Raising Children the Love & Logic Way
I have been parenting for twelve years now and while I have learned a lot I am not an expert. In fact, I don't know that anyone can be an expert except with maybe their own kids. I have four kids and quickly learned that each child is different and needs to be parented differently. I could never step into someone else's shoes and parent their child. You have to know your child to parent them right. That being said, we have had great success with parenting the love and logic way. Jim Fay and Charles Fay have written many books on parenting with love and logic. It makes perfect sense to me, so I thought I would share about it here.
According to their book Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood on page 23 there are four principles of love and logic:
"Build the self-concept, share the control, offer empathy then consequences, and share the thinking."
You want to help kids learn about themselves and feel confident in who they are. You want to give them as much control over their lives as you can. You want to be empathetic to the mistakes your child makes, yet still impose consequences, and you want to make sure that your child learns how to think for themselves and figure out problems on their own. All of these things will help your child become a very responsible adult.
One of the things I like best about parenting with love and logic is that most of the time there are natural consequences that will occur when your child has messed up. This means that I don't have to dole out a lot of punishments myself. They seem to take care of themselves. For instance, if my child forgets his homework I don't need to punish this. He will suffer the consequences of this at school by receiving a poor grade. We do have consequences set up at home where the kids lose privileges (TV or computer time for instance) if they receive a C or lower. So if they forget their homework enough their final grade will suffer and consequences will be enforced at home, but they are logical consequences. If you are so busy watching TV that you can't take care of your homework, then you don't get to watch TV for example.
Children love to have control over their lives. So many times in a child's life they have no control over anything. Parents frequently decide everything from what the child will wear, to what they eat, to where they go and what time they will leave. It must be very frustrating to be a child! The more frequently you can give your child choices and decisions about their life the more likely they will cheerfully go along with you when you make the decisions.
One area that we always need to work on at my house is making our kids think for themselves. It is much easier and faster to just tell my kids what to do or the answer to their questions. But I have noticed as they get older that this hinders them in life. They don't have the ability to think for themselves. One of the keys to love and logic parenting is getting your child to think for themselves so that they will learn to make good decisions in the future. Have you heard the saying that you aren't raising children, you are raising adults before? Teach your child to think on his own now, so that when he is an adult it will come naturally. This means taking the time to talk to your kids about decisions and helping them come up with answers and ideas on their own.
I have found that respect is a key to good parenting, and the love and logic way is a very respectful form of parenting. There should not be arguing or yelling involved (something we are always working on at my house) and with logical natural consequences the need for punishments lessens. When I show respect to my kids they learn how to show respect back to me. Kids learn to think for themselves rather than bugging mom and dad all the time and they quickly learn right from wrong.
I have read many books and tried many, many things with my four kids. I have the most success when I parent with love and logic, not with force or yelling. Parenting with love and logic has given me the tools to get my kids more involved with becoming good, responsible kids and eventually adults. It isn't all on me to force them to behave. The more I parent this way, the easier parenting becomes (although I still consider it much harder than I ever thought it would be!). If you have not heard of this method before, I highly recommend the Fay's books; it has made my household much calmer.