parents_and_child.jpgAs parents we are looking for ways to raise responsible, self-monitoring children. Unfortunately, most of us enter parenting without a framework, without an organized philosophy. We picked up bits and pieces about parenting from our role models, but for many of us it has not been enough to provide a clear and positive direction. PARENTING WITH LOVE AND LOGIC by Foster Cline and Jim Fay [www.loveandlogic.com] is a proactive approach that works because it meets the needs of children. Foster Cline and Jim Fay teach us how to avoid the two most common pitfalls of parenting; over controlling our children or doing too much for them in the way of rescuing and over protecting. When these two approaches are used our children actually can become less responsible and we are pushed to the point of giving up or giving in. There is hope by maintaining a middle ground. While still being the authority in the family, the parents are asked to play a “consulting” role. PARENTING WITH LOVE AND LOGIC teaches a host of skills and techniques that will allow you to parent in a way that moves your children to naturally become more responsible. You begin to allow you child to live with the “natural and logical consequences” of their behavior. This is done in the context of our words of empathy and understanding. Empathy with allowed consequences teach the lessons much better than lectures, warnings, or anger. As parents we begin to talk less when consequences are being enforced and more when the times are good and enjoyable. Parents also begin to model the behaviors they want to see in their child. Our children will copy us. If we want to teach them to apologize, they need to hear us apologize, etc. Paradoxically, we gain control by giving up some control. We offer choices [that we can live with] when possible. For example, “would it be best for you to do homework right after school or are you a kid that likes a break first and would rather do your homework right after dinner?” Children begin to own their own problems; our homes begin to operate more like the real world. We support our children using encouragement while focusing on their strengths. This decreases the negative emotion in the relationship while prompting a win/win situation. Our children learn through experiencing, in a framework of clear and consistent limits. As we begin to use these new techniques the child comes to realize we are there for them, we understand, we support them, but we will not “overly” protect them or “overly” direct them. At this point the child matures by beginning to realize that their choices directly affect them and they begin to move to solve their own problems. Plus, because our relationship with our children is improving they will use us more and more to problem solve. This opens the opportunity for us to teach some basic problem solving skills. We begin to communicate with phrases like; “Would you like to discuss some things that might work?” “What are your options?” “Would you like to know what worked for me when I was going through a similar situation?” The child’s self concept begins to improve. The self-concept begins to improve not because we are attempting to build them up with empty praise but because they are learning new skills, skills that allow them to care for themselves.

PARENTING WITH LOVE AND LOGIC also has huge benefits for the parents. Parents find themselves more united because they are both operating out of a common philosophy. A philosophy that holds kids accountable but yet provides the love and empathy they need. Also, this approach pushes the parents to take good care of themselves. Caring for ourselves is paramount if we are going to be successful.

My wife and I used this parenting approach to raise our children and it was extremely helpful. Please, consider visiting the library and checking out a CD, the book, or by going to their website. The approach takes a little time to learn but it is well worth it. The skills learned not only lead to more mature and responsible children but you will find yourself using the same skills and techniques in other relationships as well. And yes, this philosophy will work with children who are struggling with issues like Attention Deficit Disorder and Learning Disabilities.

Best wishes to you and yours.

Ted J. Oosta, LMSW