Love and Logic

cover of love and logic book

Love and Logic – A general overview of my thoughts on this parenting approach.

Okay, so I’ve mentioned the Love and Logic books in other posts, but I’ve never really sat down and discussed the method here on the blog.I’ll start by telling you that I’ve read several of the books, and have found some more useful than others. There’s no question that the original book is helpful; however I found the one aimed for young children to be the best and most useful for my particular situation. The reason is that the book aimed at older children relies on support and help from outside the family, often from the schools. Since the boys are at home with me all day, I can’t necessarily use that very well.

Here’s an example: The author states that having a bedtime battle every night is pointless. Instead, what he did was say to his children (when he thought they were at an appropriate age) “All right, it’s time for bed now. Your mother and I are going to sleep, and we don’t want to hear from you again until morning.” When the child chose to stay up to all hours of the night, the parents didn’t say anything. The rubber hit the road the next morning when they woke him and sent him off to school for the day (with great big cheerful smiles on their faces). I think the little boy’s name was Charlie, and as I recall, he didn’t make it through dinner before he zonked out.See, that’s the key. Get the child into a situation where his mistakes cause him a little bit of discomfort, and do it the younger the better. It’s much less painful for a third grader to yawn through the day than for a college student to miss an exam because he hasn’t learned how to manage his sleep time responsibly.

The Bucket Story is another great example of Love and Logic. By putting TechnoBoy in charge of dealing with the situation, I didn’t have to scold or nag at him, and he went on to (for that day at least) manage his own behavior better.

Sometimes parents do all the work: nagging and cajoling, bribing and pleading, to get the children to behave appropriately. That’s really not fair. The parent already knows how to act, and is fully aware of the short- and long-term consequences of bad behavior. A child who is allowed to be whiny and demanding at age 2 isn’t going to be a tremendously pleasant teen and could even lose friendships or job opportunities as a result.

Love and Logic relies heavily on your approach to the child’s misbehavior or poor judgement. By changing your responses to inappropriate choices from impatience/anger to loving sympathy, you can help your kids learn responsibility at younger ages. It’s not the easiest thing to do. At least it isn’t for me. Yes, that’s written in present tense. My tendency is to scold and lecture and to give too many chances before I’m up doing something to get the response I’m looking for. I have to take time and think carefully about what a Love and Logic response should be in any given situation.

That said, it is getting easier. The past several weeks I’ve been doing very well with it. I think there’s a momentum that you build up as well. Once I got in the groove it’s been easier to stay there. I still catch myself scolding, but I’m definitely doing it less than I was.

I was really struck one day earlier this year when I realized that the big phrase I heard from the boys all the time was “I don’t like that”. Guess where they were getting it? Me. I’ve caught the phrase coming out of my mouth again recently, so that’s an area I will continue to work on.

Love and Logic is only a portion of my overall discipline and parenting strategy, but it definitely is one of the foundational components. When I do it correctly the smile the children see on my face is genuine.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want to use Love and Logic techniques.

FTC Disclosure: the link above is an affiliate link. All opinions are my own.

The editor-in-chief of Earnest Parenting, Amy is the mother of two sets of twin boys. Yes, they drive her crazy, but they also make her laugh occasionally. Amy enjoys writing, quilting, reading, and working on her burgeoning cyber empire.

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  • PandaBean August 26, 2007, 5:36 am

    Hmmm, this seems really interesting. I really like teaching children responsibility and self-disipline; these are lessons that will keep for a life-time. I’ll have to see if the library has this book.

    God Bless!

    Reply
  • labor lawyer manila April 8, 2009, 5:40 am

    It is very interesting. The book will surely help other people in Parenting. This will give them ideas on how to be a successful parent to their children.

    Reply
  • Makati Law Firm May 10, 2009, 11:55 pm

    The book “Love and Logic” sounds interesting. it is very informative and it shows different parenting techniques as well as it brings disciplinary strategies for the parents to follow. thanks for sharing this book review!

