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The Enduring Simplicity of Love and Logic

Since Love and Logic began 45 years ago, there have been many profound changes in our world. Some are wonderful, but others have presented challenges for parents and their kids.

Despite these changes and challenges, the simple principles and techniques of Love and Logic have stood the test of time. Love and Logic worked wonders with thousands of families during the last decades of the 20th century, and they continue to do so in the 21st century. The philosophy and essential elements of Love and Logic were explained in our 2004 book, How to Discipline Kids without Losing Their Love and Respect, which was based on a PBS presentation.

The book describes the Two Simple Rules of Love and Logic, which are the foundation for all Love and Logic techniques. 

Rule 1: Adults take good care of themselves by setting limits without anger, lectures, threats, or repeated warnings.

Rule 2: When a child causes a problem, the adult hands it back in loving ways.

Keys to the success of implementing these rules include the use of enforceable limits, the value of letting consequences do the teaching, and, most important of all, the use of empathy with all techniques of Love and Logic.

Empathy is the hallmark of our approach, and the thousands of parents who used Love and Logic successfully learned how to maintain an empathetic response in every interaction with their kids. The benefits of delivering consequences with empathy include:

  • The child is not distracted or overwhelmed by the adult’s anger.
  • The child learns to “own” their pain rather than blame it on the adult.
  • The adult is seen as being able to handle problems without breaking a sweat.
  • The adult-child relationship is maintained on a mutually respectful basis.
  • The child learns through modeling to use empathy with others.

The book describes some of the day-to-day benefits of using Love and Logic. For example, arguing and backtalk often stop very early as the techniques are introduced. Typical battles disappear, such as conflicts over homework and academic performance. Children eventually develop an improved self-concept because they learn how to handle their own problems—this also helps kids to become “teaseproof.”

One common problem that parents face is getting kids to do their chores. Love and Logic turns this problem into an asset by using chores as the foundation for developing a child’s sense of responsibility and self-esteem. This has consequences far beyond just getting chores done—it helps kids in other areas of life, for example with homework and academic performance.

Jim Fay

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