Parenting With Love and Logic – Teaching Children Responsibility

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In the first part of this book, : The Love and Logic Parent Foster W. Cline M.D. and Jim Fay explain and demonstrate what a “Love and Logic Parent” is. Overall, Cline and Fay use Scriptural principles to help parents to teach their children responsibility.

A wise child loves discipline, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.

Proverbs 13:1

Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray.

Proverbs 22:6

Ineffective Parenting Styles

  1.  Helicopter Parents – These parents “hover over and rescue” their children. They believe that “love means rotating their lives around their children.” P. 23
  2. Drill Sergeant Parents –These parents order their children to act this way or that in every area of their lives. They use “putdowns and I-told-you-so’s.” p. 24-25

In the name of love, helicopter parents and drill sergeant parents send messages to their children: Either “You are fragile and can’t make it without me.” Or “You can’t think for yourself so I’ll do it for you.” P. 25

Authors of Parenting With Love and Logic, Cline and Fay, offer no guarantees regarding parenting. No “expert” can do that. P. 25

Love-and-Logic Tip #1: Unfortunately, when our gut talks, our head listens. Using “Significant Learning Opportunities” (natural consequences) often goes against the grain. P. 26 Allowing children to make their own decisions on gradually more significant issues trains them to be responsible for their own actions.

Loveand-Logic Tip #2: You can pay me now or you can pay me later. For example, training a child about the world of finance by loaning money with all of the tools of a bank – due dates, promissory notes, collateral and repossession – on smaller items so that it will not happen later with larger items. P. 29 “Responsibility cannot be taught; it must be caught.” P. 32

Even children make themselves known by their acts,

by whether what they do is pure and right.

Proverbs 20:11

Love-and-Logic Tip #3-A Tale of Self-Concept – Children who are encouraged will grow more responsible and capable. P. 36

Love-and-Logic Tip #4 – What we say is not always what kids hear. Children read underlying messages. Example: “George, I’ll let you decide that for yourself.” Overt message: “You can decide.” Covert message: “You are capable.” OR “June, I’ll give you one more chance, but you better shape up. Overt message: “Thinks can improve.” Covert message:” You can’t handle it. I have to provide another choice.” P. 38

Three Legged Stool accurate self-concept. Leg One – “I am loved…” Leg Two—“I have the skills I need to make it.” Leg Three: “I am capable of taking control of my life.” P. 38-42

Love-and-Logic Tip #5—Messages that lock in love. Even physical rough housing can lock in love. Here are some sample verbal messages: “You do a great job of thinking for yourself.” “There’s always a lot of love here regardless of what happens.” P. 40

Love-and-Logic Tip #6 What they see is what they learn. Parents model behavior. P. 43

Love-and-Logic Tip #7 It can be a cold world out there. Allowing a child to choose to not wear a coat, for example, when it is cold helps him to wear a coat the next time. However, natural consequences must not put the child in danger.

Children’s Mistakes Are Their Opportunities p. 47

How much better to get wisdom than gold!

To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.

Proverbs 16:16

Love-and-Logic Tip # 8 Responsible Kids, Irresponsible Kids – The more decisions kids have to make for themselves, the more responsible they are. Further, teaching them that they can go to God to help them in times of need remain with them.

Love-and-Logic Tip # 9 Knowing when to stay in the middle of the problem and when to let the child resolve it helps. Parents should step in when the child is in danger or when both the child and the parent know it is too big for the child.

Love-and-Logic Tip # 10 If it’s a problem for us, it should soon become a problem for them. Our authors give the example of the mother taking the child’s dog to a friend’s house to stay for three days or forever depending on whether the child will care for the dog or not.

Setting Limits Through Thinking Words

Rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 12:18

Love-and-Logic Tip # 11 Using Love and Logic with Toddlers – 1) Modeling good adult behavior and 2) life or death issues. When a toddler demands to be picked up, the parent should calmly say, “Lay down on the floor, I can’t pick you up when you act this way.”  Children then can learn to say, “Please pick me up daddy.” In life or death situations, behavior is different. We build walls that don’t crumble – boundaries for safety and security. Life after birth is much different than life in the womb.  Issuing commands is not necessary while talking to toddlers.

Love-and-Logic Tip # 12 Thinking Words and Fighting Words – Examples:

  • Fighting Words – “Don’t talk to me in that tone.” “I want that lawn cut, now!”
  • Thinking Words – “You sound upset. I’ll be glad to listen when your voice is as soft as mine is.” “I’ll be taking you to your soccer game as soon as the lawn is cut.” P. 61

Stay tuned for  eleven more Love-and-Logic Tips and forty-one Pearls as we continue working our way through the this invaluable book for parents.

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