When 10-year-old Matt Momb broke a window, he dreaded his parents’ response.
But his parents didn’t spank him, send him to his room or yell and scream.
Instead, Matt and his father sat down to discuss how Matt could solve the problem. Matt ended up measuring the window frame, buying a new piece of glass and working with his father to replace the broken pane. Matt paid for the glass with money he’d saved from his allowance and chores.
Matt’s punishment is an example of “Love and Logic” discipline, learned by his parents during a class offered by the East Valley School District.
Jim Hammond, principal of East Farms Elementary School where Matt is now in fifth grade, plans to instruct all his teachers in the discipline method and to invite other parents to learn.
Love and Logic was created by Denver psychologist Foster Cline, who recently moved to Sandpoint. The basic tenet is teaching a child to be responsible for his or her mistakes.
“We often as adults rob children of learning opportunities. You have to help them generate solutions,” Hammond said. Children need to learn, “When I create a problem, it’s up to me to fix it,” he said.
Matt, who learned to fix a window because of his mistake, said he likes Love and Logic. “I wasn’t feeling like my parents were so mad at me,” he said. “They weren’t screaming and yelling and saying, ‘Go to your room.”’
Love and Logic also removes the “bad guy” stigma from parents, teachers and administrators. Generally, said Hammond, parents punish a child, then fix the problem themselves, whether it’s a torn shirt or a broken window. Children learn nothing, and end up angry at their parents for punishing them, Hammond said.
It also “relieves parents from feeling like they’re doing all the work here,” said Darlene Curnow, a counselor at East Farms.
On Nov. 14, the day after a Love and Logic workshop for parents, East Farms will be staffed entirely by substitute teachers and administrators so the staff can spend the day with Cline learning about the discipline program.
Though Hammond has high hopes for the program’s success at East Farms, he is not ready to discard traditional methods of discipline, such as sending home warning slips and scheduling parent-teacher conferences.
“There are times when that’s still necessary,” he said, “but 95 percent of the time, it’s not.”
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Workshop for parents All East Valley School District parents are invited to attend a Love and Logic workshop conducted by psychologist Foster Cline in the East Farms Elementary School gym from 7 to 9 p.m. on Nov. 13. For information, call East Farms at 226-3039.
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