I've heard stories about this stage...and I don't want to believe any of them. My daughter is perfect! Ha...I can't even keep a straight face while writing that!!! My daughter is absolutely a joy and I wouldn't change a thing about her...but I do need to be a responsible parent and learn how to equip myself to be able to guide her through difficult stages in such a way that it will encourage and teach her how to make wise decisions and understand the consequences of her choices. This is where "Love and Logic" comes into play. As a new mom, I really want to get it right (I know there are no guarantees) but I just don't want to be one of those parents who learns right and wrong parenting with the first child and then makes improvements when parenting the second child.I recently ordered the book, "Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood". Lately, I have really been struggling on how to handle Emily's new desire to express herself in inappropriate ways: hitting, yelling "NO", doing the opposite of what she is being asked, throwing food, etc. I feel like I am being too quick to hand out her discipline and not allowing her to have a learning experience as a result of her actions.
Craig and I just finished chapter one from the book, and it was already hugely informative. It talked about "the four types of deposits" we need to make in our child's life:
- Build the self-concept
- Share the control or decision-making
- Offer empathy, then consequences
- Share the thinking and problem-solving
I can help my daughter to build a high self-concept by: offering empathy, understanding, and unconditional love, allowing her to struggle and solve her own problems, and by encouraging her to learn to succeed through personal thinking and learning. The idea is that we, as parents, provide them with the gift of personal success by allowing our children the opportunity to handle situations that appear without warning-that require them to think for themselves. "Every time we rescue our children, we erode their self-concept. Each time they solve a problem instead, we help them to strengthen it."
The key to the second type of deposit, sharing the control or decision-making, is to provide our children with choices that are framed by firm limits:
- Do you want to wear your jacket or carry it?
- Are you going to wear your red shorts or your blue ones?
- Are you going to brush your teeth now or in five minutes?
"These choices allow our children to feel a sense of control, while at the same time they do not create a problem for "anyone on the planet."
The third deposit is to provide a strong dose of empathy BEFORE delivering consequences. The idea is that when we feel threatened or in danger, our brain goes into "fight of flight" mode. "When we deliver consequences with anger, children's brains go into survival mode rather than learning mode. They think more about escaping, or possibly getting revenge, than about how to make smarter choices in the future".
- "How sad. Dinner is over."
- "Bummer. I feel so sad when I break my things."
- "This is so sad. We can have pizza sometime wen I don't have to worry about tantrums at the restaurant."
"The more empathy and understanding we display, the more our children are forced to think about the pain they have created for themselves."