We get sad, not mad. Showing empathy.

Empathy is at the core of the Love and Logic approach. When a child misbehaves, we get sad, not mad. When our daughter misbehaves, we simply say, "How sad." Then when we share the natural consequence for her mistake, we strive to share it with empathy, not out of frustration or anger. We are by no means perfect, so we keep one another in check if we notice one of us acting out of frustration.

For example, if our daughter fails to wear her coat, she gets cold. We may say something like, "I'm so sorry you're cold, Livia." If Andrew misses the school bus, he stays home with an unexcused absence for the day. "What a bummer that you missed an after-school party on the day you were absent, Andrew" (Fay & Funk).

We want children to learn from their mistakes, right? Well, if we choose to reprimand them, we will probably loose an opportunity to learn. Consequences with empathy may result in Livia thinking, "Tomorrow I'll wear my coat" and Andrew deciding, "I'll wake up fifteen minutes earlier tomorrow."


Here a few of my favorite Fay quotes on empathy and consequences:
  • "Consequences will do the teaching; empathy will lock in the learning."
  • "Empathy drives the pain of the consequence down into their little hearts, where it can be converted into wisdom."
  • "It is virtually impossible to transfer blame to someone who legitimately feels sad for you."
With something to think about,

Mr. Russell
Pick up a copy of any Love and Logic parenting resource. You will not be disappointed! We enjoy this one.