Love and Logic Parenting
By Jedd Hafer, www.loveandlogic.com
Ali’s kids helped her create a pawn shop and a charity. Her twin toddlers didn’t mean to help create these entities, but they did.
Eva and Eric left a mass of toys scattered all over the house. Ali used a Love and Logic phrase she learned in a class: “You get to keep the toys you pick up and I’ll keep the ones I pick up.”
Then came the hardest part — following through. She got a trash bag and filled it with the toys her children hadn’t picked up. At first, she worried because the twins didn’t seem particularly upset by their diminished toy supply (thanks to Grandma, it was quite impressive).
But Ali did notice there were fewer items spread out the next time. She also noticed the twins moved a bit faster and her daughter Eva checked out of the corner of her eye to see where Mom was while she picked up. Fewer toys went into the bag the second time.
By the third repetition, Mom barely had to pick up anything. And as she casually walked near one of Eric’s favorites, he scrambled to pick it up before she got there.
Ali’s new dilemma: what to do with these toys in the bag. She had heard that some parents decide to let their kids do extra chores (not their regular contributions to the family) to earn back some toys. She liked that idea, but she took it to another level. She picked out the best of the confiscated toys and placed them on a high shelf with actual price tags (Eva and Eric were learning about numbers and money). Some of the toys had twenty-five cents and a picture of a quarter on their tags.
Ali made a list of chores that were worth twenty-five cents when completed. By some strange coincidence, they were also tasks she wanted done. Ali’s pawn shop was born, and they all had quite a bit of fun exchanging chores, money, and toys.
Some toys didn’t make it to Ali’s pawn shelf. She tried to donate them to an organization but learned that particular charity would not accept “used toys.” Never one to give up easily, Ali called her local church daycare and asked if they could use some toys. They could! And they were even willing to come to pick them up. To make it worth the church’s while, Ali enlisted a neighbor friend who also needed to get rid of some excess toys. To top it off, she decided to donate some of her own clothes to the church’s program for people in need.
Eva and Eric were given the gift of watching some of their toys being handed to the church staff as well as seeing Mom donate, too.
While many parents would lecture the kids and hand the toys back quickly (or maybe not enforce the limit in the first place), this mom was able to turn the toy mess into two important lessons.
:Recently, I had several opportunities to speak to a group of parents of young children. As I was preparing my remarks, I looked over the articles that I have written for my blog over the past year and a half. Of all the knowledge that I have gleaned from the numerous parenting books that line my bookshelf and sit in stacks next to where I write can be distilled down to a few fundamental phrases.
Relationship is key.
The world has changed tremendously over the past thirty years. In the past, children and youth developed their ideas, values and worldview largely from their family and community. Today, growing up in a global community, social media impacts our children’s taste in clothing, food, music, social/political/religious beliefs, fears, anxieties and more.
Yet, family is still essential and relevant. Regardless of all technological advances, parents will always be the most important source of information and values for their growing children. But our relationship with our children is key. Parenting with empathy, love and modeling what we want our children to inherit are a big part of creating connection. Go to this blog for more on this:
Love and respect of oneself and others are largely determined by how well a child’s basic needs are met in the first two years of life.
Every time an infant’s basic needs are met, a seed of trust and kindness is planted into that child’s mind and heart. Dr. Foster Cline coined the phrase “The Trust Cycle” in the 1970s. When a child expresses a need by crying/expressing discomfort and the parent responds, trust is achieved. The basic components of eye contact, smiles, hugs, holding, touch and relief from pain and discomfort all contribute to this trust. It is a known fact that an infant will die not only from lack of nourishment but also from not receiving physical touch, eye contact and smiles.
Our children never outgrown the need to know that they are loved. We all need touch, connection and to know that we matter!
Presence is love
In May of 2019, the ABC network aired a special called “Screen Time” hosted by Diane Sawyer which looked at how smartphones are affecting us. One preschooler conveyed the immense importance of presence when he was observed going to his mother who was talking on a cell phone, taking her face in his hands and saying, “Mommy, I need you to listen to me with your whole face.”
Children learn more from who we are when we are with them than what we try to teach them. We don’t need to be perfect but showing up and being present means noticing the little things, learning to put down our cell phones and really listening. Provide it when you’re meeting their needs; when you’re expressing your love to them; when you’re disciplining them; when you’re laughing together; even when you’re arguing with them.
Failure is part of growing up; it contributes to developing resilience and succeeding
Dr. E. P. Seligman, often called the father of Positive Psychology, discovered children need to fail in order to succeed. In fact, it can help them figure out how to succeed next time. He discovered that until the early 1960s, achievement was the most important goal that parents sought to instill in their children.
However, from the 1960s to the present, the goals of happiness and high self-esteem have replaced achievement and become the key focus. In four large scale studies by Dr. Seligman, the results of this new trend are that depression has skyrocketed and feelings of self-esteem have actually plummeted.
In his book. "12 Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid," Tim Elmore states, “Refusing to let kids fail brings two negative outcomes. First, it fosters the fear of failure later in life as adults…Second, it dilutes the will or motivation to excel.” Click here for his book tinyurl.com/qo3vvn4
As a parent, we need to learn to weigh learning experiences against rescuing them. Which choice will enhance our child’s self-concept? Often, learning to ask a guiding question can support our child’s decision without taking away their life lessons. Quiet support and empathy go a long way as our children, youth and young adults are figuring out their next steps.
Learn to Prepare the Child for the Path instead of the Path for the Child
Tim Elmore concludes that learning to prepare the child for the path instead of trying to change the path for the child is what is needed. There is much for us to be hopeful about as parents when we learn to be honest about our relationship with our children and see where we need to adapt.
