Parenting With Love and Logicby Published 03 May 2006
|Parenting With Love and Logic.pdf|
|Publisher||NavPress Publishing Group|
This parenting book shows you how to raise self-confident, motivated children who are ready for the real world. Learn how to parent effectively while teaching your children responsibility and growing their character. Establish healthy control through easy-to-implement steps without anger, threats, nagging, or power struggles. Indexed for easy reference.
Parenting With Love and Logic Reviews
This book is my dad: the calm and sometimes slightly sadistic way he let us experience the consequences of our choices, the kind of detached but sympathetic stance ("Gee, I hope you work that out! Good luck!")even the unsubtle brainwashing-by-intentional-overhearing, i.e. "Gee, washing dishes is sure fun! La-dee-da! I bet YOU wish you were washing some dishes right now!"
It is an interesting read, if a teensy bit 50's father-knows-bestish, and a smidge alarmist about "raising a Christian family in this world of shifting values." Sometimes the "natural" consequences seem unnatural and mean, and like it takes plenty of parental plotting to create situations where kids can suffer memorable, annoying, but non-dangerous consequences-- like putting kids out of the car and driving off, letting them walk home, under the watchful eye of a friend you've planted in the neighborhood in advance.
I like it generally, though. I like that it's a plan for approaching discipline in a positive, loving and emotionally easy way: rather than getting all wrapped up in your kid's problems, allow her to own her own problems, and then support and love her as she suffers the natural consequences and comes up with solutions. Most of all nurture her ability to hear and follow her own true voice, and maintain a supportive and loving relationship...
This book encourages parents to be mean, authoritarian and bordering on abusive. It advises parents run a boot camp for their children to learn to be responsible using trickery and sarcasm. I suspect this book appeals to those with certain values different from mine, and I feel sorry for their children. Much of the language encouraged by the book was disrespectful towards the children. For instance, ina demonstration, without warning the mom gave away a girl's puppy because she wasn't taking care of it (according to the parent's standards), when the girl begged the mom to go bring it back, the mother said,"You must be kidding...I just took the dog over there. Now I'm supposed to bring her back? Do you think I'm an idiot?" My jaw dropped! I had made an agreement with myself to finish this book to glean something useful from it, but now I am afraid of absorbing any of its principles. I do not recommend this book, and am saddened it has received such a good review.
“Parenting with Love & Logic” hardly sounds like a controversial strategy, but the brand created by two fairly old-school men has plenty of detractors. Though I wish the book had been more engagingly written (and could have done without the religious overtones), I must recommend it to parents as my top pick to date for practical childrearing suggestions (e.g., tell your kids that sweets are for people who brush their teeth). If you approach the plethora of advice in a take-it-or-leave-it fashion, I’m fairly certain you’ll find a strategy or two worth the reading time.
Starting with an explanation of “Love & Logic” principles, Foster Cline and Jim Fay let drop that they actually coined the term “helicopter parent” in an early edition of this book in order to reject hovering and meddlesome parents along with “drill sergeants” in favor of a “consultant parenting style.” The heralded “consultant” separates issues into those problems that affect only the child and those with externalities, and then provides “thoughtful guidance and firm, enforceable limits . . . based on . . . safety . . . and how the child’s behavior affects others,” while allowing the child “to fail, sometimes grandiosely” at a young age when the consequences (and price of learning to choose success) are small. “When a child causes a problem, the adult shows empathy through sadness and sorrow and then lovingly hands the problem and its consequences back to the child.” This wisdom is all pretty standard fare these days; for me, the value added of “Love & Logic” lies in the details.
