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Kids & Family
Religion & Spirituality
Health & Fitness

Have a New Kid by Friday with Dr. Kevin Leman

Updated about 1 month ago

Kids & Family
Religion & Spirituality
Health & Fitness
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Laugh and Learn about parenting from Dr. Leman as he answers real parents questions as well as addressing parenting skills

Read more

Laugh and Learn about parenting from Dr. Leman as he answers real parents questions as well as addressing parenting skills

iTunes Ratings

184 Ratings
Average Ratings

Good info!

By Rn Meg 28 - Jul 28 2016
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The info is succinct and easy to implement. I love the catch phrases!

Good info

By brd5 - Jul 03 2016
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Leman can be very religious & full of himself, but there are good lessons to be had.

iTunes Ratings

184 Ratings
Average Ratings

Good info!

By Rn Meg 28 - Jul 28 2016
Read more
The info is succinct and easy to implement. I love the catch phrases!

Good info

By brd5 - Jul 03 2016
Read more
Leman can be very religious & full of himself, but there are good lessons to be had.
Cover image of Have a New Kid by Friday with Dr. Kevin Leman

Have a New Kid by Friday with Dr. Kevin Leman

Latest release on Jul 07, 2020

Read more

Laugh and Learn about parenting from Dr. Leman as he answers real parents questions as well as addressing parenting skills

Rank #1: 156-Respond, DON’T React

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Tired of losing it with your kids again? You’ve heard Dr. Leman say many times, “Respond, Don’t React!” But what does that really mean? What is the difference and how do you do it? You’ll find all these out on today’s episode.


Many outbursts can be avoided by choosing to respond, instead of react.

You would not want your doctor to tell you that you are reacting to the medication. You do want to hear that you are responding.

If your son says he wants a pony, are you going to blow a gasket and ridicule the idea? Or, are you going to grant in fantasy what they can’t have in reality by playing out the scenario in an imaginative way? (You will want to hear my story on the podcast!)

Here are three simple steps to change your course:
1. Stop; ask yourself how your old self would react in the situation.
2. Look at the big picture.
3. Listen to what your child has to say.

Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill! Responding can make all the difference in the world!

Jun 14 2016



Rank #2: The 4 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make (Episode 162)

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Even as great of a parent as you are, you know that there are things you could improve but what are the top 4, and how do you correct them? Listen to Dr. Leman’s wisdom and advice to find out the most common!


What are the 4 biggest mistakes parents make? Why?

You will hear me talk about these principles a lot because they are a root of problem parenting. Let’s look at them:

1. Controlling

Control is spawned out of insecurity. Rather than Control, or take the authoritarian route, use firm but gentle guidance to train up your child.

2. Criticism

This shuts down the natural inclination to please a parent, because it cannot be done. Kids give up. It robs them of self-worth.

3. Permissive

This is opposite of controlling. This parent wants their kids happy at every turn. This builds low self esteem.

4. Inconsistency

This is a daily battle for any parent and creates confusion especially in young children. Use firmness in your guidelines.

To hear more description of these, listen to today’s podcast.

Jul 26 2016



Rank #3: Snarky Attitude; Immune to Discipline- Ask Dr. Leman 92 (Episode 199)

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Do you have children that are great at back talking to you? Do you have a young child that seems immune and indifferent to any type of discipline you use towards them? If so, this is the episode for you!


Question #1 Rachel:

I have two boys, ages 16 and 7. They have gotten into the habit of replying to me with bad attitude and snarky tones. I’m trying not to raise my voice. What do I do?

Dr. Leman’s Answer:

You are a good student!
You used the word, “Respond,” not “react.”
“How much should I tolerate?” is a good question. You are not the punching bag!

Here are two tips for you:
1. When they fire at you, instead of firing back, try this pocket-phrase:
“Oh, really? I’m not sure I caught that. Can you repeat it for me?”
By saying this, you take back the authority.
2. Use the tough love approach. “No, I don’t feel like doing anything for you right now. You were disrespectful to me earlier today.”

Question #2 Louise:

I have a young child who acts indifferently to punishment I am using following the book Have a New Kid by Friday. What should I do?

Dr. Leman’s Answer:

Remember that this book is directed at 5 year’s old and up.

This behavior may be a clue that you have a powerful child. He won’t flinch. What he is saying is, “I am in charge.”

I would recommend reading, Parenting your Powerful Child.

Apr 11 2017



Rank #4: How to Help Your Kids Find a Purpose in Their Life (Episode 216)

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Kids grow up fast, and maybe you are at the point where you are helping your teen find a focus and direction for their lives. Are you wondering how to help them find their purpose in life? If so, this episode is for you!


Let me put on my Dean of Students’ hat for this episode…

I saw kids enter college with an idealistic view of themselves and where they would be in four years. Eighty percent of the kids came in as freshmen in pre-law or pre-med. Most changed their majors 3-4 times.

This is an indication that they were not prepared when they stepped into college.

When your kid steps into high school is the time to start having them shadow and intern at various jobs. Let them see what the work world looks like.

Ask yourself:

  • Is my child good at people, data, or things?
  • There are the social ones who are good at people.
  • There are the kids who always want to take things apart; they make good engineers and builders.
  • The math nerds are good with data.
  • The musical should be allowed to broaden their experience with music.
  • Finally, vocalize what you see in their interests, and brainstorm with them about what they see themselves doing at 25.


Aug 08 2017



Rank #5: Unstoppable Bad Behavior; Video Game Lying- Ask Dr. Leman 100 (Episode 215)

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What do you do when my eight year old daughter already has friendship problems? How do you deal with a 16 year old who argues with everything you decide? Listen to today’s episode to find out with the wit and wisdom of Dr. Leman.


Question #1 Lyndsay:

My husband and I have 2 girls, aged 10 and a half and 8. This question is also about my 8 year old. She is in 2nd right now and she has plenty of friendship problems, including hitting other kids at school, and having difficulty getting along with others. She usually gets a consequence at school, usually its detention at lunchtime which they call focus room.

I get a note stuck in her diary that the teacher has made her fill in with what she has done wrong. My job is then to read the note and sign it and send it back to school. I’m unsure about what I should be doing about this behaviour? Should there be a home consequence? Or should I just leave it with the focus room consequence at school. It’s about once per month another incident happens at school. The teacher has been sending her to the school counsellor who talks to her and sometimes calls me to let me know what they have been talking about. She usually tries to give her strategies to deal with her frustrations in a different way other than being mean and hitting.

Dr. Leman’s Answer:

It sounds like the underlying question you need to ask is, “Why does this child feel hurt by life?” Her perception is the key. Be sure you don’t treat your kids the same. They are not the same. They have different tastes, needs, interests, expectations. They don’t want to be compared to one another.

You could have a conversation with her that goes something like this:
“Honey if you continue with this behavior, you will have no friends. If that is what you want, continue with the hitting and arguing. But, if you want, I can help you to be kind.”

Also, you could ask, “Could it be that there is bullying or that kids are saying mean things to you?” Carefully watch her face as you use this psychological guessing to see how she might respond.

Question #2 Linnette:

My husband and I have a 16 year old and 12 year old twin boys who are all in adolescence moment. We are christians and trying to raise them using christian values.
I think My husband is severe with them.

I think my husband is to severe with them in taking away their play station for a month. Is that a reasonable consequence for a 12 year old boy who told a lie? The twins took the PS4 in a school trip without permission and said they didn’t do it, which led us to believe someone else had stolen it.

The older son argues about everything we decide. If he wants to go to the beach with another family and friends for 9 days, we say yes but for 6 days, he complains. If he has a party, we say yes until 1:30 am, he complains he wants more time. He argues everything, it is exhausting.
We are always negotiating with him, what is your best advice?

Dr. Leman’s Answer:

The main issue here with your kids is that you and your husband need to be on the same page. That would be the first thing I would work on.

I agree with the playstation decision. Not a problem! Take it away! Sell it! A month is not too long.

As for the son who is the arguer, He has learned to use his power to negotiate with you. He is in charge. He is working you.

You’ve trained him, pleased him. You need to stop trying to make him happy.

I would recommend reading my book, Parenting Your Powerful Child and checking out the product I’ve made called Great Parenting From the Get-Go.

Aug 01 2017



Rank #6: The 3 Hardest Parts of Parenting (Episode 166)

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Parenting has always been a challenge. It is tiring and frankly, just plain hard sometimes. Why? Are there any ways to make it easier? To find out, listen to Dr. Leman’s answer on today’s episode!


Some days I just want to resign as a parent. It is simply too hard to keep doing! Why?

First of all, the nature of kids is that they are immature and they say and do stupid things. Parents have to deal with this all day long, and the culmination of it is that we LOSE IT!

Here are some reasons why parenting is hard:

1. We try too hard.

We do too many things for our kids because we misinterpret what love is.

2. We make excuses for kids.

We bail them out. This leaves the parent picking up the mess behind them.

3. We want to be the perfect parent…

and we forget that there are bad days and bumps in the road along the way.

4. Love involves discipline…

and that can be hard!

One last thing, if you are a single parent and haven’t read, Single Parenting That Works, I would highly recommend it! You’ll find that a lot of things you struggle with are addressed.

Aug 23 2016



Rank #7: Signs You are a Pushover Parent (Episode 176)

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Do you bend over backwards for you kids? Are you always making sure they are happy happy happy and catering to their needs? If so Dr. Leman has some important helps for you in this episode to help you have a new kid.


Two weeks ago we talked about the authoritarian parent, and today we are going to address the other end of the spectrum: the permissive parent.

Here are four marks that you may be too permissive:
1. You make excuses for your child
2. Are driven toward your kids’ happiness
3. Run on guilt
4. Do things for them they should do…

Does this sound like you? If so, you will want to hear this week’s episode on permissive parents!

A good book to read about this, and many more topics is, The Way of the Wise. It’s HIGHLY recommend reading, especially after today’s episode.

Nov 01 2016



Rank #8: 3 Signs You are Parenting With an Iron Fist (Episode 174)

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Are you like Iron Man? Do you rule your house with an iron first and control everything? If so, Dr. Leman can help you on today’s episode.


No one wants to admit that they are too authoritarian. But what does that really mean? What does an authoritarian parent look like?

Here are three things to watch for:

1. You rule with an iron fist and are never wrong
2. You always tell your kids what to do
3. You “should” on your kids

Dr. Leman will help you understand the dangers of authoritarian style parenting as well as help you recognize the marks in yourself. Your relationship with your kids is what matters in the end. Listen in to learn what he has to say.

Oct 18 2016



Rank #9: Stop The Perfect Child; Kids Won’t Go To Sleep- Ask Dr. Leman 75 (Episode 165)

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Dr. Leman has said he is against perfectionism, but how do you overcome your work to raise a “perfect-child?” What about kids who talk late into the night? What should you do? This episode answers these two questions with Dr. Leman’s unmatched wit and wisdom.


Question #1 Christine:

I am working on “de-perfecting” my daughter who we were raising as a perfect child. Right my 6 year old is worried about her piano concert, instead of being able to enjoy the experience. What is your advice?

Dr. Leman’s Answer:

Perfectionism is slow suicide. I say this often. It drives people to do the impossible.
Perfectionism becomes a weapon to embrace the whole family in the person’s struggle.

I say: “Pursue EXCELLENCE, not perfection!”

Try these pocket phrases on the perfectionist:
“Honey, I know it’s a huge thing to you, but it is not to me.”
“Wow, you’ve really worked hard on that!”

Question #2 Chantal:

My kids share a room and will stay up talking late into the night, sometimes talking for 3-4 hours. How do I get them to stop talking?

Dr. Leman’s Answer:

You can’t make a child sleep!

Here are my recommendations:

  • Say nothing
  • Ignore them
  • Eventually they’ll wind down
  • Don’t respond to their questions
  • Go to bed and turn out all the lights

By making a change, you will catch them off guard.
You can use the pocket phrase: “I’m Done!”

Aug 16 2016



Rank #10: 146-The Secret Sauce to Stop Self-Centeredness

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Feel like your child is bored and needs the latest greatest whatever? Dr. Leman give you the secret sauce to fix that problem.


How do we help our kids become grateful for what they have in life? What role does serving play in this?

If you want grateful kids who are servant-hearted, start with asking yourself how you treat them at home.
Do you over service them?
Do you do everything for them?
Do you allow them to try, even if it is not done perfectly?

Kids are on the take! They are happy to have you do for them. We have centered the home on the kids so they are happy at every turn.

This can change!
Teach them to serve in their own home.
Give them opportunities to serve in their school, church and community.
Give them chores to do around the house.

The difference will be clearly seen when kids reach 20 years of age–what kind of adult are you raising?

Here Is A Book Mentioned in the Podcast and Highly Recommended!
Planet Middle School: Helping Your Child through the Peer Pressure, Awkward Moments & Emotional Drama
These Three Easy Steps Also Relate to this Episode and will Make a BIG Difference!
3 Easy Steps to Help at Home

Apr 05 2016



Rank #11: 143-Ask Dr Leman 64 (Whining at 8; Strong Willed or Powerful-Me or Them)

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How do I stop whining now that my kid is 8 years old? Is my child strong willed, powerful or is it me? Dr. Leman answers these questions with his usual wit and wisdom.


Question #1 from Bonnie:

How do I stop the whining of my 6 and 8 year old kids? I keep bringing their whining to their attention, but they keep whining. Will they eventually grow out of it and stop? Is there a better approach for me to take?

Dr. Kevin Leman’s Answer:

Yes, Bonnie! There is a better way to get the kids to stop whining!

First of all, they are doing it because they have found that it works; it pays off! I call this “purposive behavior.”

Here is what I would suggest:
1. Take the time to think through what normally do in these situations, and what the new you is going to do/say.
2. When the whining starts; remove the child. Yes, put them outdoors, in their room, etc.
3. Follow this with a look of disapproval. (Kids are always seeking our approval.)

Remember: Behavior only reoccurs because it is working!

You may find my book Have a New You by Friday helpful.

Question #2 from Jaci:

My 11 year old daughter is very strong willed. How do I deal with disrespectful arguing without getting angry and micromanaging?

Dr. Kevin Leman’s Answer:

Here is a test for your child: Does she/he need to have the last word in an argument? If you answered “yes,” then that person is “powerful.”

It’ll behoove you not to give in to a child like this.
Turn your cheek with a soft response
Let the consequence be the passing of time
Go back to normal

Dr. Kevin Leman’s Book “Have a New You”: Have a New You by Friday: How to Accept Yourself, Boost Your Confidence & Change Your Life in 5 Days

Mar 15 2016



Rank #12: 3 Things Every New Mom Needs to Know in the Middle of the Chaos (Episode 178)

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Are you a new mother who feels like you are drowning in the new and wonderful experience of parenthood? If this episode if for you! Today Dr. Leman covers the top three things to keep in mind to help keep your head above the water and enjoy the ride.


For those moms with young children out there, these are days of, “Mom, Mom, MOM!” and spit up on every top. How to make it through? Will it ever end?

Dr. Leman’s Three insights:

1. Align yourself with other moms. Create a babysitting co-op, or a playgroup.

2. Take time for yourself. This means nap while the baby naps! Housework will always be there. Let your husband help you clean up when he comes home (but you will need to ask for help, because he does not always know what you are thinking!)

3. Realize that the day will come when you’ll yearn for these baby days again. So, soak it up. Enjoy those babies and toddlers, because, before too long, they will be going off to college.

And, the bonus #4:

Take time to keep your relationship with your husband healthy and alive. He is the one you will be with for the rest of your life!

Nov 15 2016



Rank #13: How Do You Open the Iron Fist of Parenting? (Episode 202)

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Do you want to be less controlling as a parent, but it seems impossible to let go? If you’ve ever thought, “If I let go of control, I’ll get controlled and become vulnerable,” then this episode is for you!


Are you ever worried that you are too controlling as a parent? But does it seem impossible to let go, for fear of totally losing control? “What will happen around here if I let go? You don’t know my family!”

Take a deep breath!
You are not going to believe where this podcast goes…

Control comes out of fear. Yes. Fear.

It is a sign that you are:
Lacking faith in God.
Living vicariously through your kids.

It really is a spiritual battle.

In parenting it leads to destructive authoritarian parenting where you are worried about how your child performs, if they show up, or if they let you down.

Two books that I would recommend for this topic are Have a New Kid by Friday and Have a New You by Friday.

May 02 2017



Rank #14: Lengthening Your Kid’s Leash (Episode 188)

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Do you have a leash for you kid when you go to the zoo or other trips? What about a leash that isn’t visible, but used regularly to keep them out of harm’s way? If so, Dr. Leman teaches us how to use them in today’s episode!


What is it that develops your “psychological muscles?” How about those of your children?
Did you know that by keeping your kids on a short, “safe” leash, you are actually disabling them?
As it is, parents do too many things that their kids can do for themselves.

So, how much do I let my kids experience life?
A lot more than most of you are!

Kids need to have longer leashes and longer responsibilities in order to be ready to move into the world. It is through experiencing bumps and bruises that they will develop psychological muscles.

Here are some tips for you, parent:
1. Teach them to be streetwise.
2. Base their freedoms on the responsibility they show in the home.
3. Be their cheerleaders!

Now, you can watch them stretch their muscles…

Jan 24 2017



Rank #15: Demanding Two Year Old; Lazy Teenagers- Ask Dr. Leman 94 (Episode 203)

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What do you do with a demanding 2 year old? Is there more than putting her in her crib when she throws a tantrum? Do you have young adult children living at home and working and going to school? Do you have to nag them to pick up after themselves? Dr. Leman gives us his answers in this episode.


Question #1 Elizabeth:

What do I do with a 2 1/2 year old, the baby of my three children, who always wants to do it her way. She decides if she wants to go potty, when she wants to get to the dinner table. Everything goes her way or else she throws a temper tantrum. I just carry her to her crib and tell her she stays until she gets happy. Sometimes it doesn’t take long. I just think that there has to be something else I could to, but at this point I don’t know. Do you have an answer for me?

Dr. Leman’s Answer:

A child like this is powerful. These powerful antics are purposeful in order to show you who is in charge.
You are doing the right thing by putting her in her crib.

Here are my tips:
Be consistent
You’ll have to do it lots of times
Don’t let her see your anger on your face, instead say, “I want you to k now that I am unhappy.”

In the end, you all win! You find peace in the home, and you put her on a healthy trajectory.

Question #2 Christy:

Dr. Leman, I LOVE your books! They are fantastic! Here is our problem: Our boys are 15, 17, and 20. The 17 and 20 year old both work and go to school full time. We struggle with evenly dividing responsibilities. Also, a huge problem is simply cleaning up after themselves!! For example, empty cups and popcorn bags being left on the table in the living room, wet towels on their carpet after a shower… Any suggestions?

Dr. Leman’s Answer:

Well, first off, the 15 year old has fewer responsibilities, so he should carry the brunt of the chores. He has more time!

Your action, not words, will make a difference with the boys picking up after themselves. I’d get a box and clean everything up from the living room–including any valuables they leave out. Put it in the garage. When they ask for it, send them to search the box.

This will give you a clean living room, and communicate to them that you are not doing their work. They will have to come dig through it to find their valuables.

May 09 2017



Rank #16: Welcome Back; My Kid is so Sensitive (Episode 217)

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Welcome back to an ALL NEW Season with Dr. Leman! “My kid is SO sensitive.” If you feel that your child melts down easily or you feel like you’re constantly walking on eggshells, this can be a form of manipulation. Dr. Leman explains why it’s important for parents to understand their child’s behavior with some fun role-play examples.


Show Sponsored by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing.

Produced by Unmutable.


Intro:                       Hey, hubby, what should we do with Lily? She’s driving me nuts. I know. We should ask Dr. Leman. He knows everything about parenting. Welcome to Have a New Kid by Friday with Dr. Kevin Leman and Doug and Andrea Terpening.

Doug:                       Well, Welcome back to Have a New Kid. Hi, I’m Doug Terpening.

Andrea:                   And I’m Andrea.

Doug:                       And we are so glad to be back with you. It feels so, so, so good. Real quick. If this is your first time with us, just to let you know if you have any question or concerns at anything that’s brought up during this podcast, we highly encourage you to go seek a local professional for help. Dr. Leman, we are back doing the podcast. How are you?

Dr. Leman:            Well, how am I? Where have you been? Hiding in the Oregon dark forest?

Doug:                       Big Foot came and captured us for a while, and we’re finally set free.

Dr. Leman:            I think you were hiding under a pile of wood chips up there. I’m down here in the desert. We’re talking it’s still April, and we got 90-some degrees down here. So, interesting.

Doug:                       Well, we still have moss up here.

Andrea:                   And rain.

Doug:                       And rain. Maybe it was we were just too gloomy. That’s why we had to take a break.

Andrea:                   Yeah.

Dr. Leman:            And let’s start with a big thank you to Baker Publishing House, Baker Revell. Baker has several imprints. Revell is one of them, and Revell has published books like the “Birth Order” book and “Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours”, “Have a New Kid by Friday”, “Planet Middle School”. I mean, the list goes on. There’s 60 Leman books out there, but so many of you have literally been hounding me, in a very nice way, I gotta tell ya that, through Facebook and emails and you name it. “Hey, when are those podcasts coming back?” And so we have been working on it. This is the very first one, and Baker has been kind enough to sponsor this and make it happen.

Dr. Leman:            You’re probably gonna hear some things along the way from Baker, telling about Leman products and maybe some others as well, but I’m just grateful to them that they stepped up to the plate, enabled the three of us to talk about life. The feedback we get on this podcasts is nothing short of wonderful. People like them, ’cause they’re practical, they’re short, we talk about marriage, we talk about how strange men are, and how weird women are. I do have a sense of humor. I don’t apologize for that. We try to make this fun. So, it’s a learning experience for all of us. We learn together, but the ideal is to make you a little better person, a better parent, a better husband or a wife.

Doug:                       Amen. Amen. So, let’s just go and give just a quick update. How are the grandbabies? The two adopted ones?

Dr. Leman:            Grandbabies are two, the little ones. Two today as we speak. The older two are getting big. My little grandson, Connor, has now a size 14 foot.

Doug:                       Whoa.

Dr. Leman:            Shoe size. He looks like snowshoes.

Andrea:                   How tall is he?

Dr. Leman:            The nutrition says he’ll be 6’5″.

Andrea:                   Oh.

Dr. Leman:            6’5″. And Adeline is starring in the little production of Annie at her school. She’s Annie so she’s been singing up a storm, and it reminded me of my daughter, Holly, who I remember as a kid was singing Annie, and I said in one of my books “She sang Annie like it was yesterday.”

Doug:                       Oh, fun.

Dr. Leman:            Tomorrow, tomorrow. No, more like yesterday when Holly sang it. So, Adeline’s doing well, Mrs. Uppington is still in love with me she says.

Doug:                       Whoa. Wow.

Dr. Leman:            Everybody’s doing good. So, we’re good. How are your kids?

Doug:                       Growing. Growing. You know, that’s the thing I didn’t realize about ’em, that man, this parenting goes by way faster than I would have ever thought it did.

Andrea:                   Yeah, and when they hit 18, they actually graduate and move on, and oh, my goodness.

Dr. Leman:            So, how is James boy doing, real quick?

Doug:                       Phenomenal. Absolutely phenomenal to be honest. Not because of Andrea and I, well, because of us, but also because it’s just been amazing to see him grow and become his own adult and take off. Just how you hope it would be.  Absolutely how you hope it would be. And the other three.

Dr. Leman:            Well, we’ve said many times, you’re not rearing a kid, you’re rearing an adult, and when the kid hits 18, it’s really nice to see them leave the nest confidently, and take on the challenges that lie before ’em. Good for him.

Doug:                       Well, and I Know we’ve said this before, and we truly mean it. We’re so thankful that we got to do this podcast with you to change our parenting so that we started raising an adult, ’cause we didn’t know how to. We knew 0-5 pretty well, but after that, we were stuck. So, it’s been great. It’s been great.

Dr. Leman:            For new people, one of the things I love about Doug, it’s easy to love Andrea, it’s a little bit more difficult to love Doug, but Doug, he’s owed up to the fact, you know, I’m a reformed yeller and authoritarian, and he’s the first to say “We’ve learned a lot.” And that’s our mission here. Trying to teach. None of us are perfect. We all are flawed to the core, but that’s what these podcasts are all about. So, do us a favor, tell your friends the chubby psychologist from Tuscan, Arizona is back with a lovely couple from Oregon, and the podcasts are available.

Doug:                       Awesome. Awesome. Well, I thank you for all that. It’s so good to be back, and I say we jump in today’s topic. Here we go.

Dr. Leman:            Let’s do it.

Doug:                       Let’s do it. So, today’s topic is “I’ve got this sensitive kid. I don’t know what to do with him. Dr. Leman, am I supposed to let him be sensitive, am I supposed to toughen him up, am I just supposed to let him cry? How do we deal with this whole sensitive kid issue?”

Dr. Leman:            Well, if there’s one thing I’m convinced of, is that most parents when they tell me when I’m speaking around the country, “Oh, Dr. Leman, my little Buford is very sensitive, very sensitive child. He melts down very easily, and he’s just so sensitive.” Well, let’s explore what sensitive means.

Dr. Leman:            Sensitive can mean that your child is extremely powerful. Ask yourself “Do I have to walk on eggs around this person?” Now some of you are thinking “Well, wait a minute. Are you talking about my husband or my child?” Well, it can be both can’t it, because many of you have married people who have tempers, who become explosive, who can fly off the handle in a second’s notice, and yes, that’s a sensitive person.

Dr. Leman:            The sensitivity is a front for what’s really going on, and that is there’s power there, there’s a need to dominate, to win, and so when I hear about a precious little child that is just so sensitive, I mean, if they were trying to sell me something, I’d hang onto my wallet. Because these kids can be very manipulative, social, outgoing, and they can have more drama than you’d find at the Academy Awards evening. I mean, these kids can work ya. And so, when you fall prey to acquiescing to the demands of the sensitive child, and keep in mind, the sensitive child requires you to approach them in a certain way. And when you walk on eggs around them, all you’re doing is increasing the probability of them developing shyness as part of their repertoire behavior.

Andrea:                   Really? Shyness?

Dr. Leman:            Yes. You show me a shy child, I’ll show you a powerful little buzzard.

Andrea:                   I’ve always said I hate the word “shy” ’cause I was always labeled as shy.

Dr. Leman:            Yep.

Andrea:                   So, that’s interesting.

Dr. Leman:            But see, with shyness, comes perfection. One of the reasons kids become shy is there not certain as to how to do something. They don’t like changes, and you’ve seen kids literally hide behind their mother’s skirt, if you could find moms who still wear skirts, but see that kid is just fearful of the unknown, because they can’t what? Control what’s coming. So, control, perfectionism, and sensitivity all go together, and if you have a kid that fits any of those descriptions, no wonder you’re reading a Leman book. You need to, because that kid is gonna play you like a violin.

Doug:                       So, Dr. Leman, I have a 14-year-old daughter, we’ll say, hypothetically, and it appears at times that she’ll come to me with tears over something I’ve done, how do I know if I’m being worked or how do I know if it really is genuine, she’s brokenhearted?

Dr. Leman:            Well, if she’s come to you about something you have done, a straight “Honey, help me out here, ’cause I’m not getting it? Just what did I do? Be as explicit as you can, because if I’ve done something wrong, or I haven’t been respectful of you, I owe you an apology.”

Dr. Leman:            But see, most kids don’t come that way. Most kids come whining, “I’m not gonna go to that thing you want me to go to, I’m not gonna go to youth group”. They give you their best shot with the drama, and the best thing to respond is to respond to their feelings. Don’t tell ’em they shouldn’t feel that way, and that’s where most of us get off center. We tell kids “Now, honey, don’t feel that way.” Well, obviously, the kid feels that way. He’s saying it. But he’s saying it for a purpose, and that gets us back into one of the words that I always am gonna be teaching our listeners on our podcast, and that is you have to be aware of purpose of behavior.

Dr. Leman:            In other words, this drama, this shyness, this feeling that we have to walk around eggs around this person is purpose of behavior. It serves a purpose in a kid’s life, and it basically says “I’m in control of you, you’re gonna do what I want you to do”, and parents, I mean, like Lemmings flying off the cliff, they knock themselves out trying to keep their child happy at every turn. And to quote one of the best lines in the book “Have a New Kid by Friday”, is “An unhappy child is what? An unhappy child is a healthy child.”

Doug:                       Is a healthy child. Yeah.

Dr. Leman:            But don’t be impressed with your kid’s unhappiness. It serves a purpose. Don’t be impressed with your child’s tears. Now, can a woman’s tears bring her husband to his knees? Yes. So, again, it’s not just kids that manipulate through tears or drama. It’s adults as well. Many people [crosstalk 00:11:08].

Andrea:                   Would you say those adults started out the same way these kids are that you’re describing?

Dr. Leman:            Absolutely.

Andrea:                   So, you don’t grow out of it?

Doug:                       So, Dr. Leman, hypothetically, let’s say we have a 16-year-old daughter named, well, I shouldn’t name her, but we’re just hypothetically doing this. This is 100% hypothetically, and she is known for dragging her feet and then being sensitive once she’s pushed about not doing what she has dragged her feet to say that she has done, and hypothetically, two people named Doug and Andrea fall prey to that system often where we’re like “Oh, we feel bad for her. She is trying this, she is trying that.” How do we get outta that cycle where it feels like either we’re pushing, pushing, pushing, or it’s like we just get this mega emotion?

Dr. Leman:            All right. Everybody that has an object near them, grab it and put it in your hand. It can be a pen, a cellphone, a cup a coffee, whatever. Okay, you got it in your hand? Now, pick it up. Okay, you picked up. Now put it down. Okay, now try to pick it up. Right now, I’m holding onto my cellphone, and I’ve just gave myself instructions to try to pick it up. Where is it lying? Is it lying on a surface or is it above the surface? It’s on the surface. Do you see? The trying. We get sucked into the trying. I like to prefer you’re either doing it or you’re not doing it.

Dr. Leman:            The Nike people have it right on their t-shirt “Just Do It”. And so a kid who drags their feet has successfully trained their parent to continually push them, to needless involve them in their life. So, the kids who drags his feet and procrastinates, many times is a perfectionist that may be hard to spot at first glance. But she feels insecure doing it herself so she drags her feet, because she knows if she drags her feet, mom or dad will come along and sorta help her through the maze. So that’s an unhealthy response from a child.

Doug:                       And then the sensitivity comes in as a manipulative tool then to get me to help her then?

Dr. Leman:            Then the drama comes. And you say “Well, honey, I’m not gonna do that. You need to do that.” “Well, you never help me with anything.” Punch up the guilt button on mom. “What do you mean I never help you? I help you all the time. I’m your mother. When you wanna be driven someplace, who drives you? Uber?”

Dr. Leman:            I’m just saying that, you know, I say on the back of the mega-million, best-seller book “Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours”, I say we have seen the enemy, and they are small. And today’s kids are unionized, and they have a game plan, and they’re marching on your home. I mean, you’re the one that brought the Trojan horse in your home. Don’t blame me. But now that you’re up to your neck in alligators, you still need to try to drain the swamp. And you realize the enemy is within your home, and so, some of you have to just chill, sit back, have a good discussion, use these podcasts as husbands and wife to say “Wait a minute? Do you think there’s anything to that? That purpose of behavior he talked about?”

Dr. Leman:            What is the purpose of my oldest daughter always tattle tailing on youngest daughter? She feels the competition. She doesn’t like the encroachment of her turf. Well, question. Do you treat those kids differently? Does the firstborn have more rights and privileges than the thirdborn? I hope so.

Dr. Leman:            This just helps you get into the kid’s head, I think. Andrea?

Andrea:                   Yeah. So, if we have a child like that whether their 16 or whether they’re three, what would you say to parents who wanna help that child grow out of this, change? What would be some easy steps?

Dr. Leman:            Easy step is okay, here it comes. What do I normally do? And just think it through. I usually say this, and we end up in a fight. What’s the new me? What’s the new Andrea gonna do differently? In other words, and we’ve gotten so much feedback on this one point, that you change behavior by changing the way you think. So, when you think differently and say “Okay, I’m not gonna go down that isle A, because it always gets me in trouble. I’m gonna sit and wait, I’m gonna take my time, and I’m gonna go down isle B. I’m gonna handle this differently.” Now, your chances of success are increased by simply behaving differently, ’cause you’re really saying by way of your behavior, “I refuse to play the dog-and-pony show that always ends up with drama and explosion of some kind.”

Andrea:                   So, that’s gonna [inaudible 00:16:13] some real power struggles the first few times you do this, right? It’s ‘not gonna be pretty.

Dr. Leman:            Absolutely. Well, let’s take the case where the older daughter is whining about the younger daughter, and she’s bothering me, and she’s doing this, and she’s doing that. Well, normally you get in there and ask questions about what’s happening and all. Don’t do that. Just look at her and say “Honey, you’re 16 years old. Your sister’s 12. I think you can handle it”, and walk away.

Dr. Leman:            One of the things you parents, you mommy’s, will hear from Leman a lot is turn your back and walk away, because when you engage in battle with the kids, you’re gonna end up losing. They’re gonna work ya like a violin.

Doug:                       Should we do role play, Andrea? You want me to do it?

Andrea:                   Sure. Sure.

Doug:                       You want me or do you wanna be the whiny? Who wants to be whiny?

Andrea:                   You.

Doug:                       Oh, don’t say I’m better at being whiny. Do not say that.

Andrea:                   Okay. I can try and act.

Doug:                       No, I’ll do it. So, “Dad, you know that football game went really late, and my friends have been really mean to me recently, like Joey, he said that he doesn’t like me anymore, and it’s really hard to just get all of life done right now, Dad. I don’t think I can get all my homework done. It’s just too much, Dad. It’s just too much. I just need to not have to do the homework this week. Okay, Dad? Is that all right?”

Dr. Leman:            All right. Sounds like life’s throwing you a curve ball here.

Doug:                       “Dad, it’s really hard. It’s really hard right now, Dad”

Dr. Leman:            I understand. We’ve all had hard times, but you know, there’s an old expression, and it probably applies in your life. When the going gets tough, you know what the follow is? The tough get going.

Doug:                       Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Leman:            Now, I’m telling you, you’re a weird age to begin with, your fiends will turn on you on a minute’s notice, everybody’s pretty insecure at your age, and everybody’s trying to figure out where they are. So, I understand Joey said some things that weren’t cool, and words can hurt. I got all that. But that doesn’t negate the fact that we expect you to pull your weight in this home. Your mom works, your dad works, everybody gives back to the family. One of the few things you’re expected to do is to do your school work and do it well. We have high expectations for you. You gotta good brain in your head.

Doug:                       Yeah.

Dr. Leman:            So, suck it up, and attend to your homework, because we read this marvelous little book, and it made all kinds a sense. It said “You know what? Don’t accept excuses. Excuses make the weak weaker”, and one of the things we know you’re not is weak.

Doug:                       Yeah, but dad, you’ve helped me the last couple times. Can’t you just help me again with the homework? It really, really makes it a lot better, dad. Please? Math is really hard, and you do such a good job, and I feel so connected and close to you after we work on it together, and I just love you so much, and it’s just like something we get to do together. It’s really meaningful to me.”

Dr. Leman:            You know, pardon me for being blunt, but I’m feeling like I’m being worked.

Doug:                       Oh, dad! No. I just need help, dad.

Dr. Leman:            Yeah. Okay. But you need to help yourself here. Okay? You need to get yourself together, go into your room, it’s quiet, and start on your work. Okay? You want me to come in and rescue you from your math. You know I’m not gonna do that. I’m good at math, but I don’t really enjoy doing it. It’s your homework. It’s not my homework. Now, you’ve shown through several years of schooling that you’re a very, very capable student.

Doug:                       Dad, you hate me. Dad, you just flat out hate me, and you just don’t care. You just don’t care, dad. You don’t. You don’t. You don’t love me.

Dr. Leman:            Honey if you wanna believe that lie, you continue to believe that lie. The truth be known, you know better than that. So, I think it’s late. This conversation isn’t going anywhere, and speaking of going somewhere, I think you need to go to your room and get that work done. If you choose not to do it, in the morning, and you’d like me to send an email to your teacher that just simply says “You’re not prepared. You haven’t done your homework”, I’ll be more than happy to do it.

Andrea:                   So, Dr. Leman, as I listen to this, the mother’s heart in me, probably like a lot a parents out there listening, are thinking “Ah, wait a second. Now my kid’s gonna think that I don’t love them and I don’t value that time with them like they just said. We feel so connected when we do this together, and how in the world can I turn my back, walk away? This is like no, my child, if I don’t step up here, I’ve just destroyed the relationship.”

Dr. Leman:            Yeah. Run it by your girlfriend, okay? She’ll see it clearer than you will, because as a mom, like you say, your heart gets in the middle, poor child, he’s this and he’s that. Don’t get sucked into that. If you do exactly what you wanna do, and you let guilt be the fuel for your action with your son or your daughter, all you’re doing is increasing the probability of your child coming to you once again for you to do his or her homework, and the child’s strength, wherewithal, security gets diminished, because you bailed ’em out. So, if that’s what you wanna do, parent, you go right ahead. Do you wanna see that kid learn from this?

Dr. Leman:            Remember the bottom line was that dad said “Listen, if you choose not to do it, I’ll be glad to send an email to your teacher.” I think for most kids, that’s motivation that they’re gonna get in that bedroom even though they’re gonna feel a little sorry for themself, ’cause they weren’t able to pull it off with mom and dad, but they’re gonna do their work. Again, it’s a confident thing to say “Honey, I’m sure you can handle it.”

Dr. Leman:            You know, you gotta daughter whose boyfriend just dumped her, I wouldn’t tell her to suck it up and you can handle it. I’d put her in the car, and we’d go for a long ride, and I’d listen. So, there’s a time for compassion, there’s a time to listen. Okay? But you have to have your antennae out there, parents, to know the kids are so capable of working you, and it’s almost an art form.

Doug:                       Yeah. Last question. So, for the mom out there, Andrea, the other one is “Well, will they still love me if I treat ’em this way? Right? Or will they hate me?”

Andrea:                   Right.

Doug:                       Answer me. Do they now hate Andrea because she told them to go to their room?

Andrea:                   Yeah.

Doug:                       Oh, sorry. What were you gonna say?

Andrea:                   No, that’s good.

Dr. Leman:            So many parents are driven by the fact that they think they have to be their child’s best friend, and if their kid’s upset with ’em, it’s the end of the world. It’s not the end of the world. I mean, it’s part of life.

Andrea:                   So fast forward these relationships to the child is 35. What potential differences could you draw between the relationship between the parent and this daughter?

Doug:                       If they stand up to ’em like this, or versus always acquiescing?

Andrea:                   Right.

Dr. Leman:            Well, again, I go back to this concept are we rearing a kid or an adult, and you want that kid to be confident. A kid doesn’t gain confidence by you doing things for the child, the child should be doing for themselves. So, at age 35, you gotta a weak person who when things go wrong, it’s somebody else’s fault. You got a person at 35 who doesn’t accept responsibility very well, is very good at getting other people to do their work for ’em. That doesn’t cut it today. That’s why God gave us parents.

Dr. Leman:            We’re building character and kids are learning and their growing and sort of figuring out where they fit, but the love. You know, love and discipline. They go hand in hand, folks. You gotta understand, if you love your child, you’ll what? You’ll discipline him, but that means you discipline your life, you live a disciplined life yourself.

Andrea:                   What kind of relationship do you think that mom and daughter have now at 30, if that mom stood up and walked away?

Doug:                       Are you asking are they gonna actually have a relationship or.

Andrea:                   Yeah.

Doug:                       Is the daughter gonna be cold to walk away?

Dr. Leman:            They’ll have a great relationship, ’cause it’s gonna be based upon honesty and truth and mutual respect. How many of us as adults have thanked that coach or that teacher or that parent who was tough on them?

Andrea:                   Right. I think probably the deep question inside of me is like “Well, if I teach ’em to be so independent, they’re just gonna fly the nest and I’ll never see ’em again.” But I know from talking to you over all these years that actually, we’re gonna have a healthy relationship, and they’re gonna wanna be my friend, but something inside of me says “Don’t make ’em so Independent. They’ll just take off.”

Dr. Leman:            Yeah.

Doug:                       It’s my job to wrap it up here, ’cause this is so good. I wanna keep going. One thing that I did think would be applicable, Dr. Leman, since we’re restudying it, is if I’m listening to this and I’m thinking “Okay, which Leman book would help me specifically with this one?” Which one would you recommend?

Dr. Leman:            Well, our podcast is called “Have a New Kid by Friday”, but I would suggest reading “Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours”. Now, that book has sold over a million copies for a reason. But it gives you the full gambit of the theory and the practicality of making children mind without losing yours, and I think you’ll enjoy it whether you have young kids, you look at the cover of it, you assume it’s just for young children, I’ll repeat this several times in our podcast, but when I do business groups, the basic information that I share comes out of my kids’ books “Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours”, “Have a New Kid by Friday”, and “The Birth Order” book. So, if you’re not a reader, there’s audio versions out there. You can pop ’em in your car, and listen as you drive or whatever, but that “Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours” book is pretty tough to beat.

Doug:                       So “Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours” would be the one that we recommend that you get for this one?

Dr. Leman:            Yes.

Doug:                       Well, it is so good to be back talking with you Dr. Leman, and with all of you out there, and we look forward to helping you add more tools to your toolbox so you can parent more and more, and I know I say this, have said it a lot in the past, and I’ll keep saying it again, these podcasts are absolutely wonderful, but go read the books to get it deeper in your mind. There’s something about hearing it and then reading it that just makes it go deep into your soul. And if you’re a brand-new parent, like year zero to five, I cannot recommend enough that you go read that book. Can not recommend enough. For your sake.

Doug:                       Well, that’s it, and it’s fun to be back.

Andrea:                   Have a great day. Thanks for being back with us.

Doug:                       We look forward to the next time we’re together. Take care. Bye. Bye.

May 01 2018



Rank #17: 7 Realities Kids Need to Face. (Episode 234)

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Are your kids prepared for the rough times ahead? In today’s episode, Dr. Leman lays out 7 realities every kid should face that will get them ready for the real world.

Learn more about Dr. Leman at

NEW: When Your Kid is Hurting –Dr. Kevin Leman


**Special OfferAug 22 – 28: Parenting Your Powerful Child ebook for $2.99 at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or wherever you get your ebooks**

Show Sponsored by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing

Produced by Unmutable


Doug:                       Well, hello. I’m Doug Terpening.

Andrea:                  And I’m Andrea.

Doug:                       And I’m so glad, we are so glad that you’re here with us today. You’re in for a treat again, as always, as we get to talk about, the seven realities that your kid needs to face on their own, for their own good. Gonna be fabulous. I’m super excited to talk about this one. But a quick reminder, if this is your first time here, hello. So glad you’re here. If it is, we just want to let you know that this is for your education and entertainment purposes only. If the subject matter raises any concerns for you or a child, please go seek a local professional for help.

