Changing Horses?

I think I’m ready to change horses. Discipline method horses that is. For the last year and a half or so we’ve been using the methods found in the book 1-2-3 Magic. The method was an easy one to grasp and Nick and I both saw good results with it… when we used it correctly. If we strayed from the narrow path of no talking other than counting, or not counting consistently enough then things went down hill in a hurry. This summer we took a little refresher course when I brought home the 1,2,3 Magic DVD from the library. We got things back under control for the most part and then the boys turned 3, became more defiant and “independent” and things quickly took a turn for the worse. Again.

For the last couple of years, I’ve heard moms rave about a certain discipline method. I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention though for two reasons: 1, we had already agreed on 1,2,3 Magic and 2, this other program (from what I’d heard) seemed like soft parenting to me and that the kids would still run all over us. This fall, after hearing about this program some more both from other moms and then from a couple of speakers at our mom’s group, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and actually read the book that talks about the program. What a novel idea – actually reading up about something instead of just assuming you understand the program based on what others have said!

I found the book, Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood at my local library and checked it out. While I haven’t finished reading it yet (but I’m oh-so-close), I’m liking what I’m seeing so far. A couple of weeks ago (when I had finished the first couple of chapters) I decided to try to implement some of the things I had read.

As the weeks have passed, I’ve added more of the principles to my daily routine and interactions with the boys. You know what? Not only am I seeing improvement with the boys, but I virtually never yell anymore! There’s no “reason” for me to (not that there’s ever a reason unless your child is about to run into traffic or touch a hot stove). I don’t engage in their tantrums. I don’t warn them that if they keep up their behavior there will be a consequence (either natural or a little time alone in their bedroom), because the consequence is dished out immediately. I’m a more relaxed parent, and I don’t feel as emotionally exhausted at the end of the day like I was before.

Love and Logic has been a perfect partner with the Kid of the Day program, because now instead of asking a zillion questions to 3 kids, I just defer all (well, most) questions to the Kid of the Day.

I have been fascinated to watch the difference in the boys when I give them simple choices. For example, when getting ready to leave the house Nick might tell Tyler “Tyler, go use the potty and then get your socks and shoes”. Tyler will either ignore Nick or start in on the whining that he doesn’t want to go potty. However, if I say to Tyler (just 5 minutes later even) “Tyler, do you want to use the potty first or get your socks and shoes first?” he will instantly pick one (usually socks and shoes first) and do it and then do the other item without an argument! Wow!

From the above example, you can tell Nick and I have not discussed whether or not to officially change discipline programs, but I’m pretty sure I need to ask for that to happen. A relaxed, non-yelling mom is a happy mom in my book! I believe, given the chance, that Nick will enjoy this as well, and I have dozens of examples (like the one above) of how well this is working with the boys, so really how can he say “no”?

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  • We have had a lot of success with Love and Logic in our house. I sometimes need a reminder, but when I stick to it, it works really well.

    A good friend of mine, Laura Murphy, is an excellent Love and Logic instructor. So, if you need any additional help and/or classes, she is a great resource.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa

    We’ve been using Love & Logic since our daughter was 1 1/2 (so about 6 1/2 years). I really believe it changed how we are as parents (for the better). I do find that I need ‘boosters’ once in a while and as the kids get older – have to re-read or get another book. I can’t say enough good things about Love & Logic!ReplyCancel

  • Kacia

    I have the book and evidently need to pull it out and refresh myself on it since I find myself getting frustrated with the 3’s already!ReplyCancel

  • Nanette

    Love and Logic is the best thing that ever happened in our house and what is wonderful – it can carry you through their teenage years too. We didn’t know about it until our kids were older but I really wish we had had it before. I was a para in a behavior disorder classroom and was trained in it through the school district. Because I used the “can you” phrase so much every day it became a habit and that is how I would talk to my husband. He would smile and say “Don’t use that Jim Fay stuff on me”. It became a joke in our house. The best “discipline” we ever used with any of our kids was a result of it. When my daughter was 15 she decided to rebel. She had her own phone line (before cell phones) and her phone curfew was 10 PM. She refused to get off the phone and the yelling and screaming between her dad, her, and myself quickly got out of control. Things went downhill quickly. Because I knew we all needed to calm down, I called a relative that I trusted and took my daughter to her for the night. The next day, after we had all gathered our composure we were able to talk and my daughter apologized and even asked what her punishment was going to be. Her dad and I discussed all of her privileges and we decided that for 24 hours she would have none. They included riding to and from school with friends, going outside, talking on the phone, playing on the computer, etc. There were 11 things that we considered privileges. After the initial 24 hours she could choose 1 thing to get back each day if she respected us and did what she was told the first time. It gave her some control. It was so interesting the order that she picked things. The phone was the 3rd from the last thing she took back and it had been the catalyst for the whole argument. After that we had very few problems with her and nothing anywhere this big.

    Take the advice from a seasoned parent (better than saying old) it is worth the money if you get the opportunity to go to a training.ReplyCancel

  • Dan

    It sounds like it’s working. I’ve noticed the boys, who have been perfect angels at church for the most part, getting a little defiant and fussy at times lately. I’d like to know more about both books you’ve been using. It’s my belief (admittedly not experienced in day to day discipline, as I’m not a parent) that discipline must evolve with the child(ren)’s behavior, development and sophistication. I’m particularly intrigued with the idea of offering OR options. Kids in the early childhood age range don’t realize that they have other options than you give them when you ask them to do this OR that. Good Stuff Helen! Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Laney

    I use a lot of love and logic too. Recently I discovered John Rosemond and his books (I loved “The Well Behaved Child: Discipline that Really Works) and I LOVE it! He’s kind of old school.ReplyCancel

  • I love it. You have to get Nick to read it. My DH doesn’t fully get it and dislikes immediate consequences versus counting which makes me nuts. I’ve given him the book, cliff notes, mp3 of it and he has yet to read it. It works wonderfully as long as you can figure out how to word things to get the result you want. Retraining my brain is sooo much work sometimes. 😛ReplyCancel

  • So glad I came across this post, my kids are newly 3 and I am feeling the need to get things under control over here. I was just thinking about ordering 1,2,3 Magic but after reading your post will get Love and Logic instead. Thanks for the insight!ReplyCancel