Saturday, March 17, 2012

Parenting With Love and Logic

It's too bad kids don't come with an owner's manual because I could sure use one. I just read a book that comes pretty darn close; Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay. I have noticed a huge difference in the frustration levels in our home (in both the kids and Eric and I) as we implement what we have read. Love and Logic is all about teaching kids responsibility by letting them make their own choices and living with the natural consequences of those choices.

"Effective parenting centers around love: love that is not permissive, love that doesn't tolerate disrespect, but also love that is powerful enough to allow kids to make mistakes and permit them to live with the consequences of those mistakes. Most mistakes do have logical consequences. And those consequences, when accompanied by empathy--our compassionate understanding of the child's disappointment, frustration, and pain--hit home with mind-changing power."
 Here is one of my favorite examples from the book about teaching kids to keep their rooms clean:
Parent: "Would it be reasonable for you to have your room cleaned by Saturday morning?"
Child: "Aw, I don't want to clean my room."
Parent: "Well, that's okay. You don't have to. You can hire me or your sister or your brother to do it. We'd love some extra cash."
Child: "But I don't have any money."
Parent: "You know, when adults don't have any money, they sell something."
Child: "Sell something?"
Parent: "You don't have to decide now what you're going to sell. You can tell me by Saturday. If you can decide by Saturday, that means you get to choose what to sell. And if you can't, that means I choose. So you have a choice of who chooses. That's up to you."

And another funny example from a parent:
"I never knew if the Love and Logic principles were sinking in with my husband until one day, in the car, when we were driving together and the kids were raising low-grade heck and high water in the backseat, he said, "Guys, it's going to be a lot quieter in this car the last mile home because your mom and I will be the only ones in here!"
There was a moment of deafening silence, and then our ten-year-old son, in a slightly challenging and snarky voice, said, "You wouldn't do that!"
Quick as a wink, my hubby said, "That's what Tommy said."
Again a moment of silence. Then one of the kids asked, "Who's Tommy?"
My husband replied, "Your older brother!"
A mile from home, the kids got out and hiked home, and, of course, we never had to use that method again. But the cute and wonderful thing is now that the kids are grown and travel with their families on trips, they write us and sign it, "Poor lost Tommy." It's the family joke. Wandering Tom is still out there somewhere, wandering the highways and byways of the world after being kicked out of the car and becoming lost on the way home."

I am excited to use some of these techniques and to see my kids squirm a little as they face the consequences of their poor choices.


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