Well, I am so excited to go over this one, because it comes out of Dr. Leman’s brand new book, that if I haven’t said it already, I’m going to, When Your Kid is Hurting. The reason that I love this book is that, just like this topic is, is that Dr. Leman talks about all the practical ways that you need to do it, and then he pulls out these sections to re-remember what he just went over. I thought this was one of the best ones in the book. It’s super helpful. Sorry Dr. Leman. I’m just going to jump into this one, then I’ll let you talk about the book a little bit, but I just found out that if you go to,, and order this brand new book, I cannot believe this, so correct me if I’m wrong on this, Dr. Leman, that you actually get it autographed by who?

Dr. Leman:           Yeah, by me. The quickest way is just That’ll get you right into the store and just put a notice on there you’d like it autographed to whoever. We’ll autograph it for you. Some people love autographed books. We’re willing to take the time to do that if you want it.

Doug:                       By you. That’s incredible. If you want an autographed copy, this book is amazing. Today, we get to dive into one of the topics that’s in the book. The seven realities kids need to face for their own good. Dr. Leman, what are these realities that kids need to face?

Dr. Leman:           Well, let me preface these by saying this, that every kid is struggling to belong. In fact, in some of the Leman books I talk about acceptance, belonging and competence. From a kid’s perspective, you answer the question, does your kid feel accepted for who he is, or who she is in your family? Does your kid identify more with the family than any other group, organization, or group of people? Is your kid competent? I didn’t say confident. I said competent. Do they have competencies? Can they do things? What are they good at?

You see what I’m saying is, and I’m setting this up so we can talk about the seven realities kids need to face for their own good, is they’re trying to fit in. It’s no secret that kids want to fit into a group, the peer group. The peer group is very, very powerful. There’s been studies done where kids can obviously see the difference in a length of line for example. They will put their hand up when asked the question, what is the longest line? Is it this one? It’s obviously not the longest, but everyone in the study puts their hand up. That child, maybe your child, is the guinea pig, is the subject of the experiment. Even though the kid can see it’s not the longest line, a kid will rather reticently put their hand up because they don’t want to go against the crowd, even when they see it with their own two eyes.

You have to understand that there’s a fervor in a kid’s mind. They want to fit in. Well, if they don’t fit in, in your home, and they don’t feel accepted in their home, and they go to school and they meet this really cool guy, and he says to your kid, you want a hit, offering drugs to your son or daughter. They’re going to identify someplace, folks. That’s what we’re talking about, the seven realities kids need to face for their own good.

Let’s just start with number one. It’s simple, but listen to it. Bad things happen, even to good people. Bad things are going to happen to your kids, and sometimes because of their own negligence, their own choice, but most of the time, it’s certainly the tenor of this book is that bad things happen from the peer group. That’s probably who is the number one enemy, so to speak to your kid’s psychological safety net, is other kids. Because they will say mean spirited things. Those words, we used to say, sticks and stones can hurt my bones, but words cannot hurt me. Something like that.

Andrea:                  I remember that.

Dr. Leman:           The reality is, that words can hurt, and they hurt a lot. When those bad things happen to your kid, and it might be simply your observation. Wow, I can tell that you had a rough day. Maybe that’s all you say. Maybe after dinner you say, honey, I noticed when you came home, you were upset. I’m all ears if you want to talk about it. In other words, it’s an open invitation to talk. But the bottom line is, this isn’t the last time you’re going to feel hurt by what someone said or did. These seven realities are things that your kids need to acknowledge are part of doing life.

Number two, what do you say to that, finds out that there were several kids cheating on a test, and they got higher grades than your son or daughter who studied hard and got an 89, while other people got grades in the 90s on an exam? How do you deal with that? Do you try to right the ship? Do you turn your kid into a narc? Do you say something to the school? Do you snowplow the roads of life for your kid? Or, is it rather a pragmatic approach that says, honey I’m so sorry. That’s got to make you feel really sad inside, you’re probably angry as well. Do you want to talk about it? Again, you give relief for a kid to talk about it. The kid may not end up being a narc. You may not end up going to the principal of the school, or the school teacher. You’re sorry this has happened, but one of the things I’ve learned in life as your dad or your mom, you know what? Life isn’t always fair. I remember the time I got pulled over by a state trooper. Now, I deserved it. I was speeding, but it just irked me because while I was talking to the police officer, cars are shooting by me. They had to be going faster than what I was pulled over for. Well, I got news for you. Life isn’t always fair. That’s the way it is.

Point number three, in these seven realities is, you have to live with the hand that you’re dealt with. Sometimes it doesn’t seem fair. Again, here’s a question. In the US, are you deserving of a fair trial?

Andrea:                  Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Doug:                       Yes.

Dr. Leman:           Are you entitled to a perfect trial?

Doug:                       I want one.

Andrea:                  We’d like to say so, yeah. Of course.

Dr. Leman:           Well, I got news for you. When things aren’t perfect, and one little I isn’t dotted, or a T isn’t crossed, the whole thing can be thrown out. We live in a time where a lot of people beat a lot of raps of different kinds. They’re good at ducking out of responsibility. You do have to deal with the hand that you’re dealt with. It’s part of going through life. Life isn’t always going to be perfect. We’ll get to this in another podcast, but I’m convinced that one of that things you do as a parent is be authentic and share your own failings with your kid. I call it establishing equality, that we’re in this thing together, that we need each other. Many times kids are hedonistic by their very nature. They sort of expect the world to revolve around them and that gets us to point four, in seven realities kids need to face for their own good, and that is, you aren’t the only person on the planet. I’m here to tell you, a lot of kids act like they are the only person on the planet. They only care about themselves.

That’s why when you get kids into servicing other people, you’re showing them by way of action, their action with your encouragement, that you’re not the only person that counts. Other people count in life. That’s one of the things we talk about at Leman Academy of Excellence, with kids. We really encourage saying no. We encourage lifting up other people, saying kind things about other people. It takes time to teach kids kindness, and to be thoughtful of other people. Again, kids by their very nature, think of themselves.

Point number five is facing hardships together is better than trying to go it alone. Two is stronger than one. We can face anything together. Now, let me say this as clearly as I can, if you have a great relationship with your son or daughter, and there’s great trust, and there’s authenticity in that relationship, your kid can face anything and come out okay. That’s a strong statement. Do you believe in your kid? Well, of course we believe in our kid. Well, let me ask you a question. If I polled little Melissa aside, or Jonathan aside and said, hey, do your parents really believe in you? What would they say? See, it might be different from what you just told me. They may not feel like they’re accepted, because you accept them as long as they conform to your wishes. But is there a true love there? Is there true acceptance?

See, I think it’s easy for us to move into this judgment arena. When you move into judgment, again, you’re damaging that relationship. If there’s a problem, we’re going to face this problem. Now, you’re going to face it alone, 13 year old, or if you want us to listen to you and add our perspective, we’d be glad to help. Am I going to do that for you? Am I going to take care of that problem for you? No. You’re going to take care of the problem, but we’ll be your backup. We’ll be a sounding board for you.

That gets into a principle that I’ve written about quite frankly, in several of my books, but it’s just so basic. That is, that B doesn’t start until A gets completed. If there is a problem in the family with relationships, with your son, with your daughter, with them in a peer group, whatever it is, if we’re going to start this sucker, we’re going to finish it. We’re just not get in, open up the can of worms, and then forget about it. That’s what a lot of people do. Parents tend to sweep things under the rug. It’s like the elephant sitting on the couch, and we don’t say anything about it.

Then finally, your attitude does make the difference in whether you’ll win or lose in life. That is so fundamentally important. Attitude, you tell me. We talk about our kids, our kid’s got an attitude. What’s the mean? It means they have a rebellious streak? They’re angry about something? Well, how do you rectify that? I think by listening. By saying, honey, you seem upset. Do you wan to talk about it? I’m all ears. Or maybe you’re best to get your kid in the car and start driving on the interstate, and saying, honey, you came home from school yesterday, I was tempted to say something to you, but you just seemed very distraught and upset. I just wondered if there’s anything you want to share? If you don’t want to, that’s fine. Just say, I don’t want to share anything, and we’ll just continue life as it is.

That doesn’t mean that you may not revisit it another time, or if you see a pattern in your kid’s behavior, that you won’t jump on an opportunity to say, hey, I want to go back a few days when you came home, and you seemed really upset. I just want to revisit that. Have you given any thought to sharing that with me. Just opening some doors that they’ll walk through.

Doug:                       Those are really good. The first things you said is kind of controversial in my mind. I think you said that the important thing is that, does your kid identify with the family above every other group, I think is what you said.

Andrea:                  Other organizations.

Doug:                       Other organizations. I feel a lot of pressure as a parent to actually do the opposite. That is, to make sure that my kid identifies with his friends, and with his club or his sports team, more than the family. Why is that, or where is the balance in that?

Dr. Leman:           Well, if we’re building a house, do you start with the roof? See, I think those things, I’m not denying that … We’ve talked before how your kids have been heavily involved in 4H. In fact, I was listening to a radio program this week and they were talking about they’re selling the hogs and the goats, and the beef. I’m thinking, what a wonderful organization. These kids get to raise an animal from the get go, and down to the final grooming and the judging, and the selling. I think, man, that’s wonderful. Again, I’m not anti-activity per se, but if a kid identifies with who he is, and many kids do, with his ability to do gymnastics or play golf, or to throw a baseball, or to play volleyball, I think that’s sad. I think the fundamental place you want a kid to identify with is his home. The kid who’s home directed, is a kid in all probability that’s going to be a good mom someday, good dad someday. Home is the safety net.

Now, if a kid doesn’t have a safety net, and they feel like all the parents do is rag on the kids forever, you tell me. They’re going to spend their time away from the home. See, the home, that’s the dwelling place. That’s the well. That’s when you come to get refreshed, because you can be beaten up out there in the world, and home ought to be a safety zone. We, that is Doug and I, could see things very differently, but I think the foundation is the important thing. I’m reminded of the time we build … We only build one new home in our long marriage, but I was so surprised to see the builder out at 05:30 in the morning. I said to him, what are you doing here? Because this is the head guy. This isn’t one of the worker bees. He says, Kevin, today we’re pouring the foundation. Well, stupid me. I didn’t get it. He had to explain to me, hey, if the foundation isn’t right, the whole thing’s wrong.

I think this is one of those foundational, and I’m playing on words, issues. Do your kids identify with the home? If they don’t, the chances of identifying with things outside of the home that aren’t necessarily good for them longterm, is high probability. The question is, do your kids get back to the family? You’ve heard me say, you rearing the kid in the home or hotel? If it’s a hotel, you do everything to the kid. You give him room service, food service, very little is expected of them. But the kid who’s really involved in the home, who helps take care of the home, who works around the home, is more likely to value the people in that home.

Andrea:                  Well, and the way I see it is, all of these organizations, all of their accomplishments can go away, but the relationships in their home, hopefully if that’s healthy, then they will come back to those, I know you’ve called them the A, B, Cs before, the acceptance, the belonging and the competence. That they get that filled at home. Whether they break their leg and they can no longer play that sport, or they grow out of the organization and they can no longer compete in it, their family is still there, so their identity isn’t wrapped up in that outside thing.

Doug:                       Dr. Leman, I have a question. Can I ask a question, before we run out of time? Or do you want to answer Andrea?

Andrea:                  Well, let me just say this. Most families don’t even eat dinner together. Where is the family time? There is none basically. I might sound like a dinosaur, but I’m just telling you that if the relationship between you and your children is really positive and really good, that gives them the strength to take on whatever is out there in the world. They’re going to succeed in life if they have strong relationships with those they love the most. That ought to be their family.

Doug:                       Well, that’s one of the things I love about your book is you help us as parents know what are the real issues to deal with. My question is, we did a podcast with you a couple months ago. I realized our children didn’t realize point number two and point number four. That is, that life isn’t fair and you aren’t the only person on the planet. Correct me if I did this wrong. We sat down at the table and I announced to everybody, which is the wrong way to do it, but I know. I said, hey, we’re just two soft as a family. Psychologically and emotionally we get way too wound up about things that we just don’t need to get wound up about. We take offense from each other way too much. We just gotta realize we’re not the only person in this family. How could I have done that better? Be gentle.

Dr. Leman:           Well, I think sometimes you hit kids with reality. Parents have feelings too. Kids aren’t the only ones that have feelings. Mom and dad can feel used. They can feel taken for granted. I think if you do share your feelings in an authentic way. Hey kids, I’m not sure how to say this, because I’m not sure how it’s going to be received by you, but your mom and I talked last night and we’re both very unhappy. Now, the kids are going to say, uh-oh. What are they gonna say next? They gonna get divorced? You’re going to say, we’re not happy with the way things are going on a daily basis around this house, because it seems like we’re doing all the work, we’re doing all the giving, and you guys are doing a great job of taking. But, it just seems wrong and it seems uneven.

Mom and I really believe you need more opportunity to give back to this family than you are right now. I know you all have your interests. You all have your projects. You all have your friends. Understand that, but home comes first. If there’s anybody that’s got a problem with that, let’s talk about that right now. We’ll resolve it one way or another, but things need to change, because neither of us are happy with the way things are right now. Our ears are open. We’re ready to hear what you guys have to say. Feel free to share honestly whatever your feelings might be. Is that better?

Doug:                       I think that’s much better than lecturing.

Dr. Leman:           It’s a way to put your foot down without making a fool of yourself. Kids do not like to hear, mom and dad are unhappy. Believe me. That sounds strange, but your kids actually want us happy. Now, let me go back to something we said on one of these podcasts was, this was a hard book to do. It really was. I’ve written, I think 61 books now, or something like that, but this was a tough book to do, because it’s hard to get your hands around the hurts of your children. Because what we tend to do as parents is we ignore their plight. We dismiss their plight. We tell them, get over it. We don’t engage ourselves in being a helper to our children.

I remind parents all the time, you’re the psychological blankie for your kids, and you can be a great source of encouragement for your kids, but it means you have to lay back and be a little different than you normally are with your children. What do you guys think? You’re living in the pits right now.

Doug:                       Well, Andy and I were just sitting here talking about the things in the last couple of weeks that we’ve had to deal with hurts in our children. Mrs. Terpening has heard you enough say, she needs to bite her tongue and let reality of life help them out. She’s learning but it’s absolutely right. It’s why I love the book, quite honestly, that you’ve helped me go, okay, don’t need to worry about this. I do need to worry about this. The things I need to worry about are the things I can deal with, and I can affect. That’s what I loved about it for parents. I think you’re 100% right. I’m only laughing in that these are things that we have teenage children that we are re-going through with our kids that I wished we would have done a little bit sooner, to help them be a little bit stronger for life. Because these aren’t the things that our kids are getting nowadays, that life isn’t fair, and that whole concept of being able to deal with hard things is not a skill we’re passing on culturally, that I’ve seen. That’s why this book is so important, in my mind.

Dr. Leman:           Well, we jumped in like a rat looking at a piece of cheese. Where one of the things you’ve heard me say over the years is, let the reality of the situation become the teacher to the child. In most cases, the things that get kids “in trouble” are their own doing. Let the reality of the situation become the teacher to the child.

When a child hasn’t done what they’re supposed to do on a regular basis, and that is, take the garbage out, clean up the room, those mundane chores that most kids do in families, and then parents hold them accountable and say, wait a minute. No. Actually, give me those keys back. You’re not going anywhere tonight. Dad, I’m going over to Jakes and we’re going to do this, and we’re going to do that. I said, no, you’re not, because we agreed you were going to clean the garage today. You got up about 11:30 this morning. I didn’t remind you. I didn’t coax you. I didn’t bribe you, but you knew what you were to do today. You figured you’d just skate by. Let me tell you how easy it would have been for me to tell you at 11:30 when you got up, honey, remember, today’s the day you’re going to do the garage.

Some day somebody’s going to hold you accountable for remembering things, your employer for example. Look at me as just a helpful person. I know you want to skin me alive right now, because obviously you’ve made plans with your buddies. You’re going to have to call them. Blame it on me. I have no problem with you blaming it on me, but you’re not going anywhere tonight, and that garage will be cleaned tonight, or tomorrow nothing will happen as well, but this is your doing, not mine.

Doug:                       I love that. As encouragement to parents, we’ve adopted that here, that B doesn’t happen until A, since we’ve started with Dr. Leman. For some of our kids, we’ve only had to do that one time, and boy, they got it. Some of them we’ve had to do it twice, but man, when you said they would scream and holler and tell us how unfair it is, man, every manipulative trick they had, they threw at us like banshees. Poor Mrs. Terpening had to go in the backroom and cry because of all the mean things they said, and how we’re going to damage them forever. But in the end they stopped, and they figured it out.

Dr. Leman:           I got a message from a lady, couple of weeks ago. I laughed out loud. The essence, I can’t do it verbatim, but Dr. Leman, I just read your book. I have the most powerful child ever. I’ll tell you, if you tell the kid it’s black, he’s going to tell you it’s white. He wants to fight about everything. He’s an expert at throwing temper tantrums. He would have meltdowns. I read your book and I thought, I don’t know, but I’m so desperate, I’m going to try anything. She said, I can’t believe, I just really assumed that this is the way my kid is. She said, I figured out from reading your book, it’s a dog and pony show, and I’m the main customer. He works me, as you say, he plays me like a violin. I’ve done what you’ve suggested. I’ve told him once. I’ve walked away. I didn’t pay attention to all of his little temper tantrums things, and now he’s turned into a little puppy dog. I can’t believe it. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I’m telling all my friends about your wonderful book. She was referring to, Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Here this kid did a complete 180, and that’s the message I want parents to hear. These kids, many of them are playing the victim role in your family. Life’s been unfair to me. Whoa is me. Don’t pay that thought, believe me.

Doug:                       Well, I highly encourage you to get this book, because Dr. Leman talks about that in the book too. It really is a great book. If this is your first exposure to him, it’s a fabulous way to jump into the deep end of the pool. When Your Kid is Hurting, Helping Your Kid Through the Tough Times, it is a great, great, especially in how often our kids are hurt today, to know when to standup, when to be loving. If you’re a mom out there, especially and you’re wondering, when do I get to have empathy and when do I need to be tough? He lays it out for you in simple terms.

Andrea:                  What I’ve learned about this book, because when I looked at the title I thought, oh, this is going to be if, they’ve got cancer, or there was a divorce. But, this is like everyday stuff for every kid. Because all kids are facing those relational challenges, when they go to school, when they’re with their siblings. Just learning these seven things in life, I just think by hearing this, this is something we all deal with, not just the big stuff in life.

Doug:                       A quick reminder, you can pre order the book today at He will autograph it for you, so woo hoo. You just gotta tell him who you want it autographed to, and you can also go to, if you’re a Barnes and Noble, or if you’re an Amazon, or wherever you like to buy books, you can get this book as well. When Your Kid is Hurting, I cannot recommend it enough. The seven realities are expanded in there and explained to even a greater, deeper detail so that you’ll get it fuller and more.

Well, that wraps it up. I thank you again, Dr. Leman. It helps Andrea and I, and we are delighted, and it’s making a difference in our kid’s life. We hope that you try these things out and see it work. Hope you have a great week. Take care.

Andrea:                  Bye-bye.

Aug 28 2018



Rank #18: My kids and I are always angry, how do we stop it? – Ask Dr. Leman 103 (Episode 222)

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It’s time for another Ask Dr. Leman, “My kids and I are always angry, how do we stop it?” In today’s episode, Dr. Leman discusses the cause of your child’s anger and how you can immediately take steps to redirect their behavior. Learn more about Dr. Leman at

**Special OfferMay 30 – Jun 5: Under the Sheets for $1.99 at Amazon or wherever you get your ebooks**

Show Sponsored by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing

Produced by Unmutable


Doug:                       Well, hello. I’m Doug Turpening.

Andrea:                  And I’m Andrea.

Doug:                       And we are so glad that you’re with us today to add to your parenting tool box. And if this is your first time with us, just to let you know, this is for your education and entertainment purposes only. If the subject matter has any concerns for you or your child, please go seek a local professional for help.

Well, I am so thankful for those of you that have sent in your questions, and that you continue to go to question, hit the microphone and record them. And I’m really excited for Ann’s question today, so let’s jump into it.

Ann:                          Hi. I wanna thank you for doing your podcast, they’ve all been so helpful to me. I have a question about managing anger. I have four kids: the older three are boys, their ages are eight, six and five, and the youngest is a girl, she’s two. And i wanna know how to help them when they are angry, and I wanna know how to model healthy ways of handling my own anger. I know they’ve learned the wrong ways from watching me, and I don’t know how to help them. I don’t know what to say when they are angry, and I don’t know how to handle my own anger when I’m angry.

What I do is, I’ll yell or scream, or hit the kitchen counter, or just lock myself in a room and cry. The kids, they will hit each other, the younger two will throw things or kick things, they’ll all yell and scream when they’re angry.

If you can tell me what to do when I am angry, and how to help them when they are angry, we would greatly appreciate it. Thank you so much. Bye.

Dr. Leman:           You know, one of the best talks I ever heard in my life was in a small church, in a pasture, had a sermon titled “How To Be Good and Angry”, and we always think that anger is negative and that’s not always the case. Anger is a human emotion, we all have it from time to time, but you, Ann, have learned to react in your family growing up. You didn’t share much about that, but suffice to say that you learned as a young kid, it was either the way you got your way with people or how you kept people away from you, sort of an emotional stiff-arm, you learned to get angry and that warded people off. Four kids later and you got those three boys close in years, eight, seven, and five if I remember right, and then a little two-year-old girl. Oh my goodness. You unleash that anger at those boys, and you’ve got Barnum and Bailey circus incarnate in your home on a daily basis.

Now, you’re the adult so we’re gonna deal with you. Where does the anger come from? I just said you’ve learned a set of skills based upon reactions, I know they’re there, but I wanna push the point a little bit. Where did it come from? Who is the manufacturer of the anger? Who manufactures it? Where is the distributee for Ann’s anger? Is that in another state, in another town? Or could it be that she not only produces the anger, she’s the manufacturer, she’s the distributee. And this gets us off into purpose of behavior.

Now, things that probably happen on a daily basis in your life, they build up, and you’re probably one of those people that lets things build up to a point where just little spark creates a huge explosion from you. You’re sitting there trying to get some work done in the kitchen and the boys are doing their dog and pony show, and you’re so silly Ann, you tell yourself “They’re gonna stop that. Certainly they know better than to throw the basketball against the wall.” No. There’s some humor here, Ann. They’re kids, they’re dumb as mud. That’s why God gave us parents, to help these kids, we wanna shape them up.

When things start to happen in your home, let’s just start with the three boys, as soon as it starts, act. Now, what does that mean, “act”? It means, depending upon where you live, the climate, the weather, etc., you might take two of the boys and put ’em outside, who happen to be fighting at the time, or maybe all three of ’em. Or you might walk in and just say, “Hey, Mom is very angry. Mom is very upset what’s going on in here.” And turn your back and walk away. That’s good discipline, they don’t like it when mom is mad. But my key point to you is, as soon as it starts you go in and say something, because chances are when you say something as soon as it starts you’re not gonna be angry ’cause it takes a while to bring to boil.

I’m so dumb, I was making my oatmeal yesterday morning and I realized I put the water on the pan, I like the old fashioned stuff, and I just dumped the oats in with the water, cold water, and put it on the stove. And I’m thinking, “You’re an idiot, Leman. You’re supposed to boil the water and then put the oats in.” One of the other stupid things I do in life is I forget to turn it down. If you don’t turn it down, what happens to the oatmeal? It’s all over the stove and it’s hard to get off, and that’s why you turn to simmer.

Ann, you need a way of turning yourself to simmer, and acting on things as soon as it comes up is one of the best ways to control that little anger that’s in you. But you also have to understand that there’s a purpose of nature of your anger, it’s one of the ways that you’ve learned to get your way in life or keep people away from you. I’d be interested to know I you use anger with your husband. Now see, if your husband is real authoritarian, real strong, you may not use anger with your husband. And it’s interesting that you would not use it with your husband, but you would use it with your children, and you have to ask the question, “Why?” If this is so knee-jerk and it’s just there, why isn’t it used with everybody? Because you discern on a daily basis where you can use your anger and when you can’t. What I’m saying is you’ve learned how to play that game with anger.

You’re saying, “Hey Leman, listen, I’m calling in ’cause I need some help.” I’m trying to give you help. Deal with it as soon as it comes, get good at expressing what’s bothering you. In your marriage, if there’s things that need to be discussed, don’t sweep ’em under the rug, bring ’em up, talk about ’em, write ’em down. Say, “Honey, I’d like your opinion about something.” Again, my all time best tip to women everywhere I don’t ask your husband questions, and don’t ask your kids questions for that matter, but husbands hate questions. But if you say, “Honey, I need your opinion on something. There’s something that really bothers me and I’m not sure if it’s … if I should be bothered by it or not. I’d like your opinion on it.” It’s a way of getting into the relationship without getting angry and getting him to participate in the discussion.

Anyway, those are the basic things that I would share with you about anger. You produce it, you manufacture it, you distribute it. When you say, “You make me angry,” that’s really not true. We make ourselves angry based upon what somebody else said or did.

Doug:                       So in my thinking, I just gotta work harder to control my anger, and I just gotta buckle down and be aware of it. What would you say to me if I were to tell you, that’s how I got rid of anger?

Dr. Leman:           I would say there’s times you just got to say, “Hey, this makes me really angry,” and express the anger. See, I think I’ve used this analogy with you guys before, but it’s such a good one. If someone could get me a better analogy, send it to me, I’d love to use it. But when we were kids, we would blow up a balloon and we’d get it pretty well full, and then we’d grab the neck of the balloon and we’d pull on it and make that terrible sound to drive your sister or your brother or your parents wacko. You know what I’m saying? But when you pull on the neck of the balloon, even though it makes that terrible sound, air comes out and the probability of that balloon exploding is almost nil. Why? Because it’s not fully inflated.

The analogy is that when you get to say what’s in your heart and mind, and you open up your mouth and you let those words come out, you are lessening the probability of the explosiveness that could come with anger. You talk about things that make you angry. It’s good to use the term “I feel angry,” and what I said at the beginning was anger is a very natural emotion, all of us have it. When Jesus walked this earth, guess what? He got angry. None of us are above anger, so it’s part and parcel to [inaudible 00:09:33] noticing that I have a problem with anger, noticing that it can be destructive in relationships. It can cut people at the knees, so to speak, you can just take people down by being critical and angry. And many times when we’re that way, if we’re really honest with ourselves, we’re angry about something that we thought or we did, and we have the way of taking it out on other people. That’s all I’m saying, Doug.

Andrea:                  So, Dr. Leman, she’s asking how can we change this? And I’ve got an eight-year-old, and a six-year-old, and a five-year-old, is it too late for those boys? What’s the prognosis for them not being angry men?

Dr. Leman:           Well, those kids have all been trained in anger already, and it’s a good guess that probably two of the three kids are pretty angry people from time to time. They’ve grown up with a mom who’s angry, and they probably have those skill sets already enveloped in their life. Now, we know personality forms in the first five, six years of life, so those three kids, basically their personalities are formed. But as mom learns herself about anger, and the fact that she creates it and produces it and distributes it, she can share that with her kids and she can have open discussions about it’s okay to be angry but it’s not okay to be personal, vindictive, revengeful, etc. towards your brother or your sister. It’s better to just go in and talk about what made you angry.

It’s in that spirit of things that you take care of the anger with the children, but like Doug said earlier, you take care of yourself first. And so, most of our time on this question was devoted to mom for a reason.

Andrea:                  Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Leman:           We gotta get mom to stop distributing that anger around the house if there’s any hope of getting the kids to walk a little different direction.

Andrea:                  Sure, yeah. Well, that’s hopeful, though, for those boys, that we do have her be real frank with them and say “Hey guys, I’m working on my anger, I’m learning some new things. And so I’m gonna … I wanna pass it on to you as I learn because I don’t want you guys to have the same issue.”

Dr. Leman:           And just for fun, everybody think of the kid that you butt heads with the most. Got it?

Andrea:                  Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Leman:           Well, that’s the kid that’s most like you, not the least like you. The most like you. When you have similar personalities, you got two people who know exactly how life ought to be, that’s where the natural conflict is at the highest. You need ways of de-fanging that conversation. “I could be wrong, but …” “I may not know what I’m talking about, but …” “I might be way out in left field on this one, but …” and then you slip that commercial announcement, whatever that thought is, to your husband, to your child, to yourself if you must.

But we’re products of our environment and we learn to be the person we are, so you think your way to behavioral change, and that’s what people need to understand. And so, for the Ann’s of the world, there’s a social situation that comes up, you feel the anger well up inside of you, what do you normally do?

Doug:                       Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Leman:           Tell yourself what you do. “All right, now what’s the new Ann gonna do different?” That’s the litmus test. Can you make that synapse from Behavior A to Behavior B? If you do, you’ll be on the journey to correcting behavior that you say you don’t want in your life. Will you revert back to anger? You will, as sure as the sun’s gonna shine tomorrow, in most states. That anger will … it’s always there. I think it was St. Paul said, “The canal nature of man is always there.” So you’ll fall back on that, you just … you have to move on and forgiveness has to be a part of your life on a daily basis, and you realized how imperfect you are. I’ve said many times, when you understand how imperfect you are, only then can you really be the person that I think God would have you be on this earth.

Doug:                       So, I really appreciate you saying that, ’cause I was just about to say can we [inaudible 00:13:53] and those of us that struggle with this, some hope that we actually can overcome it because we’ve tried to stop it for years with failure, and you just gave it to us. I’m just gonna re-say it ’cause it’s so good, and if I get it wrong correct me. A, you’ve got to imagine yourself when you get angry. B, you’ve got to imagine yourself, how the “new you” is gonna respond to that. And then … And you’ve got to visualize it and actually see it and yourself doing it, and then B, when you mess up again forgive yourself. Realize that you’re on a journey to getting better. Did I get that close?

Dr. Leman:           Yeah. You should be a preacher.

Doug:                       Aw, no. Well Ann, and to all of you that are out there, I’m telling you what Dr. Leman is telling us is different, is absolutely right. It made a difference in my life, I can’t agree enough with A, you have to believe you can control it, and then once you believe you can control it you start to control it, and then it makes all the difference.

The other thing, for me, definitely may not, I don’t know if you wanna speak this real quickly, you said it, you are destroying your relationships around you in ways that are just unbelievably harmful for the long-term.

Andrea:                  Yeah. I’m so glad, Ann, that you had the courage to bring this question up, and you’re on the right track. Just starting down the track of asking “What do I do?”

Doug:                       Yep. There’s lots of “Ann’s”.

Dr. Leman:           Yeah. Yeah, kudos to Ann. That’s so good of you to pick up on that, Andrea. That’s not easy even to ask that question. And Ann, I know how you feel, ’cause after you rag on your kids you tell yourself, you have a conversation with yourself that goes like this, “I am the worst mother in the world. What’s wrong with me?” And quite frankly, there’s nothing wrong with you, but you’ve learned to be the person you are. And the good news is, you can unlearn that behavior.

Doug:                       Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Leman:           Now, it’s not easy but it’s simple. There’s a simple paradigm to follow, and we talked about it on this podcast. I hope and pray you’ll put that to use A.S.A.P.

Doug:                       Well, thank you again, Ann, for asking the question. Again, if you didn’t go get the book “Have A New You” when it was on sale last week, I can’t encourage you enough. That’s why we’re telling you guys to get the books now, they are absolutely fabulous. To help you have the exercises that he’s talking about, to really get it deep within you.

So Ann, and everybody else that sends in questions, thank you, thank you, thank you. We look forward to continuing to answer your questions and seeing that parenting tool box grow.

Andrea:                  Have a great day.

Doug:                       We look forward to the next time. Take care.

Jun 05 2018



Rank #19: Saying “no” and walking away isn’t working. What do I do? – Ask Dr. Leman 106 (Episode 228)

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It’s time for another Ask Dr. Leman: “Saying ‘no’ and walking away isn’t working. What do I do?” Dr. Leman reaffirms how being consistent and standing firm is the key to shifting your child’s behavior. Learn more about Dr. Leman at

**Special OfferJul 11 – Jul 17: Making Children Mind Without Loosing Yours for $3.99 at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or wherever you get your ebooks**

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Doug:                       Hi. I’m Doug Terpening.

Andrea:                  And I’m Andrea.

Doug:                       And we are so glad that you are with us today. If this is your first time with us, just a heads up this is for your education and entertainment purposes only. If the subject matter raises any concerns for you or child, please go seek a local professional for help.

Well, I am so excited to jump into this question that is proposed today and I just want to remind everybody, if you go to, there’s two things that you can do there. A, you can go and, as soon as you go there, there should be a little popup and you enter your email, and you’ll get some of these pocket phrases that you hear Dr. Leman talk about like, B doesn’t happen until A is finished and keep the tennis ball of life on [inaudible 00:01:03]. And you can do that, which is a great little download. Or, the second thing is, you can go to podcast question and leave us an audio question like, I believe, it’s Mary did today, if I remember right. I think it is Mary. And we would love to be able to answer your question.

So, before we jump in, cause I’m so thankful for them, I just want to say again, a big shout out to Revel Books and Baker Publishing for making this podcast happen. It is because of them that we get to do this. Great group of folks and it’s a pleasure to do this.

Well, Dr.Leman, I say we just jump into the question today. Does that work for you?

Dr. Leman:           Yeah. Let me just say one thing. I was sitting here thinking about people who have access to us. I mean, think of a national known person that you know who’s an expert in this field. Okay, I’m thinking of Dr. Drew Pinsky, we see him on TV. I’m thinking of Dr. Phil. Jim Dobson’s been around a long time. I got news for you parents. You don’t have a snowball’s chance, an HEW hockey sticks, of talking directly to these people, getting direct feedback from these people, about your life, the personal challenges that you face as a married person or a parent.

But that’s what’s unique about this podcast. You know, as Doug just said, hey, go on ask your question, we get back to you, you get to hear it. You know, and we’re talking specifically to you. And thousands of others are listening because most questions apply to other people. So help us spread the word, would you? Get on Facebook, tell your friends about what we’re doing here. Our download is unbelievable. We know people really like these. We get a lot of positive feedback. So, thanks not only to Revel, Baker Books but thanks for you being such an integral part of what we do here on our podcast.

Doug:                       Uh-mm-hmm (affirmative). Here we go. Let’s get to Mary’s great question.

Mary:                       Hi Dr. Leman. Whenever I tell my children no, and I say it once and I turn my back, and I walk away, and they follow me, and then I tell them why I said no, and turn my back and walk away, like you suggest in your book, my children never stop following me. They continue to follow me screaming for hours or more. What step am I missing? What am I doing wrong?

Dr. Leman:           Well, I love that question and you’re not doing much wrong at all. You’re doing a lot of things right. But let me point out to you the nature of hedonistic children. When you tell them no, and walk away, notice they come right after you. Well, what’s the purpose or nature of that? Number one, they don’t like the fact that you’re acting responsibly. They want to needlessly involve you in their life. It’s proof in the pudding that to this point you have reared, which is actually the proper term, reared as opposed to raised. Bread rises and kids are actually reared. You have reared kids who are powerful, who see themselves as more important than they need to be, who have found a myriad of ways of keeping you needlessly involved in their life.

And these kids are either attention getters who are saying, I only count on life when Mom pays attention to me. Or, the better guess is, they’re power-driven kids that say, hey, I only count on life when I’m in control of this home, when the big people in this home do what I say. And so, when you ask, what you’ve done wrong, you really haven’t done much wrong at all. You’re following the script pretty well.

Now, depending upon where you live. If you live in Tucson, Arizona, where I live, and as I speak it’s in excess of 100 degrees today. We always have nice weather. Most of us have what they call walled yards. We actually have a brick wall in our backyard. Why? To keep serpents out. I guess that’s part of it. It’s just a tradition here in the Southwest. A lot of Southwest homes have that. Cause, if you’ve got a safe place to put a child, take him by the hand and put him in a room and close the door. You know, if you have to have the Kevin Leman living memorial doorknob on there that’s inverted, so be it. I mean, you can keep a kid in a room if you want to.

Now, again, for those tree huggers out there who get really excited when they hear me say, put your kid in a room, we’re not causing undue psychological harm to a child. We’re saying, listen, there’s guidelines in this home. I’m not the punching bag, the psychological punching bag for you kids to come after every moment. I’m a human being who deserves respect in my own home and when I say no, I want you to understand that it means no. And when I ask you to back off, I expect you to back off.

Now, sometimes you’ll take two kids put them in the same room. You say, well I’m not going to invert the door. Well, try this. Hold the door, and they’ll wail like stuffed pigs. But they’ll wind down and when they wind down, ask them if they’re ready to come out and behave like six and seven year olds or whatever their age might be. And then go about your work.

Now, let me say something about that last word, work. It is work because you have trained these kids in such a way that they’ve had full run of the house. They’re the king and queens of the house and now we’re trying to bend the course of a river, so to speak. So it calls for consistency on your part, a dug-in nature, the ability to give kids the look that says I am very unhappy, the ability to look the kid in the eye and say, I’m very unhappy what’s happening here. And then, the very next thing that any of those kids ask for, I don’t care if it’s a glass of milk, your answer is no. I don’t feel like getting you anything right now. Turn your back again and walk away.

Some people are thinking, aren’t you making the kids guilty? Yes, by design, guilt is a great motivator. Children do not like it when mom and dad are upset with them. So I think you’re doing a great job. But there’s irony here. I just want people to hear in your question how smart these kids are. They’re saying, wait a minute, we can’t give up, she’s got us. We’ve got to keep the fight up. We got to come after them. That’s why I say with tongue-and-cheek, we have seen the enemy and they are small and they’re unionized. It’s like they have a game plan. And part of the reason why we have this podcast every day is to teach parents how to develop a game plan where they become the co-captain of the ship and the navigator of the good ship family.

Doug:                       Mmm.

Dr. Leman:           So, my encouragement is hang in there.

Doug:                       So Mrs. Terpening, you are a mother, and a nurturer, and a lover of kids, and your kids follow you around and they scream and they won’t take no for an answer. You are now going to put them in the room and hold the door. What would you need to know, what would you need to feel to be able to do that?

Andrea:                  I think I need to know that they’re still going to know I love them later.

Doug:                       You need to know that this is not going to harm your longterm relationship?

Andrea:                  Right. That they’re not going to sit in there and think, mom doesn’t love me. Mom really doesn’t love me.

Dr. Leman:           God bless you Andrea. She’s got the sweetest heart in the world. Are they going to love me, Dr. Leman? That’s what I want to know. Yes.

Andrea:                  Actually, not that they’re going to love me but they know and believe truly that I love them.

Dr. Leman:           They know it. And here it is. And I’ll pull it out of the big book, and it’s a commandment. If you love your child, you are quick to discipline your child. And so love and discipline are inseparable. So, if you’re really talking about love, then discipline has to be a part of it. So every mom listening, every dad listening has to owe up to, wait a minute … hmm, okay, I love my children, right? Yeah. You got that right. I love them. I would do anything for them.

Well, the question is how do you checkout on the discipline scale? Are you spotty? Are you inconsistent? Are you and your husband on the wrong page? All of these things will frustrate a kid and make him angry, and they’ll strike out. Well, they’re kids. They’re hedonistic little suckers, I’ve said many times. So what are they going to do? They’re going to put they’re dog and pony show on, and they’re going to demand in an immature and inappropriate way how to get attention from mom and dad. So that’s what parents need to think about.

Doug:                       So going back to Andrea’s question Dr. Leman. The story I tell myself is that, in this new culture, parents are expected to kind of do all these things for our kids and or kids are kind of conditioned to expect this to do it for them. So, when Andrea’s question is, okay, now I’m going to not do what they want, I’m going to hold the door … that screams in every way possible that our culture’s going to tell me, that’s not loving my kids and my kids are going to be told by their friends, you have the worst parents in the world to do that. How do we overcome that?

Dr. Leman:           Yeah, well, I have a scar on my left hand that remains from a kid who told me my mother didn’t love me cause I didn’t have to change my clothes when I came home from school. I knocked him right off his bike and on the asphalt and, again, I still have a scar to prove that.

So, here’s the point. Those parents who have the inability to say no, not to hold their ground, are creating weak children. I was on a talk show this morning in California, KSFO Radio, and the host was raving about our podcast, Doug. You’d love that. And he gave a couple of examples. He used the example of a 5 year old who was putting holes in the wall. And his question to me was, well listen, if you have a kid who’s like this, what’s their future going to be like? And he laughed like crazy when I said, well, they’re probably going to be California Legislatures. And, if you know anything about the State of California and some of the wacky ideas they’ve come up with over there, it’s pervasive throughout our whole society.

We’re creating a weak generation of kids who don’t set goals, who don’t strive for excellence, and who have been coddled emotionally and psychologically and materially by parents. It’s crazy what’s happening. So the question is, do you want to build a strong kid who’s going to stand on his own two feet, make his own decisions, become a productive citizen? Or do you like what you see out there now, parents? You tell me. If you like what you see out there, continue what you’re doing.

Doug:                       So then, Andrea, let me ask you? Which one is more important? That your kids like you or that you raise kids that are great, productive members of society?

Andrea:                  Well, I think that goes without … I want my kids to be productive. I want them to be healthy, and it reminds me of what we’ve heard Dr. Leman say so many times, it’s like, you’re raising adults. And your kids are going to love you in the end and they’re going to want to be around you.

Dr. Leman:           You’ve got four kids. You’ve already reared productive kids. So what have you guys done right? And you’ve been quick to admit some of the things you’ve done wrong. But I mean, what have you done right? And what kind of changes have the Terpenings seen in their own home as they began to do things differently?

Doug:                       Oh, you’re correct that by, expecting our kids to be a contributing member of the family, you know, one of the phrases you used was one of the best things that we’ve ever done … Thank you Dr. Leman … because they feel a sense of ownership of what we do, like they have pride in the Terpening name because, when we have to do stuff, they will rally around and help us. Like for work, I had to do a big event and my kids came and worked their butts off for about six hours and, at the end, they were dancing and singing because they knew they were super helpful in helping to get this done. So, it is true. To push your kids to do stuff has done nothing but help us. So, yes, and they love us.

Andrea:                  Yeah.

Doug:                       And we still get hugs from 18-year-old son and our 16-year-old daughter still gives me kisses in the morning on the cheek, and so, yeah, they absolutely love us. And pushing them to do is definitely not pushing them away. It’s just hard that story, right Andrea? The story in our home?

Andrea:                  Absolutely. Yeah. Especially when they’re little.

Dr. Leman:           So a word of encouragement. I mean, I talk about it, but as I’m sitting here at whatever this thing is here in the middle of the kitchen, I’m looking at the bills. There’s a bout six or seven bills that are going out today and on top of it is a note to the principal of one of our schools and they just had their gala event. Well, I got news for you folks, I’m a busy guy but there’s a handwritten note in here that says to our principal, hey, thanks for the great evening. Thanks for all the wonderful work you did to pull this off.

And so, just like me. I’m the Founder of Leman Academy of Excellence. Okay? I’m the Chairman of the Board. But, I need to take the time to write that note and it’s a vitamin E note, it’s an encouragement. This principal needs to see that I realize how much work it went into to pull off this great gala event. So it’s the world over. So I want you to see the parallel here. We’re talking about kids right now. But it applies to your life. Look for opportunities to give encouragement.

