The heavy societal pressure to coerce children

Jacqui D.

From the archives: Posted on 22nd May, 1995

“I’ve read a lot of Sarah’s postings about coercion. My question is simple: How does one get past the idea that non-coercive parenting is just lazy parenting, and that if I weren’t so lazy, I would enforce things like bedtime, eating vegetables, and all of that? Our society tends to equate non-coercion with child neglect.”

<heavy sigh>
I know what you mean… My biggest child-rearing coercion problems seem to happen when I have a conflict between what society expects me to do, and what I feel is the right thing to do.

I will admit to sneaking some shampoo onto my child’s hair, over howls of protest, because I know that people will judge me as a parent when she goes out in public with lank and oily unbrushed hair. But then I have a bad day ‘cos I feel so guilty! And I know it’s not going to make her any keener on washing her own hair…

I prefer the term ‘consensual parenting’ to ‘non-coercive parenting’ because consensual implies that my children and I are working toward creative solutions to problems that happen when you are sharing living and relationship space with someone, whereas ‘non-coercive’ seems to antagonise people… they think we are ‘letting the kids run our lives’.

BTW Sarah, thanks for coming back to home-ed and expressing what I was dying to say!

Extended Breastfeeding List addict

NB does anyone have any idea of a way I can make hair washing a fun experience for my 3yo???

Jacqui D., 1995, ‘The heavy societal pressure to coerce children’,