How to Destroy Your Child's Emotional Intelligence

It’s BAD PARENTING 101… that’s what I term some of the advice being offered by Jim Fay and his LOVE AND LOGIC program.  His latest newsletter that arrived in my email box tells parents that when their child demonstrates any typical challenging behaviors, such as lying, arguing or getting mad, the parent should immediately use his “energy drain” technique to get the child to stop.

This technique is basically guilt, something that many behavior health experts warn parents NOT to use.  To further explain his energy drain technique, according to Fay, as soon as your child begins to lie or argue, you should make her feel bad about stealing your energy.  And as a result, if your child decides to steal your energy through her behavior, she is going to have to pay you back by making up for it somehow.

This is a great technique for controlling your child’s emotions and behavior, by putting him on a guilt trip for being human and for being a child, and then getting revenge for what he did to you.  I can’t think of a better way of suppressing a child’s emotions and teaching him through guilt and fear, not to express himself.  This is BAD PARENTING advice, no matter how you look at it.  Want to know what else is bad parenting?  Watch the video below:

So why am I sounding off on this topic?  Psychologists define emotional intelligence as a person’s ability to express and control his or her emotions.  When the individual is able to do this effectively, they are then able to understand, interpret and respond to the emotions of others.  Our prisons are filled with individuals who have adequate or high intellectual intelligence, but it was most likely their low emotional intelligence that got them there to begin with.

If you’re interested in raising RESILIENT children, then you DO NOT want to follow some of the advice being offered by Jim Fay and his Love and Logic methodology.  Resiliency is the process you want your children to have that enables them to adapt well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats and significant stress.  In order for an individual to be able to bounce back from a difficult experience in their life, they must first be able to process their own feelings and then be ready to interact with others who are expressing theirs.

Controlling a child’s behavior or forcing a child to stop his or her emotion by using gimmicks, masked forms of guilt and revenge, are highly unhealthy BAD PARENTING techniques.  It’s bad enough that being a parent today is such a challenge, due to parents having less time with their kids and because society agreed that spanking and punishment are no longer acceptable.  But giving parents misguided gimmicks is just plain wrong!

The Love and Logic program does not help parents understand WHY a child lies, why they get angry and why they want to argue.  It doesn't offer parents any suggestions on how to help a child manage her own emotions or to teach a child that lying is not OK, in ways that motivate them intrinsically.  Instead, Love and Logic offers parents techniques that create compliant children, with tools for controlling children.  I would welcome anyone from the Love and Logic program to challenge me on my personal observations.  I welcome any dialogue that would help me see that I'm wrong in my assessment.

So what should parents do instead?  Children lie, that’s just what they do.  And they do it for two reasons; to protect themselves AND because they learned it from us.  Have you ever sees a family go through a turnstile at an amusement park and the parents tell the child she is a few years younger than she really is?  Don’t focus on the lying, simply focus on any issues caused by the lie.  Then later on when everyone’s emotions are calm, you can calmly discuss the situation with your child.

If your child is angry, let him express is anger.  Do not get defensive or stop his anger.  You can tell him that he looks mad at you, because being mad is OK.  Do not force him to take his outburst to another room and don’t punish him for expressing feelings.  The calmer you remain and the more empathetic you appear, the quicker he’ll calm down.  Be there near him and avoid speaking.  

And when she begins to argue with you, let her.  She needs to be heard and wants to know that you care enough to listen to her.  Don’t argue back and don’t shut her down.  If her arguing escalates, tell her that you will listen more when she can speak in a calm tone.  If you both need a break, call a timeout and set a time to discuss the issue later.

Want more solid advice for raising resilient children?  Click THIS LINK to get the manual that should have come with your child.


  1. Thanks Bill. We have a child who occasionally gets angry and when we try to pick him up he scratches his mom and/or my face. What should I do about that?

  2. Him scratching you or his mom is usually a symptom of something else you need to address. Address the issues that trigger his anger and the scratching goes away.


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