- The adult holds the child accountable for solving his/her problem in a way that does not make a problem for others
- The adult "locks in" empathy before the consequences are delivered.
How do we do that?
The Love and Logic website offers many concrete examples (click here)
- Always lead with empathy - empathy allows children to focus on what they did to cause the problem rather then on the anger of the adult involved.
- Offer choices with limits - Children want and need control. If we don't share it, they will find a way to take it. Asking, "Would you like to put your socks on this foot first or that foot first?" may sound hokey but it works better then "Get your socks on!"
- Use enforceable statements - Adults state what they will do rather than telling the child what to do. "Children who pick up their toys when I ask them to get to keep them." What if they don't pick them up? Without anger, lectures, threats, or warnings the parent picks up the toys and places them in a "toy jail." They can be earned back through chores or bought back with allowance. If they are not redeemed in 30 days they can be given to charity or sold at a garage sale.
- Provide delayed or extended consequences - A child in the situation above may not realize until the next day that all they toys they left out are gone. The parent can lead with empathy when the child ask about the missing toys. "This is so sad. Children who pick up their own toys can keep them. If you are interested in earning some back just let me know." A consequence does NOT need to be immediate. A child old enough to remember a promise is old enough for a delayed consequence.