.

When he talks about "setting aside power," he doesn't mean pretending that we don't have an advantage over the other person in some way.   That would not only be fake, it would defeat the whole purpose of friendship and love as he's presenting them -- i.e., as the "harmonies" created when you have unequal notes.   

 

It's a hard passage to follow, because the ideas are different, and his language is odd, and then there's the interview format.  I had to re-read it several times before I had a sense of what he was getting at.   It helps that I've been reading some of his books and other writings at the same time. 

 

It seems to me that what he's calling "power" is the ability to dominate the other by sheer force of our title, or greater experience, or strength, or riches, or whatever.   Again, this domination can be done overtly (through hierarchy) or covertly (through manipulation).   My sense is that he's very deeply opposed to the covert approach, as it messes up traditional societies without increasing people's freedom, and it's also based on a lie, whether or not the people in charge realize this.  This is actually the theme of much of his writing. 

 

The overt hierarchical relationship is sort of the historical baseline.  In my experience, it's much easier to move from that to #3.   For one thing, there isn't all this rubbish of getting stuck e.g. in "power struggles" with a 3 year old.  I mean, how does that make sense?   3 year olds, in themselves, have practically no power (in the sense described above) in a relationship with an adult.   They only have the power we allow them to take from us.   And I think many children have the intelligence to figure this out right away, and quite sensibly want to take MORE power.  Meanwhile, they often aren't capable of handling the power they have, and look to adults to protect them -- but it's the adult that they're fighting against.   So, this can make them feel more insecure, and as if they need to grab for even more power. 

 

I've always felt that this was ineffective, but at the same time, I didn't want to do "old-fashioned" discipline, mostly because I had no personal experience with it, and the published "how-to" formulas (by followers of Gothard and other fundamentalist types) were very off-putting.   I was also drawn to Montessori, which clearly didn't fit with the methods in those books, but "Montessori discipline" never really worked for me as a system on its own.   And on top of this, I had a feeling that is probably pretty common these days, which is one of unworthiness -- i.e., I am a very flawed person, so how can it work to have the children be so closely attuned to my authority?   A PP suggested that some parents desire their children's obedience out of fear.   If anything, I was the opposite: I desired them to be more self-directed, partly out of fear, because I couldn't deal with the idea of their wills being conformed to such an imperfect person as me.   But eventually, I came to realize that whatever disciplinary methods we use, I'm "it."  I'm their main influence on earth, at least for now.   

 

After reading some of Ella Frances Lynch's writings, and realizing that she -- like many others of her time -- was both very strict by modern standards, and loving and respectful of children's needs (and a strong advocate of Montessori's ideas), I decided to give the older way a try, even if the combination didn't make sense to me.   No "methods," just the awareness that I'm the one in charge, and responsible for guiding the formation of their character -- and no attempt to hide that, or to use techniques to "manage" them, the way a school teacher or daycare worker might.   Beyond that, it's just been a matter of using my intuition, and a lot of prayer, and whatever good examples I've picked up, to respond to the needs of the moment.   

 

While of course everyone's behavior is still a work in progress, what's ended up happening is that I've become a great deal kinder, and more patient and sympathetic, and our home is just a much, much happier place to be.   These days, when I read old children's stories about loving and close-knit families, their interactions seem like something realistic to aim for - not something unreachable to inspire feelings of inadequacy, or to look down on as treacly and sentimental, or to brush off as fantastical.   I now believe that most of the time, those authors were writing about real families they knew.    And there was no "magic" to it -- just the calm exercise of parental authority, in the context of sacrificial love.   And it also turns out that Montessori fits beautifully into this approach, which I guess isn't surprising, because it was the norm for good parents and teachers at the time she developed her method. 

 

Note that I'm not saying parents won't have specific challenges, as long as they "just use their authority."  They will, and we need to find more ways to help them with that.  (I love :001_wub:  RDI, for instance, and think it should be taught to all expectant parents, regardless of risk factors for any particular diagnosis.   Especially given the effects of media on face-to-face communication, as Illich describes.  I tend to think it could be transformative for our society.) 

