The Basics of L&L Parenting

Note: On on January 11, 2009 I began facilitating a parenting class for DaySpring, the church I attend in Waco.  I’m going to be offering some of what I’m doing there in this space over the Spring.

Last week I asked members of the class to identify a particular parenting concern on which they’d like to focus.   I’m imaging things like:

  • I’d like for my two year old to stop throwing food on the floor.
  • I’d like for my 8 year old to clean up his room.
  • I’d like for my 14 year old to take more responsibility for her grades.
  • I’d like for my 9 year old to stop driving himself to Toys-R-Us when we’re not looking.

I also asked the parents to start working through the Parenting Experiment Worksheet as a sort of consciousness raising exercise related to this issue.

This morning I’ll be reviewing the basic principles of Love and Logic Parenting from Cline and Fay’s book.

Here’s the handout:

Basic Principles of Love and Logic Parenting

Six Components of Love and Logic

  1. Share control.
  2. Kids do more thinking than you do.
  3. Parents talk about what they are willing to do; not what the kid’s can’t do.
  4. Parents take good care of themselves and set the right model.
  5. Consequence / empathy formula.
  6. Self-concept is maintained

Three Rules of Love and Logic

  1. Set limits through enforceable statements.
  2. Give choices when possible.
  3. Let consequences with sorrow do the teaching.

How Do We Teach Children Responsibility?

  1. Give the child a chore or job that he or she can probably handle.
    • “How will you know when your chores are finished?”
    • “What are you expecting of yourself?”
    • “What are your hopes here?”
    • “What are others expecting?”
  2. Hope the child makes a mistake.
    • “What did you learn from this?”
    • “How will you do it differently next time?”
    • “What will the consequences of this be?”
  3. The adult responds with empathy and consequences.
    • The adult need only set consequences if the mistake involves him directly.
    • Most mistakes have their own consequences.
    • “What a bummer! I bet you feel bad about that!”
  4. Let the child try the same job again.
    • This says we all learn from our mistakes.
    • It gives the child the “can do” message.

“One Liners”

  1. I know…or…I understand
  2. What are you going to do?
  3. Nice try…
  4. I don’t know…
  5. Bummer , how sad…
  6. Thanks for sharing
  7. That’s an option
  8. This is serious…you probably should do something about that
  9. I’ll get back to you on that
  10. I’m not sure how to react to that
  11. Don’t worry about it now…
  12. What do you think I think about that
  13. Won’t it be fun to see how that works for you
  14. …and what did I say?
  15. Thanks for sharing your feelings…it’s kind of irrelevant, but thanks just the same…

I want to point out how important it is that the “one liners” be offered in the right spirit.  If you are angry and frustrated, then these pithy little statements will just come off as snarky.  Its SO important that we parents are doing our inner work, letting go of our need for our children to meet any needs we have to feel appreciated by them or in control of them.

If we parent in this way, then we are going to watch our children deal with a fair amount of pain and frustration.  Genuine empathy is very important, and I invite you to be curious about what’s going on inside of you if that empathy seems hard to come by.



About Wes Eades

I've been a pastoral counselor, marital therapist, and overall listening ear since about 1989 or so.
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