Update: Parenting with Love & Logic. Some of it even works...

>> Thursday, 14 March 2013

One week or so on from this post, I'm still trying to introduce the 'Parenting with Love and Logic' principles into the Potski home.  How have we made out?  Well, here are a few things we've achieved;

1.  A (mostly) drama free piano lesson for Boy #2.  (Click here to see details of last week's fiasco) Sure, he did show some reluctance to start the lesson but when I reminded him his pocket money privileges would be cancelled out for a second week running (never mind the cost of his lesson being deducted from his savings once again), he pulled himself together and went in.

Mind you, if I'm honest? What really clinched it was his being put in charge of the alarm clock I put in the room to make sure his lovely - but somewhat over enthusiastic - piano teacher did not follow her usual pattern of over-running the lesson by 20 minutes or more (which it turned out was his main bugbear).  The result was that when the alarm sounded 30 minutes later, he actually said "That was a short lesson!" and was happy to continue for another 5 minutes whilst she went through his homework with him.  Although of course the extra time required resetting the alarm clock - himself -  took almost all of the 5 minutes more he'd agreed to.  (Note to self; dig out an alarm clock that's easier to operate)

It's all about the technology.  Boys and their toys...

2.  A smooth transfer of responsibility - from me to the Boys - for packing completed homework into rucksacks the same evening it's been done.  Yes, I'm still prompting them to put it away (and admittedly their Dutch school homework somehow managed to escape everyone's notice), but the prompt is now less of the 'Put it away now!' and more of the 'Do you think it's a good idea to leave that lying on the table when we're about to have dinner and it could get food or drink on it?' variety.  (Admittedly, this was very much helped by Boy #2's knocking over a full glass water on his 'Non-waterproof, Mama - NON WATERPROOF!' folder only moments after he had told me he would do it later...)

3.  More help laying the table in the mornings.  Also still prompted, but once more along the lines of pointing out that if they take responsibility for doing that, then I can take responsibility for making their school lunch...

4.  Both Boys remembering to put their own lunchbox into their school rucksacks.  On the one hand, I know this seems like a paltry task.  Why should it be something that bothers me, doing it for them?  Well, maybe because I can see this still happening in 2 years time. Or 5. Or when they are 18 years old and heading back to uni with their duffle bag of clean laundry (note to self - start training Boys how to sort colours from whites now...).

Please note: we have some way still to go.  There is plenty of work to be done, not least by me in controlling my inner drill sergeant and putting her back in her box when she tries to take control, instead of  sitting back and letting my sons find out for themselves what happens when they don't take responsibility for themselves.  But today something happened that gave me hope.  At the end of school, whilst waiting with me for his younger brother to finish what he was doing, Boy #1 and I had the following exchange:

Boy #1:  "Do I have to wear my snow pants home, Mum?"

Me (thinking you're just getting over flu, you've got a horrible cough, of COURSE you have to wear your snow pants home): "Not if you don't want to, no. But if you don't, no complaining if you get cold."

Boy #1: "Oh.  OK.  But it is still snowing, right?"

Me: "Yes, it's still snowing."

Boy #1:  "Do you know what temperature it is?"

Me:  "About minus 4 degC."

Boy #1: "Alright."

Puts on his snow pants.

Now.  If only I can get this to work with Boy #2...


Iota 14 March 2013 at 21:33  

Good for you.

The appropriate clothing issue is one I always feel I lose. I've backed off the "you've got to wear a coat" approach, to the "if you choose not to wear a coat, then you're not allowed to complain if you're cold" approach. But the net result seems to be that they don't wear the coat, they are visibly cold, they know not to complain, but I feel horrible just looking at them turning blue. Yes, I know the theory is that they will learn. Cause and effect. But they don't seem to learn... They don't seem to make the connection from one time to the next time.

I guess it's a long process.

MsCaroline 15 March 2013 at 05:57  

Well done, you.
Their future teachers (and professors) and wives will thank you for it.
I'm one of the few people I know who has heartily enjoyed her children's teenage years, and I think the fact that they are responsible kids has a lot to do with it.
I'm with Iota, though: appropriate dressing seems to take a lot longer to sink in. Son#2 wanted to wear shorts last week when it was 8degC out. I let him. He was cold. But I bet he'll do it again.

You have to pick your battles.

Home Office Mum 15 March 2013 at 08:15  

This sounds like a calmer version of me downing tools last night....I shall have to follow your example and try to use logic to get the little buggers to do things for themselves

Janet Dubac 15 March 2013 at 10:47  

Wow! What wonderful story. I enjoyed reading your post. This is a much better way of teaching your kids cause and effect. They will grow up to be responsible adults one day with this small step. Way to go Mommy! :)

nappy valley girl 15 March 2013 at 13:38  

We have the clothing issue too. I always try to make it very clear that if they don't put on gloves or a hat, they can't complain about being cold. I think they've got the message now, because they just look mutinous and say nothing if they are cold.

As for piano, in the beginning I'm afraid I used bribery. If they behaved during the lesson, they got a cookie from the bakery afterwards. Now, they almost always behave - but we still have to buy the cookie or we have tantrums!

Clare Taylor 18 March 2013 at 17:33  

Iota - it certainly is. Although for some reason a temperature of -10degC seems to be more of an impetus for putting on a coat than +2. (Personally I find anything below 18 a bit parky...)

MsC, I'm trying.

HOM - it's slow. But sometimes I think we're getting there!

Janet, thankyou - and I live in hope.

NVG - am afraid I resort to bribery to take his mind off the fact that there is even a lesson scheduled. A slippery slope.

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