Parenting with Love and Logic... dinnertime
About a year and a half ago my friend was telling me about Parenting with Love and Logic, which she had just started reading. It sounded good - especially when I read the reviews on Amazon.com so I put it on my wishlist.
It took over a year until I finally got me this book for Christmas. I LOVE IT!!! It makes so much sense to me. But like all self-help books, I needed to know if 'the system' would work in MY family.
Dinner tonight presented a great opportunity to test the Love and Logic system. I had made crockpot lasagna and it was REALLY good. Unfortunately Tips Jr decided he didn't like it. When asking for something else to eat we suggested, "try a bite".
He responded with, "I don't like it."
We went through our usual run-around of coercing/coaxing/bribing/persuading but fell short of getting into the power struggle that so often occurs at dinnertime.
It finally dawned on me that this was the opportunity to test the Love & Logic system versus the regular power struggle. I gave him two choices I was happy living with:
Option 1: You can choose to eat ONE bite of lasagna, which means you have to put it in your mouth, chew it and swallow it, and then you may eat ice cream/go-gurt/nutella bread/chocolate milk.
Option 2: You can choose to NOT eat the one bite of lasagna and go to bed hungry.
I repeated the options one more time to make sure he understood (he was being incredibly silly at this point and laughing so much I didn't know if he could hear me). He seemed to pay more attention but I wasn't quite sure.
Tips added, "You have two minutes to choose" (something he picked up from 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12) and he set the timer on his phone for two minutes and held it up for TJ to see.
TJ picked up his fork, tried looking for the 'teeny bite' that he had lost in playing with his food and couldn't find it. I told him he lost it and would have to choose another piece of lasagna as his "bite". He settled on a piece of lasagna noodle and to my truly, utter amazement, he was actually making an effort to put the food in his mouth!
He was still unsure I could tell, but the thought of going to bed hungry must have resonated with him because he finally got to the point with 1 minute left on the timer that he put the food in his mouth and started chewing it!!!! My little boy choose to eat a piece of lasagna ALL BY HIMSELF!!! There was no power struggle - he owned the decision and followed through with it!
Even more amazing, when he had swallowed it I asked him, "What did you think? Do you like it? Do you hate it? Do you love it?" and he said, "I like it!" and then he came back and ate the rest of the lasagna noodles on his plate!
Parenting With Love And Logic (Updated and Expanded Edition) works! And I didn't have to be the bad guy or make my child lose respect for me in the process of getting him to eat his lasagna!