Our Love and Logic approach to parenting is easy to learn, helps parents raise responsible kids, and changes lives. Many parents call us when they have reached an impasse with their kids and every interaction ends up with arguing and futile attempts to get their kids to behave. Parenting for them is very difficult and they cannot imagine stress-free parenting with:
Kids who are fun to be around,
Kids who listen the first time,
No more arguing
Early in the history of Love and Logic, we established the Four Basic Principles of Love and Logic. These principles are the foundation of all the parenting techniques that we teach. They are:
- Help kids feel good about themselves.
- Help them learn to solve problems and think for themselves.
- Leave them with a healthy sense of self-control.
- Teach them to be responsible for the consequences of their actions.
This sounds like a tall order, especially when you are in the middle of dealing with a toddler’s temper tantrum or arguing with a teenager. With these principles as goals, we have two simple rules that guide parents along the path to turning around relationships with their kids.
Rule #1: Adults set firm limits in loving ways without anger, lectures, threats, or repeated warnings.
Rule #2: When a child causes a problem, the adult hands it back in loving ways.
These principles and rules are Love and Logic in a nutshell. The beauty of Love and Logic is that it teaches kids how to manage their own behavior, rather than parents telling kids how to behave to avoid consequences, or parents rescuing kids from the consequences of their behavior. However, there is a very subtle but critical element that is embedded in the two rules—everything must be done in loving ways—with empathy.
Empathy is the most important key to parenting successfully with Love and Logic. This is based on the understanding that anger, threats, and lectures only serve to trigger a defensive reaction in the child, ultimately resulting in the eventual argument and stalemate. Nobody wins this power struggle. Genuine, sincere empathy must be used with every Love and Logic technique, otherwise even using the correct words can fail.
Another important concept is understanding how limits work. Many parents who call tell us they are frustrated because they cannot get their kids to obey limits that have been set. Usually this is because the limits are unenforceable. The techniques that Love and Logic uses are built around enforceable limits, which give control to the parent rather than the child.
Using these principles, rules, and techniques can allow parents to establish a mutually respectful relationship with their kids, and parents become mentors or consultants to their kids. This opens the door to successful parenting and the opportunity to raise kids who are respectful and able to make responsible, healthy decisions.
If you are new to Love and Logic, you can learn more about how Love and Logic parenting contrasts with typical parenting styles in our audio, Helicopters, Drill Sergeants and Consultants: Parenting Styles and the Messages They Send. And always remember, sincere empathy is the key to success!
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