Love and Logic Vs. Teaching Self Government6 min read


“I’ve been to a couple of Love and Logic classes. While l love the information about the brain, using love and natural consequences, I really struggle to implement the principles in the heat of the moment. Here’s an excerpt from one of the articles on their website, I wondered what you thought given the skills you teach. 🙂 Kaisie

“Winston. You snuck out and spent the night hanging out in the convenience store parking lot. Then you climbed back in your window, thinking I would never know about it. I told you I would have to do something about that, but I’m sorry to say that I haven’t figured it out yet even though I’ve spent hours on it.”

“Do you know what’s sad about that? I can’t do two things at once. What I was going to do with my time was clean up all the dog messes in the backyard, rake the leaves, and edge the lawn and sidewalk. So…I guess as soon as you have those jobs done, we’ll forget about this problem of yours. Thank you. You don’t need to work on those jobs right now. Just have them done by the end of the day on Saturday. Thanks, pal.”

Before I begin this discussion, I would like to say that Ihave known many people whoget trained on Love and Logic method and only learn how to have power struggles with their children, but many people and youth facilitiesuse Love and Logic very effectively.

Isee love and logic as Love first.Love has to be the most important! If you are having a power struggle, you are not filled with loveyou are being selfish or proud. Logic meansteach to me. Teaching must happen!Our children need to know what they should have done. If someone usesLove and Logicwith love in mind first and teachingas the second priority, then itwill probably be effective for their home.

**My comments**About the L and L excerpt. I don’t like this dialog. (Possibly it really isn’t characteristic of what L and L means to teach.) The father describes some behavior (that’s good) but then he makes an assumption that he knows what his son was thinking.No one can ever really know what another person is thinking, and furthermore, when they tell that person that they do know what they think, they are initiating a power struggle. Then the father’s rationale for a chore is that he doesn’t know how to problem solve the situation at hand.(that’s weak) Then hetells his son that he doesn’t know what to do in the situation, so as a last resort he just punishes him because something has to be done.(I don’t believe in punishments, I believethat everyoneearnseither positive or negative consequences with each decision made.)

He never tells him what he should have done, and never gives the boy vision of why he should choose to stay home. If the boy only chooses to stay home not to have to do chores, then he is just being controlled, and no teaching is taking place. The boy will probably look for other opportunities to sneak what he wants and just be more careful the next time. I know, because I used to sneak out of my window at night too. Then to say, do this chore and we will forget about the incident, tells the youth that he can just work off any bad behavior, instead of changing his heart to respect his family, and learn to make wise choices through problem solving. Not that parents should dwell forever on bad choices, because they shouldn’t. But, this kind of comment shouldn’t ever come before teaching what they should have done. It is OK, even good sometimes, to explain that since you had to spend so much time talking to the youth about his behaviors you didn’t get things done, so he earned to do them instead. This consequence is OK, but I didn’t see any real teaching take place in this dialog.

If he were my son, after our initial teaching I would have prescribed a SODA and talked it over with him. I would have taken him back to the vision stage, focusing on his vision for life and our family vision for life and talk about how this impacts it. I would pray with him so that he would open his obviously devious heart to the spirit. He would earn to not be allowed to go with friends for a certain period of time, because he is showing that he cares more for his friends than his family. His priorities are messed up because the social draw is too great. He needs time to be only with family and become recommitted to home and family. Then I would focus on building my relationship with my child more. A child with a strong bond to his parent would never be dishonest like this. Slipping out of the house at night to “hang out” at a market, would be a major offense in our home. The LOGICAL consequences would be problem solving exercises, SODAS, and home time for relationship building.

I would be asking myself, “If I were my son, why would I feel that it is necessary to sneak out at night,etc.? I ask myself, “What does he want to tell me with this action? Does he have any fears? How can I help him feel safe? Does he know what he is communicating to me?” I always tell them what they are communicating to me. Such as; “When I found out that you left our home in the night to go “hang out” at the store, you were communicating to me that you care more about your friends than your family. You communicated to me that you don’t mind hurting or worrying your family if you can get what you want.” Is this what you wanted to communicate?” ….They don’t usually ever realize that they are telling us something with each action they make. We need to tell them that. This also helps them understand why they need to accept a consequence of no friend time for a certain period of time to strengthen their commitment to home and family.There’s a long answer. I hope that gives you an idea of how the two styles differ.

I am afraid that L and L is looked at as THE parenting way for most people, because it is so endorsed by the school system. I hope people soon see that there is another way to communicate. I have noticed that L and L is almost entirely power struggles. Parenting isn’t about who has the power, it is about two people. God put one person into another person’s stewardship. The steward is to seek God’s counsel to teach the child how to behave. Both of these people start out having mutual respect for each other. This respect is the important thing. Do we all live like respectable parents? I suggest to you that many don’t. If we don’t behave respectfully to our children (such as overindulging or speaking sarcastically), then we teach them not to respect. Remember that it doesn’t really matter if they make their bed today so long as their heart is pure and teachable. If there heart is in the right place, then they respect their parents and there is no need for a power struggle anyway.

L and L stands for Love and Logic

Well, there you have it Kaisie. It should be easier to see the difference now.

🙂 Nicholeen