    Reply
  • silken March 12, 2010, 3:31 pm

    thanks! these are exactly the kinds of posts I’ve been looking for. we are trying to implement some of the L&L ideas w/ our teens, hopefully better late than never…like you state in other posts, I get the idea behind it but hard to implement in our life-don’t know the “natural consequences” to some of the behaviors….thanks for describing your experience w/ the L&L approach

    Reply
    • Amy March 14, 2010, 10:17 pm

      You’re welcome, silken. Years after writing that post I still believe in the Love and Logic technique…and I’m still struggling to find the best responses and natural consequences for the boys. Once again, a re-read of the book would probably be a good thing. 🙂

      Reply
  • April D May 16, 2012, 6:50 pm

    I totally agree with Amy. I have read three of the love and logic books and have had parent coaching with a love and logic coach. Every situation with your child is different and it is sometimes difficult to figure out how to go about handling the situation in a L and L way. One of the tips in one of the books was to say, “this is the first time I have been a parent to a five year old and I am not sure what to do about this situation. Let me think about this and I will let you know what I have decided….” something like that…

    Reply
    • Amy LeForge May 17, 2012, 10:55 pm

      April I’d forgotten about that line! I’ve used a variation of it, but only in conversation with the boys. I’ll have to remember it to use with the older ones. As they’re going through the teen years, there are plenty of times when I have no clue what to do. This would give me some breathing time.

      Reply
  • Keith November 16, 2012, 2:33 pm

    Like your posts and website. Thank you. My wife and I have been struggling with L&L with our three year old daughter since she was 18 mos. I like the concept of teaching personal responsibility using the natural consequences of actions/choices. But I think bombarding her with choices has produced the opposite result. It seems to me that all we have really done is teach rebellion….meaning anytime our daughter doesn’t get to make her own choice (which is really just getting her way), then the train goes completely off the rails. She negotiates everything, constantly coming up with alternative choices to the ones that we have presented to her. So we are always battling over everything. And heaven help us when we use ‘uh-oh.’ Maybe we started too early, but I feel that all we have taught her is that there is a choice in every situation, and that she always gets to choose, and we all know life really isn’t like that. Love the bucket story, great example and it clearly shows some of the effectiveness of the concept. I wish I could say that ours has been a positive experience, but it hasn’t. I want her to have a happy childhood and grow up with good values and sense of responsibility. I’m not sure that this is producing that result.

    Reply
    • Amy LeForge November 18, 2012, 12:05 pm

      Keith, glad you liked everything.

      There’s an important component to Love and Logic that I don’t see you mentioning. In a nutshell, it’s parental control over the situation. When your daughter is offered the two choices, she has to pick one of them. No negotiations, no arguments. If she doesn’t pick one of the two options you offer, she loses the choice. And, (very important) both options offered have to be ones you can live with. We do want her to feel like she’s getting her way, but that is within the constraints of you being in control of the situation. It’s possible to gradually tighten things down, but based on the picture you have there, I’d suggest a little bit quicker action.

      If she offers a reasonable alternative that’s one thing. So say you offer her the red socks or the blue socks, and she says no she wants to wear the green socks. Great! What a smart thinker she is. Congratulate her on her wise idea, get the socks on her feet and get moving. Socks on her feet was your goal in the first place.

      If however, her alternative isn’t reasonable, then she loses the choice altogether. No arguing, just boom. You make the choice, implement it, and move on. Back to the socks example. You offer red or blue, she says no socks altogether. You say “Bummer, you didn’t choose. Now it’s my turn.” and put a pair of socks on her feet. No arguments.

      Likely, the socks will get ripped off. But you’ve already played this out in your head, and you have a plan. You knew she was going to do that. So now she can choose between a consequence or wearing the socks. If she still refuses, give her the consequence.

      I have an impression that this is a little girl who has a LOT of control of what goes on around her. That is not a good thing, and makes children feel very insecure. They demonstrate that insecurity by acting out. Children WANT boundaries. They want to know what’s safe to do and what’s not. I know they don’t tell you that, but it’s true. If you continue to let her battle like this, you’re going to hate her teen years. Children who have boundaries and feel safe have much happier childhoods.

      The first horse I ever owned was just terrible. We couldn’t do anything with him and we were afraid. When my parents finally threw up their hands and said we’d have to sell him, I went on out to the barn with quite a chip on my shoulder. Stupid horse. Ooo I was mad at him. You know what? He shaped right up and ended up being the best horse we ever had. Because he know I wasn’t afraid to discipline him anymore. I stopped worrying about whether he would like me if I corrected him. The same thing is true with children.

      They actually love us more if we hold the line.

      There are many many Love and Logic teachers trained around the US. If you have access, I strongly recommend taking a class. There’s nothing like hands-on experience to help with things. Your daughter’s experience for the next 15 years may well depend on it.

      Reply