Where the world comes to study the Bible

12. Book Review -- Love and Logic: Magic for Early Childhood

Book Title: Love and Logic: Magic for Early Childhood: Practical Parenting from Birth to Six Years

Author: Jim Fay & Charles Fay, Ph.D.

Year of Publication: 2000

Publisher: Love and Logic Institute, Inc.


Author’s Web-site:

Full Book Available in: English

You should read this book if you…

Have a child of pre-school age and want to learn how to parent in a constructive and loving way.

“In a nut shell”…

Raise a child who feels good about him- or herself

Develop a strong bond of love and trust with your child

Allow your child to make plenty of mistakes and learn from them at an early age

Give your child plenty of practice in thinking and solving problems

Key Ideas…

The first six years of a child’s life are crucial to their cognitive, emotional and behavioral development. Parents can provide the essential information to their children by using the four basic Love and Logic ingredients:

(1) Build the self concept – Self-concept equals behavior. When kids feel good about themselves, the odds go up in favor of their behaving well. We show our kids that we can handle them without breaking a sweat and that translates to kids thinking, “If my parent can handle me that easily, I must be okay!” When you replace anger and frustration with soft words and powerful yet kind actions, it builds a child’s self concept.


(2) Share the control – Give choices to children regarding the things that do not cause a problem for others and are set within firm limits to empower them and give them a feeling of control. For example, the parent can “deposit” control into the child’s “control bank” by giving choices to innocuous questions like, “Would you like milk or juice with breakfast?” Make a list of choices you can give your kids. The key to sharing control is ensuring the choices you give are satisfactory to you the parent and that you can deliver on whichever choice is picked. Giving choices like these all throughout the day will build up your child’s “choice bank” so that when you need to make a “withdrawal” or request, the child will be more cooperative.

(3) Provide a strong dose of empathy before delivering consequences – View your child’s mistakes as learning opportunities. Love and Logic parents know that the pain of poor choices helps children learn to avoid mistakes. For this to happen, parents must allow it to happen in a loving way. The price tags of mistakes made by small children are much less than those made by adolescents. The question to ask yourself when you are in a potential “learning situation” with your child is (a) will my child get hurt if he makes a mistake? And (b) what will my child learn from this?


(4) Share the thinking – Every time your child causes a problem or makes a mistake, treat it as a learning opportunity. Allow him to think more about the situation than you do. The more empathy and understanding you display, the more your child will be forced to think about the pain he has created for himself. The more anger and frustration you show, the less your child thinks – and the less he learns about solving his own problems.

Action Steps…

Sharing control

Give 99% of the choices when things are going smoothly; see how many “deposits” you can make during the day

Provide choices only on issues that are not dangerous and don’t create a problem for others

Offer two options, each a choice of which you approve

Choose for the child if he or she doesn’t choose within 10 seconds

The enforceable statement

Only make statements to your child that you can enforce. When you repeatedly ask your child to do something that you cannot enforce, you damage your credibility as the authority figure. For example, instead of repeatedly saying, “Please pick up your toys,” an enforceable statement would be, “Feel free to pick up the toys you want to play with tomorrow. The toys not picked up will be picked up by me, and you’ll have to earn them back with chores.”

Set limits once and follow through

How do we set limits once?

With young children who don’t understand language, simply change their location. Example – A child is in a high chair and begins throwing food. Use an empathetic expression like “Uh-oh” or “Bummer” and then remove the child from the high chair and say, “Dinner is over, looks like a little crib time.”

With older children, save most of the attention for happy times. If they are having a tantrum or not being nice, you can tell them they need some “room time”. The child stays in the room until he is calm and ready to be sweet. The parent should stay nearby and when the child is calm, the parent should go in, hug their child and say, ”That was sad. Are you ready to be sweet now?” Then continue on without further discussion. The child will quickly learn that it’s more fun to behave than to misbehave.

Steps for the “Uh-Oh Song” or whichever empathetic response you want to use (note: it’s best to select one phrase and use it repeatedly with your child so that they know what to expect when they hear “Uh-oh” or “That’s sad”).

Instead of making threats or giving warnings, say Uh-oh” and take action

Not to be used with infants or young children who have a need that must be fulfilled

Gently lead or carry your child to his/her room

Say, “Feel free to come out when you’re ready to be sweet.”

Do not lecture when your child is ready to come out; show affection and start fresh

Have fun with your kids when they are behaving


“When people ask, ‘When can we start using Love and Logic with our children?’ we say, ‘Start when they’re babies … start when they’re cute, so they will stay that way!’” Pg 30

“When children act out, what they’re really saying is, ‘Please love me enough to set some limits!’” Pg 31

“If you want your children to have internal controls and inner freedom, you must first provide them with external controls” Pg 54

Statistics and Interesting Facts…

A child’s ability to love and respect oneself and others is primarily determined by how well that child’s basic needs were met during the first two years of life.


(1) The Trust Cycle – Before you can plant the seeds of empathy, responsibility and kindness in your child, you must first ensure that they receive these things when they are an infant. Infants who know that their basic needs are going to be met develop love and kindness in their hearts. When children feel that their parents notice and value their interests, they are always happier and more cooperative. Achieve the “trust cycle” with your infant / child by:

The Trust Cycle

Step 1 – The child has a basic need

Step 2 – The child cries

Step 3 – The parent responds lovingly, the need is fulfilled

Step 4 – Trust/bonding is achieved

(2) The Misbehavior Cycle – When a parent scolds or threatens a child, and the child continues to misbehave, what has been achieved? More important, what is the child learning? Here’s what happens:

The Misbehavior Cycle

Step 1 – Child experiments with misbehavior

Step 2 – Parent gets frustrated or angry

Step 3 – Child develops disrespect for authority figures

Step 4 – Child begins to feel hopeless

How this has changed my parenting…

As a parent, I am a lot less likely now to react in anger, frustration or shear desperation when my child misbehaves. I feel equipped to respond appropriately to her needs to ensure she develops habits that will shape her into a healthy, productive and loving human being.

© 2011 The Family Project

Related Topics: Book Review, Parent Resources, Christian Home, Fathers, Mothers, Parenting

Report Inappropriate Ad