Sunday, March 15, 2009

Experiments with Love and Logic

Recently I read Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood by Jim Fay and Charles Fay. I realized that I have been protecting my children from natural consequences and depriving them of lessons that they are ready to learn.

For example, after reading this book, I decided that I would stop nagging Pippi. I vowed that I would only remind her once to do a chore and then I would do them for payment. For awhile, I found myself getting quite the collection of wigs, and I even earned ten dollars (all of Pippi's money) for cleaning up the yard. I was worried that I would have a closet full of toys and be left doing all the housework for myself. But it didn't happen that way. Pippi started asking me, "How can I help you Mom?" I realized that Pippi doesn't really like working ALONE.

I decided that I would not take Pippi's laundry down to the laundry room for her. I reminded her once, and I waited--ten days. We had a couple nights of tears because she was out of jeans for then next day. She ended up finding ways around actually carrying her laundry baskets downstairs. For instance one day she spot cleaned the catsup off her jeans so she could wear them out of the dirty clothes. She also discovered that she liked a couple of shirts that she said she didn't like before. She begged her Dad and me for oversized shirts to wear for pajamas. It was comical to watch her function with bare drawers. Finally, one night she broke down. She needed clean jeans. I gently told her that I was much too tired to do laundry at night but I would be happy to do it in the morning if she took it down. Not satisfied, she took her own laundry down and asked me to show her how to work the washer. She must not have liked the chore (she is really much too short to reach the detergent) because she's been much better about bringing me her laundry lately.

I have to admit it was hard not to take up nail biting as I waited for Pippi to figure out that her life really does go much better when she does what she's told. But I like being patient way more than I like being a stressed out screamer.

Bardo is also responding well to "love and logic." I've been disciplining annoying behavior the first time rather than giving 1, 2, or 3 thousand chances. Bardo is very determined to be "sweet" and really only requires a 2 second time out (most of the time).

I've also used constant questions to get Bardo to do things. All day long I give him alternatives. I have to use my imagination a little and I'm sure I sound really stupid with the constant questions (Do you want me throw you into bed or do you want to crawl into bed?), but man, it's worth it to get this little boy to go with the flow.

And Noel? She's training me. As long as I feed her, play with her for a little bit, and change her diapers, she's a happy camper.

8 comments:

Jan said...

This is a great reminder for me. I've read parts of the book myself (awhile ago) and I need to get back to it. Why is it so easy to slide back into the nagging and yelling once we've learned a better, more effective way of teaching? I love watching you (in person and from your great blog) parent. You remind me all the time about what is most important. I'm so glad we're friends! - Jan

Amberly said...

we also have claimed to be a love and logic household... I love the idea of natural consequences and feel that it is how heavenly father parents. he'll gently teach and remind, but let us make our own choices and learn from the results. I am too quick however to give in or give up and get frustrated. I'm impressed and inspired by your patience. I think the work it takes up front will pay off in the long run, thanks for the reminder!

Melissa said...

I've got to read that book! How great that you held out so Pippy could learn such valuable lessons. I have discovered that giving my three year old options (red shirt or blue shirt?) is better than trying to force something he doesn't want (you WILL get dressed!!).

The Flora MOM said...

Love and Logic - an incredible resource for parents who don't know what else to do :) Thanks for the reminder - I read the book once, a while ago and had forgotten what great ideas and suggestions it had. I need to look for it at the library again :)

The Warlock said...

I am waiting for them to learn the natural consequences of waking The Warlock up at 6:30 am on Saturday morning. It's not like the consequences aren't there.

Jess said...

I need to re-read this too! Emma has thrown some Oscar-worthy fits lately.

Sheralie said...

Great point. That was also the main point I got out of "the Glass Castle" - was that the children turned out well because they always had to deal with the natural consequences of their actions. It seems so tempting to "be nice" and shield children from the consequences of their actions, but like you said, actions teach louder than words.

Alicia said...

I've heard good things about that book...I loved reading about the laundry adventures too! It definitely sounds like something I need to try with my boys. :)