 

But my point is that there is no direct relationship between traditional "parental authority" and harshness.   If it's done right -- i.e., in a self-sacrificial and serving way, rather than in a selfishly dominant way -- the exercise of authority can, and should, be characterized more by sweetness. 

 

Examples of this can be found over and over in the Bible, and in Christian biographies, but unfortunately, many Christian parents in our time seem to have lost the overall sense of it, and have turned to various man-made systems that focus on one part of the picture -- typically, either justice or loving-kindness -- and take it to an extreme.  Or perhaps they'll go back and forth, depending on the circumstances.  (Which could be said about our thinking about God, as well.  Hmm.)

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Sorry, authority is many things but it isn't sweet. If I am going to use my authority - which I do rarely - it won't be sweet. It will be strong and insistent. 

 

Many of us would experience 'sweet' authority as manipulative.

I'm sorry you feel that way.  We'll just have to disagree on that point.

 

It's interesting to me that people experience compliance/non compliance as red herrings.

Please note, what I said was that I think the discussion of compliant and non-compliant personalities is a red herring.  It seems to lump together "obeying authority" with being generally agreeable to all sorts of things (e.g., peer pressure).  In my experience, they don't necessarily go together at all. 

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I wouldn't say it is the same as cooperation.  Generally I would take cooperation to be working together side by side, either metaphorically or actually.  You might say that cooperation is obedience each to the other, as in friendship, but that seems not entirely accurate to me -  it doesn't necessarily involve one acknowledging the right of the other to lead, and it can be broken off.

 

It is the results of obedience that are meant to be sweet, I think, though when people understand that their actions are contributing to that it can also be very satisfying.  Charlotte Mason I think talks about this when she says the habit of obedience in children makes for a harmonious household, where people are not always fighting or negotiating about every little thing so that daily family life can be really enjoyable.  And people know where they stand, which IMO actually goes a long way to good relationships and happiness. 

 

I don't think its odd that a particular virtue would have people who are more or less inclined to it naturally.  But always in my experience that can be both positive and negative.  I can't think of an example where a virtue can't be twisted or improperly ordered as well as simply ignored.  I don't know why it would be necessary to shy away from realizing that some things come more easily to some people than others.  I'm not going to say that being patient is not a virtue just because some people struggle with it, or even because in some people it might turn into passivity or sloth.  Virtues and vices are generally opposites of each other anyway, because evils are always disordered goods.

 

All of us are under obedience all the time if we live in society.  Very few of us refuse to pay our taxes, refuse to recognize the right of our governing bodies to make laws.  Most of us will even follow many laws that we don't personally think are the best, and not just because we are afraid of the consequences of not obeying we recognize the right of those bodies to make decisions about rules.  If that is not obedience to hierarchical authority, its hard to imagine what is.

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I wouldn't say it is the same as cooperation.  Generally I would take cooperation to be working together side by side, either metaphorically or actually.  

 

...

 

All of us are under obedience all the time if we live in society.  Very few of us refuse to pay our taxes, refuse to recognize the right of our governing bodies to make laws.  Most of us will even follow many laws that we don't personally think are the best, and not just because we are afraid of the consequences of not obeying we recognize the right of those bodies to make decisions about rules.  If that is not obedience to hierarchical authority, its hard to imagine what is.

 

:iagree: with the top sentence.

 

I'm not really in agreement with the bottom.  I suppose it's all in how one looks at it.  I see quite a bit of it as cooperation of the people within to keep the gov't going (taxes).  My actions often are within what's right legally, but I'm not performing them due to the law.  If there weren't a law, I'd still be doing what I did as the reasons for the laws are reasons I agree with. (eg I'll NEVER text and drive regardless of whether it's a law or not.  Just because it is a law in many places has no bearing on my actions.  Texting while driving is just plain stupid.  Technically I'm obeying the law in some states, but it's hardly "obeying.")

 

 And I suppose I'd just be among those few who doesn't worry about obeying laws/policies I don't think are the best.  I have no feelings of guilt about it either.

 

If anyone wants me to do something (gov't or personal), they'd best provide reasons assuming it's a change from my regular routine or not easily evident - yes, I'll get a co-worker her mail from the office if they ask or see something they should have - no reason needed - it's obvious.  Same co-worker asks me to show up to ____ on X day at Y time, I'll ask why.  No reason?  I won't be there.

