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I’m not sure how you guys feel about audio books, but I freaking love them! When I had a long commute, it was honestly the best way to pass the time. These days, my commute is much shorter, and I have my own office now, so the need for plugging in and tuning out is less dire. That said, I’ve been trying to understand the complicated toddler development years, since it’s so integral to my son’s development and I really don’t want to screw him up. The book, Parenting with Love and Logic, came highly recommended by a parent of two spirited foster children whom he eventually adopted. Since it came with an audiobook option, I figured I would give that a try.

I enjoyed the book, from a theoretical standpoint. The idea of giving kids choices to help give a sense of control in a world that is largely dictated to them gave me the warm and fuzzy feeling of creating an independent thinker. The maxim of giving choices with realistic consequences was a little harder to swallow, but again, it made me feel accountable to my child in a way I hadn’t considered before. The early disks were full of promise and optimism, with a dose of realistic expectations. This could work for me, I thought.

However, some of the examples of how this is put into practice made me raise an eyebrow or two. Having children who can’t behave in the store pay for a sitter out of their own money the next time the errand had to be run seemed a pretty harsh consequence. Forcing children who can’t behave in the car to walk home seemed even more ridiculous. So I don’t think I’d be using either of these techniques with my kid.

But I have started using the choices with consequences method with my now 3-year-old son. It has been working really well, especially with whining and eating dinner time. The book reminds us to use calm voices when explaining consequences, which encourage softer tones from the child. And, while I still find myself prompting my child to eat a million times during dinner, when he begins wandering from the table, I tell him he can go play quietly in his room until we have a chance to finish eating or he can eat with the family. Whatever he decides, he’s usually okay with, and it’s been giving me at least a few minutes to finish my own dinner.

It’s still an uphill battle. But I feel like this is a great tool to have in my arsenal. I’ve got a few more books I’m looking forward to reading as well. No others are audio though, unfortunately, so we go a few pages at a time when I have a chance.