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Close to a year ago, I read the book Parenting With Love And Logic. While I don’t agree with everything in the book, I do find it to be a valuable read. It really gives you a lot of examples for natural consequences for actions. For my son, that is the best type of discipline.
Parenting with Love and Logic is worth reading, it definitely has its merits. I don’t follow the “rules” of it strictly, but there are some principles you can pick up that make sense and are worth considering. I find it to be excellent to get the parent in the frame of mind of consequences.
So what don’t I agree with? Many things are not stated that I think should be taken into context. One thing that is never discussed is the idea of parenting in the funnel, as is discussed in Babywise II and on up. There are certain consequences, I believe, that need to be applied only when age appropriate. It has an example they use over and over about a coat in the winter. It says not to force your child to wear a coat. He will get cold and then wear it next time. Well, my son never would have done that a year ago. He will be 3 in May. Last year his rule was he didn’t go out without a coat, hat, and gloves. He hated all of the above. He would have preferred to go out and just be freezing cold. This year, he happily wears all of that and even asks for it. So you have to keep age-appropriateness in mind when reading Love and Logic.
I believe natural consequences work for my son, but I do think you need to teach your child some sort of standard first. I don’t think you should just have them go through life learning consequences as they go. I think you owe it to your child to pass on your knowledge before you turn them loose on the world. It reminds me of the phrase “don’t reinvent the wheel.” If I had just had Brayden go out and get cold, how would he know that a coat is available and would help him to stay warm? By setting the rules first and requiring him to wear a coat, he saw there was value. Wise people learn from the mistakes of others. While all of us have our “unwise” moments, I don’t think we should just put our kids out there without our wisdom.
Love and Logic goes straight to consequences without having the parents teach first. I think consequences are a great thing for your child to experience, but he has to get the ground rules first. He needs to be taught principles. You can’t just throw him out into the world to learn from his actions. We are intelligent beings who can pass on our knowledge so our children don’t have to make mistakes.
I think you need to have rules that need to be followed. It isn’t just that you tell them what you know and hope they listen. There should be a standard in your home for appropriate behavior. One example that is used in the book is that of bedtime. He was always fighting with his kids over bedtime. He finally one night decided to set the rule that they had to be in their room, but could go to sleep when they wanted. They all fell asleep somewhere other than their beds. They were all tired the next day. Apparently, they never had bedtime issues again.
That honestly is not an approach I would take. While I concede that you can lead a child to bed but can’t make them sleep, I believe that if you allow them free reign of their rooms, they will fall asleep later than they would if they were in bed. For parents who follow Babywise and continue on up into Toddlerwise and up, this would be a rare battle. They go to bed when mom says from birth. For me, the rule would be they have to be in bed when it is time. The rule would be that they are in bed when it is time for bed.
I am positive many of the strategies in this book would not have worked with my little sister, and she is too. There are things like that if your child won’t wake up for school, let them sleep in and suffer the consequence for missing school. My sister would have thought something to the effect of, “Sweet, I don’t have to go to school today! I can sleep instead.” She would not have cared, and would have preferred that option. Bad grades as a result would not have deterred her. So you obviously have to take the ideas and apply them as appropriate for the personality of your child.
I do think this book has helped me in my discipline with Brayden. I do think it has had a positive effect. It doesn’t hurt to read it, take what you want, leave what you don’t. Knowledge is power, and the more ideas you have in your reservoir, the more likely you are to find what works for your individual child. A lot of the qualms I have with the book are only if you view the book in a vacuum. A lot of the weaknesses of the book are addressed in Babywise II and beyond, so together you can have some powerful methods.
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Reader Comments/Thank Yous:
- Dana said…
Thank you for this post. I had wondered about your endorsement of this book. I nannied in a home where Love & Logic was used. The child never seemed to understand why he was getting in trouble, and it didn’t stop him from doing the same thing over and over. Reading your post, I understand better. He had no boundaries (funnel) and he was never given the wisdom to understand why/that his behavior needed to change. Your post has given me better perspective and understanding. I can now see how you have been able to use this book in harmony with Toddlerwise. Thank you!
March 17, 2008 12:22 PM
- Lori said…
Thanks for your insight on this. I just started reading Love and Logic on a recommendation from a Christian counselor and your thoughts here will definitely make me question which ideas I plan to implement and which ones I don’t.
March 17, 2008 1:13 PM
- Plowmanators said…
You are both welcome!
March 17, 2008 3:23 PM
- david, blair, and sadie beth said…
Well said! I really like some of the ideas in Love and Logic, especially the Early Childhood edition, but have very strong reservations about a lot of it as well…for exactly the same reasons you described. I could carry on about this but you said it well enough already! 🙂
March 17, 2008 3:47 PM