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Parenting With Love And Logic (Updated and Expanded Edition) Hardcover – May 3, 2006
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This is not once mentioned in the book so I’m sharing it now because I believe it’s essential: connecting with your child after they have done something “bad” can be very hard for parents because they first have to regulate their own emotions and many of us adults were not raised in an environment that taught us how to do this—we were sent to our rooms for time outs, punished, or spanked. When our children “act up” our reflex is to stop the madness instead of explore what’s going on in their world! And offering “choices” that coerce the children to stop their upset is what this book does repeatedly.
Asking your kid if they’d like to stop “feeling” or go cry in their room by themselves should NEVER be considered a “choice.” What type of message are we sending our children when they can’t be in front of us while angry? While crying? “I only like you when you are happy.” Or “Feelings are not acceptable in this family.” THIS is what is creating such anxiety, depression, and anger in our children today. Believe it or not they want to connect with their parents so when they are feeling angry or upset, its not helpful to try and instill “logic” or force them to make a choice they don’t actually want. Would you as an adult ever make a wise choice while you are raging mad? Parents: let the kid ride the wave of their emotions without projecting your own upset. Of course its hard to stay calm when your children feel so upset, but teach them that feelings come and then they go and no kid should have to leave their parent’s presence while they have those bad feelings! (This is a sign that the parents themselves has some emotional regulation to do). Can you imagine telling your partner to go to their room if they were hangry? So why on earth is this a good option for kids? It’s just not.
In all fairness this book offers some practical choices for physical steps a kid needs to take during part of a daily routine, ie:
“Would you rather carry your coat or wear it?”
“Would you rather put your boots on now or in the car?”
Other easy choices could be: If it’s too hard to stop splashing in the tub we can get out. If you get in the car early you’ll be able to get in the car seat on your own accord. If it takes extra long mom or dad will just put you in….
But there are other scenarios when kids are given “options” in the book that are just plain unhealthy for a child’s emotional well being. Options should not be an “option” in every case. In fact, here they become control based, ie: “do you want to go under my power (the adults) or your power?” Coercion is also disguised as “options,” ie: a). the parent asks “nicely” for the kid to do what they want or tells the kid they will have to go to their room if the kid doesn’t act “nicely” back, b). instills fear by hinting that the kid will regret their decision at some later date (future punishment), c). shames the child by making them feel bad about their choices or feelings, ie: telling the child that “sucking a pacifier is a hassle” to the parents eyeballs so the kid needs to leave their presence (What!? Couldn’t the parent just say, “Sweetie it seems like you need a little extra security today. If you’d like to suck your pacifier, you can do so in your crib.” There is no shaming here). True choices allow the children room to choose without feeling shame, without threats, without coercion.
As adults some days are better than others. Kids are the same. Some days we wake up and want to eat less. Kids do too. Some days we wake up and feel crabby. Kids do too. Some days we just feel sensitive and emotional. Kids do too. But for some reason when our kids are having bad days we just label them as "misbehaving." Can we support children through their feelings just as we'd want to be supported? I'm not sure why this seems so revolutionary... but to some it may be: kids may be little but don't belittle their feelings!
This book is heartbreaking to me because it totally misses the mark. In each scenario, it somehow avoids the root issue of the child’s problem and instead offers “choices” for the parents to essentially “win” the battle.
There are so many examples I could share where the authors totally somehow thought they solved a problem by sending their kids to their room or “proving a point” by making their kid do the adult’s chores (this is so twisted!), but I’m afraid they will never know why their kid was upset to begin with—was someone bullying them at school? Did they feel sad about losing a game, was someone gossiping or keeping a secret? The parent will never know. The parent’s feelings are under control but they forget to acknowledge their child’s feelings. Avoiding feelings does not resolve them. It creates an angry world.
Parents, if this book helped you, I’m grateful because it’s a step away from spanking… but there’s still a very long road ahead. I’d recommend reading additional books on positive parenting such as Peaceful Parent Happy Kids or The Whole Brained Child
This book is life changing. I'm a better parent and my children are better children because of the techniques I've learned. It is gentle, loving and effective. It's all about how you as an adult react to your child's behavior.
The reasons why kids misbehave and why our instinct reactions as parents are often ineffective, is in the first half of the book and then the second half is filled with common scenarios and how to handle them.
The book is easy to follow and will be a reference for me many years from now. I was a very strong willed child and I wish my parents had used this approach on me.