My wife, in a restaurant, when she asks for a simple thing from a waiter or a waitress, she’ll say, oh thank you, you’re the best. She says that all the time. She’s a walking vitamin E. And those people who are walking vitamin Es, do people want to rub shoulders with them or not? They do. But people who just have vitamin N in their life, no, and they’re negative all the time, we don’t want to be around those people.

So, again, I just want people to see that when we talk about rearing kids on a podcast, most of the principles that we talk about can work in your marital relationship with that person you love, it can work in your business, whatever it might be, and these principles are universal, and they work in any culture on top of that. So, we’re just glad you’re a part of it. And Doug and Andrea, I appreciate you guys because you bring such a wonderful dose of realty to these podcasts every day. I want you to know that.

Doug:                       Well, I appreciate you bringing out the vitamin E and vitamin N, because one of the great things in our house is that Andrea is a super nurturer to make sure that those kids know that they’re loved, and she does a great job of stopping and acknowledging it, so that when the discipline comes, it’s not just discipline, discipline, discipline, but it is both. So, yeah.

Dr. Leman:           Well, listen. Let me underscore. I’ve met her parents. They’re great people. It’s no surprise that Andrea is a great person. And so, again, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. What I’m asking every parent to look at is, as that kid looks up in that tree, what does he see?

Doug:                       So true.

Andrea:                  Oh, yeah.

Doug:                       So true. So true.

Andrea:                  So the take away from this is, you have guidelines in your home, have the kids respect the parent and give them lots of vitamin E.

Doug:                       Yup.

Dr. Leman:           Yeah.

Andrea:                  Along with that vitamin N.

Doug:                       And don’t be afraid to do the hard discipline, they’ll still love you. They will still love you Andrea, even if you discipline them.

Andrea:                  Okay.

Doug:                       Don’t worry. Well, Mary, thank you for your question. It takes a lot of guts to put that out there and we appreciate it. We hope this helps you a ton. And we look forward to the next when we get to keep adding to your parenting toolbox and we just love hearing more and more about how you’re using it, and how it’s impacting your kids. So hope you have a great day.

Andrea:                  Thank you.

Doug:                       Bye-bye.

Jul 17 2018



“Should I stop my kids from playing with Legos before A is complete?” – Ask Dr. Leman 149 (Episode 321)

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It’s time for another Ask Dr. Leman: “Should I stop my kids from playing with Legos before A is complete?” Discover how Dr. Leman answers the question on this episode of Have a New Kid by Friday Podcast.

**Special Offer– July 1 – 31: When Your Kid Is Hurting ebook for $1.99 at AmazonBarnes & Noble, or wherever you get your ebooks**

Show Sponsored by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing

Produced by Unmutable


Doug: Okay. Your six and four year old misbehave, and you’re sitting there scratching your chin going, “All righty, this guy, Dr. Leman said, “B doesn’t happen until A.” And the Lego box comes out. They go in their room and grab it. What do you do? Do you snatch the Lego box? Do you wait for the opportune moment? Do you pull them aside right then and say, “This is not appropriate behavior.” What do you do? How do you apply B doesn’t happen until A to a six and a four year old? That’s the question that Elizabeth asked that we get to ask Dr. Leman for you.

Hi, I’m Doug Terpening.

Andrea: And I’m Andrea.

Doug: And we are so glad that you are with us today. Welcome. If this happens to be your first time, want to let you know, this is for your education and entertainment purposes only. If the subject matter raises any concerns for you or a child, please go seek a local professional for help. If this is your first time with us, you’re going to learn one of the core principles around here. That B doesn’t happen till A, but let’s hear Elizabeth’s question.

Elizabeth: Hi, Dr. Lehman. My name is Elizabeth. I live in San Antonio, Texas, and I have two girls ages, six and four. Love your books. Love the podcast. I have a question about B doesn’t happen until A is complete. Is B the thing that I’m going to do for them that they want, or is it the thing that they can do by themselves?

For example, say they haven’t cleaned up their room and then they go start getting a toy out like Legos in the playroom and play that. It’s something they didn’t need my help to do, but they haven’t cleaned their room first. I think the answer is I let them play the Legos and then the next time they want something from me, I say, “I don’t feel like it right now.” And let them figure out that they need to clean their room first. Because when I try to make them not do the things they can do by themselves, I feel like I’m micromanaging them. But I would just like some clarification on B doesn’t happen till A is complete. What about if the next thing they want to do is something they can do on their own? Is it okay for them to do that? And then I just don’t let them do the next thing that I need to help them with? Thanks for your help.

Dr. Leman: Well Elizabeth, I can tell straight off that you’re a great mom. Congratulations. You’re surviving parenthood, six year olds and four year olds. Well basically, I mean, the scenario you gave us was kids are supposed to clean their rooms. Well, they’re six and four. A six-year-old is developmentally way ahead of four-year-old. Okay? So you talk about reason and talking to kids, huge difference from talking to a six year old from a four year old.

But to answer your question, it’s more from the standpoint of your kid’s not doing what you’ve asked them to do. The first thing I would suggest is you have some kind of a little chart. I’m usually not real big on charts, but I think it’s helpful for kids that age, where they have daily routine. If the daily routine is to clean your room, you get a little board or a little magnets on it where they can move at where it’s done so they can understand. And that’s taking what I call, taking time for training. You’re going to train kids to do certain things in the home, but basically in the scenario presented, they’re supposed to clean their rooms and they didn’t. Okay, they’re six and four. So they’re not always going to be good at remembering do that. I’m older than six and four and I still have a hard time remembering that. Okay?

And thank goodness God gave me the wife He gave me who’s so good at reminding me of those kinds of things. That was humor for just Doug and Andrea because we had a conversation earlier. See they’re laughing. They’re with me. You guys are in the dark. Sorry about that.

But anyway, what I would do in that situation, okay, I would move in and the kids are with their Legos. I’d pick the Legos up. Okay? And I’d put them up and I’d say, “Your chore list needs to be worked on before we play.” Now, the other scenario is that the Lego’s are up on top of a closet and they can’t get them and they come to you and they say, “Mommy, would you get our Legos down?” “Honey, I don’t feel like doing anything for you right now. I’m very upset because you didn’t clean your room. You have work to do. You go get your work done and then we’ll have a conversation.” Now that’s keeping the tennis ball life, as I like to say, in their court. It says there’s order is going to prevail on our home and you’re going to take care of these things. Okay?

So that’s basically how I would handle that because, see your kids, your question was very perceptive. Your kids could go not cleaning the room and do a series of things, play Legos, and then get a game out and then drag something else out. And before long, your family room looks like a cyclone hit it. And not only do you not have a clean room, but they haven’t picked up their Legos when they went to the next thing. And that’s the nature of kids. That’s what kids do. And that’s why I think if you want to teach structure and A comes before B, then start … This is a beautiful time to train those kids about that. And they’ll learn rather rapidly that first thing you do is get up and pick up your room and clean your room or brush your teeth or whatever the order of the day is. So that’s how I proceed with that. But again, Elizabeth, I can tell you’re a great mom. You want to do the right thing. That’ll help.

Doug: Yeah. Dr. Leman, I have two things. One, you should be lucky to have Mrs. [Upington] in your life. I’m telling you. Any snarky comments are not accepted. Right Andrea?

Andrea: Amen.

Doug: Yeah.

Dr. Leman: Oh boy! They’re turning on me folks.

Doug: We might just call her.

Dr. Leman: Oh, don’t call her.

Doug: We might just call her.

Andrea: Yeah.

Dr. Leman: Don’t do that to me.

Doug: I’m going to call her and say, “Do you know what he said on air to thousands of people? Andrea held up a note and told me defend Mrs. Upington. So I did that.” Right [inaudible 00:06:19]?

Okay. Number two is, I’m totally confused. I don’t understand you anymore. So I thought we were not supposed to when B doesn’t happen until A is complete, I thought we were supposed to wait until the child initiated a need from us. And you’re telling this mom, “Step in and initiate the problem.” I don’t … Those are two, those two stories don’t match for me.

Dr. Leman: Let’s start with kids are always asking for something. But in this case, they, apparently, I assume they had their breakfast. They got up. They do whatever kids do when they get up and they didn’t clean their room, which they know they’re supposed to do. Mom didn’t remind them to clean their room, which is good on her part. And the kids go right into the, get the Legos out in the family room. And she’s sitting there thinking, “Oh my goodness! They didn’t clean their room.” So I suggest, “Okay, a little chart might help” or whatever. But now the Legos are out. Go in. Exert your authority. Pick up the Legos and say, “Honey, we’re not playing Legos now you have work to do.” Let the kid figure out what the work is. Do you see what I’m saying?

It’s ideal when a kid comes and says, “Mommy, drive me here. Mommy, would you get me this? Mommy, would you get me that?” Because kids are always asking those questions. Always. And yes, those are the premier shots, so to speak. When you can say to a kid, “Mommy, doesn’t feel like getting you anything right now. I’m very upset about the fact that you didn’t do your work.” Turn your back and walk away. That will get most kids headed in the direction of their work because, as I’ve said, many times, your kids actually want to please you. Well, let them please you, but as part of the training process. But keep in mind, they’re six and four and as a four year old, is, they’re four. Six is young enough, but four is really young. So it takes time for training and four year olds going to take their cues from six year old. And so there’s times you step in and just make it happen.

Doug: So Andrea, for me and myself, I’m trying to imagine, okay, so our two kids, six and four, they didn’t do their, whatever. They dragged that Lego box out in the living room or whatever. And I started to see him play with it and I’m seething inside or whatever. I know I’m not supposed to be, but I’m all wound up. So I go over and I scoop up the last of them. I pick up the box and I go put it somewhere high where they can get it. But I definitely mean, I can’t say anything at this point or am I supposed to say something at this point?

Dr. Leman: Okay. You have full authority, okay, in the home. You can do whatever you want to do. There are many ways to skin the proverbial cat. Okay? So don’t lock yourself into, “I must do this. I must do that.” Certain situations, and quite frankly, depending upon your mood and the day, and you got a dental appointment scheduled at one o’clock and we’re talking morning. And one of the things you really don’t like doing in life is going to the dentist. And that might color your need perfection in your life or your need to move things along or put order in your life. Whatever. I understand all those things.

But I think you have to realize that your God given responsibility is to be in authority over your kids and how you exert that authority is up to you, the situation, the time of day. I mean, you’ve got company coming that day for dinner, let’s say, and you really want to just sit there and wait for the teachable moment, while the kids go from Legos to this, to this, to this, to this. And now the entire home seems to be trashed. You see what I’m saying? So it is situational. So there’s days where mom goes in and just picks up the Legos and puts them away and says, “We got work to do.”

Doug: So I’ll confess. I like black and white, right? I like it’s … right? I like, I always never talk to the child or I always do this. So the freedom you’re giving me actually creates more, whatever, not good insight.

Andrea: Discomfort.

Doug: No, discomfort.

Dr. Leman: [crosstalk] I’ve heard you say so many times, “We hope we have added to the tools in your parental toolbox,” true?

Doug: Correct.

Dr. Leman: And what we’re doing today is what? We’re adding tools to the parental toolbox. There’s lots of ways you can do things. You have the freedom. You’re the parent. And again, it’s situational, depending upon do you have company coming over? Do you have a dental appointment? The kids have to be someplace, on a play date. I mean, all kinds of things that fit into your day, but you’re an authority, which means the buck stops with you, parent. And the point is that kids see that what you say and do is consistent and you mean business. And by consistent, I mean that you’re willing to take action. The kids aren’t going to feel like, “Well, she’s a pushover.”

Doug: Here’s what I’m reacting to, now that I’ve kind of processed my thoughts for a moment. As a recovering authoritarian King of the Hill, I liked the parameters of no yelling because I can do that, no powering up to go B as an happen until A helped remove my I’m going to control this situation, bad. And to have the freedom actually scares me because then I go back to, “Oh. I’m the authoritarian person. I can do whatever I want to however I want to. And okay, Lehman said, ‘I can do B doesn’t happen till A’ however I want to.” How do I keep that in balance?

Dr. Leman: Well again, we didn’t give you permission to be an authoritarian. All we’ve done is given you permission to be an authority. And order needs to be part of our homes. A home that’s disordered is not going to function well. No one member of the family is more important than the family. Everybody pitches in. The old Barney song, “Everybody clean up, clean up,” whatever it is. Everybody is part of the team. And we want to do team building in our own family, but showing kids your displeasure and their failure to do some basic, simple things in life, to me, is okay. And that’s why using the words, “I’m very upset. I’m disappointed,” you don’t have to shame the kid, just share your disappointment that the job hasn’t been done. “All right, that’s not my job. That’s your job. You live in that room. I don’t live there.”

Doug: So Andrea, I’m to obviously power up, control things. You might be a little bit more on the other side.

Andrea: Permissive?

Doug: Yeah. What do you think about this? Imagine you’re six and four year old, your older two kids, they haven’t done what you’ve asked them to do and they pull out books. They’ve got a book of, their box of books that they’re pulling out the living room to start pulling them out. Could you walk over and say, “Put the books in,” and say, “I’m very disappointed in you,” and put the books away?

Andrea: I think that the “I’m very disappointed in you” and not explaining why is a little hard. I would probably be softer about it. And I would probably say something like Dr. Leman said earlier is, “You need to check your chore list before you get this going.”

Doug: But the pick the books up and put them somewhere else, would that be tough to do?

Andrea: Probably not too bad.

Dr. Leman: Yeah.

Doug: But you’d have to tell them something?

Andrea: Yeah. But I would say, “You guys need to check your chore list before you get going on this.” And I could probably, depending on how I’m feeling, throw in, “I’m really disappointed.”

Dr. Leman: Yeah. And I like to check the chore lists from the record. That’s good. Check the chore list. That’s good.

Andrea: Yeah.

Dr. Leman: Keep in mind. Am I putting the tennis ball on my side of the court or am I putting it on their side of the court? And when you say, “Check the chore list,” you’re clearly putting out their side of the net and that’s what you want to work to strive to have consistency where the kids are accountable and responsible for the little things they choose in life because those six year olds and four year olds are going to be 18 and 16 someday. And they’re going to be facing choices that can be life changing, that can be deadly, that can put them in other people at risk.

So take time for training is really something that every parent needs to understand, that I’ve said many times. I, once in a while, I get a snarky email from it that having a pet and having kids have some similarities and you have to train early.

Doug: So okay. I get it. Now what you’re saying is that I should be looking at it as I am trying to train them to be responsible for their own actions, adults someday. And look at it that way. And I have to take out my angst of companies coming over or how many times do I have to tell them this? This is … yeah, I get it.

Dr. Leman: Well, it’s, again, it goes back to the concept, Doug, of reality discipline. And that basically says, “Let the reality, again, of the situation, whatever it is, be the teacher to the child.” So it’s the situation that you’re unhappy with, that you’re disappointed with, that you’re angry at, that you’re upset about whatever it might be. It’s a situation. And that helps you from being too punitive and too sarcastic or demeaning or anything else that authoritarian parents tend to fall into the trap of doing.

Doug: Well, and as an authoritarian parent, after I give the eBook thing here, I think it highlights something to me, but I’m going to make sure I get this in. The eBook offer from our friends at Ravel is When Your Kid is Hurting for a 1.99 between now and the end of July of 2020, When Your Kid is Hurting for only a buck 99, Andrea-

Andrea: This is one of your newer books, isn’t it, Dr. Lehman?

Doug: It is.

Dr. Leman: Yeah, it is.

Andrea: Here’s a little review here. She said, “I love it. This book is great. It has a lot of helpful information. I just love Dr. Lehman. I was not disappointed.” And BJ said, “When someone you love hurts, hurting parents of hurting children need to read this book.”

Doug: So if you have a hurting kid and you’re wondering, how do I deal with the wounds of life, you can get When Your Kid is Hurting for a buck 99 between now and the end of July, wherever eBooks are sold. And now, a no nonsense parenting moment with Dr. Kevin Leman.

Dr. Leman: We have a huge sign hanging in our gymnasium at Leman Academy of Excellence. And underneath it, it say, “Where learning is fun.” Hey parent, learning should be fun because not in the school where they’re having fun, get them in a different school, but the home ought to be fun. And again, the fact that your home is fun, goes a long way in the peer group. Kids are some times surprised that their friends like you, but that’s a great message that Sarah’s mom and dad are really cool. What does that mean? It means they’re friendly. They show interest in what those kids are all about, what their interests are, and it doesn’t hurt that they have some treats when the kids come over and might be the first to say, “Hey, would you like to go to dinner with us tonight? We’re just going to go down here to Chick-Fil-A and get a sandwich, but we’d love to have you join us. Call your parents, see if that’s okay. We’ll be glad to drop you off.”

Make your home life experience fun for your kids. Let your kids be proud of you. Why? Because you show interest. You’re always smiling. You’re always kind and thoughtful to their friends and then your kids will never fail to bring the peer group into your home. Parents, that’s a great way to keep an eye on who you’re kid’s hanging out with.

Doug: Okay. So Dr. Leman, here’s the interesting thing I realized is that this ambiguity, that this enters in for me, makes me realize how often I try and control or keep out the old bad habits within me. How do people like me, that can sometimes have this fire that just is always slowly burning in them, be aware of how much that can spill over into our parenting? How do we make sure that we’re in the right spot?

Dr. Leman: If you find encouragement in the words of others, I love the fact that St. Paul who authored so much of the New Testament essentially calls himself a loser. He calls himself wretched. He says, “I tell myself, I’m not going to do these things, but I do these things.” Always love to remind listeners and viewers of this fact, what day of the week do diets start on? Tomorrow, Monday, and then we followed up with, “Connie, pass me that cheesecake.”

That’s the human condition, Doug. It’s called a carnal self. We shoot ourselves in our own foot, but for some of you who struggled with perfectionism, and maybe you came out of a family that wasn’t close to ideal, maybe for you, it’s three steps forward and two back. And you’re going to fail. And I’ve said many times, and again, I’m a Christian. I’m believer that Jesus will return to this earth someday and will reign forever and ever. And without understanding, I have to understand my carnal nature is a screw up. I can have all the love and joy in my heart until somebody cuts me off in traffic and a word came out of my mouth that shouldn’t have come out, but it did. I mean, we’re an unperfect group of people.

So don’t hold yourselves, parents, to some unrealistic standard. You’re going to fail. When you blow it with your kids and you’ve said things that were inappropriate or whatever you say, “Honey, I owe you apology.” Kids are resilient. They’re all pretty good at forgiving parents, quite frankly. And you never look bigger in your kids’ eyes, parents. So when you say to your son or your daughter, “Honey, I misspoke. I was clearly wrong. Would you forgive me?” And so keep that in mind. We’re not trying to create perfect parents here on our podcast, but we would like to help create good parents.

Doug: Well, thanks for that and I think that is a great reminder to apologize when I blow it, which I actually, I have to do with the kids because I did blow it this week because I was too wound up. Maybe that’s why I’m asking the questions.

So well, Elizabeth, I appreciate your question a ton and it sounds like you are a great mom. Kudos to you to even get the concept of B doesn’t happen until A. If you don’t understand that concept, and when I say B doesn’t happen until A is he has a new idea to you, I would highly encourage you to go read, Have a New Kid By Friday to get that idea. Making Sure They’re Mine Without Losing Yours. Both of those are great, great books to lay out this concept. So you have the confidence to apply it.

And again, I listen to Dr. Leman a lot and it still helps when I reread his books and I re go through these concepts. If you haven’t read those two, highly, highly recommended. And if you have a hurting kid, you can get When Your Kid is Hurting for now, until the end of July of 2020, for a buck 99.

Well, it is a joy to be with you and we look forward to the next time we get to hang out with you and add to that parenting tool box so you can love those kids more and more.

Andrea: Have a great week.

Doug: Take care. Bye-bye.

Jul 07 2020



“They called me fat.” (Episode 320)

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What do you say to your child when they are hurt by bullying? Learn more about how you should respond on this episode of Have a New Kid by Friday Podcast.

**Special Offer– June 1 – 30: Making Children Mind without Losing Yours ebook for $2.99 at AmazonBarnes & Noble, or wherever you get your ebooks**

**Special Offer– July 1 – 31: When Your Kid Is Hurting ebook for $1.99 at AmazonBarnes & Noble, or wherever you get your ebooks**

Show Sponsored by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing

Produced by Unmutable


Doug: Your daughter walks in the door, tears are streaming down her face, and she just walks right into her room and slams the door. Later on you get to talk to her and you say, “What’s wrong?” She says, “Someone called me fat at school today.” What do you do as a parent? How do you respond to them? What’s going on with that kid? That’s the question we get to ask Dr. Leman today.

Hi, I’m Doug Terpening.

Andrea: And I’m Andrea.

Doug: Boy, I started that one off kind of on a dour note, didn’t I? But we’re really glad that you’re here. So I’ll say woohoo. And we want to let you know, this is for your education and entertainment purposes only. If the subject matter raises any concerns for you or your child, please go seek a local professional for help.

So definitely I have a quick funny story, maybe this isn’t funny, but I’ll tell it anyways. So we always go camping at the same spot as a family, and we raft down this little river part, not very long. And so we made a river raft, song and I’m offended at my children because when they came to the song that’s part of me, listen to Andrea’s already laughing. When they come to the part of song that’s about me, I am called Huge Butt by my children, who knocks all the children off the raft.

Andrea: That’s because you’re dragging on the rocks.

Doug: Oh, look at Andrea’s even adding to this, Dr. Leman. Help me. This is how I get treated around here.

Andrea: It’s just perfect, because this is the last day they can call in and describe us.

Doug: Oh.

Dr. Leman: Oh, yeah.

Andrea: You just gave away a little piece.

Dr. Leman: Yeah. Wow. Yeah. Boy, I hope people were listening to that, but yeah, we want to know from you. I don’t know about you, but I listen to radio and I listen to a program and I don’t know what the person looks like, but I have in my mind what that person looks like. And then I meet that person someday and I go, “Oh, Whoa, wow.” I get the voice. But I didn’t think that he or she looked like that.

And so we want to know what your perception is of what Doug Terpening looks like, and his wife Andrea. I’m not going to call her lovely. I’m not going to call her pretty. I mean, I could call her Old Dog Face to throw you off if I wanted to, but that wouldn’t be kind, would it? But we want to know how tall is Doug? How tall is Andrea? What do they look like? What are their facial features like? What’s their body type like? I mean you name it, put as much detail it as you can, and they will pick a winner. And we will send you a copy of my newest book, which is a good one, why Kids Misbehave and What to Do About It. So have at it. We want to hear what you have to say about what the Terpenings look like. That’s T-E-R-P-E-N-I-N-G. A terpening. I’ve said this so many times, but a terpening sounds like it’s a little animal that lives in Australia under a rock, a terpening. Are there a lot of terpenings in the country?

Doug: No, there’s not a lot.

Andrea: Not that we know of.

Doug: Not a lot.

Dr. Leman: Where did that name come from? Do you know?

Andrea: We think Dutch.

Doug: We think it’s Dutch, but it’s kind of…

Andrea: Terpening.

Doug: Yeah.

Dr. Leman: Terpening.

Doug: My friend just came back from the Dutch and they said that it’s like a phrase for someone who is frugal. Is that right, Andrea?

Andrea: Like the Dutch.

Doug: Like the Dutch.

Andrea: Penny pincher.

Doug: Penny pincher.

Dr. Leman: Penny pincher. Are you a penny pincher, Doug?

Doug: Well, in every family there’s a spender and a saver, right? Let’s just say Andrea does a better job of making sure the money lasts to the end of the month. We’ll just say that. How about that?

Dr. Leman: Okay. So one of the descriptions could be that her gray matter is larger than yours. I’m amusing myself now. I can’t wait to see what you guys say. Take the time to tell us what you think Doug and Andrea look like. I think it’d be fun. We’ll read some of them on the podcast. You might get a kick out of them.

Doug: We’re making this up on the fly as we go, Dr. Leman, but could they post those even do your Facebook account or not? Or would that be a bad idea? Should we make them leave an audio description?

Dr. Leman: Oh, I don’t care. Sure. Whatever.

Doug: Okay.

Dr. Leman: On my Facebook, Dr. Kevin Leman Facebook, there’s like 78,000 people on there. So help us spread the word about the podcast. It doesn’t need a lot of fanfare, quite frankly, because we know a lot of people are on that every day. But help your friends out say, “Hey, I listen to this podcast. You might like it,” and share it with them and help us grow our audience. That’s always fun to see.

Andrea: How do they leave an audio description?

Doug: So you go to-

Andrea: podcast questions?

Doug: Go to Or you can look at the latest episode and at the bottom of it. So you can go to or whatever number less than that. And there’s a little microphone and you can click right there, and you can leave your description. That would be great. It’d be fun. Are the two of you done insulting me by the way, can we move on now? Are you done? Or is there anymore?

Andrea: Did I insult you?

Doug: You said that my butt dragged on the rocks and that’s why I was called-

Andrea: I was just giving a description of what happened when we were going down the river.

Doug: Oh, okay. Thanks. Yeah, great. I love you, both of you, so much. Alrighty. Well, so Dr. Leman, maybe we should change the question from my child came home crying because she was called fat to Doug came home cried because he was called fat by Dr. Leman and his wife. How do you help our children when they have to experience these kinds of-

Dr. Leman: Well, let’s start off with a multiple choice. You heard Doug’s description. Your kid comes home in tears and goes right to the room and slams the door. And he asked the great question, what do you do? Well, here’s a multiple choice. You go in and sit on your child’s bed and said, “Honey, what happened? What’s wrong?” That’s A. B. You come to the door and you knock and you say, “Honey, can I come in?” Or C. You do nothing. What is the proper answer?

Doug: Oh, Andrew, you’re the one with more gray matter. Why don’t you answer? A, B, or C Andrea.

Andrea: I’m going to go A. I’m going to come in and sit down with them.

Doug: She’s wrong, Dr. Leman, tell her! Just nail her.

Dr. Leman: She is wrong. Do you want to take a guess?

Doug: C, you wait for them.

Dr. Leman: C, C. And that’s just the mother in her, okay. Her little chick is wounded. That little dove’s got a broken wing and mama bear is going to run over there. I really don’t mind the idea of the parent coming in and sitting on the edge of the bed. But I really don’t like the idea of just walking in there and sitting on the edge of the bed and saying, “What’s wrong?” because that’s not going to get us anywhere. So you need time to really think it through as an adult, what should I do? Okay. And if in doubt, do nothing for a while. And that child needs some time to comprehend what’s happened and have a little cry and get themselves back together, okay.

There is a time where just simply saying, “Honey, can I come in?” or knocking on the door, and this might be late that night, it might be the next day. But there is an appropriate time to just come in and gently sit in the bed and say, “Honey, I don’t know. You seemed awful upset. Is there anything you want to talk about?” That’s all. And if the kid says, “No, I don’t want to talk about whatever.” Do not resist that one bit. Say, “Honey, that’s fine. Maybe another time,” and leave. So after all the emotion gets subsided to the point where she isn’t crying and you feel like you got a handle on things, then I think you’ve got to give the kid a pocket answer.

And you have to understand that when a kid is snarky and nasty and calls a kid a name, whether it’s fat or four eyes or something worse than that, you got to remember the kid that’s doing the talking is a kid who doesn’t like himself to begin with. And my classical go-to line for kids is to say to that kid, “Whoa, I didn’t realize you felt so bad about yourself.” That’s the antidote for the kid who’s being snarky with your kid. And your kid has to have that in their repertoire of behavior. So when those curve balls come rather than look like a deer that’s frozen in the middle of a highway, they have a response that’s almost memorized. It comes out that easy. It’s a wonderful way of fending off the people who want to tear you down.

Doug: So Andrea, as the resident mother here who failed the quiz, just pointing that out.

Andrea: Yes, thank you for reminding me about that.

Doug: Yeah, I’m not rubbing it in. Could you wait if your baby is over there crying in her room or his room?

Andrea: It’s awful hard. Because you want to come and comfort them. I like what you said, Dr. Leman about giving myself time to think so that I’m not just reacting, and giving them time to think.

Dr. Leman: Well Andrea, let me tell you, I know you well enough to know you could pull this off really easy. And even if you went in there, if we allowed your answer to be the correct one, and you went in there and you sat on the edge of the bed, and you just simply patted your daughter a couple of times on the shoulder and got up and left, that would be okay. Because you’re showing by way of your action that I’m here, I’m available, and I’ve got compassion for whatever you’re going through. Does that make you feel better?

Andrea: Yes. Thank you.

Dr. Leman: Just no words.

Andrea: Okay, no words. Just pat them on the shoulder, let them know you’re there, that you recognize they’re hurting, but don’t try and dig out what’s going on.

Dr. Leman: Right. Exactly.

Doug: What’s interesting about that advice. I rarely agree with you on what you say, Dr. Leman, but since I’m already in trouble with Andrea, I’ll just keep going. Andrea is amazing, and if the kids are hurting they go to her. But one of the things that we all sort of fear about mom is, if we are ever hurting or sad or negative we almost aren’t allowed to be that, because mom’s going to come in immediately and try and comfort us. That we don’t even get a chance to process it ourselves in a sense. And so some things that are a molehill feel like a mountain at times. So it is interesting.

Andrea: Oh, that’s good for me to hear.

Doug: But if we wait, then we come and come to you. Huh.

The ebook offer from our friends at Revell is When Your Kid is Hurting, for a dollar 99 between now and the end of July of 2020. When Your Kid is Hurting for only a buck 99, Andrea.

Andrea: This is one of your newer books, isn’t it Dr. Leman?

Dr. Leman: It is. So go ahead and read the Amazon-

Andrea: Okay, here’s a little review here. She said, “I love it. This book is great. It has a lot of helpful information. I just love Dr. Leman. I was not disappointed.” And BJ said, “When someone you love hurts, hurting parents of hurting children need to read this book.”

Doug: So if you have a hurting kid and you’re wondering, how do I deal with the wounds of life, you can get When Your Kid is Hurting for a buck 99, between now and the end of July wherever eBooks are sold. And now a no-nonsense parenting moment with Dr. Kevin Leman.

Dr. Leman: Hey parents, we’re pounded with opportunities to help other people. If you’re a TV watcher, which I’m somewhat ashamed to tell you, I do watch TV. You’ll see these ads where you can help wounded veterans or families who’ve lost men or women on the battlefield for only $11 a month or $19 a month. Or we see ads for St. Jude’s Hospitals that treat kids who have had major disruption in their lives. There’s opportunity to give to people everywhere we look.

And I think it’s important that kids learn that they are not the center of the universe and giving is part of life. If God has blessed us in any way, with whatever we’ve got, and we share that with other people, I think it’s important to have kids share in that. They have allowances. I know we’ve gone out and literally ministered, if I can use that term, to homeless people. We’ve had our grandchildren with them. We’ve had grandchildren actually give the gift that’s in an envelope to the homeless person. Because I want our grandchildren, our children to see people just like they live. And everybody doesn’t live in a four bedroom home with premium wifi. Trust me. So giving is part of our responsibility to help others in need. It’s a great lesson for your kids to learn. Who should they learn it from? You.

Doug: Well, it is a joy to be with you. And if you have a hurting kid, you can get When Your Kid is Hurting from now until the end of July of 2020 for a buck 99. We look forward to the next time we get to hang out with you and add to that parenting toolbox so you can love those kids more and more.

Andrea: Have a great week.

Doug: Take care, bye.

Jun 30 2020



How do I potty train my 8-year-old? – Ask Dr. Leman 147 (Episode 319)

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It’s time for another Ask Dr. Leman: “How do I potty train my 8-year-old?” Discover how Dr. Leman answers the question on this episode of Have a New Kid by Friday Podcast.

**Special Offer– June 1 – 30: Making Children Mind without Losing Yours ebook for $2.99 at AmazonBarnes & Noble, or wherever you get your ebooks**

Show Sponsored by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing

Produced by Unmutable


Jun 23 2020



Vitamin E: Encouragement vs. Praise (Episode 318)

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Are your words directed toward the act or the actor? Learn about the difference between encouragement and praise on this episode of Have a New Kid by Friday Podcast.

**Special Offer– June 1 – 30: Making Children Mind without Losing Yours ebook for $2.99 at AmazonBarnes & Noble, or wherever you get your ebooks**

Show Sponsored by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing

Produced by Unmutable


Doug: Andrea, I think you are the best in the world cook. Or is it, Andrea, there’s no cook better than you in the whole world? Is that the right way to say that? Are those the wrong ways to say that? Does that help Andrea or not? That is the question I get to ask Dr. Leman today.

Doug: Hi, I’m Doug Terpening.

Andrea: And I’m Andrea.

Doug: We’re talking about what’s vitamin E? What’s the difference between encouragement versus praise, and how do we help our kids with that?

Doug: I forgot to mention at the beginning, if this is your first time with us, welcome, glad you’re here. Want to let you know this is for your education and entertainment purposes only. If this subject matter raises any concerns for you or your child, please go seek a local professional for help.

Doug: So, Dr. Leman, before we go on, I know we just did this last week, but we got to make sure we do it again because some people don’t listen to every podcast. We have our own little contest. That contest is, Andrea, you want to

[crosstalk 00:01:08].

Andrea: Oh that is. Dr. Leman thinks it would be very fun to hear how you would describe Doug and myself because you don’t see us, you just hear us. So to the people who best describe us according to the Terpening kids’ judgment, you will get a free book, his newest book called …

Doug: Why Your Kids Misbehave and What You Can Do About It. We should see if people can figure out what color hair you have.

Andrea: How about you, too?

Doug: Well, yeah. And your eyes. She has beautiful eyes. Andrea has beautiful eyes.

Dr. Leman: And whether you’re tall or got a little pot belly, too much weight, not enough weight. Do you have that gaunt look? Be descriptive. Tell us what you think the guy looks like, and tell us what you think Andrea looks like. I mean, is Andrea caught in tennis shoes most of the time? Or is she one of those ladies that has to wear real shoes and brightly-colored or earth tones? I mean, this is your chance to win a book. So go at it. I think it’d be fun to see what you have to say. Who’s taller than the other? There’s a good one.

Andrea: Oh, there’s a good question.

Doug: Oh, yeah. There’s a good question.

Andrea: So how do they do this, Doug?

Doug: You go to You get 90 seconds to leave what you think. So go there, and you will get the new book, which is a great book, by the way. Can’t recommend it enough to you. As always, if again you want a foundational book from Dr. Leman, go get that one, please, Why Your Kids Misbehave and What You Can Do About it.

Doug: Today’s question is, Dr. Leman, every now and then you drop this point that we need to slip our kids a little bit of vitamin E. But you are very clear that we need to make sure that we are doing encouragement versus praise. What is the difference, and why is that important?

Dr. Leman: Well, praise is hollow, number one. I always say, “If you want to praise something in life, praise God. He’s worthy of your praise.” Your husband, your wife, your kids aren’t. Start with that.

Dr. Leman: Maybe we should call this segment Praise Reappraised because almost everybody would tell you on the street of your town that praise is important for children. I’m here to tell you it’s not important for children. I go to the extreme of getting your attention by saying it’s actually destructive. It conveys to a child that your worth is dependent upon what you do. We attach, whether it’s grades or artwork or a recitation they did for school, if it’s too flowery and it’s too I-oriented …

Dr. Leman: Maybe this will help you. Are your words directed toward the act or the actor? So you want your words directed toward the act. “Jack, it was so good to walk into that freshly cleaned garage. Thank you honey so much. I appreciate it.” That’s encouragement. It’s not, “You’re the best boy in the whole world.” It’s not gushing over the kid telling him how great he is.

Dr. Leman: So that vitamin E says to a kid, “Mom or dad has noticed the hard work I did,” whether it was cleaning your room, just going by the kid’s room and saying, “Wow, your room looks great.” The emphasis is on what? The act. You’re not drawing all kinds of inferences about how great your child is because there’s a clean room.

Dr. Leman: So it really, when you think about it, it’s a way of expressing love and admiration for your kid without going over the top. The takeaway is, again, that somebody notices the hard work I put in to this effort. So keep in mind, you want to be toward the act and not the actor, if that’ll help separate that.

Doug: So why is it important not to give hollow praise to kids like that?

Andrea: Like, “You’re a great kid.”

Dr. Leman: The kid makes the deduction in his mind, “I’m loved because I did this, because I got good grades, because I did well in that speech contest or whatever it is.” Is that really what you want to communicate to your kid? Or do you want to communicate to your kid that I love you? It’s called agape love. “I just love you.”

Doug: Yeah. This was, again, one of those things that I have learned to adopt even into my professional life.

Doug: But I want to go back to that, Andrea, you and I we both say this was … Our parents were fabulous parents. Yet this would be one of the things they did to both of us that later on, we walked with a limp. Would you not agree?

Andrea: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Doug: That our parents said, “You are blank.” They never acknowledged the hard work. They just acknowledged the results. We thought we always had to stay there. Right?

Andrea: We had to keep that up.

Doug: We had to keep that up. Isn’t that one of the dangers, Dr. Leman, that then we become defined by those things, not by the hard work side of it?

Dr. Leman: Right, exactly. So again, parents, I get it. This is not always easy to think through because we’re like trained seals. We all grew up in a praising society where reward and punishment is what was meted out by parents. That’s part of the authoritarian model, that you sit in judgment, that you’re judge and jury.

Dr. Leman: I’m just saying that that vitamin E goes a long way. Just a simple, “Good job.” That’s vitamin E. That’s encouragement. “Good job. I’ll bet that makes you feel happy inside.” That’s reflective of the child’s work. So practice it, parents. It takes practice. This doesn’t have to be a long podcast by the way today because this is really sort of basic, simple, and you either get it or you don’t.

Doug: It’s simple, but I think it’s a different concept for people. So I just want to accentuate what I’ve learned from you as I’ve applied. Is that when you focus on the hard work and the specifics to make it encouragement, not praise, it’s way more real for everybody.

Doug: So what do I mean by that? Andrea, thank you for going the extra mile to buy the extra groceries to make that meal that was so yummy, that I saw that you put the extra spices in and you did the extra effort to make such a great meal for us. And the blah, blah, blah was fabulous.” [inaudible 00:08:26]. That’s way more meaningful than just, “Hey, thanks. You’re a great cook,” right?

Andrea: Well, I actually have a question about that, and you’re probably going to take us back to the last podcast. Because what I hear now is, oh, next week when I go to the grocery store, I better make sure I plan another great meal where I go the extra mile because that’s where I get the affirmation. If I just make the normal spaghetti next time-

Dr. Leman: Yeah, your act of service button is lit up. That’s your love language. You’re talking to me now. There’s a part of Andrea, I know you good enough to know there’s a lot of pleaser in you. In fact, I think I described you as a wonderful positive pleaser. I don’t want a dog being a pleaser because I married a positive pleaser. Mrs. Uppington is a positive pleaser as well. But there are pleasers who please because they absolutely have to. They beat themselves up, and they’re critical of themselves. They become unequal partners in the relationship because of that.

Andrea: Are you at danger of putting your kids into a situation where if I don’t just say, “I love you because … “, but instead I say, “Wow, great job cleaning your room. I noticed the garbage was out early today.” If I’m saying those things, do they start to do it because that’s where they get their affirmation instead of me just saying,-

Dr. Leman: Yes.

Andrea: … “Wow, that is a great kid.”

Dr. Leman: Yeah. “Appreciate your effort. Appreciate you.” You know, “Boy, that meal was great. I remember trying to cook dinners for us when the kids were younger, and oh my goodness, I don’t know how you get it all to come out at the same time, honey. I just want you to know, I appreciate your effort, your hard work you put in this home for all of us every day.” That’s encouragement.

Doug: So if I were to say instead, “Andrea, I really appreciate the hard work that you put into making this meal and that you do it every day for this family,” that would feel like not pressure to do it?

Dr. Leman: That’s encouragement.

Andrea: Right, that’s better. Because now I feel like, “Oh, I don’t have to live up to a high standard every day to get affirmation.” Now, I just know he appreciates whatever level I put into the meal.

Andrea: I guess my fear is that the kid will then start doing things in order to gain my affirmation. Instead of a line we use at our house, which is, “No matter what you do, no matter what you say, no matter where you go, we’ll always love you.” Our kids, they carry that message in their head that even if they didn’t clean their room, we still love them.

Dr. Leman: Well, if you’re an encouraging household, your kids will catch on to the lingo, and they’ll be using it themselves. How many times as parents have we told ourself, “I’ll never say that to my kid.” As I always like to say, you not only say it, but you say it with the same tone and inflection that your parent said to you. So you do observe and you absorb the encouraging nature of your parents. If you’re lucky enough to grow up in an encouraging home, my, you’re going to shine in the workplace, I’ll tell you. People are going to love you. So it’s all good. Like I say, this is pretty simple stuff.

Andrea: It is pretty simple stuff, but it’s hard sometimes to delineate between encouragement and praise. I think the key is that you’re talking about the heart. You said a couple times that you appreciate the hard work that someone does. So I appreciate the hard work that you did to think about getting the trash out early. I appreciate that.

Dr. Leman: And if you need a self-quiz, just ask yourself what I just said, does it really focus in on the act or the actor? So you want to make sure the act is front and center. “That was so kind of you to do whatever.” The premium is on the action.

Doug: Right, instead of just saying, “You’re a good kid.” Which is not bad, obviously. But instead of just always be like, “Wow, you’re a great kid because you did this, this, this.”

Andrea: I guess maybe it’s just my own issue is I feel like I’m almost being manipulated to keep up that good behavior in order to earn affirmation.

Dr. Leman: If you walk around though trying to be Joe encouragement, I mean the kids’ll read you like a book. It won’t come across as natural.

Dr. Leman: Just try to incorporate vitamin E in your life. The guarantee is, if you do that, your kids will catch the flavor of the fact that you appreciate them for who they are. And you’re blessed to watch your kids invest in other people’s lives, do things without being asked, being responsible. All you’re doing is watering the positive plant and making sure it grows in a positive direction. That’s all you’re doing. Don’t overdo things. There’s something about moderation that’s good.

Doug: So let’s talk real quickly about the critic out there who says, “Well, but Dr. Leman, I can’t say that because actually they didn’t do it right. They took the trashcan and they put it too close to the road. I’m afraid it’s going to get hit. So I can’t say they did a good job by getting it out early.” There’s a lot of people out there that are like, “I like the concept, but if you knew what was going on in my head, Dr. Leman, you’d realize I just can’t do that.”

Dr. Leman: I’d say just continue doing what you’re doing and ask yourself, “How are things working out?” Now, that’s a little sarcasm from Kevin Leman. The critics are critical of everything. When you give them a great suggestion, they’re going to find a reason to torpedo it. If you want it to torpedo it, go live your life the way you want to live. I don’t care.

Dr. Leman: I love the story of the guy that gets a new hunting dog. You’ll love this one because he was a duck hunter. No offense to you Oregon Ducks up there. But anyway, he gets this great dog. His friend is a pessimist. He’s about the most negative person in the world. He hunts with this guy. He just can’t wait to show him the new dog. So they go out and they get behind their blind. Ducks fly over and, bingo, down comes a duck. This dog all of a sudden goes out and walks on the water, walks on top of the water right on the lake, grabs the duck, comes back, drops it at the guy’s feet. The other guy says, “Just what I thought. That stupid dog can’t even swim.”

