Sunday, February 28, 2010

Love and Logic and Time Outs

The most basic of the Love and Logic consequences for a toddler is the "uh oh" statement followed by the time out. We started using "uh oh" when Lauren was 6 months old just to see if she would catch on. Whether it was coincidence or not, it worked.

At 6 months old, Lauren was rolling around exploring her environment. She came upon the VCR and receiver and began to turn the dials. As new parents learning Love and Logic we jumped at the chance to put our new skills to use. We picked her up and said, "Uh oh, " in an empathetic tone. Then carried her upstairs to her crib and left the room. She sat for a few moments in her crib and made a few noises. Then we went back in to her room and greeted her with open arms. We brought her back downstairs and set her next to the VCR. Guess what, she ignored it and went in the opposite direction.

Really? Did it actually work?  Well, she hasn't gone back to the VCR or receiver yet and she's 2 1/2 now. Either way, it did boost our confidence in this Love and Logic consequences thing. :)

We are still using "Uh oh" followed by a time out. It definitely has become more challenging to maintain and empathetic tone with her especially when she has a down right tantrum. However, the need for time outs has become less and less. Now, her reaction to uh oh is "NO, NO, NO."  Most of the time she stops what she is doing, but she does have the human desire to push the limits. At that point its up to her room for a time out.


Chris Peterson said...

The key with the "Uh Oh" song is to follow it with action. When I talk with people that say the Uh Oh song doesn't work, it is usually because they use it as a warning; saying Uh Oh 2,3,4 times before any consequence ensues. Using Uh Oh as a warning is as effective in teaching discipline and character as counting to 3.
Many parents struggle with not giving some type of warning first. Therefore, I like to suggest that they use the line "This looks like a problem". Then, if the child doesn't fix it they can move into the "Uh Oh" routine. "Uh Oh" becomes such a strong trigger for changing behavior. My mother inlaw incessantly says "Uh Oh" when things fall, or the baby bumps her head, or whenever something minor happens. It took Grace to realize that there are different meanings to "uh oh".

Anonymous said...

I work as a behavior specialist consultant (like super nanny, without the cameras and paycheck). I heard about the love and logic time out in a separate article so I naturally wanted to check it out (every client is different, including the parents, therefore every intervention can't be exactly the same).
I like the general premise of this, but based on 12+ years experience and the ridiculous (at times painful) amount of research ive read on thr topic thete were just a few things that didn't sit right with me.
For starters, using an immediate consequence with no explanation of why the consequence is happening or a chance for self correction can lead to infinite problems. I always tell people to think of it in their own lives because we often forget that kids have the same emotions. Pretend you started at a new job and somewhere in the huge employee handbook it says that answering/checking your phone (for reasonably important reasons more than once in a shift will cause you be docked $10.) Your new boss looks at you while you are on the phone and says "that's too bad." This happens again 2 more times in the pay cycle. You get your paycheck minus $60. #^*/!!&/ you think. But of course you much more politely say out loud to your boss "Can you explain why this money is docked. Im.still new here. (For a kid, it's new in the world)" They reply "of course! It was from the times you checked or answered your phone more than once a shift." "Im sorry I must have forgotten that part in the handbook. There is just a lot to take in (just like kids). And no-one saud anything to me that I was doing anything wrong." You reply. "Sure i did" says your boss "i looked at you an said 'that's too bad' and then i docked your pay."
The situation above seems unlikely and unreal, because it is. So expecting to do that to a kid and have them view authority figures as ever being fair is also unreal. Yes, I know the world isn't fair. But I'm not sure they need to learn that lesson before they are 4. And while they will encounter unfairness many times, and at times even cruelly, throughout their lives, the majority of authority figures will at least make a half hearted attempt to be fair.
So in general the idea is good. With a few tweaks.(note: under 9 months keeping things as is may be fine, though I'm not sure a full "time out" is appropriate. Maybe instead of putting them in a separate room from them, put them in a pack and play in the same room or something similar. If possible simply remove the item from them if that is the problem).

Anonymous said...

I like the idea that the tone is empathetic (seeing it done in an overly militant style is saddening. Though I want to say stern is ok for many parents too. So if that's the route they take, dont judge). This will not work for everyone and at all ages, but it will work for many. So that sh/could stay. Though I think a very simple explanation of what you do/don't want should be first (except in safety situations). So "please don't touch the remote." Then if they continue to go for it the warning (often counting, obviously doesn't need to be.) This brings me to another thing that didn't sit right with me. Using "uh oh." While it is completely logical, as one commenter pointed out uh oh is used in many ways and you can't expect the world to know how you are using uh oh. And it's somewhat unfair to ask every single person close to you to modify their own use of the phrase. It is very much an ingrained habit in many people. So maybe using something that isn't used so often. A few China they say Ai-Ya and in Germany is ho-ha. Those are close enough and simple enough and you do not have to worry about others using the phrases in a way that will confuse your child. You can of course use 1-2-3 in a nice tone. The key is once you have given the warning phrase it is imperative to follow through if your child does not self correct. However, if they do self correct it is imperative they do not receive a consequence (again, safety is a different issue).
So i thought the general idea was great. I could of course be misunderstanding the premise because im basing it on this one page, though it seems relatively clear. I am just trained to see the potential problems that could arise from how an intervention is being implemented and I could see a few here. Confusion for the child in several ways. Mistrustful of authority. And incorrect implementation by the adult (like a commenter said, saying uh oh over and over). And if you have bern doing it as is and it genuinely has decreased or prevented misbehavior, then just simply ignore me!
Of course there is no need to follow what ive said, it is merely my opinion. However, my opinion is based on a lot if experience and research. And in my job there isn't anything better than seeing someone successfully implementat a program or intervention and see the positive effects it has for the child. So at least you can know my ideas are based on wanting success for anyone who reads this. So you know the odds are that it's at least worth a shot!