This week we are placing the focus on our parenting program and philosophy that is put into play in the Co-op classrooms and encouraged in our homes. All new families are required to attend a 5 week Love and Logic Early Childhood Parenting Made Fun!™ class offered by Kids’ Co-op. Mrs. Johnston, our 3’s teacher, is an independent facilitator of the Love and Logic® curricula and runs our training course. The goal is not only to help your relationship at home but to teach families how the staff and other parents assisting in the classroom approach the “discipline” in our school as this approach is integral in developing the social and emotional intelligence in our students. When we are all on the same page, magic can happen! We are also encouraged by the teachers to ASK if we don’t know how to handle a situation or what to say to a child. There is never any shame in being unsure of what to do and it’s almost guaranteed to happen to everyone!
Trusted for over 30 years, Love and Logic® is a philosophy founded in 1977 by Jim Fay and Foster W. Cline, M.D. It is the approach of choice among leading educators, parents, and other professionals worldwide. The Love and Logic Institute is dedicated to making parenting and teaching fun and rewarding, instead of stressful and chaotic. It provides practical tools and techniques that help adults achieve respectful, healthy relationships with their children. All Love and Logic® work is based on a psychologically sound parenting and teaching philosophy called Love and Logic®. You can learn more about the program on our website here, get books on the subject listed here in our recommended reading list, or go the the website, www.loveandlogic.com.
During the month-long session at the beginning of our year we asked one of our new families, the Nelson-McKinney clan, to journal about their experience during the 5 week training. We want to thank Elizabeth and Gabe for being honest about their journey and taking the time to allow us a peek inside their home and hearts. This year we added an additional night as an option since Mrs. Johnston was teaching a class for the community. This is the one Elizabeth and Gabe attended, which she refers to in the piece. Here is what Elizabeth wrote:
This is a bit about how 5 lil weeks changed 24 months of behavior… for our whole family. And look, there is no mystery to be solved or any clever way around it, Love and Logic® was a game changer for us. Our family is totally changed, the way our friends and family see us as parents has totally changed. The way we interact with each other has totally changed. We are sold.
Pre-Love and Logic® was very typical: There was stress and tension through out our day. I felt like Silas “just wouldn’t listen to us”. We were trying complicated unclear methods that mostly ended up in “I said STOP IT!” and of course the behavior didn’t stop.
As you can imagine there were MANY variations on this theme with both me and Gabe engaged in some sort of willful battle with our 2 year old. Trying not to be the parents we had, but failing
at being the parents we wanted to be. It was hard on all of us.
Love and Logic® really helped our family get on the same page. I journaled through out our sessions because I was interested in going back to my weekly/daily reactions. What follows are excerpts from my writing about our journey through the class.
Week 1: The Shake Up
I don’t want to be at class.
I want to be hanging out with my friend, drinking a tequila, while our kids play.
I am tired. I want a break.
I am not even at the class with other Co-Op parents because of our family schedule. And even though it feels right… I fear we are isolating ourselves from this new community.
An all round UGH.
And then class begins… and it is so simple I almost feel like I am getting tricked. I am just supposed to say a thing once and then empathize and deliver a consequence?
I just have to say “I know” like all the time? HA! Sweet.
Finally a parenting technique that gets that I need something short and sweet. Before class, Gabe and I got into a fight over something dumb and we left the house upset and not really talking to each other. Then I read Visual 1.1, “The most successful parents: Take care of themselves.” I want to have more space to take care of us and use less energy on Silas. We need it… all of us. I don’t want Silas to have grumpy argumentative parents as models of what loving looks like. We need help.
Class is informative and I feel invigorated and ready to try something different. I scoop up Silas from my friend’s house who was watching Silas during class and I say the first “I know” to him. We are piling in the car. He is over tired because it is 9:30pm and he has romped way past bedtime, but doesn’t want the party to end. I am putting him in his car seat and he says “No want silla. EE and Rah Rah!” Toddler translate: he is saying he doesn’t want to be to be in the (car) seat. He wants to play with Edie and Lucy, my friend’s kids. I simply say, “I know” in that non emotional, but empathetic way they describe and Silas sort of gets quiet. No more whining about it.