Dr. Leman: I’m just telling you, the critics are self-critical people. They don’t like themselves, and so they have to criticize everything around. I know myself in teaching a number of years, I got to a point where I’d say to somebody, “You know what? I really can’t solve your problem. I think this is a problem you got to solve. You have asked me, and I’ve answered your question. I’ve told you the best thing to do in this situation, but I’m not into running other people’s lives. So you don’t like this, continue doing what you’re doing. But I ask as a sidebar, how’s life going? Because I happen to know it’s not going well.”

Dr. Leman: So anyway, like I say, it’s simple. It’s a reminder. You’re going to need to practice it, parent. Why? Because you didn’t grow up this way. You grew up with reward and punishment. Depending upon how old you are, some of you were taught that children should be seen and not heard. That certainly isn’t the case today. They’re heard way too much. In fact, parents are knocking themselves trying out please their kids. So it’s a little backward, for sure.

Doug: I want to talk about that real quickly when we come back from this. So I want to get into this one because this is an e-book I absolutely love, Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours, for $2.99 between now and the end of June of 2020 wherever e-books are sold. Andrea, do you have a [crosstalk 00:16:53].

Andrea: Yeah. I have another Amazon review by Jim. This is interesting. He called this, “A must-read for all parents, new or veterans. What we all need is a little soul-searching when it comes to our parenting styles and skills. This one helps with that search. My wife and I are raising two grandchildren, and they make the third set of kids. I don’t know if you ever know how to do it right. This book has been a godsend. My wife and I read it at night after the kids are sleeping and discuss our parenting. It’s been a real eye-opener.”

Doug: So thank you from Jim. I know he didn’t call you a genius this time, Dr. Leman, so hopefully you’re okay with that.

Dr. Leman: I love reviews like that though. The Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours book and The Birth Order Book, and I’ve answered so many questions like this. If it’s a parenting issue and people say, “Okay, where do I start?” Read Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours because it frames beautifully, I think, the difference between being an authority over your children versus being an authoritarian. So those are one-two punch. Read Making Children Mind and The Birth Order Book, and that’ll get your going on some of these Leman books that’ll really help transform your life.

Andrea: Absolutely. If you want that foundation, go get this book, Making Children Mind between now and the end of June of 2020 wherever e-books are sold for $2.99 cents.

Andrea: Now, a no-nonsense moment with Dr. Kevin Leman.

Dr. Leman: Attention, parents of firstborns. Did you ever notice those firstborns many times are cautious, that they’re very hesitant at new things? Old things, they just go full bore, but if you throw them a curveball and give them a new opportunity to do something, chances are that firstborn could be cautious. If they are cautious, there’s a reason for it because they fear failure.

Dr. Leman: I think it’s important that you show kids that sometimes you got to go for it. And if you fail, it’s no big deal. One of the ways you do that, I think, is to tell stories about your own life, where you felt timid and cautious and afraid to do things. Tell them stories where you failed. But also tell them stories where you succeeded. That gives kids a balanced idea, where some things are the risk.

Dr. Leman: Do I want kids to take risks when they’re driving? No. One of the things I remember my dad told me as a kid growing up, “Kevin, never turn left until you can see the entire lane.” Hey, I’m an old guy on Social Security. To this day. I never, never, never make a left-hand turn unless I can see perfectly.

Doug: So Dr. Leman, I want to talk about the current state of how the pendulum … We never told kids anything encouraging; to now, we’re way over here. Like we can’t say anything bad to kids. Here’s the question? Do we praise, encourage our kids too much now for everything that they do?

Dr. Leman: Yes. The smallest effort is “Oh, awesome job.” Was it really an awesome job? Again, you just don’t throw those words around. Again, I want to make the point, if the kid’s room is supposed to be cleaned and there’s peanut butter and jelly crusts on the floor, just a simple, “I see your room isn’t ready yet.” Because the kid wants to go out and play. But just a simple, “I see your room isn’t ready yet.” You don’t have to point out everything to them. If you do, you’re saying, “I think you’re so stupid and dumb that you don’t see what needs to be done here.” Let the kid figure it out. If you have to come back four times and say, “It’s still not ready,” so be it. You’re not being critical. You’re just saying, stay in the facts that it’s not ready yet. That’s all.

Doug: The reason it’s destructive to always be praising every little thing is, what is the flip side of always saying, “You’re great. You’re great. You’re great,” to the kids?

Dr. Leman: Well, you blow blue smoke at them, and you terribly prepare them for a world of reality that’s waiting for them. Because their boss is not going to be gushing over them.

Dr. Leman: I don’t make these things up. I read a Wall Street Journal article about companies are trying to figure out what to do with these millennials who expect celebrations at the slightest hint of success in their career. I don’t get it, but it’s sort of what a lot of people grew up with was these over-exaggerations of the child’s self-worth in this world. We brought kids to feel like they’re the center of the universe, and they clearly aren’t. The smart parent teaches kids that other people count in life.

Doug: Do we also take away from them the ability for them to be content in themselves and reliant on others to always be lifting them up by doing this or not?

Dr. Leman: Yeah, they are looking for the balloon. They’re looking for the congratulatory statement. I mean, life isn’t like that. Bosses don’t like drama. Most bosses don’t like drama, for sure.

Doug: You’re right, for sure.

Dr. Leman: Don’t be the drama person who insists on your needs are more important than the guy next to you. You get an entry-level job today, my advice is work as hard as you can and ask, “Is there anything else I can do?” Go the extra mile. That’s how you get ahead in this world.

Doug: Yeah, our oldest just called us from Costa Rica, where’s he serving down there. He said, “Dad, I feel like I was taken advantage of … ” You know, negative, negative, negative, negative, negative, and “Nobody appreciates me. Nobody appreciates this, all that I did.” I’m finally old enough to realize, I said to him, “Son, I think you should decide that you are the one that’s going to do this for yourself and not anybody else.” He called back and he said, “Dad, thanks so much because you’re right. I did this because I wanted to do this actually, and I want others to know it. But in reality, I’m going to look at all the positives that I chose to do it.” Yeah. I’m learning as well from him.

Doug: Okay. Well, what was supposed to be a super-short one, I think is much harder than you realize, Dr. Leman. I think you naturally are an encourager.

Dr. Leman: I told you straight out this thing should be short. But no, you had to go into this and into that. Oh, my goodness. Are you expecting some sign of a big star for me today for elongating this podcast well beyond what it should’ve been?

Andrea: It’s simple, but it’s not easy.

Doug: Oh, she got you.

Dr. Leman: Out of the weeds comes a proverbial giant. Oh, my goodness. Let me get my slingshot out, and see if I can take this giant down. Oh, my goodness.

Doug: Well, there we go. Encouragement versus praise. Hopefully, that helps you out. I can’t encourage you enough to do that.

Doug: Reminder, go get the book, Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours. Sorry, I shouldn’t tell people [inaudible] even pointing. Like Dr. Leman said, you want one of the foundational Leman books to get this done. Again, do it, and thank me later. Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours, $2.99 cents between now and the end of June of 2020 for e-book. If you want to leave a description of what Andrea and I look like, go to

Doug: Well, truly we love being with you. Hopefully, you can hear that and know that. It’s changed Andrea and I’s parenting, and I hope it changes yours for the better like it did us. So look forward to the next time we get to be with you.

Andrea: Bye-bye. Thanks.

Doug: Take care. Bye-bye.

Jun 16 2020



How do I get my teenage son to talk to me? – Ask Dr. Leman 146 (Episode 317)

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It’s time for another Ask Dr. Leman: “How do I get my teenage son to talk to me?” Discover how Dr. Leman answers the question on this episode of Have a New Kid by Friday Podcast.

**Special Offer– June 1 – 30: Making Children Mind without Losing Yours ebook for $2.99 at AmazonBarnes & Noble, or wherever you get your ebooks**

Show Sponsored by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing

Produced by Unmutable


Doug: Hey son, how’s your day going? Fine. How was school? Eh. Do you get tired of one word answers from your teenage son? Well, that’s the question Ana asked, “How do I get my 14 year old to talk to me?” And we get asked Dr. Leman his answer.

Hi, I’m Doug Terpening.

Andrea: I’m Andrea.

Doug: And we are so glad that you are with us today on Have a New Kid by Friday with Dr. Kevin Leman. It is a joy that you are here with us. If this happens to be your first time, I want to let you know this is for your education and entertainment purposes only. If the subject matter raises any concerns for you or your child, please go seek a local professional for help. Well, before we hit record on the button, we were just laughing about the idea of how would people describe Andrea Terpening and how would they describe Doug Terpening? So well, Dr. Leman, Do you want to give them your description of what you think they’re going to say about me?

Dr. Leman: No, we’re not going to tell them anything, but I think it’s interesting because how many times have you listened to people on the radio and you really don’t know what they look like? But most of us get an imagery in our mind about what somebody looks like. And I thought it might be fun to see if our podcast people would like to take a shot at describing what not only you look like, Doug, but your bride as well.

Doug: Well, and I thought it was so fun that you’re willing to offer your new book to anybody who comes closest to describing what Andrea Terpening looks like and whoever comes closest to what Doug Terpening looks like.

Andrea: Is that two offers?

Doug: That’s two offers. Right, Dr. Leman? You said we could give two books.

Dr. Leman: Absolutely. And guess who the judges are? The Terpenings themselves. This isn’t 2016. This isn’t 2020, no question about fake this or interference here in this election. This is just which one is the closest to describing these two people from the wetlands of Oregon.

Andrea: We’ll have our kids help judge.

Doug: Oh yeah, there we go. There we go. That’d be fun. So you’re like, “Well, okay. I have an image.” If you go to,, just go there and you got 90 seconds. You can leave your description and we’ll play it for James and Nana and John and Carly and say, “Okay guys, who’s closest?” And if our friends the Kings leave an answer, we’re going to disqualify them because obviously they know us, but for the rest of the world. Yeah.

Dr. Leman: I’ll give you one clue. One of them’s prettier than the other.

Doug: Oh, thank you for saying that about me, Dr. Leman. I love that.

Dr. Leman: You a pretty boy. You really are.

Doug: When we go places, people often comment about my beauty. So I’m used to it.

Andrea: He’s my arm candy.

Dr. Leman: There you go.

Doug: You should see the look I’m getting from Andrea right now about, yeah, you’re not the pretty one. So, okay. What are we talking about today? Oh, Ana. So, thank you Ana, for leaving this question. And here we go. I’m looking forward to hear how people describe us. It’s going to be fun. Okay. And this is Ana’s question.

Ana: Hi, Dr. Leman. My name is Ana [Avoletta 00:03:36]. I’m calling from Brazil. I’m in love with your book about changing my teenager up to Friday. I’ve been applying a lot of your tips. There is something that I still can’t resolve. And this is you keep saying that we should listen to our kids. We should give them the opportunity to say how they feel. And I keep trying to establish a conversation with my 14 years old boy, but he just doesn’t want to talk to me. He’s just say one or two words. “I’m okay. It’s fine.” But he actually doesn’t give me any more words to talk to him or to understand what’s going on. He’s kind of isolated, a little bit cold. I’m trying to use some of your pocket phrases, “Tell me more about it, how you’re feeling about it.” And he’s just not into conversation.

I recognize that I may have been for some years an authoritarian mother, it’s been quite a time, about one and a half year that I’ve relaxed and trying to give him more space. But I don’t know how to get out of this non talking situation we are in. Can you please help me with that?

Dr. Leman: Well thank you, Ana. My goodness. That is so nice to hear. We’ve got people in Brazil listening into our podcast. Let’s start with some basic facts. Your 14 year old son is a male. I say that because he’s following in the footsteps of many great men who are grunters, one word answerers, non conversationalists. Again, as a reminder, women use three and a half times the number of words that men do in a given day. Point number two is he’s 14. He is entering into what I call the canyon of inferiority. If you ask a 14 year old, who would you rather be in all the students in your class? Most 14 year olds, if they’re honest, would say, “Anybody but me.” They’re going through things at 14. They’re sorting things out. You’re a reformed authoritarian mom, and congratulations on turning that page in your life. You’re going to be successful, but I think, Ana, you’re probably trying a little too hard here.

You can chill. If you stop talking, if you stop asking those questions, he will eventually begin to talk. I’m not going to tell you that he’s going to be the conversationalist a year or three months from now or anything like that, but he has to feel like he’s got a little space. And apparently he doesn’t feel like he has space, and you give him space by just backing off. And that means that when he comes home from school, there’s no question about the day. Let him come in and you’re reading a book or working in the kitchen, or maybe you’re at work and just getting home, whatever, and go about your business. If you want to have some fun with this, since he’s a non talker, sit down and fix dinner for yourself one night and let him walk in and say, “Well, where’s dinner?” “Oh, you’re talking again. You’ve been awful silent lately. I had no idea you were interested in dinner tonight.” And give him that look like, “I’m just pulling your chain a little bit,” but you’re making the point.

The hovering mom is not good for a 14 year old. That weakens his self-concept. So you need to let him spread his wings a little bit. There’s a fine art to parenting. It’s like a judgment play in a football game in Brazil, which we call soccer, and you’ll see that ref sometimes go to call a foul and he doesn’t. It’s a judgment call. And so you’re in a position where you have to make judgements every day about this kid. Ask yourself this question, what kind of a little guy was he? What would describe his personality between the ages of five and 12? And whatever those words are, I’m going to give you almost 100% guarantee that that’s the young man that he’ll return to in time. 14 is weird. They shut down. They’re trying to sort out life.

And so I think the best answer I can give you at how do you get your 14 year old to talk is to stop talking to him. Now, some mothers are rolling their eyes right now saying, “That is the worst advice in the world. This kid could be going through” … Hey, he’s 14. Cut the kid some slack. Check with school. How’s he doing in school? Is he doing well in school? I’ll bet he talks to all his friends. So, step number one is just back off and he will come around. You could always write him notes if you want. And not a lot of notes, just a once in a while note. “I love you. I’m so proud of you.” Just some Vitamin E, some encouragement to him. So I’m not saying shut him out. I’m saying just don’t talk as much. Well, that’s for a starter. What do you guys think?

Doug: Well, I was going to ask our resident mother in here who cringed. Her face cringed when you said, “Well”-

Andrea: Don’t make dinner.

Doug: Yeah, she’s cringing again. So Andrea, what is it within you that’s … because we could somewhat identify with this except that it wasn’t a boy, it was a girl. What is it within you that needs conversation from your kids? What is it that you actually are trying to get from that 14 year old that just drives you to have to have conversation and connection with them?

Andrea: Well, I think you just said it. I think connection.

Doug: And connection to you comes via words.

Andrea: Right. Right. And if I don’t know what’s going on, I don’t know, this may be more of a me thing, because then I carry this weight that I’ve done something and I’ve offended them and I need to know what it is so I can make it right.

Dr. Leman: Oh, boy. We’re going to put Andrea in therapy, folks, for the next few minutes. The guilt gatherers of life, listen up. Listen, he’s 14. Just chill. He’s also a powerful kid. Remember, that mom was a reformed authoritarian. So in this kid’s growing up years, he had an authoritarian mother who was telling him what to do, how to do it, when to do it. He needed some space. So don’t project your needs as a mom onto your son in such a way it becomes a bigger problem than it already is. Just chill. Enjoy them. Like I say, talk to school, talk to the teacher. “Does my son, is he all by himself? Does he eat lunch by himself?” “No. He’s got a bunch of kids. They go out and play football at break time and they do this and that.” I mean, find out from strangers, from people who rub shoulders with your kids. They’ll tell you.

Andrea: What would you tell Ana if she did ask that and the teacher said, “Yeah, at lunch he sits by himself in the corner. He usually tries to pick the desk in the corner of the classroom and doesn’t talk to anyone.”

Dr. Leman: Okay. Then it’s not a horses’ hoofs I’m hearing, it’s a zebra. It’s something completely different. There are some things going on. But I would assume if he’s sitting by himself, that we’re going to see the grades change, we’re going to see behavior drastically change. And this might be one of them, his non-communication with his mother. But again, when you hear the footsteps of a 14 year old, it’s probably just the clippity clop of the neighborhood horse coming by, but it could be the clippity clop of a zebra, which is a completely different animal, a different situation. And trust your gut on some of this stuff, mommies. You know your kid better than anybody else does. And sometimes you need some intervention, but if you’re a reader of my books, you’ll rarely see that I say, “Okay, immediately go see a shrink.” That’s the last thing your kid needs you, in my biased opinion.

Doug: So this podcast we’re going to rename Pick on Andrea podcast. So I’m going to pick on Andrea here in a little bit.

Andrea: Great.

Doug: Yeah. So since you’re already in counseling, we’ll just keep piling on you.

Andrea: Piling on in counseling.

Doug: I guess that’s not the right term. So Andrea almost cannot stand it if her children don’t talk to her.

Andrea: That’s true.

Doug: She is this motherer of they have to tell her some emotional word to get her off their backs. We all do. And you have to have a connection at deep levels before Andrea feels that the world is okay. So how much of this … I only use that example as I can even see our kids try and push Andrea away at times, like, “I don’t want to have to talk about my deepest feelings, mom. I’m fine. Just let me be.” How much do you think this is that Ana has just been too in that kid’s space and he’s just trying to say, “Give me room to breathe, mom.” What is the chances that’s what it is?

Dr. Leman: Yeah. He’s looking for a burrow to dig into, to give himself some time and some space and some comfort. Again, I know we should call Andrea the cringer. In fact, you should give me … Here’s the deal. Since I can’t see you, whenever Andrea cringes, you should say, “Cringe, cringe.”

Doug: What if it’s an eye roll?

Dr. Leman: Oh, gosh. This woman has talents, folks. She’s like the seventh grade girl who said, “You never let me do anything. You always do this.” Now she’s cringing and rolling her eyes. No wonder we love her around this podcast. Actually, she makes more sense than the two of us sometimes, I’ve got to tell you that. And she’s really good at digging in, like she said. “Well, wait a minute, Dr. Leman, what if you go to school and you find out he is eating by himself, he is a loner where he used to be much more active?” Then I’d give much more credence to honest question about her kid and what’s the changes that are going on in his life.

Doug: So what you’re telling us is this kid is a normal 14 year old male, who at times is just trying to figure out life. And if mom backs off, it’ll help. And let him decide when to come and talk. Because the positive for Andrea now, is when our kids are hurting, guess who they don’t come to. They don’t come to dad. They always come to mom because they always know mom’s going to give empathy and compassion and will sit and cry with them. Not so much with dad.

Dr. Leman: Okay, Doug, you and I are going to play a little game called love language. And let’s see if we can pull these up. Words of affirmation, gifts, physical touch.

Doug: Quality time.

Dr. Leman: Quality time, yeah. And there’s one more.

Andrea: Service or helps.

Doug: Service, helps.

Andrea: Gifts.

Dr. Leman: No.

Doug: And gifts.

Andrea: Acts of service.

Doug: Acts of service.

Dr. Leman: Acts of service. Very good. Very good, cringer. Acts of service. All right. Now, what love language is Andrea’s? Only Doug can talk.

Doug: All five. Am I allowed to say all five? Uh oh, I got an eye roll. Eye roll, eye roll. Andrea’s is acts of service and quality time.

Dr. Leman: Acts of service and quality time. All right. Now Andrea, what is your love language?

Andrea: Acts of service and … Oh, that I give or that I receive?

Doug: That you want.

Andrea: That I want.

Dr. Leman: Yeah. That you receive, yeah. That you want.

Andrea: Acts of service and quality time.

Dr. Leman: Okay. So he’s got them. All right. So, acts of service and quality time. If I ask you to define what quality time meant in your life, what would Doug … I won’t even go with your kids yet. What would that be like? What would you be doing? Would you be looking-

Andrea: I would be walking and talking.

Dr. Leman: Yeah, okay. So I was going to say-

Doug: And what kind of talking though? There’s a certain kind of talking you want.

Andrea: Yeah, meaningful life thing.

Doug: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. You want to know exactly emotionally how I’m doing. You want me to use emotive words that talk about, “This is how I’m feeling.” This is not bad. You want to know exactly how I feel.

Andrea: I want to make sure you’re okay.

Dr. Leman: Yeah. But that’s a communication is my whole point. So if you want to torture your wife, just run silent and run deep, Doug, and see what happens. All of a sudden, you’d just mole up and go under the grass of life.

Andrea: He’s done that before.

Dr. Leman: You’ll drive her nuts. Well, that little mole has done that. What do you do when he does that?

Andrea: You go after them more.

Dr. Leman: Don’t you force some kind of a blowout over that?

Andrea: You try and dig up the mole hole.

Doug: She throws a stick of dynamite down there and blows it up. Yes, she does at some point.

Dr. Leman: So the danger, I think for Ana down in Brazil, is if she doesn’t heed what we’re talking about today, and she goes in there and tries to make a mountain out of a molehill, she’s going to have immediate negative results. The other book that you might want to read, Ana, is Parenting your Powerful Child, because your 14 year old is powerful, and that’s a direct result of you being an authoritarian parent. So you might find some help in that as well. But my point is that women tend to be much more relational than men. Andrea is the perfect example, I think, of what I would call a positive pleaser in life. She invests in people’s time. She invests in people’s lives. And the little plant, if we could call the plant, Andrea the plant, what does she need? She needs words. She needs acts of service, kindness. She needs quality time, which is communication. And if you want to take care of that plant Andrea, you water that plant with those things.

Now Doug, in all probability, isn’t like that. It’s rare that a couple would say, “Well, we both have the same two love languages.” That just doesn’t happen very often. Once in a blue moon. So Doug, just to carry this on a little further, what would you say is your love language?

Andrea: Oh, Doug wants me to answer words of affirmation.

Dr. Leman: Yeah. All right. So there it is. But see, we’re different. So, but this could get us in trouble. I’m assuming he doesn’t need words of affirmation to the point where you’re saying to yourself, “Douglas, how many times have I told you that?” You just need those attaboys. And I think a lot of men need those words of affirmation that they’re needed or wanted by their bride. And that’s one of the things I wrote about in the book Sheet Music, as well as Have a New Sex Life by Friday, that women need to understand how much a man needs to feel needed by that bride. So we’re talking about communication, and I think problem is solved, quite frankly, if Ana will just back off a little bit and see what happens. He’ll come around. He loves his mama, I’m sure. Mama is the most important person in his life in all probability.

Doug: Yeah. Well, I just think, I’ve tried your silence to the kids, because we have a kid that’s somewhat like this and it drives me nuts too. I’ve just learned move on and love them as they are and they’re not going to talk the way I want to talk to them and that’s okay. When they want to talk, I’m ready to talk to them. But it is hard when you’re like, “What is going on inside of that head? Oh, well I guess they’ll let us know when they’ll let us know,” but Andrea has done an amazing job of keeping us on track because we have a great eBook promotion that I think actually really applies to this one too. And it is Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours for $2.99 between now and the end of June of 2020. Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours, one of Dr. Leman’s best seller books. And I think we said next time we would do an Amazon thing. So, did you have one to do?

Andrea: So here’s an Amazon review by Sydney for this book, Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours. “I started implementing Dr. Leman’s recommendations immediately while reading the book. I didn’t wait to finish the book to get started. My kids, my husband and I are all happier with the new way our house is running. I no longer make empty threats. My kids are doing what I say when I say it, mostly. And I’m no longer at my wit’s end at the end of the day. And it’s only been a week since I started changing the way I do things. I’ve always admitted that I was the problem and the reason my kids were unruly. I just didn’t know how to change it. Dr. Leman is a genius.”

Doug: So, Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours, again, if you want a foundational book to do exactly what Sydney has experienced, go get the book between now and the end of June of 2020. The other thing before we go to the parenting moment, I don’t think we mentioned the book we would gift people if they describe us. We talked all about it like-

Andrea: You did, his new book.

Doug: But we didn’t say the name. Yeah. Why Your Kid Misbehaves and What You Can Do About It.

Andrea: Do we have a timeframe for this?

Doug: Oh, yeah. We should say between now and the end of June.

Andrea: Right. I think so.

Doug: Yeah. So June of 2020, if you go to, and you’re the closest to describing us, we’ll give you the brand new book, Why Your Kids Misbehave and What You Can Do About, as well. Okay. Now, a no nonsense parenting moment with Dr. Kevin Leman.

Dr. Leman: Hey, let me ask you a question, parents. How many of you woke up this morning and said, “I would like to talk to my daughter or my son about sex today”? let me see a show of hands. Okay. I see one hand from a hard of hearing person. That’s what I figured I’d see. You know what? The realities of life is we are sexual beings. God made us that way. Parents, if you’ve got a young boy in your home and he’s 12 years old, 13 years old, and you haven’t talked to him about such things as nocturnal emissions, somebody better talk with him. They’re growing up before your very eyes.

If you want some resources, I’ve written books on this subject, A Chicken’s Guide to Talking Turkey to your Kids About Sex. There are books and resources out there, but daddies, you should be talking to your daughters, mommies you should be talking to your sons. Yes, you both should be talking to your kids, but only a mom can tell a young man how women want to be treated. Only a dad could tell a daughter how men view women. This is a tough job. Do it in baby steps if you have to. Go ahead and do it.

Doug: Okay, Dr. Leman, I think for the moms out there real quickly, I say we just do a quick role play, just to help them out. So, I’ll be, what was a Brazilian 14 year old boy’s name, do you think? What would be a good one?

Andrea: What was the soccer player’s name? Pele.

Doug: Pele. I’ll be Pele. Alrighty, Dr. Leman?

Dr. Leman: Okay, Pele. Your ball.

Doug: Yeah. So I walk in the door. What would you say to me? I walk in the door and you’re sitting there.

Dr. Leman: I’d say, “Hi, Pele.”

Doug: Hi.

Dr. Leman: Then I’d turn around and do whatever I was doing.

Doug: What? Okay.

Dr. Leman: Or I might go over and just touch him briefly. Just touch his shoulder or back of the neck or whatever. Briefly. Not a big to do, just a something and leave the room.

Andrea: And why is that important?

Dr. Leman: Men love to be touched whether they admit it or not. There’s some men that don’t want to be touched, but I’m suspect of those guys, to tell you the truth. Most of us like to be touched. It’s just a little general affirmation. “I’m here. Glad you’re home. I’m not demanding or asking you any questions.” You’ll bring instant relief to the 14 year old at that point, and go about your business. That’s all.

Doug: No, I could even feel myself as a 14 year old, if my mom walked over to me and said, “Hey, Doug, good to see you,” and just touched me on the shoulder, I would be like, “Oh yeah, mom’s the best.” That’s what I would think in my head.

Dr. Leman: Yeah. And it’s not even … Just one word. Hi. You don’t have to overdo that even. Just a simple … It’s a little touch and go. Do you ever watch an airplane do touch and goes? They come in and they almost hit the runway and then they pull up and they go around again. Touch and goes. They should call them almost touch and goes because they really don’t touch most of the time.

Doug: So for all the moms out there, it is true, if you just be the positive for your boy. Like my mom, when I was 14, I was a jerk to my mom, but she just loved me through it. I love my mommy. I call my mom whenever I can and I can’t wait to be with my mom nowadays. And she was smart enough to know just to back off and let me be weird during those years.

Andrea: I don’t know. I think if I were Ana, I would be encouraged that there’s something else to try here with her son.

Doug: And when he wants to talk, he’ll talk, like me. We’re not that different.

Andrea: Yeah.

Doug: Well, Ana, I hope this has helped you give you hope on how to deal with your grunting 14 year old. It sounds like it might be pretty normal. And I hope you have the tools now to deal with him. Thank you for listening down in Brazil. It was really, really fun. Your English is beautiful and your accent was lovely. I’m glad that you’re enjoying the podcast. So in conclusion, remind everybody, Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours between now and the end of June for $2.99 wherever eBooks are sold. I forgot to add that, that it’s an eBook section.

Andrea: And a free book to anyone who can describe Doug and I according to our kids’ judgment.

Doug: Yes. At, and you get the new book. Alrighty. Well, it was great to be with you today. We look forward to the next time so that you can be like Sydney, that you have the confidence on what you’re supposed to do and really just enjoy your household more and more. Take care. Bye, bye.

Andrea: Bye, bye.

Jun 09 2020



Keep The Tennis Ball of Life in Their Court (Episode 316)

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Today’s episode is all about responsibility, failure, and reality discipline. Learn about one of Dr. Leman’s favorite sayings on this episode of Have a New Kid by Friday Podcast.

**Special Offer– June 1 – 30: Making Children Mind without Losing Yours ebook for $2.99 at AmazonBarnes & Noble, or wherever you get your ebooks**

Show Sponsored by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing

Produced by Unmutable


Doug: I love tennis. In fact, I love watching it with my kids and my mom. And so this phrase when Dr. Lehman gave it to me the first time, I thought, “What the heck is he talking about?” And the phrase is keep the tennis ball of life in their court. Keep the what in the where and the what? We get to ask Dr. Leman, what does that phrase mean and how does it help us parent?

Hi, I’m Doug [Terpening 00:00:30].

Andrea: And I’m Andrea.

Doug: And we are so glad that you are with us today. And welcome, welcome, welcome. If this happens to be your first time, we want to let you know that this is for your education and entertainment purposes only, and if the subject matter raises any concerns for you or your child, please go seek a local professional for help.

Well, Dr. Leman, either you were a tennis player or you were a psychologist and maybe you were both, but what is this phrase keep the tennis ball of life in their court and what does that look like and what does it mean?

Dr. Leman: Well, first of all, for the sake of transparency, I hate tennis. I never could play tennis. I excelled in the sports I played, which was the traditional baseball, basketball, and some football, but tennis is one of those things I couldn’t get. But I love the idea of taking that ball and watching some pro make an unbelievable shot and puts it right back in the other guy’s court. There’s something inside of you, even if you hate tennis, that says, “Yes. Oh man, that was great.”

I’ve shared this with people before, but it’s just one of my all time favorite scriptures. If you’re a heathen, you can tune out for a minute. You don’t even listen to this. But in John 2, where Jesus changes the water to wine, Jesus’ mother, Mary, comes to Jesus and says, essentially, “Hey son, do your thing. They’ve run out of wine.”

He gives her the look and he says to her, “Woman,” calls his mother woman just to show as irritation, “What have you to do with me?” Well, she turns and says to the servant, “Do whatever my son tells you to do.”

Do you realize that Mary slam dunked the tennis ball back into the Lord’s side of the net? All she said was, Do whatever my son tells you to do.” Jesus already said no. In fact, I’ve asked theologian friends to explain that to me. They couldn’t explain it, but she put it back in Jesus’ court. Jesus does what? For whatever reason, and I don’t know that reason, he turns the water into wine. He performs his first miracle right there.

You have to keep the responsibility with kids on their side of the net. They’ll try to weasel out of it. They’ll lie. Don’t flat out lie. They’ll yell for their mother or their father, whoever is the softer one of the two of them. They’ll try to get out of things. That’s just the way it is. It’s called immaturity. That’s why God gave us parents to help guide us in the right ways.

But that whole concept is so foreign today in our society. Nobody owns up to anything. It’s somebody else’s fault. It was my poor upbringing. I didn’t have a father. I know a lot of fatherless men who’ve done great in life and women as well. Is it ideal? No, but life is full of excuses and excuses make the weak weaker. So don’t be afraid to serve that tennis ball back in your kid’s court. Again, they’ll make excuses, they’ll lie, they’ll point fingers. But the reality is if it’s on them, keep it on them. Don’t let them squirrel you away from it.

Doug: How does this actually play out in life? Let’s say the kid got called into the principal’s office, and the principal says, “Hey, your kid was caught doing something XYZ wrong.” And when you get home with your kid, your kid says, “Hey dad, it was totally unfair to me. I was just standing there and this other kid, Bobby, he’s the one that did it. And they just swept me in with it.” I mean, what you do next, does that apply in the tennis quote?

Dr. Leman: Sure. What I would say is, “Oh, is it that unfair, honey? Oh my goodness. So we need to take action here. Oh, you know, I misspoke. You need to take action here. You need to go back to Mr. so and so down at school and tell them how unfair that was to you. But let me tell you that one thing, honey, based on my experience in life, if you do that, you better come prepared.” In other words, “Hey, it’s great to come home here and tell me how you were just standing there. You didn’t do a thing. And if you were so poorly treated and this is so unfair, man, you need to take action. You need to go back to the principle.”

That kid is not going back to the principal’s office. He’s working yet. He would love you to pick up the phone and run interference for him. And that’s part of just keeping the ball on the right side of the court. That’s his job. That’s his problem.

Doug: Right. You brought it up at the beginning that it’s always somebody else’s fault in our culture. How as a parent do we … We do feel this ominousness of like, I have to defend my kid. I have to stand up for my kid. I got to stand with my kid. How do you find the balance in not stepping in at the wrong time versus letting them deal with their own issues that they’ve created? How do you know when it is?

Dr. Leman: I didn’t cheat on the exam. I didn’t steal the money. I didn’t lie. Honey, I’m hearing your tale of woe, but I got to tell you that much as I love you, I’m unimpressed. It sounds like what you’re trying to say is what you did was somebody else’s fault. Did I read you right? Is that what you’re telling me? Because if you’re trying to sell that anywhere, nobody’s going to buy it.

Doug: What about I tried out for the football team and I got cut and the kid comes home and he says, “That coach, she just, that he had it out for me and he didn’t like me.” The reality is your kid didn’t run during the summer and he didn’t lift weights and he didn’t prepare himself to even try and make it. What do you say when he comes home? About how unfair that is?

Dr. Leman: Everything you said, honey, might be very true, but the reality is that coach wants the best 45 guys on that football team. And for whatever reason, he cut you.

I’ve told the story of JV basketball. I was a little hot shot basketball player, but I’d have to admit, I was always fooling around. I didn’t take basketball very seriously. I was a pretty good ballplayer. And Mr. Power reads the list of guys and I’m so stupid. I go up to Mr. Power. I said, “Mr. Power, you skipped over my name.” He said, “I didn’t skip over your name Leman. You got cut.”

I grabbed my clothes out of my locker and I ran home in my shorts in Buffalo, New York in November, crying all the way home. I mean, I’m old, on Social Security. I remember it like it was yesterday.

I got one better than that. A guy who was trying to get me to realize that there’s something more important than myself in life, and he worked for Campus Crusade for Christ. He took me to lunch and he said to me, you’re get to love this, he says, “Hey, Kevin, let me ask you a question. When are you going to stop making an ass of yourself?”

Now, when somebody says something to you like that, you tend not to forget it. I was 19 at the time. Again, I’m an old guy now. I haven’t forgot it. Did it endure me to this guy? No, it didn’t. But it did get me thinking because the reality was that’s exactly what I was doing at that stage of my life. As a reminder, I was a janitor, I smoke on my Salem cigarettes, had my greasy hair, thought I was cool, thought I was the Fonzie of the time. And in reality, I was a dumb jerk.

You know the story. I met my wife and she was the trigger God used in my whole life, did a 180. But anyway, sometimes the bare truth is what your kids need to hear. It’s called reality. And sometimes you get people’s attention.

Doug: How do you administer reality without crushing the self esteem or crushing the spirit? How do you do that well?

Dr. Leman: I think you preface it with something on the line of, “You know honey, I love you. And that means I’d take a bullet for you, but I have to tell you that what I’ve seen from you in the past few months sickens me because you’re worth a lot more than what you’re showing. And you’re disrespect for myself, your mom, your sisters, it’s disgusting to tell you the truth. We think more of you than that. We’re very disappointed in your behavior. And I can tell you that changes will be forthcoming if you don’t make some changes in your life. I can’t make you do anything. If you want to have further discussion on this, I’d be more than happy to talk to you. I’m all ears. If I’m missing something, let me know what I’m missing, but I just want you to know how disappointed I am on what’s going on in his home. And I expect things to change quickly.”

You bury the bone with them, but you preface it with, I love you and I care about you. But if the kid’s 14 years old and knows everything and you know nothing, when they’re 19, like I was, don’t expect a miracle before your eyes. But sometimes you have to tell kids things that are very unpleasant. They love you. They want to please you actually. Behind all the facade of all the crap that they’re giving you, they actually want you to be approving of them. Well it’s hard to be approving of a kid who’s just nasty to everybody in the home.

You take the little buzzard by the beak, so to speak, and you pull them in and close to your face and you give them focused attention, and you say, “This is serious. You got to hear what I’m telling you because this does not bode well for you continuing to live in this house.” I mean, whatever the straight talk has to be, let it be firm, don’t draw, don’t leave anything unturned, say what you need to say, and then back off, reassure them that you love them and you really hope and pray that they’ll be able to make some changes. And if I can help you make those changes in any way, let me know.

The reality is, by the way parents, there’s nothing you can do. He has to make that decision, she has to make that decision.

Doug: That’s so good, Andrea, or not Andrew. You’re Dr. Leman. You’re Andrea. Dr. Leman, well …

Dr. Leman: Let me say this about that Doug. I can be Andrea if you want me to. I’m not as pretty as her though.

Doug: No, you are not, no, by a long shots, by long shots, no.

Dr. Leman: You know what would be fun to do on our podcast is ask people just to call in and give a description of Doug Terpening and Andrea, what do they look like? Wouldn’t it be fun to do? Because people hear your voices and they have a picture in their mind of what you look like. And that would be fun to hear what people think Doug Terpening looks like, what Andrea Terpening looks like. So if you want to take us up on that call in and describe Doug or Andrea or both.

Doug: I probably have fangs and long fingernails and Andrea has perfect hair and it’s flowing [crosstalk 00:12:59].

Andrea: Not at all.

Doug: That’s so funny.

Andrea: It’d be hilarious to see what you think.

Doug: That would be hilarious to see. Well, that would be fun. I would be remiss not to tell you this, because honestly, this is one of those things, we’ve been doing this ebook promotions for awhile. I know I say this every now and then, but I just got to tell you, this one that [Revel] has given you is gold and that is making children mind without losing yours for $2.99 from now until the end of June of 2020, wherever eBooks are sold. This book has sold millions for a reason because it has helped so many parents. I’m just telling you, when we recommend books to people, this is one of them that we tell them, get this one. It’ll give you the roadmap to where you want to go.

I wish next time we do this, Andrea, we have to start reading the Amazon reviews for people so they can see it for themselves.

Andrea: I agree.

Doug: We just didn’t come prepared for that today because you’ll see what people are saying about this book and say, “I should absolutely get that.” You get that book and you go get Dr. Leman’s new book, “Why Your Kid Misbehaves and What to Do About It, you put those two books together and you’ll be like, “Honey, our parenting is going to be so much better. We’re going to have the freedom to know what to do. We’re going to have the confidence on what to do,” and it’s just going to help you so much.

Please, for your sake, $2.99 is not a lot of money. And it is like, trust me, it’s worth it. Even if you don’t agree with Dr. Leman, just to wrestle with this and then try one or two of those things and you’d be like, “Oh, that was well worth it.”

Between now and the end of June, Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours, great companion to the new book, Why Your Kid Misbehaves and What to Do About It. And now a no nonsense parenting moment with Dr. Kevin Leman.

Dr. Leman: I love to ask families, particularly parents, do you have a port of call on the ocean of life? Do you know where you’re going? So many times we get caught up in the minutia of getting kids to their orthodontist appointment and getting them to their activities that we fail to really show our children hey, we do have port of call. We know where we’re going as a family.

Now this goes back to articulating your family values to your kids. Hopefully that’s done through your church, whatever that faith might be, the values that you instill in your children ought to be the ones that you hold the dearest. It’s always a reminder.

I remember when our kids were growing up and they went out for an evening, I’d always say to them, “Remember, you’re a Leman.” Someone once asked me at a seminar, “What does that mean?” I said, “I don’t have a clue what it means, but remember, you’re a Leman.” In other words, there’s an expectation that you will conduct yourself in a way that’s consistent with the family values that we adhere to.

Do you have a port of call? What are you going to do when these kids leave the nest? Are they going to leave as giving, caring individuals or hedonistic little suckers who care only about themselves? That’s the question. All right. Do a good job, not a great job, just a good job and I’ll be happy.

Doug: Dr. Leman, this actually is one of the concepts that’s helped us out a ton, Andrea and I, but here is where we still trip up on this concept, and that is that we get afraid that if we leave the tennis ball on their side of the court, they’re going to whiff and fail. They’re going to fail the science project that they just forgot to turn in and they’re going to fail at this. How do I deal with that overwhelming sense that they’re going to miss the ball?

Dr. Leman: You just need to know the Christian home was a place where kids ought to learn failure. If they fail, it’s not the end of the world, it’s an experience. It’s one strike. They’re still in the game. So don’t get hung up about that. Okay parents? I know it’s hard for you to see that, but talk to anybody who’s successful, they’re going to tell you there was failure in their life. So hang in there, be a support to your kids, love them anyway, and remember it was their non-effort that got them that grade. It was their non-being involved. It was their non-doing the research. It was non-putting the time in. I mean, there’s a reason for it. It’s not a conspiracy.

Doug: That’s really good.

Andrea: That’s really good to remember.

Doug: Dr. Leman, in your experience, the kid gets the bad grade once, what happens the next time?

Dr. Leman: He may get a bad grade again, or he might improve, and that’s where you pull your vitamin E and say, “Wow, I’m really impressed. You moved up two letter grades.” That’s the vitamin E.

Doug: It’s like in our experience, I know we’ve told this story before, but our kids make 4H projects and we’ve learned, let it be crooked and let it be unpainted and they learn because somebody comes around and critiques it and says, “Here’s all the things you’ve done wrong.” It helps them. It’s a third party, not us, that has to tell them be thoughtful and caring.

Dr. Leman: It’s better for somebody else to do that. Yeah, you’re right.

Doug: Keep the tennis ball of life in their court and it just relieves a lot of pressure from you. As a reminder, again, I know I just said it, but I can’t encourage you enough to go get Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours, between now and the end of June, where ebook is sold. You will not regret it. And as always, the brand new book is written, so for today, for us parents that are dealing with these new realities, Why Your Kid Misbehaves and What to Do About It, can’t be any simpler than that. That’s the question you’re asking. That’s [inaudible] solve it.

Thanks for being with us. We love helping you add to that parenting toolbox to have the confidence on how to parent. Take care.

Andrea: Bye bye.

Doug: Have a good day. Bye.

Jun 02 2020



How do I help my enabled kid change? – Ask Dr. Leman 145 (Episode 315)

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It’s time for another Ask Dr. Leman: How do I help my enabled kid change? Listen in to find out Dr. Leman’s advice on this episode of Have a New Kid by Friday Podcast.

**Special Offer– May 1 – 31: Born to Win ebook for $1.99 at AmazonBarnes & Noble, or wherever you get your ebooks**

Show Sponsored by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing

Produced by Unmutable


Doug: So you’ve listened to Dr. Leman’s podcast and read his books and you’ve said, “I have to change.” And you realize, whoops, I’ve been the enabler, and that’s why I’m changing. But you don’t feel like your kid is changing with you. How do you deal with that? What does that look like? And what can we learn from Dr. Leman? That’s the question that you asked that we get to ask Dr. Leman for you.

Hi, I’m Doug Terpening.

