A few years ago I took a “Love and Logic” parenting class. This information in no way replaces the actual class which I highly recommend. You can find information about the classes at www.loveandlogic.com. I would like to share some of the Love and Logic guidelines we use each day with our children that I learned a few years ago.
This information is from the, “Love and Logic Early Childhood Parenting Made Fun (from birth to six)!” parent workbook by Jim Fay an Charles Fay, Ph.D. This is from the parenting book session one, “Handling Misbehavior Without Breaking a Sweat.”
The Love and Logic Process:
- Love allows children to grow through their mistakes.
- Logic allows children to learn from the consequences of their choices.
Guiding Principles of Love and Logic:
- Shared control
- Shared thinking and decision making
- Apply empathy before delivering consequence
- Provide opportunity for building self-concept
How to Keep Our Cool When Kids Whine and Argue:
This is very, very hard to do! I have been diligently practicing this concept since I took this class. I still lose my cool sometime but at least catch myself now and know how to react better the next time.
- Go brain dead!
I have to really practice this all the time to make it a habit. In this step, you need to disengage from what your child is saying and think of a “one-liner” (see below). If you try to reason with your child, he/she will engage you and now you will be in a dance with your child. This only reinforces their behavior.
- Softly repeat a single Love and Logic one-liner
A one-liner is something like:
– “I know”
– “How sad”
Here is an example of what we go through in my house a lot:
Child: I want the race car cup! I don’t want the Buzz Lightyear cup!
Me: (calmly) I know (said in a sing-song voice). The race car one is dirty.
Child: I don’t want the Buzz Lightyear one!
Me: (still calm) I know.
Child: I said, I don’t want the Buzz Lighyear cup!!
Me: (walking away from child) I know
I have seen some major tantrums from my kids when doing this. But, what I do notice is that sooner than later, they realize that mom and dad don’t get “hooked” by the whining and arguing. I also notice if I “engage” in trying to reason with my children, the tantrums are much worse and much longer.
“The most effective parents are those who can repeat their one-liner in a very sincere, non-emotional manner.”
Empathy – The Most Important Skill
“The most successful parents delivered a strong dose of empathy, or sadness for the child, before they described the consequence.”
This has been a huge help in my house. I need to constantly remind myself to do this but when I do, it really does help. It helps children realize that if they misbehave, there is a consequence attached to their action.
Some examples of an empathetic statement are:
This is so sad…
- Oh sweetie…
- Uh oh…
- Oh, man…
I tend to use “this is so sad” a lot with my kids. And I have learned to really mean it when I say it so it comes across as sincere. It is sad that I have to give out a consequence for their action but it is very necessary to help create responsible children. So, I have to do what I have to do! 🙂
In the late 1970s, Jim Fay began teaching the following benefits of delivering empathy before delivering consequences:
- Empathy makes the child’s poor decision the “bad guy” while keeping the adult the “good guy.”
- As a result, the child has a harder time blaming the adult for the problem.
- This forces him or her to look inside and to learn from the consequence.
- Empathy also cuts down on the likelihood of the child going for revenge or deciding to avoid the adult
All of these statements are so true. When I practice using empathy, my children really do act much calmer and are much more accepting of their consequence for their poor decision. I feel better because I am not screaming and being a crazy lunatic when I handle situations this way.
I have even heard both of them (my daughter is 6 and my son is 3) say to each other something like, “uh oh, you are going to have a consequence because of your actions…” I love when I hear this type of statement come out of their babe mouths! It makes my heart sing and reinforces what we are trying to teach!!
Tomorrow I will write about session two in the, “Love and Logic Early Childhood Parenting Made Fun (from birth to six)!” parent workbook: Teaching Kids to Listen… the First Time.
It’s all about the journey…
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