Monday, November 22, 2010

Love & Logic Parenting: Ten Quick Tips

  1. First, lock in empathy (without sarcasm) when a child comes to you with a problem or before you deliver a consequence. "Bummer", "Oh, this is so sad" - Then their mistake, not you, is the bad guy.
  2. Set an example by taking care of yourself. That is, stop yourself before you show anger or frustration, yell, threaten, lecture, use sarcasm, criticize, blame, spank, etc. These are traps for parents, letting the child focus on our emotions rather than their bad decisions. Emulate the kind of behavior you want from them now and when they're adults. If you yell and hit - you can expect your child to do the same. If you are calm, loving, and responsible - your child will follow suit.
  3. Let experience and natural (logical) consequences do the teaching. Don't rob kids of experiences that teach. It is okay to let them be inconvenienced or uncomfortable without making them unsafe. The more mistakes they make when they're little, the better - as they get older mistakes will cost a lot more! Consequences get more serious.
  4. When little kids do something you don't like use the "Uh-Oh" Song. Follow it with loving action. Example: Child hits dog with toy hammer. Parent says "Uh-Oh, bedroom time". As the parent takes the child's hand and takes them down to room for thinking time. Saying Uh-Oh in a sing-song voice keeps the anger and frustration out of your voice. It will also become a trigger for the child to think about what just happened. Soon, all you'll have to do is say uh-oh and the child will stop what they're doing, think about what could be wrong, and change their behavior.
  5. When kids whine or argue use a "brain dead" statement by saying in a calm voice, "I know" or "What did I say?" This will stop you from getting roped into the argument and delivers empathy at the same time. Pretty soon the kid will give up and stop.
  6. When older kids have a problem lock in empathy and then say "What are you going to do about it?" If they say "I don't know" say "Would you like to hear what some kids try?"
  7. Use plenty of choices - "Do you want to wear the blue shirt or the red shirt?", to diffuse potential power struggles. "The car leaves in 5 minutes. Do you want to wear your coat or carry it?" Wait ten seconds. If the child doesn't choose, you choose for him. **This is almost all we have to do with Little Miss to keep things nice and happy. The trick is to make sure the two options you give are things you're okay with.
  8. Never tell a resistant kid what to do, tell them what you will do. This is the enforceable statement. "I will listen when your voice sounds as calm as mine", "I take kids to the park who have their chores finished by noon". Turn your words into gold. Talk less, take more action in loving ways. "Love you too much to argue." Follow up with loving actions.
  9. You may need to delay the consequence and come up with a strategic training session for problem behaviors that come up again and again. "When you lie to me, it really drains my energy. I'll have to do something about that, but not now, we'll talk later. Try not to worry". If kids are old enough to remember you promised them ice cream, they're old enough to learn from a delayed consequence.
  10. Make a plan for a training session and use spouse, friend, or relative to back you up. Restaurant behavior retraining might involve a neighbor on call who will take the child back home and babysit when the child acts out.And sadly, the babysitting won't be fun, and the child will have to pay for it himself with toys. 
Hope you enjoyed these little tidbits!! There is so much more to Love & Logic than just this. We'll be doing a Love & Logic giveaway next monday - don't miss it!


    1. love this list - thanks so much for sharing it - love your blog :)

    2. These are really great pointers. I've never read that book, but now that I read your post I'm thinking I need to. I'm really struggling with one of my daughters in particular.

    3. This needs to be tattooed on my person!
      Love it all!


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