Parenting with Love and Logic – Part 2

Cline and Fay continue with their Love-and-Logic Tips as we finish looking at the first half of their book, Parenting with Love and Logic.


Love-and-Logic Tip # 13 Eat Nicely Here, or Play on the Floor – Instead of making demands; parents can give choices that tell the child what kind of behavior is necessary for sitting at the table with the family. Natural consequences for choosing the floor include being hungry before breakfast. Children react to commands either with Passive-Aggressive Behavior or Passive-Resistive Behavior, sabotaging the process.

Love-and-Logic Tip #14 Let Your Yes be Yes, and Your No Be Yes, Too – Two year olds use “No” and equivalents 77% of the time.

  • Fighting Words: “No, you can’t go out to play until you practice your lessons.” “No, you can’t watch television until your chores are done.”
  • Thinking Words: “Yes, you may go out to play as soon as you practice your lessons.” “Yes, you may watch television as soon as your chores are done.” P. 66

Gaining Control Through Choices

Hear, my child, and accept my words, that the years of your life may be many.

Proverbs 4:10

Love-and-Logic Tip # 15 You’ll Do What I Tell You to Do – Instead of issuing commands that are often ignored a child who is glued to the computer should hear whispered in his ear, “We’ll be serving dinner for the next twenty minutes, and we’d love to have you join us because we love eating with you. We hope you make it. But if not, just catch us at breakfast.” P. 72, 73

Love-and-Logic Tip # 16 The “V” of Love – Preferably a parent offers fewer choices to the toddler and as the child grows, he gets ever expanding choices. The arms of the “V” provide the limits needed – fewer as the child matures. All too often it is more like an inverted “V” with the choices being too many for the toddler and limits too many for the young adult.  P. 75

Love-and-Logic Tip # 17 Three rules for Control Battles

  1. “Avoid a control battle at all costs.
  2. If you’re going to get into one, win at all costs.
  3. Pick the issue carefully. Whenever we lose a control battle, it’s because we have not chosen the issue carefully.” P. 77

Instead of making threats that are difficult to follow through on, say “No problem. Our car is leaving in 5 minutes. There are two ways to leave with me: Hungry or not hungry.” No need to count down with put-downs. Quiet time for deliberation accomplishes more.  When the time is up, announce, “My car is leaving.” If he says, “I am not finished.” Dad can say, “No problem (see # 18), son you go “under your power” or “under my power.”  If the he chooses to not go under his own power, Dad must pick him up (yelling and screaming) without a word. Let your actions and his hunger teach.

Love-and-Logic Tip #18  No Problem

Using these easily understood words, gives the parents a few extra minutes to plan the best way to handle a situation. p. 80

Love-and-Logic Tim #19  The Brain Drain

Don’t let the child turn the table and make you do the thinking.  Cause their Brain Drain by making them choose from your choices and stick to it.  Instead of saying, “No, you can’t go until you sweep the garage,” say “Feel free to go once you sweep the garage.” Don’t back down; continue to give the options until he does it.

Don’t give choices that you cannot live with:  “Would you rather go with me or stay at the restaurant?” These choices turn into threats. “Non-threatening choices, offered in a calm, non-hysterical manner, give children a chance to take control over their problems.” P. 85

Rules for Giving Choices

  1. Only give choices you can live with.
  2. Only give choices that you are willing to let the natural consequence run its course.
  3. Only give choices that keep the child safe.
  4. Only give choices you can and will make if the child does not.
  5. Only give choices that begin with what the child can do WHEN he does what needs to be done or that allows the child to consider which choice is best for him. 85

The Recipe for Success: Empathy with Consequences 

My child, if your heart is wise, my heart too will be glad.

Proverbs 23:19


Love-and-Logic Tip # 20 Warning: Good parents don’t give warnings.

Allow natural consequences to do their work while showing empathy. For example, since you cannot force a person to go to sleep, turn the responsibility of bedtime fall in your child’s hand.  Possible rules: 1. After 8:00 pm, we don’t want to see you; it is our private time. 2. Everyone will get up at 6:00 am.  Show empathy to sleepy child as you send them off to school. This is how the real world operates.

Love-and-Logic Tip # 21 A Real-World Bus Service

In the real-world a bus does not wait until you arrive; it operates on a schedule.  Train a young person to be on time by establishing the schedule and sticking to it.  “I will be at the store to meet you from 5:00-5:03. If you are not there, I will pick you up from 10:00-10:03 etc.

Love-and-Logic Tip # 22 Empathy, Not Anger

Parents must show empathy without backing down. After a child misses dinner, the empathic parent can say, “I know how it feels to be hungry, son. I’m hungry too when I miss a meal. But we will have a big breakfast.” P. 94

“When no consequences occur naturally, the imposed consequences must (1) be enforceable, (2) fit the ‘crime,’ and (3) be laid down firmly in love.” P. 94   If you need more time to think of a consequence, tell them that you will think about it and let them know.

Love-and-Logic Tip # 23  Messages that Lock in Empathy

Instead of being angry, say something like this, “That’s terrible. How are you going to handle it?” p. 97

Lights, Camera, Parenting

I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of righteousness.