Andrea: And I’m Andrea.

Doug: And we are so glad that you are with us, and welcome if this is your first time. I want to let you know, this is for your education and entertainment purposes only. If the subject matter raises any concerns for you or your child, please go seek a local professional for help.

And today we get a question from one of our podcast listeners, and it is absolutely one of our joys. If you want to leave one, you can go to Well, let us jump into Andrea’s question. Here we go.

Andrea: Hi, Dr. Leman, I would like to first say that I have been listening to as many podcasts as I can a day and reading as many of your books as I can. I was just told about you by a friend maybe three weeks ago, and so I’m learning so much. But my question is a followup to the part two on making a child a successful student. I am a teacher myself. So let me say that reading in our home has been something I’ve done from day one. And I’ve done all the “right things” you’re supposed to do academically, from when they’re born until now.

But my question is about my seventh grader. His name is Smith, and he has ADHD. He sees an endocrinologist for his small stature, and he has always struggled academically. His confidence in school and life is very low. And I will admit, I have enabled him. We have tried to compensate for this and help him. I felt guilty about it, all of that. But what I’m trying to ask here is how do I change this? Because when I just walk away and have him do the studying on his own for tests, and he fails, he just says he’s stupid, he can’t do it, and he doesn’t try anymore. So I need help with that student that isn’t motivated by the grade because he doesn’t think he can do it. Thank you.

Dr. Leman: Well, the first thing I would say is you do own up to the fact that you’ve enabled him. So he has “learned” not to be successful in school. And now, you say you’ve done a lot of the right things, and you’re a teacher. And I hope you’ll take this first suggestion seriously, because I think it’s a key to help. I would find a young lady, maybe a freshman in high school, to tutor him. He needs somebody else. Mom is already an admitted enabler. So with all due respect, you’re not the best one, even though you are a teacher, to help your seventh grader. I would find the prettiest, vivacious, smart freshmen girl I could find. And I would pay her to come to your home for maybe just an hour a night, four nights a week, maybe two hours a night.

It’d be her little job. It’s like babysitting, only she’s babysitting your cute seventh grade son. I think that’s the best way to encourage him and help him, because I think he’s already shut off all possibilities that he can do this. That’s a lie that he tells himself. Just because you got ADHD doesn’t mean you can’t achieve in school. You know that. But he needs focused attention, and I think that young lady can help motivate him to do well. You pull the freshmen aside, you tell her, he’s got ADHD, he’s had problems for years. He’s never seen himself as successful.

Now here’s my concern. The reality of how he sees himself is the reality. In other words, your perception of how you see yourself, that’s who you are from behind your eyes. And that has to change. So 14-year-old tutor might need a little encouraging from you, as to how to slip him some commercial announcements, so that when she leaves and he’s done his homework with her, that she has slipped him a good dosage of vitamin E. Say “Hey, I was really pleased with how you did that. So you’re getting it. You’re coming along. I’m proud of you,” that kind of thing. He needs a little coaching up, so to speak, because his self image is so negative. So it keeps you out of the picture.

The other thing I want you to think about. Mom, is what’s really important here. What I didn’t hear is what kind of a kid your son was. And I would pay more attention. I know the question’s about ADHD and learning, but I would pay more attention to what’s in that kid’s heart than what’s in academics for him right now. That’s really important.

Andrea: And what would that look like? Would that be using vitamin E to talk to him about his good character traits or-

Dr. Leman: Yes, his character traits.

Andrea: Paint us a picture.

Dr. Leman: I think when you’re a teacher on top of that, you sort of magnify the importance of doing well in school. And don’t get me wrong, doing well in school is obviously great. But at the expense of what? Does he really know that he’s loved as he is? And again, it’s not what you do, honey, that makes me so proud. It’s who you are that makes me so proud to be your mom. It’s who you are. It’s the judgment you make, the kindness I see in your life, the consideration for other people. Those are the important subjects that I think are taught within the confines of the home. So I wouldn’t… I know you’re concerned, your phone call tells me you’re concerned, and you have reason to be concerned, but you’re consulting with your physician, and you didn’t mention if you were medicating him specifically for the ADHD, but there’s all kinds of ways to encourage kids who have ADHD.

But I think we miss the boat, if the kid walks away thinking I’m a failure because I struggle in school. He’s had 12 or 13 years of struggling in school, apparently. And so what’s going to turn that around? He’s got to see himself differently. I go back to reality is how you see yourself, and that has to change. And that outside tutor, I think, is worth gold. Again, I’d go really looking for somebody who’s outgoing, got a great personality, and sort of a natural encourager by themselves. And trust me, that seventh grade boy, looking at that young lady that’s two years older than him, he could pay attention to every word she says, I think.

Doug: How does he… Going back to Andrea’s question, I really find that fascinating that you’re saying the reality, what he thinks about himself is what we care the most about. So Mom can give vitamin E about things that she sees. But school is so important in how we value ourselves, and there’s so much social pressure there on how you perform. Are there specific things that she could do to remove that or downplay that?

Dr. Leman: I just think the simple… A dialogue about the fact that I’m so proud to be your mom. And it forces us to look at what traits does my son have that I don’t see in other children? She’s a teacher. She sees kids. They’re hedonistic little suckers. They care about themselves. They’re very superficial, most of them. What do you see in your kid that makes you proud to say, “Hey, yeah, I’m his mom.” And talk about those things. And is this kid mechanically minded? Lots of times these kids who don’t do well in school, for whatever reason, they can tear anything down and put it back together again. If that’s his inclination, wow, I’d start thinking about the future and what a kid like that can do. Those kids can make big money, have good jobs.

Doug: So Dr. Leman, for that mom that is that critic, that she just can’t turn that off for whatever reason, or that, like you said, as a teacher school would be so important to her, are there specific words that would help someone like that be able to know this would be meaningful to my kid? Is it that I’m proud to be your mom, or is it specifically a trait or a step that they did? What would be specific words that a kid could be able to believe that their mom thinks they’re good? Or Dad? Shouldn’t just pick on Mom. Or Dad?

Dr. Leman: Well, again, I just think you focus in… On make a list. What are the things that really make you happy about your son or your daughter? Talk about those things, and how important they are, and how you see them paying off in life for him later on or her later on. It’s just an ongoing dialogue. But I wouldn’t be telling him. I would try to form a conversation that’s based upon your son or daughter’s opinion about things. Opinion will always open doors. Questions shut doors, shuts down communication. They feel like they have to come up with the right answer. But I’d love to know what that kid dreams about, and how he sees himself in 10 years, at age 22. And how do you want to be seen by others? And what about friendships? What kind of a friend is this kid?

Doug: Yeah. Okay. I’m slow, but you’re saying Mom, you step out of the role of pushing school, put the tutor and the school in there, and you just be mom and be relational with this kid.

Dr. Leman: Yeah. You’re the emotional cheerleader for your kid.

Doug: And just be with him. Andrea, you thrive at that. That’s your sweet spot.

Dr. Leman: The fact that she’s a teacher doesn’t help in this situation.

Andrea: She sees the school issues.

Dr. Leman: But that teacher might have a friend who teaches, who has that 14-year-old daughter who would be perfect.

Doug: Well, when we come back, we’ll ask Mrs. Terpening about her tutoring experience with giving her kids tutors recently here. So, but before we do that, I want to make sure I remind everybody that this month, you can get the ebook Born to Win for a $1.99, between now and the end of May of 2020.

And you know that a couple of weeks ago, we were also just talking about Dr. Leman’s brand new book, Why Your Kid Misbehaves and What You Can Do About It. And I’m just telling you, it’s one of these winners again. It’s so practical, so simple that people are already starting to say, wow, thank you for describing what my kids went through and were going through, and how I was contributing negatively to it, and what I can do about it in action steps, not fluffy whatevers. So if you haven’t gotten it yet, I cannot encourage you enough to go get Why Your Kid Misbehaves and What You Can Do About It. I’m just telling you, you’re just going to love it. And go look at the Amazon reviews about what people are saying about it. It’s phenomenal. So for your sake, the reason we do this whole podcast, the only reason we’re doing this, is because it’s impacted Andrea and Doug’s family. And we know it will help yours. Read the book. And you will think us for generations, decades, and decades about how it’s helped you. And now a no nonsense parenting moment with Dr. Kevin Leman.

Dr. Leman: A, acceptance. B, belonging. And here’s the trilogy. Competence. Not confidence. Competence. Those are the building blocks for a healthy personality of a young person growing up in your home. How does your kid feel competent? He feels competent when you don’t redo the effort that he has made in the home, whatever it is. When you don’t straighten things up and make it perfect. The message is, I respect your hard work and your effort. Am I saying that if something is absolutely slipshod work, that somehow you accept that? No. In fact, one of the things about competence is, “Honey, I see your room isn’t done. When your room is done, then you can go next door and play with your little guy friend.”

Holding kids accountable is part of competence. But don’t be overcritical. If the project is worthy, if it’s a good job, let it be a good job. It doesn’t have to be perfect. And when you say, “Honey, I appreciate your work in the home,” that’s part of building competence in your kid’s life. Remember ABC, acceptance, belonging, competence. For further reading on that subject, see Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours or Have a New Kid by Friday. Goodreads.

Doug: Alrighty, Andrea. So recently, you finally have given in to tutoring with your kids because you finally realized that you hate math, and you stink at math.

Andrea: And chemistry.

Doug: And chemistry. How is having a tutor helping your children? What would you say? Because you’re a homeschool mom, so you’re kind of like this teacher, your identity is kind of tied up in this.

Andrea: Even more so because, yeah, they’re my kids.

Doug: What has a tutor done for education in this home?

Andrea: Well, now I don’t have to try and do the math with them, and I don’t have to try and learn it while they’re learning it. And it takes all the tension out of the… The emotion is gone because before, I was struggling with it myself. So there was a lot of emotion. So it would heighten the emotion. And now they get to just deal with their tutor.

Doug: And what about our kids about their tutor? Do they hate to go see our tutor, or what do they think about going to see the tutor?

Andrea: They actually enjoy their tutor. Their tutor actually happens to be their aunt, and they get to Skype with her. So now they have a once a week meeting with her, and of course, they don’t just talk about the math, but they get to talk about life and laugh with her. And it’s been… Now they’re motivated. They’re excited to get things ready for their tutor time, and they come away with a fresh perspective and encouraged, because she is a math teacher, and she can really tell all of us, “They’re doing really well. They’re doing great. They’re going to get this.” And so it’s been a win-win all around.

Doug: So Dr. Leman, your advice about getting tutors, we finally, after years of struggle have given into, and I’m just telling you, it’s gold. People that are good at tutoring make it so much easier. And I think, exactly what you said, our kids had turned out… turned Mrs. Terpening a deaf ear to her on certain things, and it’s come alive to them.

Dr. Leman: Yeah, if there’s issues in school, parents, it’s so good to make an appointment, go in and talk to the assistant principal, and let the assistant principal haul that kid out of class and say, “Hey, I want to talk to you about something.” Let that third person do it. That’s another advantage of having a tutor. It’s like teaching your husband to drive or your wife to drive or your kids to drive. And I taught four of the five how to drive. But when the fifth one came along, I was done. I was spent. I was like a salmon who had run my course. And thank you for Mr. D’s driving school. Because that’s now Mr. D’s problem to teach my 16-year-old how to drive.

My wife had Lauren out, and she told her that she had to make a left hand turn down here. Well, she’s in the right hand lane. And so all of a sudden, without anything, she does this almost U-turn from the right lane, turning left. It’s just amazing that both of them are alive today. So again, that third person can make a difference in your kid’s life.

Doug: Absolutely.

Andrea: Thanks for that little driving scenario, as our last child is supposed to get her permit today.

Dr. Leman: In one of the Leman books… In fact, one of you guys who got better memories than me, I tell a story in… It might be Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours, but I’m teaching my firstborn daughter how to drive. And she stopped at an intersection, finally, for the red light that I thought for sure she was going to go through, right in the middle of the intersection. She stops. We live in a community of a million people. She’s in a main… and what do I do? Bright psychologist, I jump out of the car in the middle of the intersection, open her door. And I say, as lovingly as I can, “Out!”

And my daughter, Holly, who is an English teacher by trade, she wrote the cutest short story about learning to drive. And she describes that. She said, “Who is this man to my left, who had this purple hue in his face? And I realized it was my father, and he seemed to be doing some type of a war dance in the middle of the street, and then he yanked open the door.” It’s funny to read. I wish I could remember it verbatim because it really was hilarious.

But parents, you can do this. I know you love your kids. And I want you to know, I loved all five of mine. I’d take a bullet for any of them, but you have to really take time for training and keeping responsibility where it belongs and helping kids through the bumps of life is important, but above everything else, they have to know you have their back and you love them. Don’t ever forget that.

Doug: Amen. I appreciate that close because that’s what Dr. Leman’s books are all about, to be honest with you, is he gives you a roadmap on how to do that. So we’re all trying to guess as brand new parents, because we’re all brand new parents the first time. And I’m telling you, as a guy who raises his hands and says best thing that ever happened to me was reading those books. Just do it for your sake. And I know I just mentioned it, but I’m going to mention it again because it’s brand new, fresh content, today’s issues, Why Your Kid Misbehaves and What to Do About It. I’m just telling you, you go get it, you read it, and then you can email me and say, “Wow, Doug, thanks. That really helps me.” So this just helps you love your kids more. If that’s what you want to do, it’s what it teaches you how to do it, to be honest.

So well, it was great to be with you today. We love being with you and adding to that parenting tool box so that you can love those kids, really, in an easier way.

Andrea: Have a great day.

Doug: We look forward to the next time. Take care. Bye-bye.

Andrea: Bye-bye.

May 26 2020



Parenting Basics – Warnings are Disrespectful (Episode 314)

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How many warnings do you give your kids before you take disciplinary action? One might just be too many. Dr. Leman discusses why warnings are disrespectful in this episode of Have a New Kid by Friday Podcast.

**Special Offer– May 1 – 31: Born to Win ebook for $1.99 at AmazonBarnes & Noble, or wherever you get your ebooks**

Show Sponsored by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing

Produced by Unmutable


Doug: Hey, Johnny, you need to pick up your room or I am going to. Hey, Sally, you have to do the dishes or else. Hey, Sally, you have to do the dishes. Sally, the dishes. Sally, the dishes. One of the most provocative things Dr. Leman told me is warnings are disrespectful, and that’s what we get to talk about today. Hi, I’m Doug Terpening.

Andrea: And I’m Andrea.

Doug: And we are so glad that you are with us. Welcome, welcome, welcome. If this happened to be your first time with us, I want to let you know this is for your education and entertainment purposes only. If the subject matter raises any concerns for you or your child, please go seek a local professional for help. Well, Dr. Leman, on today’s episode, we’re talking about this concept that you gave us that warnings are disrespectful. What does that mean, and what is that?

Dr. Leman: Well, we’ve trained kids systematically in our culture not to pay attention to what we say. And we essentially by warning them tell kids, “We think you’re so stupid. We have to tell you three times to do something.” If you want kids to listen, you need to be action oriented. Tell them once, walk away, let the situation, the reality of the situation become the teacher to the child. When you ask them to do something as simple as, “Honey, the dishes. Dinner’s over. You know the routine,” and they’re not done, are you going to really go and take her away from talking on her phone by the ear and drag her into the kitchen and said, “Hey, I told you, you need to do these dishes,” well, that’s a prescription for disaster.

It’s one of the first steps in creating a powerful child. It puts you in an authoritarian position, which your daughter or son is going to dig in on and rebel one way or another. But the reality is if those dishes aren’t done and you happen to drive that 11 year old daughter to school in the morning, and you haven’t said a thing and those dishes are still sitting there, and she’s 11, she can’t find her shoes. Mom, where’s my red sweater?” You know the drill in the morning, and all of a sudden she’s ready to go out the door. “Mom, mom, we’re going to be late.” “Yes, honey, we are going to be late.” “Mom, what are you talking about?” “Honey, the dishes are still sitting in the kitchen sink.”

Now, you tell me what’s better, to hound and remind that kid, or to say, “Honey, when the dishes are done, I’ll be glad to get in the car. I’ll even warm it up for you, and we’ll proceed to school.” That’s a teachable moment, my friends.

Doug: Andrea, your mom.

Andrea: Yup.

Doug: We just heard this scenario, right? Sally didn’t do the dishes. She wants to be driving to work. Could you do that? What would stop you from doing that do you think?

Andrea: Oh, it’s just natural to ask again. It’s very hard to follow through on the negative consequence of not taking them, not giving them what they’re used to getting, or whatever. Yeah, I am definitely one that’s guilty of asking more than once, or since I know this principle from Dr. Leman, I might do other subtle reminders. Maybe not outright asking.

Dr. Leman: We know.

Andrea: It’s confession time.

Dr. Leman: Again, for having authored books, like Have a New Kid by Friday and Why Children Misbehave and What to Do About It, parents who pick those books up are needy. There’s things going on in their home they don’t like. And I’ve often stood up before an audience and said, “In reference to the Have a New Kid by Friday book,” I said, “This book is a scam,” and everybody laughs. And I said, “You could have a new kid by Wednesday.” Well, what do I mean by that? I mean, it doesn’t take long to change kids’ behavior if you’ll take the proverbial bull by the horns to make it happen. There’s lots of reasons why Andrea or Sally or Jackie wouldn’t be able to pull that off.

Because number one, they haven’t had experience at pulling that kind of thing off of their kids. There’s got to be another way so she’s not late for school because I don’t like her being late for school. I know she doesn’t like being late for school. Her grades will suffer. I mean, you come up with a plethora of excuses. But again, if you really want to change your kid’s behavior, then you must be in an action oriented mood. And you have to take action. You have to stick to your guns, follow through. It doesn’t take much to turn that get around quite frankly.

Doug: I think I’ve listened to 300 plus times and many more beyond that, and you have used this phrase, and I think we need to do a podcast about, and that is you say you need to be action oriented. I now understand what that means, but here’s what we have learned to affirm that. Action orientated means you’re not verbally telling the kids. You are just doing consequences. Is that right?

Dr. Leman: Well, yeah. We’re letting the reality of the situation. In the scenario I drew for our listeners, the situation is the dishes. This goes back to a basic principle and that is B doesn’t happen until A gets completed. But if you want a better relationship with your child, you want honest communication with your child, you want your child to respect you and listen to you, I’m just asking both of you. Once that mother pulls that trigger and says, “Honey, I’d be glad to drive you down to school, but the dishes are still sitting in the sink.” Again, your kid will promise you anything. Just wipe that out of your mind because they’re shallow promises. They don’t get us to where we need to be.

We want our kids to learn to listen to us, and we need kids to be responsible in the home. If they’re not responsible in the home, folks, tell me how they’re going to be responsible in the real world?

Doug: For us, we struggle with this because we love warnings. Yet, Andrea, we just had this scenario like the dishes scenario with one of our kids. And what I realized is at the end of it, by being… I literally was having you in my head, right? This concept of don’t give warnings actions. The problem was the moment of pulling the trigger on the action is so stressful and anxious-filled, but it is way less stressful than ongoing fighting, reminding, and just that internal burn within us of like, why won’t this kid get it, that you only have to do it once. You have like this little peak of whatever, bad emotions, or whatever you want to call it, and then it’s over because you only have to do it once. Right,

Andrea? Wouldn’t you say?

Andrea: Yeah. I mean, it might be three months later that they need to have a go-around again.

Doug: But it’s not that constant.

Andrea: It’s not a constant daily thing over and over.

Doug: And Dr. Leman, I’ll be honest, we stole your idea, and that was pay the other kid to do the activity that they’re not doing. And that is like the charm. That’s like the goal. Except this time, you know what Andrea slid in? She said, “You’re going to pay me. I’m taking it out of your allowance.”

Andrea: Yeah, why not, right? I’ll take the garbage out if I get five bucks.

Dr. Leman: It’s easier to do it yourself. They’re just dishes, a mother told herself. And if a mom can’t go and chill and watch a mindless show or curl up with a good book, and when she tries to do that, she hears in the back of her mind, “The kitchen is dirty. The dishes are still there. Yuck,” and it drives some parents up the wall. And that’s why they’ll go ahead and do it themselves. But this 11 year old girl that I created for our listeners, this is a constant thing with her. Talking to her is like talking to the wall. She’s mother deaf because she knows everything you’re going to say. She’s daddy deaf too. And if you want to see that turn around, use an action oriented process as simple as B doesn’t start until A gets done.

And I guarantee you that kid will be a listener because that kid is going to suffer the real consequence of not doing what they knew they had to do, and it works. And if you don’t do that, then don’t be emailing me with all your problems with your kids. Okay? I’m telling you, this stuff is absolutely simple.

Andrea: I have a question about this because this is a real honest question where the rubber meets the road. What if telling them no to their B affects me? Like I wanted to go to this event as well, or I’m expected to be there. I mean, you could come up with a plethora of things. Then it’s hard because now all of a sudden I have to pay the consequence with them.

Dr. Leman: That’s the whole point of family. No one member is more important than the family itself. But when someone is not responsible, we end up paying for it. It’s very unfair. That’s why you go to great lengths to get that kid who’s not hitting on all eight cylinders to start paying attention to what their responsibility is in this home. I should have been a preacher. I’m preaching today.

Doug: Well, but it’s really good because I think… Here’s what I want to say again just to reinforce this concept, you only have to do this once, maybe twice, and your kids’ behavior changes. The warnings are every day and it just drives you nuts. Right, Andrea?

Andrea: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Doug: And you only have to do this action orientated, you don’t take them to school once, they have to walk, they don’t get to go to their friend’s house once, they don’t get to go to do some activity once, they miss movie night with the family once, and it pretty much solves itself, which feels terrible, but it’s just the actual… Andrea, wouldn’t you say it’s just the actual like moment with the child when you tell them no and you walk out the door without them that’s like the hard part?

Andrea: Yes.

Doug: And then after that, it’s kind of easy. The next day the sun comes out and the flowers bloom.

Andrea: The sun still comes up.

Dr. Leman: Okay. Let’s interject the really powerful child who when you say, “I’m not driving to school until those dishes are done, okay?” And the kid doesn’t do the dishes. Okay? What do you do? What do you do? Number one, you call school on the QT and let them know what’s going on. Then you have them call either the kid’s cell phone or the home phone. “This is Mrs. Jones from school. I’m recording you absent today. Are you ill?” Okay, that’s an 11 year old kid talking to an adult. What’s that 11 year old going to say? She’s caught off guard. In other words, what I’m saying is if a kid digs in and becomes powerful, it just stacks up on them day after day.

If they’re late, for example, let’s say the kid goes through this dog and pony show three consecutive days where you have to do this, and now they’re late three times, now she gets called out of class and gets to talk to the vice principal of the school, who’s the disciplinarian, and they’re not happy. Now the kids not only getting it at home, they’re getting it at school. Life is a series of consequences based upon our actions. And I’m just saying that, “Hey, parents, you want to turn things around. You can turn things around quickly, and you have to get to why your kid is misbehaving.” And it’s called purposeful behavior, and kids will pull your chain as long as you will allow them to pull it.

It’s easy to turn it around, but you have to be determined.

Doug: And you got to have the guts to do it, at least for me and Andrea. I shouldn’t say that for everybody. Okay. I totally forgot to tell you about a great opportunity, and I’m a little rusty here. I want to mention that there is a chance to get a great Leman book for a phenomenal price. It’s an e-book. It is Born to Win. $1.99 from now until the end of May of 2020. Dr. Leman, what is Born to Win about?

Dr. Leman: Well, it’s about those people, basically those firstborns and only children, who tend to do us middles and babies in. They out achieve us. In fact, there’s empirical studies that show that firstborn children and only born children have higher IQs than the rest of us. With that creativity and that drive to become number one and do well in school and life, sometimes there’s a price that’s paid for that as well. It’s a look basically at the patterns that firstborn and only children develop as a result of their position in the family. And they literally are born to win because almost any statue look at in terms of achievement, firstborns and only borns will outrank the rest of us.

If you’re a first born, you’re going to love this book. If you’re a last born, I wouldn’t go near it.

Doug: And if you’re a parent of a firstborn, it’ll probably be helpful to read it to know what they’re thinking, if you’re not a firstborn themselves.

Dr. Leman: Good point. Yeah.

Doug: Yeah. Alrighty. And now before we do role playing on this concept, a no nonsense moment with Dr. Kevin Leman.

Dr. Leman: The last time we talked about acceptance and how important it is, well, let me give you the B part, belonging. Your kid is going to belong somewhere, and it’s really important that they identify with a home that’s a safety net, okay? Every kid is going to belong somewhere. And if they don’t fit into the home, they’re going to go out and fit out the peer group. And again, that’s going to be a negative experience. To give you a little heads up, acceptance, belonging, and next time we’re going to talk about competence, those are the building blocks of rearing a self-reliant, confident kit. What have you done today to make your kid feel like they belong? You’ve made them clean the garage. I liked that idea.

See, that’s part of it. It’s just not a free ride. It’s everybody gives back to the family as well. And remember, no one member of the family is better than the family itself. So A and B. Listen, next time, we’ll do C.

Doug: Okay. Dr. Leman, let’s do a quick role play so that parents can actually hear how you would deal with the situation. We have a 14 year old who is not cleaning their room. Well, you wouldn’t do a cleaning room. We’ll do… What should we do, Andrea?

Andrea: Fourteen-year-old?

Doug: That’s responsible to…

Andrea: To take out the trash.

Doug: Take out the trash. 14 year old is responsible to take out the trash. They play basketball, and they’ve been invited over to a birthday party at a friend’s house. So they do both of those. I’ll let you choose which one you want to do. It’s the evening. It’s after school. They’re there.

Andrea: The garbage truck comes tomorrow morning.

Doug: No, the garbage truck has come and gone, and he didn’t take the trash out.

Andrea: He didn’t do it.

Doug: He didn’t take the trash out. I am the 14 year old, and I hop up and I say, “Alrighty, dad. Let’s go. Here we go.”

Dr. Leman: James, I’d love to help you. But first of all, I need to tell you how really disappointed I am in what you did, or to put it more bluntly, what you didn’t do last night. There’s not a person in our home, even our six year old can tell you that Monday is garbage day. Okay? And it’s still sitting there in the garage. And quite frankly, it stinks, and I am very unhappy. In terms of you going anywhere, you’re not going anywhere. Okay? This is very disappointing. In fact, until that garbage is dealt with, I wouldn’t plan on going anywhere. That’s a blunt statement and I drop it right there. You’re not going anywhere.

Doug: Hey, dad.

Dr. Leman: Yeah, go ahead.

Doug: Hey, dad. Hey, dad. Wow. You know, I’m so sorry. I really wanted to get the trash out, and yet I had that big project for school I had to get done and basketball was really hard. I mean, I was tired. Coach just ran us ragged. You know what? Hey, dad, how about you help me find a way? Could we create a system so this doesn’t happen again? That would be great.

Dr. Leman: Honey, you have very few jobs in this house. One of them is the garbage detail. I know it’s not the best job in the world, but you are the oldest and that is your job. I want to tell you as plainly and lovingly as I can, I’m not solving this problem. This isn’t my problem. It’s your problem. You figure out a way to deal with that trash.

Doug: Okay. Here’s what I’ll do, I’ll make sure it’s out there on Saturday. This coming Saturday I’ll like put a huge note in my phone and a big thing right by my bed that says “trash this Saturday,” and I’ll have it done, Dad. I’ve got it. Great. I’ve got it solved. Can we go?

Dr. Leman: Go out in the garage and just take a whiff. What is that going to smell like by Saturday?

Doug: How in the world am I going to do anything with that?

Dr. Leman: I have no idea how you’re going to deal with it, but you’re going to deal with it, not me.

Doug: But dad, that’s like not until Monday. That’s like six days away.

Dr. Leman: You know what? You’re a creative kid. You figure it out.

Doug: Dad, that’s like so unfair. This is like totally wrong.

Dr. Leman: Honey, I’m preparing you for life. Life isn’t fair.

Doug: I hate you. Fine. All my friends are going to think I’m weird now, dad, and I’m just going to be called a loser. And you don’t care.

Dr. Leman: You can think what you want to think. I’m telling you the garbage is your problem. You deal with it. Use that creative brain that God gave you to figure out how to take care of that garbage because it can’t wait until Saturday, obviously.

Doug: Hey, mom. Hey, mom. Can I talk to you for a moment?

Dr. Leman: Coward. Here’s the point, what I’m thinking when I’m saying, “Hey, you can solve this,” he probably has friends. They might even be in the same block or two that have a different garbage service. Depending upon where you live, sometimes the city picks up the garbage. Where the Leman’s live, I know in our neighborhood there’s three different trash companies that come and pick up your trash. I mean, if you want to be real creative-

Andrea: He should make a deal with his friend.

Dr. Leman: Yeah. Put this on the kid. Don’t let them slip away. Again, if you want that kid to be responsible, you have to teach him responsibility. You have to hold them accountable. I love parents who give all the lip service to that. Oh, we love holding our kid accountable until they have to, and then they find reasons to bail them out, make excuses for them.

Doug: Andrea, do you think you could have… If our kid hadn’t done the trash, could you have said this, “You’re not doing anything. You’re not leaving the house until that’s solved.”

Andrea: Well, I know I haven’t. How’s that for an answer?

Dr. Leman: You’re being a different partner there. You have the sweetest, easiest, softest hearted woman in the State of Oregon.

Doug: That’s so awesome, Andrea. You’re the best.

Dr. Leman: You need a lady wrestler.

Andrea: I have a question though. In that scenario, the assumption is this kid knows this is his chore, right? It’s on his chore list, and sometimes we ask our kids to do something and you just say it once and walk away. But if it’s already on their chore list and they haven’t… Like dishes, for example, and you’re headed to bed, you see them heading to bed. You know they know they’re supposed to do the dishes. Is this say at once and walk away principle still valid? Can I say, “Hey Johnny, I noticed you haven’t done the dishes yet today.”

Doug: That’s a reminder. That’s a warning.

Andrea: Look, Doug even has the answer for me.

Doug: Sorry, Dr. Leman.

Andrea: Softhearted Andrea is just checking.

Dr. Leman: She is so easy. Yeah, no.

Andrea: At that point, if they know it’s on their chore list, you shouldn’t say anything at all, right?

Dr. Leman: Let’s talk about a list for a second. I think a family calendar is a great thing. For example, if you get one of those big calendars and you put it either at a central location where everybody has access to it, or better yet, if you can find one, you can append to your refrigerator door. I even liked that better because kids are always going in the refrigerator, so is mom and dad. And like garbage days, if it’s Friday in your home, every month that Friday could have a yellow hue to it as a reminder to whoever the garbage person is that garbage needs to be out on the street on Friday morning. Those kinds of reminders, I like them because it’s a family calendar that James has soccer and Anna’s got something else.

It’s difficult with the busy world we live in just to keep up with our own children. But again, the home is primary and that’s our teaching mantle, if you will, for our kids. And so these things shouldn’t be taken lightly, and the good guy or good girl in us that wants to help our children out sometimes gets in the way of them really learning to be responsible. And that’s what you have to guard against. For those of you who are new to our podcast, you’re thinking, “Man, this guy Leman, he’s like a military guy.” Well, no, that’s not true. I got a great heart. I got a great relationship with my kids. They’re all responsible kids and then some, but they were held accountable, and I was not afraid to pull a rug out.

I let them tumble when they needed to tumble, and that’s part of being a parent. If you think it’s not, then you’re probably not going to enjoy the rest of these podcasts.

Doug: I really appreciate you wrapping up with that, and I just want to echo it. Since we’ve implemented these changes, by actions and not warnings, I think our relationship has gone up, not down. And that our kids love us more, not less. Just like Dr. Leman said, because we treat them better actually. It sounds counterintuitive, but I want to affirm that 100%. Warnings wear us all out. Well, thank you for listening with us today. A quick reminder, go get Born to Win, if you have a first born or if you are a firstborn, for a $1.99 between now and the end of May of 2020. And we love doing this with you. And as always, you can go to, or see where Dr. Leman is going to be speaking.

And we just look forward to the next time we get to be with you and add to that parenting toolbox. Hope you have a fabulous and wonderful day.

Andrea: Have a good day.

Doug: Bye bye.

May 19 2020



My “shy” daughter won’t talk to her dad. What can I do? – Ask Dr. Leman 144 (Episode 313)

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It’s time for another Ask Dr. Leman!. In today’s episode, Dr. Leman get’s to the root of why a child might act “shy” towards mommy or daddy.

**Special Offer– May 1 – 31: Born to Win ebook for $1.99 at AmazonBarnes & Noble, or wherever you get your ebooks**

Show Sponsored by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing

Produced by Unmutable


Doug: You need to stop acting so shy and talk to other people. I said, you need to start talking to other people. What do I do about this shy child? She won’t even talk to her own dad. That’s the question that you asked Dr. Leman that we get to ask him for you and hopefully we’ll get an answer on what we can do when we get caught in that situation. Hi, I’m Doug Terpenine-

Andrea: And I’m Andrea.

Doug: And we are so glad that you are with us today. If this happens to be your first time, welcome and we want to let you know this is for your education and entertainment purposes only. If the subject matter raises any concerns for you or a child, please go seek a local professional for help.

Well, Dr. Leman, this is a question that’s actually kind of near and dear to Andrea’s and I’s heart. Wouldn’t you say sweetie?

Andrea: Absolutely. As a child I was labeled shy and years ago I realized I’m not really shy, I’m thoughtful, I’m thinking about what I’m going to say and yet, because I was called shy, it felt like I was painted into a box. And it’s really hard to escape that box once you’re told you’re shy all your life. Now everybody expects you to be shy and it’s kind of… Not a self fulfilling prophecy, an other prophecy that is fulfilled by you because now you’re stuck in this corner.

Doug: So that’s Jenn’s question and it’s so funny here you are talking to thousands and thousands of people on air every day now as a shy person. But let’s hear-

Andrea: I’m not shy.

Doug: You’re not shy. You’re right. Okay, here’s Jenn’s question.

Jenn: Hi. First of all, I want to say thank you. Thank you for all that you do. I am a big fan of your work and I’ve read a few of your books including Making Children Mind, Parenting Your Powerful Child. However, we have a 12 year old son and eight year old son and a five year old daughter. Our daughter has seemed to be shy from the very beginning when she was very little and we made the mistake of saying that she was shy in front of everyone and realized what we’d done. So over the years we’ve been trying to correct this, although we’re still having trouble sometimes. Some of our efforts have worked. She used to not even want to talk to her dad whenever he would come home from work. So I started sending her to her room. She would cry and then eventually she stopped doing that.

But every now and then she still does that with family members. I really don’t like when my dad comes to visit and she doesn’t want to speak to him or anyone. We try to not make a big deal about it, just ignore it. Just introduce her to people like it’s no big deal, Hi, this is my daughter. She doesn’t want to get in front of the church with the rest of the kids to do their little performance that they do every now and then. She doesn’t want to have anything to do with things like that. We just want to really get past this. If you have any extra advice for us, that would be great. Thank you.

Dr. Leman: Oh, what a good question. Well, first of all, let’s talk about shyness in general. You heard what Andrea had to say that she was told she was shy, and let me point out to you, in all probability, our own Andrea Terpenine, was not shy. She was probably a little too perfectionistic as a kid where she wanted to make sure that what she said was right or what she did was right. And people read that as shyness. So I would concur with Andrea’s self-diagnosis that she wasn’t shy. Okay.

But normally when I hear the word shy, the first thing that resonates in my mind is we’re dealing with a powerful child. So I think to be practical with you, Jenn, as far as her getting up and doing things with her friends, whether it be in Sunday school, or school, or whatever, nothing that I’m going to tell you is going to be very helpful in that regard.

The social milieu, the teacher, the other students will be far more reinforcing than anything I could tell you because you’re not in the classroom. I’m not in the classroom. So nature will run its course there. But let’s talk about something practical you can do in your home. Number one, I would have a meeting in your home with yourself, your husband, 12 year old and eight year old, and I would introduce it as maybe a game if you’d like or to experiment and just talk about the fact that we are not going to respond to little sister unless she speaks to us. So at dinner time you could set the place setting for five if you want. You could also see what it’s like when you set it for four and just sort of move along in life like she’s not there and just see what happens.

It’s just an experiment. Sometimes you do that and all of a sudden a kid will start talking a blue streak and some kids will say, “Well wait a minute. Where’s my food?” Okay, well the kids talking, “Oh, did you want to have dinner with us?” You can do that approach, that kind of thing. If you try to get her to talk and she perceives you as trying to get her to talk, good luck. So you’re going to have to emotionally instruct yourself not to get yourself in the reinforcement, “Here’s the reward for speaking,” mode because it’ll just make things worse. So that’s for openers, that’s basically what you do.

In all probability, she’s a powerful child. That’s one of the way she controls things. It’s one of the way she demands attention from you and other family members. So just tuning her out. I would do that for a couple of weeks with a firm commitment that when she asks for something, you could accommodate that. When she speaks, you respond. If she doesn’t, she doesn’t. So you’re not telling her to get ready. You’re not telling her to pick up her clothes, you’re not telling her to do anything. Just become silent, run silent. So that’s my opening suggestion.

Doug: That would be tough for any person to do. Could you imagine just ignoring your daughter, your five year old daughter until she started talking, Andrea?

Andrea: No, I almost feel like it feels like a punishment to her when in my mind I don’t see her as being disobedient.

Dr. Leman: She doesn’t respond. This is a kid who’s not talking. So help me understand what you just said, because I don’t get it.

Andrea: Yeah.

Doug: Where’s the bad behavior? She’s just silent.

Andrea: Right. Is it wrong that she’s not talking to people or is it something that she needs freedom to get over?

Dr. Leman: She is displaying her power. It’s a powerful child. So you’re dealing with power, so you’re going to remove your what? from her wind?

Doug: Sail.

Andrea: Her sail.

Dr. Leman: Problem is her wind is silent. She’s not saying a word. So do you get her to open up by talking to her and trying to pry out from her what she wants or what she needs? No. Just pretend she doesn’t exist for a while and see what happens.

Doug: So Andrea, you’re assuming that her silence is that she is a internal processor who doesn’t want to answer questions.

Andrea: Right. It might be different than that.

Dr. Leman: She’s not a miniature Andrea. I don’t think so.

Andrea: I didn’t have a problem talking at home, I guess is the difference. It was just more when I went to school. And even now as an adult, I don’t like to talk to everybody and talk a blue streak to everybody.

Dr. Leman: It was performance based on your part. In other words, you didn’t feel like you wanted to perform you. You felt the pressure at school, where maybe you played your cards real close to your chest, so to speak.

Andrea: Exactly.

Dr. Leman: Maybe I didn’t get everything, maybe you can help me with everything that Jenn said, remind me, but it sounds to me like this kid is just a powerful little buzzard who finds control from the baby position of the family, which normally you don’t see. Controllers tend to be really more firstborn. But maybe she doesn’t feel like she can compete with those older siblings.

Andrea: Right. And the fact that she wouldn’t talk to her Dad, that does sound powerful.

Doug: Or Grandpa, right? So you wouldn’t talk to either one, that does sound powerful. So Dr. Leman, then just helped me feel better about myself. This would not be vindictive for me to be silent back to the child. Because that feels like I’m just like rubbing her nose in it.

Dr. Leman: Yeah. And it’s not punishment. I’m not talking about punishment. We’re not punishing a kid for anything. But to get along in this world, I got news for you, she’s going to have to talk. So she doesn’t talk to Grandpa. Well that’s a socially awkward position for the parent to be in. What do you mean? I mean, my daughter’s not talking to her grandpa?. I mean the inclination for a parent is to say, “Honey, Grandpa asked you a question.” So you’re going to have to get everybody on board so that we don’t have two thirds of the internal circle that she is around on a daily basis or on a weekly basis. You got to get everybody into this experiment for lack of a better term.

Andrea: So you would probably even get Grandpa in on that meeting and say, “Okay Grandpa, when you come over, greet the boys, wrestle with them. But-

Doug: Would you go so far as to have Grandpa, say, bring treats for the boys and not the girl?

Dr. Leman: No.

Andrea: Because then she would start performing, right?

Dr. Leman: No, I wouldn’t do that. In fact, there’s nothing wrong with. Grandpa coming in and greeting the children by name and greeting the youngest. I’m not saying don’t greet her, Grandpa. I’m just saying don’t foster a conversation with her. Don’t ask, “Well Honey, what, what did you do today? How is preschool or how is kindergarten?” All of the things that a grandpa might say to a granddaughter, don’t say them.

Doug: So for the slow guy, between the three of us, which is me, you’re saying this is the exact same as telling mom, stick it in your eyeballs, mom, or whatever, right? This is just a different form of that.

Dr. Leman: Well, this is purposive behavior. Her silence, everybody put your thinking cap on for a second. What does her silence create for her?

Doug: Power. Control. She makes the parents perform.

Dr. Leman: Right. And so she’s saying, I am in control. I am an authority over you. I’m not even going to push the authority button here that a parent obviously has authority over their children. I’m just saying you need to create a situation in your home where she’s going to have to speak. And that’s why I even suggest if you want to set the table four, as part of the experiment, do so. Let her at least say, “Wait a minute, where’s my food?” “Oh, I didn’t realize you wanted to eat.” Put the food down in front of her and then go and talk to your sons over dinner. In other words, it might take a while for her to catch on, this isn’t paying off. But it is purpose of behavior. In other words, this kid is saying, “I’m not speaking to you.”

Andrea: Could this come from parents that are overly authoritarian that have driven her, like you said about me, to perfectionism. So there’s this need to perform?

Dr. Leman: That’s probably the best guest, but let me just say this about that. It could be just trial and error. Something had triggered this two years ago. It might’ve been just a simple little thing, but her reality is what? The five-year-old’s reality is what she perceives to be true.

Andrea: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Leman: Someday I’m going to write a book about lying. And I think most people lie to themselves on a daily basis.

Doug: Ouf, that would hurt. So let’s go back to Jenn real quick. So Jenn feels terrible that she’s fostered this by identifying her daughter as shy and paying off this behavior by giving her attention and all of that. Is there anything that Jenn needs to say? I know as soon as I say those words, you’re going to be like, “Have you never heard of reality discipline?” Yes. But is there anything else that Jenn needs to do in regards to that?

Dr. Leman: No, I think reality is the teacher, Doug. Keep in mind everybody, the reality of the situation becomes the teacher to the child. Think about that. The reality of the situation. So we’re not talking about dad and mom. We’re not talking about brothers, grandma, grandpa, anybody else, we’re talking about the reality of the situation. Well, what is the reality of situation?

The reality of the situation now is that these people are not playing the game that they played where you are the powerful little queen bee and the rest of us are slaving over the hot stove, so to speak, trying to figure out how to get you to talk. Well, I go back to what I’ve said many times, the book Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours, you don’t make children mind, but you create situations where the kid figures out, “Hey, I might’ve have to go a different avenue here.” So sooner or later that kid’s going to figure that out.

