Thursday, April 3, 2008

Love and Logic

One of the books we have used with parenting our child is Parenting with Love and Logic." The authors use Proverbs 22:6 to provide insight into parenting issues.

Proverbs 22:6Train children in the right way and when old, they will not stray.

The main thrust in this book is teaching responsibility, which is sorely lacking in this day and age. I think that we as parents seem to take one of two paths when parenting. Either we make all the decisions for our children until they are eighteen and allow them to start making their own mistakes. Or we allow our young children to rule the roost, allowing them to make decisions they are not capable of handling.
The introduction states "love is powerful enough to allow kids to make mistakes and permit them to live with the consequences of those mistakes. The logic is centered in the consequences themselves."

Parenting With Love & Logic
When there are no natural consequences, parents are encouraged to come up with a consequence that will easily be tied to the mistake. The writers encourage parents to be creative and not have one consequence that is always used for the same mistake.

We have taken this to heart. Four years ago when David was eight and knew better, he hid food in order to get dessert. I had gone to answer the door and when I returned the food was gone and after checking the trash and not finding it, I gave him his dessert. Only the next day I found the uneaten dinner behind a piece of furniture. But, what to do? I got creative and he will never forget the lesson.

I took him to the grocery store and made him buy his own piece of large liver—that's right liver. Each night as Rich and I ate what was already planned for dinner, David would help cook up a nice slice of liver. The first night David made a huge deal of how much he was enjoying it and was glad that he would have to eat it for a week. "Thank you, Mom!" The next night he was not so excited and by the last night of the liver he was positively miserable.

I know everyone is groaning right about now, but was this effective? Oh yes, since even now if he even considers not eating his food all we have to say is "liver" and he finishes up with little fuss. Even David will laugh when this story is told.

Another situation we ran into was with the school. It was always a big war to get David to wear his coat, even in winter. I decided to not battle and let the natural consequences take over. No coat—no playground time at school. Only, after three days I found out from David that the school was loaning him a jacket for him to play outside in.

The next day I called the school and informed them they were not allowed to loan him a jacket. I was trying to teach him responsibility and they were teaching him not to be responsible. The next day he left without a coat and was shocked to find that he was not allowed outside at playtime. The next day I didn't even have to mention a coat, he gladly grabbed one on the way out the door.

If we don't give our children the opportunity to fail in a safe environment in a small way it could result in large and dangerous mistakes.

Not all of the logic has worked with our son, so like most parenting books we have to pick out and use what works for our son. No two children are alike, so what works for one may not work for another.

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