Parenting With Love & Logic
In the context of
a healthy, loving relationship, "Love and Logic" parents teach
their children responsibility and the logic of life by solving
their own problems, providing skills for coping in the real
world. After laying out the principles of "Love and Logic," the
authors provide "parenting pearls," which are strategies for
applying the method to everyday situations.
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7 Alternatives to Spanking and Harsh Discipline
Even the most
well meaning parents may find themselves yelling or spanking
their child in a moment of anger. This often happens because the
parent feels out of control, or because the child's misbehavior
has gone on far too long. Gentle discipline doesn't mean no
discipline at all, nor does it mean permissive or ineffective
discipline. If you're endeavoring to parent gently, you need
tools and skills to draw from when your kids push the
boundaries. Here are some tips that have helped other parents.
1) Plan Ahead
One of the principles of good discipline is planning ahead.
Instead of reacting all the time to your child's misbehavior,
sit down and make a list of behaviors that are bothering you the
most. Pick two or three to work on improving. Then sit down and
talk with your child about these issues (depending on his or her
age and maturity level) and ask for his help. Tell him that you
would rather not spank or punish and ask your child how you can
help enforce the family's rules. You might be surprised at the
answers he comes up with.
Keep a notebook handy and write down behaviors that seem to push
your "buttons", as soon as they occur and before you decide how
to react. This gives you a little distance from your emotions
and makes it easier to discipline with love and principle. You
might have to explain to your child that you're upset and need a
few moments to think about what to do.
3) Express Yourself
In the heat of the moment, it's easy to fall into the shame,
blame game. Instead of saying something you'll regret, tell your
child how you feel using "I" statements. For instance, "I feel
so angry right now because there is paint all over the wall. I
don't like when my walls are painted on." Don't be afraid to be
honest with your feelings. Often your children will be moved to
make amends when you express yourself without demeaning them.
This communication tool teaches your child valuable relationship
4) Mommy Time Out
If you find yourself getting upset by a child's behavior, try
removing yourself from the situation for a few minutes. Tell
your child that you are upset and need a few moments to calm
down, and that you will talk about what happened when you
return. With very young children who can't be left unsupervised,
just closing your eyes for a moment and explaining to your
toddler that "Mommy needs to be quiet for a minute. Go play with
your toys and then I will talk with you." Then breathe deep,
call a friend, go outside for a quick walk, or pray so that you
can get perspective on the situation.
5) Use One Word
It's extremely frustrating to tell a child the same reminder
over and over. But instead of yelling or lecturing, try to
phrase the request or reminder in just one word. This can be
refreshing to the child and the parent too. As an example, let's
say you have a child who consistently leaves his shoes in the
doorway and you've tripped on them one too many times. Instead
of going into a tirade, try simply stating: "Shoes!". It's ok to
be animated. He'll probably know what you're talking about
immediately and solve the problem without another word.
Laughter is one of the best ways to immediately cut tension and
garner a child's cooperation. The next time the kids are at each
other's throats, pick up the phone and make a pretend 911 call
to the police asking for Barney Fife to come break up the fight.
Don a face mask and gloves and tape a biohazard sign on the door
when you enter your child's room to nudge him into cleaning
mode. Buy a foam baseball bat and knock him playfully. You'll
probably both end up laughing.
7) Educate yourself
Knowing what you can reasonably expect of your child
developmentally will avoid you setting yourself (and your child)
up for disappointment. For example, it's unrealistic to expect a
5 year old to understand property rights (meaning that kids this
age often steal, no matter what they're taught). It's also
unrealistic to expect an 8 year old boy to have perfect table
manners. Just as you don't expect a newborn to sleep through the
night or a toddler to cross the street alone, don't expect more
of your kids than they can reasonably perform. Reading parenting
books can help with that, as well as talking with other,
especially older parents whose kids have grown through these
stages of development.
Parenting isn't easy - it's a lot of work. It requires patience,
flexibility and a great sense of humor. But it can be a
wonderful opportunity for personal growth and the rewards are
there for those who work at it.