Dewey Howard, a “Love & Logic” expert and recovering “drill sergeant dad”, and his wife Angela, a recovering “helicopter mom”, have successfully raised 3 kids using the “Love and Logic” parenting method. He now shares his advice in his very popular classes and on our blog-azine.
Jim Fay, one of the authors of Love and Logic Parenting, says, “A child who knows his problems are the concern of another concerns himself with none of his problems.” He goes on to call this the “no-sense-in-both-of-us-worrying-about-it” syndrome.
Parents who take on their child’s problems do a great disservice by robbing the child of a chance to grow through personal problem solving. Effective problem solving is essential for a child to learn responsibility and to have a healthy self esteem.
Allowing children to solve their own problems presumes an implicit, basic trust that their behavior will change as they learn from their experiences. Love and Logic parents want their children to develop an attitude that says, “I can find solutions to my problems.”
Remember, the best solution always comes from the person who owns the problem. Next time your child comes in with a problem, try this approach as a way of helping him learn how to cope with and overcome the difficulties of life.
Step 1: Express empathy. “That’s a bummer. I got to be hard having a problem like that.”
Step 2: Send a “Power Message.” “What do you think you’re going to do about it?” (Express your belief that your child can solve problems in life.)
Step 3: Offer choices. “Would you like to hear what other kids have tried?”
Step 4: Check for consequences: “How do think that will work?”
Step 5: Give permission for your child to either solve the problem or not solve the problem. “Good luck. I hope it works out for you.”
Don’t worry. You’re going to be at his side to support and guide him through whatever solution he picks, even if it doesn’t work out. And he will learn some valuable life lessons along the way.