Love and Logic Parenting: "I love you too much to argue"

At the Love and Logic website, in a blurb where they summarize their method, they say that when a kid tries to argue with you, you should simply say “I love you too much to argue,” and repeat this every time they continue the attempt, til they stop trying. I see this expression even referred to by L&L advocates around the net as a “mantra.”

My question is, is that expression really used in L&L in the way I just described, or is the blurb I read far to oversimplified for me to think I have an accurate understanding?

I ask because the practice as I currently understand it seems terrible, almost to the point of horrific. I feel like I’d be destroying my kid’s mind and self-esteem if I did that. A bit melodramatic of me to say that, maybe, but it’s the direction my feelings go in when I think of doing that to my kid…

It feels like I’d be saying “I don’t care about your opinions and I’m going to call that lack of caring ‘love’ to make myself feel better about it.”

Never tried it with my kids, but essentially it’s the technique I use to prevent spending my entire life arguing with my wife. It’s not that I don’t care about her opinions, it’s just that they’re wrong, and I don’t want to hear about them :slight_smile:

Wow. I hope that’s not what they actually mean and that it’s something they’re only saying internally. That seems like it would inhibit the kid from understanding how to argue, too. Any idea what the age range is for this? It seems like that would only work in very dangerous situations and only for an 18-24 month old.

If I tried something like that, even my 2.5 year old would tell me to stop saying the same thing over and over. She’s been hip to avoidance tactics since she was 20 months old, if not younger, and always calls me on it.

I’m not familiar with it, but if my kids don’t get some leeway in expressing themselves and asserting themselves with me, how are they going to be adept at those skills in the real world when I launch them? Overvaluing compliance to exclusion of all else is a mistake in parenting, I think.

I argue with my kid. Not in a bad way, just an exchange-of-ideas way. Sometimes it’s about 7 year old philosophy and sometimes it’s about a punishment I doled out. Eventually, I may stop the conversation, but I’d never do the whole, “I’m too lazy to explain it to you” bit.

Sounds kind of passive-aggressive, don’t you think?

I argue with my kid, until one of us is convinced, or I’ve had enough and say, “Because I’m your father and you do what I say.”

I would hope this is only said as a last resort when the child has offered reasonable rebuttals to every other explanation (but Grandma says…) or when prolonging the discussion will lead to a missed important opportunity (the last bus of the day is leaving momentarily and explaining why we must be on it rather than take a cab, like we usually do, would cause us to miss it). I’d prefer something like, “you make a good point, but it’s important that we do this now and I’ll try to explain better later.” “I love you too much to argue” probably has the same intent, but it does sound lame.

I will argue (or discuss) things with my kids to a point.

If it is about something in their life (a problem with the kids at school, learning about the world) we will discuss and lightly argue until the cows come home.

If it is about the fact that I won’t let them do something, they do not get to argue about it. When Daddy or I say no, we mean no. (In fact, our mantra is usually, ‘I said no and I meant it.’)

I imagine if I said, ‘I love you too much to argue with you,’ my daughter would be angrier than she already was about not getting to do whatever.

The classics are really the best aren’t they?

My favorite was “I’ll _____ you!”

Son: I want more Gummy Bears!

Me: I’ll Gummy Bear you!
They’re rolling eyes were adorable. I can’t wait for them to have their own mouthy brats to deal with.

You know that point when you’re arguing with a kid and you find yourself saying, “Because I said so?”

This just replaces that, in a nutshell. I don’t think it’s intended to be used right out of the gate, and that’s definitely not how it gets used in my house.

Kids will get wrapped up in an argument and forget the big picture (well, adults do too, I guess), and at some point you can’t keep arguing the same point, so you need to snap them out of it. You can either do it with authority (because I said so, now go put on your shoes) which breeds more confrontation, or you can do it with empathy (I love you too much to argue, and if you don’t help me out I won’t have energy to play with you later) which gets the kid to think about their own behavior and how it affects that family dynamic.

That’s the idea at least. I’m not 100% sold on it, but “I love you too much to argue” is no less effective than “Because,” in my experience.

If my parents tried that on me as a kid:

(a) it would probably just make me more angry (along the lines of someone saying “lalalala, I can’t hear you!”)

(b) I would probably flip it around and use it on my parents (“I’m eating ice cream for supper” “No, you’re not allowed to” “I love you too much to argue” <goes off to eat ice cream>)

I don’t want my son to associate love with not getting what he wants.

I generally think Love & Logic is a good method. I agree with most of it. But the “I love you too much to argue” thing has always bugged me. There is no logic to that statement and I think respectful arguing with someone you love is perfectly fine and a good thing to learn. That doesn’t mean kids can argue with their parents all they want, but L&L needs to come up with a better response to kids that won’t take no for an answer, that goes with the rest of the method.

They also used to advocate spanking, but not any more. Like I said, it’s a good method, but definitely not perfect.

Interesting, but I have my doubts about whether that phrase really communicates the intended message. How does saying something that’s solely about yourself, demonstrate empathy? It sounds totally self-serving (in order to preserve my notion of myself as a nice person, I will stop discussing this.) In fact, it seems somewhat shaming in a passive aggressive way (the flip side of “I love you too much to argue” is, “If you argue, you don’t love me enough”).

In my mind, actual empathy would look something like, *I understand you don’t feel satisfied with my answer about why you can’t have a pet frog, but I’ve made my decision. * But whatever, I’m no expert.

As the kid it would annoy the fucking tits off of me, which may not really be a good parenting technique.

Or you could try, “Parental arbitrariness: an unfortunate but inherent component of the parent/child contract.”

Hey, it builds their little vocabularies.

That sounds nice and all, and probably works great on a 10 year old, but 4 year olds don’t argue rationally. That would have absolutely no effect on a raging child.

If I’ve had any success in parenting, it’s been my ability to defuse a tantrum or sidestep an argument. Toddlers and young children get worked up for different reasons than adults do, and there’s different tools for diverting their attention and calming them down. At some point, a parent has to be the bad guy, and the kid’s gonna get upset. There’s no right way to handle that anger, and “I love you too much to argue” is just one tool in my tool box that I use. There’s definitely a wrong way, though.

I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a mantra, nor would I recommend using it like one.

I wasn’t under the impression this approach was for tantrumming 4 year olds. I was indeed thinking of an older child. But regardless, I don’t see how it involves “empathy” at all. Its a technique, and maybe its a great technique, but it doesn’t seem to be one that one that explicitly recognizes the feelings of the child (which is what empathy is, not “not getting mad” or “diverting the emotional energy”)

I go with “I paid for your food, which means I technically own every cell in your body.”

Yes and yes.

Bad enough to use a passive-aggressive technique like “winning” an argument by just repeating a phrase until the other person gives up. Because good parenting is teaching your kid the secret to winning an argument is refusing to listen to what the other guy is saying.

But having the phrase be telling the other person you love them? That goes into the Passive-Aggression Hall of Fame.

“I’m going to use my love for you as a weapon against you.”