Logical Consequences is one of the hardest things to figure out, as a Love and Logic Parent. What consequence fits the crime, but is also actually logical in a way that relates to the crime? I can take away dessert when my kid refuses to eat dinner, but is that same consequence logical if he refuses to do his homework?
We have been battling a very gross bathroom habit for over a year with our youngest. I’ll spare you the details. But we have offered options for earning something positive (a trip to Target to pick out the COOLEST new pack of underwear EVER!!!), we have offered second chances and reminders to “go back and try again”, we have tried shaming (yes, I know! It’s not the right approach). We have also tried yelling (also, not our finest Love and Logic moment). Yesterday I informed my darling six year old that I was no longer doing his laundry. I have no desire to touch those undies! Yuck!
Guess what happened? He had a BLAST doing his own laundry! Parenting fail? Check it
I mean, COME ON!!! He LOVED doing his own laundry? How is that a consequence??? It was so much fun, even his brother got involved! Grrrr! So, did I make a mistake? I don’t think so! The great thing about Love and Logic is that the parents don’t have to be the bad guy (most of the time…sometimes they still get mad at you). I can tell the future with this one. When he gets home from school and I have finished up his brother’s laundry, folded, put away, etc. and he still has a pile of clothes to fold while everyone is outside playing? Yeah, he will realize what a bummer it is at that point. And if the undies are still gross? He will do his laundry next time too. Eventually he will be really tired of doing his laundry and he’ll figure out it’s much easier to use the good hygiene we have taught him.
One important thing to note: This works if you know for a fact that your young child is actually capable of doing the thing you’re asking of him. We know this little dude can wipe perfectly. We’ve stood there with him and watched (one of the many fun things about parenting right?) If you’re asking a six year old to wipe off the counters, scrubbing in the corners and in between each tile to get the grout sparkly? Probably a little much to expect from a six year old. You know what I’m saying, right? It must be logical and age appropriate. I have been teaching the kids to help with different parts of the laundry for a while now, so I know they can do it.
So, the moral of this story? If you give your kids a logical consequence and they enjoy it? Laugh with them! Let them enjoy it! YOU enjoy not being the bad guy. And be ready for the battle later with a healthy dose of “I know….” tucked into your pocket so you don’t get pulled into an argument. You’ll need it! If the idea of a one-liner that dispels all arguments is new to you, here is a quick explanation:
*Update: Here’s the unhappy face after school. It took that kids almost 90 minutes to fold laundry. He missed out on a round of Exploding Kittens, and lots of playing outside with friends. I heard “I’m feeling really sad!!” and “Can you please help me? I’ll wipe next time, I promise!” and “It’s a reeeeeaaaallllly hard joooooooob!!!” and my favorite “My eyes just keep leaking!” But he did it. Now let’s see if he can practice proper hygiene.
*Update: After four loads of laundry and about 3 weeks, this kid still wasn’t showing any signs of improved hygiene. I reached out to the Love and Logic Institute and shared my story with them. They responded immediately! They said he might actually like feeling like a big boy, doing his own laundry, even though he is complaining and it’s taking forever. I thought, ‘Yeah right!’, but it turns out they were right! They suggested nicely telling him, after the next pair of nasty undies, “That’s ok! You’ll be big someday and you’ll be able to wipe really well” and then create lots of things he can’t do because he’s not big yet. I was honestly really skeptical. But I believe so much in L&L that I decided to go with it. So, I said those exact words. He said, ‘Yeah, someday I’ll be big” and skipped off to play. Well, because he’s not big yet, he goes to be d at 7 instead of 7:30. He doesn’t get to help with certain things because he’s not big enough yet. He only gets one cookie instead of two like his brother because he’s not big yet. And each time there is something, I just say it with a shrug and a hug and remind him someday he’ll be big and I’ll know it because he’ll be wiping his bottom really clean.
Well, two nights ago, the kids were watching a movie. 7:00 arrived and it was only half-way into the movie, and in my head I said, “No…I can’t do this to him. It’s so unfair!”, but I knew I had to stay strong. So I paused the movie, said, ‘It’s 7:00, time for bed. He asked if Peyton had to go to bed too, and of course I said no. He asked if we could keep the movie paused until tomorrow and I said no. He asked if he could watch the rest tomorrow and I said no. And he cried!!!! Oh the tears!!! But the next day, he called me in to show me how clean he was! And this morning, right after business time, he called me up. Of course I make a HUGE deal of how big he’s getting! How proud I am! Big high fives, and hugs and YAY!!!’s. And we add a smily face to the chart. So, I”ll update in a month and see if he keeps it going. I gave him a realistic goal of 4 days in a row. He has gotten a couple a few times, but always chooses not to wipe on day 3 or 4, and we start over. I’m hopeful that this will be the time! He did ask if he becomes a big boy and then stops wiping, what will happen. Sneaky little bugger! Of course I told him we would have to go back to treating him like a little kid again. Update coming!