The day happens. Love and Logic® totally works for Silas. He doesn’t pitch a fit when I say, “I am so sorry, you threw your bread and now you have to be done with dinner.” In fact, later when he is hungry and I remind him that he is hungry because he threw his bread, but he can have some celery, he starts to tell me how he threw his bread and what the consequences were. Pretty rad.
But as awesome as it is… I am so glad the first bullet point was a reminder that we have to be healthy and well rounded.. I mean DUH, but yes! In order for this to all work, Gabe and I have to work together as a team. Before Silas, it was Gabe and I. Now we have this lil dude in our lives that we want to raise as a decent human. However, if we raise a decent human and lose each other we have totally failed. And so as happy as I am about the first 24 hours of Love and Logic® on Silas, my heart hopes for Love and Logic to work its magic on me and on Gabe…
I had to stop writing because Gabe got home and set up a picnic under the stars for us. And so it begins, simply and with a bend towards love.
So week one was really eye opening.
We have been exhausting ourselves and cracking Silas up with our anger/rage/frustration. This past week was like whoa, this is how it could have and should have been for the last 2 years?!?!? And it is not like Silas didn’t get pissed or lose his mind or that we didn’t come to the end of our rope a few times… its just that there was more peace around edges that just use to be hard spaces for our family.
I say all that, but then there was this morning. None of the consequences were working… everything seemed sorta out of wack and Silas did something, I don’t even remember what it was, but I had run out of chores by 730am… so, yeah it was a special morning. Anyway, I had just learned the “uh oh” song the night before and thought I would try it. I did and it was horrible. It was really really hard to hear him cry like that. I knew he was safe and that all his needs were met, but to hear him so upset, was just a pit in my mama guts. It was the first time in trying Love and Logic that I felt like I was failing. And who knows maybe I will get better at it as we go along, I just wanna say that with all the awesomeness of last week, I realized that Silas is different today than yesterday and that I am going to fail at this… a lot, but I am just gonna keep aiming towards empathy, love and boundaries… and hopefully we will keep building towards each other.
Week 3, 4 and 5 continued down this same vein, but what started to really shock me was other people’s reactions. One of our friend’s said that we make being parents look so easy. My parents were in town and were shocked at Silas’s behavior and our play with him and how well he responded to consequences. My mom, who was not an easy going mama, was shocked to see Love and Logic® techniques work over FaceTime. Another friend who has girls ages 9 and 10 said she had to start doing some of this “I know” with her girls or she was going to lose it. But the real hook line and sinker was when a mom who was working as Art Parent in Silas’ class told me that she was out in the side yard about and heard her daughter cry. By the time she went over to her child, Silas was on his was from the 2’s room to the 3’s room with a cup of water for whatever he did to hurt the little girl. We laughed real hard. And then the mom said, “I guess Love and Logic actually works?” Yes. It does.
But the biggest change is between Gabe and I. We are on the same team now. Silas has to play by the same set of rules and expectations. Gabe and I are dancing in the kitchen again and enjoying what we have in each other mostly because we are not so exhausted and worn thin from “reprimanding” our lil dude. There is space for other things in our life and that is so so so nice.
Week Six: What Happens After
Silas is defiantly testing the limits, but that has meant a cleaner house, a bit more bedroom time, and more focused empathy and consequences. Energy drain has been really funny to play with.
I am not sure if he understands what is happening, but he was pretty upset when Gabe had to get his energy back by watching “Gruffalo” without Silas bahahahahahahahah!
I realize more and more that parenting and Love and Logic is a journey and that nothing works all the time, but I feel more available to my son, my partner and myself than I did before the
We love it.
We are not going back.
Thank you again, Elizabeth! Did you have a similar experience in your first month? How was it different? We’d love to read about it in the comments. If you are interested in having Mrs. Johnston come and teach a course or speak for a group, please contact the school directly.