Love and Logic

Responding to Student Behaviour through Love and Logic

Love & Logic (  Love provides a foundation that allows children to grow through their mistakes.

Logic allows children to learn through the consequences of their choices.   Love & Logic is a way of working with children that teaches children to be responsible critical-thinkers, and prepares young people to live in the real world, with its many choices and consequences.  The adult role is to help children learn and grow in responsibility and the skills necessary to navigate the world successfully.

As a school, we know that if we have a consistent, effective response to student behaviour, students will benefit.  When parents are on the same page, the positive impact is even greater.

Below is a summary of the basic principles of Love & Logic.  Many have applications both in the classroom and at home.  They also apply for all ages.

1. We build responsibility by allowing children to make mistakes when the consequences are small so they don't make or repeat the mistakes later when the consequences are costly.  We expect children to make mistakes, and recognize mistakes as great opportunities to learn!

2. When a child has made mistakes, we always lead with empathy (not anger), then follow up with a consequence.  Let the consequence do the teaching.  We allow them to face the consequences of their mistakes without lecturing.  When we come at our children with anger, they will respond by fighting back or retreating (basic protection instincts) and the focus is on us - not on the mistake made.  When we lead with empathy, students are able to think and reflect on their poor choices and the consequences they experience do the teaching.

3. Four steps to building responsibility: Give children tasks they can handle.  If they don’t succeed, let equal parts of empathy and consequences do the teaching.  Give the same task again.

4. Share control with children, giving them appropriate choices.  When giving choices, give two options (make sure that you can live with either choice... there cannot be a "right" answer).  Give choices proactively, not as a result of children negotiating.  If a child does not choose, you can make the choice.

5. Allow children to own their problems.  Do not protect or rescue them (like a helicopter hovering, waiting to swoop to the rescue) and do not solve their problems for them by taking control (like a drill sergeant saying, “do it now, my way, or else”).  Allow students to own their problems and help them find their own solutions (like consultants).   A plan when a child comes to you with a problem is

  • Lead with empathy (“Oh, that’s so sad.”).

  • Empower them (“What do you think you can do about that?”).

  • Offer choices (“Would you like to hear what other kids have tried?”).

  • Have the child evaluate the consequences (“How would that work for you?”).

  • Give permission for the child to solve or not solve the problem (“I hope it works out.  Let me know how it goes.”)

6. Give the message: You can solve a problem any way you want as long as it doesn’t cause a problem for someone else.

7. Learn to turn your words into positive statements, saying what students can do instead of what they can’t.  Instead of, “No, you cannot go outside to play.  Your homework isn’t done!” you can say, “Of course you are welcome to go out and play when you finish your homework.”

8.  Don’t try to control students.  Instead, focus on what you CAN control, and communicate that way.  For example, let students know what you will do in situations (“I only mark papers I can read.  It would be sad if your paper didn’t get marked because it was too messy, and that would likely affect your report card grade.” Or “I’ll be glad to listen when your voice is as calm as mine.”)

9. A strategy to prevent students from arguing is to

  • judge whether they are being argumentative to gain control, or seriously have a valid concern.

  • If they are arguing, do not engage the content of what they say.

  • Pick one statement and repeat it until they finish their arguing

10. Do not feel pressured into making a bad discipline decision.  If you don’t know how to respond, delay the consequences. (“This isn’t appropriate and I’m going to do something about it.  I’ll let you know.”)  Take the time to make a plan and solicit the help and support you need.  Ensure you do follow up.

11.  Recovery vs. Time Outs: The concept is that every good minute should be spent learning.  Students who cannot make good choices should be removed from the area until they are ready to participate.  They control when they return in most cases.

12.  The power of relationship.  Students will show more respect to teachers who care about them and have relationship with them.  Spend time deliberately building relationship.  Notice what is happening in their lives and talk about that.  Greet them by name when they come every morning.

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