I've been attending a "Love and Logic" parenting class for the last several weeks, and have learned so many helpful principles and skills. I can see a big difference in the way that I handle things now and in the way that my children respond. I love some of the specific phrases I've gained that help me stay calm when I would normally get frustrated. I highly recommend attending a local class (these are free, and starting soon in our area!), visiting their website, or reading or listening to their materials.
Since this is my place to record lessons on parenting, I want to make a list of the most helpful things I've learned from the class. This is not meant to replace or plagiarize the official "Love and Logic" material. In fact, I haven't read their books lately, so this is just based off my notes. If you are interested in really learning it, please go to their sources. But if you are unfamiliar with their teachings, this will give you an idea of some things they offer.
1. Neutralize arguing by calmly and quietly repeating one-liners (with a smile), such as "I know," "I'm sorry," "It may seem that way," "and what did I ask you to do?" and "I love you too much to argue."
2. React to their poor choices with sadness (not madness), "Oh, how sad!" and with empathy, "Oh, no! That was a bad choice. That's going to be really sad for you."
3. At times, it's best to use delayed consequences because they can be delivered when emotions are calmed, and you can have time to figure out the most appropriate consequence.
4. What most people call "time out," they call "recovery process." It shouldn't be used a punishment. When they are struggling to make good choices, quietly ask them, "Can you make good choices, or do you need some time away to remember how?" If you've decided that they need to go, say, "Feel free to go in the other room until you can be calm and apologize." And then if they struggle to go, offer, "I let kids choose where they want to go if they can go in 10 seconds." And if you need to, say, "Can you get there yourself, or do you need me to hold your hand?" And when they go, explain, "I would be happy to have you come back when you are ready to _________." Then tell them that you will really miss them and hope they come back soon.
5. Take the time to build a positive relationship by learning their interests, talents, strengths, and weaknesses. Verbalize what you "notice" about them, and it will mean a lot. Try to give encouragement instead of praise. Praise is vague or general statements that tell them how we feel about them. It causes them to compare themselves with others. Encouragement is specific, and describes their effort.
6. Use "enforceable statements" about what you will do, instead of telling them what they have to do. For example, instead of saying, "You need to clean your room right now" try saying something like, "I will be happy to help you call a friend when you have cleaned your room." Some other examples are: "I let kids play outside who have gotten dressed and ready for the day" and "I'm happy to start driving once everyone is buckled in" and "I let kids play together who can play nicely."
7. Give them choices whenever you can. This empowers them! I have found this to be most helpful with our 2-year-old. I'm no longer telling her all the time what we are going to do. Instead, I'm asking her what she would prefer (while still staying in control). Some examples are: "Would you like to go now, or stay for 2 more minutes?" and "would you like Daddy or Mommy to help you brush your teeth?"
8. Help them learn to solve their own problems. First show empathy about their problem. Then ask "What are you going to do about it?" or "Do you want help to solve the problem, or do you want to deal with it by yourself?" Next, see if they want suggestions by saying, "Do you want to know what other kids have tried?" And if they do, offer one: "some kids just ignore it, and go play with someone else." Then see if they want to try that: "Would that work for you?" If not, then offer more suggestions. Last, send them on their way to deal with it: "Good luck! And let me know how that goes for you."