Love & Logic: Is it the Right Approach to Parenting?
There’s no doubt that being a parent is a huge source of happiness, but it also represents a significant amount of responsibility. And no matter how good of a parent you might be, all parents encounter moments of doubt, anxiety, and uncertainty, which can place us outside our comfort zone and impact our personal development. In this way, because our children can help us learn more about ourselves, they can act as our teachers.
At the same time though, our children deserve our unconditional love, a huge part of which involves teaching them life’s true values and sowing the seeds of their own personal development. And in our opinion, one of the most effective tools for learning this is a parenting system known as Love and Logic.
What is the Love & Logic Parenting System?
Founded in 1977 by Jim Fay and Foster W. Cline, Love and Logic is a parenting system that focuses on practical tools and techniques that make parenting fun and rewarding instead of stressful and chaotic.
Overall, Love and Logic focuses on helping children achieve self-confidence through struggle and achievement instead of verbal coddling (e.g. “You’re number 1!”). Love and Logic is all about helping children understand the consequences of their actions through their own internal dialogue, without parents becoming angry or frustrated in the process.
In other words, instead of focusing on punishment, Love and Logic focuses on helping parents teach their children how to think about their problems, while taking personal responsibility for the outcome.
An Example of Love & Logic in Action
Let’s say you’ve repeatedly told your child not to leave their toys outside after playing with them during the day. No matter what you’ve told your child though, they continue to do so.
One night, a big rainstorm comes through and all your child’s toys left outside are ruined. Instead of getting mad and scolding your child though, you simply say, “Wow, I bet it’s disappointing that your toys are ruined and that you won’t be able to play with them any longer. I guess you can save your money from finishing chores, and after a few weeks, you should have enough to buy some more.”
By doing this, you avoid allowing anger to cloud your judgment, as well as a potential argument with your child.
Granted, they won’t be happy about the situation, but this approach gives them the ability to learn from their mistakes, as well as a sense of personal responsibility and accomplishment once they earn enough money to re-buy their toys.
How Old Should Your Child Be For Love & Logic?
According to the program’s website, Love and Logic techniques can be implemented as early as 8 or 9 months of age, although it’s never too late to start.
Are There Any Downsides to Love & Logic Parenting?
As with anything else in life, the Love and Logic system isn’t always the best approach, depending on your child’s specific needs. After all, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to parenting, and your child will be no different.
First, keep in mind that, although some of the ideas and approaches have been updated throughout the years, the Love and Logic system is nearly 4 decades old at this point, causing some parents to feel that the material is outdated.
Also, while Love and Logic focuses on helping children learn about the relationship between actions and consequences, it’s part of your role as a parent to help drive this information home. In other words, in many instances, your child’s brain may not be fully developed enough (depending on their age) to fully grasp the consequences of their behavior, at which point you’ll have to step in and teach them.
Finally, Love and Logic does advocate spanking, and there is a great deal of evidence available showing that spanking is one of the least effective disciplining methods.
Where Can I Learn More About the Love & Logic Approach?
If you’d like to learn more about the Love and Logic approach to parenting, your first stop should be the program’s website, where most of your questions should be answered. However, if you’d like to learn more from a local resource who may be more in tune with your child’s specific needs, be sure to schedule an appointment with your Advanced Family Medicine physician today at (425) 453-6838.