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A Disciplinarian’s Dream Come True: A Book Review of Love and Logic

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Temper tantrums are never fun. I’m convinced that my 18-month-old is already knee-deep in the “terrible twos.” She’s the most dramatic baby in the world (and yes, I’m being overly dramatic when I say that).

If my toddler doesn’t get her way, she bangs her head on the nearest hard object. She’s even walked into the kitchen just to bang her head on the floor rather than the soft carpet in the family room. It must be a family trait because my son used to do the same thing. My daughter’s latest trick is pulling out huge chunks of her own hair. After ruthlessly ripping out a tennis ball sized wad of hair, she looked at me like it was my fault!

Other than their extremist temper tantrums, my kids tend to be pretty good-natured. However, when your child is banging her head on the floor or tearing out her own hair, you may feel like you’ve reached your wit’s end.

I’ve been tempted to throw a tantrum on the floor next to my child (minus the head banging – that looks like it really does hurt). I’ve also tried moving my daughter to a “safe” location (like the middle of the carpeted family room where she can’t get hurt) and taking my own Mommy Time-Out by just walking away for a few seconds to regroup. Sometimes I’ve wondered if 10:00 a.m. was too early for a glass (or bottle, depending on the size of the temper tantrum) of wine. While I’m sure the wine would make me feel better, none of those activities is a solution to handling the temper tantrum or preventing one from happening again.

Temper tantrums are caused by frustration or lack of communication ability in a child. To combat this, I’ve tried to teach my children basic words such as “more” and “no” as quickly as possible. I looked into teaching them sign language, but, for the most part, they were able to communicate their needs through simple words. When my children would grunt and point at something, I would encourage them to “use their words.” Even so, temper tantrums will occur no matter how much your child is able to communicate. The trick is to reduce the frequency of them and know how to handle the temper tantrums when they do occur.

One of my favorite parenting books is Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood. The book is based on the principles addressed in Parenting with Love and Logic, but they’re tailored specifically to the needs of children from birth to six years. At the advice of a friend, who began using the Love and Logic principles both on delinquent youth whom she mentored, as well as her own babies, I purchased the books. Since reading the books, I’ve begun to feel more confident in my own parenting ability.

The Love and Logic books allow you to be a sensible parent. While building up your child’s self-esteem, you can still show your child the right way to handle situations. The books’ main goal is to get your child to think for himself and act appropriately in each situation. The books arm you with practical, simple tactics to show your child that you care while still getting them to act in a respectful, appropriate manner. For example, in Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood, each chapter ends with an “experiment.” One of the experiments advises parents to teach their children the difference between whining and speaking in a “big voice.” The experiment then describes effective ways to train your child that whining isn’t the way to get your attention.

Even after reading the books cover to cover several times, I find myself referring to certain case studies or “pearls” in both of the books. The books helped me to train my son to pick up his own toys (although when he was four, this backfired when he told me to take his toys away and keep them until Christmas). The books have also helped to streamline my mornings, something that’s exceptionally important now that my son has to catch a bus before 7:30 a.m.

If you’re struggling with discipline or getting your kids to listen, or if you just want some practical advice on setting your children up for success, I highly recommend reading Parenting with Love and Logic and Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood. I read Parenting with Love and Logic first to get an overall understanding of the principles, but Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood is also an excellent book to read on its own. Let me know how these books have helped you!

Happy reading!


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