We’ve been a huge Love and Logic® fan for years. I think I have given their parenting books as gifts to most of my friends. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Jedd Hafer, of Love & Logic® and asked him some of our questions. Jed’s one of those people that you start talking to and feel like you’ve known him forever. His kindness and genuine love for what he does comes across instantly.
Do you have any advice for parents regarding treating all children fairly when it comes to household responsibilities? If one of the children has special needs, they may have different responsibilities. Sometimes the other children may complain about their sibling not doing as much work.
I’d start by not working too hard to try to make everything fair. I’ve asked kids to define fair. The myth is that “fair” is the same as “same”.
Don’t be afraid to say, “I treat kids differently – because kids are all different.”
I would emphasize more the things that different kids in the house CAN do. Every kid can contribute something – even if it is just ideas and solutions.
As probably 100% of our parents told us ‘life is not exactly fair’ – and we should never apologize that different family members have different contributions. We are all unique and at different times in our lives, have possessed differing abilities. If mom or dad lose a job, their contributions to the house might fluctuate. If one child is injured, others may have to pick up the slack for a time. And kids can appreciate this one – THESE WILL ESPECIALLY CHANGE OVER TIME. “Some day, you’ll be old enough to drive to the store and get things we need. But not when you’re 6.”
These contributions are not static. The only thing written in stone is that everybody should contribute something.
Do you have a favorite tool or lesson that we can start teaching early in the kids lives? How early?
Chores and very early! We put socks on our toddlers’ hands, sprayed them with furniture polish and let them dust anything made of wood in the house. I love the phrase ‘We help each other because we love each other.’ as a motto for the house.
At Ollibean we believe that we should assume competence in everyone. How does that fit in with your views on raising kids and development?
We LOVE assuming :). Assuming competence and assuming compliance or the ‘as if’ principle – in which we behave ‘as if’ of course kids will do what we ask. This increases the odds of compliance.
As for assuming competence – we agree completely. Kids have been living UP to expectations for years. Doesn’t mean we don’t make accommodations when necessary – but we ANTICIPATE success and we are ready to celebrate it.
Some of our readers who may not have heard of Love and Logic® yet, might be thinking, it’s too late, my kids are too old! Can they still apply Love & Logic® principles?
Absolutely never too late. We have tips for helping get grown kids ready to move out… all the way down to ideas for babies. The key is that we are not a rigid system in which you have to convert all your parenting techniques (especially not those already working well). As we say, the Love and Logic approach is a menu – not a mandate.
We love the principles of Love & Logic®, parents don’t have to be the bad guy just handing down “punishments”, that kids do far better when they learn from natural and logical consequences. Can you give us an example of the best way to deal with one sibling breaking another siblings things, say an iPad?
A good question to ask is ‘What would happen out in the world?’ The offending party would be compelled to pay for the broken object. If the sibling can’t pay, I’d sell or pawn one of his/her items to pay for it.
Is there any advice you have for parents regarding fighting amongst siblings?
Charge kids $1/minute for the inconvenience of listening to it. Some parents charge toys or extra chores instead of money. The key is they are expected to work out their differences (except when we need to step in for safety reasons).
I like the statement “Sounds like you guys are having a problem. Feel free to work it out somewhere it doesn’t bother anybody else.”
I really recommend our audio about sibling rivalry http://www.loveandlogic.com/ecom/p-328-sibling-rivalry.aspx
I love the Love & Logic® books, one of my biggest weaknesses is continuing to pile on consequences if one of the kids is talking back. I know logically, that I should say, “I love you too much to argue with you” or “Mmm” and not react, however I do react sometimes and “pile on” consequences that are perceived as more of a punishment than as a natural and logical consequence. Any advice for parents in situations like this?
I like sticky notes. Writing yourself reminders such as “arguing feeds misbehavior” or “when I feel like arguing, I’m going to smile instead” – placed all over where we will see them – can work wonders.
As for consequences – delay. Don’t talk about them until later, when you are using the smartest part of your brain.
Where could we find out information about classes or webinars?
We have several webinars on-demand (you can watch when you want). Details at www.loveandlogic.com but BETTER YET, please call (800) 338-4065 M-F 7a-5p (MST) and talk to a real LIVE person. They will help you find classes near you, answer questions, whatever they can do to help and I promise you will have a good experience speaking with them. If you ever don’t like something from Love and Logic® , we want to buy it back from you!
Finally, I want to say that I appreciate what you guys are doing very much! It is very close to my heart. Hope to see you all soon at one of our events or on our FB page. Thank you!
Jedd Hafer has been working with at-risk kids for over 17 years. He and his ‘much-better-half’ are the parents of 4 kids, 2 with special needs who were adopted out of foster care. Jedd loves sharing Love and Logic® solutions with audiences around the world.