Parenting With Love and Logic

I received a copy of Parenting With Love And Logic from NavPress and was really curious to hear about this type of parenting style as it has been hyped up to some degree. A friend of mine who teaches public school and uses this method of discipline in her classroom first recommended this method to me. I was curious to read about it.

Parenting With Love And Logic is simply is a system of choices and consequences. It is a trust issue, pure and simple. Cline & Fay’s approach to child rearing would be to say that we need to trust children to learn to make the right decisions on their life and build them into successful men and women by letting them feel the consequences of their decisions. As an example, one shared how on a cold day they told their child that he might want to wear his warm coat when he went out in the snow. The way the suggestion was worded was more of a command than a suggestion so, naturally, the son grabbed the light weight jacket as an act of defiance. They suggest that instead of telling your child to do something, give them a choice by presenting evidence. They would say the better approach to the above mentioned situation is to say, “It is cold outside. You might want to grab a jacket.” This presents the evidence (i.e., it is cold) and allows the child the freedom to choose the better suited jacket without feeling like they are being instructed to do so.

Parenting with love and logic is about choices and consequences. Cline and Fay talk about “helicopter parents” (i.e., the type that hover about their children trying to make sure that everything in life is going right for them) and are arguing against that being a good parenting style because it does not allow the child to feel the pain of bad decisions. Say for example your child is “too busy” to type up their own home work assignment and so you offer to do it for them because you are a faster and better typist. The logic of that type of parent would be, “I can help my child, show them I love them and they can get to bed on time. They need their rest.” Cline & Fay would say that it would be better to make them stay up late and type their own paper so that they can a.) learn that they need to better manage their time and/or b.) receive a worse grade and feel the pain of their decision.

I do agree with some of Cline & Fay’s reasoning. I don’t agree with everything that they suggest parents do. Obviously this method wouldn’t work on a six month old. “Hey there, Johnny – you have a poopy diaper. Do you want me to change it or would you rather wear it for awhile longer? Don’t cry. It’s your decision as to whether I change it or don’t.” The Love and Logic approach to parenting would kick in with consciousness of the world around you. I’d say 18 months would probably be a good starting point for this type of discipline.

I’m not here to say what I believe one way or another when it comes to child discipline – just telling you about the Love & Logic approach. I know my public school teacher friend LOVES this method and finds it to be quite effective in managing her classroom of middle school students. I know other people who wouldn’t be so keen on this approach. I think it’s up to the individual parent and child as to whether or not this method would work for you and/or how it would be applied. I’m just glad to understand what the method is since it’s been popping up in conversations lately. You might love it and you might not. It is curious to learn about though. There are strengths and weaknesses that I see in this method as would exist in any other “method” that I can think of right off the top of my head. Still, there is usually something to be gleaned from learning different people’s approach to child rearing and so I am glad to have read this book. Sometimes it’s all about fresh perspective and, in this case, I appreciated it!

Carrie comes by her book obsession honestly, having descended from a long line of bibliophiles. She blogs about books regularly at Reading to Know.


  1. says

    Sounds like an interesting book. I haven’t read this it but I do think it’s a good idea to allow natural consequences to occur when possible.

    Such as my children not wanting to wear a coat outside. Fine. It’ll be right here when you get cold. Or not wanting to eat the meal I’ve prepared for them. No problem. You can eat what I prepare at the NEXT meal but there will be no snacks in between. However, there are times when natural consequences don’t exist. Like when the 2 year old spits on Dad during church because he won’t let her run around during the service. (Oh. Yes. She. Did.) Let’s just say Dad created some consequences for that one and I don’t think she’ll try it again. = )

    Anyway. Thanks for the thoughtful review Carrie.

  2. Martha C says

    I just went to a Love and Logic day here in my hometown. It is a wonderful new way of looking at parenting. I agree that it’s not for everyone but it does have things that anyone could use at any time. Check out some of their other titles too!

  3. Cassie Smith says

    I just felt compelled to comment on Carrie’s comment that Love and Logic would not work on a six month old. Love and logic does have a slightly different approach to infants and toddlers and it works like a dream!!! I believe that anyone that would say that it wouldn’t work for them is not willing to change their own behavior so that they can raise the odds of ending up with a self sufficient, responsible, adult child when it is all said and done. That is the only hard part. Learning that you ultimately cannot control other people, including your children, and you must control your own behavior to get the desired outcome. It is a simple concept, but definitely not easy. I have found it to be well worth the effort. Love and logic also admits that people will have times when they will not feel too much like “doing” Love and Logic but rather “blowing off steam” that is expected because we are human and preconditioned to act in those ways, but you just get yourself together and try again later. My point is that if you do more reading, watching, and listening to Love and Logic, you will pretty much find an answer to all your “what if’s” and you will be able to apply their techniques and concepts to any given situation with your child, spouse, coworkers, etc… I have personally been able to turn around my six year old from a child that we (husband and I) thought might end up in therapy and on meds as well as kicked out of private school, to a child that is perfectly “normal” and is developing a stronger self esteem and more confidence. Changing our approach with her has ended the constant power struggles that plagued us at home and with her teachers at school. We actually are enjoying her and each other (husband and I) so much more now. Love and Logic has helped us and ultimately “society at large” to raise the chances of adding a contributing member to it!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge