Is Parenting with Love & Logic Possible with Multiples?

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Parenting with Love & Logic

This is a book review of Parenting with Love & Logic. This post is not meant to be judgmental, I’m just sharing what has (and hasn’t) worked for me.

I don’t know about you, but getting my children to behave and do what I want them to do is not easy. Times two. We throw food, we pull hair, we say no, we ignore directions. It’s a ton of fun. So, how do I handle it?

Coming from a background where my mom and stepdad parented one way, and my dad and stepmom a completely different way, I was fortunate to see how I didn’t want to parent. While you’ll never see me spank my child, and I rarely yell at them (unless it’s a dangerous situation), I realize that every person parents differently.

My MOMs group recently had a parenting guru come out and talk to us about the Love & Logic approach and how to incorporate it. Initially, I loved the approach. It didn’t advocate spanking or yelling, and I thought I’d give it a try.

Love & Logic book

When reading Parenting With Love And Logic, I started to have some reservations about the book. It has some great points and talked about how to let kids make mistakes (I agree) and learn from them with natural consequences (I agree) but it kept using the word ‘control’. How by being calm and loving, and using logical consequences as punishment, we could control our kids and their behavior. The book even says it will help you “establish control over your kids.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m not that into being controlled. And when I try and control what my child is doing, it usually ends in tantrums. 

I also had an issue with the fact that the book didn’t address how to handle multiples. When the coach was speaking to our group, she was asked several questions that she couldn’t answer. She did say that it would be like any sibling sets (yeah, right), but when one mom brought up what to do when one child throws a fit at McDonalds and the other is being good, her response was to leave McDonalds. Doesn’t that punish the other child, too? She then followed up with a solution to leave and just explain to the ‘good’ child that they will get some benefit by leaving that the ‘bad’ child wouldn’t. A lot of the moms scoffed at that. I’m sure it had something to do with the fact that this might encourage more sibling rivalry, and it will certainly build up a heart of hatred between family members who feel wronged.

Imagine: your twins share a room. You have to punish one by taking out all the books because they are tearing them up, but the other twin hasn’t done anything wrong and loves to read. So, you are now punishing both of them, when only one did something wrong. You’re also still punishing, and the child who is getting punished is going to feel controlled and angry. Even when you approach it with love and logic. Have you taught them to treat the books right? Have you asked them why they tore the book, gotten to the heart of the matter (although, some examples do have you do this in the book, not all do)? Have you taught them to manage their frustrations and cope so that they know what’s normal and acceptable? Or that’s it’s okay to be angry, but this is how you handle it? No. If you’re using the Love & Logic method, you’ve just taken the books away and tried again the next night to put them back, repeating this until they no longer tear books. AND you’ve also punished the ‘good’ twin, who is now probably angry at the ‘bad’ twin and maybe even you.

I realize that we can’t always be ‘fair’ in parenting, and I do think there are some benefits to the Love & Logic method (like the empathy, logical consequences, and responsibility aspects), but I don’t think that consequences have to equal punishments.

So, I moved on. Looked for another angle – one that would meet the needs of my preferences and family. I became very interested in the Positive Parenting method (this is NOT the same as attachment parenting). I am a huge fan of Aha, Parenting! and have linked to her article about what positive parenting is, but the basic definition is this:

Positive parenting is parenting without punishment. It’s parenting that teaches the child to want to behave, to be considerate, to recognize and regulate their emotions, and eventually, to self-discipline.

Now, you do still discipline your kids, but did you know that discipline comes from the word disciple, which means, ‘to teach’? It’s not the same as punishment. That was important to me.

Another great resource for positive parenting comes from the Positive Parenting Connection. I love how she explains that kids respond better to guidance vs. control. How many times have you given your child milk, but they didn’t want it and it became a battle of wills? Guide them, instead. Help them feel a tiny bit in control and give them choices. Teach them to tap into their feelings and understand their emotions.

That article I just linked to above? Here’s a great excerpt from it:

Punishments and disconnected consequences like standing in a corner do not help with any of that. Like when my daughter ripped the picture, sitting in the corner was not going to make the picture whole again. It also was not going to teach her how to manage her frustrations or how to make amends with her brother.

