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When my extroverted feeler son was in third grade, I needed help. My mother had just died, work was intense, my marriage was in counseling. I didn't feel very certain about anything, including parenting. I signed up for a Love and Logic course, with my spouse declining to participate.

I liked the course. After the third class, I tried a technique. The EF was being obstreperous about something and I said, "Uh-oh. That's so sad. If you keep doing that I will be too tired to read to you."

My son glared at me. "That's Love and Logic. I hate that stuff." He stomped out of the room.

I was taken aback. He was entirely correct, but he recognized the very first thing that I'd tried. He was in a team taught first, second, third grade classroom, and one of the two teachers was a Love and Logic instructor. I was taking the class from someone else, but my son saw through me. But he also hated the techniques.... ok, that is not all bad.

Love and Logic supports showing empathy for kids having a problem but not bailing them out. Warning them when they are about to do something that you wouldn't recommend and then hoping that they make exactly the mistake that you anticipate. Letting them take the consequences. Not being a "drill sergeant" parent who just shouts orders or a "helicopter" parent who rescues a child or won't let them fall off a four inch wall. They think that mistakes made young with consequences engender a healthy respect for the parent and the world.

I played my part perfectly when my son was kicking a ball in the living room. "I don't think you should do that." I said. "If you kick it through a window, you'll have to pay for it out of your allowance."

My son scoffed. Then he kicked it through the window.

I started laughing. "Bummer," I said, "That was the largest window in the house. That one will cost you!" Actually laughing is not an empathetic response, but I could not have faked empathy at that point.

EF burst into tears. "How much will it cost?" he wailed.

"Dunno," I said. I was sobered and comforted him then.

EF was very nice to the glass repair person and stood by anxiously to hear the price. We only held him to half, wussy parents.

During the summer, he was signed up for Day camps. I got to try Love and Logic again after his first day of "Ball Camp".

"I hate Ball Camp." he said, slamming his backpack on the floor.

"Why?" I said, worried parent. He listed the horrors. He'd been picked last and none of his friends were in it, a lot of kids were older, it wasn't any fun. I was going to say those comforting parent things, oh, it's your first day, you haven't played much ball, you'll get to know kids, when I changed my mind. Let's try the Love and Logic again.

"Ok. You don't have to go to Ball Camp if you don't want to." I said. My son looked completely surprised. "But... it costs 90 dollars a week. I will pay for the first day. But you will have to pay all the rest of the fees out of your allowance." The Love and Logic teachers say that most children have an understanding about money quite young.

"Ninety dollars?" said the EF, "That's a lot of money. I'm going to Ball Camp!" Subject closed, much to his parent's amazement and he didn't complain for the whole two weeks. He went off to Ball Camp and made the best of it.

Of course, you have to remember that your kids are as smart or smarter than you are. We were on a road trip and my husband and I were sniping and griping at each other. At the rest stops I was playing catch with the EF and I wanted to. A distraction.

Finally the EF threw me the ball and in a world-weary voice said, "Mom, if you and dad keep fighting, I'll be too tired to play catch with you at the rest stops."

I had no answer and stood holding the ball with my mouth open like a goldfish. I said, "Ok, you rat. You have a point. I'll try to stop fighting with dad. I'm sorry. That was Love and Logic, right?"

He grinned at me happily. All ready to teach the course.

I also practiced Love and Logic on my spouse. He signed up for the course in about 9 months "out of self-defense".

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