As parents, we want our children to grow into responsible adults, but most of us have no idea how to teach them that when they are little. We learn as we go. Luckily, in this digital world, we can check out blogs, websites, and journals for advice at a moment’s notice. However, the concept of parenting with love and logic is not a new one, and it can be implemented in any household. Love and Logic began as a parenting style designed by an educator, Jim Fay, and a psychologist, Foster Cline. We will discuss some of the concepts from their theory as well as other adaptations. The following is an overview of the concepts.
Parenting with love and logic is primarily about teaching children through positivity and love. You do not want your children too stressed out over lessons, or they will never be able to learn them. You can start teaching your children at a young age with love and logic, believe it or not.
The concept of love, as designed by Fay and Cline, is that parents should act with empathy and compassion. Sometimes parenting becomes emotional, and we forget to maintain these two principles in our parenting.
Logic, on the other hand, is implemented from children making their own informed decisions. The official caveat is that the choices should have a small risk of failure and that children’s failures should include the love concepts from above.
Parents are encouraged to educate their children through advice, but they are not expected to tell them what to do. Children must be allowed to make the decisions they see fit. For example, children may be allowed to choose their dinner. However, choosing to eat chips, ice cream, and candy might make them feel ill, tired, or provide less energy than a well-balanced meal. The child would be presented with the pros and cons of each dinner. Today, they may get to choose. They will be reminded when they feel bad about their choice. Now, this does not mean let your child walk around with a stomachache. You could give them medicine or help them feel better, but you would remind them that this is the consequence of their actions. Tomorrow, you would provide a balanced meal and show them how much better their performance and physical condition may feel. You are not telling them what to do or how. You are simply providing them with the knowledge to choose for themselves.
Let’s face it. Children are going to make mistakes. Truth be known, adults make just as many mistakes. One of the most important concepts of love and logic is the supportive nature of the parent when the child makes a mistake. Rather than yelling at the child, the parent will help the child see why the decision was wrong and what a better decision might be later. You will not clean up the mess for the child if there is something to repair, but you can help them make the choices that take care of the mess. For example, for an older child, you do not force them to study by yelling, screaming, or threatening. However, when your child fails a test or does poorly on an assignment, you can help them see how studying might be a better solution and how to improve their grades. You would not email the teacher, but you would encourage the student to discuss grades and improvement with his or her teacher. You could help them draft the email or decide what to say. Then, when presented with a study opportunity in the future, the student is more prepared for the consequences.
Clear Rules and Consequences
Rather than getting upset or yelling when your child makes a poor choice, you would take the time to set the rules and consequences before. For example, the lack of studying and poor grades results in decreased “fun” computer time. The child would know that the grades come first and that making the wrong choices results in these consequences. You have nothing to negotiate or fight about. You would tell your child that their actions result in the previously discussed consequence, and better decisions in the future will result in more favorable consequences. You do not need to be angry or emotional. This interaction is cause and effect in action.
Even when the consequence of your child’s actions is unfavorable, you will teach your children that he or she is not bad. The decision was unfavorable. Unfavorable actions have undesirable consequences, but your child is still valued and loved. You can help them to see that they play a critical role in the family and that you are helping them grow into responsible adults. You can even let them know that children make mistakes, and you expect them to have to suffer undesirable consequences sometimes because that is how we learn. They should feel safe making a mistake.
There are many things we can do as a parent to teach with love and logic. This list is by no means exhaustive. It is designed to get you started. You will make mistakes. Be honest with your children when you do. Let them know that you have consequences to face for mistakes too. They need to know that you love them above all else and that mistakes are not the end of the world. Yelling, power struggles, and emotional outbursts by either side is not productive when trying to teach responsibility and decision making. We have to take steps to increase a child’s retention of life’s most important lessons. This is best done through love and logic rather than being overprotective or demanding. Never letting your child make a mistake is no better than making them feel horrible for making mistakes. Allowing them the opportunity to make decisions, good or bad, and supporting them when the consequences are painful will teach them more than you can imagine.