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In my mind and in my household with my particular personalities...

 

Obedience says, "Clean your room right now. If it isn't clean in 30 minutes, no computer for you."

 

Cooperation has this attitude "how can I make it easiest for you to do what I need you to do." So cooperation says to my 7 yo, "Go to your room and pick up all the toy soldiers, then come ask me what to do next" and then in 5 minutes "Now pick up all the blocks and put them in the box."  and 5 min later "Put the lid on the block box and put it under the bed."

 

Either way, the room will be clean. Left to himself, my son would NEVER clean his room. But I need him to do it. So in a cooperative mindsetI break the task down for him to make it easy for him to do what needs to be done.

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:iagree: with the top sentence.

 

I'm not really in agreement with the bottom.  I suppose it's all in how one looks at it.  I see quite a bit of it as cooperation of the people within to keep the gov't going (taxes).  My actions often are within what's right legally, but I'm not performing them due to the law.  If there weren't a law, I'd still be doing what I did as the reasons for the laws are reasons I agree with. (eg I'll NEVER text and drive regardless of whether it's a law or not.  Just because it is a law in many places has no bearing on my actions.  Texting while driving is just plain stupid.  Technically I'm obeying the law in some states, but it's hardly "obeying.")

 

 And I suppose I'd just be among those few who doesn't worry about obeying laws/policies I don't think are the best.  I have no feelings of guilt about it either.

 

If anyone wants me to do something (gov't or personal), they'd best provide reasons assuming it's a change from my regular routine or not easily evident - yes, I'll get a co-worker her mail from the office if they ask or see something they should have - no reason needed - it's obvious.  Same co-worker asks me to show up to ____ on X day at Y time, I'll ask why.  No reason?  I won't be there.

 

I would say that the community has a right to make laws and regulations, even if we don't agree, though that right like all authority is bounded. 

 

If we are cooperating with someone to a common goal, digging a hole say, we can say we don't think it will work as planned and discuss strategy, or we don't want a hole, or we can even decide that maybe our fellow worker knows more about it so we'll defer to his judgement. 

 

It's a bit different when we talk about governance.  It's not that we don't have the ability to contribute to the decision, we're sometimes even required to, say when we vote.  But the final decision making is above any particular individual.

 

I think sometimes this is more clear when we think about other things people do.  Not - "I follow this law because I agree, and I don't care about this one so I don't bother."  How do we view others who break a law the community has put in place because they don't agree?  If they do so, and it affects us personally, are we willing to make recourse to the law?  If we are, that suggests that it is not simply an interpersonal problem, it is an issue where the community has some authority to mediate or make a decision or punish.  If it was really a totally private issue, they would have absolutely no mandate to do anything.

 

I haven't met many people who actually behave that way.  Actually, I don't think I have met anyone who do.  Most people even take it beyond the immediate community and recognize the rights of higher level organizations and documents like war or human rights conventions, the World Court, and so on, to act.

 

 

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 I agree that children need parental guidance. 

 

Guidance to me implies something other than obedience. Sharing - this  is what I think you should do, and here are the reasons why. What do you think ? 

 

Guidance also means supporting children to deal with the consequences of deciding not to be guided, imo. 

 

I'm quoting Sadie not because I'm addressing my point to her, but because I wanted to talk specifically about obedience with my children. I think that talking philosophically about obedience as a virtue or non-virtue has it's place and is a thought-provoking conversation. But as a parent, what I'm dealing with today is the behavior of my kids.

 

So how, if you do not believe that children should obey, would you handle this situation in my family yesterday? I picked DS11 after school. The classes wait with their teachers in the gym, and I had a brief conversation with DS11's teacher. She said he had uncompleted work in his folder, and she wanted to alert me that it was overdue and must be done, particularly because he would be tested over some of the material the next day. She had placed it in his folder herself to make sure it was not just shoved in his desk (which he has a habit of doing). I pulled his folder out of his backpack. The papers were not there. The teacher said he must have taken them out and put them in his desk. I turned to DS11 and said that we needed to go get the papers. DS11 said no. I said I would go with him to help look. DS said no. I said that he didn't have a choice and that he had to go with me to show me his desk. DS came with me to his classroom but was rude to me along the way. "You should know your way through the halls by now," etc. In the room, he continued to complain, and I found the papers myself. DS had removed the post-it note that the teacher had written to me and thrown it in the trash. His intent to disobey her direction to take the papers home was obvious.

