This blog is the second in a five-part series about raising responsible children. As a reminder, Love and Logic® teaches us to use five easily understood, practical, and effective skill sets - The Five Essential E's: Example, Experience, Empathy, Expectations, and Encouragement. Last week we went over the importance of Example and how it plays a role in these five steps. We hope you are able to follow along each week and put each of these steps into play as we move on.
The Five Essential E's act as the foundation for raising responsible, happy, healthy children. As we discussed previously in this series, as parents we want to avoid the typical parenting responses of rant, rave, and rescue while focusing more on The Five Essential E’s of Raising Responsible Kids™. Because the E's form the foundation of effective parenting, we we feel it significant to reacquaint or introduce you to these important techniques. Now, moving on to our second Essential E.... Experience!
We want our children to learn through their own experiences instead of rescuing them and causing them to avoid the natural consequences of their own choices.
Naturally, as loving parents we don’t like to see our children make mistakes; we tend to do what we can to shield them from suffering by telling them what to do and what not to do. Or, when they do make mistakes we feel compelled to "fix it and make it all better". However, doing so will prevent our children from learning from their own choices and decisions.
By falling into the helicopter or drill sergeant parenting styles and not allowing our children to learn that there are consequences to their actions, we are increasing the odds that our children will experience those consequences later in life when the price tag could be much higher.
I, Lisa Greene, want to share an experience about a time my then-five-year-old son learned the lesson of tidiness through his own experiences, rather than me ranting. My son got out of bed one morning, threw his legs over the side of the bed, and ended up stepping on a little plastic dragon. The wing of the dragon broke and cut his foot - the cut was not bad enough for stitches but it was still a deep cut. Years later, my son still remembers this experience and makes sure to keep his floor tidy and clean on a daily basis. In fact, I recently overheard a short conversation he held with his sister saying, "You'd better clean up your room or you'll step on something and cut your foot!" The point of Experience is that children really remember the incidents that happen to them throughout their young life. No amount of nagging or lecturing about keeping a room clean could have done what one mistake did for my son years ago.
So when our children make mistakes, we want to allow them the opportunity to learn from them and provide loving support to help them through their tough times. Next in this series, we will learn more about a special way to help our kids learn from their difficult experiences called Empathy!
Watch a video of Dr. Cline and Lisa Greene discussing Experience.
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Please leave your comments below sharing your personal experiences following the Essential Experience step or all Five Essential E's.
Foster W. Cline, MD is a child psychiatrist and co-founder of Love and Logic®. Lisa C. Greene is a parent educator and mom of two children with cystic fibrosis. Together they have written the award-winning book “Parenting Children with Health Issues." Visit www.ParentingChildrenWithHealthIssues.com
© Copyright by Foster Cline, MD and Lisa Greene. All rights reserved.