I am always looking for ways to improve as a parent. It seems as least weekly I am tested by one of my boys with a whole new scenario for which I feel totally unprepared (or the same one playing out over and over again, which I can’t seem to solve). Last week I spoke to a friend who strongly recommended this book. She described some examples which really made sense. I gave Parenting with Love and Logic a try and I am really happy with all that I learned. The premise for Parenting with Love and Logic is teaching your children responsibility. The authors (Foster Cline, MD and Jim Fay) insist that you do this by giving your children as much control as they can handle (preparation for the real world), using thinking words rather than fighting words to offer choices rather than orders and when necessary, empathizing with your child when natural consequences occur. This method, if applied correctly, will teach children to think for themselves and solve their own problems. It will teach them to look inward when faced with consequences, rather than looking outward and blaming others (like parents) for what has happened. This all makes sense to me.
The first half of the book is dedicated to explaining Love and Logic principles. The second half is filled with forty-eight Love and Logic “Pearls” which are different scenarios in which the principles might apply and how to address each one. Many contain sample dialogues as well. Examples include bedtime battles, eating and table manners, getting ready for school, television watching, and temper tantrums, to name a few. The authors stress the need for practice, practice, practice. These principles must be practiced in order to master the technique. The authors also stress the importance of delaying discipline decisions until enough time has passed that a parent is firm on what to say, how to deliver the message, and that the consequence fits the offense. Through every process described, a strong level of love and respect is maintained between parent and child and anger and yelling are absolutely unnecessary.
Parenting, like life, is an adventure. The more prepared we can be along our journey, the greater the rewards. I thought this story in the book, used to play up the necessity of time and practice—and the benefit if we stick with something—was particularly wonderful. I think it applies to much of what I write about on this blog. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
A fifty-year-old man approached a musician and asked, ‘Can you teach me to play the trombone so I can play in the town civic band and in parades and other things?’
‘Sure,’ the musician said.
‘How long will it take?’ the aspiring trombonist asked.
‘Well,’ the musician said, ‘I could teach almost anybody to play anything he wanted to play in five years’ time.’
‘Five years!’ the would-be student said. ‘I’ll be fifty-five years old by then!’
‘Yes, you will,’ the musician returned. ‘And how old will you be in five years if you don’t learn how to play the trombone?’” (p109)