Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Love and Logic Week #2

Last night was my second Love and Logic class. This week the Love and Logic "C.O.O.L" Formula was introduced.Over the course of the next four weeks we will focus on each individual piece of the formula.
C.O.O.L stands for:
Control (that is shared):  the parent should have control but CAN give control away (to the child) if they want to. The idea is to give children control on our terms, not theirs. So perhaps, letting the child choose what color shirt they are going to wear that day. However, the choices need to be choices that you as a parent can live with too.

Ownership (of the problem):  parents and children need to be able to determine who owns the problem.  The idea is to let the child take ownership of the problem instead of yourself. I personally struggle with this. I always want to tell Aidan what to do and solve his problems for him. I guess that makes me a "drill sergeant" parent. A good technique I learned last night to help with this is to ask Aidan what HE THINKS will happen during certain situations instead of continuing to always tell him. The key is to always ask questions to help foster independent thinking.

Opportunity (for thinking/decision making): Use thinking words not fighting words. Tell the child what YOU will do during certain situations and let them think for themselves. I have always tended to use fighting words. Again, telling Aidan what to do and how to do it..."you aren't going to talk to me like that" or "I'm not going to pick up your toys for you," instead of something like, "I would be happy to talk to you as soon as the arguing stops." This again, is really difficult for me.

Let (empathy and consequences do the teaching):  When you punish your child you are teaching them to feel ashamed and angry and you are making the decisions. You are also giving the child a chance to be angry and resentful towards you instead of working toward a solution to the problem. When you give them "consequences" they are able to learn from their mistake. The key to this is using the empathetic statement before delivering "the bad news"or consequence. Also, consequences allow the child to "own" the problem...again, taking the ownership away or "off of" the parent.

The hardest thing for me this past week when trying to implement all of this was to use less words when he misbehaved. (Go was hard for me to use less words?!)  But in all seriousness, I kept finding myself so frustrated with his behavior that I wanted to tell him to knock it off and explain, explain, explain to him what he was doing wrong so that it would just STOP. Instead of using the empathetic statement and consequence, I found myself almost ignoring the inappropriate behavior because I couldn't figure out how to deal with it unless I yelled at him. What I learned this week was that it is totally OK to delay the consequence and say something like "I will be doing something about your choice but not right now. Think about that and try not to worry"...then when the opportunity presents itself later in the day, maybe he wants to read a few books at bedtime, I would use the empathetic phrase and tell him "Ohhhhhhhhh what a bummer buddy. We don't (insert misbehavior here). It makes me really sad that we can't read stories but lets try again tomorrow."

This all sounds SO EASY but it really isn't. I'm learning that I am pretty stuck in my ways. Plus, for the past five years we have been parenting one way and to try to change it now is challenging. However, I am definitely up for the challenge because clearly what we were doing wasn't working. I also think it's important for me to remember that these changes aren't something that can happen with the snap of a finger or even overnight, as much as I wish they could. Patience is going to be key. Maybe I will type up some key phrases and post them around our home until I get the hang of all of this. One thing is certain though, none of this is easy and if it was everyone would do it.

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