Monday, April 4, 2011

Thoughts on Love and Logic: Part 1

This is the first post in a series about the book Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood: Practical Parenting from Birth to Six Years For other posts in this series, click here.

I really hadn't given much thought to what my parenting style would be like, especially discipline, until very recently. I'd kind of figured I would just go with the flow of whatever happened, and hope Abby turned out to be a good kid...

I first heard about the concept of Love and Logic when Rocky was reading the book Teaching with Love and Logic a few years ago. I glanced through it and thought it was a neat idea for the classroom. Then I noticed a copy of Parenting with Love and Logic for sale when I worked at Family Christian Stores, which I bought just before Abby was born. I read through the first couple of chapters last summer, but got discouraged because I didn't think it applied to us yet. The stories presented were about older, school-age kids.

So I visited the Love and Logic website, did a little browsing around, and, lo and behold, Jim & Charles Fay had indeed written a book about younger kids -- Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood: Practical Parenting from Birth to Six Years. I checked it out at the library, then eventually bought it for myself (I guess you can only renew a library book twice before returning it...).

"Your children will learn how to live with the consequences of their actions, avoid blaming others for their problems, and make wise decisions." 

There are four basic principles of Love & Logic:

1. Build the self-concept.
Instead of 1) finding faults and criticizing, 2) insisting on doing everything for their children, and 3) not allowing them to experience the joy of independent success, parents 1) offer empathy, understanding, and unconditional love, 2) allow their kids to struggle and solve their own problems, and 3) encourage them to learn to succeed through personal thinking and learning.

Children need to know how to handle situations that appear without warning, situations that require them to think for themselves. Then they'll begin to believe "Hey, I've got what it takes!" Every time we rescue our children and solve their problems for them, we erode their self-concept.

2. Share the control
Give control away when you don't need it, so you can get some back when you do! Share control by giving the types of choices that do not cause a problem for you. Make sure your choices are framed by firm limits. And make sure in each choice you give, you are ok with either choice!

For example: Do you want milk or juice with breakfast? Are you going to wear your coat to school or carry it? Are you going to brush your teeth now or in five minutes? Would you rather have peas or carrots with dinner?

3. Provide a strong dose of empathy before delivering consequences
Consequences are a big part of life. The pain of poor choices helps kids learn to avoid mistakes. Children need to make and learn from their mistakes while the consequences are still small and affordable. Consider the difference of wasting one's allowance at age five versus wasting one's paycheck at age 21...

If a kid makes a mistake and parents respond with sternness or anger, the child's brain goes into a "survival" mode instead of a "learning" mode. They think more about escaping your anger, or possibly getting revenge, instead of how to make smarter choices in the future. Rather than set ourselves up as the enemy, wise parents use empathy in a way that makes the child's mistake the "bad guy," while keeping the parents the "good guys."

4. Share the thinking
The more anger and frustration we show, the less our kids think -- and the less they learn about solving their problems. Shared thinking involves lots of love and empathy, and guides a kid toward solutions rather than doing it for them or automatically giving out punishment.

The key to getting your kids to think is to ask questions. Allow them to think more about a solution to a problem or a mistake than you do. "What are you going to do about ____? How are you going to pay for that? Would you like to hear some ideas? How would that idea work for you?"


While a lot of these concepts still sounded like too much for my then-6-month-old to handle, chapter 2 is called "It's never to early to start!" Though there were so many great concepts and ideas in this chapter -- and I could easily share them all! -- I'll just quote one paragraph:

Some people believe that children cannot learn or benefit from discipline until they can converse. Nothing is further from the truth! Can the family dog learn how to sit, stay, come, fetch, and lie down? I've never met a pooch who talked, but I have met some parents who seem to believe and act like the family dog is smarter than their kids. How sad! By the age of nine months, human babies are more intelligent than any other creature on the planet... Replace lectures, warnings, and lots of words with actions." 

I think that's enough of a summary for now... I'm re-reading the book and underlining and keeping these concepts fresh in my head, so I'll hopefully take the time over the next few weeks to expound more on each of the four principles of Love & Logic!

In the meantime, what are your thoughts? Do you have a parenting style? Does this one sound worthy of pursuit to you? (please note, I won't look down on anyone who disagrees, and I'm still learning too :-)

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...