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Raising patriotic kids: Teaching self-discipline with Love and Logic

Charles Fay is a nationally known speaker, parent, and school psychologist with the Love and Logic Institute in Golden, Colorado. His new video, Hope for Underachieving Kids, and his book, Love and Logic Magic: When Kids Leave You Speech...

No democracy can survive without a self-disciplined population. Preserving our democratic way of life requires that we teach our youngsters the true meaning of patriotism: "There is no freedom without responsibility."

For more than 25 years, the Love and Logic Institute has been devoted to giving parents effective, easy-to-learn tips for raising kids who can think for themselves and make wise decisions, even when no adults are watching.

We believe parents can raise responsible, self-disciplined kids, enjoy a happier family, and strengthen our great nation at the same time. Start teaching the value of self-discipline to your kids today by following these tips:

Tip 1: Model self-discipline by thinking out loud
When your kids can hear you, model self-control by saying things like:

"I sure would like to go faster, but I better stick to the speed limit."
"The clerk handed me too much change. I really wanted to keep it, but I'm glad I was honest and gave it back."

Tip 2: Give your kids a small taste of democracy at home
Kids who have never been allowed to make decisions when they are young lack the skills essential for making wise ones when they are older. Effective parents teach decision-making by giving their children plenty of opportunities to practice. They do this by providing many small choices, such as:

"Would you like apple juice or grape juice?"
"Would you like your curfew to be 9 or 9:30 p.m.?"

Tip 3: Allow your children to make plenty of "affordable" mistakes
As children grow older, so do the consequences of their poor decisions. Love and Logic parents pray for their children to make plenty of small mistakes when they are young, so they'll have the wisdom and self-control to avoid larger mistakes when they're older. Love and Logic teaches, "The road to wisdom is paved with mistakes."

Tip 4: Lock-in self-discipline with the "Empathy + Consequence" formula
The seeds of wisdom and self-discipline are planted when children see their poor decisions lead to uncomfortable consequences. Unfortunately, some parents destroy the teaching value of consequences by delivering them with anger. Parents who make this mistake raise kids who reason, "When I act irresponsibly, it makes other people really mad. Next time, I'd better not get caught." Not surprisingly, these children lack self-control and require constant supervision. Wise parents deliver consequences with sincere sadness or empathy. As a result, their children reason, "When I act irresponsibly, it makes my life sad. The quality of my life depends on the decisions I make." Therefore, these kids understand freedom and responsibility go hand-in-hand.

One parent we know commented, "Love and Logic saved my son's life. Instead of getting in a car with a bunch of kids who'd been drinking, he decided to stay home. The next day, we learned about the crash. One of his best friends died that night."

Don't wait until it's too late! Get started with Love and Logic and join the thousands of parents who are raising more responsible kids, building happier families, and strengthening our nation.

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