Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Love and Logic Week #6

I promised myself when this week started that I would be timely in my Love and Logic post and not wait until the following week to post as I did last week. Wellll...that didn't exactly happen. Here we are, a week later again, but it is what it is, right? Better late than never...

Last week, we discussed how to construct consequences and why it's important to let empathy and consequences do the teaching (The "L" in COOL). Of all the Love and Logic techniques, this is probably the hardest for me to do.  I am quick to "punish" Aidan if he has misbehaved. In my opinion, it is so much easier to punish a child rather than allow the child to be involved in the process of experiencing consequences. I really want to work on changing that. In regards to consequences, there are three different types: natural, delayed and logical. Before I describe what the difference is, perhaps I should describe the difference between consequences and punishments.

Offer an opportunity for the child to be involved in decision making
Child does his or her own judging
Adult voice is helpful and friendly
Child learns about the real world of consequences
Child has no opportunity to displace his/her anger or hurt

The adult makes the decisions
Adult is the judge
Adult displays anger
Child learns about the imposition of power
Adult provides opportunity for the child to be angry and resentful, rather than working toward a solution

Some consequences happen naturally, such as when a child doesn't wear their jacket. The consequence is they will be cold. This happens naturally, therefore a natural consequence.Makes sense, right? Some consequences are delayed, such as when a child acts out in such a way that a consequence cannot be decided upon immediately. This happens frequently in my house...I get so flustered that I say something to Aidan like "I will be doing something about that but not right now. Try not to worry." Then, when he asks for a treat for dessert or wants to play a game I tell him not tonight because of the choice he made earlier. Lastly, some consequences are logical. Logical consequences require one to use their empathetic statement first and then deliver the "bad" news. Examples include statements like:   "Boy, that is sad. Looks like you won't be able to play outside until your room is clean" or "How sad for you. Not to worry. You may eat what is served or wait until breakfast to eat."

When constructing logical consequences, it's important to consider these three things:

  1. What would happen to an adult, in the real world, who did the same kind of thing?
  2. How can I tie the time and place of the infraction to the consequence?
  3. How can I describe the consequence so that it moves the child into the thinking state? (using questions is most effective)

In the past I have always made the decision as to how Aidan would be disciplined. I decided and told him what to do. Typically, I would also be angry. Using Love and Logic is the exact opposite. My goal for this week is to put all of this into practice. I will keep you posted as I'm sure an opportunity will arise!

Good luck and happy parenting! 

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