Parenting with Love and Logic is written with the assumption that we all want to raise responsible, caring children who will be well equipped to make smart choices when they enter the world as an adult. The secret? Letting them make choices (good and bad!) as a child so that they learn first hand the consequences that their choices have on their life. It's naive of us to assume that if we never allow a child to arrive at a decision on their own, that they will be capable of making smart choices as an adult.
I can't recommend it enough. Regardless of your parenting style, or the age of your children, you can find something in this book to help your hone your parenting skills.
It would be impossible for me to summarize or share all that this book has taught me (You need to go buy it or borrow it - pronto!), so instead I'll just share a one specific thing that I've been able to implement with terrific results.
Enforceable statements. This section of the book was a big "lightbulb" moment for me. In short, don't make statements to your children that you can not enforce. For example, "Stop crying right now!", "Stop screaming!", "Stop whining!" News flash! Short of duct taping your child's mouth shut, you are not capable of making your child stop this type of unacceptable behavior. And unenforceable statement like that does absolutely nothing to help the situation and in many cases, just escalates it. An alternative would be to say, "If you are going to continue to whine, you need to go in the other room. If you want to stay here with Mommy, you'll need to put on your happy face." The ball is in the child's court. Even a not-quite two year old like Peanut can understand that the choice is hers. Stay here and be happy, or go there and cry. I tried this method (very skeptically!) on Peanut a couple months ago and to my utter amazement, she walked herself (still whining) to her room and stood in the doorway crying. I popped my head around the corner a couple times to remind her that I'd love to have her come back in the kitchen with me when she was ready to be happy. A couple minutes later she rejoined me with her happy face on. No struggle, no empty threats, no rising blood pressure. Ahhhh. Sweet victory. The book goes into much greater detail on how to implement this type of system, but for me, it worked on the first try.
The authors of this book also have a website with tons of parenting resources. They even have a section for educators!
What is your favorite parenting book?