Book Review: Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control

September 3, 2007

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beyondconsequences.jpgBeyond Consequences, Logic, and Control: A Love-Based Approach to Helping Attachment-Challenged Children With Severe Behaviors

This is one of those books that will forever change the way you view things. I love that in a book. :)

It was written by Heather Forbes, LCSW and Bryan Post, PhD, LCSW, who also offer parenting seminars by the same name. In a nutshell, the book encourages parents to take a good hard look at the emotions (primarily fear) that are behind certain inappropriate behaviors. While the book was first written for parents of kids who have severe attachment disorders (for example, foster children who experienced abuse or adopted kids who spent a lot of time in orphanages and whose attachment needs were not met), its principles apply to all parents and kids.

For example, most parents can intuit that lying (which is an unacceptable behavior, no doubt) is usually caused by the fear of punishment. So does it do any good to punish that behavior? It will likely only make it worse.

The book starts out by explaining the stress model. What is actually happening inside a child when they exhibit some of these troubling behaviors like lying, hoarding, stealing, and defiance? It points to the connection between stress and confused and distorted thinking that manifests as unacceptable conduct. What can a parent do, in that moment, to help their child and make a connection without alienating their child even more? The book gives you some immediate tools to put to use as well as an overall principle of “love never fails”.

The book also brings out into the open the “hidden feedback loop” that exists between parent and child. We probably have all heard that you “get more of what you focus on” and yet we’re confused as to how to impart our value system to our kids without constantly focusing on their negative behaviors. We’re afraid to show unconditional love to our kids because we think (erroneously) that showing love is counter to teaching our kids our values. We think we have to be in control of them… which is truthfully impossible. The best we can hope for is to influence our kids.

This is an excellent book for any parent who is feeling hostile or angry at their kids and can’t seem to get out of the punishment trap. You can listen to an interview with Heather Forbes here to learn more about the love based approach.

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One Response to “Book Review: Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control”

  1. Lisa on September 17th, 2007 6:58 pm

    Thank you for this!! I have walked away from two therapists who advocated “therapies” I questioned all based on a well-known persons work on this subject. I will take a look into this book, which sounds much more humane. I have found, with my son, that lifebooks- scrapbooks have done sooooo much to help him believe in “forever” but the rest of what I’ve found seemed awful. I look forward to reading this book.

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