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Monday, November 4, 2013

Learning Parenting from an Expert

Yes, that's right a parenting expert! Did you know that such a person existed? Two weekends ago Chris and I got to go listen to Dr. Jim Fay speak on the topic of parenting at a Love and Logic conference. For those of you who do not know, Dr. Jim Fay is known to be one of American's parenting experts know for his Love and Logic (trademarked) approach. I first learned of Dr. Fay and L&L when I began teaching. It was remarkable how much more energy I had at the end of the day when I put into practice the L&L principles of dealing with needy and defiant students. GAME CHANGER!

Our church hosted a one day conference where we simply sat and listened to story after story filled with valuable, applicable knowledge and skills. Because of my experience with L&L in the classroom and knowing we're starting to have to actually parent Gabriel now, I was beyond excited and giddy- so much so we were those people in the front row, yes dead center.

In a nutshell and L&L is based on the idea of letting children learn from natural consequence and blending empathy with those consequences.

We have a lot of parents who rob their kids of the experience of the consequences of their mistakes. -Jim Fay

I see it a lot in the classroom and I'm sure you've seen it at the playground, mommy groups, grocery store, daycare (where ever you interact with or observe parents and their kids) and that is we as parents are taking protecting our children to the extreme and causing them to not learn from their experience.

Some examples include:
  • Finishing your child's book report because he/she did most of it
  • Running your kid's project to school for them after they forgot it
  • Completing their chores for them because they won't do it (he told this amazing story of how to navigate this, SO GOOD)
Jim Fay says we learn from one of two ways-
  1. Subconscious imitation/copying
  2. Through experience
The other part he touched on was that we as parents/teachers do not need to give consequences immediately and in which case more often than not you as a parent think of a better consequence long after you quickly blurted one out. It's okay and actually better to make them sweat a little- not in a vindictive sort of of way but to honestly say, "you're going to have to make up for this, I don't know how yet but when I think of something I'll let you know. In the mean time, don't worry about it." Ummm, do you think that child will worry about it? Absolutely. It's a learning experience. 

Jim also claims that one of our biggest mistakes in parenting is telling kids exactly what's going to happen IF they misbehave. You're not only taunting or egging a child on by doing this but when we do this the child then has the opportunity to decide whether or not it will be worth it. If the child does decide to proceed, well then you are either stuck with following through with a discipline action that maybe wasn't the best fit for the situation (because you made up the consequence in the moment) or you won't follow through which will perpetuate the cycle ... it gets messy. 

I love his simple word phrase choices used with younger children like instead of saying, "when you're good," he suggests using, "when I don't have to worry about you," because the latter phrase is sprinkled with empathy.

Parenting doesn't have to be filled with stress and hardship, that's the idea of all this. After getting into the Love & Logic mindset Dr. Fay assures you that you'll get excited for your children to have experience opportunities. 

As a spin off for the conference we're hosting a L&L for the Early Childhood group starting this week for 6 weeks! We'll be reading though his Early Childhood book and discussing our take away, application, thoughts, and concerns. I'm excite to learn from other families and to share with you guys about how things are going with parenting Gabriel the Love and Logic way! 

Why am I sharing this with you? Because I truly believe in it and some of you may be at a place where you feel like you need more tools in your toolbox or need something new! If that is you I strongly suggest checking out some of the L&L books and finding one that best fits you!

 Have you heard of Love and Logic? What has your experience been?

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