Is it really okay to hold kids accountable for their misbehavior… or is this an archaic concept that no longer applies to raising kids? We at Love and Love have always taught the same thing: Hope and pray for affordable mistakes, provide a strong and sincere dose of loving empathy, and let logical or natural consequences do the teaching.
We provide unconditional love, dignity, and opportunities to make small mistakes. That’s the “love” in Love and Logic. The “logic” develops inside the child’s heart and mind when they discover that quality of one’s choices largely determines the quality of one’s life.
Do choices matter?
I remember the first time I heard how horrible and downright mean it is to upset our children by providing consequences. I was speaking at a seminar in Salt Lake City.
By the way… if you’re a Salt Lake citizen, please don’t take any offense. I love your city.
A parent at the conference shared her confusion:
We caught our sixteen-year-old sending nude pictures of herself to her boyfriend. We’d been learning about Love and Logic, so we felt it important that we take her phone. We really felt that it made sense… but then her therapist told us that we were way off base.
Trying to understand the situation, I asked, “Tell me how you did it.”
We were careful to remain calm and to do our best to use empathy. We just told her that we loved her and that we didn’t feel comfortable providing a phone when she was using it to do something inappropriate and dangerous.
I was confused, and asked, “So the therapist told you that you shouldn’t have done that?”
The therapist told us that doing this was too upsetting to our daughter. He went on to tell us that Love and Logic isn’t effective because it upsets kids.
“What do you think?” I asked.
I just don’t know how a person can raise a responsible child without having some accountability.
Over the past few years, a strangely popular “no-consequences” movement has developed among many. They seem to argue that if we just do a better job of loving kids and meeting their underlying emotional needs, there will be no need for consequences. They also suggest that using consequences… even reasonable ones delivered with great love… is a big no-no.
Have you heard this, as well?
There’s some truth in what they say. Yes! Loving kids, building trusting relationships, and meeting needs is essential… and it does tend to cut down on the need for consequences. The downside of their rather extreme position is that the world is a consequential place.
It’s pay now or pay later.
We can either help our kids learn that choices matter when they are young and the consequences are small, or we can allow the world to teach this lesson when they are older and the consequences are often tragic.
Are we going to prepare our kids for a world that doesn’t exist… or the real one?
Dr. Charles Fay