 

So, if you do not require your children to obey, what would that look like for you? If your child refuses to do something that a teacher and parent ask, are they allowed to refuse? What if reasoning with them does not make a difference? I could have stood in that gym all afternoon and tried to talk him into agreeing to go get those papers, because after all, it was for his own benefit, and it would not have convinced him. What message would I have sent him if I had said, "Okay, you don't need to do what your teacher says today. Let's go home without the papers"?

 

Sometimes children just need to do things, whether they want to or not.

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I'm quoting Sadie not because I'm addressing my point to her, but because I wanted to talk specifically about obedience with my children. I think that talking philosophically about obedience as a virtue or non-virtue has it's place and is a thought-provoking conversation. But as a parent, what I'm dealing with today is the behavior of my kids.

 

So how, if you do not believe that children should obey, would you handle this situation in my family yesterday? I picked DS11 after school. The classes wait with their teachers in the gym, and I had a brief conversation with DS11's teacher. She said he had uncompleted work in his folder, and she wanted to alert me that it was overdue and must be done, particularly because he would be tested over some of the material the next day. She had placed it in his folder herself to make sure it was not just shoved in his desk (which he has a habit of doing). I pulled his folder out of his backpack. The papers were not there. The teacher said he must have taken them out and put them in his desk. I turned to DS11 and said that we needed to go get the papers. DS11 said no. I said I would go with him to help look. DS said no. I said that he didn't have a choice and that he had to go with me to show me his desk. DS came with me to his classroom but was rude to me along the way. "You should know your way through the halls by now," etc. In the room, he continued to complain, and I found the papers myself. DS had removed the post-it note that the teacher had written to me and thrown it in the trash. His intent to disobey her direction to take the papers home was obvious.

 

So, if you do not require your children to obey, what would that look like for you? If your child refuses to do something that a teacher and parent ask, are they allowed to refuse? What if reasoning with them does not make a difference? I could have stood in that gym all afternoon and tried to talk him into agreeing to go get those papers, because after all, it was for his own benefit, and it would not have convinced him. What message would I have sent him if I had said, "Okay, you don't need to do what your teacher says today. Let's go home without the papers"?

 

Sometimes children just need to do things, whether they want to or not.

 

I'm not Sadie, but for me, this would (now) be involving a bit more communication to try to figure out how it got to this point - discussion style - not lecture/punishment - perhaps over some sort of treat like ice cream to soften the brain/mood and make it friendly vs not.  There is a bit that has already gone into it. Walls have been built.  Resentment is already there and you'll need to get beyond that.  What's he thinking?  How is he reasoning out what he's doing?  What doesn't make sense to him (not the direction itself, but the whole line of doing homework vs not).  Listen to him and understand.  Offer suggestions (nicely) for him to consider changing his reasoning - facts - discussion style.  Don't diss his ideas, but offer him new ones.  How would he like it if he were the teacher and one of his students were doing this?  How would he solve the problem?  Is he bored?  Is he overchallenged?  Something is causing his behavior - something that makes it seem like the right thing to do in his eyes.  Let him know you are seriously trying to understand.

 

I can't emphasize keeping this nice - not condemning.  It'll only work if he doesn't tune you out.  Start the conversation with something else - something you know he likes.  Get the brain communicating with you.

 

I get a fair number of kids like him - though older.  The way I get them to actually work for me is via getting to know them first and building a rapport and common goals together.  I don't have hours for each individual, but I can connect.  It's easier for me since I'm not a parent and don't have prior "baggage" of any sort, but it worked well for my non-compliant son too.

 

Truthfully?  I use what would work for me, so there's a bit of insider knowledge and insight.

 

Like any other kid, these kids like being truly heard and understood.  At 11 he might not really know why, but perhaps he can piece it together - or you can - from what he's saying.

 

The connection leads to different things happening in the future.  The connection leads to wanting to do things.  Orders rarely do.

