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Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Several years ago John attended a Love and Logic Conference that was geared for Principals in the school system. As he told me about some of the practices they were teaching I mocked them and even made the "I will never" call...as in "I will never use those techniques as a mom." Well, we all know what happens when we make the never call.

Because of that conference John has had several Love and Logic books kicking around the house for quite some time. One of them is called "When Kids Leave You Speechless" and I was surprised when I picked it up to find that it is a book for parents, not school administration. Well, I think it is obvious where this post is going.

As I read the first few chapters I realized that I had been handling the teenage battles all wrong...very wrong. When the book gave example of what NOT to do, they might as well have been quoting me! Here is a discussion Anderson and I had a few weeks ago, I kid you not this is word for word what went down in his bedroom one night before bed.

Anderson: Why do I have to go to bed when I'm not even tired?
Me: Because it's a school night and you need your sleep.
Anderson: But if I'm not tired then I won't beeee sleeping.
Me: Anderson just go to bed and stop arguing with me.
Anderson: You never listen to me.
Me: Yes I do.
Anderson: No you don't, you don't even love me.
Me: Of course we do, I wouldn't be sitting here arguing with you if I didn't love you. (Giving
him a kiss and heading out the door)
Anderson: No you don't. I don't know why you even paid all that money to have my Leukemia
fixed. I think you would have liked it better if I had just died.
Me: Anderson! How could you say such a thing? Of course we love you that is exactly why we
paid all that money to cure your Leukemia!
Anderson: Well I bet if I got it again you wouldn't pay for it, cause you don't love me.
Me: Oh my gosh Anderson, Knock it off. We would pay again in a heartbeat because we love
Anderson: If you loved me you would let me stay up late. All my friends get to stay up late. And their parents let them have cell phones.
Me: Oh my goodness! I'm going to bed, I don't want to hear any more of this crud. Good Night!

Yea...real effective. This kind of thing was going on all the time but it was this Leukemia conversation that sent me straight to the Love and Logic book. I was desperate. I knew I couldn't spend the next several years in constant battle. Anderson still says we don't love him but I don't get angry as often and I don't get into the verbal "battles" with him. Here is how our drive to Scouts went last Wednesday.

Anderson: I want to be able to download any music I want onto my ipod.
Me: I know you do but it's just not going to happen buddy.
Anderson: Why not? Everyone else gets to! Their parents don't have to listen to it first!
Me: Well aren't you lucky that I love you enough to care.
Anderson: You could just give me your password and then you wouldn't have to spend time
helping me get my songs.
Me: I'm sorry Anderson, I know it's a pain having to wait for me to listen to all your music but
I love you too much to argue about it.
Anderson: I wouldn't get bad songs! It's just so dumb!
Me: Anderson, I love you too much to argue.
Anderson: You always say that now!
Me: (Smiling) Then you must know how much I love you.
Anderson: (Getting out of the car) Well, maybe you need to love me less!

I know this sounds totally cheesy but it works! It does take a HUGE effort on my part to stay calm and to keep from falling into the trap of arguing but I have seen a big improvement. I'm not perfect at it (far from), but things are definitely getting better.

Last night as we were getting into the car Sydney and Anderson were fighting over who would sit in the back and who got to sit by Branson on the way home. Normally I would yell at them to stop fighting and then I would listen to several minutes of who did what to whom and when... blah blah blah.

Me: Sydney and Anderson, you can both sit in the back on the way home.
(Anderson who has had more Love and Logic experience, gets in the back. Sydney seeing the
coveted seat empty up front, sits down in it.)
Anderson: Mom! Sydney isn't getting into the back like you told her.
Mom: That's fine. Sydney can choose to sit in the front and I will choose to keep her home from
the birthday party on Wednesday.
(Sydney gets in the back seat)
Mom: You two are welcome to argue as much as you want in the back seat but if I hear
any of the fighting it will wear me out and you will just have to pay me back with an extra
chore tomorrow.

