In the world of parenting literature, very few books achieved the almost cult-like following of “Parenting With Love And Logic,” by Foster Cline and Jim Fay (available HERE from Amazon.) There are several reasons for this phenomenon: the empire that is Love and Logic is a wonderful educational and marketing machine, offering parents and educators books, classes, webinars, and support to ensure every parent becomes a successful parent.
The other reason is much simpler: this book WORKS! Even the name is brilliant – first, parents have to start with LOVE, and only when the bond between child and care-giver is well-established, does the discipline (the LOGIC part of the equation) get introduced. In my experience as a parent coach, parents fall into two categories: those who are stuck in the “love” mode – always working on connecting, making their children happy, catering to every whim, and hoping to be their child’s best friend. The second type of parent is overly heavy on the discipline part of parenting, expecting cooperation and even compliance without working on establishing a relationship first. This book teaches parents of all kids, from youngest preschooler to older teenager, how to strike the right balance between connection (and re-connection when needed) and discipline.
The issue of discipline is handled very well. Jim Fay teaches parents how to use real-world natural consequences to raise responsible, pleasant and engaged children. Kids are great detectors of fairness, and this approach makes intuitive sense to them: if you choose not to wear your jacket, and you get cold, you will have to come inside early, and your friends will stay outside and get to play longer. If you spend your entire allowance in the candy store, you may not borrow more when you see something else you like until the next allowance day. If you fight with your sibling in the backseat, and I cannot concentrate on driving, I will pull over and wait for you to calm down. If I have to keep pulling over, we will be very very late. You get the idea – whatever your child decides, you have a logical reasonable solution that he or she will not like. This simple approach allows your kids to develop their own decision-making skills that will serve them well for decades to come – and you are very rarely the bad guy! Brilliant!
So – who is this book for? The short answer is “everyone”. For a vast majority of parents of neurotypical kids, “Love and Logic” may be the only parenting resource they need. For kids with social, emotional, psychological and other challenges, this book is a good place to start on their parenting journey, but they may need other, more specialized resources, which I will cover in future blogs.
Written by Natasha Kendal Ph.D., L.M.F.T.