Love & Logic Parenting Corner: Ownership

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.


  1. 1
    Sonya Morris says:

    I often try to solve my children’s problems! These are great suggestions on different ways to help a child solve things on their own!

  2. 2

    I totally agree with empowering our kids to think through solutions to their problems (and think about possible consequences for different decisions). I think this method best prepares them for successful adulthood!

  3. 3

    This is great, and it’s pretty much exactly how I planned to help my daughter as she gets older. Not to help her solve her problem, but to help her learn HOW to solve her own problems. I work on a college campus, so I see first hand how the kids who have mommy/daddy solve their problems turn out. Mommy and Daddy are calling me to sort out their kid’s problems, instead of me working with the student. The students are just helpless and don’t know what to do other than run to mommy every time there’s a problem. My goal is to have a child who can take care of herself (God forbid if something were to happen to me!). Thanks for this post!

  4. 4
    Janet W. says:

    Those are great steps! My grandson isn’t quite old enough for this yet, but once he is I will reference this!

  5. 5

    Love that this gives the step by steps for us as parents to help our daughter think expand her mind to different ways of thinking

Speak Your Mind