By using four simple, yet powerful steps as suggested by Dr. Charles Fay, of the Love and Logic Institute, parents can give their children the gifts of responsibility and self-esteem. Get started now by using the following steps:
Step 1: Show your kids how to make mistakes and solve them. Great dads (and moms) don’t try to be perfect. Instead, they allow their children to witness some of their small mistakes, show that they are human, and model what it looks like to be a good problem-solver. For example, on a cool evening, a wise dad might purposefully leave his jacket at home and say to his kids, “Oops! I forgot to bring my jacket. I’m chilly. I sure am going to remember it next time!”
Step 2: Give your kids plenty of opportunities to make “affordable” mistakes. Love and Logic parents know that the consequences of mistakes grow more dangerous as their children grow older. Therefore, they hope and pray their youngsters will make plenty of small or “affordable” mistakes when they are young, when the “price tags” of these mistakes are small. For example, on another cool evening during the same week, dad might say to his kids, “We are leaving in 10 minutes. I’m going to treat you like big kids. How fun! You get to be in charge of remembering what you need to bring with you.”
Step 3: If a mistake is made, provide a strong “dose” of empathy and hold your child accountable. Believe it or not, the parents who are loved and respected by kids provide firm consequences for mistakes or misbehavior. The most loved and respected dads (and moms) provide a strong message of caring or empathy before they deliver consequences. If a child forgets to bring his or her jacket, a Love and Logic parent might say very sincerely, “This is so sad. You forgot your jacket, and now you’re chilly. We can’t drive all the way home to get it. Hang in there. I love you.”
Step 4: Give your children the same task again. The very next day, the same father might say, “We are leaving in 10 minutes. You again get to be in charge of remembering what you need to bring with you.”
When parents give their children responsibility for the same task again, without nagging or reminding them of their previous mistakes, they send a very powerful message: “You are smart enough to learn from your mistakes!”
It’s never too early or too late to give your children the gifts of Love and Logic. One father used these steps and the same example with his four-year-old daughter. Little Amy forgot her jacket just once!
The next evening, as they were preparing to leave, she looked at her father, smiled with pride, and exclaimed, “Daddy! I brought my jacket just in case I’m chilly!”
Give Love and Logic a try and discover effective ways to increase your children’s responsibility and raise their self-esteem.
Dr. Charles Fay is a nationally known author, speaker, parent, and President of the Love and Logic Institute in Golden, CO. His book, Love and Logic Magic: When Your Kids Leave You Speechless, provides a helpful tips for teaching values, as well as handling other perplexing parenting issues.