Power struggles with your teen can be one of the most frustrating and difficult aspects of parenting. Emotions get involved and at times, we say things we don’t mean and feelings can get hurt in the process. Although seeking independence during the teen years is a normal and adaptive behavior, we as parents (or even a youth-serving adult) can save ourselves stress and also coax teens to become confident to make good decisions on their own through a technique called Love and Logic.
The Love and Logic philosophy was founded by Jim Fay and Foster W. Cline, M.D. Their approach to raising and teaching children “allows adults to be happier, empowered, and more skilled in the interactions with children.” Love allows teens to grow through their mistakes. Logic allows teens to live with the consequences of their choices. Love and Logic is a way of working with children that puts parents and teachers back in control, teaches teens to be responsible, and prepares young people to live in the real world, with its many choices and consequences.
One of the authors’ key points is to allow freedom for the 95 percent of decisions that are not detrimental, so that you can fully claim parenting rights for the 5 percent that are.
For example, allowing your teen to choose which sports they will play in high school is a type of decision that should be a right for each teen. Abusing illegal substances, however, is not. In other words, when the outcome isn’t important, give your teen the power to choose. When the outcome is important, make the decision unwaveringly and unapologetically — and hopefully, you’ve made enough independence deposits into your teen’s account to keep him from being crushed when his freedom is relinquished. Sound elusive? Check out their book for more information on emotionally supportive methods to help teens build character and responsibility in their lives. If you’d like a more practical look, check out the Simple Mom blog. Tell us what you think!