About 5 minutes down the road I hear Anderson and Sydney start up one of their favorite games. It is like Rock, Paper, Scissors only you never say scissors. You can pick anything imaginable but you can't ever repeat the same thing twice and you can't repeat what someone else has said. So all the rest of the way home we hear:

Anderson & Sydney: Rock Paper________
Sydney: Mom? Which one wins? The Sun or a dog with Rabies?
Me & John together: The Sun
Sydney: Dang it!
Anderson & Sydney: Rock Paper________
Sydney: Mom? Which one wins? Water or a Tornado?
Me & John together: Tornado
Sydney: YES!
Anderson: No way! What if it is the ocean?
Me: Did you say Ocean or water?
Anderson: Water
Me: That could be water in a cup or a puddle or a lake and tornado definitely wins.
Cayden: (getting in on the fun debate) I learned in 4th grade that you can never actually
destroy water! You can get it dirty and stuff but you can't ever destroy it!

So I will take the corny one liners and the cheesy methods of Love and Logic for my Family Home Evenings to end on such a nice note.


Amy said...

So, Rachael came home from Kinder registration the other night with a list of the phrases and the only one I remembered was the "I love you too much, etc." And though I felt extremely cheesy saying it, it totally worked with my 5 year old!

I've been thinking about getting one of their books and think I will now for sure.

lindsay>boo said...

I'm a huge fan of Love & Logic. Every so often I have to get it out and re-familiarize myself with it. I do good for awhile and then I find myself getting back into my old patterns. You've just inspired me to get back on the L&L train...we could really use it around here!

Noelle said...

i know i need this book, like two years ago, need it for sam. that argument with anderson could have come from our house a hundred times. (minus the cancer part). which L&L book is the best to start with?

Amy J. said...

The one book I was refering to is called "Love and Logic Magic, When Kids Leave You Speechless" I like it because you pick the chapter that you need the most help on and read those first and away you go! I chose the "You don't Love Me" and the "I'm Booooored" chapters first. The "You don't Love Me" chapter was only 3 pages! That's all you need to get started.

I just borrowed one from Alicia that was Love and Logic for children from birth to age 6 so I think you can find about anything you need in print.

There are a few times I will read something and I still roll my eyes and don't always agree with. I will never tell my child that it is fine if he wants to swear so long as no one else hears it. But I take what I want and put it to good use.

Mike Brinkerhoff said...

"Maybe you should love me less"

PRICELESS!! I think I'm gonna need to get that book too....

Heidi 'n' Jeff said...

We are entering into the "teen zone" and I am scared.

I love that you are so honest about your kids and life. I hope you keep sharing, because it's helping me. I need ALL the help I can get.


SuzanSayz said...

I feel your pain Amy. I used to wonder if my kids actually did believe that I didn't really love them. I know it's a favorite weapon for some kids. But I sometimes think that hidden in the rebellion is a huge need to hear their parents say "I love you".
So this method seems really wise.

~The Robin's Nest~ said...

I had to laugh at the "I wish you would love me less" comment-That was priceless!

Amy you will find when they get in their 20's they will thank you from the bottom of their hearts for you not letting them do what all the other kids did.
3 of mine have already thanked me...It's a hard job being a mom but I really feel consistancy is a big key factor in raising kids.
Sounds like you guys are doing a great job! It's hard work but very rewarding in my humble opinion.


Kris said...

This post is so great Amy. I too like the Love & Logic Books. I need to read them and check this one out. It sounds like it would really help me out too! Thanks for the good advice and for the new game to have my kids play. THey'll love it!

Lisa said...

I feel like I just took a parenting class after reading that post :) Thanks for all the tips! (I am not familiar with Love &Logic....maybe I should check it out!)

ashley said...

Hey Amy! I think this love and logic is hilarious, but I think it really works. Rachel was telling us about it and how she's been using it with Emma and I love the cheesiness of it all! That conversation with Anderson and you "loving him too much" is priceless :)

Alicia said...

Ashley, you have no idea of the extent of cheese until you've actually witnessed it in person. :)
This post was hilarious, even having heard it all before. I love that you put in your comment that you borrowed a L&L book from me because it makes me sound like I'm all up on the good-parenting info when really I didn't get two chapters into the book.

cazmom said...

We went through a phase of "why can't I wear pajama pants and slippers to school and to Young Women's activities?" Because they look like trash and you're better than that. "But everyone does it." Well, you're not just anyone. You have style and self respect... Later in the year "Thank you so much for not letting me wear pajama pants and slippers in public, it looks soooo digusting". Oh ya, Baby!!!!!! I love your blog, Am, and have missed reading it. I'm back on.