I’ve read lots of parenting books…like around 15 (and my kids are only 3 and 1…almost)! Many of these books are great in theory, but seriously lacking in practical application.
Yes, I know it is important to be consistent and demand respect…but what happens when my kid is screaming in the grocery store???
If you’re looking for a book that has practical tips for dealing with specific issues with toddlers to 6-year olds…look no further! Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood is a wonderful tool for parents of young children! Now, I’m not saying that I agree with everything in this book (which I’ll get to later), but it is definitely worth reading and applying!
Up until now, I had never read a book by Jim or Charles Fay, though I had heard great things about their books, seminars, and the Love and Logic Institute that was co-founded with Foster Cline.
What I Loved
- Choices: Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood emphasizes giving children choices and recommends giving “control away when you don’t need it, so you can get it back when you do!” Kids love making choices, so the more we allow them to choose the “little” things, the less control they will seek when we make choices for them on the bigger issues. This has made such a huge difference in the number of tantrums thrown each day in our house. Here are just a few examples that have worked well for us since reading this book.
- Big Brother (almost 3 yrs) likes to choose his own clothing and throws a fit when he doesn’t get to choose. I now let him choose his clothing the majority of the time so that when I want him to wear something specific (to church or another function) I can say, “You’ve chosen your clothes everyday this week, so now it is Mommy’s turn to choose.” This has worked surprisingly well and we have avoided several battles!
- Big Brother also likes to choose his sippy cup. I typically would just grab one and then fill it up…until a few months ago when this would serve as our very first tantrum of the morning every day! The fact that I didn’t start allowing him to choose and avoid the tantrums in the first place obviously points to the lack of my brain fuction in the mornings.
- Validating your child’s interests. This book recommends taking special notice of the things your child enjoys and saying things like “I noticed you really love that teddy bear” without saying anything positive or negative (like “that’s great”). Showing that we notice our children’s interests without judging them as good or bad validates their individuality…even at a young age.
- Discipline without Frustration or Anger. This is something I am constantly working on. I tend to let misbehaviors go on for too long and then I just “snap” and usually end up talking in a tone that no one in my household appreciates (including me). Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood recommends replacing threats and warnings with simple actions. If you tell your child (once) to pick up the toys and they don’t do it…the toys get put away for a few days. When your child starts to whine, treat them with empathy but do not give in. “Kids are better prepared for real life when adults don’t give repeated warnings.”
- Turn mistakes into learning opportunities. Let’s face it…we all fail. Our children are going to fail, at home and in the real world. Now is the time to teach them to learn from those failures…while the stakes are small. “Every opportunity to own and solve a problem enhances a child’s self-respect.”
Things I Misunderstood
I was going to title this section “Things I Disagreed With” but then I decided they weren’t necessarily things I disagreed with…they were simply areas which I felt the book was not quite clear on. First, I felt like much of the book was showing parents how to avoid conflict…which is great–I love avoiding conflict! But sometimes I think children need conflict to show them that we are the authority in our homes. We, the parents, are in charge. They are loved and valued, but they need to learn to obey us (Ephesians 6:1). I felt like the book didn’t necessarily give clear examples on when to exercise our authority and when to seemingly avoid confict (by letting our children make choices).
A few of the strategies were a little too fluffy for my personality (imagine that) and I can’t imagine myself using the “uh-oh” song or the “energy drain” without cracking up laughing. There was also a strategy for when your child whines that encourages them by saying “that’s the best you can do???” It’s supposed to work the opposite way and end the whining, but I think telling our children to do something with the expectation that they do the opposite is never a good habit to start.
This is the MOST practical parenting book for young children that I have ever read! Both Prince Charming and I agree that it is a wonderful resource for all parents. I am very glad that we both read it because it has given us actual strategies (rather than theories) that we have applied immediately. It has greatly reduced the number of tantrums thrown in our house!