book review: love & logic

I recently read both "Parenting with Love & Logic" by Foster Cline & Jim Fay (NavPress, 2006, $24.99) and "Love & Logic Magic for Early Childhood" by Jim Fay & Charles Fay (Love & Logic Institute, 2000, $24.95). Both are excellent - instructive, practical, and immediately applicable.

parenting-with-love-logic-foster-cline-jim-fay-hardcover-cover-art"Parenting With Love & Logic" offers parents an overarching parenting philosophy that emphasizes giving choices that are within firm, loving limits. The book is packed with solid content. In fact, there are so many helpful tools in it that it would be hard to simply "summarize" the book and leave it at that.

love and logic magic for early childhood jim fay charles fay"Love & Logic Magic for Early Childhood" repeats the same content, but gives practical examples for parents who have little ones (birth to age 6). Some of the issues covered include whining, chores, bedtime, potty training, and more.

The concepts that I found particularly helpful in both texts were offering choices, being intentional about presenting thinking messages, using the uh-oh song when misbehavior occurs, extending compassion, and modeling appropriate actions. I have begun using quite a few of these "techniques" already (with success).

Although I found most of the examples to be refreshingly compassionate and gracious (yet also firm), several of the examples seem to be too harsh and simplistic. For example, I would not call a friend to come and pick up my toddler if she were acting out at the grocery store (page 32-33, Love & Logic Magic). Additionally, I prefer to have thoughtful conversations with my preschooler when she does something inappropriate (we talk about what happened, why the action was wrong, what she could have done differently, etc.) rather than simply letting natural consequences do the teaching (read page 106 of Parenting with Love & Logic to find out why the authors discourage these kind of conversations).

I would also be remiss if I didn't point out that I am quite disturbed by Foster Cline's clinical background and his association with Attachment Therapy, a frightening form of therapy that seems to be downright abusive and sinister. The book doesn't ever refer to this therapy or Cline's tie to it (I discovered it when doing a bit of research on the title), but it is upsetting nonetheless.

Those "negatives" aside, both books are infused with much wisdom about fostering creativity, mitigating the media's role in our lives, capitalizing on the early years, and encouraging children to think for themselves. Some of the examples are flawed and this is not the end-all approach to parenting, but I do appreciate many of the Love & Logic concepts (and I think you will too).

YOUR TURN: I'm curious. What parenting books have you read lately?

WIN IT! One winner will receive a copy of "Parenting With Love & Logic" ($24.99), "Love & Logic Magic for Early Childhood" ($24.95), and "Painless Parenting for the Preschool Years" (DVD, $29.95 - I haven't watched this yet due to lack of time, but I'm hoping to pop it in my DVD player soon...). To enter, leave any topic-related comment on this post prior to Friday, September 11th at 11:59 p.m. (Don’t forget to follow the rules…all generic comments like “Enter me!,” “Love it,” and “Cool stuff!” will be disqualified.).

*UPDATE* The winner is #42 Jinxy. Congratulations!

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70 comments on “book review: love & logic”

  1. I have not read any lately but could use a good one as we are going through the terrible 2's with are daughter and trying threes with are son at the same time thanks for the chance to win [email protected]

  2. I am dealing with the terrible 2's right now and nothing is working. I'd love to read a new way of handling her behavior!! I so need this right now.

    My last "parenting" book that I read was "Naptime IS the New Happy Hour." ;) Also, "Green Baby"

  3. I would love to win this. The only parenting "book" I've read lately is Parenting magazine! I would love to win these books!

  4. i love reading parenting books, i like to get all the info i can and then make the decisions i can based on what i've read and learned!

  5. I have to admit that I wouldn't purchase this book on my own but I would rent it from the library. I always am looking forward to new ideas on how to handle my 3 year old. The last book I read was What to Expect the Toddler Years.

  6. I've read Love & Logic and quite like the concepts...although I really had to get over the way he "speaks" within the book...too cheesy.
    What books have I been reading? Oh...Parenting From the Inside Out, Discipline without Distress (Judy Arnall), The Out of Sync Child, etc.

  7. These sound fabulous!, I've been searching through parenting books and magazines, and this is exactly what i've been searching for!!!

  8. When I was pregnant the first time a round, I read everything I could get my hands on, But I haven't read any in a while.

  9. I'd love to get my hands on these books. I'm a first time mommy to be, due in Nov. and could really use them since parenting is all new to me!!

  10. My daughter is 20 months, and I think I have only browsed through the parenting books for infants, but I would like to start reading books that pertain to this age because their is a lot of communication that breaks down because of her lack of being able to communicate her thoughts and feelings. These books would be a great read!