Recently, I was needed to help my husband with the replacement of our kitchen oven. It turns out that an oven purchased from Home Depot is delivered to our home and for a fee, they will take the old one away. But the installation of the new oven into the gaping is not part of the deal.
Being a very capable engineer, my husband knew how to accomplish this task but raising the oven to the correct height in order to slide it into its location was the tricky part. With some 4 x 4 pieces of wood and a sturdy car jack, the task was accomplished. My role in this adventure was stabilizing the oven as it was lifted on the jack. Everything went smoothly without any incidents or injuries.
A few days later, I was reflecting on this task and was amazed at our teamwork. I also realized something about me.
I have a history of getting upset, even angry, with my husband when we have tried to accomplish things together. It usually involved me:
Granted, our approaches to life are often polar opposites. I usually consider options and make decisions fairly quickly. He puts a lot more thought and research into his decisions. He uses scientific evidence and logical reasoning to arrive at his life views whereas I rely much more on intuition and experience.
Upon my reflection, I realized that I have changed in how I hear my husband and respond him. And the biggest reason why is because I feel more loved. Probably he has learned how to express his love in ways that I am better able to receive. But the greatest difference is that I am learning how to fill up my own love tank and accept his suggestions and ideas as support instead of accusations.
In his book, “Real Love,” author Greg Baer states that we ‘act badly’ because we are drowning. Without enough Real Love—the single most important ingredient required for happiness—people feel like they’re drowning all the time. Then we use the Getting and Protecting Behaviors that allow us to temporarily keep our heads above water.
The reality is that my husband or my children are not the source of my unhappiness. I came to this family with baggage—feeling unworthy & lonely, full of anger and afraid that others would discover this. As I have learned to be honest with them about these emotions and to listen to how this has impacted our family dynamic, we are learning a new way of relating and loving.
For the past 4 ½ years, I have lived in Atlanta, Georgia, the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr. and his extended family. If you ever have the chance to visit Atlanta, I highly recommend that you make time to experience the King Center and the National Historical Park which includes the visitors center, the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, Freedom Hall and MLK Jr’s birth home.
I also challenge you to find a way to honor Dr. King’s legacy with your family on MLK Day. If your children do not have school, find a volunteer opportunity to do as a family by joining “Make It A Day On, Not A Day Off.” Use this website and put in MLK Day in the key word section: www.nationalservice.gov/serve/search Or find something that fits your family’s schedule. Search google for ideas or ask your kids to come up with something. Read the article and let your inspiration take the lead. Here are some great volunteer ideas for those over 60: sixtyandme.com/senior-volunteering/
Adapted from a blog post by Sharon Egan, http://parentingforhappyfamilies.com/
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an iconic pastor, human rights activist and leader in the American civil rights movement has, and will forever, impact the world not only as a whole but if we allow him to, on us as individuals.
When I think of Dr. King, the following three words immediately come to my mind:
Dr. King’s dream of having peace and equality for all was one in which he believed so deeply in that he persevered through the very worst of times, having hope and faith every step of the way.
What are your dreams?
as a parent?
for your family?
Your dreams can become your reality! But first, you must believe.
Do you believe in yourself? What we say to ourselves is a reflection of what we believe which then becomes our truth. If you tell yourself, “I’m a terrible parent” or “I have no more patience to give!” then guess what?
Do you believe in your children? Your children believe about themselves what they believe that you believe about them. Even if you say you believe in your kids, your words and your actions may be telling a different story. Have you ever told your child he is irresponsible? Are you always there with loving reminders for your child?
Persevering through the many challenges of raising children is not easy but so important to do if your dreams are to become a reality.
And if you are parenting alone, the challenge is magnified, greatly testing your ability or willingness to persevere!
Dr. King showed great strength and perseverance, but he had the help of many others right alongside him.
Let’s learn from Dr. King! Let’s band together as parents and support one another to reach the dreams we have for ourselves and for our families.
What will you do with your family and others to make MLK Day be a “Day On, Not A Day Off?”
The world that you are raising your children in has changed tremendously in the past 20-30 years.
The thing that hasn’t changed is that the most important component in raising your child is your connection to him or her. As parents, our connection and relationship with our children are the building blocks for their future relationships. Taking time to talk and listen, really listen, to our children is essential.
Connection is key, it is the heart of the matter! Children learn how to interact with others by watching and relating with us. Plus, strong family connection supports more cooperation and harmony in the home.
Dr. Brene Brown--professor, author, and speaker said after sixteen years of research, “I am sure of one thing: Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives…Connection is the energy that is created between people when they feel seen, heard and valued: when they can give and receive without judgement.”
Parenting is an inside job. Regardless of all the technological advances, parents will always be the most important source of information and values for their children. As you and your partner guide your children through your relationship with them, you support them in learning to make good choices, taking responsibility, and learning from their mistakes.
Through this connection and support, they develop a moral compass--an inner voice--that can guide them throughout their whole life. In fact, I believe that the parent-child connection is the core relationship that rules the world. If it is strong and solid, we have healthy men and women. If it is broken and fragmented, we have a wounded world.
To support you in strengthening your connection with your child/ren, I would like to invite you to check out my parent coaching services and sign up for my four week webinar series “Mission Possible: Raising Resilient, Responsible, Respectful and Fun-to-be-with Kids.” It is on-demand, you can watch it from the comfort of your home and put the skills presented into practice each week. I am offering it at a special introductory price through March 2020. Webinars
I’d be honored if you would allow me to support you in your parenting journey as you walk beside your children in guiding them towards their future.