By Katherine Parker
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Through his program, “Parenting with Love and Logic,” David Wilson hopes to teach parents how to let their children fail successfully and motivate their children to think about their own behavior and consequences.
Wilson, a Jackson Elementary School counselor, will teach “Parenting with Love and Logic” at First Presbyterian Church, 555 S. University Blvd. until Dec. 15. Classes will be taught from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. every Sunday to church members and any community members who would like to learn about the parenting philosophy.
The program is free to all participants, and parents are encouraged to jump into the class at any time. Wilson said because of the nature of the course and multiple classes, parents can still benefit, even if they are not able to attend every session.
“Parenting with Love and Logic” will focus on providing parental examples and discussing childhood experiences and empathy. Each session will begin with parent questions and feedback, followed with video vignettes, a lecture and a discussion.
“Although this style of parenting encourages empathy, it is not permissive. By allowing the child to make choices, parents set boundaries, and through that, the parent helps the child become a problem-solver who thinks about his (or her) behavior,” Wilson said.
“Parenting with Love and Logic” was developed by Foster Cline and Jim Fay in 1977 and has been popular in the Norman area since the ’90s, Wilson said. The program’s philosophy can be applied to children of all ages. Wilson described the classes as teaching parents to help their children own their own problems.
“Parents learn how to give children a task that they know they can handle and provide them empathy, while allowing the consequences to teach the child responsibility,” Wilson said. “In fact, we hope the child blows it when we give them a task.”
Wilson explained that it’s better for children to “blow it” when the parent knows the child can handle the task and the cost is affordable.
“This parenting style teaches children how to be responsible now so that when the stakes are higher, say they’re in college or working their first job, they know how to handle the consequences that come with their decisions,” Wilson said.
The Rev. Pam Normile, First Presbyterian associate pastor for adults, said the church decided to host the program because members believe in the concepts it builds in parents and their children.
“The classes educate parents how to leave behind a mindset that would have the parent control their child by force and anger. We (the church) think the confidence it builds between parents and children is godly,” Normile said.
Normile has experience as a participant and co-teacher of the program and said the program is so popular because it focuses on the child. The program takes everyday situations a child might face — for example, a child complains of being cold on their way to school — and implores the parent to respond to the child with empathy — such as, “I’m sorry you were cold at school, maybe next time you should take your coat” — so the consequences demand the child’s future responsibility.
Normile said things may not always go right when parents implement the new techniques but if practiced at home, changes in behavior would eventually follow.
“Jim Fay said, ‘Every child worth having pushes the boundaries.’ We have all pushed boundaries; that’s natural,” Wilson said. “And with this program, I hope parents will be able to laugh at their failures and celebrate their successes. My role is to simply clarify the philosophy and help parents apply techniques.”
An optional workbook will be available for $12.50 to help guide parents through the classes. For more information about “Parenting with Love and Logic,” call Normile at 321-0933.