5 Things I Learned at a Love and Logic Conference - MetroFamily Magazine
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5 Things I Learned at a Love and Logic Conference

by Lindsay Cuomo

Reading Time: 3 minutes 

Parenting is hard! I can remember quite frequently in the beginning of motherhood wishing for a manual. In the midst of a battle with a “threenager” or during a sibling squabble, it can be hard to know the right thing to do to return peace and order to the home. 

The non-stop demands can drive us to our wits’ end often, but despite the difficulties, I cannot think of a more rewarding and wonderful job. And, so, in my mission of motherhood, I attended a parenting conference hosted by Jim Fay, co-founder of Love and Logic. Here are five revolutionary things I learned: 

You know your child best.

First and foremost, it was encouraging to know the experts believe parents are doing most things right. Every child is different and you know yours the best. Fay encouraged parents not to stray from what is working for your family. And, in areas you’d like to see some improvement, he suggests experimenting because what works for one child won’t always work for another. Give yourself the freedom to treat your kids uniquely. 

When we try to control others, we tend to lose control rather than gain it.

Anyone who has spent any amount of time with another person knows very few of us want to be told what to do and our kids are not likely an exception to that rule. Fay’s secret to setting limits that stick is to give guided choices. 

“When we try to control others, we tend to lose control rather than gain it,” Fay said. “Limits stick when you describe what you will allow, not what your child has to do.” 

He recommended using the “I will” method. For instance, instead of saying “don’t argue with me” consider saying “I’ll be glad to listen when your voice sounds like mine.” 

Consequences should be consistent but they don’t always have to be immediate. 

“You can always recreate a training moment,” Fay said.

Allow yourself the time to calm down and figure things out. One of Fay’s favorite parenting one-liners is “Bad decision. I am going to have to do something about that.” Your child will know right away they haven’t made a good choice and you have given yourself the time to handle the situation in the best possible way. Consistency is key, though. 

“There is no greater gift you can give your child than your yes means yes and your no means no,” Fay said. 

Empathy and consequences create thinking and learning. 

Responding with empathy rather than anger can be very hard to do but you do have the power to change your condition response. 

“By responding with empathy, you can deliver the consequence in such a way that you are not seen as the source of the problem,” Fay said. “You can hand the problem right back to the person who created it.” 

Empathy, as one of our most basic human needs, changes the way our brains think. Empathy can reduce the natural fight or flight response; therefore, our kids are more likely to learn from the situation. One way Fay recommends controlling anger is to reduce the number of our words. When you sense an impending power struggle, use a one-liner like “I know” or “What did I say?” to put an end to any debate. 

Help your kids to learn that the source of the solution is within their own skin. 

Last and perhaps most important, Fay believes parents spend way too much time trying to save their kids when they should be teaching them to protect themselves. Whether you are trying to protect your child from his or her mistakes or from making a mistake in the first place, all that effort is a huge drain on the parent and a disservice to the child. 

“When you try to save your child from their own consequences and responsibilities, you are basically saying they aren’t smart enough to handle it,” said Fay. 

One of Fay’s essential skills is to guide your kids to own and solve their problems. 

“First listen with empathy to their situation, and ask ‘what do you think you are going to do,’” he said. “Then, get permission to share some ideas.” 

Fay suggests sharing a few things that others have done in a similar situation. 

“Kids will reject the first one, so don’t waste a good one,” he said. “Say ‘some people decide to…’ and then let your child decide. With great sincerity say ‘good luck, let me know how that works out for you.’” 

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