Doug: When we come back from the break, I want to talk about what are the longterm consequences for this girl if the parents don’t resolve this. But it does make me think, I know we’ve been talking about it because it just released, but your brand new book, Why Kids Misbehave and What to Do About It, and it makes me think of this section in there that you lay out the four levels that children go to, right? They start at attention, and then they go to power, and they go to revenge, I forget the fourth one. But this is why the book is so good because it re-reminds us that why is this kid doing this? Is it for attention? And then it’s switched to power, right? And that’s what you’re telling us.

Dr. Leman: Exactly.

Doug: And I’m just telling you, that book will help you. Look at Andrea and I, we even forgot these basic concepts that if you’ve read a Dr. Lehman book before or you have listened to podcasts, this book is so one, two, three, four, the seven steps are in there, I just can’t encourage you enough. Go get Why Your Kid Misbehaves and What You Can Do About It.

Okay. I’m also from Ravel, right now, between now and the end of May of 2020 you can get Born To Win for $1.99. Andrea, do you have anything?

Andrea: I do. I have a great little review here. It says, Now I Get It, is the title they put on it. “I’m married to a super firstborn who always had me wondering about why he does what he does. After reading this book, I have better understanding about him and how he operates. I see things differently now after gaining more insight into what makes him so organized and businesslike. I appreciated this book for what it offered me. Although I am a middle child in my family, I bought this book to help me understand my spouse and it really did. Great read, funny, insightful.”

Doug: So go get Born To Win between now and May of 2020 and now a No Nonsense Parenting Moment with Dr. Kevin Leman.

Dr. Leman: Hey, acceptance. What does that mean? There’s nothing better than that feeling of being accepted. You know, your son or daughter is going to be either accepted or rejected; in school, in a peer group and at home. Your job as a parent, since you cover the home is to make sure your kid feels accepted. That that’s that place he can identify with or he feels loved no matter what. That’s the agape, unmitigated love we have for our kids. It’s really important that he feels accepted in the home. If he doesn’t feel accepted in the home, guess what? He’s going to go outside of the comfort and love of your home and he’s going to find acceptance in a peer group that’s usually negative and not positive. So make sure you love your kids. This is really simple. Accept them for who they are. Treat them differently. That’s part of acceptance. Do a good job of this, your kid will flourish because of it.

Doug: So Dr. Leman, if Jenn doesn’t address this shy behavior and she keeps this, “Hey, come on, come on daughter. You got to talk, you got to talk, you got to talk.” What is going to end up with this daughter? Where’s this going to go?

Dr. Leman: It’s going to deteriorate this kid’s self-esteem. She might stay at the power level. She is a powerful child. Okay? And again, remember when you’re a powerful child, you’re also an attention getter. When you go from attention getting to power, you don’t drop the attention getting, you’ve just added to your social repertoire behavior, powerful behavior. It didn’t replace the attention getting behavior that’s still there. What I’m saying is, this kid goes through a school system now and all of a sudden isn’t talking, guess who’s going to come along and throw a little label her way? And now she’s a special child. “She’s a special child, Dr. Leman.” Hey, I know what special child needs. We have seven schools. I know a little something about that.

But the kid is just going to label herself and people are going to over-respond, over-react is probably a better term, and it’s just going to get blown more and more out of proportion as she goes through a system, namely a school. So it’s good to do something now. Five is perfect time to do this. Three would have been better but five for right now is as perfect as we can get, because we can’t go back.

Doug: Wow. Well I just think about, you know, I manage people and it might be just my personality, but the “shy” people that I have to manage are by far harder than the vocal ones. The vocal ones I can deal with because at least now I know what’s going on. It’s the shy ones that just drive you nuts, which you would think would be opposite, but-

Dr. Leman: Okay, let me be personal with you. Do any of your shy ones cry a lot?

Doug: Do you mean at work or at home?

Dr. Leman: No, basically at work. You know, one gender cries more than another quite frankly. Don’t send me a nasty email on that folks. I’m just telling you that I worked in an office once with seven female assistants and I can’t enumerate the number of times I saw tears.

Doug: No, you’re right. There are more tears from the shy ones, or excuse me, from the quiet ones. Yeah, you’re right.

Dr. Leman: Well, here’s the deal. Hold on here. How do you feel as a man when you’ve said something or done something and your wife cries.

Doug: Oh, you’re brought to your knees. You can’t move forward. You’re stuck.

Dr. Leman: Right? So the shedding of tears itself could be a very powerful, manipulative way of getting what you want. So just keep in mind there’s all kinds of behaviors that can equate to shyness. What would you say if I said that somebody who is very explosive, was explosive for the direct reason to keep people away from them?

Doug: Oh yeah, I believe it.

Dr. Leman: Yeah. So do you see what I’m saying is, I’m not trying to just say one size fits all. I’m just saying when you talk about shyness, it’s a little bit like nailing slime. You ever see kids play with slime?

Doug: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Leman: Comes in a little jar and it’s really gross looking. It’s like trying to take a nail and sticking it up on a wall. Good luck. It can be very elusive. And so just keep in mind that shy people can control. We usually think of controllers as firstborn children, but you can control from the baby position of the family through shyness real easy. And you can control from the baby position of the family through temper tantrums. So temper tantrums are so different than being shy, but notice it’s the same psychological mechanism at work. You’re controlling.

Doug: Wow.

Dr. Leman: But you’re doing it in different ways. So I think the experiment kind of thing that we suggested for Jenn is very worth doing and I would do it for a long period of time.

Andrea: What’s a long period of time?

Dr. Leman: Couple of months. That’s a long time.

Andrea: Oh, you think it’ll take her that long to snap out of it?

Dr. Leman: No. No, I don’t. I think it’ll be a short period.

Andrea: She’ll respond, but they should keep up the behavior.

Dr. Leman: Yeah. Some kids just, they get it. They say, Oh, I get you. All right. Okay. I can dig in a little deeper. All right, go ahead. I’m not moving. How many times have we had parents say to us in one form or another, “Dr. Leman, you can do anything to this kid. You could beat him with a stick. You could take away everything. He doesn’t care.” Well, what’s the purpose of nature of him not caring? He’s saying, “I don’t care what you do. You’re not breaking me. I’m in control here. I’m not giving up my kingdom.” But once the kingdom isn’t paying off anymore, then the kid says, “Wait a minute. I think I got to change lanes here.” And that’s what we hope happens here.

So again, it goes without saying I hope Jenn, if your little one begins to open up now, don’t celebrate. Don’t overdo it because she’ll jump right back into her little fox hole and cover herself with dirt.

Doug: Really? I was about to-

Andrea: Don’t say to her, “Oh, I’m so glad you’re talking.” That’s like the worst thing for somebody like that to hear. Yeah. Oh yeah.

Dr. Leman: Yeah, yeah. Just take it in stride.

Andrea: Like it’s normal.

Dr. Leman: When a kid does well in school, one of my favorites is just, “Honey it’s so good to see you enjoy learning.” It’s so good to see that you enjoy learning. It’s not, “You’re the greatest kid in the world for getting an A on that,” or whatever. Or, “Wow, your hard work really paid off, congratulations.” That’s vitamin E. So don’t over celebrate if you see some early signs of her coming out of our little cocoon. Just take it and stride.

Doug: Well this is super helpful and I know I just referenced it, but I’m going to reference it again, the brand new book, Why Your Kid Misbehaves. It’s so nice to know why they’re misbehaving so then you can respond in the right way and not react, and then what to do about it.

Dr. Leman: Doug, I should have dedicated that book to Jenn. This is her book. So Jenn, I hope you’ll get a copy real quick.

Doug: I just think for the Jenns and the Doug Terpenines of the world, for us to have a framework to understand it is gold, for my personality at least. Maybe not for the people that are listening but sure helps me to understand things.

Dr. Leman: You know Doug, you mentioned framework and it’s nice for an author to like his books. They’re like your children, you like them, but there’s a few of them you really love. And the Birth Order Book is one that I love because it gives you a framework. It lets you stand back and say, “Oh, I see why child number three is ducking under, so to speak. Because child number one is a little bluebird with straight A’s. And guess what? Bigger brother opposite sex from the first one. He’s a bluebird too. I got two straight A students. Now I understand why number three sees herself the way she sees herself and underperforms and doesn’t try. Why doesn’t she try? Because in her mind she can’t measure up to those kids.”

So parents, here’s your question. Do you treat these kids differently? Chances are you haven’t. So by the time child three comes along, he sees those lanes, those positive lanes where the kids are flying at 30,000 feet, are filled. But “Oh, I see this little cart with a donkey. Maybe I’ll climb on that for my transportation.” You see what I’m saying? It’s a conscious effort on the kids’ part, not to go head-to-head with somebody I know I’m going to get beat by. And again, beat is their perception.

Doug: Oh absolutely. This is why I think these books are so good. All of them. Like you’ve said multiple times, read Birth Order Book, children mind you…. I can never get that title. But Helping Children Mind Without Losing Yours, whatever that title is, you know what it is. And now, Why Your Kid Misbehaves. You just put them together and you get this beautiful look at, “Oh this is what this kid’s doing to me.” And you joke about, “We have seen the enemy and they’re small,” it really does help you realize they are beautiful but are not so innocent at times. So go get these books for your sake. Honestly, you want to reduce stress in your life, this is the time to do it.

Jenn, kudos to you for asking this incredible question. Thank you. And for those of you that want to leave a question, you can go to and there’ll be a microphone right there at the bottom and you can leave your audio question for us and we would love, love, love to answer any of your questions. And a reminder, get Born To Win if you are first born, if you’re married to a first born, or you have a first born kid to understand them better between now and the end of May of 2020. And we look forward to the next time we get to be with you and add to your parenting toolbox so you can love those kids and have a framework on how to parent. Take care.

Andrea: Bye-bye.

May 12 2020



Can bad parenting be fixed? (Episode 312)

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If your parenting strategies are not working, then it’s time reevaluate your tactics. In today’s episode, Dr. Leman breaks down classic examples of bad parenting and provides some concrete solutions to help you see the light at the end of the tunnel.

**Special Offer– May 1 – 31: Born to Win ebook for $1.99 at AmazonBarnes & Noble, or wherever you get your ebooks**

Show Sponsored by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing

Produced by Unmutable


Doug: All right. I said, this is what you are supposed to do and it better get done around here. Or is it more fun just to be like, “Oh, that’s all right, you set the couch on fire. No worries. We have just now have a burnt spot in the couch.” Which kind of a parent are you? And does it really matter in the end? Is there a good way to parent or not? That’s what we get to ask Dr. Kevin Leman today. Are there a right way to wrong way to parent? And are there kind of some stereotypes that would help us understand which one we might be?

Doug: Hi, I’m Doug Terpening.

Andrea: And I’m Andrea.

Doug: And we are so glad that you are with us today. If any of the subject matter raises any concerns for you or a child, please go seek a local professional for help. Well, Dr. Leman, today is the release of the new book Why Your Kid Misbehaves and What You Can Do About It. And in there, I’ve read a bunch of Leman books, you have four different descriptions of the way that we can parent. And I thought it was so helpful for me to understand which one I am and the impact it could have on my kids. You describe them, there’s the fun way, the my way, the right way and the easy way that we do this. Help us understand why did you include in there the ways that we parent? And why is that important for us to know that?

Andrea: I just have to throw in here. I loved the phrase he used a couple weeks ago, “You are the maestro of the misbehavior orchestra.” Here we are going to parents again.

Dr. Leman: Yeah, well there’s no denying it that we parents create a milieu in our home, a social milieu that is conducive to pulling the rope in the right direction and cooperating and loving and closeness and a sharing of feelings and a sharing of wonderment and just enjoying life. That sounds pretty ideal. Or we get into the right way, my way, the authoritarian way, the permissive way. There are so many avenues that you can choose, parent, that will lead to destruction of the solidity of your family.

Dr. Leman: I had a talk the other day with my grandson who’s just turned 16 and is now driving a car, about the road less traveled and the fact that there are fewer people on it. And I asked him, I said, “Connor,” I said, “why do you suppose there’s fewer people on that road less traveled?” And he said, “Well Grandpa, probably because it’s really hard to make the right choice.” I said, “Yeah, that’s pretty good, Connor. For 16 that’s real good.”

Dr. Leman: What I’m saying is, folks, there’s all kinds of choices out there on the kind of parent you’re going to be. And when Doug in his introduction said something to the effect of, “This is the way it’s going to be. I said, this needs to get done and I mean it.” That’s just a frustrated parent who lacks the skills to know how to approach these children who are growing every day toward adulthood. And a reminder, you’re not raising a kid, you’re actually rearing a little adult who someday is hopefully going to be a productive person in society.

Dr. Leman: But I think if you choose to be an authentic parent, you have authenticity in your life and you have openness in your life and you have a realness to your life and you have the ability to listen and you’re committed to being a good parent and you’re committed to being in sync with your mate, you’ve already made a great choice, and your kids in all probability are going to benefit from that basic commitment to each other. Now, hopefully you’re a person of faith and if you live your faith out in front of your children, there’s a very high probability that your children will one day come to a full realization of who the creator of the universe is and develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. And that’s an eternal decision. The decisions that we make when kids are very young are really decisions that will influence not only our kids’ life on this earth, but their eternal life as well. The stakes are high in making great decisions when those kids are little.

Doug: Dr. Leman, I have a question for you. You describe four different ways that we can fall into parenting wrongly and I want to just choose one and highlight it and it’s the easy way. And you say the easy parent says, “I only count when everyone likes me and I can keep the peace in the house.” And then you go down and you start to talk about how that’s going to be a negative for the kids. Yet it feels like that’s kind of a good parenting style. What are the consequences if I go the easy way for my kids? What do I need to know if I’m the easy way parent?

Dr. Leman: Well, what you have to understand is by going the easy way, you’re creating a weak kid. You’re not giving any structure to the kid’s life. You’re not giving a sense of realness or authenticity because that’s not what life’s all about. If your son or daughter joins the service at age 18, they’re not going to get an email from the Navy or the Air Force or the Army that says, “If there’s any possibility that you could work it into your schedule, we would like to have you in Germany or Afghanistan on October 2nd.” That email is never going to come your way. You’re going to be told in a very authoritarian organization, namely the military, you will be there. Everything is not the utopian state of parenthood where parents are on the same page and you’re an authority over your kids. There’s part of life that’s very authoritarian. The police officer does not say to you, “Listen, have you chosen to accept this ticket from me?” He hands you the ticket.

Dr. Leman: And so when you just go to whatever feels good, do it, you’re creating a monster, quite frankly, who will never appreciate other people because they’re going to be so determined on just pleasing themselves. Now, let’s take that young man that grows up just pleasing himself. His mom gives into him all the time. Once in a while she gives him a vitamin N, but it doesn’t mean anything because the kid learns that all you got to do is wear her down and she’ll give in. I’m asking every mom to think what kind of a husband will that kid make? And let me ask the Terpenings, your firstborn son, James, you tell me, what kind of a husband will James make, do you suppose?

Doug: I think he’s going to make a great one. He’s super responsible.

Dr. Leman: Why?

Doug: Because he had to. We made him. We made, we pushed our kids hard on a number of things. They were expected. They’re expected to do chores around the house. We actually adopted your phrase that really changed it where we said every member of the household has to contribute to make this work. And when we did, our chores changed from, this is what mom and dad want us to do to, oh, we’re needed around the house. So much so that then he went and served abroad and it’s just part of his DNA now. Yeah.

Dr. Leman: Okay. Okay. Now Andrea, give me words that describe James’ personality.

Andrea: Oh, the very first one that comes to mind is responsible. He is very kind and thoughtful, caring. He’s well thoughtful also in the way of, he thinks things through in his head before he, so maybe a processor.

Dr. Leman: All right now let’s continue being personal. Doug, tell me and tell our listeners basically what James has accomplished in his years. Tell us how old he is and tell us what he’s done.

Doug: James is 20 years old and after high school he went and served in Costa Rica for five months stint and fell in love with serving. That he went back and gave two more years. Two and a half years of his life he’s been in Costa Rica serving. And he’s been helping other 18, 19, 20, 21 year olds from anything from building homes, where he’s helping to, he was responsible for the roof part of building homes for people in poor communities, to going downtown and helping out people with homelessness, to kids who were trying to figure out where are they in their faith journey? That’s what he did.

Dr. Leman: Okay. Andrea, tell us what James did as a kid growing up before he turned 18 and left your home. What were the kind of things he was involved in?

Andrea: Well, the 4H was a big one. He loved and he was in a second club, not just our animal club but in a club that was a leadership club and he loved that. Helping to create events and things for the whole community of 4H.

Dr. Leman: I’m assuming he was a good student as well, right?

Andrea: Yes, very responsible.

Doug: The other thing is we had all our kids have their own small business and we made them deal with all the details. Getting the food for the animals, dealing with the customers and all of that. And we stepped back as much as we could.

Dr. Leman: Okay. Now I got a question for all of you who are listening to this, is it a surprise? Is there any surprises here? Was there any real shockers what you just heard? See, these are parents who held their kids accountable, empowered them, and they’re all different. All four children are very different in the Terpening home. But you have to go out and you have to use the spade and you have to turn over the ground and you have to fertilize it. Just like I always say you, you water a marriage by words, by feelings, by communication and so are the Terpenings perfect? Far from it. They’ve admitted all their shortcomings but they’ve done a great job at raising kids and they’ve allowed the kids to experience life as it really is, having their own business, 4H. I’m very outspoken. I don’t like activities for kids basically because there’s too many of them. It dilutes the indelible imprint that a parent I think has the right to put on their own kid. And they think they’re helping their kids through activities and they’re not.

Dr. Leman: But one of the activities that I just rail about because it’s so super is guess what? 4H because kids are responsible from the time that calf is born or whatever they’re rearing and hard work and work ethic is a part of being successful in 4H. I’m just telling you parents, let’s everybody take a deep breath and ask yourself, what are you doing? Are you just giving your kids cheap things from China? Are you giving them things? They don’t need things. They need you. They need your expectations. They need your vitamin E, your encouragement, they need your vitamin N. Life goes by quick, folks. How many of you are saying, “I can’t believe little Henry’s already 11 years old and a little Samantha’s already nine. Oh my goodness time goes by quick.” Well, life goes by quick. Have at it parents, you be the parent you want to be. I’m just telling you that there’s a tremendous connection. As A is to B, on the kind of parent you are and the kind of kid you’re going to create.

Doug: Well, and this is why I appreciate you so much is because the other parenting style was what I was. Because I was, and I love the phrase that you finally got me understanding, I was King Doug and it was, I was super authoritarian and it was my way or guess what? Get out of here. And I was too far the other way and we don’t even, I don’t even know if we have time to jump into all the four different characteristics. And this is, so I want to balance it out, the easy way your kid’s going to go this way.

Doug: And mine was, I was creating rebellion off the charts in my kids that I see now from others who didn’t stop it soon enough. And this is also where you just talk about the differences where Andrea helped pull me into exactly what you said, caring for the kids and listening to the kids and being with the kids. She’s a superstar in those things and really helped me understand that I was just plowing them over and just shoving them out the door. Yeah, I don’t know if we have enough time to get into the my way parent in here or not, but yeah. Dr. Leman, I don’t know why I’m telling you that. I’m just like.

Dr. Leman: Yeah, and let’s face it. I love Doug because Doug has been brave enough to say publicly, I was a fool. I thought I was king of the Terpening house and he’s just lucky that he married the pretty one. She was the real helper.

Andrea: The easy way parent who wanted peace.

Dr. Leman: Well, a lot of us, men tend to operate at arms length and our comfort zone many times is just telling people what to do. I’ve never had a woman say to me, “I love it when my husband just tells me what to do.” Never heard that yet. But what I love is when a woman says something like, “Oh,” that little oh, as a response to something that husband has said or done. Then you know as a man, you’re really reaching into your wife’s heart. Well, what does heart have to do with it?

Dr. Leman: We’ve been mentioning The Way the Wise, you know that little a book I did that I love. It’s an easy read about an hour, hour and 15 minutes to read the entire book. But the passage that that book is premised on, Proverbs 3, in just the first six verses there, King Solomon uses the word heart three times. Parenting, relationships, marriage and our relationship with our maker is all about heart. Again, I don’t want to go too far over and make you guys feel uncomfortable with my adulation for how you’ve reared your kids, but it’s a perfect example of as you as a parent change and start to do things differently, the bonuses just flow in a very natural way to all of your children. Be a good parent, be a good mate and life’s going to be pretty good.

Doug: I want to read a quote from the book, for those of you that are like me was king where you’re the my way parent. I have a right as the parent to tell you what to do and you better do it. Is you say you’ll come down like an almighty hammer to judge your kids before they can open their mouths to explain the behavior. You might get immediate outward obedience because those kids view you as top dog, but trust me, resentment is simmering under the surface. I cannot underscore that for the my way parents. You are just, you are breeding resentment and you wonder why when your kids are 21 and they leave and never come back, how could that have been when you fed, clothed them and gave them everything they needed? I bring this up to talk about the fact that for many of us, if you’re like me, to be able to look at the mirror and look at yourself and go, “Hmm, what am I really like?”

Doug: That’s really tough to do. Which is why I like this section of the book because it’s like, okay, which one of these four parents are you? Okay, I can put myself maybe there. Here’s what you’re going to get with your parenting. And when I see the negative I’m impacting on my kids, that’s just enough to prick whatever that my mind, my heart, my soul, whatever, to be like, oh, maybe I should change so that I get what I want, which is a relationship with my kids. Well, if you don’t want a relationship with your kids, you can do these things and just think you’re going to create robots. But that’s craziness. Anything you want to say to that Dr. Leman before I jump into the book?

Dr. Leman: No, just do it. We make these things available. Some of them are a $1.99, 2.99. You’re buying books. You’re getting books that if you walk into a bookstore, you’re going to pay a 16.99 for plus tax and here you can download them, have them on your appliance. And the big deal is they change your life. You can share it with your mate. Here it is, read it. And I can’t say enough about it. I’m just thankful to Revell, my publisher who allows us to do these podcasts. Yeah, it obviously helps Revell because they’re the ones that gain most whenever they sell a Kevin Leman book. But I’m in the school business. I got seven schools. I’m not in the business of creating money for myself. I’m in the business of educating kids because I want to make a difference in kids’ lives.

Dr. Leman: And these books are very practical. They’re fun. Some of you don’t like them. I read the one star reviews once in a while and I go, “Wow, where’d this person come from?” I’m just so glad that most of my books are four and a half stars or better. And those four stars are hard to get. Five stars are almost impossible. And I got a few of those. We know what we’re doing is helping a lot of people. I’m thankful for people like Doug and Andrea who pour their heart and soul into this and make it fun and bring a sense of realness to us. Help us spread the word. Tell your friends, put it up on your social media. Tell people how to catch us here as we talk about life as it really is.

Doug: After this, I want to give a brief description of the four different ways and the harms that we have from them. But the book that you can get between now and the end of May of 2020, for only a buck 99 is Born to Win. Born to Win, $1.99 between now and the end of May of 2020 wherever eBooks are sold. And the other thing I want to tell you that’s really fun with Revell Baker is this week, the week of May 5th. May five, six, seven, eight I believe, is that they are going to give away five copies of the brand new book. Why Your Kid Misbehaves and What You Can Do About It. You’ve heard us talking about it for weeks now. I’m telling you it’s totally worth you going to get. If you want to try and get a free one, you can go to Dr. Leman’s Facebook page today and enter in for the contest to win one of those brand new books. It is a phenomenal book. Okay, now a no nonsense parenting moment with Dr Kevin Leman.

Dr. Leman: Go buy any gym, any fitness center where there’s open windows, where you can look in and you’ll see people working and working and working and they’re working out or trying to come up with a perfect body. Well, how about psychological muscles for your kids? How do you help build psychological muscles for your kids? The peer group can be cool, but you need to sometimes help your kids develop psychological muscles. What does that mean? It means well, number one, don’t overreact to everything that comes your kid’s way. Sometimes people will say things to your kids that are just downright unkind. Sometimes your kids are too over sensitive. One of the things I try to teach our kids at Leman Academy of Excellence is when somebody dogs you, somebody is really nasty to you, I teach our students at Leman Academy to look at them and say, “Wow, I didn’t realize you felt so bad about yourself.” Wow, does that take the air out of the balloon. Teach that to your child. It’s one of those little pocket answers that good old Dr. Leman loves.

Doug: Alrighty. I’m going to briefly touch on the four different parenting styles and then you two can tell me, you can highlight, accentuate anything that I miss or to expand it. You described these four different ways. The fun way parent, I only count when I’m in the limelight, noticed appreciated, adorned. And the hit to your parenting is as a fun way parent, you’ll probably avoid the situation by not dealing with it. You’ll exit the premises and go out for an evening, so you’re an avoider.

Doug: My way, I’ve already read this one, but I only count when I’m in charge and others immediately follow my orders. And the problem with this one is you might get an immediate outward obedience because those kids view you as the top dog. But trust me, resentment is simmering under the surface.

Doug: And then the right way. I only count when I get to meet my own, which I find interesting, my own high standards by doing things right, perfectionist and critical eyed. And here’s the impact you’ll have on those kids. This time those projects, quote unquote, are your kids and it will be impossible for them to meet your high standards and do life correctly, even on their best days. Your natural disposition to become discouraged and resentful won’t help resolve the behavior. It will only further alienate you from your kids.

Doug: Dr. Leman, why was it important for you to highlight the four different ways and like.

Dr. Leman: Well, I think it’s important for parents to see that our behavior influences the whole kid’s view of life and themselves. And you’re either giving them a realistic view or an unrealistic view. And for example, the parent that just says “It’s got to be my way,” is sowing the seeds of rebellion in that kid’s heart and soul. The parent that says, “Well, let’s just do it the fun way and everything goes,” is not only painting an unrealistic view of life, but it’s also sowing the seeds of discontent and rebellion in your kid’s heart and soul because there isn’t structure. We come back to the mid point of being an authority over your children. But that’s what’s so cool about why your kids misbehave and what to do about it. If you as a parent can identify, and the fun part of this book, you identify that just by your own feelings of your kid’s misbehavior, at what level your kid is misbehaving. And that way you know exactly where you need to improve as a parent.

Dr. Leman: It gives you motivation to move from where you are to a better place. And it’s not only a better place for you or your spouse, it’s a better place for your kids. We talked earlier about the Terpening children. Why have they done so well? I can go off of my five children, all of my five children, you would think with five children, you’d have a loser in there somewhere. A good that’s just not hitting on all eight cylinders.

Dr. Leman: Well, that’s not the case in the Leman family. All five of our kids are hitting on all eight cylinders and they’re doing extremely well in life. Extremely well in life. Well, it’s not an accident. It goes back to how we parent and why your kids misbehave and what to do about it gives you a starting place where you can go into your kid’s life, get behind their eyes, see how they see life, and I think you’ll be convicted of the fact that you need to change your behavior. And when you change your behavior as a parent, you set up a great possibility that your son or daughter is going to alter their behavior as well. Pick up a copy, you’ll enjoy it.

Doug: For everybody out there that’s wondering, do I really want to read a book? Do I really want to invest the time and energy? Is this book really worth it? I just say, whatever you invest in, you get great results from and what you don’t in this world, I’m just old enough to realize you don’t. If I don’t exercise for some reason, I don’t stay in shape and there are especially if you are, if you don’t have kids yet or you’re just starting out, man, it saves you so many problems later on that you have to deal with to have a game plan and know what you’re doing. Andrea, you’re shaking your head.

Andrea: Well no. I’m just thinking how, boy if you are just starting out or if you have a friend who’s pregnant, what a great gift because I keep hearing over and over in these last few podcasts, how much of it is, it’s not the kid, it’s the parent and so if the parent and the parents can get on the same page, if the parent can figure out what their parenting style was as a child and now how they’re going to parent, I just think wow, you’re starting out leaps and bounds ahead. Just getting yourself healthy as a parent because you are going to, you are the maestro of the misbehavior orchestra or of the the great kids orchestra. Where you’re going to have fun with them. And so yeah, I don’t know, I just think parents just starting out, are going to have kids soon. What a great idea to share this.

Doug: Well and Dr. Leman, to follow up on that real quick is, you’ve said it before, if we are willing to do the hard work especially when we were first setting out like you’re saying Andrea, as brand new kids, what is life like when we finally have those teenagers for us?

Dr. Leman: Yeah, there’s a great payoff. I’ve often said the best years are when your kids are teenagers. And people look at you like you got a screw loose. You got to be kidding me. I’m not kidding you. We had no problems throughout our kids’ teenage years, none. Why? Because our home was their home. We had the home field advantage so to speak in the Leman family because the kids would bring their friends over. I think our kids were initially shocked at how much their friends like Sandy and I. Was sort of funny. But the bottom line as parents, you want to be a difference maker in your kid’s life. I hope so. And some of you have gone off on the wrong track for various reasons. You brought a lot of baggage into your marriage and whatever, but you can right the ship and this little book Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do About It, will help you navigate the oceans of life.

Doug: Amen. And Andrea and I are living it right now. Our 20 year old and 18 year old are demanding that we go out to have dinner with them because they just want to talk and debrief.

Andrea: I was just going to say little story from our home this week because our oldest two have just come home from their YWAM experiences. I was sitting at the table eating lunch with all four of the kids the other day and I just, I stopped the middle of the conversation. I said, “You guys don’t know how happy I am. This is amazing. Here you are laughing and joking with each other and we’re talking about life. And I have these little flashbacks to when they were preteen and all the time we spent together. And now here we are, the five of us. Dad’s at work, laughing and just enjoying one another. And you guys just don’t even know what a gift this is to your mom. It’s amazing. I am drinking it in.”

Doug: The payoff is you’re going to have some hard years to change yourself and change the patterns with your kids. I did. It’s uncomfortable. It’s not nice. But man, the payoff is so worth it for your kid’s sake and for you. It’s amazing. In conclusion, you can get Born to Win now until the end of May of 2020 for a $1.99 where eBooks are sold and go get the new book, Why Your Kid Misbehaves and What to Do About It. You get actual practical steps. They go on sale today, May 5th, and I am so excited to hear about how your life changes and just how much more you can enjoy those kids and love on them. Trust me, it will happen. Thank you for being with us today and listening. We appreciate you being with us.

Andrea: Have a great day.

Doug: Take care. Bye bye.

May 05 2020



My 18-month-old won’t respect my no. What can I do? – Ask Dr. Leman 143 (Episode 311)

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When your kid doesn’t respect your no, what do you do? Listen in on today’s episode to learn what Dr. Leman says about administering vitamin n to your kids.

**Special Offer– April 1 – 30: Way of the Wise ebook for $1.99 at AmazonBarnes & Noble, or wherever you get your ebooks**

**Special Offer– May 1 – 31: Born to Win ebook for $1.99 at AmazonBarnes & Noble, or wherever you get your ebooks**

Show Sponsored by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing

Produced by Unmutable


Doug: As a parent, have you ever experienced that incredibly annoying time when your kid just gets fixated and opens and shuts, opens and shuts, opens and shuts, or just keeps dropping that same toy over and over? You tell them, “Stop,” but they won’t. That’s the question that Dee asks, “How do I stop this from my 18-month old.” And we get to ask Dr. Leman for you.

Doug: Hi, I’m Doug Terpening.

Andrea: And I’m Andrea.

Doug: And we are so glad that you are joining us on this podcast today. We want to let you know this is for your education and entertainment purposes only. If the subject matter raises any concerns for you or your child, please go seek a local professional for help. As a reminder, you can go to or slash the episode numbers. Like this episode is 311, and there you’ll see at the bottom of the page a microphone, and you can leave your audio question like Dee did.

Dee: Hi, Dr. Leman. I was curious if you would please tell me the appropriate way to discipline an 18-month old? For example, he keeps opening the cabinet where the chemicals are or banging on the glass on one of the dressers. I jump up right away, remove him and tell him, “We don’t do that.” So I have my parents tell me, “Just spank him. He understands. Kids know at six months old not to do something. Look at all you kids, you turned out well, well-mannered and responsible.” I don’t know if removing him from the situation is the right way to do it at this age. I’m not sure if that’s still appropriate.

Dee: I personally tried smacking his hand and he swatted back at me. So obviously don’t want to teach him that hitting is okay. So I’m not sure what is the appropriate discipline for scenarios like this where it’s a repetitive don’t do that, don’t do that. And if you could just tell me what I should be doing at this stage of his development, so that for instance, if there’s something for his own safety and he’s across the room, if I tell him “no” he will know not to do that and he’ll stop in his tracks. Thank you so much. I really appreciate your podcast. Thank you, guys.

Dr. Leman: Well, what a good question. Thank you Dee for that. You sound like a great mommy by the way. Wow. That’s sort of a loaded question. Okay? In fact, the whole idea of spanking a child is, we can start there, is an interesting one. Now, I’ve always pledged to you that I would always call a spade a spade, tell it like it is. Okay? I’ll give you my honest opinion and I’ll get some nasty ones on this, I guarantee you.

Dr. Leman: But let’s start with, I know you were asking about an 18-month old, but let’s take a three year old who has great verbal skills, understands commands well, and that kid defiantly looks you in the eye and says to you, “No.” Well, would it be the end of the world if you took an open hand and gave that kid a swat on their tail? That’s the question I have for you. Would it be the end of the world? Well, here’s the problem. You give that kid a swat on the tail, and he’s in preschool and he has an accident at preschool and there’s a red mark on that kid’s tail and the teacher asks, “Did you get hurt?” “My mommy spanked me, my daddy spanked me.”

Dr. Leman: And depending upon what state you live in, you’re about to experience hell on earth. Okay? There are going to be people who knock on your door and say, “We’re going to take your child. We’re going to make your child a ward of the court all of a sudden. We’re going to place them in a supervisory position.” Because you what? Because you exercised your authority as a parent and you swatted your child. So I can’t publicly say, “Okay parents, open hand on a kid’s tush is not going to damage their psyche for life,” but I’m telling you that the social environment we live in today precludes you from spanking children.

Dr. Leman: Is spanking inherently harmful? No, it’s not. But the problem is people don’t know how to spank. Years ago, I detailed in a book how to spank a child. I’m going back, I don’t know, 30 years, how to spank a child. I decided, and again I’m just telling you how it is, you don’t have to agree, disagree, whatever, but I came to the conclusion that so few people even would know how to spank a child appropriately. They wail on a child and sometimes tell himself that’s discipline. It’s not discipline. So I’ll get to Dee’s question and I’ll answer you as best I can.

Dr. Leman: Dee, my guess is that your nature, you’re probably too authoritarian. Okay? And that’s why when your parents say, “Hey, just spank him, everything will be okay,” is real tempting for you. But the fact that your little guy is 18-months old is interesting to me because I always tell parents circle the calendar when your child hits 18-months of age. Because that’s developmentally where a child will come into true power, powerful behavior, behavior that serves a purpose in a kid’s life. Yes, I know some of you have 12-month olds who can arch their back and win a triple gold medal for their heroic acts in the high chair. But by 18-months, it’s really pretty well developed. So how you handle discipline with an 18-month old I think is really important.

Dr. Leman: You talked about the fact that you tell them, “Don’t do that, don’t open that cabinet door.” Now let me say this, Dee, it should be impossible for your 18-month old to open any cabinet or any area where there’s dangerous anything there. There’s all kinds of secure things you can buy. So number one, your home, your apartment, needs to be completely baby-proof. As my pediatrician once said to us, “Kids are dumb as mud. They’ll put anything in their mouth and they don’t read labels.” So number one, opening things, you need to make sure that that’s not possible, so it’s not a matter of them getting into things they shouldn’t.

Dr. Leman: Your best discipline is to remove your 18-month old from the scene, whatever it is. If your child is acting up or being defiant or whatever, pick him up, put him in a playpen, if you still have one up, and have him have some time looking out through the nets. Let him figure out that what he just did is very inappropriate. So if you do that, he’ll howl like a coyote at the moon. So be it. Let him howl. He’ll stop. A real powerful kid might howl for 15, 20 minutes, some even a half an hour, but they’ll stop as long as it’s not [inaudible 00:08:11]. Now, if you keep running in and tell him to settle down, be quiet, stop screaming, whatever, you’re just going to prolong your agony and his maladapted behavior.

Dr. Leman: I thought it was interesting that you slapped his hand and he slapped you back. You have to understand the psyche of a kid. Okay, if you have a right to punish me, then I have the right to what? See, in a democratic society, kids don’t view themselves as social unequals. They see themselves as equal to the adult, socially equal. And are they socially equal? They’re not the same. But God doesn’t love parents more than He loves children, but God has given parents authority over children. Not authoritarianism. If you want to look at the Scripture, Ephesians 6 says, “Children obey your parents. It’s the right thing to do because God has placed them,” and here’s the key word, “in authority over you.”

Dr. Leman: So your question is a good one. And I know that it can be very exasperating, but if you’re trying to reason with the 18-month old, Dee, let me suggest you don’t go down that path. Okay? Use action and not words. When the child’s misbehaving, again, you pick the child up swiftly, give him the look, put them in a room, close the door. You may want to have the Kevin Leman [inaudible] Lock on the door that locks on the outside, where the child can’t come out. They have to stay in their room. And they stay in their room until when? Until they quiet down. And then a simple, “Honey, are you to come back out?” And then pick him up, give them a little love. They got their blankie with them and life goes on.

Dr. Leman: So for openers, that’s how I would answer your question. I tried to do that as honestly as I possibly can. And by the way, the question is, “Dr. Leman, when you raised your five children, did you spank them?” Yes I did. But let me give you a definition of a spank. It was an open hand on a kid’s tush. I have five children. We went to the trouble to figure out how many times we gave a swat to our son or our daughters, the aggregate number was guess what? Eight. So five kids got eight swats in their child-rearing days.

Doug: So I’m kind of [inaudible] on the last thing you said. So I’m going to shine the light on you, Andrea. You’ve said this a bazillion times, “Use actions, not words.” So Andrea, when you pick up the 18-month, how hard is it not to communicate with words to them, and just pick them up and walk in and drop them in the playpen?

Andrea: Nearly impossible. The part that’s even harder for me is not to go check on them.

Doug: Oh.

Andrea: Yeah.

Doug: Because?

Andrea: Because you want to make sure they’re okay. I mean, you know all these things that could go wrong.

Dr. Leman: A parent has a monitor today, they can see what’s going on in the room. Okay? For those parents who are thinking, “Oh, I could never lock my child in a room.” I mean, give me a break. All you’re doing is saving yourself some effort and making sure the child stays in the room for awhile. That’s all. You can look at the monitor that’s in your kitchen or your bedroom and you know exactly what a little [Beaufort’s] up to in there.

Doug: So why is it important that dad or mom, when they pick up the children, don’t use words to them and don’t scold them or say, “Stop opening the cabinets.” Right? “That’s not what we do around here.”

Dr. Leman: Well, I think one word, which is vitamin N, which is simply “no.” Give them the look, a look of disapproval, pick them up and remove them, that’s great discipline for an 18-month old. What are you going to say to the 18-month old? What words you’re going to use?

Doug: Dear Beaufort, in the Terpening household we do not open and close cabinets because it is unsafe for you and you need to learn not to do that. Well, I’m now going to go put you in your playpen for five minutes.

Dr. Leman: Yeah, if I’m an 18-month old, I’m going to blow that off real quick. I’m going to go, “Oh, here he goes again. Here he goes on one of his editorials, some good old dad.”

Andrea: What are the chances that that kid is going to go back to that cabinet when they get brought out of their play pen and try it again?

Dr. Leman: It’s very good if he’s a powerful child because he want us to know, “Hey, do you mean business?” So parent, if you’re going to discipline once in awhile, good luck. So you have to be consistent. So if he comes out and he goes right to that cabinet again, you know he needs just a little bit more time to think about what we do in the Terpening household. And so you pick up Doug, you drag him to the room and say, “Doug, you’re in there again.” Now, I’m laughing at myself, which is not a good idea.

Doug: Well, I remember when our kids were younger, zero to six, seven, somewhere in there, Andrea, we could almost clockwork, every 90 days, three months, they wanted to see who is an authority around here. Right?

Andrea: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Doug: They would be like, “Hey, it’s been awhile. Let’s just see if maybe I’m now the boss.” It was like for three or four days they just created chaos. And then if we held the line, it stopped. If we didn’t, it would go on for weeks and then we had a bigger problem to make up. But you’re right, how as parents do we deal with that mindset that every three months or so the kids are just going to test that boundary?

Dr. Leman: Yeah, I think kids play us like a violin, and I think if there’s two of them they have discussions like, “Hey, what do you think we ought to try tonight?” It’s sort of like checking the temperature. It’s going outside and looking around the skies and seeing what the climate is in your home. And that’s why being a consistent parent is so important. When the kids realize whether they turn left or right, they have parents united out there, they’ll fall in line. And keep in mind they want to please you. That’s what parents miss. Your kid actually wants to please you. So this is all doable. This is a good question. Thank you, Dee.

Doug: Yeah. I’m going to do the eBook promotion, and then I’m going to tell a funny story about Andrea because it’s always fun to make her look bad. I love it. It’s one of my favorite things to do.

Andrea: Yeah, I love you too, honey.

Doug: Yeah. Sweet. So the eBook promo is The Way of the Wise for a buck 99 between now and the end of April. So you only have a couple of days to get this. So wherever eBooks are sold, for $1.99. And RedDog911 off Amazon said, “I enjoyed this quick read of Dr. Leman’s. His insights into the verses he’s chosen are laced with his own wisdom and humor. A refreshing read.” So if you haven’t read Way of the Wise, you can get it now until the end of April of 2020 for $1.99. Also, now, a no-nonsense parenting moment with Dr. Kevin Leman.

Dr. Leman: Hey, parents. Do you ever have input into your kids youth group, church group, social group, whatever? I think parents are always looking for ideas that are healthy and good for kids. Let me give you a couple of them.

Dr. Leman: How about a carwash? “Well, Lehman, how many people have car washes?” “A lot of people have car washes. What so new about that?” “Well, how about a carwash that doesn’t charge?” “Oh, I get you. That’s a better way to make money. They’ll give you donations, right?” “No, you’re still not there. How about a car wash where we don’t accept donations?” “What do you mean? Well, how much clearer can I be? We don’t accept donations from anybody. We just wash peoples’ cars.”

Dr. Leman: Or how about projects in your neighborhood where your kids go over and volunteer to help an elderly person in the neighborhood, whether it’s raking leaves or shoveling snow, or you name it, but without payment. Kids should learn to serve other people without anything but a “thank you” as a reward, if you want to call it that. It’s a feeling that you get when you give to other people anonymously. Set up those situations for kids. Kids need to know that other people count in life. Let’s face it, kids are pretty hedonistic. They care about only themselves in too many situations, so look for ways where they can serve other people. It’s good for all of us, isn’t it?

Doug: Okay, so here is my funny story about Andrea that totally proves your point that children are not innocent. I know I’ve said it before in the podcast, but it just so perfectly highlights it.

Doug: I don’t know, three, four years ago our kids said, while we were driving somewhere, we would have a discussion before we would get in the car on who was going to get mom to play the music we wanted to play on the radio, and we knew that the youngest could do it one way and the oldest could do it another way. So we would look at where mom’s temperature was and make a game plan to get what we wanted on the radio. That’s a sweet little Terpening.

Andrea: And that makes me look bad-

Dr. Leman: No.

Andrea: … because I’m manipulated by my children?

