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15. Book Review -- Parenting with Love and Logic

Book Title: Parenting with Love and Logic: Teaching Children Responsibility

AuthorFoster Cline, MD and Jim Fay

Year of Publication1990, 2006



Author’s Web-site

Full Book Available in English

You should read this book if you…

Are interesting in finding effective ways to parent without power struggles.

“In a nut shell”…

This is a win-win approach to parenting. Kids learn responsibility & the logic of life by solving their own problems. Parents win because they establish healthy control without resorting to anger, threats, nagging and exhausting power struggles. This approach puts the fun back into parenting.

Key Ideas…

There are two simple rules of Love & Logic parenting:

First, adults must set firm, loving limits using enforceable statements without showing anger, lecturing, or using threats. Parents make sure they are willing to enforce whatever choices they give. Then they must consistently maintain those limits to help children understand that they are responsible for their actions and will suffer reasonable consequences for actions that are inappropriate. By using this consultant style of parenting as early as possible in the child’s life, they ask their children questions and offer choices instead of telling their children what to do. They put the burden of decision making on their kids shoulders. Thus, by the time the children become teens, they are used to making good decisions.

Second, when a child causes a problem, the adult shows empathy through sadness and sorrow and then lovingly hands the problem and its consequences back to the child. While allowing the natural and imposed consequences to do the teaching, wise parents are empathetic. They do not show frustration, anger or do any pleading. They show empathy without rescue when unwise choices result in consternation, pain, and regret. They allow the consequences of mistakes to do the teaching. Consequences lead to the child’s self-examination and thought.

Rather than tell kids what to do, Love & Logic parents are always asking questions and offering choices. Choices work because they create a situation in which children are forced to think. They provide opportunities for kids to make mistakes and learn from the consequences. Choices help us to avoid getting into control battles with our kids. Children hear that we trust their thinking abilities when we give them choices and the decisions they make prepare them for a lifetime of decision-making that awaits them in adulthood.

Action Steps…

When a child acts inappropriately, the parent can say “uh-oh” or “bummer” if the child is older. Keep your voice melodic while saying this to avoid sounding angry, frustrated, and sarcastic.

Offer the child choices. The parent does not tell the child how to act. Instead, two choices are given, both of which are acceptable to the parent and can be enforced if the child decides to do nothing in response. This returns control to the child and any consequences come from the child’s decision, not the parents.

Calmly enforce whatever choices you give.


“Allowing children at a young age to practice decision making on simple issues teaches them to think and control their own lives. Then when adolescence hits, they will be less susceptible to peer pressure regarding alcohol, drugs, sex, and other temptations. They will have learned they can make their own wise decisions.” Pg 44

“Responsible behavior has a direct correlation to the number of decisions children are expected to make. The more they make, the more responsible they become.” Pg 52

How this has changed my parenting…

Prior to learning the importance of setting limits by offering kids choices and letting them live with the consequences of those decisions I was more of a drill sergeant parent. I thought controlling my children so they would behave appropriately was better for them in the long run so I often told them what to do. I didn’t trust them to make decisions for themselves because I was afraid they may not be “perfect.” I was afraid to allow them to make mistakes so I robbed them of many significant learning opportunities attempting to rescue them too often.

I was eager to try out this consultant style of parenting and become more of an advisor and counselor to my children rather than police officer. I remember the first time I tried it with my ten year old. I was tired of constantly nagging him to pick up his clothes in his room. I decided to offer him choices. “Jason, you’re welcome to make your bed and pick up your clothes from your bedroom floor before school. If you choose this, then you choose to have time after school to watch your favorite TV show. Or you’re welcome to make your bed and pick up your clothes from your bedroom floor after school. If you choose this, then you choose not to have TV time after school. You can decide.”

Of course, he had to test this limit the first day. When he arrived home from school he ran into his room and started picking it up really fast and asked to watch his favorite TV show. I told him, “Jason, I think I know what you have in mind. I’m so sorry, but the very moment you choose to leave your clothes on the floor this morning when you left for school was the moment you choose not to watch TV after school. I’m sorry son, but you can decide again tomorrow.” There was no TV after school that day and a few others. But it didn’t take long before he was choosing to watch his favorite TV show each afternoon.

Being an advisor parent is so much more fun than being the drill sergeant parent and most importantly it changed my relationship with my children. They have learned to trust themselves and their decisions as a result.

© 2011 The Family Project

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