One of the most important facets of the Love and Logic technique is empathizing with children when they get into difficulty. I will openly admit that this has been difficult for me to pull off, because I too quickly end up sounding sarcastic or insincere. That pretty much ruins what I’m trying to accomplish and over the years I’ve given up in frustration more often than succeeding.
The good people at Love and Logic suggest saying something like, “Bummer!” or “Oh dear.” Find a phrase that works well with your own personality and use it all the time. This for some reason was hard to do, and I’ve tried a few different ideas out over the years but nothing has really fit. “Bummer” or “Oh dear” just aren’t quite a perfect fit for us.
Tonight though, I think I hit on what will work for both me and the kids. It’ll run something along the lines of “Oh man! That looks really difficult.” or perhaps “Dude! That’s a tough one.”
There’s more to the equation than just using the right words though. I think that not being angry is a big part of the success that Love and Logic parents enjoy. For me personally, getting to that point? Not so easy. And while I’ve attained a degree of calm in my life for now, there’s no guarantee that I won’t relapse into an angry fit here and there. (I just keep trying; and letting go of things that annoy.)
It’s not completely clear why I’m handling things with more calm than in the past. Perhaps I’m finally growing up. Well. Sort of. I hope to continue to be annoying in my children’s eyes young at heart for many years to come.
I bought an iPod last year and it has been quite popular with the children. I also bought a case for it, because keeping my possessions in mint condition is a value. Not so for the boys. They’ve been taking it out of the case and it is now scratched. On top of that, it’s common to find the battery run down or they put it where I can’t find it.
I sadly told them that they can’t borrow my ipod anymore, because it’s not being treated well enough. This morning I was pretty surprised to see my case in The Mercenary’s hand, walking into church. He’d taken it to cover the iPod he bought (with his own money) last week. Talk about a double standard! i made a big deal of teasing him over the whole thing, but I wasn’t really angry. Getting upset isn’t going to take the scratch out, and hopefully he sees my side of things.
Or at least he will someday when he buys his own car and I ride in it eating a really crumbly snack and leave my drink and coat and papers in the seat. Heh.
Innnnn the meantime, I plan to keep saying “Dude!” or “Oh Man!!” and cultivate more empathy.
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Photo graciously provided by Andrew*, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved