Love & Logic Parenting Corner: Responsibility and Expectations

Dewey Howard, a “Love & Logic” expert, and his wife Angela 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.


One thing we all want for our children is for them to grow in responsibility. We want them to become conscientious of themselves and others, and capable of handling life. But how do we accomplish this It is not as hard as you might think.

  1. Give your child a task he/she can handle.
  2. Allow your child to blow it. (Mistakes can be valuable learning opportunities.)
  3. Let equal parts of empathy and consequence do the teaching.
  4. Give your child the same task again.

These four simple steps will provide you with valuable training opportunities with your kids.  Responsibility does not come naturally. We must give our kids the chance to practice it.


Kids rarely do what you want but what you expect. The difference is subtle, but it is a truth about parenting we must understand. We express what we want our children to do in words; we express what we expect of them by our behavior. If we expect our children to have good character and to be responsible, we will give them tasks they can succeed at and empathetically guide them through their mistakes and consequences. If we constantly tell them what to do by reminding, cajoling, and directing, our words betray that we expect our kids to be irresponsible and incapable of good choices.

What we do not say can be, and almost always is, more powerful than what we say.  Keep your words few and your actions clear as you keep your expectations for your kids affirming.


  1. 1

    This is a good reminder that actions speak louder than words. I have to be very aware of the behaviors I model for my daughter.

  2. 2

    I especially agree with #2. Children should be allowed to take risks. Life is all about that, after all.

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