Fairy Tale Mama over at the Enchanted School House has me hooked on Suzanne Collins’s dystopian Hunger Games trilogy. Concurrently, I’ve also been reading and rereading Foster Cline and Jim Fay’s Parenting Teens with Love and Logic. This makes for a very odd mash-up!
Without giving away any spoilers, the Hunger Games centers around the fatherless Katniss Evergreen and her quest to keep those she loves alive. A secondary character in the series is Haymitch, who is supposed to be her mentor, but who spends most of his time drunk. But through the course of the three books it becomes clearer and clearer that Haymitch does care for Katniss, he’s willing to make personal sacrifices to help her, and that he is the closest thing Katniss has to a fatherly figure.
In chapter 8 of the third book, MockingJay, there is a scene that could be the crazy, sci-fi version of Love and Logic in action. Katniss has disobeyed orders and taken her earpiece out while in combat, meaning that she couldn’t listen to Hatmitch’s commands from the hovercraft. When she gets back home, injured and hospitalized, she knows that Haymitch is really angry about this, but he doesn’t show it. Instead, he waits until the next day, once the situation has calmed down, to talk to Katniss about her actions.
Katniss wakes up in her hospital bed knowing that Haymitch has been by her side for several hours (That’s the LOVE.) In a very neutral tone Haymitch dangles the white earpiece in front of Katniss and says that the next time she goes into battle she can choose to wear it…or she can wear a metal head-clamp earpiece that locks around her neck, or she can have a communication chip surgically implanted into her ear. Those are her choices, and the natural consequences of choosing to take the white earpiece out while in the field. (That’s the LOGIC.)
From a Love and Logic perspective, Haymitch is doing several things:
- He doesn’t mete out consequences in the heat of the moment.
- There isn’t any punishment, only natural consequences.
- The natural consequences are doing the teaching.
- He expresses love through eye contact and physical presence.
- He shows what the expectations and limits are, through the offering of choices.
- He avoids power struggles and arguing.
Of course, I’m not a Love and Logic expert by any means, I’m just a reader and parent. But it is interesting to me that after reading Cline and Foster’s books (especially the teen book), I keep viewing other parenting situations I encounter in literature on or TV from a Love and Logic perspective. It’s also a lot easier to evaluate an outside situation, as opposed to analyzing my own parenting style inside my own home (although I’m trying to do that too).
May the odds be ever in my favor…. 🙂