Gentle Parenting: Love and Logic

I know I’ve been on the gardening/green kick lately, so let’s switch gears and get back to bébé…

Last month my sis flew in from Houston to attend a Love and Logic seminar with me here in Grapevine, TX.  It was yet another one of those, I had heard people using it and kind of got the gist of it from my friend Sheri, and I have to say it is the best.decision.we.ever.made for raising Emma!  Basically parenting with Love and Logic is ‘an approach to raising kids that provides loving support from parents while at the same time expecting kids to be respectful and responsible.’  They don’t believe in spanking and don’t do time-out, though you are able to put the kid in another room for a period of time or just remove them from the situation.

Love and Logic is a philosophy founded in 1977 by Jim Fay and Foster W. Cline, M.D. It is the approach of choice among leading educators, parents, and other professionals worldwide.

If you don’t believe me, ask my friend who told me her teacher friends were shocked that I picked the Love and Logic seminar over going to the zoo (whaa?).  She claimed a teacher would thank me later for going and getting started early.  It seemed like a no brainer at the time…gotta get baby girl on the right track PRONTO!

The basic concept is about giving kids choices which enables them to feel heard; even when they are very little.  For example, when Emma was about 6 months old, I would hold up two onesies for her to choose from to wear for the day.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to say that she told me which one she wanted, because she didn’t (but that would be amazing!).  At my friend’s advice, I followed her eyes and where ever they looked, that was the winner.  I know it sounds silly but really it’s just clothes so I figure Emma deciding what to wear was the least of my worries.

Another few examples of how we use Love and Logic: when Emma started eating foods at around 6 months and she got the hang of throwing the food down or dropping the sippy cup on purpose, we either removed her from the situation (eating) or became a onetime drop mama/papa (the sippy cup).  Homey Mama don’t play that ‘how many times can I drop my sippy cup and watch mama pick it up’ game.  No dice.  And now that she is soon-to-be two, and plays the games of ‘no like it’ with dinner (and dresses) or gets down from her chair at a restaurant, so sad, someone is going to be very hungry.

Don’t fret, it’s not like you are going to starve your kid, it’s getting them to understand and respect that meal time is just that-time to eat and enjoy each other’s company.  If they don’t like it or play around with their food for forever, you set a timer and once that timer dings, the meal is over.  Guess they’ll just have to wait until the next meal which is sometimes the next day.  Trust me, they learn pretty quickly (or so I hope) that mama’s not monkeying around.

The reality is that if you give them choices now and have them deal with the consequences while they’re little, when they get older they will be wise enough to make responsible decisions.

The Love and Logic technique in action sounds like this:

Dad: “Oh, no. You left your bike unlocked and it was stolen. What a bummer. I bet you feel awful. Well, I understand how easy it is to make a mistake like that.” (Notice that the parent is not leading with anger, intimidation, or threats.)

Dad then adds, “And you’ll have another bike as soon as you can earn enough money to pay for it. I paid for the first one. You can pay for the additional ones.”

Love and Logic parents know that no child is going to accept this without an argument, but Love and Logic parents can handle arguments. Jim Fay advises “just go brain dead.” This means that parents don’t try to argue or match wits with the child. They simply repeat, as many times as necessary, “I love you too much to argue.” No matter what argument the child uses, the parent responds “I love you too much to argue.” Parents who learn how to use these techniques completely change, for the better, their relationships with kids and take control of the home in loving ways.

Does is sound a bit extreme for you?  It did for me at first but then it started to make sense.  I want Emma to feel heard yet at the same time let her know I’m the adult and ultimately make the final decisions.  My hubby recently asked how we are supposed to do the night-night time ritual after giving her so many choices throughout the day (thankfully he was on board from the get-go).  I told him, if baby girl tries to fight and say ‘but I want to go to bed in 10 minutes instead of now,’ I calmly remind her that ‘you made a lot of choices today didn’t you?’  ‘Well now it’s my turn and it’s night-night time.’  End of story.

I have to say the hardest part is following through.  I’m not going to pretend like I stick to my guns every time but I have been getting better at it lately.  I have to tell myself, I just told her no more blueberries-after she just ate about 20 of them-and stand firm by my statement.  I do notice that if I say they’re all gone or you ate them all, she’ll usually give up.  Thank goodness because I probably would have caved in another millisecond.  I guess it’s never too early to learn we can’t always get what we want.  Would be nice though, huh?

The other big factor I like about Love and Logic is that kids get to A) make mistakes and B) learn how to deal with them at an early age.  I love my parents and appreciate all they did for me but wish I was able to fail/fall on my butt when I was younger.  I think it would have helped me make better decisions once I became an adult…especially in regards to money.

The takeaway here is if you are looking for an alternative to spanking (I was somewhat onboard since I was spanked) and want a fun and different way to rear your child, check out Love and Logic.  They have a plethora of resources for any age and cater to different parenting styles.  My mom and sis got me the Early Childhood Package for Christmas 2 years ago and it was a great investment start.

They also have an Insider’s Club where you can get emails with their tips and how to handle specific situations.  You can even call their toll-free number (1-800-338-4065) if you are stuck and need help with a solution.  Seriously, you definitely can’t go wrong here!  Check it out if you’re curious and don’t dare think it’s too late to start; your child and their teachers will thank you.  PS: They even have a Marriage-Love and Logic book which I picked up at the seminar…I figure it couldn’t hurt.

Have you ever heard of this technique or do you practice it now?  What has worked for you in rearing your wee little ones or are you at your wits’ end and need a drink different solution?

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked for this.  The pictures are from here and here.

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