Parenting with Love and Logic - Why These Techniques Backfire

Parenting with Love and Logic is a book and program that teaches parents and authorities to "take back control (this phrase alone should scare you)" and raise children to be "responsible and respectful." In this article, we will examine why the program may not be right for parents who really care about their children's development and want to raise them to be resilient, humane people who lead purposeful and fulfilling lives.

To start, let's talk about human development. As a parent, you are the keeper of your child's development. The first level of development is that of survival. In order for your child to move on to the higher levels, his survival needs must be met: he must have food, water, clothing and a roof over his head. For the most part, he must be able to relax, feel that he is safe and trust that his needs will be met. Many parents do not provide for this basic need, do only the bare minimum or assume that because they're providing for physical needs, they are doing enough. These are the kinds of parents that expect their kids to be out of the house as soon as they turn eighteen. These are the kinds of parents who have control issues because they see their children as an inconvenience.

When a child has the experience that his physical needs will be taken care of, the next level of development is achieving a sense of emotional well-being. This need can be satisfied somewhat by following the guidelines laid out in the parenting with love and logic program, but the program is detrimental in many ways. First, the program advocates teaching by using natural consequences. For instance, if your child forgets his lunch, the natural consequence would be to let the child go hungry. This reminds me of the old-school way of parenting, where an angry parent wags her finger at her child and sneers, "I'll teach you a lesson!" Instead, now she smiles smugly and says, "You'll have to suffer the natural consequences."

Why would you let a child go hungry, when you can help? And what about the natural consequences of letting a child go hungry? If the child's blood sugar drops to a certain level, the child may act out, get in a fight or may be unable to pay attention in school, etc. This suggestion screams neglect, but it works for parents who see their children as inconvenient and whose modus operandi is that of the "unresponsive parent."

Another thing advocated by "Parenting with Love and Logic" is the use of one-liners to stop fighting or solve complex behavioral problems. This (sigh!) is another convenient strategy for parents who really just want to raise robots, not human beings. They want to put something in and get what they selected, like putting a dollar in a vending machine for a can of soda. Human beings just don't work this way. If you want to raise thinking, caring children, don't fall for the traps of "bumper sticker" parenting.

Next, the authors of "Parenting with Love and Logic" advocate corporeal punishment (at least they did in the edition of the book that I read.) If you have read any of the research, you know that violence teaches violence. Besides, how are you supposed to create a loving relationship with someone you coerce with threats and acts of violence? Spanking is an abuse of power (and of trust) by parents.

I could go on, but I'm getting mad. If you care about your children, don't raise them with these tactics. Emotional intelligence is cultivated through loving relationships, through caring discussions about how mistakes can be reflected upon, righted and used as opportunities to approach a situation differently next time. This book doesn't take a child past emotional development, so he can get to the next stage—spiritual development—which will give a child the courage to unfold the gifts the Creator placed inside his heart and help him create a life that flows from a sense of purpose and meaning and leads to self-actualization (which I cover in my book.)

God forbid you should try parenting teen with love and logic, particularly a teen who is troubled. Talk about a lethal combination. Teen rage or indifference coupled with subtle adult coercion. Yikes!

In short, Parenting with Love and Logic is recommended for inflexible, authoritarian parents who want to pose as diplomatic, but are really not interested in much more than their own convenience.

About the author:

Laura Ramirez is the mother of spirited, delightful boys and the author of the award-winning book, Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting which teaches parents how to raise children to develop their innate strengths and grow up to lead uniquely purposeful and meaningful lives. The book is a path of self-discovery for child and parent and will help you create a loving and deeply satisfying relationship with your child.

Laura teaches a six part parenting class which you can listen to from the convenience of your home. To sign up for her teleseminar, click on parenting class.



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