Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"But Why" #7 Love and Logic Magic When Kids Leave You Speechless

I remember thinking at some point that if I just took the time to explain the reasons for the limits I set or why I chose specific consequences that my children would be reasonable and would appreciate my calm cool logic. Silly me - that didn't work! It became a trap. The more I explained, the more explanations they needed. Love and Logic gave me a tool to stop this endless and fruitless cycle. I learned...
1. Long explanations reinforce manipulative behavior.
2. The parent does more thinking then the child.
3. Explanations drained my energy.
4. My child was in control and he was entertained by my frustration. It became a game.
5. Our relationship was being damaged. (I didn't even respect myself.)

I changed MY behavior in the following ways (It was not easy to break my habit.)
  1. I set limits without long explanations.
  2. If they asked why? I asked, "Why do you think?" (They needed to do the thinking, not me.)
  3. Sometimes I handed the problem back to them by asking, "What are you going to do?"
  4. I learned to lead with a big dose of sincere empathy before I delivered any consequence.
  5. I learned how to say what I was going to do rather in an enforceable way. "I am so sad you didn't pick up your clothes and put them in the laundry. I wash clothes that make it downstairs to the laundry basket." Or, "I am so sad you didn't pick up your toys. When I pick up toys, they go to the toy jail. But don't worry, you can do some work to bail them out if you want to."

(Ideas from p. 53 -58 in the book, "Love and Logic Magic When Kids Leave You Speechless." Available from http://www.loveandlogic.com/)

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