 

I'd have gotten the papers more or less as you did, but we'd be going back to the start to figure out what's really going on and making the repair there.

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OP I have not read all the replies, but my first thought was to wonder whether or not you mind (obey) your parents? If not, at what age did you stop minding them? 18? 21? When you got married and had your own kids?  My other thought was I wonder how old your kids are and thinking they must be pretty young, toddlers or lower elementary school.  

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OP I have not read all the replies, but my first thought was to wonder whether or not you mind (obey) your parents? If not, at what age did you stop minding them? 18? 21? When you got married and had your own kids? My other thought was I wonder how old your kids are and thinking they must be pretty young, toddlers or lower elementary school.

I really didn't have much of parental guidance, so there's not much in there to look at. Our kids ages vary, from a young adult to a baby. Of course, every stage is different, and every kid is different.
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Thanks for responding, Creekland and Sadie. How did things get to this point? He's a naturally non-compliant kid. ;) He's always been this way. Parenting him is hard. We talk about choices constantly. He needs a lot of guidance and structure, because he is attracted to wrong choices and bad behavior. He lacks the wisdom that will hopefully come with age, so we as his parents have to provide it for him at this point. He's much less mature than his same-age peers, has some learning and behavior challenges that we are addressing, and he needs boundaries. He is usually not able to explain why he does certain behaviors, and he doesn't respond to reason. We can talk through his behavior, but he will do the same thing the following day. The school paper example is just an example from one day but is not out of the ordinary.

 

Parenting him is hard. And two of his siblings are also challenging, each in his or her own way, so when he is having a good day, inevitably someone else is not.

 

I totally agree that building the relationships is the long-term goal. In hindsight, I can see where my parents failed in this part of parenting my rebellious brother. We work on that constantly with our kids. But being able to follow rules and live in harmony with others are important skills. In our family, they have to be directly taught, because my kids don't do it naturally or learn very well through modeling alone. DS11 is going to have a hard time with his adult relationships and in his eventual job if he is not willing to respect boundaries and follow directions and be kind. I hope and pray that we'll get there.

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I totally agree that building the relationships is the long-term goal. In hindsight, I can see where my parents failed in this part of parenting my rebellious brother. We work on that constantly with our kids. But being able to follow rules and live in harmony with others are important skills. In our family, they have to be directly taught, because my kids don't do it naturally or learn very well through modeling alone. DS11 is going to have a hard time with his adult relationships and in his eventual job if he is not willing to respect boundaries and follow directions and be kind. I hope and pray that we'll get there.

 

I totally understand you about your son and have one like this who is a little older. I hesitate to share advice where it's not asked, but with my similar DS, things improved when I began prioritizing the relationship over the outcome. I had to let DS experience consequences that I didn't want to let him experience (ie. fail) in order for him to believe they were real and that I wasn't just trying to control him. Some people do have to learn the hard way and they won't learn at all if we don't let them try it. I told DS that I wanted him to practice failing now and making choices now when the consequences were not so serious rather than protect him, coerce him, and force him to do the right thing now, only to let him fail when I no longer can force him to comply and the consequences are larger.

 

He's a difficult child and it's so hard to let go and let him experience what he's earned, but if a failed test or class now saves him from a more serious failure later, it's worth it. 

 

So, in your situation, I hope I would have the strength to tell the teacher that DS did not choose to do his work and he was going to accept the consequences and we would have gone home without it. I would have told DS that I thought it was a poor choice but I would have tried, tried, tried not to get angry. I would not have gotten it myself. Who knows, at that point he may have changed his mind and gotten it himself. 

 

:grouphug:  Difficult children are difficult. 

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Most kids I know, do respect basic authority of parental figures and teachers.  They know that we have a range of expectations and I do think they respond better to flexible ones instead of rigid ones.  But I have yet to meet a parent or teacher who would think it was ok to have a kid dance naked on the school desk without some sort of intervention.  Some kids are so impulsive that a talking approach would have them in danger long before  you got the first sentence out.  And some don't care about talk and just tune it out.  The child I knew who was taking scissors to all the phone lines in the house was not going to sit and listen to someone try to reason with him.  He needed to be redirected for sure, but first, someone needed to take the scissors away.  