Doug: No, it doesn’t make you look bad. It makes you look like [crosstalk 00:00:18:09]-

Dr. Leman: They’re schemers. Yeah, schemers.

Andrea: And they admitted it.

Doug: Well, this is why I think your point that children are schemers is so important, that these kids are not innocent in their behavior. Right? This is what you’re trying to get us to understand. They are testing the waters to see if they can get what they want. Right?

Dr. Leman: Hey listen, I’ve loved the past few podcasts we’ve done and I know we get a lot of positive feedback from people about how they love the practical nature and the fact that they tend to be a little entertaining as well. But why don’t you do us a favor here, the three of us, and put a post up on your Facebook, on your social media, and just give a shout out to other parents who you think might be attracted to hanging out with us and learning how to be a better parent, better married person, better single person, by just listening to our podcast. I mean it’s free, so take advantage of it. But we’d appreciate your help. We want you to have social interest in other people and we appreciate you following us and listening to us, but help pass that along, would you? We’d appreciate it.

Doug: And to follow that up, to make it even easier for you, Revell and Baker Books, our dear friends, this week are giving away the book, The Birth Order Book on Facebook. So if you go to Dr. Kevin Lehman’s Facebook page, Dr. Kevin Leman, you can go there and there’s going to have some simple contest. Maybe it’s whoever answers the question of what birth order they’re in or whatever, then they’re randomly going to draw and send you a hard copy of The Birth Order Book. So definitely, you can go to his webpage, Dr. Kevin Leman, L-E-M-A-N, and enter there to get that.

Doug: Also, you can get Way of the Wise, buck 99. And in a week, his new book comes out, Why Your Kid Misbehaves-and What to Do About It. Cannot recommend it enough for the Dees of the world and the rest of us. Let’s get a game plan, makes all the difference in the world. So it’s a lot. It’s great to be with you guys today, and Dee, we love your question. We love everybody that leaves those audio questions. You can do that at Great to be with you. It’s great to give you tools to love those kids more and more. We just thank you for being with us and we look forward to the next time.

Andrea: Hope you really enjoy those kids this week.

Doug: Especially those 18-months old.

Andrea: Yes, yes.

Doug: They grow up so fast.

Andrea: So sweet.

Doug: Yep. Put them in the play pen and then hold them once they’re done and just love them, love them, love them. So fun. Okay. Take care.

Andrea: Bye-bye.

Doug: Bye.

Apr 28 2020



How to Stop Misbehavior Before it Starts (Episode 310)

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Is it really possible to prevent your kid’s misbehavior before it starts? Listen in to to today’s episode for Dr. Leman’s advice on parenting misbehaved children.

**Special Offer– April 1 – 30: Way of the Wise ebook for $1.99 at AmazonBarnes & Noble, or wherever you get your ebooks**

Show Sponsored by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing

Produced by Unmutable


Andrea: Everything and everyone is calling and screaming for my attention and now you’re telling me, Dr. Leman, that my kid’s misbehavior is rooted in their desire for my attention?

Doug: Hi, I’m Doug Terpening.

Andrea: And I’m Andrea.

Doug: We are so glad that you are here because we’re going to talk today about how to stop misbehavior before it starts. That sounds like a promise that’s too good to be true, doesn’t it, Andrea?

Andrea: Yeah.

Doug: How do you stop behavior? Okay, well, if you are first time here, welcome. You’re in for a treat. If you’ve never met Dr. Leman, he is a fabulous gentleman: super funny, super practical, down to earth. I wish you guys could all hear what we say before we hit record on this button. He is always nice to Andrea and he’s always mean to me. It’s worse when the microphone is not on.

Doug: I want to remind you that this is for your education and entertainment purposes only. If the subject matter raises any concerns for you or your child, please, go seek a local professional for help.

Doug: Dr. Leman, you’ve written a book called Have a New Kid by Friday. Now, you’ve written a book called While Your Kid Misbehaves and What to Do About It. You are making a promise that says that you can help us know how to stop misbehavior before it starts.

Andrea: In your book, you talk about four stages of misbehavior, so we’d love to hear some more about that.

Dr. Leman: Well, there are four stages of misbehavior, but what if we just focus on how to prevent misbehavior in your home? Do you really want to get to level three? Do you want to get to level four? I don’t think so. But there are four levels of misbehavior that kids give us. It’s engaging in what I call “purposive behavior.” In other words, those behaviors serve a purpose in the child’s life. That’s a psychological term, “purposive.”

Dr. Leman: We could go into those in great detail, but I really think we should do what we say we’re going to do and that is, “Okay, Leman, show me how, do I create situations in my home so my kids don’t misbehave?” Okay, well, let’s start early. When that baby comes out of that womb, that child is 100% dependent upon you, parent. It really starts at that point where you make a commitment to each other that you will be on the same page as parents, that you will speak common language, that you will invest in this child, okay?

Dr. Leman: As they grow, kids have no interest socially in anybody else. They’re, again, hedonistic. When they’re infants, they want to be fed, they want to be held, they want to be comforted, they love tactile stimulation, all those things. All right, let’s get that child to age a year, nine months. They’re in the high chair. If you put the child in a high chair, he or she stays in the high chair until breakfast is over, until lunch is over, until dinner is over. Now, do you make a 11-month-old stay in a chair for an hour while you finish? No, you don’t. The point is, you take time for training.

Dr. Leman: What’s really important for young parents to understand: that routines are important, the mundane is important. That’s why kids take naps. Again, parent, you don’t sit down and say to your husband or your wife, “All right, now hear this. This will be the schedule for the Terpening baby.” It doesn’t work that way. Every child comes with a unique schedule. You watch your children, you’re with them every day, and you’ll develop a very natural rhythm for when that child eats, when they take their naps, when they go night-night for good, all those kinds of things.

Dr. Leman: You have to commit the wisely using. Now, notice the word “wisely,” wisely using your authority, and that’s a God-given authority, friends, to be the parent you need to be. All those Leman books will help you be the parent that, quite frankly, God would have you be. You have to understand that kids, by their nature, by their nature, I know they’re sinful. Nobody had to teach a kid to tell a lie that they didn’t take the cookie, okay, or they didn’t run their finger through the chocolate cake. Nobody had to teach a kid that. They have a sinful nature, okay? I get it, you get it.

Dr. Leman: The point is this: The kids basically want to make us happy. They want to please us. Why not empower them as they grow older? “Well, what does that mean, Leman?” It means your three-year-old can help unload the dishwasher. The three-year-old can help feed the dog. Involve kids, empower them. As they grow older, listen to them.

Dr. Leman: I’m flying through these things, folks. We could probably do a podcast on every one of these things. Listening is a great skill. Many times, we just shut off kids. We send a message that “I don’t care what you think.” Well, if you want a prescription for disaster, there it is. Are kids going to come up with great ideas? Yeah, once in a while. Most of their ideas are impractical. Some of them are downright impossible. They’re kids, okay? As you listen to them and you give them responsibility, you talk vitamin E to your children.

Dr. Leman: What does that mean? Well, if you’re not a listener to our podcast on a regular basis, we may have to remind you, vitamin E is what? Encouragement. It’s a way of responding to the acts your kids do in a positive way: “Honey, thank you so much for helping after dinner. That was so kind of you.” That’s an encouraging statement. “Oh, honey, you are so good. Here’s $5.” That doesn’t help, parents. That’s reward and punishment that was gone out years ago. Learning to talk vitamin E, again, many of the Leman books will help you become pretty good at talking with vitamin E, encouragement.

Dr. Leman: Then lastly, I’m going to say this: Your kids have to know you care, that you have their back and you give comfort. When they fall and they skin their knee, you give comfort. When their boyfriend dumps them after a beautiful romance of 10 days in seventh grade, you need to comfort. You need to listen. You need to sit back. You have to sometimes wipe those tears away.

Dr. Leman: Well, there’s a short course. You just heard it, okay? I don’t know where Andrea and Handsome Boy will take this, but that’s the short course in how to prevent misbehavior.

Doug: Ooh, I liked the “Handsome Boy.” Andrea, did you hear that? “Handsome Boy.”

Andrea: I heard that.

Doug: All right, wow.

Andrea: All right, Handsome Boy, what do you think?

Doug: Oh, wow. I like this. Well, now I’m all confused because now I’m thinking about the “handsome” part.

Doug: Dr. Leman, again, I’m surprised. If I going to stop behavior, the very first thing that you said was “You have to be on the same page,” or really near the front, was “same page as parents.” You used to have parents come into your office, drop Buford off, and then you would say, “Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. You two stay. We have to talk to you.” Why is that so important and how does that spouse get that other one to at least be somewhat on the same page with them?

Dr. Leman: Well, what happens in life when we marry is we tend to marry someone very different from us, which is good, but when it comes to parenting, one may have a very authoritarian stance and to balance it off, the mate might take the permissive stance. We got good cop and bad cop trying to parent kids.

Dr. Leman: Now, all those things that I just went through, which was a pretty good list of things to get a parent to be able to stop misbehavior before it starts, all of those would be blown out of the water by simply making one parent the good cop and one parent the bad cop, one the authoritarian and one the permissive. You have to be on the same page. You can do all these wonderful things, but if your mate sabotages that, we don’t get to where we want to be.

Doug: Because why? What does that do to the kids?

Dr. Leman: It gives them double messages. It teaches them to be manipulative because they know that they can work Mom, if she’s the easy one, or Dad, if he’s the easy one. It teaches them to do things we really don’t want them to do or be.

Doug: The reason I’m bringing this one up is I think, Andrea, I think this is one of the biggest changes in our marriage after listening to Dr. Leman, was we got way more on the same page about how we were going to parent, right? We came more in the middle, right? Because it’s exactly what you said, Andrea was the permissive, I was the authoritarian, and it gave us what you said, the second one, which was interesting, was same language, that we would start to use the same terminologies. I think your books really help parents who have neither of those, a plan or language, both of those. Would you not agree?

Andrea: Absolutely.

Doug: Why do you think that reading Dr. Leman’s book helped you stop being so permissive?

Andrea: I think probably what it did is it just gave me those pocket phrases, which made sense. Then I didn’t have to resort to being permissive because I now had something tangible to use to actually train them in the way that I would want them to go, where before, it was more like giving up or giving in and resorting to, “Well, this is too hard.”

Doug: Yeah. That’s one of the great things about, especially this book is that you talk about how we, me and you, Andrea, grew up and we parents had just the way we were parented in many ways. We just carbon copied it, but the pocket phrases, the new language, we didn’t react out of our old habits, but we actually got to start responding with these new phrases and those phrases gave us the 20 seconds to calm down. Dr. Leman, any reaction to that?

Dr. Leman: Well, I’m thinking of Gary Chapman’s book as you guys were speaking. He wrote The Five Love Languages and most people know what those are, we won’t go through them, but most couples have different love languages. I always loved the birth order book for lots of reasons because it gives insight into marriage as well as parenthood, but it gives you a way of taking a hold of life, looking at our kids, looking at our marriage. It helps us to navigate the pathway to being on the same page as husband and wife.

Dr. Leman: It all starts with you, parents. I remind you that you have God-given authority in your back pocket. You have all the gold, so to speak, in your back pocket. Again, your kids wouldn’t be wearing shoes today if you didn’t buy them for them. They wouldn’t be closed today if you didn’t buy those clothes for them. You have extreme authority and you have to learn to use that wisely, not as a authoritarian “All right, listen up. You’re going to do what I tell you to do,” and certainly not as a permissive because that’s not a use of authority in any shape or form.

Dr. Leman: Is there an art form in parenting? Yeah, there probably is, it’s part of it, but you have to work at betting on the same page, or like I say, all these things we just went through will be blown out of the water. It’ll be in vain. That’s principle number one, that the two will work toward oneness. I think quite frankly, that God gave us that. The differences in to make us really work hard at becoming a couple. It’s not easy.

Doug: Well, I find it so interesting. This is not where Andrea and I thought we were going to take this conversation at all and yet it is the foundational piece that if the couple can get on the same page, you can solve a heck of a lot of problems. We weren’t on the same page for years and years and years and it created problems with our kids. I also think of how many fights we had, not fights, discussions we had about, “Hey, you let this kid do this,” “Well, you did this with the kid,” until we got on the same page, which caused friction in our marriage, too.

Dr. Leman: Hmm. See, that gets down to exercising your will, okay, against your mate. It gets you both on a defensive, then you become competitive in the marriage. I’ve said many times that marriage is not a competitive sport. If someone is winning your marriage, you both lose.

Dr. Leman: It really comes back to a word that people really don’t like. In fact, I love the time I was speaking at Women of Faith in Las Vegas with 10,000 women in a round and I just said to them, “I’ve chosen as a topic this evening how to be a submissive woman.” Oh, man, it was so much fun to say that. I mean, they all looked at me like, “You’re a dead man.”

Dr. Leman: The reality is if you want to be a couple, if you really want oneness, which is the foundation of what we’re talking about today, how to keep your kids from misbehaving before it starts, be a couple, have oneness. Submit to who? To almighty God. Trust Him in all things. In doing so, by not sharing judgments, by sharing feelings, you will be drawn together and you will form a union that cannot be penetrated by the enemy. A reminder, the enemy are your children. You’re the one that brought the Trojan horse in your home, okay? Just to put a little humor on it.

Dr. Leman: This is workable. This is workable. This is a good podcast. I hope people will take this podcast and call their buddies and say, “Hey, listen to this, this is pretty good,” because this is one of the better ones I think we’ve ever done.

Doug: Well, and I feel like if you’re listening to this, you’re like, “Wow, guys, give me something super practical that I can execute on,” and I’m like, “I don’t know how more clear we can say this. This is the most important first step, is get on the same page with your spouse.”

Doug: The thing I like about this new book is as a male, I’m the male, right, is that it’s super easy to read and it’s like there is super practical, there’s like “the seven stages of this” and “the four steps of this” and “the four ways you do this,” so that it’s for someone’s brain like mine that likes things actually sequential, I’m like, “Oh, okay. Great. I see how this goes,” so that then you and I can be on the same page.

Dr. Leman: Well, yeah. Doug, let’s, in full disclosure, tell our listeners that Doug, he just said, is a man. I just want to point out the guy drinks tea, okay? He is a Renaissance man.

Doug: Hey, it’s strong tea. Back off.

Dr. Leman: He’s a Renaissance man. He drinks tea. He likes the theater. He’s a reader and yet he’s a people person. I love the guy. She got a good… I told her. She called me one day, she said, “Dr. Leman, should I dump Doug?” I said, “Dump him? You kidding me? He’s a winner. You want to hang on to him. You could put him on eBay. You could get thousands for him.”

Andrea: I decided to hang on to him, yep, for this many years.

Doug: Thanks, Leman. Thanks, Leman. You-

Dr. Leman: Oh, good choice.

Andrea: I’ll just keep mine and his tea.

Doug: … Yeah, usually. Oh, man. Going to the theater with my daughters is so fun. Okay, Andrea, help us get back on track. That’s your job. Okay.

Doug: Before I forget, I want to make sure that you get a chance to go get the book, The Way of the Wise, between now and the end of April of 2020 for a dollar 99 wherever eBooks are sold, The Way of the Wise. Andrea has an Amazon review from Jane that you can get it for only a buck 99. Go ahead, Andrea.

Andrea: “If you’re already familiar with Dr. Kevin Leman, you’ll love this book. If this is your introduction to his writing, you’re in for a treat. Leman takes some of Scripture’s greatest hits and weaves them together as a series of funny, warm, often inspiring stories. The result is a book that takes about 60 minutes to read, but one could lead to life-altering changes. This book is as entertaining as it is instructive thanks to the vignettes that pair so well with the verses Leman selects. It will cause you to ask yourself some tough questions and to challenge the notion that life just is the way it is. Open this book and you’ll open yourself to an opportunity for meaningful growth. I loved it. Jane.”

Doug: Thanks, Jane. Jane. Get it between now and the end of April of 2020, The Way of the Wise for a dollar 99. Now, a no-nonsense parenting moment with Dr. Kevin Leman.

Dr. Leman: Parents, every day, you have an opportunity to comment not already on how your child looks on the outside. I know those kids are cute, downright adorable, quite frankly. I know at our schools, I love to just watch the children in the natural state: just playing, smiling, laughing, giggling. They’re beautiful. But how many times a day you notice that they’re beautiful on the inside?

Dr. Leman: When those kids say things that are kind and encouraging to others, don’t miss the opportunity to pull that child aside and say, “Honey, when you had your little girlfriend over this afternoon and you were doing your little playdate, I couldn’t help but overhear what you said to her and I thought what you said to her was really kind. You were really talking about the good qualities that she has. No wonder you like her as a friend. I’m really proud of the fact that you can choose good friends, but you know what? It’s really important for all of us to look inside, because beauty sometimes can be hidden and when we see beauty in someone we should comment on it.” That’s a great way to encouraging everybody in life.

Andrea: Dr. Leman, you can give us a whole bunch of things that we create situations so they misbehave and we talked about being on the same page. The one that really sparked my mind was taking time for training and building a routine and a schedule into their life. I’m curious why having a schedule is so important for that small child.

Dr. Leman: Well, children get security from the mundane, from the predictable. Now, if you don’t think that’s true, ask a parent who’s lost their child’s favorite binky. I’m telling you, there’s stories where people traveled 30 miles to find the store that carried the same kind of binky because a child just a few months old knows the difference between their favorite binky, which was lost and we have no idea where it went, it could have gone down the toilet for all we know. I’m just telling you that routine gives confidence and security, warmth, a feeling of closeness. You don’t want to get kids off scheduled.

Dr. Leman: All you mommies, listen to me, you’re traveling. You’ve got to go to your in-laws, which quite frankly, is not one of your favorite trips, okay, but you have to go because you’re trying to honor your husband and to tell the truth, he is not real happy to go either. You know those situations. When you travel and you get your kids out of sync, what kind of behavior can you expect?

Doug: Well, not to go back to, since we’ve been talking more about parents, you’ve said “One of the most important things is that parents are predictable, that the kids know how you’re going to behave.” This is where having a game plan, having an idea of how you want to parent instead of just making it up on the fly is gold, honestly. Even if it’s a little different, it’s way better because then our kids don’t have to guess what’s going to happen. This is why I think reading any of these books are amazing to help you out.

Andrea: Going back to the schedule thing, if I had a child that had no routine in their early life and as they get older and reach their adolescent years, how does it affect them if their life has just been chaos all growing up?

Dr. Leman: Well, a good guess, and this is a guess, Andrea, but a good guess would be that that kid will be all over the place. He or she will run from pillar to post, just looking for the next new excitement. These are kids that tend to find it difficult just to sit and enjoy something quietly. They’re kids that run from pillar to post.

Doug: Okay, well, we really got to the foundation of how to stop misbehavior before it starts and at the same time, we never got to talk about the four stages of misbehavior.

Andrea: The four stages.

Dr. Leman: No, no, no.

Doug: We’re totally out of time. We’re totally out of time.

Dr. Leman: Yeah, we’re not talking about them either because guess what?

Doug: What?

Dr. Leman: If you really want to dig into this, you’re going to have to get a copy of, guess what, Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do About It.

Doug: True.

Dr. Leman: There’s a genius to this podcast, in a way. We’ve whetted your whistle and then some. Now, you need to follow through and pick up a copy of that book because that will help you sew all these ideas together and give you a great game plan.

Doug: Well, this is why I don’t like you because Andrea and I think we know what you’re supposed to talk about and then you are like, “You’ve skipped over like three steps to get to there,” and then it’s always like, “Oh, yeah, that is more foundational, huh, Andrea?”

Andrea: Yeah.

Dr. Leman: Well, let me add one thing. Let me ask you guys a question. What do you think that Kevin Leman, that would be me, is going to have for breakfast this morning?

Doug: Oh, I know. Toast.

Andrea: Toast and coffee.

Doug: Toast and coffee.

Andrea: With jam on it.

Doug: Yep.

Dr. Leman: All right, that’s just my early… I got up at 4:30 this morning and as we’re doing this right now, it’s about 6:55 in the morning. When I get up, I take medicine. I take a little something and you’re right, I’ll have a little English muffin with a little jam on it, well, a lot of jam on it. But when I go out for breakfast, I will have two eggs over medium, hash browns, bacon lightly done, please, and dry whole-wheat toast or nine-grain toast and a cup of coffee. I’ll have that today. I’ll have that tomorrow.

Dr. Leman: When I traveled to Europe last year and you go to breakfast in Europe, I don’t get it. I mean, there’s fish, there’s cheeses, there’s slices of ham, turkey. I never did see a hash brown all the time I was in Spain or Germany, for that matter, and I felt like a fish out of water. I was out of my comfort zone. Everybody’s not a creature of habit like I am. Men tend to be much more creatures of habit than women do. Now, that’s a wide brush. Again, all women are not the same. All men are not the same.

Dr. Leman: My point is when you get that fish out of their environment, they’re going to be a little uncomfortable. With kids, when you get them out of a routine, just talk to any parent who’s three-year-old missed their nap, you tell me what dinner’s going to be like. I can tell you what it’s going to be like, it’s going to be pandemonium.

Doug: This is the reason, Andrea, that I need so many kisses from you because it’s part of the routine.

Andrea: Oh, because it’s part of the routine, huh?

Doug: It’s part of the routine. This is why I need all of them. Otherwise, I just felt like a fish out of water and then I get all cranky and whiny.

Andrea: Oh, I see.

Doug: Alrighty. Thank you, Dr. Leman, again, for getting us back to the foundations of how to stop behavior before it starts.

Andrea: What I’m seeing is it goes back to us as parents again. It’s always going back to us as parents and our parenting style. I like the phrase that Dr. Leman used couple of weeks ago on the podcast that it’s a vitamin D deficiency in your parenting. I know you refer to “vitamin E” and “vitamin N,” but I think just in general, that’s a really good phrase to remember: If the kids are getting off, how much of it is my vitamin deficiency in my parenting?

Doug: And encourage all you parents, Dr. Leman has said “Your kids will quickly change when you change.” I’m telling you, we’ve seen it in our kids. When I’ve changed and my kids have said “Thank you for changing,” it can happen. Okay, get on the same page as parents. Get the same language, which is way more important than you think it is. If you don’t have the same parenting language, trust me. Wisely use your authority, listening, and learn how to give vitamin E, not vitamin P.

Doug: A couple of wrap-up things that are kind of fun. Revell Baker are our friends and they have offered to give away a free Dr. Kevin Leman book this week. If you go to Dr. Leman’s Facebook, Dr. Kevin Leman, if you search for that, they are giving away, which is really fun, this week you can get, I’m telling you, one of the best books, Have a New Kid by Friday. Go there. They have a little contest for you. I’m not sure what it is, but I’m just happy that they’re giving books away.

Doug: Secondly, you can get Way of the Wise between now and the end of April for a buck 99. Honestly, I can’t encourage you enough, if you have not read a Leman book or you have read one, to go get… Well, I guess you can’t get it yet, but in a couple of weeks you can get the new one, Why Your Kid Misbehaves and What to Do About It, so you learn about the four stages of misbehavior, which we didn’t get to on this podcast.

Doug: Well, we love being with you. We look forward to the next time that we get to hang out with you. It really is a joy for us. Thank you for joining us.

Andrea: Have a great week giving vitamin E and N to your kids.

Doug: And getting on the same page.

Andrea: Yep.

Doug: Alrighty. Well, take care. See you next time.

Andrea: Have a good week.

Doug: Bye-bye.

Apr 21 2020



Teenage Punk Attitude Attack – Ask Dr. Leman 142 (Episode 309)

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It’s time for another Ask Dr. Leman! Listen in to find out how Dr. Leman give Ellen tips on how to defend against a “Teenage Punk Attitude Attack.”

**Special Offer– April 1 – 30: Way of the Wise ebook for $1.99 at AmazonBarnes & Noble, or wherever you get your ebooks**

Show Sponsored by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing

Produced by Unmutable


Doug: Oh my baby boy’s and angel. And then he turned 14 and now he is got a teenage punk attitude. That’s the question that Ellen said, “Dr. Leman, how could this have happened to my angel baby boy?” And we get here, Dr. Leman’s answer today.

Doug: Hi, I’m Doug Terpening and I’m Andrea and we are so glad that you are with us today and it is a joy to be with you to add to that parenting toolbox. And I want to let you know that this is for your education and entertainment purposes only. If the subject matter raises any concerns for you or child, please go seek a local professional for help.

Doug: So Dr. Leman, we get an audio question today, which I absolutely love. And everybody, you can go to and go to podcast questions and leave them there. Or if you don’t find that, you could also look at the various episodes you can go to, like this one is 309 and at the bottom there’s a microphone and you can leave your question there. But today’s I love because she says, “My kid has a punk attitude.” So let us jump in to see what Ellen has to say.

Ellen: Dr. Leman, I would like to know how to han … my oldest son who’s just always been so tenderhearted, kind, sweet, will talk to me and share his heart. Wants to always be a help, but he turned 13. Well, he’s going on 14 he’ll be 14 in a few months. But ever since he turned about the time he turned 13, maybe a little bit before, he’s gradually gotten worse with just an attitude in a, just a disrespectful instead of just kindly obeying, which I know kids don’t always obey perfectly all the time, but he can be really rude and say mean cutting things to me and I don’t quite know what to do and how to punish him for that.

Ellen: How do you advise taking care of this teenage punk attitude, when I tell him, tell him things I want him to do or accomplish around the house and him saying, “You just want to make me miserable. You don’t want me to have any fun. You don’t want me to have any time.” Just saying just mean things and if I forget to do something that I told him that I would do and I maybe didn’t get around to it because I had taken care of his three younger brothers, said “You’re a liar, you told me you would do that,” just stuff like that, that’s just not really him or who he used to be anyway. And I don’t quite know what to do with it and how to handle it. I think he’s getting too old to necessarily spank and I just don’t know how to handle it.

Dr. Leman: Well I appreciate that question. I don’t blame you for saying, “I don’t know how to handle it,” because you’ve been thrown a tremendous curve ball. You’ve got this sweet kid, he talks to you, you got a good relationship, all of a sudden at 13 there’s a beginning of a change and it’s gotten worse. And it’s gotten worse because you haven’t known what to do. And it’s a tough thing to do as a parent. The things that he says and his snarky punk attitude probably makes you feel like second guessing yourself and, “What have I created?” And, “Is this my fault?” And those are questions that go through a woman’s head. And again, it’s a very special relationship between a mommy and a son, so I can see why you’re feeling the way you are. But his cutting remarks, his meanness, his disrespectful attitude are a product of a couple of things.

Dr. Leman: First of all, he’s going through a growth period in his life where hormones are changing. He’s physically changing. He has gone from a little boy into a young man. And I think part of what’s going on, he’s sort of sorting out, are the things that mom has taught me about life, are they true? He’s trying to figure out where he fits in. I mean, ask everybody who’s got a kid 13 or 14, ask yourself this question. Who would your child like to be? That’s the question, I want you all to answer it in your mind. Okay? You got an answer? Let me give you my answer. Anybody but him or her. It’s that time where the identity of who they are is being challenged by themselves. They’re trying to figure it all out.

Dr. Leman: I wrote a book once called Running the Rapids and I like the title because if you’ve ever been in a little float boat of sorts and gone through rapids, you know that before the rapids there’s this wonderful calm water and you’re just sitting in your little two-man floater and you’re enjoying the picturesque surroundings. It’s peaceful and quiet. Well that’s sort of a word picture of your son before his 13th birthday. Things were sailing along fine and all of a sudden you get in the rapids and man, you’re hanging on, you’re, you’re a white knuckling it and then you hit the calm again.

Dr. Leman: And so kids at that age, “Mom, what are we having for dinner?” “Chicken.” “Chicken, you know I hate chicken, I hate chicken.” And you’re thinking, “Wait a minute, four nights ago the kid had six pieces of chicken. I was wanting to know where he was putting it. Certainly couldn’t be in his stomach.” But see, they’re extreme at that point. “You never let me do this.” In fact, I’m quoting you, “You just want to make me miserable.” Now to be practical with you, the next time he says, “You just want to make me miserable,” just look at him and say, “Wow, bingo. You guessed it. I was put on this earth to make your life miserable.” This is progress. Okay?

Dr. Leman: His snarkiness, his inability to do simple things you ask, now you’re asking me, “Hey, I don’t know what to do about it,” and I’m beginning to tell you what to do about it. When things aren’t done, one of the principles is, B doesn’t start until A gets completed. If you drive that kid to school, for example, and he hasn’t done something the day before or the night of, the next morning, don’t be moving. Be sitting there looking at your computer. “Mom, we got to go.” “Go where?” “Mom? What are you talking about? I got to be the school. It’s 10 to eight. We got to leave.” “Honey, I see you haven’t done your work from last night yet.” Now, what you said is, “I see you haven’t done your work from last night yet.” Now again, he’s going to get mad, he’s going to be like a fish on a dock. He’s going to be flopping around. He’s doing something very unnatural because you’ve throw him a curve ball. But you’re going to stick to your guns and you’re not driving him to school until that work gets done.

Dr. Leman: “Well, Dr. Leman, he’s going to be an hour late for school.” So be it, but email the school or call the school and tell them he’s going to be late and ask that assistant principal to haul him in to the office and say, “Hey, what gives?” And tell them, tell the principal he has no reason to be late for school. It’s an unexcused absence. Let them deal with it they want to. Keep the tennis ball life in his court.

Dr. Leman: And so don’t feel like you have to do anything for this 14 year old kid. I think what you’re seeing is normal behavior. It’s not respectful behavior, but it’s normal for a lot of kids who are going through this sorting out process of adolescence. But my only caution would be if you see in your kid’s behavior a change in friends, a drastic change in dress, grades that just fall off the table, cutting school, antisocial things, any sign of cutting or anything like that. If you don’t see that, then I would write this off as, “Hey, welcome to the rocky rapids of adolescence.” And you’ll have some rough spots, but you’ll hit the calm. You’ll hear, “Mom, I love you,” and you’re going to hear, “Mom, you’re the worst mom that could ever be here. You’re trying to make my life miserable.” So don’t overreact. Learn to respond, walk out, get away, take care of yourself, but don’t take any guff. Don’t take any lip from him at all. So if he’s disrespectful, B doesn’t happen until A gets completed. Well, what’s A in that situation? He needs to come around without your urging and apologize to you. So that’s starters. Now we’ll go to our resident parents and see what they seem to think on this one.

Doug: So Dr. Leman, on the last podcast, we were asking, how do I know when it’s misbehavior and when it’s just something else? And I think for a lot of parents we want to excuse bad behavior as something else. So in this question, I think, for me I’m like, how do I know when this 14 year old boy has crossed this line that it’s not just, “I’m changing and all that.”

Dr. Leman: The etiology of this, okay, comes from adolescence. He’s undergoing all kinds of physical and emotional changes in his life. So there is a reason for the behavior. But here’s what I want people to hear. That’s not an excuse to bad-mouth his mother or be disrespectful to his mother or rude to his mother. So you still deal with the behavior, the rudeness, the snarkiness, whatever it is, the disrespect. You still deal with that, even though you realize that the basis of this behavior is probably physiological, hormonal to a large degree. So what I’m saying, you still don’t accept the behavior.

Doug: So, I just can’t, I’ll be honest, I don’t think nowadays parents could do that. What I mean by that is wait, wait, wait, if it’s because he’s becoming a teenager, there’s my reason and excuse to let it happen. And I just figure, “Okay, that’s the teenage years and it’ll work itself out eventually.” But you’re telling me no, no, no, you deal with the disrespect and the snarky. Why would I?

Dr. Leman: Well, 14 to 25 is a long time, Doug, so you’re not going to tolerate it. You’re going to deal with the behavior.

Doug: Ah, then it’s not just going to change as he gets out of the teenage years, this snarky and how he treats mom and disrespects her.

Dr. Leman: In all probability, since this kid had a good relationship with his mom, a closeness to his mom, he’s probably going to end up a great son. But you still don’t excuse the behavior because he’s a pubescent or an adolescent.

Doug: Yeah. To add to that, since we’ve changed our parenting style from me being super-authoritarian and Andrea being permissive, now that we have, our son’s been gone for three years serving abroad and had some really hard things happen to him, and he had to lead other kids, actually. He’s come back and said, “Mom and dad, when you confronted me, when you dealt with these issues, I didn’t like it at the time, but now I appreciate it more than ever.” And he is way hanging out with us. Right Andrea?

Andrea: Very much so. Yeah.

Dr. Leman: Brag about your kid for just a minute, because I think it’s important for people to see that when kids go away, and two of your kids are doing some extraordinary things right now, and they get to meet other kids and they hear other kids’ stories about their own families, for example. “Wow. These old people, Doug and Andrea, their stock just went sky high.” It’s like gold prices.

Doug: Well, and that was my point is by us not sweeping this under the carpet when he was a teenager at our house, and it was uncomfortable at times and difficult, we have reaped the rewards now. Wouldn’t you say Andrea?

Andrea: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Doug: Yeah, I mean, it’s crazy. The great, wonderful, deep, connected conversations we have with our kids now, both of them, because of those hard conversations. And yet in love, we did it. So this is where I think you’re the one that wanted to bring up the question last week. What is misbehaving and what is expectations? Which is why I think your new book is so good. Why Do Kids Misbehave and What You’re Supposed to do About it. And this is what you have given the gift to Andrea and Doug Terpening is we’re able to see now what was misbehaving in our teenagers and what was just allowing us to ignore it and let it go by and to not power up and get in their sails.

Doug: And again, this book is so easy to read that you should get it. So. Okay for those that want, you should go buy that book on May 5th, Why Your Kids Misbehave, so that you don’t end up in these kinds of situations and can have great kids. But for today you can get The Way of the Wise for $1.99 Between now and April 30th of 2020. Dr. Leman, what is the book The Way of the Wise about?

Dr. Leman: Well, I always say books are like kids, they’re all different. But this is one of my favorite kids. There was a guy named King Solomon who was the brightest, smartest, wisest king of all. And in the Book of Proverbs, Proverbs three, I love that little chapter. And in a few verses I pulled 10 little principles for living life well. And it’s a book that I would suggest, okay parents, if you have a kid, a teenager, a college student, this is a great book for an adult, but it’s a great book for those kids that are sorting things out now, and trying to figure out what life’s all about, and is what I learned in church and Sunday school true? And what mom has taught me, is it true? All those things are going on.

Dr. Leman: This is a wonderful little book. It’s an inspirational book. It’s very auto-biographical. It’s part of my coming to faith and, again, remember I was a guy that didn’t want anything to do with God. I mean my mom dragged me to church, but I had no relationship with God and I think it’s a fun look at serious issues and I’ll give you one little tidbit. The scripture says. “And He will direct your paths.” I like to point out to the reader that it doesn’t say path, singular, it’s plural. Your paths. You and Andrea have not had just one path in life. You’ve had multiple paths in life. We all do. And it’s a book that makes you really sort of rethink where you are in faith.

Dr. Leman: It’s a great book to give to someone who’s struggling with faith, but it’s one of my little favorites. When I go to a church and I do church weekends. In fact, I had somebody ask me yesterday, “Well, with your busy schedule, do you have time to do?” And this is a lady who lives in Chicago. I said, “Listen, talk to people in your church, have them call Debbie, my assistant, and I’ll come running to your church.” I love doing church weekends. But when I go to that church I go on a Sunday morning, my preference is to start the conference by having me speak in church. And those guys that are sort of on the outside looking in in they’re not sure where they are, they figured out real quickly that I’m not a stiff. Because that sermon’s going to be alive.

Dr. Leman: But it’s based on this little book, The Way of the Wise. And I can always tell by the book table how that message is received. And whenever I bring The Way of the Wise to a seminar, they’re cleaned out, they’re cleaned out before the seminar kicks in half the time. I can hardly keep that book in stock. It’s a good little book. So I can’t tell you enough. You can download that, what is it? $1.99, is that what it is?

Doug: $1.99 between now and the end of April of 2020.

Dr. Leman: Oh Boy, yeah. We’ll do it.

Doug: So get it before it’s gone. You only got a couple of weeks, so go for it. So now, a no-nonsense parenting moment with Dr. Kevin Leman.

Dr. Leman: Okay, this one’s going to hurt. Perfectionism is slow suicide. Some of you parents are perfectionistic, you know who you are. You worry, you even put your own efforts down even when they’re pretty good because there’s one flaw in the project or the thing that you’ve made or the entertaining you did. That critical eye can just defeat you, but worse than that, it can defeat everybody around you. So rather than look for the negative, if you’re one of those people, just try to catch yourself. Catch yourself from commenting on the one thing that’s a little out of shape or a little out of line or a little off, and concentrate on what your son or daughter has achieved. Learn to say things like, “Nice job, good job. Honey, it looks like all that time you put into that project’s really paying off. Congratulations.” Watch that negative eye. I’m telling you, it spawns negativity in your child all the way down the line.

Andrea: Okay. So Dr. Leman, back to Ellen, if she is able to kind of change how she’s treating her son at this point, how long will it take for her to see a change in his attitude?

Dr. Leman: There’s almost a one-to-one relationship, Andrea, between when she starts doing things differently. Again, I don’t know, maybe Ellen’s a single mom, I don’t know. If she is, we didn’t mention other kids in the family. Maybe she’s a single mom with one child.

Andrea: I think she said she has three other boys under him.

Dr. Leman: Oh, under him. So he’s the oldest. Okay.

Andrea: So this is top of four boys, yeah.

Dr. Leman: So more reason to contain his behavior by healthy responses. Okay. And so as she gets her little game plan together, she has to realize that he has been pushing the buttons, literally her buttons. And he’s making her feel guilty. He’s working her. And when she begins to change, that behavior can change literally in 48 hours. Is it all going to go away in 48 hours? No, but he’s going to start looking at mom a little differently and he’s going to be a lot more thoughtful about what comes out of his mouth, because he’s going to figure out real quickly this isn’t working for me.

Andrea: That’s great. That gives her hope and a lot of other parents out there hope to know that if I can change how I’m reacting to responding, then I can-

Dr. Leman: Let me give you one more little gem, and that is A, Ellen you have solid gold in your purse, in your pocket, so to speak. Your 14 year old can’t do one thing without your permission. He can’t engage in sports without your signature. There’s so many things, that parents need to understand, you do have authority. Exercise your authority. Keep that simple premise in mind that B does not start until A is completed. And that’ll help that transition, that your son will see that, “Uh oh,” all of a sudden mom’s changing and he has to change. Again, there’s a one-to-one relationship. Kids do not stay the same if you do major changing.

Doug: Yep. That is truer than true. So Dr. Leman, I am really excited about the new book. I’ve talked about it a bunch already. I’m going to keep talking about it because it’s such a good book. How would that book, Why Your Kid Misbehaves–and What to do About it, how would that help Ellen? How would that new book help her?

Dr. Leman: Well, it’ll give her the understanding that there’s actual reasons for the misbehavior that’s going on. Okay? It gives her a game plan where she figures out, “Okay, this kid now is exerting powerful behavior. So I have to do these things that are enumerated in the book consistently and I can expect to see change almost momentarily.” That’s a pretty good promise. If somebody promised me that and I had a kid like that, I’d be on that book immediately.

Doug: So again, for all the parents that are out there, for those of you that have never read a Dr. Leman book, I’m just telling you, go get this one. The concepts are so simple. The book is so easy to read. And I’ll say it because I know it’s true, the confidence that it gave you and I to change our behaviors, what we needed more than anything else. And we had to read a couple of them and we had to talk to Dr. Leman a whole bunch of times to get it. So if you’ve only read one Dr. Leman book and you’re like, “Well, I don’t know if I need another one?” I’m telling you, you do. Because it just gives you that deeper confidence to know what you’re supposed to do. So, and it’s a great book. It comes out in May 5th of 2020 and go and get it. So, Why Your Kids Misbehave–and What to Do about It. So you can be confident and love those kids as every mother just wants to love those little babies and kiss those cheeks. It gives you the confidence on how to do that.

Doug: So. Well, we look forward to the next time we get to be with you, and we love being with you so much and we hope that you are adding to your parenting toolbox so you can love them kids.

Andrea: Thanks Ellen for your great question and have a good week.

Doug: Take care. Bye bye.

Andrea: Bye bye.

Apr 14 2020



What is real misbehavior vs. wrong expectations? (Episode 308)

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What does real misbehavior look like over your own expectations of how your kids should act? In today’s episode, Dr. Leman dives into how reality discipline can help any parenting situation.

**Special Offer– April 1 – 30: Way of the Wise ebook for $1.99 at AmazonBarnes & Noble, or wherever you get your ebooks**

Show Sponsored by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing

Produced by Unmutable


Andrea: Is this child misbehaving or are they just being a curious child, or are they actually responding to who they are and my expectations are wrong? This is what I want to know.

Doug: Hi, I’m Doug Terpening.

Andrea: And I’m Andrea.

Doug: And we are so glad that you are with us today on Have a New Kid by Friday, as we figure out, is that kid a misbehaving kid or not? Well, if this happens to be your first time here, welcome and you are allowed to misbehave as you listen to this podcast. Maybe that’s not true. I don’t know, maybe I shouldn’t give you that freedom, but I’m going to let you know that this is for your education and entertainment purposes only, and if any of this content gives you any concerns, please go seek a local professional for help.

Doug: Well, I am excited to talk about this Dr. Leman, to find out if it’s misbehavior or wrong expectations, because I’ve been telling Andrea for years. I’m not misbehaving, I’m not bad, she just has wrong expectations of me, right honey? Isn’t that what it is?

Andrea: I thought we were talking about kids now.

Doug: Oh, oops, we’re going to talk about kids today.

Andrea: Although, Dr. Leman has said that your husband is a three year old-

Doug: Is a four year old.

Andrea: Four year old. Yeah, that shaves?

Doug: That shaves and seeking attention. Okay. So we-

Andrea: I wasn’t thinking of you when this question came in my head.

Doug: Well, I’m just glad that Dr. Leman’s going to vindicate that I’m not misbehaving. Dr. Leman help us out, how do we know?

Dr. Leman: Well, this is interesting because as you are posing that question Andrea, I was thinking about Mrs. Upington, who has said to me more than a few times in our marriage. She says things like, “Lemy, would you behave yourself? Sometimes our husbands, a lady will say, well I’ve got three kids, well actually four if I include my husband. Some of us as husbands certainly misbehave. Will my newest book Why Your Kids Misbehave – and What to Do about It help you with your husband. Probably not. There’s other books like Have a New Husband by Friday, that one will help you or any of my marriage books will help you with husbands. But since we’re talking about kids, I think we’ve got to just face the fact that kids are kids, you know? That’s why God gave kids parents to help guide kids in a positive, good direction.

Dr. Leman: I mean, kids are kids to put it bluntly, they’re dumb as mud sometimes. A youngster, for example, you mentioned curiosity. A three year old could take a very expensive vase or bowl of glass or something that really has value and they could pick it up and just drop it on the floor just to hear that wonderful shattering sound. I mean, it’s trial and error as they go through life. And so kids get to a point of accountability where they understand that you don’t just pick up a bass and throw it on the floor, but kids are kids they’re going to do stupid dumb things. They’re going to do stupid dumb things when they’re 16, 17 years of age. Now if you don’t believe that’s true. Have a nice, honest conversation with your Geico person, your progressive person, your state farm person who did I leave out your farmers person and they’ll tell you, explain to you why you pay such high rates for your 16 year old daughter or son to drive the family car.