When you walk, your step will not be hampered; and if you run, you will no stumble.

Proverbs 4:11-12

As you begin the process of becoming a Love-and-Logic parent, rehearse mentally what you will say and how you will respond to what you expect your child to say.  “It usually takes one month of love-and-logic parenting to undo one year of tacky parenting. So if your child is twelve years old, give yourself twelve months to help him or her learn responsible thinking.” P. 103

Next time we will begin learning the Love-and-Logic Parenting Pearls in Part II.

Parenting With Love and Logic – Teaching Children Responsibility


In the first part of this book, : The Love and Logic Parent Foster W. Cline M.D. and Jim Fay explain and demonstrate what a “Love and Logic Parent” is. Overall, Cline and Fay use Scriptural principles to help parents to teach their children responsibility.

A wise child loves discipline, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.

Proverbs 13:1

Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray.

Proverbs 22:6

Ineffective Parenting Styles

  1.  Helicopter Parents – These parents “hover over and rescue” their children. They believe that “love means rotating their lives around their children.” P. 23
  2. Drill Sergeant Parents –These parents order their children to act this way or that in every area of their lives. They use “putdowns and I-told-you-so’s.” p. 24-25

In the name of love, helicopter parents and drill sergeant parents send messages to their children: Either “You are fragile and can’t make it without me.” Or “You can’t think for yourself so I’ll do it for you.” P. 25

Authors of Parenting With Love and Logic, Cline and Fay, offer no guarantees regarding parenting. No “expert” can do that. P. 25

Love-and-Logic Tip #1: Unfortunately, when our gut talks, our head listens. Using “Significant Learning Opportunities” (natural consequences) often goes against the grain. P. 26 Allowing children to make their own decisions on gradually more significant issues trains them to be responsible for their own actions.

Loveand-Logic Tip #2: You can pay me now or you can pay me later. For example, training a child about the world of finance by loaning money with all of the tools of a bank – due dates, promissory notes, collateral and repossession – on smaller items so that it will not happen later with larger items. P. 29 “Responsibility cannot be taught; it must be caught.” P. 32

Even children make themselves known by their acts,

by whether what they do is pure and right.

Proverbs 20:11

Love-and-Logic Tip #3-A Tale of Self-Concept – Children who are encouraged will grow more responsible and capable. P. 36

Love-and-Logic Tip #4 – What we say is not always what kids hear. Children read underlying messages. Example: “George, I’ll let you decide that for yourself.” Overt message: “You can decide.” Covert message: “You are capable.” OR “June, I’ll give you one more chance, but you better shape up. Overt message: “Thinks can improve.” Covert message:” You can’t handle it. I have to provide another choice.” P. 38

Three Legged Stool accurate self-concept. Leg One – “I am loved…” Leg Two—“I have the skills I need to make it.” Leg Three: “I am capable of taking control of my life.” P. 38-42

Love-and-Logic Tip #5—Messages that lock in love. Even physical rough housing can lock in love. Here are some sample verbal messages: “You do a great job of thinking for yourself.” “There’s always a lot of love here regardless of what happens.” P. 40

Love-and-Logic Tip #6 What they see is what they learn. Parents model behavior. P. 43

Love-and-Logic Tip #7 It can be a cold world out there. Allowing a child to choose to not wear a coat, for example, when it is cold helps him to wear a coat the next time. However, natural consequences must not put the child in danger.

Children’s Mistakes Are Their Opportunities p. 47

How much better to get wisdom than gold!

To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.

Proverbs 16:16

Love-and-Logic Tip # 8 Responsible Kids, Irresponsible Kids – The more decisions kids have to make for themselves, the more responsible they are. Further, teaching them that they can go to God to help them in times of need remain with them.

Love-and-Logic Tip # 9 Knowing when to stay in the middle of the problem and when to let the child resolve it helps. Parents should step in when the child is in danger or when both the child and the parent know it is too big for the child.

Love-and-Logic Tip # 10 If it’s a problem for us, it should soon become a problem for them. Our authors give the example of the mother taking the child’s dog to a friend’s house to stay for three days or forever depending on whether the child will care for the dog or not.

Setting Limits Through Thinking Words

Rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 12:18

Love-and-Logic Tip # 11 Using Love and Logic with Toddlers – 1) Modeling good adult behavior and 2) life or death issues. When a toddler demands to be picked up, the parent should calmly say, “Lay down on the floor, I can’t pick you up when you act this way.”  Children then can learn to say, “Please pick me up daddy.” In life or death situations, behavior is different. We build walls that don’t crumble – boundaries for safety and security. Life after birth is much different than life in the womb.  Issuing commands is not necessary while talking to toddlers.

Love-and-Logic Tip # 12 Thinking Words and Fighting Words – Examples:

  • Fighting Words – “Don’t talk to me in that tone.” “I want that lawn cut, now!”
  • Thinking Words – “You sound upset. I’ll be glad to listen when your voice is as soft as mine is.” “I’ll be taking you to your soccer game as soon as the lawn is cut.” P. 61

Stay tuned for  eleven more Love-and-Logic Tips and forty-one Pearls as we continue working our way through the this invaluable book for parents.