 

Authority isn't just about consequences.  It is also about having the ultimate responsibility where the "buck stops here".  Young kids cannot handle that responsibility even for their own life.  And young kids want to have limits.  I've been in situations where kids were out of control with no limits set on them by adults.  I came in as an emergency nanny for one of those homes.  We're talking a scene directly out of "Helen Keller" where the kids were running around grabbing food off of people's plates.  The grandparents pleas and remonstrances went unheard.  I had to step in very decisively and set limits and boundaries in that household.  It was really tough but I saw kids who were stressed by the lack of limits settle down and become quite nice children once there was some authority in that home.  BTW - there was no use of corporal punishment or harsh punishment of any kind. There was no screaming or yelling.   I did use timeouts for sensory reasons as well as a way to set boundaries.  I also had to set boundaries for the adults in that house.  It was extremely disfunctional and for a few months I was in daily contact with a pyschiatrist who talked me through what that family needed in order to start to function normally.  I eventually worked myself out of a job.  This was a worse case scenario but it does show what a lack of limits can do to harm a family.  I believe that parental authority is there to provide those limits.  Many households can manage with such a light hand that you might not even be aware of the use of that authority.  But I do think it is there even if people might use some different vocabulary to describe it.  

 

 

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I really didn't have much of parental guidance, so there's not much in there to look at. Our kids ages vary, from a young adult to a baby. Of course, every stage is different, and every kid is different.

 

 

 

Sometimes people parent as they were parented, even it they didn't like it. And sometimes people go in directions opposite of what they had. A person with authoritarian parents might go toward permissive to not be like their own parents were. Perhaps the lack of parental guidance made you want to give more firm guidance and perhaps even to expect or demand honor and obedience.

 

I find it hard to combine the idea of the word "mind" (in the sense of obey) in my mind (thoughts) with the idea of a teen or young adult. I have tried to start with more boundaries during earlier childhood and to ease them off gradually as the child grows older, hoping for the child to be able to be quite capable by adulthood.

 

I strive for the authoritative middle of the road, but no doubt veer off toward too permissive and too authoritarian...probably most often when I am tired, hungry, feeling sick, or stressed, the same types of conditions that tend to make the kids veer off from their middle road behaviors. I also like the idea of striving for interdependence increasingly as the child grows older rather than dependence or independence.

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I actually think we need a fourth category for parenting that isn't authoritative, but isn't permissive either. Maybe a negotiated style of parenting.

I think of that as "democratic."  Like that Parent Effectiveness Training book?

 

Many years ago, I used to babysit for a family who took something like that sort of approach.  They talked through everything, had the children decide on their own bedtimes and treats, etc.  The children had some really obnoxious moments when young (babysitters dreaded them), but seemed to turn out all right as they got older, and they were always very close to their parents and looked up to them.  But my impression is that it would only be feasible for small and/or widely spaced families.

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Well, I wouldn't let my preferences on that subject determine our family size.   :001_smile:   And I find it implausible that the democratic way is actually healthier for the human psyche, since it was only possible after family size started shrinking drastically (circa 1930 or so?).  

 

The young people I mentioned above actually turned out quite a bit more on the dependent and passive side than I would have expected, given their upbringing -- but perhaps that sort of supports Illich, in the sense that they were trained to feel very secure as junior members within a "system," and kept doing that after they left home.   

 

There's an interesting book called Cradles of Eminence -- the authors studied the childhoods of eminent people, and found that they tended to have an upbringing that was encouraging in some ways, but frustrating in others.  There were some interesting patterns for different careers.  One thing that stood out was that the ones whose childhoods seemed especially ideal from an emotional perspective -- in the sense of having parents who were consistently warm, respectful, and responsive -- were more likely to have difficulty coping with the outside world, and were more prone to crippling mental illness (I think Janis Joplin was one of them).   Now, I'm not going to say that we should deliberately misunderstand and frustrate our children now and then, just to "inoculate" them.   ;)   But to me, it's a reminder that there are complex dynamics at work.   If we focus our energy on trying to control a particular set of variables, things might not turn out as predicted, and we might even end up doing more harm than good.   

