Love and Logic

Love and Logic is a philosophy of raising and teaching children which allows adults to be happier, empowered, and more skilled in the interactions with children.   Love provides a foundation that allows children to grow through their mistakes.   Logic allows children 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 children to be responsible, and prepares young people to live in the real world, with its many choices and consequences.

As a school, we know that if we have a consistent, effective response to students' behaviour, students will benefit.  When parents are on the same page, the positive impact is even greater.  Related Article: Introduction to Love and Logic


Love and Logic Principles

Below is a summary of the basic principles of Love and Logic.  Many have applications both in the classroom and at home.  They also apply to all ages.

1.  We build responsibility by allowing children to make mistakes when the consequences are small so they don't make or repeat the mistakes later when the consequences are costly.  We expect children to make mistakes, and even celebrate mistakes as great opportunities to learn!

2.  When a child has messed up, we always lead with empathy not anger, then follow up with a consequence.  Let the consequence do the teaching.  We allow them to face the consequences of their mistakes without lecturing.  When we come at our children with anger, they will respond by fighting back or retreating (basic protection instincts) and the focus is on us - not on the mistake made.  When we lead with empathy, children are able to think and reflect on their bad choices and the consequences they experience do the teaching.  Related Article: Leading with Empathy

3.  Four steps to building responsibility:  1) Give children tasks they can handle.  2) Look for when they mess up.  3) Let equal parts of empathy and consequences do the teaching.  4) Give the same task again.

4.  Share control with children, giving them appropriate choices.  When giving choices, give two equally viable options (make sure that you can live with either choice... there cannot be a "right" and "wrong" choice).  Give choices proactively, not as a result of children negotiating.  If a child does not choose, you can make the choice.  Related Article: Sharing Control through Choices

5. Allow children to own their problems.  Do not protect or rescue them (like a helicopter hovering, waiting to swoop to the rescue) and do not solve their problems for them by taking control (like a drill sergeant saying, “do it now, my way, or else”).  Allow children to own their problems and help them find their own solutions.   Related Article: Three Types of Parents

Here's a plan when a child comes to you with a problem:

a. Lead with empathy (“Oh, that’s so sad.”).

b. Empower them (“What do you think you can do about that?”).

c. Offer choices (“Would you like to hear what others have tried?”).

d. Have the child evaluate the consequences (“How would that work for you?”).

e. Give permission for the child to solve or not solve the problem (“I hope it works out.  Let me know how it goes.”) Related Article: Teaching Responsible Problem Solving

6.  Give the message: You can solve a problem any way you want as long as it doesn’t cause a problem for someone else.

7.  Learn to turn your words into positive statements, saying what children can do instead of what they can’t.  Instead of, “No, you cannot go outside to play.  Your work isn’t done!” you can say, “Of course you are welcome to go out and play when you finish your work.”

8.  Don’t try to control children.  Instead, focus on what you CAN control, and communicate that way.  For example, let children know what you will do in situations  (“I’ll be glad to listen when your voice is calm.”  OR  “We'd be happy for you to join us when you're finished cleaning this up.”)  Related Article: Enforceable Statements - An Overview and  Related Article: Examples of Enforceable Statements

9. A strategy to prevent children from arguing is to

a. judge whether they are being argumentative to gain control or seriously have a valid concern.

b. not engage in the content of what they say. ("I love you too much to argue with you.") Related Article: Neutralizing Arguing

c. pick one statement and repeat it until they finish their arguing.  Related Article: One Liners to Stop Arguing

10.  Do not feel pressured into making a bad discipline decision.  If you don’t know how to respond, delay the consequences. (“This isn’t appropriate and I’m going to do something about it.  I’ll let you know.”) Take the time to make a plan and solicit the help and support you need.  Ensure you do follow up.

11.  Recovery vs. Time Outs: The concept is that every good minute should be spent learning.  Children who cannot make good choices should be removed from the area until they are ready to participate.  They control when they return in most cases.

12.  The power of relationship.  Children will show more respect to adults who care about them and have relationship with them.  Spend time deliberatively building relationship.  Notice what is happening in their lives and talk about that.


Additional Articles (or click here for the Love and Logic Website)


Articles for
Ages 2-6

Articles for
Ages 7-12

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Bed Time Struggles

My Teacher is Mean

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Plan for School

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School Work

Teens and
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