The joy of consensual parenting

Jacqui D.

From the archives: Posted on 11th May, 1995

A poster wrote:

“Finally, it is this initial helpless state that brings me back to the justification of rights on the basis of rationality. Is reason something with which a child is endowed at birth, or is it acquired by stages and degrees through childhood? If it is acquired gradually, should freedom also come gradually? (If present at birth, does it precede birth?) To me, this issue of the nature of reason and its development in children is the most interesting open question in Taking Children Seriously.”

Reason… ‘the mental powers concerned with drawing conclusions or inferences’… I could argue that my dog has these mental powers. Certainly, my newborns do. Consensual parenting is something that can be practiced from birth, if not before. Babies are well equipped for indicating their displeasure at our inconsiderate actions!

I believe that another poster argued for a ‘maximum of coercion’ for a new baby, as opposed to a maximum of freedom for young adults (paraphrase). I would ask when he finds it necessary to coerce a baby?

I would just like to add that I get so much joy out of my family when I practice consensual parenting and so much heartache when I descend into a ‘nightmare of escalating coercion’ (I think Sarah phrased this one) that I am sad for families where coercion is practiced regularly and with moral righteousness – surely the parents are missing out?

See also:

Jacqui D., 1995, ‘The joy of consensual parenting’,