Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Love & Logic

I've started reading parenting books because the fear of raising axe murderers has started to set in after getting a gander at a category 5 toddler tantrum. I'm going to review them as I finish them to help me glean the finer points of each since it is already evident there is no "one size fits all" answer.

The first up is the Love & Logic method. Sounded good to me and endorsed by the teachers at my daughter's preschool so I checked it out of the library and gave it a once over. The basic premise is to use natural consequences to teach children about good decision making. Sounds logical I suppose. Unfortunately I have to take issue with a few points in the book. I know that tearing apart an entire method due to just one or two examples is going overboard but these in particular really seemed... well, like shitty parenting.

The first was the notion that if your child is getting physically attacked by an older child for being a smartass to them you should let it continue because a black eye is a small price to pay for learning that you shouldn't be a smartass. Umm no. I hope my children aren't smartasses but honestly if they are it is totally my my husband's fault. Assault is never appropriate. I don't see how the logical conclusion to that wouldn't be that my child would learn that then they can turn around and beat up other people when they don't like how they are acting. Totally ridiculous.

The second suggestion that I found outrageous was the concept of withholding food. The example was to tell your child that they could join the family for the next meal as soon as they mowed the lawn. If they didn't mow the lawn, no food. "Hey I work to buy food to eat and that's how life works kid." Yeah. Notsomuch. I think teaching them to value of work is very important and they can learn to earn money to buy extras and other things they might want but not necessarily need. I believe that it is a parent's job to provide necessities for their children and that most certainly includes food. Anybody that refuses to feed their child because they wouldn't mow the lawn is an asshole.

Aside from those extreme examples I do thing there was good to be taken from the book. Giving your child choices, even from a young age (they suggested nine months) teaches them good decision making skills and builds confidence. Plus, you might meet with less resistance if you give your kid a choice rather than dole out orders all the time. We have been trying this, and lots of times it is great. When dealing with something my 2 1/2 year simply doesn't want to do it gets us nowhere. "Hey honey, would you like to take your medicine in the living room or the kitchen?" or "Would you like to take it all by yourself or do you want mommy to help you?" gets me a nice loud "Uh UH". But I do like the idea of choices so we'll definitely be working that into our routine a lot more. I also like the idea of giving plenty of empathy and keeping your child's problems theirs instead of taking them on yourself. Telling your child you are so sorry they are tired because they refused to nap and empathizing with them that you know how you feel super tired when you don't get sleep plants in their little minds that the way they are feeling is a result of their own actions.

Up next: The Discipline Book by Dr Sears

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