Rule 1: Adults set firm limits in loving ways without anger, lectures, threats or warnings.
- Adults should set limits that can be enforced without power struggles
- Adults must resist the temptation to nag (anger, lectures, threats, warnings)
Love and Logic suggests that instead of giving orders, parents can use enforceable statements. Orders or commands encourage battles.
"Get in here and eat your lunch! We have to leave in 20 minutes!"
" Lunch will be on the table for 20 more minutes. Feel free to eat during this time. I hope you'll join us but if not don't worry. Dinner is only 6 hours away.
The first statement may not be enforceable and may encourage a child to test the limits. The second statement put control squarely in their laps. They have time to think about their decision. The smart parent won't rescue the from a bad one.
Parents are more effective when they describe what they will do rather then telling a child what to do.
Setting limits is an incredible gift of love for your child. Most teachers can spot kids who have not had good limits a mile away. They don't listen. They get in trouble more at school. They have poor relationships with peers. More often then not, the parent would like to set limits but is inconsistent in follow through or needs to learn that they can survive their child's attempts to derail them. The dreaded, "I hate you" or "Your mean!" or "You don't love me!" has made many a mom cry. It's never too late to become a better parent but it does get harder the later you wait to change course.
How to Discipline Kids without Losing Their Love and Respect is a great intro to Love and Logic. It is also available in DVD and at Amazon.com.