Parenting is hard, and you don’t need to need a library full of theories or to memorize a bunch of stuff. You need practical, effective and consistent methods that help you and your children thrive. Love and Logic is a positive parenting and teaching technique to build healthy relationships with kids. Casey Williams has been a Love and Logic facilitator in the Bartlesville area for 10 years, as well as a preschool director, public school teacher and currently an online consultant providing professional development for early childhood educators. This week, Casey is helping us and agreed to share with you three easy Love and Logic tips that she has learned both as a parent and teacher.
Fair warning: Sometimes changing the way we parent is harder on us that it is on our children! Often times, when we do the right thing with challenging kids, it might look and feel like the wrong thing in the short term. I encourage you, if this is a big change, be kind to yourself! You will make mistakes, you will forget, you will use your outside voice when you intend to be kind and compassionate. Try again. It’s all good.
1) Empathy. Try your best to stay calm and use empathy. When we are angry, frustrated, or upset, the human brain goes to brain stem. That means fight, or flight! Empathy (sadness but not responsibility) lets the parent be the good guy and the natural consequence do the teaching. “Forgot your backpack again? I am SO sorry! I can’t bring it to school today. I know you will be able to work something out with your teacher.” It’s often “easier” in the short term to bring up the backpack, but then it’s our problem, not our child’s. Of course, I am not talking about a kiddo who never forgets anything, but a child who is chronically forgetful or disorganized. (My husband has helped me learn not to lock my keys in the car using this technique, just sayin’!)
2) Enforceable Statements. Gosh, if I had a dime for every time I said, “DON’T RUN!”, or “Don’t use that tone of voice with me!”, I would be typing this from my mansion in the Rocky Mountains. When we say, “DON’T”, it’s typically in response to an action. That ship has sailed. The cow is out of the barn. I don’t usually tell a child, “Don’t shout at me!”, unless they are exactly SHOUTING AT ME! I can’t enforce that. I CAN enforce how I am willing to interact with a child. “I am happy to talk to you when your voice is calm.” “Walking feet.” “When your coat is on, we can go outside”. I can enforce these things.
3) Consequences. When you don’t know what to do, delay the consequences. As parents, we have been told that we must do something immediately. When we do, we may do something we regret, or we do nothing (condoning the behavior). “I am not sure what I am going to do about this, but I am going to do something!” This gives you time to think about what you can do, plug the holes, and give a loving, but appropriate consequence. Because really, did we really think that our kid would ever shave the dog?
Love and Logic is an excellent course for parents or teachers who would like to learn how to build a healthier relationship with children. It’s effective for children (and sometimes adults!) of all ages – toddlers to teens. For more information about Love and Logic, visit www.LoveandLogic.com. For more information on participating in a Love and Logic training or setting up a group course, contact Casey Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy Parenting!