Why Love and Logic has it Wrong... Again!
Children don’t often demonstrate respect because they either don’t know what it looks like or, as the Father of Individual Psychology, Alfred Adler taught us, their disrespectful behavior is their way of attempting to get unmet needs satisfied. The secret to getting kids to treat their parents and others with respect is to first treat them with respect and to then help them find their place in the family or the classroom. But the creators of the LOVE AND LOGIC parenting program would have you believe differently.
All parenting programs are not created equal and in my opinion, many are misguided and offer parents and teachers bad information. It is my belief that we should not just be demanding and manipulating our kids to be more cooperative, we should be raising children who WANT to cooperate and be engaged in the family or classroom because they feel encouraged to do so.
One of those programs that frequently offers misguided information and gimmicks is the Love and Logic program. In much of their parent resources, they suggest that parents use techniques that lead to a child feeling shame, blame and guilt, three human motivators that are not only demeaning, but are incredibly discouraging.
In a recent weekly email that went out to parents who subscribe to their newsletters, Dr. Foster Cline recommends that when your child won’t cooperate with you and you’re away from home, you should create a little drama for your child’s benefit by writing yourself an imaginary note in a small note pad while “muttering” to yourself out loud that your child will replenish the energy he stole from you by “paying” for what he did to you when you get him home. Basically, he is prescribing that you threaten your child that something will happen when he gets home as a result of this noncompliance.
Even though Cline says to state it as a fact and not a threat, what he offers a parent is old fashioned, autocratic punishment. Since the child did not comply, he “will pay” for this act by having to work at hard labor when he does get home. Compliance is the goal and not cooperation. He also makes a point to remind the parent to be sure and bask in the rays of energy generated by your child “mopping the floor” when you get home.
If we meet resistance from our child when we need them to cooperate, we can be more successful with them by first understanding why he won’t cooperate and there are two primary things that create that annoying resistance. The first one is the relationship with your child. Perhaps you've been demanding too much or snapping at your child and the resistance you’re seeing is your child replicating what you may have been doing.
Another reason may be that the resistance is your child’s way of getting unmet needs satisfied. For example, if he is pulling you into power struggles, it may be his way of telling you that he is feeling powerless as a member of the family and craves more value and importance at home. What you see in the resistance to cooperate may be exactly what the child needs more of. If you don’t give your child appropriate power on your terms, he will take it on his.
Using techniques that discourage a child, as Love and Logic suggests, is not a way of getting more positive cooperation. A child needs more encouragement and a feeling of belonging and fitting into the family or classroom. Get more effective tips at http://www.CooperativeKids.com.