Part 2 of this series, “Teaching Kids to Listen… the First Time,” was a very good reminder for me. Again, this article in no way replaces the actual Love and Logic class (www.loveandlogic.com), which I highly recommend. I feel like I am re-learning what I initially learned in the Love and Logic class a few years ago by re-reading all of the information, and my notes, in the parent handbook. I am currently having issues with this with both my son and daughter so how appropriate that I am now writing this article.
Here is what “not listening the first time” sounds like in our house:
Me: Emma! Quit that! Remember what I told you yesterday about playing with your toys at the table during dinner?
Emma: (continues to play with her Barbie doll on the kitchen table during dinner)
Me: Gosh darn it, Emma! Listen to me! Quit that!
Emma: Hang on, Mom. I am playing right now!
Me: If you keep doing that I’m going to take your Barbie away for two days!
Emma: Okay, okay, Mom! Gosh, I was just playing with my Barbie!
Me: Evan! Stop running your car on the wall! Remember what I told you yesterday about scratching the wall with your cars?
Evan: (continues pushing his car up and down the wall)
Me: Gosh darn it, Evan! Mommy said stop that right now!
Evan: (acting as if he can’t hear me)
Me: If you keep doing that I’m going to take away your car!
Evan: (now zooming another car up and down the wall)
Me: Evan! I said to stop that!
Photo credit (http://perditafelicien.com)
Well, that was fun! With all of the reminders and warnings, I do not think my children are going to listen to me the first time, right? This may also transfer to ignoring their teachers in the classroom.
What I learned in the Love and Logic class was that if someone is always there to remind children about the rules, they learn that cause and effect does not really apply to them. When I do not act immediately when one of my children breaks a rule, without giving another warning, I am teaching them that only bad things happen after someone has warned them at least three or four times.
What’s the bottom line?
“Our children will always come to need at least the same number of reminders and warnings as we give them.”
This was so powerful for me to re-read tonight! Wow! I really needed to get this swift kick in the butt at this point in time!
Parents who use Love and Logic remember this basic rule:
“Set the limit once and follow through with loving consequences instead of lots of reminders or warnings.”
How could I have done the above conversations differently to up the odds that Emma and Evan will develop the ability to “self-remind?” The goal is to help my (our) children develop a healthy voice in their head that reminds them that, “Every choice I make has its consequences. I wonder how my next choice will affect my life?”
Me: Emma, you may keep your Barbie as long as you take it off of the table during dinner
Emma: (keeps the Barbie on the table)
Me: (with genuine empathy) “Uh, oh” or “Oh, how sad.” (takes the Barbie away)
Me: Evan, you may keep your car as long as you stop running it on the wall
Evan: (keeps running the car up and down the wall)
Me: (with genuine empathy) “Uh, oh” or “Oh, how sad.” (takes away the car)
I remember doing this diligently with Emma right after I attended the Love and Logic class. And, it really does work very well. I need to re-implement this “no reminders” approach. I do believe that both of my children will soon learn to pay a lot closer attention when I speak!
The three “E’s” of Love and Logic (all from the Love and Logic parent handbook):
Example: Kids learn far more from the example we set that from the lecture we give.
- Experience: The road to wisdom is paved with mistakes. Mistakes made early in life are far more “affordable” than mistakes made later in life!
- Empathy: Empathy allows kids to learn from their mistakes. Anger allows them to blame us for their problems.
Which Type of Parent Raises the Most Responsible Kids?
In this section of the Love and Logic parenting handbook, it talks about, “Which type of parent raises the most responsible kids?” The example they gave for the parent that really gets the job done of teaching kids to make responsible, wise decisions is as follows:
Mom: I’m going to eat my dinner so that I don’t get hungry tonight.
Child: No! I hate chicken!
Mom: No problem. Maybe you’ll like what we’re having for breakfast better.
Later that evening:
Child: I’m hungry.
Mom: Your chicken is a bit cold but it’s still in the fridge for you.
Child: But I want cereal!
Mom: I know. Your chicken is there for you.
Child: But I don’t want it!
Mom: I know.
Child: But you’r not my friend anymore!
Mom: I know.
Child: I hate you!
Mom: I know. I still love you.
“Some parents hover over their kids and swoop in for the rescue anytime a mistake is made. Fearing that their children might become upset, they overprotect, give in, and rescue their kids from the consequences of their actions. In these ways, they steal any opportunities for their children to learn responsibility.”
“A second type of parent barks orders, makes commands and never allows their kids to make any mistakes they can learn from. Instead of robbing responsibility by overprotecting and rescuing, they do so by never allowing their kids to think for themselves, make decisions, make mistakes and experience consequences.”
“Wise parents pray that their children will make plenty of poor decisions when they are young… and the “price tags” of these decisions are small. Kids who have made plenty of small mistakes when they are young… and have experienced the consequences of these mistakes… are far less likely to make life-or-death mistakes when they are older.”
“One mother put it wisely:
It’s far better that my daughter crashes her tricycle at two than her car at sixteen.
It’s far better that she make plenty of mistakes while at home than plenty while at college.
Are you kids making enough affordable mistakes?”
Our daughter is very hard on herself if she gets any answers wrong on her tests at school. She is in the first grade! I keep reminding her that it is okay to get answers wrong and to not be perfect.
Emma’s first grade teacher has a “card” system in place for when a student misbehaves. Everyone starts on green for the day. If a child misbehaves, they are asked to turn their card from green to yellow to blue to red. There are consequences to each color. My daughter has had to turn her card about five times so far this year, which I think is great! I don’t even mind if she has to do it more often. She gets upset when she has to “turn” her card at school. Again, I keep reminding her it is okay to make mistakes and to learn from her consequences.
Our son is starting to understand consequences. He is three and I love it when I do something he does not like and says, “Mommy, you are in time out!”
It’s all about the journey…
Part 3 of the “Love and Logic” parenting series talks about, “Avoiding Power Struggles.” Stay tuned…
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