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Love and Logic® for schools and parents | GUEST OPINION
If you listed the most difficult jobs in the world, would parenting be at or near the top? Just the experience of dealing with children arguing, begging and challenging can be exhausting and frustrating for the parent or teacher.
If someone told you that you could learn to neutralize arguing with your children, would you believe that was possible? Learning the principles of Love and Logic® is one resource for parents and teachers and neutralizing arguing is introduced by teaching parents and teachers to become a “broken record” or going “brain dead” by saying a repeated statement like “I know but what did I say?” It’s hard to keep arguing when one side doesn’t engage. (It is tempting to think that children are looking for logic and reason when they argue rather than seeking control)
At Kent Prairie Elementary and other Arlington elementary schools, the techniques of Love and Logic® are used to help the students process problems.
- When adults take care of themselves, they hand the problem back to the student who created it.
- When the student has to solve the problem, they have to think.
- When students have to think, they learn that decisions have consequences.
- When the student learns to ask, “How is my behavior going to affect me?” they have learned self-control.
Love and Logic® was developed by Jim Fay, child psychiatrist, Foster W. Cline, M.D. and Charles Fay, Ph.D. Love and Logic® skills promote healthy relationships and positive school-wide discipline.
Throughout the Arlington elementary schools, the tenets of Love and Logic® are employed by teachers and administrators. Students process the choices they make, when those choices create problems for themselves and/or others. The adults give the problem “back” to the student with empathy and guide the problem solving when necessary. The goal is that children will experience the relationship between choices and consequences when the cost is more “affordable” than when the stakes are higher and consequences are more costly because the person is a young adult.
In the school setting, the problem is “handed back” to the child with a heavy dose of empathy and words like “What do you think you are going to do?” The empathy (“How sad.”) often opens the child’s mind to thinking/learning and many students will come up with solutions. When the child “owns” the solution, he or she is doing the thinking rather than the adult. If students don’t have ideas about solutions the adult can ask permission to make some suggestions such as “Would you like to hear what other kids have tried?” The adult is careful to give very limited suggestions (some can even be ineffective ideas), as the goal is to get the student to “own” their idea. Every time a solution is mentioned, the child is asked, “How do you think that will work?” with the adult avoiding giving a value judgment such as “I think that’s a good idea.” The adult’s goal is to have the student owning the solution so that the opportunity to learn about the relationship between choices and consequences happens when the cost is “affordable”, before adulthood. So the final step is for the adult to give the child permission to either solve the problem or not. “Good luck, I hope it works out.” If the child is fortunate enough to make a poor choice, he or she may have a double learning lesson. The goal is that when our kids grow up, they are confident they can solve problems.
Since the Love and Logic® principles work for school and home, Kent Prairie Elementary and Pioneer Elementary occasionally facilitate classes in “Becoming a Love and Logic Parent.” Two parent classes have already been offered this school year at Kent Prairie and another begins Feb. 21 and runs every Thursday through March 28 at 6 – 7:45 p.m. with childcare provided. The facilitators donate their time and the workbooks are $10. The class at Pioneer Elementary will be held in January. Kent Prairie Elementary’s classes and registration information are listed on the school’s website: www.asd.wednet.edu/kp. For Pioneer’s class, please contact the school office 360-618-6230.
A great resource is www.LoveandLogic.com. Check out the free materials and weekly newsletter. Parents comment after learning Love and Logic® techniques that it doesn’t solve everything but can make the journey a lot less stressful and a sometimes a bit more fun.
Kathy Engell is the Principal at Kent Prairie Elementary and can be reached at 360-618-6260 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.