So being back at the crossroads of parenthood, I’ve gone back to the library to scrounge up any possibly useful information about this age. The first book I came across and began reading was Love and Logic.
Now let me just say, if I had just read the book, I would have taken from it what I liked, left what I didn’t agree with, ignored those suggestions that didn’t square with my parenting philosophies, and left it at that. However, because I linked it to my blog and recommended it by name, I feel I need to specifically mention a couple of aspects of the book that, after finishing it, thinking about it, stewing over it and ultimately doing on-line research about what other moms are saying, I’ve realized don’t line up with the positive discipline model of parenting I’ve always held as my guiding light as a mom.
Interestingly, many of the goals of Love and Logic are clearly aiming at the very essence of what positive discipline stands for (raising children who are responsible, respectful and resourceful). It’s the actual methods in Love and Logic that occasionally miss the mark of positive discipline, which is to discipline without ever shaming or humiliating.
As I read Love and Logic, a couple of the strategies made my heckles stand up. Well, we’re in a new league of parenting, I thought to myself and simply pushed through. But with some distance and time, I have decided that brining a child to school in his or her pajamas because they didn’t dress themselves after one request seems rather inflexible and I dare say, humiliating. Putting a young toddler in his room for spilling something without any explanation of why he is being held in his room while you go clean it up yourself, misses the ultimate goal of positive discipline entirely which is to incorporate kids in the process of fixing, and learning from, their mistakes.
Interestingly, one of the major tenants of Love and Logic is to “Share the Thinking” however the author also insists on “keeping your mouth shut and letting the consequences do the teaching.” From my experience, it is difficult to “share thinking” with Twila without actually talking to her about what has just happened, why it happened and why the consequences are what they are, what the book would call “lecturing.”
Additionally, as a friend of mine in California who taught in the public school system for twenty years pointed out, the practice of having children “pay for their errors” with toys or chores can send a very inappropriate message on multiple levels. For one thing, a child shouldn’t have to live in fear that their favorite toys or stuffed animals might be taken away from them for mistakes they make or for not carrying out orders they’ve been given. For another thing, sending the message that they can disobey as long as they fork over a toy doesn’t encourage accountability for their actions.
So as with any new parenting strategies, you have to vet the new information under the microscope of your own parenting direction. There is some very good information in Love and Logic and I know at least one mom who has had fantastic success with the new strategies and she feels it has brought her and her son closer, brought more harmony to her family. And some of the strategies have worked for us as well. As with any new information, it has to be sifted through and analyzed on an individual level. The New book I’m reading is Positive Discipline for Preschoolers by Jane Nelson ED.D. We loved Positive Discipline, the First Three Years. Not only did Jane Nelson author many of the texts I used in my college courses for classroom discipline, the Preschool book has almost entirely paved the parenting path Ryan and I on so, though I won’t recommend this book until I’ve finished reading it, I have a lot of confidence in the author.
More to come…