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Parenting with Love and Logic: Teaching Children Responsibility

By Foster W. Cline and Jim FayNavpress; $21.00

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Parenting with Love and Logic, by Foster W. Cline and Jim Fay, has been the cornerstone of our parenting approach for all three of our sons (now ages two, four, and eight, one adopted internationally, and two domestically). Love and Logic allows me to parent without screaming in frustration and encourages our kids to feel in control of the daily decisions that will have positive or negative consequences. They’ve learned that consequences relate directly to the choices they make and are solely their responsibility, whether they are two years old or eight—or sixteen.

Our three boys’ personalities are completely different, yet we’ve been able to apply the book’s principles with all of them to maintain discipline without using the word no (very often, anyway). For example, if they ask, “Can we watch a video right now?” our answer is, “Yes, you can watch a video once you finish your chores.” A favorite from our four-year-old is, “Mom, I don’t want to eat that for dinner!” Our reply: “Okay, that’s fine. Breakfast is served at 7 a.m.”

On school days, our car leaves home at 7:40. If you aren’t in the car, you walk and face the consequences of being late. If you forget your homework, you face the teacher without it. If you want clean clothes, you sort your dirty clothes into the right bins in the laundry room. Even our two-year-old can do it. If your clothes pile up in your room, you either wear dirty clothes or go naked.

The “love and logic” approach has worked on our sensitive, quiet eight-year-old, our spirited, charismatic four-year-old, and our “I can do anything my big brothers can do” two-year-old. I no longer make unreasonable ultimatums (which sometimes punished me instead of the kids), nor do I work myself into a frenzy of frustration. Everyone is happier, and our kids are learning to be responsible in a safe, loving home environment.

Reviewed by Kelly Olive, the mother of three sons adopted internationally and domestically.

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