In this blog post, I review a parenting book for parents of teenagers, discuss the insights, unpack my thoughts of the book as a teen therapist, and point out specific book quotes that are helpful.
My name is Ashley Hudson and I am a licensed marriage and family therapist in the state of California. My private practice Ashley Hudson Therapy primarily focuses on individual therapy and parent counseling. I provide therapy for teenagers, young adults, and parents of teenagers struggling with anxiety, grief, sport anxiety, and relationship issues. I enjoy reading and providing people with helpful resources.
Parenting Teens with Love and Logic by Dr. Foster Cline and Jim Fay is a great parenting book for parents of teenagers. The book really dives into different parenting styles and the importance of natural consequences for teenagers. Parenting Teens with Love and Logic teaches parents on how to help their teenagers act more responsible and the complexity of the adolescent.
It’s a great book for parents who want to be less reactive, give your teenager more autonomy, and become more aware of all the changes a teenager goes through.
Parenting Teens with Love and Logic Book Information
Co-author Dr. Foster Cline is an internationally renowned child and adult psychiatrist who specializes in parenting and communication systems and patterns. In addition, Dr. Foster Cline is a co-founder of The Love and Logic Institute, Inc and has a passion for helping children and parents.
Jim Fay who has had over 30 years experience working in education is also a co-author of Parenting Teens with Love and Logic and co-founder of Love and Logic Institute, Inc.
Foster and Fay take a two pronged approach when it comes to parenting. They teach parents to use love and logic in their parenting style. Love is defined as empowerment. Empowering teenagers to come up with their own choices and having the power to make their own decisions. Logic is defined as permission and allowing teenagers to experience the natural consequences of their actions. Love and logic for teens book puts emphasis on letting teenagers experience the natural consequences so teens can develop responsibility and become successful adults in the future.
My Insights on Parenting Teens with Love and Logic
Insight #1: The Consultant
Parenting teenagers can be really exhausting, explosive, and a landmine for worries. The book educates parents on several different parenting styles but highlights looking at parenting as a consultant. The consultant style of parenting is the love and logic way. Instead of constantly telling your teenager what to do, the approach shows parents how to consult with their teen so they can come up with options and choices within safe limits.
Consulting empowers teenagers to build confidence and develop a sense of self while still knowing their parents are there for support. The consultant parent asks curious questions empathetically to show interest and ignite thinking within the teen.
“As the parent, you must also focus on what is controllable by telling your teens what you are going to do, not what they are going to do.”
This style of parenting can be very difficult for some parents. It takes awareness, self control, and intention to be able to not take on the full responsibility of your teenager’s choices. Also, there needs to be patience with regards to asking thoughtful questions to your teenager and being able to manage their responses.
Insight #2: Developing Responsibility
Teenagers developing responsibility is really important for their success in the future. There is a lot of responsibility when it comes to being an adult. Supporting your teenager by giving them opportunities to gain trust not only with you but within themselves is key with building self-confidence.
“To help our children gain responsibility we must offer them opportunities to be responsible, rather than order them to do what we think is responsible.”
Those opportunities include your teenager coming up with their own solutions and answers to their problems. Allowing your teenager to experience the natural consequences of those choices is how teen develop responsibility. As a parent, understanding that mistakes, failures, and mishaps will happen along the journey of becoming a responsible teenager.
Love and Logic for teens book does well with an in-depth process of how to raise responsible teenagers and offers several examples of how to implement the principles and strategies.
Insight #3: Neutralizing All Arguing
One of my favorite principles of Parenting Teens with Love and Logic is neutralizing all arguing with your teenager. Arguing with your teenager can only lead to a power struggle and room for regret and exhaustion.
“Taking care of ourselves first is what gives teens the possibility of getting better themselves.”
The book emphasizes that parents need to stop trying to make their teen see or understand reason when they aren’t in a reasonable state of mind. When parents are faced with an argumentative teenager, the best thing to do is to focus on what you can control, which is your actions versus telling your teenager what they are not going to do.
Also, neutralizing arguing means not exhausting yourself in the endless cycle of an argument with your teenager but instead use a Love and Logic one liner to your teenager that states, “I love you too much to argue about that.”
