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TCS Basics 1

A kid wants to do X. His parent thinks X is bad.

Conventional parenting then asks: "how do we make the kid not do X?" Everything it does is an answer to this question. First you tell the kid why X is bad. This isn't an open ended discussion. You are trying to persuade him, but not thinking "maybe he's right" whenever he says stuff.

If you tell the kid why you think X is bad, and he still thinks X is good, then he "doesn't listen" and it's time for more drastic measures. That's because the issue is how to make the kid not do X, and explanations are deemed ineffective, so we move on to other ways to achieve the same goal. So next parents manipulate. They say X makes them feel bad, or they say it will make the neighbors feel bad, or they lie about how it breaks a law or angers God, or they never remind the kid to do X and always remind him of Y, or they try to make him feel guilty about doing X, or whenever he is about to do X they order him to do a chore.

If that doesn't work, they threaten the kid, and start moving on to punishments and getting angry. That usually works because kids would usually rather give up X than have their parents openly trying to hurt them. If that doesn't work, they deem him a "bad egg" and make his life hell all the time or get him diagnosed with a mental illness and drug him, or send him to a reform school to get rid of him.

TCS has a different approach. It starts with an entirely different question, which is: is X good or bad? Then everything it does is about how to find the truth of the matter, without assuming what's true from the start.

Elliot Temple on January 29, 2009


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