Parenting With Family Meetings the Love and Logic Way by BRES Counselors Amy Cunningham and Robin Vaneman, And GWU Counseling Intern Kathy Page What is our goal today? • To develop a basic understanding or review of the Love and Logic philosophy. • To identify common styles of parenting. • Explore a new parenting style and ideas for dealing with common problems. • Gain knowledge to help you develop a plan for using Love and Logic to help with your children. • Provide you with resources for further study and practice. Why Love and Logic? • Love and Logic is a philosophy developed by Jim Fay and Foster W. Cline, M.D. • The basic belief in Love and Logic parenting is that “Love allows children to grow through their mistakes. Logic allows them to live with the consequences of their choices.” • Goal of Love and Logic is to teach children responsibility. 4 Principles of Love and Logic 1. Shared Control 2. Shared Thinking and Decision-Making 3. Equal Shares of Consequences and Empathy 4. Maintaining the Child’s Self-Concept Three Parenting Styles Two Common Styles Helicopters Drill Sergeants • Hovers and Rescues • Barks orders • Makes excuses for child • Makes lots of demands • Protects the child from • Uses punishment natural consequences • Uses pain and • Uses guilt as the humiliation as the teacher teacher Consultants • Know how to “zip their lips.” • Willing to share alternative solutions to problems and how they would solve the problem – if it were their problem. • Give kids choices within limits. • Allow natural consequences to occur. • Impose logical consequences with EMPATHY. Empathy is the Key •We don’t get angry. •We don’t riddle them with I-told-you-so’s. •We don’t lecture. •We avoid power struggles. • “Probably so.” • “What a bummer. How sad.” • “I know.” • “Nice Try.” • “Don’t worry about it now.” • “I’m not sure how to react to that. I’ll have to get back to you on it.” • “Really? I know you, and I’m sure you’ll come up with something.” • “That’s terrible. How are you going to handle it?” • “You must feel awful. What can you do? • “Hm-m-m, that’s really an interesting way of looking at it. Let me know how that turns out.” • “Wow, what a mess. Let me know what you come up with.” “The one-liners are only effective when said with genuine compassion and understanding.” Consequences – Natural and Logical • Imposing natural consequences takes “guts” and can be hard to do, especially when it causes our children to suffer. • Consequences can be delayed. It is ok to take time to think about a logical consequence. It gives our kids time to think too! • Logical consequences must “fit the crime.” Family Meetings A family meeting is a structured discussion time that typically involves all members of a family. Family meetings should be regularly scheduled (for example once a week). Special meetings can be called to discuss an important issue that cannot wait until the next regularly scheduled meeting. Family meetings help busy families stay connected. Other benefits of this simple tool are improved communication, self-esteem, emotional support and problem solving. Time Required: At first, it is usually best to keep family meetings short - about 15 minutes. As families get better at communication and decision-making, the meeting times can be lengthened. Set a scheduled time for meetings, post it where everyone will see, and keep the time. If parents are committed to the project, it will have more impact. Here's How: 1. Parent(s) decide together to begin holding family meetings. 2. Tell children that you will begin holding family meetings to talk about what's going on in everyone's life. 3. Let everyone decide together when and where to hold meetings. 4. Mom and/or Dad should be the co-moderators for meetings at the beginning. Share the moderator duties with children as you go along. 5. At the first meeting remind everyone to contribute to the conversation, listen to others, and be supportive not critical. 6. Parents listen for and acknowledge the feelings that are expressed, ask open-ended questions to clarify the problem, and then brainstorm solutions with the entire family. Remember to talk one at a time and not interrupt others. A good tool to use is a ball or something to pass around to indicate who is talking. 7. Use the "Go Around" method. Go around the circle giving each family member the opportunity to respond to the topic. 8. Go Around Topic 1 - Something that made you feel good this week. 9. Parents offer praise, encouragement, and support for the good things that each person mentions. 10. Go Around Topic 2 - Something that bothered you this week. 11. Go Around Topic 3 - Something that you want to work on or accomplish next week. 12. Parents model making an action plan and help children set a specific goal to continue positive experiences or address problems identified this week. 13. Go Around Topic 4 - Your schedule for the week. What meetings, appointments, tests, special events or projects you have this week. 14. Parents identify any scheduling conflicts and plan the week’s schedule. Model good time management. Discussing only problems, chores, or gripes will cause family members to lose interest. Include positive mention of family members' contributions or achievements. Tips: 1. Ground rules. At the first family meeting there should be a discussion of the ground rules of family meetings. Some good ground rules to establish are discussing only one topic at a time, not moving on to another topic until everyone agrees to do so, taking turns speaking, no putting other people down, and no fighting or arguing. Discussing only problems, chores, or gripes will cause family members to lose interest. Include positive mention of family members' contributions or achievements 2. People Problem Solving STAR. Use the schools People Problem Solving STAR to help your child solve conflicts on their own. Here at school we ask the students to try 2-3 things before coming to an adult. Family meetings should be used to teach problem solving skills to children. For each problem, families should begin by trying to clearly define exactly what the problem is. Then they should try to generate a list of possible solutions. Families should try not to evaluate potential solutions until the list is complete. When the list of solutions is complete families should go through the list and evaluate the positive and negative aspects of each solution. Then families should try to reach a consensus on the best solution for all involved 3. Chores. The way your family handles chores can help your child learn to work in a group or as a team. Your family is a team. Discuss chores and list what needs to be done and when. Have your child pick a chore they don’t mind doing but they may also get some they don’t like. Also working on a project together can encourage responsibility. Working in the kitchen, one child can set the table, one fix the drinks, while you cook. 4. Consensus. Important decisions are often made during family meetings. It is best for families to strive for consensus (agreement of all members) when decisions are being made. If consensus is not reached and the issue being voted on is not one that must be decided immediately, it can be put aside and voted on at the next family meeting. However, there will be times when certain decisions cannot be put off and consensus has not been reached (for example, where to go on this week's family outing). In such instances, a popular vote can be taken. 5. Fun Activity. Make the meetings fun too. Tell a story or a joke, play games, have contests. Families can plan some fun activity to take place at the end of each family meeting, such as playing a game together. This way, each family meeting will end on a positive note. Family meetings can be a very effective way of improving communication within a family. Parents as well as children will benefit from having a regularly scheduled time to get together and discuss issues that are important to the family.
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