I feel like many of the negative reviews didn't thoroughly read the parts they are concerned with, or misconstrued the examples. The authors lay out general parenting principles, and then offer examples of how to implement these principles. These are EXAMPLES, people! You can certainly implement them in different manners than the authors suggest, based on your own child and what you feel is right as a parent. The authors state that the parent should only offer two choices that the parent is comfortable with. If you aren't comfortable with a certain choice (such as giving away a pet), then don't make that one of the choices you are offering, duh! The pet example seems to have many people up-in-arms, yet in this example, the parent did NOT permanently give away the pet as people state, they temporarily gave the dog to a family friend, telling the child they had 3 days to decide if the pet could come back home. Also, they did not starve the pet as everyone seems to think, they did let the child know they were abusing the pet by not feeding it. It certainly doesn't say the parent didn't or shouldn't feed the pet (without telling the child). No one is that heartless, and it doesn't serve a purpose. Also, the authors frequently list out precautions with their advice, since some individuals may misuse these techniques (as can happen with any parenting technique). They also have a section where they discuss how certain principles have been misconstructed, misprepresented and taken out of context. I feel like those who were concerned simply didn't read those additional words of wisdom. An example is that the authors discuss how the "uh oh" song is for when a child is misbehaving for the sake of misbehaving -- NOT because of a NEED. They emphasize that a need (vs a want) must be met, and I think some parents were too quick to use the "uh oh" song rather than meeting a need of the child. Also, I saw not even the slightest hint of any "attachment theory" in this book -- I hadn't even heard of this until I read some of the reviews. Now that I know what they were referring to, I can tell you there is none of this in the book.
Another amazing book that I highly recommend is "Loving Our Kids on Purpose" by Danny Silk. It is quite compatible with the Love and Logic principles, but emphasizes the importance of building a relationship with our children.
Top international reviews
highly recommended to any parents with frustrations.
Nevertheless, you must be aware that it belongs to the behaviorism! It's a psychological approach which holds that behaviors are (just!) a mechanical response to positive or negative reinforcements, thus personality is a pure set of "learned" behavioral patterns. Some methods are inhuman, distant and merciless. For instance, ignoring a baby/child's cry is a form of NEGLECT and locking a child inside a room is ABUSE, even within the most loving and healthy family. From such an approach, children results to be selfish, wicked, hostile and calculating, rather than individuals with fundamental needs and own feelings. Beyond this, the act of deliberately causing frustration in a human being (a child!) in order to produce a precise response (a positive behaviour) is CRUEL and IMMORAL. Last but not least, a better approach would be to educate parents on the NATURAL needs and expectations of infants and children. I strongly suggest a wonderful book written by a renowned pediatrician and father of three children: "Kiss me!", Carlos Gonzàlez (see enclosed picture).
I consider it a much better approach to educate parents on the NATURAL needs of babies/children, for example that infant sleep variability is NORMAL. I definitely suggest parents to read "Kiss me!" from the author Carlos Gonzàlez, before starting any other reading like Love and Logic.
Edit: I read several reviews on amazon.com of the older version. It previously recommended spanking on rare occasions and doesn't any more. There are a couple of other lesson examples that many people complained about that are no longer in the book. I was also surprised to see some of the fears of these principles being used abusively/manipulatively. The book iterates several times that parenting with love and compassion is absolutely necessary while using these principles. They even give a couple of examples of the same general idea being used with love and without. I suppose that seemed self-evident to me but there were a LOT of negative reviews by people who had poor experiences in their own childhood by parents doing somewhat similar things but in a harsh manner.
This book has a really good mindset/approach and the examples are eye opening and challenging. Basically the idea is to present your kids with age appropriate options that are all acceptable to you. The authors do say to use empathy and sadness when your children make unfortunate choices, but this should be emphasized much more. I find the "love" part should be reinforced a bit more in the book. As with all parenting books, you must take the suggested methods with your own critical mind, logic, and knowledge of your kids. Most methods sound like they would be effective but I wonder if they are not lacking in gentlessness also.
With that said, the logic bit is very informative like I said, and since I have begun implementing the principles I am living with MUCH less frustration and anger, and not engaging in power struggles. Overall this makes for a more stable and loving environment for my kids and I am better able to make and keep healthy boundaries - something I had difficulty doing prior to this book. The result is a happier mom and a more secure toddler in my opinion.
In sum take the principles and use lots of grace, read the examples with a grain of salt and maybe for extreme cases/older kids.