  11. I have never actually read a parenting book, but I feel like I could really benefit from one. I have heard many, many great things about these books and would love to own them,

  12. ooh. I didn't know about the connection with Attachment Therapy. But i LIVED by the early childhood version of this book. The next parenting book on my list is "the introvert advantage." I'm thinking I need to read it soon for the sake of one of my kiddos.

  13. Love and Logic are fabulous. I met Jim Faye at a teachers conference in SLC, UT years ago when he talked about using L&L in the classroom. It worked great there, but is even better at home. These are books I put on the reserve list at the library about every 6 months for a refresher, but would love my own.
    My other "reference" parenting books that I visit frequently are Dr. Harvey Karp's "The Happiest Baby on the Block" and "The Happiest Toddler on the Block." The baby one is an essential tool in the first 4 months. His 5 S's REALLY do work with fussy kiddos. The toddler one is amazing too. As with any parenting books, these have much to offer as well as oddities too. Dr. Karp's philosophy is learning much from our prehistoric ancestors and applying what we can learn. If you are like me and believe we were created in the image of God, you can still learn much as does Dr. Karp from studying prehistoric creatures who were in fact genetically very similar to us. The books are packed full info to help us better understand our little ones. Combined with Love and Logic, parents almost can't go wrong with these books!

  14. At this point I've only read What to expect the first year, but I'm looking into more book and these two sound pretty good. Since my book time is very limited I do most of my reading on-line. I really like Dr. Sears site among a lot more for information.

  15. My sister just found out she was pregnant and this would help ease her mind... I think she will feel a little at ease with some more advice!

  16. I am almost finished with The Parenting Breakthrough by Merrilee Boyack. It is about teaching children to do things on their own and with more responsibility so that they can become independent adults when they leave the house. I am loving it because I have an only child and he thinks that I am there to only serve him. So, it will be nice to teach him some things so that I don't have to look like a chicken with my head cut off everyday.
    I have heard about the Love and Logic books and would actually love to read them.

  17. I'm reading Raising Boys and Bright from the Start...slowly. I liked On Becoming Baby Wise and followed the principles very loosely. I keep hearing about Love & Logic. I need to read that.

  18. I haven't read any! Not even what to expect when your expecting when I was pregnant. My daughter is 14 mos and so I really need to get started. She is a pretty mellow girl so we haven't felt a huge need for guidance. Guess it will catch up to us when she is 15!

  19. I've been reading parenting books by Lehman and have heard he has a similar approach as the Love and Logic guys do.

    I'm insanely curious about Attachment therapy now and must go look it up...!

  20. You've got me curious...I'm about to google attachment therapy.
    I'm glad that you've done such an honest review. I think parenting books should be taken with a grain of salt. There is so much you can learn from them, but they can also really lead you astray.
    Don't know if this classifies as a parenting book, but lately I've enjoyed John Holt's How Children Learn.

  21. I'm actually reading 1-2-3 Magic and use it with a lot of the Love & Logic teaching. I really need all the help I can get with a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old. My hands are FULL as a single mom! [email protected]

  22. I have not heard of this book before but am now definitely going to read it. Thanks for the great review. I need to start reading up on this stuff because my daughter is about at the age where I am going to need all the advice I can get :-)

  23. I first discovered these books about a year ago. They work really well! I read the original Love and Logic one and then got the one for preschoolers on CD and listed to it. There is so much good advice in it. I have to remind myself to get back into doing it though......this summer I've gone back to my old ways, which of course don't work nearly as well! Thanks for the reminder!

  24. Well... Not sure if it's a "parenting" book exactly.. But I've been reading a couple of early childhood psychology books recently, including a comparison of human infants and other primate species. Another one from the 70s describes a TON of research studies that would not be allowed today. For instance, when trying to determine whether a child had been affected by trauma at birth, they took a bunch of kids born at a particular hospital during a certain period, attached electrodes to their thighs, shocked them and timed how long they cried. Author's comment: Not all traumatised kids from the hospital were part of the study because not all parents provided consent. My reaction: Some parents provided consent?!?

    It's pretty interesting though - talking about what ages what type of cognitive developments are typical and what they are able to determine experimentally about how babies see the world, what kinds of things the average baby at a particular age should be capable of understanding, and also some discussion about the motivation behind certain behaviours.

    Yeah, so only sort of related to parenting...

  25. I haven't been reading any parenting books lately, but I have been waiting to hear and read what you use to discipline gently. We are in the process of figuring out the best way to handle our very spirited, but tender-hearted two year old. Thanks for this recommendation! I'm going to look at it.

  26. I haven't read many parenting books lately, but the most recent one is probably a breastfeeding book, and that was awhile back. But these books look really helpful, especially with four kids!

