My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 2 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Do you want to.....

The mantra of a Love and Logic parent. I am a new convert, but not TOTALLY sold. I am still trying out the concepts taught in my newest read Parenting with Love and Logic. I really like the idea of giving our kids more choices and control of their daily decision making (I confess I have gotten into the groove with three girls close in age of doing more for them than I should because of the ease and quickness that comes along with doing it myself) Well, no more sister!

I am no longer going to stifle their learning opportunities! The premise of Love and Logic is that kids need to make decisions and even mistakes in order to learn from their successes/mistakes and gain responsibility, develop confidence in their own decision making skills, and build a strong self-image. The idea is that many parents prevent their kids from learning these lessons either by taking away any opportunity for their children to make their own decisions OR by stepping in and fixing their problems before their kids have a chance to learn how to fix problems for themselves. Sometimes parents even do both. The idea is that kids can learn from their mistakes at a relatively low cost to themselves at a young age when the stakes are low as opposed to tying their hand at decision making as teenagers when the decisions they make are more significant and the risks are higher. Makes total sense to me.

There is a balance with the book that I am trying to strike though. They never suggest explaining things to your kids, or talking about the consequences before hand. "Just let the consequences do the teaching," they say. Your kids will figure out after they have had to suffer the negative consequences that it isn't desirable and change their behaviors so that next time the outcome will be a positive one. Sounds good... at first.

I have a hard time with this concept only because the Lord doesn't do that with us! He delineates so much in the Bible about what we ought to and ought not to do. He clearly explains what pleases Him and what He expects. He even tells us what to expect if we don't obey His commands!! (Hello, think the Israelites.... repeatedly!!)I don't know about you, but I love that about Him.

Another issue: I know MANY people who commit the same sins over and over expecting a different outcome each time (that's insanity, I know, but we've all done it in some area of our life) Such self destructive behavior happens. I haven't seen them address this in the book so far. It seems to me that their strategy is based upon the idea that your will child refuse to accept negative consequences in their life. The sad fact is that some kids do accept negative consequences. So, I will be on the look out for answers to my concerns as I finish up the book.

It seems that the way they would attempt to let the consequences do the teaching in a situation like the one I described above would be to eliminate the option for the self destructive behavior and then let them choose their way through the defective thinking which got them into the situation, but honestly I can't see how that would work quite yet or how to implement that, especially with a teen.

Anyway, it's a totally new perspective on parenting for me and I still don't quite understand it all. If anything I tend to be more in the side of the drill Sergeant parent (from the book) who issues commands and expects compliance. I can see how that parenting style would squash their opportunity to make good decisions for themselves and reap benefits for themselves, if all they are ever working towards is to please mom. That's no fun!

I'd be interested to hear if any of you have read the book, and your thoughts on it.


Julie said...

Does the book say what to do when your 8 year old spends his birthday in the principal's office because he hit someone? Not that I would need to know, ehem, just in case.

Carpenters said...

Jen, I had been thinking about this topic during the past few days as I witnessed a parent take over a grown sons responsibilities. I think it struck me because my personality is one that I would be likely to do the same thing. I haven't read the book, but I do think it is important to help our children learn that their decisions have consequences. I agree with you that they need to be told the consequences before they happen. I have to work on letting them make a decision (even a bad one) on their own and then let them suffer the consequences of the decision. I have no idea what this would look like, so when you figure it out, let me know. :)