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Sometimes people parent as they were parented, even it they didn't like it. And sometimes people go in directions opposite of what they had. A person with authoritarian parents might go toward permissive to not be like their own parents were. Perhaps the lack of parental guidance made you want to give more firm guidance and perhaps even to expect or demand honor and obedience.

 

I find it hard to combine the idea of the word "mind" (in the sense of obey) in my mind (thoughts) with the idea of a teen or young adult. I have tried to start with more boundaries during earlier childhood and to ease them off gradually as the child grows older, hoping for the child to be able to be quite capable by adulthood.

 

I strive for the authoritative middle of the road, but no doubt veer off toward too permissive and too authoritarian...probably most often when I am tired, hungry, feeling sick, or stressed, the same types of conditions that tend to make the kids veer off from their middle road behaviors. I also like the idea of striving for interdependence increasingly as the child grows older rather than dependence or independence.

Absolutely agree. I have purposely strayed from certain things in my childhood, just want to offer something different to our kids. And yes, as they get older all we can do is hope that we have helped somehow, and they'll have good decision making skills. Not sure where dh and I fall in the parenting styles spectrum...believe it or not we are not authoritarian... yes, boundaries, guidance and establishing limits is important for us, but that doesn't make us authoritarian parents. And as you said, for us it also varies depending on our energy level :)
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I actually think we need a fourth category for parenting that isn't authoritative, but isn't permissive either. Maybe a negotiated style of parenting. I am not authoritative, but I'm not permissive either.

 

 

I consider negotiation part of the authoritative model.  I think it is part of the usual view of what "authoritative parenting" means, not just my unique take on it.

 

googling:

 

 

Combining Love and Limits in Authoritative Parenting: A Conditional ...

parenthood.library.wisc.edu/Larzelere/Larzelere.html
‎
 
Combining Love and Limits in Authoritative Parenting: ... to solve a conflict by negotiation and agreement rather than through power. ... In addition,authoritative parents emphasized communication with their  ..

 

 

  1. Benefits Of Authoritative Parenting - Streetdirectory.com
    www.streetdirectory.com/.../benefits-of-authoritative-parenting-wplpoj.html
    ‎
     

    Authoritative parenting is a combination of love and limits. ...  they discipline their children in a supportive manner with negotiation.

     

    [i am adding the bold to the paragraph below.]

     

    Authoritative parenting is a combination of love and limits. Parents set the standard and expect a certain level of achievement, good behavior and responsibility from their children. They also nurture their children, demonstrate affection and support, and are open to discussion on any of their expectations. Authoritative parents are assertive and in firm control but they are not intrusive or restrictive. They set clear standards for their children's conduct and monitor it. Parents expect high academic achievement, good behavior and obedience of parental rules. Along with this however, they are open to communication with their children and there is a fair amount of give and take in their expectations. There is no rigidity in the parents? attitude and instead of meting out harsh punishment they discipline their children in a supportive manner with negotiation. Children are free to question their parents? decisions and parents are open to explaining these to the kids. Parents prefer to solve a conflict by negotiation and agreement rather than using their parental authority.
     

 

http://theattachedfamily.com/?p=2151

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i don't discipline my kids, which is what makes me think I don't really parent according to an authoritative model. We don't do discipline at all. I don't have 'a method of discipline'. I'm really much more permissive by nature.

This just got my attention. And I read the past responses, but I am super tired so maybe I am missing something? But I am wondering, how does it work not to discipline kids? What happens when you ask one of them to clean their room and they don't? If they are not kind to other siblings? If they hit? Backtalk? Don't do their school work? I mean, no one is perfect. How can raising children not involve some sort of discipline? Just curious. Can't see how can this work?
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i don't discipline my kids, which is what makes me think I don't really parent according to an authoritative model. We don't do discipline at all. I don't have 'a method of discipline'. I'm really much more permissive by nature.

 

 

Are you sure you do not do discipline at all?  Your kids are somewhat older now.

 

But thinking back to when they were younger, suppose one was about to run into traffic, or about to see what happens if a knife is stuck in a live electric outlet?

 

I accept that you are more permissive by nature.  I think negotiation would be within the permissive model if the children had the last say on the outcome of all negotiations, or the say on what is negotiable at any particular stage of development.

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