Consultant Parenting

Based upon the book, Parenting with Love and Logic® by Foster Cline and Jim Fay, 2006 -- 800-588-5644

Three Styles of Love-based Parenting

Incident: A child comes home from school with a low grade on a project. The child says, “I worked really hard on that project. I thought I was going to get a better grade.”
Here are three styles of parental response.



Drill Sergeant

“Don’t fret. I will call the teacher tomorrow and ask her to describe the criteria she used to grade your paper. Perhaps she can find some points she might have missed.”

“You must feel terrible about getting a lower grade than you expected. Let me know if there is something I can do to help you do better the next time.”

“I know that you can do better than this. You are not working as hard as you can. I am going to reduce your television time to hour per night. That will give you more time to study.”


This parent wants to make sure the child receives proper consideration from the teacher. The child learns that parents will step in to protect them from his/her mistakes.

This parent provides emotional support by empathetically supporting the child’s frustration but leaves the resolution of the problem up to the child. The parent allows the child to learn that his/her success in the world is dependent upon how hard he/she is willing to work. The child remains frustrated with him/herself rather than at the parent or teacher. In many cases, the child’s self-frustration becomes a source of motivation to work harder.

This parent has high standards and wants the child to live up to his/her potential. However, the child is likely to direct anger at the parent rather than use self-directed anger as motivation for working harder.

Basic Principles for Consultant Parents

  1. A parent’s goal is to produce a responsible adult.
  2. Life’s lessons cost more tomorrow than they do today.
  3. Children develop self-esteem by taking responsibility.
  4. When children reflect anger back upon their parents, they miss an opportunity to learn from their own mistakes. Consultant parents avoid arguments, threats and lectures.
  5. Parental empathy with child problems helps focus self-learning within the child.
  6. Natural consequences help teach life’s lessons.
  7. Consultant parents tell children what they are going to do, not what the children are going to do.
  8. Parents teach by example.


  1. Consider the situations when you ask for routine expectations and your child does not comply. Try this, “Do you want to ‘it’ now or in five minutes.” Allow time so that you can readily accept now or five minutes. When five minutes are up, you can say, “Five minutes are up. You said you would do ‘it’ in five minutes.”

  2. In a similar vein, offer appropriate choices. “Do you want to set the table or vacuum the living room?” or “Please stop playing you music loudly or continue outside.”

    Recommendations 1 and 2 prompt your child to think about the choice. While they are thinking, they are less likely to engage in direct confrontation.

  3. Allow natural consequences to work rather take on Helicopter or Drill Sergeant-styles described above. Natural consequences include the responses of friends, teachers, principals, coaches, scout leaders, the police, etc. The genuine sharing of empathy and sadness with your child’s experiences can greatly enhance the learning experience of your child.

  4. Parental consequences are sometimes necessary. “Adults must set firm, loving limits using enforceable statements without showing anger, lecturing or using threats. See “Parenting with Love and Logic” for creating appropriate enforceable consequences that help build child self-concept (p. 57).

  5. Remember children will seek out the parental caregiver with the least resistance. When you are working with a partner, take time to plan together and strive to be consistent and fair.

Pearls of Wisdom from “Parenting with Love and Logic®”

Cline and Fay provide 48 Pearls of Wisdom including:

Car Wars: Backseat Battles
Discipline in Public
Fears and Monsters
Grade, Underachievement, and Report Cards
I’m Bored

Lying and Honesty
Nasty Looks and Negative Body Language
Picking up Belongings
Teacher and School Problems
Television Watching
Temper Tantrums
Toilet Training
Whining and Complaining

Consultant Parenting Teens

Based upon the book, Parenting Teens with Love and Logic® by Foster Cline and Jim Fay, 2006 -- 800-588-5644


  1. Know teen self-esteem is enhanced by letting teens experience responsibility.
    Directly and indirectly communicate that they are loved, they have the skills to do what they need at this time, and they can take responsibility and live with the consequences.
  2. Allow teens to have the opportunities to make decisions as well as mistakes.
    Refrain from telling teens what they should know or be learning.
  3. Offer choices, suggest solutions and share control.
    “Have you ever thought of this, this, or this? We love you whatever happens?”
  4. Neutralize anger.
    “I love you too much to argue over this now. Let’s talk about it when we both cool down.”
  5. Thoughtfully share control.
    “You have options to do this, this, or this.” Parents must (1) be able to live with each option (2) make the options enforceable, and (3) allow the teen to choose.
  6. Use thinking words rather than fighting words.
    “Have you considered . . .”
    “Do want to wash the car in the morning or the afternoon.”
    “What do you expect we would say if . . .”
    “What do you expect the police would say if . . .”
  7. Empathize and allow natural consequences do the teaching.
    “Bummer . . .” “How sad . . .” “Hope things go better for you.”
  8. Know consequences can be delayed and thoughtfully applied.
    “Let’s talk about it after I have had a chance to think about it.”

Guidelines for Specific Tasks with Teens

Rules for Control Battles p. 72-77
How to Offer Teens Choices p. 77-79
Four Steps to Responsibility p. 152-153
When to Say No p. 153-154

Pearls of Wisdom from “Parenting Teens with Love and Logic®”

Cline and Fay provide 39 Pearls of Wisdom including:

Aggressive Behavior
Back Talk
Cars, Driving, and Catching Rides
Drug or Substance Abuse
The Internet

Mood Swings
Suicide Threats
The Telephone
Video and Computer Games
Violence: Bullies and Gangs

You are encouraged to download a PDF of the above information.

Email Mark Hirschmann