Love and logic make good parenting simple |

Love and logic make good parenting simple

Evan Zislis
Life. Simplified.
Staff Photo |

In my line of work, I focus on four primary areas of life: spaces, systems, time, and content. My tag line reads, “Who we love, what we do, how and why we live — because everything else is just stuff.” So, I’d like to shed a little light on “who we love,” which I kind of lump in with systems — how we do what we do. My work with kids started with a master’s degree in education and a short-lived teaching career that evolved into program management for nonprofits of the Roaring Fork Valley. During that time, I worked with young people and their families involved with YouthZone’s programs for adjudicated youth. It was then that my wife and I conceived our first and only child.

While no amount of theoretical training or practical experience truly prepares us for parenthood, over the last four years, I’ve had some success with a few concepts that come in handy when I would otherwise be happy to throw my ostentatious four year old out the window (which I’m pretty sure you’re not allowed to do). Drawn from personal experience with two awesome parents of my own, training as a middle school teacher, and Love and Logic’s renowned methodology — I’m relieved to say that parenting for me boils down to a few simple concepts: 1) children want their parents to set clear, consistent boundaries; 2) behavior modification can be implemented with loving kindness, and 3) kids become empowered by parents who model reliably responsible behavior.

By far, the most effective parenting strategies I recommend I’ve learned from Love and Logic. According to their website, “Love and Logic is a philosophy founded in 1977 by Jim Fay and Foster W. Cline, M.D. It is the approach of choice among leading educators, parents, and other professionals worldwide. The Love and Logic Institute is dedicated to making parenting and teaching fun and rewarding, instead of stressful and chaotic. We provide practical tools and techniques that help adults achieve respectful, healthy relationships with their children. All of our work is based on a psychologically sound parenting and teaching philosophy.”

Like most techniques, the variety of reiterations depends largely on an individual’s personal interpretation. My own approach to parenting consists of establishing a compassionate and creative framework for implementing rules. I know. That sounds — harsh. After a recent talk with a locally renowned child psychologist, I was reassured that my approach is pretty typical for fathers. We dads tend to lay down the law and build relationships around consistent enforcement. Mothers typically foster a much more nurturing approach that focuses on creative expression. One style favors a free-flow of spontaneous exploration, the other a bit more rigid in its rule-centric application. Both have their shortcomings and advantages; both have the potential for conflicting results. But done with a little understanding, I think both methods can be implemented with balanced, complimentary success.

If there is only one thing in our lifetime we really try to do well, it should be how we raise our children.

When it comes to intentional parenting, we have an oppwortunity — if not an obligation — to do our very best. If there is only one thing in our lifetime we really try to do well, it should be how we raise our children. For parents struggling with how to raise kind, respectful, responsible kids, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Our local resources are superb. Enroll in a parenting workshop. Sign up for a little one-on-one with an experienced professional. Look for a group experience that resonates with you and your family. If you feel like you could use a little support now, don’t wait for things to get better on their own. A little intervention can change the course of what we do and how we grow together as a family — and as a community. In addition to a wide variety of other parenting approaches, there are several agencies, organizations and social-welfare groups that teach Love and Logic workshops throughout the Roaring Fork Valley. For more information on this one-stop shop for proven-effective results, visit

Roaring Fork Valley resources include:

• YouthZone:

• Roaring Fork Family Resource Center:

• The Buddy Program:

Evan Zislis is founder and principal consultant of, delivering hands-on organizational solutions and strategies consulting for households, businesses, nonprofits, students, and life transitions. For more information about simplifying your stuff and organizing your life, call 366.2532 or email

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