It's easier said then done to not participate in arguing with your teenager especially since teenagers have a knack for pushing the perfect insecure buttons. What I like about neutralizing arguing is reminding yourself that you have a choice to go back and forth with your teen. Your teenager does not make you argue with them. You choose to argue back which means you can choose to not partake as well.
Insight #4: Setting limits Through Thinking Words Not Fighting Words
Using thinking words instead of fighting words is really helpful when parenting teenagers. Fighting words consists of telling your teenager what they are not allowed to do. Basically, you are saying, “No” every chance you get. Teenagers will feel trapped, stuck, and want to rebel if they are constantly met with a “No.”
Thinking words the Love and Logic way consists of telling your teenager what you as the parent will allow, what you will do, and what you will provide. One of the best examples in the book is:
“I’ll be glad to listen to you when your voice is as soft as mine. Take your time. I’ll see you later.”
Doesn’t that quote scream I have control and power over myself as the parent. In addition, this quote is a great way to model appropriate behavior and setting limits in a conflict.
Insight #5: Consequences Don’t Have to Be Immediate
The last helpful nugget I thought was great to teach parents of teenagers is knowing giving out consequences doesn't have to be immediate especially if the conversation is heated or you as the parent is triggered by your teenager’s actions. When we come from a place of anger, teenagers will focus more on you being angry and reactive then understanding you and your words.
In addition, giving out a consequence when we feel personally attacked as a parent more than likely the consequences given aren’t going to be accurate nor match the offense.
It’s okay parents to allow some space and time to think about the consequences when you feel triggered and angry. This will also allow space for your teenager to think about their actions and allow for natural consequences to set in.
“As an alternative to punishment, give a lot of thought to how you can reinforce positive behavior, look for solutions, help your children reach their own conclusions, and allow natural consequences to occur.”
The book gives out several examples of what to do and how to delay giving out consequences.
My Thoughts on Love and Logic for Teens
As a therapist in Orange County who works with teenagers and parent coach for parents of teens, this book is incredibly helpful for parents who are looking to gain more awareness on how their parenting style is affecting their teen’s ability to be independent and take ownership of their own choices in life. Love and Logic for Teens book gives out real life examples of terms, approaches, and principles they discuss which is really helpful for readers and parents to digest and understand. While reading the book, the authors focus on parents who are more anxious and tend to hover or be highly critical of their teens. The book does a great job of letting parents know that their anxiety being transferred to their teenagers is hindering their ability to be responsible teenagers. Parents can show love and support through giving teenagers room and space to build confidence and not prevent them from failing at every turn. Learning is really important for teens to know the challenges and struggles of being an adult and living on your own. Lastly, I really appreciated the last section of the book where it discusses thirty-nine behavioral topics (pearls) that teens and parents struggle with. My favorite noteworthy pearls were back talk, dating, entitlement, leadership, money, and the silent treatment.
Meaningful Book Quotes of Parenting with Love and Logic
“A lot of our parenting work centers on how we can imply to teens- that is, without directly saying it- that we know they’re going to handle whatever life hands them. Then we must trust them to do it and allow that self-fulfilling prophecy to do it’s work.”
“Don’t be greedy. Never take any more control than you absolutely need to have.”
“The most effective parents are always thoughtfully surrendering control by offering their teens choices, and those choices should always be within limits the parent can live with and enforce.”
“Teens are more likely to believe something that comes from inside their own heads. When they choose an option, they do the thinking, they make the choice, and the lesson sticks with them.”
“Teens who come at life with attitude, ”I can probably find my own solutions,” become survivors.”
“If parents worry and agitate about something, by definition their child doesn’t have to.”
“Never take away from teens what they can do well until they improve in activities they don’t do well. Otherwise they will suffer the discouragement of not being able to point to anything they can do well.”
Need Help Parenting Your Teenager:
If you are a parent who feels disconnected with your teen or you need more strategies to help foster a good relationship, I’m here for you. Schedule a free consultation today with Ashley Hudson Therapy if you are in the state of California.
Or are you a busy parent who is looking for an online parenting course that you can do at your own pace? Check out my in-depth self- pace online parenting course here.
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