I’ve been listening to the Love and Logic parenting CDs in my van when I don’t have the kids with me. They have really great parenting advice on how to raise responsible and empathetic kids. While I’ve been able to apply a lot of the advice towards my three year old, I haven’t done such a good job applying it with the older two. They are of course a little harder to fool than a three year old.
Today I had to take my sons cat to the vet, Harry (the cat) broke his leg a month or so ago and was due for a check up and shots. The X-ray showed that he still needed to be in the cast for at least four more weeks. For me that means another hundred or so dollars out of my pocket. I’m tired of spending money on this cat only for Simon (my son) to neglect the poor thing. Love and Logic teaches that kids who are held accountable misbehave and argue less and also become more responsible as the reach adulthood.
Without getting mad and yelling, I calmly told Simon that I had to pay $125 for his cat and he was going to pay me back.
Completely confused, he was just about to start an argument with me but before he could say anything I said ” would you like some ideas of how you can repay me?”
“NO, I’m not going to pay you anything!” he replied.
Normally I would have flown off the handle and started lecturing him, yelling, then he’d just ignore me and nothing would happen anyway. But this time I calmly looked at him through the mirror and said, “ok, don’t you worry about it, I’ll talk to dad and we’ll discuss what should happen, but don’t you worry.”
I couldn’t believe it but it worked, we didn’t argue and didn’t get stressed out or yell. Once we got home some time passed and I had a chance to think about what I was going to do. I wrote down a long list of chores that he could do for me and I wrote down what he could pay me with (his Wii to the pawn shop along with all games), then I sat him down and let him decide what he would do. He was mad, said that he wasn’t going to do chores or give up his Wii. Still calm I explained to him that if he had been responsible and made sure to take care of his cat he wouldn’t be in this situation. I told him that there were more vet bills that I had paid already and that there would be more to come, but depending on how he handled this situation would determine whether or not he would have to pay more in the future.
He agreed to do chores! I couldn’t believe it, in fact as I write this now my house is getting clean and without an argument because it was his decision!
I created the same plan for my daughter who decided that she wanted to quit violin lessons and she had the chance to think about it and make the decision. This is a huge breakthrough for me. Now my extended family would shake their fingers at me with disgust but my kids are being taught valuable lessons, I’m not stressed out from arguing or yelling, and my house work is getting done.
For more information about Love and Logic Parenting you can visit this link, they have tons of free resources. I recommend the CDs if you don’t have time to read, the classes are great as well!