In order to set limits, Cline and Fay recommend parents first ensure they are taking the minimum amount of control necessary away from their children and then use “[t]hinking words . . . in question form and expressed in enforceable statements [without showing anger, lecturing, or using threats to] . . . place the responsibility for thinking and decision making on the children.” In other words, instead of ordering, “Put on your coat,” ask, “Would you rather carry a coat or wear one?” (After all, who has the best information on whether the kid is cold, and what’s the harm in letting him shiver a bit before he decides to put on a coat he’s carrying?) This “choices” strategy is nothing new, but clarification of the requirement that both choices be enforceable (i.e., don’t say, “Would you rather put on your coat or get left at home?”) and non-punitive (i.e., don’t say, “Would you rather put on your coat or go to timeout?”), helped me stem my backslide into authoritarianism. I got another huge helping hand dealing with my “passive-resistive” toddler from the recommendation that parents give a time period for compliance (such as, “by the time of your next meal”) rather than expecting immediate obedience, whenever possible. “Love & Logic” also seconded advice on letting go a little that I’ve picked up elsewhere, like minimizing use of the word “no” by giving a qualified “yes” and offering nonjudgmental encouragement in the form of questions rather than praise.
Additional tidbits of value to me include (1) a trick for delaying discussions to make them more productive (“‘[w]hen your voice sounds [calm] like mine, I’ll be glad to talk with you’”); (2) a new justification for parental sanity measures (“[the only way to] model responsible, healthy adult behavior . . . [is by] taking good care of ourselves”); (3) the advice to refrain from tying a child’s allowance to her chores; and (4) a strategy for responding to negative looks and body language (either ignore it or engage your child in a conversation about the underlying feelings by asking something like “what are you trying to say with your face right now?”).
This is not to say that I plan to treat “Love & Logic” like the Sermon on the Mount. Plenty of Cline and Fay’s recommendations rub my maternal intuition the wrong way. For example, the authors advise against letting kids see parental anger or frustration. I happen to think it’s important for parents to model the ways in which one successfully grapples with and controls emotions, not to make restraint appear effortless for others. I’ll leave that one. But Lord knows there’s plenty of take homes to be had.
I loved this book, but in the end couldn't give it more than 3 stars, probably closer to a 3.5. First of all, it has some absolutely wonderful tips on parenting children. Giving children choices instead of losing your cool, and putting the ball in their court, making them be the one to have to make a choice, really is a great construct if you can remember to put it into practice. Then there was the whole section on money that I loved, talking about helping your children manage their own finances from a very young age. It gave great tips and reminded you to not micromanage, letting them spending it how they wanted, even if it was giving the money to a sibling to do their chores. That's their prerogative. But finding instances where they are responsible for their own money management was a little harder for me. I homeschool and so I can't take their suggestion of making my child pay for his own school lunches. Besides "letting them learn their lesson" and go hungry when they forget the money was a little to far fetched for me. Especially at a such a young age - my one son is 5 yrs old and my twins are 2 yrs old.
This was another issue I had with the book. I had generally younger kids and it seemed like a lot of the advice was geared toward slightly older kids. Sure they mentioned a few times that their was advice for both, and you had to do some discerning, however I would have liked that they be a little more specific, maybe dividing the book into sections for different age ranges and what was applicable for all age ranges.
Then there's the issue of just letting them fail and dealing with the consequences. To a certain extent this is possible, but I'm not sure it's always the best solution. Again a lot depends on the age ranges as well. If we tell a child he should touch a knife, or he'll cut himself and then just sit back and wait, a ten year old might be smart enough to listen, but a two year old could just as easily disregard your advice, not understanding the adult is trying to keep them safe. They kind of insinuate anyone who doesn't agree just wasn't brought up this way and isn't used to it. But I think there's something to be said for parental instinct as well. I can't tell you how many times I went against a doctor's advice when my gut was telling me something else, and every time I felt I ended up doing the right thing. It's the old adage a mom knows best.
In the end, I still think this book has some merit. It has come great principles and methods for parents who are struggling with different behavioral problems or are at their wits end. It will give you a new way of looking at things and there's nothing wrong with any parent trying to get better at parenting. But don't ignore that parental voice in your head if it's telling you something else. Often it's coming from a sense only you can see and feel.
My favorite comprehensive, practical parenting book. I do think it's helpful to have a philosophical and theological framework with which to interpet this system, and to know when to veer off the course. They are a bit heavy handed and also go a bit farther than I think most would / should in application. However, I think the practical examples are helpful to shift parents towards giving their children more responsibility.