Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Consensual Living and Teens

I am hoping my words make sense here, I was thinking as I was driving and wanted to spill it out on *paper* before I forgot the details.

At the coffee shop this morning I happened to be googling different things, one was Consensual Living, just to see what people are saying these days about the concepts.  I happened across a post from a mom, I am not sure if this was her blog or a post on a parenting forum, really I had to get going so didn't read beyond the original post and a few of the comments.  This mom had read the Consensual Living web site, a site created by me and two other moms also living consensually in NC.  The mom quoted a couple of short blurbs from different essays.  She had the premise correct, that children and adults live together and all feelings, wants, needs, thoughts and ideas are held gently with high regard.  No one person's wants/needs out weigh another, and when conflict does arise a solution that is agreeable to all parties involved is worked out, finding the common preference (that's the short of it).

But at the end of her post she mentioned that she asked her daughter for her thoughts on Consensual Living, I was thinking I read that the daughter was 5 but could have been a little older, it was pretty young though.  And the daughter said that she thought the kids would be bullies, the mom (poster) agreed, and also added she didn't know how they would cope with life when they were adults.

I wanted to comment on the post, but couldn't find the comment button, and really needed to head out.  So thought I would comment here, on my own blog.

As a mom of two boys, 15 and 18, I can tell you that my boys are not bullies, and in my experience with other families also living consensually, their grown, and younger, children are not bullies either.  Actually I have found the opposite to be true, these children are very respectful and considerate.  They have a sense when things are not consensual and, if involved, work toward consensual solutions.  I can't tell you the joy I feel when I see my children in a situation where there is a conflict of some sort (usually it is concerning something they want to do, and maybe someone else wants to do something different), and to see them helping to identify what each person wants, and work within the group toward an agreeable solution, where every one's wants are met.  It is the opposite of bullying, which, by definition is "a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people."

We see very little bullying in our circle of friends, most of whom live consensually or lean toward that style.  And actually we see very little bullying in our extended circle of friends either.  But the bullying we have seen has been by people/children who have very little autonomy, few choices in their own lives, are told what to do, how to do it, when etc.  It seems they have so little control over their own lives that they need to control others.  But as I said I have very little experience with bullying, so my perceptions are not based on a large scientific poll but rather a few isolated incidents.

So as a mom of older teens I want to assure anyone out there that my children, raised in a consensual household, are not bullies, and have a great grasp on life in general and their interests and passions more specifically.  They are happy, joy filled individuals who understand how to problem solve in all different types of situations, and how to work toward the win-win solution.  They understand AND implement this in their own lives.  So no need to worry, they have many coping tools in their tool belt and know how to use them.


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