  27. I'm currently reading Dr. Leman's "Bringing up kids without tearing the down". I am finding very helpful and love how much emphasis he puts on building a strong self image and good self esteem in your children. It's also helping me to be a calmer parent :)

  28. i found myself really drawing a blank when trying to figure out what kind of parenting books i've read. i think the most recent one, which really wasn't that recent, was the "Five Love Languages for Children" book.
    I do however read alot of books on motherhood and being a Godly wife and mom. Lately i've been studying the Proverbs 31 woman (well chapter on the perfect Godly woman). I have really been learning and challenged and convicted about certain things in my life because of this study.
    This has translated to my parenting style.

  29. These books might be helpful for me. I guess with all parenting advice though, take what you need and politely listen and nod your head to what you don't need.
    Geez it would be great to have somebody to just call and take away your unrurly chid, but some of use don't have that and it kinds gives the child exactly what they want. It isn't like you WANT to go grocery shopping but the foods has to get in the house somehow.

  30. My husband loved "Love and Logic" although I felt like with my children being both 2 and under it did not apply to my current situation, although I will probably use some of the methods suggested when my children are older. I had no idea there was one for Early Childhood. I am going to have to check that one out! Thanks for your post!

  31. These books sound great. Do you have to read them together? Like read the Love & Logic first then the Love & Logic Magic for Early Childhood makes more sense or can you just read Love & Logic Magic for the Early Childhood? I really think I could get some great ideas from the Early Childhood book. I read Spiritual Parenting, but wasn't totally thrilled with the book not for any particular reason. Just wasn't really what I was looking for I guess.

  32. I'd love to win these. I am a parenting book junkie :) I just like to see what the culture is saying... I just finished 1-2-3 Magic and learned a lot, and I'd be very curious to peruse these!

  33. So, I just googled it and EWWW. I am not at fan either. Sometimes I read these things and just go WHY? Where was the logic in that?
    Thanks for your insights Stephanie

  34. I just checked out the book "the good son" (it was reccomended by the librarian) I have yet to start it but am hoping it is good as well. Thanks for your insight on these books because I have been wanting to read them. I am going to google Attachment Therapy. Sounds bad and I want to know why.

  35. My daughter just turned 2 and we're trying to figure out how to discipline gently. I've heard about the love and logic series, very intrigued about how to teach her to be compassionate and how I can be understanding.

  36. These are both books I've been interested in reading for some time now. I'm still not sure why I haven't grabbed them!

    I completely, totally, 100% believe in being a thoughtful, gentle parent... but I struggle with it SO MUCH. I find it incredibly difficult to break from the pattern of parenting that my parents modeled... and I really hated their parenting style. As much as I don't want to repeat their mistakes, I find myself making them all the time! I often wonder what it takes to really turn a desire for better parenting into a REALITY of better parenting.

  37. Please enter me. I can use all the help I can get in being the parent God designed me to be. My favorite parenting book is The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson. I also loved Don't Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman.

  38. That book is on reserve for me at the library...I have yet to pick it up! :-) I think the best book I've read on parenting is...the book of Proverbs!!! Straight from the Maker to me on how to deal with His creation! But probably next is Tedd Tripp's Shepherding a Child's Heart. Love that book!

  39. I have the Magic for Early Childhood book already, but I would like to have the other two resources. Like you, I don't use all the info, but I've found several good bits of info from the Early Childhood book that I've incorporated into our method. Since my girls are now all over 3 I actually look back at all the baby books that I used to pour over and wonder WHY?? Things generally go so much better when I go with my own instincts and our own parenting style!

  40. I have many close friends who are teachers, as well as mamas, and they swear by this book!

    I would love to get copies so that I can delve into it - what I really appreciate, from what I've heard about it, is that you're teaching your children lifelong lessons while doing it in a framework that doesn't make you go bonkers (if there's a 'system' to discipline, care, etc. I'm all for it.. so I don't have to sticky note my own 'rules')

  41. My husband and I are reading "be the parent your child deserves" by Rae Turnbull. It's a difficult book to find, but the way it's written is incredible. It really forces us to reflect on ourselves and deal with our shortcomings first in order to set the best example for our children.

  42. I have not read any lately - but reading your post I think I should. We are working on 'consequences of actions' - a slow lesson!

  43. I remember reading so many parenting books before Olivia arrived I got the What to Expect when Expecting, Baby Whispering, Sleeping Babies 101, you name it I read it, and now my brain has gone to mush! I am intrigued by your reviews and book choices. I wish I had more time to read. I am now interested in checking these out. I think it's key on how you parent to how your kids adapt, react, and become the human beings we hope they will become! Thank you!

  44. Thank you! I have been looking forward to reading your thoughts on this book! I haven't picked it up for myself yet, but it is certainly on my list.
    We are still among the living, by the way... just busy and don't have a lot of time for internet. More later. :)
    Hi to the desert from me... we are enjoying the much cooler weather of the midwest. Picnics and walks and whatnot...

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