Sunday, February 23, 2014

Love and Logic and How to Talk So Kids Will Listen Book Reviews

Sigh. I have put off this book battle review for awhile, because let's face it. Discipline is a big, big deal and everyone has their own method, means and opinions. Very sensitive subject, am I right?

And what I ALWAYS tell parents is "you have to find a discipline approach that fits your personality" (and lifestyle, morals, beliefs...).  That means if you are a super laid back, permissive style parent, then adopting some new parenting style you read in a book that involves corporal punishment and authoritarian strict styles, is probably not going to work for you and your child.  It will go against everything you have been taught and believe and will backfire.  Big time.

So with that being said, when it comes to reading these 2 books: Parenting With Love And Logic  by Cline and Fay and How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Faber and Mazlish, you have to decide which one fits your style the most.  And it may be that neither of them fit your style, so you go another route.  Read these and several more out there until you find one that sounds like something you agree with and are able to implement on a daily basis.

I have found that most people these days follow the Love and Logic discipline style over others.  And you know if you've read my blog, that I mostly follow the How to Talk So Kids Will Listen parenting style.  Back when I was a child the popular parenting book most parents read was Dr. Spock.  Plus, How to Talk's techniques have been around way longer then Love and Logic, and come from a Psychologist named Haim Guinott but I digress.

Why do I prefer How to Talk vs Love and Logic? 

Again, it has to do with what fits your style the most. After reading Parenting With Love and Logic, I just knew it wasn't a good fit for me. I am a play therapist, so my 'parenting language' goes better with How to Talk's style.  Play therapists are big on feelings, acknowledging them, and reflecting them, then giving choices and redirecting when we set limits. (Ha, now that doesn't mean I practice this every day and every hour, believe me, I make my mistakes and forget).  So I lean more towards How to Talk but that doesn't mean Love and Logic won't work for you, you just have to find the right fit.

Here is what I like about Love and Logic:

- I love how they try to teach children alternatives and logical consequences.  Children need to learn on their own how their actions will affect their lives.  It teaches them how to be responsible which will go so far in life!
- I really like how they push for parents to give Encouragement vs Praise. I wrote a post about this here awhile back as to how beneficial it is to push for Encouragement to foster a high self esteem!
- They are great at teaching parents how to model behavior to teach our children.  So true as our children are like sponges soaking everything up.
-I like how they tell parents to set limits without threats, anger and lecturing, but to show care and empathy.
- I like how they teach parents to try to say 'yes' more than 'no' such as, "yes, you may go outside as soon as you finish your homework."

Now as for the main reasons Love and Logic doesn't fit for me: 

-Their Choices are not choices and they focus too much on this one technique
Sigh..... I have posted LOADS about choices on my blog but in a nutshell, the way you give a choice is SAYING THE WORD "CHOOSE" when giving them!  If you say, "you can either wear this outfit or this one" is NOT A CHOICE people.  You have to say, "you can choose to wear this one or choose this one, which do you choose?" I forget here and there for sure when I give them to my kids, but it's important to get that word in there.  Giving choices empowers the child, and also the parent is still in charge, but it gives the child the power so there are less power struggles.  Click here and here for more info on giving them.

-The Empathy 
The way they tell you to express empathy is...not very empathic.  I'm sorry, but if I was a child and my mom said, "uh-oh, what a sad choice you made" or better yet, if I was a teenager and my mom said, "bummer, that's really sad that you just made that choice." I would be so PO'd at her.  I would probably throw another temper tantrum.  Seriously.  It's more of a condescending tone.  Their examples just sound too fake to me and when a parent comes off sounding fake, it sounds condescending.  Just imagine if your spouse said that to you.  You would take one look at them and scowl and walk off, not feeling understood or heard.  The opposite of empathic.

-The sending your child to their room after any temper tantrum/disobedience
I remember being sent to my room as a child. It wasn't fun.  It was horrible.   I ended up getting even more mad at my parents for it. I didn't learn a thing from being sent to my room.

Now as a parent, I understand the frustration you can feel at times towards your kids and you want to send them off to a room because you get so mad.  But I think there are better options out there.  Not going to get into a debate about it here, but just think about times when you as an adult are mad. How would you feel if your spouse or a parent told you to go to your room?  If a child needs to cool down and we need to cool down, there are other options for that and other ways to say we all need a break to cool off.

So those are a few reasons why I am not so big on Love and Logic.  Now, onto the next discipline book, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Kids Will Talk (phew, that's one long title!).

The main things I LOVE about this book:

-The Feelings chapter.  This is exactly how Play Therapists talk and the reason almost all play therapists love this book.  In fact, when I used to train counselor interns, I would 'prescribe' this book to them as it's written so well and easy to 'get'.

And the first sentence of the book I just love, "I was a wonderful parent before I had children. I as an expert on why everyone else was having problems with theirs.  Then I had three of my own."

They go on to describe how to acknowledge feelings and be empathic towards our kids instead of denying feelings or minimizing them.  They give 4 ways to give first aide to a child in distress: to Listen, Acknowledge their feelings with a word, give the feeling a name and/or give their wish in fantasy. Tons of great examples, personal stories, cartoon examples and 'what not to dos'.

-The next chapter then tells you how to use the feelings to ENGAGE COOPERATION: Describe, give information, say it with a word, talk about feelings or write a note.

-Encouragement!  They give great advice on encouraging children to have high self esteem, but one downfall is that they use the word PRAISE in this chapter. They really aren't using the word praise the way we know it (this was written in 1980), and it really means encouragement.  It's a great chapter, just ignore that word :)

-Encouraging Autonomy.  A great chapter on how to teach logical and natural consequences

-Problem Solving with Older Kids: Have a discussion and each parent and child write down alternatives and then come up with a solution both can agree on. I LOVE this!  It shows you respect each other and if a teenager is involved in the decision process (like curfew times), then they are more willing to be compliant!  Just not, "because I said so!" This is something that I would have responded well to as a teenager myself :)

-And the book also has a ton of examples and stories from real parents in the group seminars they have held.  Hearing so many real life stories really helps put things into practice.

-One note about their choice giving:  The authors mention giving choices as an alternative to punishment, but they do not talk much in detail about them, and in fact they mention giving choices, and then instead of using the word "choice" they have the parent say, "you decide." This is a good way to end a question but also remember to use the word 'choice' when you are giving them the choices. And as much as I love choices, giving choices is not the only method you should use when disciplining.  You would sound like a robot if that is all you say all day long!  Give small choices to little kids and big choices to bigger kids and keep them to a minimum each day.  Use them only when you are sensing a temper tantrum coming on (which I hope is not 50 times a day :)

So that's about it in a nutshell.  Best advice I have is to read both of these books and then decide which one fits better with your parenting style and personality! Again, there is no right or wrong way, it's more what is best for you and your family.  A lot of parents get great results from one or the other, and that's wonderful.  We all want a happy family as the end result!  And one last note: Not every parenting technique will work every time!  It's hit and miss and you just have to pray it works 99% of the time for you :)


Post a Comment