A little while ago I read the book Parenting with Love and Logic, and it really resonated with me. None of the ideals presented were particularly groundbreaking. What struck me is that it seemed to so completely and accurately articulate the way I felt about parenting and discipline.
I’ve always felt really strongly that I wanted to “Parent with love and grace.” My husband and I have talked about what this means for our family. It’s quite a general statement that doesn’t sound at all like a game plan that can be consistently implemented. But it’s more for us than it is for the kids. It’s a guiding principle; I want to view everything through the lens of: Is my primary motivation in doing this the fact that I love my child? And I think that is very powerful.
Love doesn’t mean never saying no. If you love your children you will have to say no. You will have to say no because sugar is bad for teeth and if they don’t sleep they’ll do poorly in school and if they continue to wear diapers it will stunt their social development and independence.
Parenting with love does not mean never saying no. But it does mean not creating rules, boundaries, or arguments because you are tired, annoyed, or otherwise don’t want to be bothered. Like grandparents are fond of saying, “leave them alone, they’re not hurting anything.” Though grandparents tend to overuse this phrase, if they really aren’t hurting anything, let them be kids.
Parenting with grace does not mean never punishing. If we love our kids, we must teach them that actions have consequences. But it mean not punishing with an angry heart. We have to teach our kids that, though their actions have consequences, we will still love them in the end. They can make amends and try again next time.
I really think their a place for this gentle style of parenting. And I hope that by using it we will start to see kind that are more independent, emotionally mature, and ready for life.
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