So, this solves one of my issues with Love & Logic, but what about the multiples issue? Well, when you aren’t using punishment, you don’t run into as many fairness issues or anger issues from either party. When you use methods of guidance, you’re teaching everyone at the same time, and even fairly most of the time.

This method has worked significantly better for me with my surviving triplets than the Love & Logic method, and I’m happier too – I feel more connected to my children and like I’m helping develop them, not just control them. And I especially love that I am starting to really see the benefits and the learning set in. I have some really loving, helpful, considerate children. Well, most of the time.

Instead of being selfish, we’re caring for others and helping (she wanted to wear the hat, but couldn’t figure out how to put it on).

kids helping

Instead of fighting, we’re sharing (even stuff that’s exclusively ours!).

kids sharing

Instead of getting ‘in the way’, we’re learning expectations and life lessons (like cooking, cooperating, helping – and patience).

kids cooperating

And, ultimately, we’re able to be this:

happy mom and kids

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about another book I use that comes from a Christian perspective and mixes in some of the principles of each of these two methods.

What about you? What type of parent are you? Do you punish? Give choices? Use consequences? I truly believe there is no one right or wrong way, and that only you can decide what works best for your family.

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Angela is a stay-at-home mom raising surviving triplets. She lost her first-born triplet, Carter, after 49 days, and her survivors, B & T, keep her pretty busy with their ongoing needs as a result of their prematurity. She manages to find time for her business and personal blog (angelabickford.com). Her tagline ‘Mom of Triplets. Lost One. Survived & Sharing’ is her goal in blogging and she aims to share with others that it’s possible to survive after loss. She and her husband live in the Houston, TX suburb of Cypress. She also blogs at Thirty-One:10.

7 thoughts on “Is Parenting with Love & Logic Possible with Multiples?”

  1. Excellent review! We had the exact same questions while reading through Love & Logic and came to roughly the same conclusions as you!

    I did like the idea in the book about giving children, especially 2-4 year olds, lots of choices. My boys don’t like broccoli, so I’m never going to force them to eat it. They can choose between green beans, cucumbers or bell peppers instead :)

  2. I recently started reading a book called “Unconditional Parenting.” You’d probably like it. I didn’t finish it because someone else wanted it through the library, but it is more in your line of thinking.

    I have to say, the idea of using logic as a punishment tool for toddlers makes zero sense. Toddlers don’t have that capability yet, by and large. So, when you take their books away, they just know that they want the books and you are telling them no! Although, I totally took books away if my kids were destroying them, not to punish them, but to save the books! Some things just aren’t baby-proof.

    1. I may check out that book – thanks Katelyn! Now, I will say, I’m not sure if this will *always* be my line of thinking, but for now, it’s what we’re feeling. 😉

      And, yes, please save the books! LOL.

    2. I think it depends on the child. My kids were certainly capable of understanding “if-then” consequences at two, at least based on their ability to verbalize them. One memorable statement from M was, “I po yaya, titty ky go metty. No po yaya!” which translates to, “If I throw yogurt, Sissy cries and gets messy. No throwing yogurt!”

      1. lol Sadia, amazing how you documented all these. I can totally get that translation from your phonetic spelling :) Can’t wait to hear how my twins will talk to/about each other.

  3. Love and Logic has worked wonders for me and my twin boys who are now 3.5yrs old. I had all the same issues and they simply disappeared with Love and Logic. Uh oh goes a very long way in our house and straightens them right up. I think the term control in reference to Love and Logic is misinterpreted, because the children are completely free to make decisions within SAFE BOUNDARIES (control). When issues arise the boys see that the behavior of one has consequences that they do not want, so they tighten up, therefore the other is not suffering because he wasn’t the one who misbehaved, but they both learn not to act that way because they see the outcome. Public outings are a little tougher, but I have never fallen pray to giving them what they want in the store and I have no problem dealing with embarrassing departures that last a few moments in order to teach a very big/important lesson to my boys. I set the standards before we go in and if they aren’t followed we leave, end of story, and they know that now, so they rarely act up in public anymore. This book has changed my life, so not frustrated and exhausted anymore and they boys are so much happier. I don’t think I could have done this when the boys were younger than 3, but I could have started allowing them choices and showing consequences much earlier than 3 years old. The earlier you start the better;-)

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