Wednesday, September 12, 2012

love and logic : my book review

I just finished reading Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood. I've heard a ton of moms (especially this one) talk about these books and the program so I wanted to see what it was all about. 

As I did before here, I am writing a quick book review for myself so that I can always have the cliff notes, if you will, handy to refresh myself on the key points that I took away from the book. Again these are really notes for myself (I'm not trying to suggest how you should raise your children or spark any type of debate), but feel free to read along if you wish.

It took me a while to get through it because let's face it, discipline isn't fun.  I'm so glad that I read it though. Some of it was a bit "oh duh, I knew that" or "that makes perfect sense" but I just needed to read it and understand the rationale behind it.  Sometimes I think all my brain cells left my body with that placenta and that I lost my ability to be logical.  That being said Love and Logic is not rocket science.  It's easy.  It makes perfect sense.

I plan to apply some of the ideas to my parenting style and have already started implementing them. So far so good.  I tend to be the type of person who is quick to anger and quick to raise my voice (I talk loudly anyways so that's just a really bad combination).  I'm not proud of that, and I refuse to make it part of my discipline with my children.  

Here are the key points and/or the points that I specifically like in the book:

 there are two types of parents that we should avoid becoming.
a. helicopter parents:  live as if their life revolves around their children and send the message that "you are fragile and you can't make it without me."
b. drill sergeant parents:  controlling and send the message that "you can't think for yourself, so I'll do it for you.  Children of these parents tend to give into peer pressure more as teens because when they're tired of listening to their parents as teens they'll turn to listening to their friends.

basic principles
no. 1 - Build a healthy self-concept.
For low self concept--- finds fault and criticizes, insist on doing everything for their children and don’t allow their children to experience joy of independent success.
For high self-concept--- offer empathy, understanding, and unconditional love, allow children to struggle and solve own problems, and encourage children to succeed through personal thinking.
no. 2 -  share the control.
-Give them two choices.
- I particularly love this from the book -- control is like love.  The more we give away the more we get in return.  Now that was a slap in the face for this control freak. 
no. 3 -  provide empathy before delivering consequences. (they note this being the most important L&L technique.)
- learn to love the consequences b/c the price tags of mistakes made by young children are typically much smaller than those made by teens.       
no. 4 - share the thinking.

  When your child begins to whine, go hard of hearing.  

On giving children attention:
- save most of the attention for happy times.
- the best way to raise a chronically unhappy and poorly behaved kid is to make a habit of giving them a lot of attention or pizzazz when they are misbehaving.
-instead of multiple threats or warnings, L&L advice is to say "uh-oh and take action." They give the example of taking the child to his/her room.
-finally, they discourage lecturing or reminding the child of their action after punishment is over.  Hug him/her and get on with the day.

I love this blurb from L&L -- have so much fun with your kids when they're behaving so they'll miss you when they've misbehaved and the fun shuts down.

Turn Your Words into Gold (aka enforceable statements): 
-instead of demanding for them to brush their teeth try I give treats to kids who protect their teeth by brushing or instead of pick up your toys try feel free to keep the toys that you pick up or instead of hurry up and get dressed try the car's leaving in 10 minutes.  

On empathy:
- pick an empathetic phrase to use and stick with it.  Every time your child does something that deserves consequences start off with that empathetic response.  L&L believes that the use of empathy makes learning easier for both the child and parent.
-examples they give :  "uh-oh"  "this is so sad"  "how sad" "Oh ... that's never good."  "bummer"
I'm not sure those examples totally fit with my personality so if anyone reading has any other ideas for an empathetic phrase or word you use, please share.
-Be sincere.  Not sarcastic.

Specific recommendations for children under 3:
-respond with empathy, change your child's location or remove the offending object or both, don't remind or lecture.  Actions speak louder than words.

"Wise parents never criticize their young children when chores are not done absolutely perfect.  The more we criticize when they are little, the more they will resist doing chores as teens... and spouses." 

I love the "energy drain" concept.  A friend does it very well.  For example, if a child keeps interrupting you while you're talking or won't pick up toys you can use the whole "this is making mommy very tired and it's draining my energy, if you help/stop/wait then that may help my energy come back and we can go to the park afterwards."

On Neutralizing Family Arguements:
1) Go "brain dead," smile and pause as opposed to letting the child see how affected you are.
2) use an empathetic one-liner (I'm sorry you feel that way or I'll listen when your voice sounds like mine or I love you too much to argue).  I particularly love that last one.
3) Walk away.
4) If it continues, maybe it calls for some "bedroom time."

L&L encourages to give children chores at a young age:
- for teaching kids to be successful
-success builds a healthy self-concept ( so remember to give them choices and avoid saying do it now)
-encouragement and belief that others believe in them are instilled (so be careful of criticizing when your child performs chores)
- and we feel good about ourselves when we're successful.
-don't fret when your child forgets or doesn't do the chores.  If you must do it for them, lock in the empathy, and then ask them how they are going to repay you.

And finally, to keep me motivated because let's face it, discipline blows ...
"The best predictor of an out of control teenager is a two year old who runs the house."

The End.  


Lisa Johnson said...

I do Love and Logic too! Love your notes! I am actually teaching a parenting course for Love and Logic through my counseling job. A 2 year old that runs the house? That was us right when Field hit 2. We hadn't started L&L and it was bad. We have been incorporating it into our parenting style and I have seen tremendous progress. For example, tonight, Field kept whining when I laid him into his bed. I gave him two choices, he could stand at the crib and whine and I would leave the room or he could lay down and I would tuck him in real tight and sing him a song. Guess what he did? Laid right down and didn't whine again. Love it!

Tiffanie BV said...


We're seeing the same kind of results here, and I'm shocked at how well and quickly it's working. I really want my church to hold a Love and Logic course. You should come do it :)

Lisa Johnson said...

I would love to! We can keep in touch!

Missy said...

Love this review. Just downloaded the book. Cannot wait to read it and hopefully we will see some progress over here soon too!!!