Danielle's Reviews > Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood

Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood by Jim Fay
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Jun 28, 09

bookshelves: parenting
Read in June, 2009

Ideas from this book I liked: 1. Let the consequence for your chid's actions be the (primary) teacher (that is, don't lecture, just act). 2. Always discipline with empathy. 3. Don't let your child see your anger or frustration when they misbehave. If you lose control it tells your child they're unmanageable, which makes them feel insecure. 4. Encourage your child to think through problems and find solutions for themselves. 5. Hand over any control you don't absolutely need to your child, so that when you do need it, you can use it. 6. Use enforceable statements. Instead of saying "Pick up your toys" (which you can't really enforce) you say "Feel free to pick up any of the toys you want to keep." Then you have to see it through.
Things I didn't like: 1. Fay instructs parents to not say ANYTHING about the consequences of your child's bad decisions. He contends that when you tell your child why something happened, they tune you out and don't learn. If you don't say anything, they think it through for themselves. I don't buy this. I'm a fan of warning of consequences before they happen (one time, not indefinitely) and of briefly imparting the lesson to be learned after they happen. 2. Fay loves the idea that the "empathetic" phrase "This is so sad" can reduce a child to tears knowing that a punishment is on the way. I don't consider that empathy. 3. Many of the "good" examples in this book, where parents were using their Love and Logic training really creeped me out. If I witnessed a similar scene, I would be scared of that parent. It's almost like a sadistic power trip, dangling these choices and consequences in front of your child as you encourage them to think for themselves. I agree that children should be taught to think through cause and effect, but the tone of this book was just...yeah, creepy.
Over the last couple of weeks, I tried the directions in this book. My previous parenting style was similar, if a little more lenient. I did not notice a change in behavior. In both cases my son (going on three years old) was relatively obedient, reacted quickly to threats, and was suitably contrite after being punished (with time out). I didn't notice any change in his response to me when I was super empathetic, as this book recommends, or more matter of fact, which is how I was doing it. So, I'm not going to adopt this parenting style wholesale, but I did pick up a few good ideas that I'll continue to implement.
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Lisa Nelson Thanks for putting into words what bothered me about this book. When I read this last year I took away a lot of helpful hints most of what you mentioned, but never fully embraced the empathetic statements. Maybe because when my kids get in trouble they have a hard time, especially my at the time 7 year old believing that I thought it was, "So sad," that she didn't get to go see her cousin or whatever the consequence happened to be. I loved that you thought the examples were, "Creepy." I am still working on keeping my anger and emotions in check, but completely agree with you about warning my kids before delivering the punishment. Thanks for another great review!


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