If there is one thing that any parent can tell you it’s the fact that no matter how logical you are, your child will never want to take your word without getting the last word in. And, we all know what that word is, the never-ending, unanswerable, “Why?” Once you’ve answered the very first why, you are confronted with the next and the next and the next, ad infinitum. You don’t want to scream “Because I’m your mother and I told you to!” Unfortunately, sometimes there seems to be no other answer.
So what can you do short of taking an online masters in philosophy from Rutgers to have the logical answer on hand? Actually, that’s not a bad idea! In trying to understand a child’s mind, you need to be able to think like a child and what better way is there than through a course in deductive reasoning, or within the broader scope of philosophy. It’s a great place to start!
Tempering Logic with Love
Sometimes we get so frustrated that it’s hard to hold onto that calm that we know we should maintain. Getting angry because a child refuses to understand the logic of what we are saying gets us nowhere and it certainly doesn’t set a very good example. What one California parenting coach, Janada Clark MA, suggests is that you help your child understand all those ‘Whys’ by letting them do for themselves. She says they’ll soon learn why something is the way it is.
For example, she talks about packing lunches for school children over the age of 5. Those parents who continue doing for their children who are old enough to do for themselves are called, in the words of Dr. Haim Ginott, helicopter parents. Calmly urge your children to make their own lunches. They may ask why but once you’ve explained that they will get very hungry if they don’t pack their lunch that should be sufficient. Your teen will go hungry once or twice and will soon realize why packing a lunch is so important.
Taking It a Step Further
So let’s take that logic a step further. Your teen asks why you can’t make their lunch as you always have. You explain that taking time to do that puts you behind on your own schedule and they won’t like that very much. Your teen mumbles something about the fairness of it all, so to prove a point, you make the lunch. Everyone piles in the car and off to school you go. On this morning, there is no time to stop for that quick after school snack you usually pick up at the curb store on the way.
Your teen grumbles and complains, moans and groans but the next morning gives you no problem packing his (or her) own lunch in favor of having the time to stop for that bag of chips or cookies. The logic follows closely that for every ‘if’ there is a ‘then’ and that is all part of a philosophical pattern you learned taking that master of liberal arts online as a stay at home mom way back when. Sometimes you need a strong foundation in logic yourself before you can impart logic to your children. Temper that logic with love and you’ll see just how easy it is to teach.