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Providing love & logic

Psychologist Dr. Charles Fay will host a presentation on handling resistant kids

By Samantha Bambino

The Times

SOURCE: METRO IMAGES

Whether you’re a parent, teacher or teen who babysat the neighbor’s kids once or twice, it’s safe to say that children are a blessing…most of the time.

Some days they’re an absolute miracle. They complete their homework in record time and don’t fuss at dinner about eating vegetables. Other days, it seems as though their eyes are glued to the smartphone and even the simplest requests are met with a challenge.

While no family dynamic is perfect, creating a consistent, cooperative relationship is possible. On Thursday, March 1, at the Sheraton Bucks County Hotel in Langhorne, Dr. Charles Fay of the Love and Logic Institute will present “Success with Resistant, Unmotivated and Disruptive Kids,” where he’ll share tips for dealing with argumentative children and how to remain loving while not becoming a doormat.

Since 1977, the Love and Logic Institute has promoted the philosophy that parenting can be fun and rewarding rather than stressful. Created by Jim Fay, Charles’ father, and Foster Cline in Colorado, the two used research, experimentation and psychology to determine which practical tools and techniques would foster a healthy parent-child relationship.

Growing up, Charles had a front-row seat as his father’s work began to help other families. Naturally, he was inspired to follow in his footsteps, eventually becoming an educator, psychologist and professional public speaker. Now, he travels throughout the country on behalf of Love and Logic to get parents thinking about one question — “How do we raise kids that view us as being loving, yet the most powerful people in their life?”

According to Fay, the first step is setting limits and boundaries with children, while understanding how to handle a situation when there’s arguing and backlash.

“Sometimes we try to make too much sense,” he said.

If you’ve ever tried to reason with a screaming kid, you know just what he’s talking about. Attempting to come to terms with an emotional child rarely ends in a civil agreement. In these situations, Fay has found that most children don’t feel guilty about their actions because they’ve become dependent on the parent bending to their will. To combat this, Fay advises parents to “hand it back in a loving way.”

Fay reflected on one mother who implemented this advice. Her son forgot his textbook at home and wanted her to leave work to deliver it to him at school. Instead of meeting this request, she gave him ideas on how to talk to his teachers, resolve the situation and potentially receive a makeup assignment. Needless to say, he wasn’t happy. Why? He was forced to be responsible for his own mistake.

Another tactic Fay plans to discuss at the upcoming event is how to use empathy rather than feeding off the child’s anger and sarcasm.

“It allows them to experience the consequences of their own mistakes,” he said. “It’s how they grow.”

So how exactly can empathy be used? Fay provided another real-life example of a mother whose son came home with a bad report card. The boy expected her to scream and yell over his bad grades. Instead, the mom said she understood how upset he probably felt, but loved him regardless and would help in any way she could. Despite her kindness, the child gave her an attitude. The reason? Deep down, he realized he wasn’t mad at her, but himself. He could no longer name her as the “bad guy.”

Fay also reflected on a third mother who couldn’t get her children away from the PlayStation. Every night when she asked them to put the game on pause for dinner, she was met with resistance. One day when they came home from school, their beloved gaming system was nowhere to be found. Their mom replaced it with family pictures. Without raising her voice, she explained they’d get it back once she felt respected. Needless to say, things improved once the kids realized their wrongdoing.

Though taking away something so precious to a child can be hard, Fay explained the idea of “pay now or pay later.” When a child is young, they can turn their mistakes into wisdom without enduring catastrophic consequences.

“The price tag is small,” he said.

Still, he admitted this isn’t always the case in our 21st century, technology-heavy world. Kids can easily stumble upon inappropriate content on the internet or attract unwanted attention by having a location service on. Fay constantly encourages parents to set tight limits over screen time, restricting access if they’re not nearby. Cell phones can be fun and engaging, but they are altering children’s behavior.

“They have all the hallmarks of a drug addict,” he said.

All of this and more will be touched upon during Fay’s presentation, which he said will be far from a dry, boring lecture. Attendees will get to laugh and hear fun, personal stories and anecdotes from his own experiences raising three sons, now 33, 24 and 11 years old. He will talk about his own parenting challenges, allowing those in the audience to realize they’re not alone.

“We all struggle,” Fay said. “Nobody’s perfect.” ••

If you go…

“Success with Resistant, Unmotivated and Disruptive Kids” will take place on Thursday, March 1 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Bucks County Hotel, 400 Oxford Valley Road in Langhorne. Cost is $109 per person. For more information or to register, visit loveandlogic.com or call 800–338–4065. Free phone counseling is available for those interested but not able to attend.

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com

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