Dr. Leman: Again, I think that what happens in families is we have parents who really believed that kids ought to just be little mannequins, that they ought to fall in line and do everything mommy and daddy say, well, if that’s true, if that’s the thinking. Those parents came out of authoritarian training as most of us did as parents, okay. Some of the younger parents today had very permissive parents, okay. But the great majority of parents today still came out of semi-authoritarian families. And that gets us to the point that Andrea brought up is wait a minute, is this unrealistic expectations I have for my kids? Yes. Many of us have very unrealistic expectations for our kids. One of the things that people have said to me over the years of my career, they’ve said things like, Oh, are you going to analyze me? Anybody that knows me knows I’m not an analytical person.

Dr. Leman: I take people for what they are. I’m not afraid to show my flaws to other people. I’m a relational guy. I guess what I’m trying to say is sometimes we try to overanalyze our children and play armchair shrink with our kid and the brand new book I put out. The reason why I like it so much is it gives you an opportunity by just looking at your own feelings, parent. To decipher at what level of misbehavior your kid is misbehaving at. If you feel annoyed by the kid’s behavior, he or she is an attention getter. If you feel provoked, you have a powerful child on your hands. A kid misbehaves and the question is, is he misbehaving or is this isolated, just kid kind of immaturity. And I always ask the parent, well, wait a minute. Tell me, is there a trend? Are you always feeling provoked?

Dr. Leman: Are you always feeling frustrated by this son or daughter? If that’s the case, you’re a great candidate to read Why Your Kids Misbehave – and What to Do about It. But kids are kids, they’re going to do and say stupid things. Is there a way of handling those things without making it worse? Yes. One of my favorite expressions is remove your sails from the child’s wind. I mean, simple things. I mean, mom, where’s my shoes? I can’t find my shoes. And it’s getting crunch time, the school buses going to be there in a minute and a simple honey, I haven’t worn your shoes this week, once. Just a statement like that says, wait a minute, I’m not getting sucked into this. I’m not going to go through all the dog and pony show we normally do. Where my kid ends up getting more frustrated by me trying to quote help them.

Dr. Leman: Now, if the kid doesn’t know where his shoes are, you tell me you’re in the kitchen and he’s yelling from the hallway, how are you going to help your kid find those shoes? You’re not and they’re not your shoes. It’s not your job to find the shoes. Just come up with something glib like, honey, I haven’t worn your shoes all week, and you’re better off there than going through the dog and pony show about honey, where did you take them off? Oh, there’s a smart question. Where did you take them off? Now if your son or daughter knew that, they wouldn’t be asking the question, mom, where’s my shoes? But those are the kinds of games that kids literally create in a very natural way of how to engage us in their battles a life. And I’m reminding you that we’re not really rearing a kid, we’re rearing a potential adult someday. Let the kid figure out where his shoes are. they’ll find them eventually. Maybe they’re in the garage. I have no idea.

Doug: Dr. Leman question for you and somewhat for you too, Andrea, that the way you described it about the shoes, it’s a pretty common occurrence, even in the Terpening household. How do we allow ourselves to get sucked into that? Like, Oh, okay, I’ll go start looking for your shoes for you now. Like what? Why is that so common now?

Dr. Leman: All right, now listen, what you just said is golden. A kid yells from the hallway, mom, where’s my shoes? Honey. I haven’t worn your shoes this week, but I’m going to start looking for them. Now am I saying you’re going to leave the kitchen and go on the hunt for the shoes? No, I’m not. I’m just going to say you’re going to say to your kid, okay, I’m looking for them. Which means you’re just looking around the kitchen to see if they happen to be on the floor of The kitchen, in other words, did not engage. We engage because we’ve been trained by them to be engaged. And if you look at your parent, parent, what did you say to your mom and dad? Did you not ask them where your shoes were, or where your homework was, or where your book was, or whatever. It’s a tried and true way of trying to get your parents to solve your problems, and in traditional America we played that game for years, and I’ve said many times that we tend to say things to our kids that we’ve told ourselves we’ll never say to our kids.

Dr. Leman: Don’t poke your eye out. How many parents have said to their kid, don’t poke your eye out. Now everybody, I’m serious. Just for a second here please, is there anybody in our listening podcast audience who have witnessed a kid poke his eye out, write to us if you have. I haven’t met one yet and yet that’s a conversation that happens in millions of homes across North America and around the world. Well, why do we do that? We do that because we were trained, okay. Honey, eat your cereal, it’s good for you. Eat it and I’ll put extra sugar. Eat it, and I’ll give you a dollar. Eat it. And we have this whole reward banter back and forth where somehow we’re accountable as a parent for being the orchestrator of a kid eating his oatmeal. And as we pointed out on many a podcast, let the reality of the situation become a teacher to the child. If the kid chooses not to eat his oatmeal, he experiences some hunger and he’s going to be real hungry at school. He’s going to eat a big lunch or maybe even bum some food off his friends.

Dr. Leman: But the experience of not eating leads to hunger, which is a very natural thing. Let the situation be the teacher to the child.

Doug: Andrea, you’re the resident mother here.

Andrea: Yep.

Doug: Why do you think it’s so easy for you to be drawn into dropping what you’re doing? Get out of your chair, go down the hallway and start looking for shoes for kids. Like what is it about that that just naturally sucks you in, do you think?

Andrea: It’s probably easier than listening to them whine and complain about not being able to find something.

Doug: And you just want them to be quiet and move on, and go back to what you were doing?

Andrea: Yeah.

Dr. Leman: Okay, so the question is, if she goes and starts looking, does she increase the probability of dependence or independence?

Andrea: Oh, we all know the answer, they’re going to-

Doug: Be more independent.

Andrea: Yes.

Doug: And they are going to need mother less.

Andrea: Yes. Next time they’re going to look where I looked and they’ll find them.

Dr. Leman: I mean just think of things a little, honey, I’ll look outside, okay. You live in the snowbelt. I’ll look outside, honey. I mean, have some fun with it. I mean, kids have all kinds of ways of sucking us in and they use us. And parents, you weren’t created to be used by your kids. I’m always reminding mommy’s, I’m big on mommy’s and sons and daddies and daughters and these sons can work a mom pretty good. I still remember and I actually believed this as a kid that when my mother made the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, okay. It tasted better than if I made it. And she would always make a clean cut on that bread. She’d cut it diagonally, okay. And whenever I cut it, it seemed like the edge is ripped the wrong way and it looked sort of raggedy.

Dr. Leman: I still remember, in fact, I made myself some tomato soup the other day. Campbell’s tomato soup, okay. And I had a flashback of when I was a little boy, my mother would put a little bit of butter on top of the tomato soup and it would spread out like oil on water kind of thing. And I still remember how good that tasted. Well, Hey, I’m on social security and I put that butter on just to remind me of, I think that pleasant, euphoric feeling of closeness to my mom and how special she was in my life and anybody that knows me knows that my mom was certainly the person who put that indelible imprint on my life. Again, just be aware parents, okay.

Dr. Leman: All of you who are [posi-pleasers 00:00:13:11], like our resident mother here, Ms Andrea, mother of four, it’s sort of your nature. You get sucked in by your heart, you pushed to give these little kids lives. And those of you who have gone through adoption, you fell in love with those kids the moment they came into your home, whether they were an infant or a year and a half years of age, whatever. They are kids and mommy’s tend to be across the board better nurturers than dads. Now I’ll get a nasty email on that one, but I’m just telling you across the board, mommy’s are nurturers to a higher degree than dads are.

Doug: Okay. When I come back, I have a funny story to tell you about what happened this weekend, to accentuate what you just said. But I want to make sure I get this in the eBook that is available for an incredible deal and Dr. Leman will tell you this is one of the books. Again, if there’s one of the top five books you should read by Dr. Leman, this is one of them. And between now and April 30th of 2020 The Way of the Wise is available for $1,99 wherever eBooks are sold for only a buck ninety-nine, and we have an Amazon review from Carmen about what she thought about the book.

Andrea: Carmen says if you want to read a life changing book and in a tight little easy to read package one that even those who don’t like to read will be sucked into and won’t be able to put down. It’s Dr. Kevin Leman’s The Way of the Wise. Three friends and I read it over a weekend and met for coffee to discuss it. We all look at faith, and God from varied perspectives, but in this book we found common ground and intriguing discussion, no matter where you are in your life journey. This wonderful book indeed provides simple truths for living well and a doable roadmap for getting there. I’ll be passing it on to everyone I know.

Doug: Go get it now, The Way of the Wise for $1,99 between now and April 30th of 2020 and now a no nonsense parenting moment with Dr. Kevin Leman.

Dr. Leman: Okay parents, I’m going to give you a golden nugget and you can tuck it in your back pocket. Your kid asks for something that’s just downright outrageous. I mean, it’s a car when they’re 16, or it’s a pony when they’re 12, or a trip to Europe and you are a family of simple means, rather than just slam dunk the kid’s idea. Here’s a principle for you to think about grant in fantasy, which you can’t in reality. Wow, wouldn’t it be great to have your own pony, or own horse? Wouldn’t it be great to take a trip to the Swiss Alps? Oh my goodness. I know how you love those skiers racing down the mountains on TV. And I love that too. Wouldn’t it be great if we could go? Usually a kid will come back with an answer. Yeah, but we can’t afford that much money to fly way over there.

Dr. Leman: Again, kid asked to go to a rock concert. He’s 16 years old, it’s a $90 ticket. Yeah, you can shut them down real quick by saying, Hey, we’re not spending our hard earned money to send you to some rock concert, 45 miles away. That’s one way of handling it, but it’s not a good way to handle it. A good way to handle it. Wow. You’re willing to pay that kind of money. Hey, could you download some of their music? I’d love to hear it. That shows interest in your kid. Remember, parents, you need to move toward your kids. Your kids, quite frankly, don’t move toward you, so grant in fantasy, which you can’t in reality. Pull that one out and use it, it will work.

Doug: Dr. Leman, we celebrated my birthday this weekend and I’m not making this up. I asked my kids for a picture of a memory that they have with us and one of my daughters who is the older one, I’m not going to name names, gave me a picture of her with this sly little like daughter look at her dad and she said, dad, I gave this to you because I know we have a special relationship and I know how to get you to do what I want you to do.

Andrea: Can you believe that? She had her hand on his shoulder in the picture.

Doug: Clearly it’s true what you’re saying, like she didn’t even unabashedly… I mean she’s an 18 year old and she’s like, I know how to make you dad get what I want. Isn’t that funny? Did she not say that Andrea?

Andrea: She did say that.

Doug: She did say that. For all those parents out who are wondering what is the first step in changing this mindset that we have of always running around, picking up our kids shoes and chasing after them. Is it that we sit down at the family table and we say, guys, listen, I’m done with this. Is it a mindset change? It’s a new posting on the wall. Mother is no longer available to help find shoes. What’s the first thing a parent can do?

Dr. Leman: Well, again, I think you really have to assess the situation first of all, before you go off in the deep end. I would never want to do anything to take away anything from your relationship you have with your daughter, okay. And if she works you a little bit, you’re not going to hear me screaming, okay. They have to pull a rug out. But you know what if the kids are constantly using you, if they’re taking you for granted, if their behavior is such that you really want to pull your hair out, you’re really upset and it’s from all angles, okay.

Dr. Leman: That’s where you have the blowout. That’s where you say, Hey, I’m done. That’s where before dinner and kids are arguing and you’re not getting help, that’s when you say, c’mon Doug, you and I are going out and you leave things, turn the stove off, let them fend for themselves and go out for dinner. And maybe even add a movie to it, so you’re gone for four hours and let them figure out that things are not well in the home. But see I’m not afraid to do that kind of stuff when I feel used and abused by people who are supposed to respect me and love me, so many times people jump off the deep end, they overreact and we’ve done a lot of teachings on, Hey, reaction’s never good, but you want to respond.

Dr. Leman: And so really assess the situation before you go off and create a bigger problem. That’s really important to do, their kids we’ve said it so many times they’re going to say and do stupid things, but when there’s a pattern that just continues, then you have to do some rug pulling and that’s when you might sit down the next day after you left the kitchen quickly and went out for dinner or maybe added a movie to that and enjoyed yourself and let the little piggies enjoy their sty. Then maybe you have a family meeting the next day after dinner and say, listen, I just want you guys to know dad and I are very unhappy. And that’s how you start that conversation. We are very unhappy. The kids will pay attention.

Doug: You know Andy and I just read your new book. We got a sneak preview of it, which is great on Why Your Kids Misbehave-and What to Do about It and in there you have the seven steps to reality discipline, and I’m sure it’s been in other books and I just have never seen it before or remember seeing it before. But I thought that layout for the concepts that you talk about reality discipline were so helpful to be able to be like, Oh here it is. It’s what I actually really like about this book a lot is that obviously we’ve read a bunch of them, but this book is so simple and gets to the core of these misbehaving issues and what to do about them. Why am I bringing this up? I’m like, as you’re talking about this do you blow it out and make it… You go on leave and have dinner or is it like this is the first step, where are we on the continuum? I thought those seven steps were excellent. It’s a great little book actually super easy to read.

Dr. Leman: I underscore the word simple. Again, parents, this is not rocket science. You know the book, the Have a New Kid by Friday. Many times when I’m on television I’ll say I’ll tell you the truth this book is a scam and it gets people’s attention. And I’m telling you, when you’re doing an interview on network TV, you want to get people’s attention. That’ll get people’s attention. But I’ll come back with something very serious and that is, you could have a new kid by Wednesday. You don’t have to wait until Friday. Well in the book, I laid out a five day plan at the publisher’s request, but it could have been a two day plan because when you, parents make a decision to behave differently and to stop playing the dog and pony show that you’ve helped create and orchestrate, quite frankly, your kids will, I guarantee it, they will change their behavior and it can be as soon as 48 hours.

Dr. Leman: Make sure you’re on the same page as parents and be clear, be an authority, not authoritarian, not permissive. And that is such a comfortable place to be because you can feel good about the things that you’re doing and you can feel like as a couple, as a family, we do have a port of call, we know where we’re going. And that gives confidence to kids that they can rely on parents who are consistent, they’re encouraging, they love us, they care about us. But guess what, they don’t take any crap from us to put it bluntly.

Doug: Dr. Leman, going back to the original question, I just want to make sure I heard you correctly that when we are trying to assess is this real misbehavior or is this just something else? Is it that we are looking for patterns?

Dr. Leman: Patterns, yeah.

Doug: That this is a repeated patterns and two, I’m looking for how I react to it. Is that the right-

Dr. Leman: Right.

Doug: Is that the two steps?

Dr. Leman: Well just assess your own feeling. Again, if you feel provoked. How can you do this to me? I’m going to rub your nose in that young man and that consistently is happening and you’ve got a powerful child on your hands. And again, this is a wonderful little book to deal with that there’s also a book called Parenting Your Powerful Child. I mean powerful children don’t always slam doors and make a lot of noise. Some powerful children on the outside are meek and mild. They’re quiet as a mouse. They don’t say much, but they’re stubborn as stubborn can be.

Andrea: Where is the line between misbehaving and not misbehaving? And so you mentioned the powerful child will provoke you. If you’re just annoyed and that child is an attention getter, is that over the line of misbehaving or is that just kind of childlike behavior?

Dr. Leman: Let’s just take attention getting because it’s so simple. If your kid is an attention getter and you feel annoyed, what you have to understand is there is a vitamin deficiency in your parenthood and by that I mean as a kid gets discouraged, he or she goes from positive attention getting to negative attention getting. And then the next level of misbehavior is powerful behavior. But the reason a kid moves from one level to another is they don’t get enough vitamin E in your home. As the discouragement heightens the behavior worsens.

Andrea: Okay. That’s really helpful. I think we’re going to do a podcast in a couple of weeks on those four different stages. I’m excited to hear more about that because that was kind of like a little light going on in my head, so thank you.

Doug: Good. Again parents, if you’re wondering misbehavior, wrong expectations, look for patterns, look for how you respond or how you feel about it. And then look if it is an attention getting attempt by your kids and then eventually I think we’re going to talk, well I don’t think we are. I don’t think we have enough time to talk about the power one in the coming weeks. On that note, in a month on May 5th Dr. Leman’s new book comes out. What is the title?

Andrea: Why your child misbehaves and what to do about it?

Doug: Yeah, why your kids misbehave and it’s not why your husbands, Andrea, misbehave.

Andrea: Oh, I was going to read it and-

Doug: No, it’s about your children. And is a great… If you have not read a Dr. Leman book before, this one is so easy to read, but it is so practical, like the seven steps to reality discipline the four ways of parenting. If you are struggling with these concepts buy the book when it comes out, read it and send me a thank you note. The other one I want to mention is The Way of the Wise, get it now for a buck ninety-nine between now and April 30th of 2020. We look forward to the next time we get be with you and help you on your parenting journey so that you can feel more confident. And I know I say it all the time, but I’m going to keep saying it. Go get Dr. Lehman’s book and have the confidence to know how to parent. And it’s so great. It’s so much more enjoyable parenting, it really nice. We look forward to the next time. We love being with you and [helped] again.

Andrea: Have a great week.

Doug: Take care.

Apr 07 2020



Parenting Basics – How to Have a Real Conversation with Your Kids (Episode 307)

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It’s time to go back to the basics! Do you ask your kids questions or do you ask for their opinion? Do you feel like you’re talking at your kids and not to them? Today’s episode covers a simple but sometimes challenging aspect of parenting basics: “How to Have a Real Conversation with Your Kids.”

**Special Offer– March 1 – 31: Have a New Kid by Friday ebook for $2.99 at AmazonBarnes & Noble, or wherever you get your ebooks**

Show Sponsored by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing

Produced by Unmutable


Doug: Hey Billy, how was your day?

Billy: Fine.

Doug: How’s your homework coming?

Billy: Good.

Doug: How was practice today?

Billy: Good.

Doug: How are you doing?

Billy: Good.

Doug: Does any of this sound familiar? Have you ever played this game with your children, where you ask them all these questions and you’re begging them to have some sort of conversation with you, and what do you get? The infamous…

Billy: Good.

Doug: Well, we get to ask Dr. Leman today, how do we communicate with our kids in a way that is meaningful and helpful for both of us? Hi, I’m Doug Terpening.

Andrea: I’m Andrea.

Doug: We are so glad that you are with us. I really am so happy that you are here. Thank you for being here and if this happens to be your first time, I want to let you know that this is for your education and entertainment purposes only. If the subject matter raises any concerns for you or child, please go seek a local professional for help.

Doug: Well, Dr. Leman, I must confess, one of my pet peeves of parenting is when I ask any of my children, but especially there’s a certain one, they will go do something massive. I’ll be like, “Hey, how would that go?” I get the same answer, good. How the heck do we stop the, good, statements from our kids?

Dr. Leman: Well, we start a pattern early in life with kids, where all we do is pepper them with questions, and kids get so tired of it. They just throw us a bone, so to speak. With grunts, a nod of the head, a shrug of the shoulders or it’s okay, fine, good, I don’t know.

Dr. Leman: By the way, the classical, I don’t know, means I don’t want to tell you. Every time your kid tells you, I don’t know, just say to yourself, he or she doesn’t want to tell me. You might ask yourself why? Maybe because if they really told you how they felt, they would get a lecture from you that would go on for 15 minutes. There might be all kinds of reasons why a kid would say that. But, the point is that we establish these patterns where we do all the talking and kids do all the listening.

Dr. Leman: Years ago, it was kids are to be seen and not heard. Now, I’m old enough to remember when parents were in authority over children, now children are in authority over parents, it seems like, but that’s a whole nother topic. But to answer your question, we create this scenario by just over-talking as parents. What you did, that little intro you did, Doug about, “How was your day?” “Fine.” “How is this…” That’s very typical, and then kids when get through that little drill, they disappear to some part of the home and they text all their buddies or they get on their cell phone and talk and they talk and they talk and they talk.

Dr. Leman: It’s certainly not that they can’t talk, it’s they really don’t want to talk to you and they don’t want to answer your questions. As kids get older, the questions seem to them like an invasion of privacy. They’re only going to tell you what they think you want to hear. They’re not going to tell you what’s really going on. Keep in mind that your kids, you have three or four kids, you’re going to have one that’s going to be more talkative. I’ll ask the Terpenings. I want you guys to think about your four children, who is the talker in your family?

Andrea: Got it.

Doug: Number three.

Andrea: Yep.

Doug: Our number three can talk-

Dr. Leman: Okay.

Andrea: But, if he doesn’t want to talk, he won’t talk.

Dr. Leman: Okay. She’s the more powerful one. You ever thought of that?

Doug: Wow.

Andrea: No.

Dr. Leman: I’ll think about it. We don’t want you to comment on it. Okay. We got one kid who was a talker in the Terpening family. What kid is most likely not to tell you what’s going on? The non-talker. Are you in agreement?

Andrea: Our number two.

Doug: Our non-talker tells us nothing.

Dr. Leman: I’m just saying to parents who are talking about getting your kids to talk to you, you just have to understand, some of the kids are naturally inclined not to talk. If we’ve got number… Is it number two child is a non-talker?

Doug: Correct?

Dr. Leman: Okay. That sets up on the birth order, number three comes along and is like a canary and a parrot combination. You can’t shut her up. You have to keep in mind that all kids are not going to respond the way you think they ought to respond, whatever that preconceived idea is, but one of the single best piece of advice I can give to a parent, try to get yourself out of the paradigm of always asking questions.

Dr. Leman: With older kids, the simple asking a kid an opinion, will usually get a kid to talk, because kids have opinions. I’ve used this in marriage seminars for years, because so many times you’ll hear from women that my husband, he just shuts down. He’s not a talker. I get it. I understand why men do that, but I think if you’re smart ladies and you learn to say things like, “Honey, I’d love your opinion on this, what do you think?” He’ll talk your ear off.

Andrea: What’s the power of asking their opinion?

Dr. Leman: What’s the power in it?

Andrea: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Leman: It doesn’t raise the defenses. The defenses come up when you ask a question in a man. His mind, what’s this about? What am I in trouble for? Kids just tire of us so quickly with questions. If you just don’t even try to implement the change if you’re listening, parents, to this and find this of interest to you, don’t start today, just take stock today of how many questions you ask your kids and how many of them are, assume your kid’s stupid. “Have you brushed your teeth yet?”

Dr. Leman: All those little task oriented things we ask kids and you ask them every day on top of that. Again, to foster communication, getting into that kid’s mind by asking opinion will open up channels of communication. Simple statements you can make like, “Wow, you seem happy. Wow, you look like you had a rough day.” Don’t comment on it, walk away. It might be two hours later before your son or daughter comes in and says, “Hey dad, can I ask you something?” Now your kid’s asking you a question. But, I’m just saying, you got to be half shrink to raise a kid today, but just keep in mind that all these kids are not going to be talkers.

Dr. Leman: Usually, you’re going to find that talker and that non-talker, just like in the Terpening family, they’re next to each other, because they see the role as filled of a non-talker, so somebody becomes the talk master. All kids are different. You get behind their eyes, see how they see life, try not to be too intrusive with your comments, and comments are okay. Like, “You seem happy. Wow, you had a good day, I’ll bet.” Don’t go further than that.

Dr. Leman: Parents say, “Well, I feel very uncomfortable because when I pick up my kid from school, it’s just automatic.” Well, what would happen if you just smiled and just started driving home? “Well, I think we’d sit in silence all the way home.” Well, would that be the end of the world? I bet it wouldn’t happen a second or a third time.

Doug: I want to go back to an experience that literally we just had last week, we were at a debate tournament with our kids and driving home. They were reliving things, and I started to say something and one of my kids said, “Dad, please don’t, I don’t want to hear criticism right now.”

Doug: I was like, “Oh no.” It really got me thinking about this and I realized that I am a critic, and I have since that time been trying to lock up my critic. Are we all parents more critical than we realize towards our kids?

Dr. Leman: I think so. I think we need to listen to ourselves sometimes. I think we have to have conversations with our kids that are brave enough to say, “Honey, I was just thinking about something silly, but I’d really like your opinion on.” If you could have a magic wand and you could change anything about your mom, what would it be? I’ll start with mom, okay? Because you’re asking the question and your kid comes up with something. Say, “Wow. That’s interesting. All right. Hey, let me get really brave and say, all right, now the magic wand’s on me. What would you like to see me do different in life?” “Well, I don’t know.”

Dr. Leman: “No, I really want to know. Tell me. I promise you won’t get in trouble, you can say anything, I’d really want to know.” The kid tells you something. You say, “Oh, that’s something for me to really think about. I appreciate you sharing that with me.” That’s all.

Dr. Leman: You want an authenticity in your talk with your kids. A lot of the stuff we’d say to the kids is just perfunctory stuff. I can say, “Have you got your homework? Did you get your notebook. Did you bring your tennis shoes, do you have your backpack, do you have your flute?” All those questions that we ask kids say essentially to a kid, I think you’re so stupid that you forgot your flute. You didn’t brush your teeth, you didn’t bring this and you didn’t bring that note that you have to give your teacher. Just listen to yourself a little bit, parents.

Doug: The reason I ask that question is that you start off by saying that because we are so critical we will shut down our children. I was just thinking, we probably are way more critical towards our kids than we realize as well. What does this phrase mean, that I’ve [inaudible] questions are disrespectful? Why are questions disrespectful?

Dr. Leman: Well, they can be disrespectful for sure. Again, I think when you ask a kid, “Have you got your flute? Have you got your saxophone?” It’s their saxophone, it’s their lesson, it’s Wednesday, they know they have lessons. We talk about decision making for kids, and the home ought to be a safe place where kids will learn, they need to learn, even if they go out the door without the flute or the saxophone, there’s going to be a consequence afterschool or in school for forgetting it.

Dr. Leman: I know at our school, I’m in schools all the time. We have a little table in the lobby where parents can drop off a kid’s lunch and they do it, with great regularity. There are always a few lunches there that some kid forgot, well, they’re kids, they’re going to forget things. Is it best to run the lunch down to a kid? I don’t think so. Is that the end of the world if they do? No. Again, if you want to work toward training an adult and getting kids to be responsible, bailing them out is never a good thing.

Doug: Okay. When we come back, I want to do a little role playing so that we can actually see these in action because I think they are so far outside our comfort zone. Before we do that, we have a new eBook from Baker Book or Baker Book has new book for you called The Way of the Wise for $1.99 between April 1 to April 31st of 2020, wherever eBooks are sold. The Way of the Wise for $1.99. Dr. Leman, what is the book, The Way of the Wise about?

Dr. Leman: Well, I have to tell you that that is one of my all-time favorite books. It’s very auto-biographical. It’s taking a look at this guy named King Solomon, Proverbs 3: 1-6. This guy Solomon, you may not be familiar with him, but he was the smartest King of them all, the wisest king of them all. He imparted, in these six little verses in the book of Proverbs, some little nuggets.

Dr. Leman: I took those six verses and I tried to apply them to our lives today in modern day western world. It’s a good book. It’s the book that usually if I’m invited to a church to do a seminar, I like to do a seminar that starts Sunday morning by me talking in church, and then Sunday night we’ll have a thing on marriage maybe, or the next morning, Monday morning, we’ll do something for stay at home moms or do a thing on leadership on the way of the shepherd with business people. Then Monday night do something on parenting. That’s the way I like to do it.

Dr. Leman: But, the topic usually that I like to speak on the most on a Sunday morning is The Way of the Wise. I just think it’s one of the most powerful messages that a human being can receive from King Solomon, who was quite a guy.

Dr. Leman: It’s a book well worth reading. It’s a great book to give to a kid who’s gone off to college, a young person that’s beginning to doubt their faith or people who struggle. It’s great book for adults as well. It’s a book that asks some interesting questions. I think it brings people closer to their maker if they read it and it’s a good book. Like I say, it’s one of my little favorites. You don’t like to admit that you have favorites, but with 64 books, you got to have some favorites and that’s one of them.

Doug: You get The Way of the Wise, April 1 of 2020 to April 30th of 2020 for $1.99 wherever eBooks are sold. It’s a nice, easy to read, full of stuff book, highly, highly recommended. Now, a no-nonsense parenting moment from Dr. Kevin Leman.

Dr. Leman: I remember my sixth birthday party, I got a bike, my first bike, and a kid gave me a parachute that shot up into the air. In true Kevin Leman style, first time I used it, it went wayward and I nailed a kid right in the eye, but here’s my question, when do you start birthday parties? Birthday parties today have become, it seems to me, a little over the top.

Dr. Leman: I think family celebrations are best. When kids get a little older, age seven, eight, nine, yeah, there can be some parties there, but don’t spend $1,000 on your kid’s birthday party. Take things in stride, okay? Let those parties be special. Do they have to start that young? No, they don’t. It just depends on the size of your family, the circumstances you find yourself in. If you’re in a large family community and you’ve got cousins galore and aunts and uncles, a family celebration, I think is ideal.

Dr. Leman: As they get older, they’re going to want to have some parties. They’re okay. But again, I think moderation. Most of the questions that I get asked, I could probably answer with, “Hey, do it in moderation.” That’d be my advice on birthday parties. Birthday gifts, they should be well thought out. Plastic stuff that’s made in China, I wouldn’t get real excited about.

Doug: Okay, Dr. Leman, let’s try and role play this so that people can see this in action. I’m a 16 year old, I was going to say girl, but that would be awkward. I’ll say I’m a 16 year old boy. I walk in the door from school and I just walk in, I go, do you even hear a huff out of me as I storm down the hallway and just go right to my room and shut my door. Then at dinner I sit down at dinner and I just go, “Huh.” Then I refuse to look at anybody. What would you say to me?

Dr. Leman: Well, at the dinner table I’d probably just make an observation. The first thing I would say is, “We don’t have to talk about this, but I couldn’t help but notice, you really look like you were really ticked off when you came in the door and you’ve been very silent. Out of respect for you, I’m going to ask everybody in the family to back off, let you work through whatever you’re working through. But if and when you want to talk about whatever, and again, we don’t have to talk, I’m available and I think your mom is too. Isn’t that right, honey?” That’s how I’d handled it.

Dr. Leman: What I’ve done, I’ve acknowledge his displeasure, the huff… You have to understand, the huff wasn’t just a natural Huff. It’s purpose of behavior. It’s a way of saying, I’m troubled by something. It’s really a temptation to see if my parent will say anything to me. If a parent does, the kid will blow the parent off. Isn’t that interesting?

Doug: Yeah.

Dr. Leman: I think it is. That was for your benefit to hear the huff and puff, for you to react. We’ve talked enough about the difference in reacting and responding. So, I’m going to wait. Since I got a little slam door when he went to his room, I know he’s ticked about something. You know your kids, parents. If that was number two child in your family, Doug and Andrea, would you react or respond differently than if it was number three child in your family?

Doug: We would, absolutely.

Dr. Leman: There’s wisdom, though, in just being quiet and acknowledging.

Doug: Well, that’s what I was going to ask the resident mom here. You see your 16 year old hurting and upset and distraught at the dinner table. Are you just going to tell him, “Hey, everybody back off. I don’t need to know. If you want to talk, I’ll talk, but I don’t need to talk. Could you do that?”

Andrea: Well, I did that one-on-one yesterday.

Doug: Look at Andrea.

Andrea: I have noticed times when he who normally likes to talk and tell me lots will be suddenly very quiet. Just say, “Hey, it seems like something’s bothering you, and you don’t have to tell me right now. But I just want you to know that I can tell that something’s bothering you.” I don’t know if that’s the right thing to say or not.”

Dr. Leman: Sure. Seems like you’re upset, seems like something’s gnawing at you. It’s just a statement. Lots of times, again parents, I can’t underscore this enough, you know your kids better than I do. Different strokes for different folks. You’ll approach your kids differently. It’s not cookie cutter. Anybody who’s read the Birth Order book knows that I’m really big on treating your kids differently. Why? Because they’re different.

Andrea: Does that kid want you to follow up later? In our particular situation, a couple of hours later, and he’s just talking away again and seems like everything’s fine. Would it be wise for me to follow up? Now, I realize I’m going to ask him a question, so I don’t know.

Dr. Leman: I think I would do that casually. I would say, “Wow, you seem chipper, or you seem in a great mood, but honey, I just want to ask you something. You were really upset earlier. Did you work through all that, or is there something that you want to talk about or want to just let that go?” It’s a multiple choice. He might say, “Well, no, let it go.” If he does, let him go. We all have our moods, we all have our moments.

Doug: The last thing that I’d love to touch on, because I’ve used it now so much since you’ve taught it to us, Dr. Leman, is the phrase, I could be wrong on this. Can you help me? Could you explain that real quickly before we wrap up here, the power of that, and how that works?

Dr. Leman: I could be wrong, it means you’re coming in on your belly, you’re not coming in high on the hog saying, “Hey, I have all life’s answers in my back pocket.” What I could be wrong does, it drops the defenses of the person you’re talking to. They’re not going to do an offensive to anything you’re going to say when you start off saying, “I could be wrong, or I may not know what I’m talking about.” You’ve already used self-deprecation, and it just allows someone to hear what you’re going to say. It allows you to get your words to them so they at least hear them. If you come in knowing you’ve got everything wrapped up in a neat little shell, they’re not even going to listen to you.

Doug: Great. I have used that phrase in work and with Andrea and with the kids and the power also that I’ve noticed within it is it actually does change me to not come in on my high horse. That it actually does make me have a posture of genuine listening when I get there, but I have to get there first and then say that phrase. I hope that you’ve gotten these. Anything else before we wrap up, Dr. Leman?

Dr. Leman: Let’s see. It’s April, isn’t it? Wow. Well, the year’s coming to an end here before too long, the school year. I know that. Out here in the West, we shut down schools at the end of May, it’ll be summer before you know it. Might be thinking parents about what summer is going to be like in your Hacienda.

Dr. Leman: But no, things are good. I’ve got a book coming out in the fall and I’m still doing a lot of media and life’s good in the Leman household. We’re healthy and happy for that. So far, so good. Hey, give me an update on James real quick, your first born, before we go.

Doug: Well, James is serving on the Grand Little-

Andrea: Grand Cay.

Doug: The Grand Little Cay island. It’s a 500 person Island that got hit by the hurricane that wiped out Puerto Rico, and they’re out there rebuilding homes. Anna is in Cambodia out there as well teaching English as a second language. Both of them would say serving has changed their lives. I become a fanatic at saying we should have our kids serving as soon as possible. It’s one of the best things that ever happened to my kids. Having a great time.

Dr. Leman: They weren’t home for Christmas?

Doug: Oh, thanks, rub it in.

Andrea: Yeah. Remind us of that painful fact.

Doug: Or Thanksgiving, thanks Dr. Leman. You’re such a sweet guy.

Dr. Leman: You’re in a new stage.

Doug: Yes.

Andrea: You could say that, yeah.

Dr. Leman: You got two in, two out.

Doug: Thankfully there’s a thing called WhatsApp. That thing is amazing to be able to talk to our kids still, even when they’re on a boat-

Andrea: On the other side of the world.

Doug: On a boat in Little Grand cay. Yep, they’re doing great, I’m telling you. We owe a lot of our thanks to you. Thank you for helping us change our parenting so that we can [inaudible] those kids.

Dr. Leman: God bless your kids. You’ve raised a couple of servants, it sounds like.

Doug: Yep. That’s Andrea’s. That’s for Andrea.

Andrea: Thank you and Jesus.

Doug: Absolutely.

Dr. Leman: All right.

Doug: Well, we hope that we’ve helped you guys learn to have real conversations with your kids. Don’t do the extended questions, statements, ask them their opinions and give them freedom. Give them space as Dr. Leman said, use the example of acknowledging without pestering about the questions. Andrea and I can tell you, it works. It so works to back off, your kids actually want to tell you stuff.

Doug: Try to be less of a critic and you’ll be surprised. There’ll be a dip at first, and then they’ll talk to you more than you would like. We hope this adds to your parenting [inaudible] and we look forward to the next time we get to be with you.

Andrea: Yep, have a great one with those kids.

Doug: Take care. Bye bye.

Andrea: Bye bye.

Mar 31 2020



Parenting Basics – The Four Aces (Episode 306)

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It’s time to go back to the basics! There are four aces up your sleeve that you can play at any time with your kids. Listen in to today’s episode to learn how to win at the card game called, “parenting”.

**Special Offer– March 1 – 31: Have a New Kid by Friday ebook for $2.99 at AmazonBarnes & Noble, or wherever you get your ebooks**

Show Sponsored by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing

Produced by Unmutable


Doug: Well, I have a question. “I am the parent, but it feels at times like I’m kind of being drug along by my kids, but I’m doing it because I love him so much, and I don’t know how do I… What do I… Who? Dr Leman, help me. I don’t know who’s in control of this house anymore. I don’t know what’s happening around me, and if I’m the parent or the kids are the parents. Help me understand what to do.” That’s the topic we get to ask Dr. Leman today. How do you parent? Who’s in control? What authority do I have? What can I do and what can’t I do, and what’s allowable?

Doug: Hi, I’m Doug Terpening.

Andrea: And I’m Andrea.

Doug: And we are so glad that you are with us today, really glad that you’re with us. If this happens to be your first time, welcome. I want to let you know that this is for your education and entertainment purposes only. If the subject matter raises any concerns for you or your child, please go seek a local professional for help. Well, Dr. Leman, I was role playing, but there have been times as a parent that I have wondered like… do I have the control as a parent? Am I [inaudible 00:01:17]? am I not? Help us understand this concept that you talk about, that we have four aces, and how does that help us in parenting?

Dr. Leman: Well, “You got to know when to hold them, know fold them,” Kenny Rogers once sang a song about that called The Gambler, I think it was called. Well, yeah, parents, you don’t realize it, but you got four aces in your bed pocket. You’re the parent. God has given you the awesome right to be the parent and to be in authority over you. Now, some of you have chosen not to take the authority that all mighty God has given to you, because you’ve been driven on the notion of making sure your children are happy at every turn. If you’re going down that track in life, I can guarantee you, you are going to end up miserable and your kid’s going to be a mess, because that’s not our goal in parenting, to create a happy child. Our goal in parenting is to really, rear an adult who someday is going to be a really contributing member to our society, is going to think well of themself and others, treat people right, realize that they’re not more important than other people, they’re not the center of the universe.

Dr. Leman: And that only gets done if you understand that you do have all the gold in your back pocket. I mean, think about your kids right now. They wouldn’t have underwear on today, quite frankly, if you didn’t pay for it. They wouldn’t have socks on or tennis shoes. So you have all the gold in your back pocket and you have those four aces. Your kid can’t join an organization without your signature. And again, I know people are saying, “Hey, Leman, parents’ rights are disappearing left and right.” They are, but you still have full authority, and you have to exercise that authority right. And kids have to understand that you’re the loving father and the loving mother, and that means that you’re going to give lots of love, lots of kisses, lots of vitamin E, and encouragement, but you’re also going to sprinkle that with some vitamin N which is no, for their good, for their safety, and for the betterment of the entire family, because one member of the family can’t go run out in right field and let the rest of us hover around home plate.

Dr. Leman: That’s not fair. Everybody has to participate, everybody has to give back to the family. So exercising authority, it sounds easy, but it’s not because you have the neighbors’ kids who live by a different set of rules than yours. You’ve got your brother’s home and his wife who use language that is unbecoming to you, and you don’t want your kids to listen to it. You got Uncle Harold who obviously has a problem with alcohol. You got your mother-in-law who has terrible bad breath. I mean, name your situation. There’s all kinds of things that influence our authority, because we’re always telling ourselves, “I should do this, I should do that,” and I think all of us need to stop shooting on ourselves, so to speak, and realize who we are, what we truly believe, what are our convictions, what kind of kids do we want to put on this earth, and have a general game plan on how to get there.

Doug: Dr. Leman, why is it important for us to know that we have four aces or all the gold in our pocket, that we are in authority as parents? What’s important about that concept?

Dr. Leman: Well, because I think most parents, they don’t realize they’re there because they start out being so driven to make sure their kids are happy at every turn. Now, kids are hedonistic by their nature, so they’re going to be always asking for more. So if you give them X, they’re going to want Y and Z. And it’s like, you mean I can… I mean, I have people who email me and say, “Is it okay for me to discipline my child? I’m afraid they’re not going to like me.” Well, there’s a parent that really doesn’t understand that they got four aces in their back pocket. And so, you can’t have kids running on different planes. There has to be a oneness in the family, and you’re not going to exercise those four aces, that gold in the back pocket, as I like to call it sometimes, without having mom and dad on the same page.

Dr. Leman: That’s a gut check for all of us. You have to be on the same page. And so many parents that I run into, one of them is the good cop and one of them is the bad cop. One of them tends to be authoritarian, the other tends to be permissive, and that sends a wild message to kids, not a consistent one. So gut check, are we on the same page? Do we have a plan? I mean, if you work for a living, chances are there’s a plan. It’s a plan that’s laid out for you that you need to follow, or it’s a plan that you’ve designed yourself. But do you have a parenting plan on raising this kid, who when they come into your arms, the only thing they care about is being held and being fed. They have no social interest in anybody else, and your job is to bring them along from a little pup, so to speak, into adulthood.

Dr. Leman: So they’ll be caring for other people, not think of themselves better than others, and there’s a lot of stuff that you pour into the kids, but you don’t pour it into them like jamming it down their throat, you pour it into them by them absorbing what’s going on in your lives as parents. So you are the models, and the kids are always watching. They’re taking all kinds of notes on how you talk, how you interact with people, your attitude, how you talk about others, all those things. Your kids are recording that on their computer every day.

Doug: So what would you say the goal of parenting is? Is it that we want our kids to like us when we grow up?

Dr. Leman: Well, your kids are going to like you, parents, if you love your kids, but you have to understand that love without discipline is incomplete. Love and discipline go hand in hand. It’s a biblical adage, if anybody cares. And as you move along, there’s going to be times where your kids are not going to like you. They’re going to say things like, “You never listen to me! You never understand! You never do this, you never do that!” And you’re going to have your moments, and how you handle those moments, and how you listen to your children, and reason with them, and are fair with them, and yet discipline them with love, is going to determine to a large part, how they’re going to react and respond to you as an adult.

Dr. Leman: I mean, I’ve got five kids and I marvel at the fact that they go way out of their way to spend time with mom and dad. They want to be together, and they want to be with us old folks. How does that happen? My buddy Moonhead says, “Leman, your family is ridiculously too close.” Well, perhaps Moonhead is right, but we are very close. We have each other’s backs, we care about each other, we talk all the time. I think you want to have kids who grow up to be functioning adults who can stand on their own two feet, make good decisions about life. Well, how do you get kids to make good decisions about life if you don’t give them decision making opportunities and they’re growing up under your roof? So it’s a continuing process of learning.

Doug: Well, why does it feel so hard right now to apply this principle? It feels almost wrong to act like I’m in authority as a parent, versus just always trying to keep my kid happy.

Dr. Leman: I think it’s hard because we live in a very permissive society where it seems like nobody’s held accountable for anything. Rarely do you see people held accountable, and parents do the dumbest things. You remember several months ago, these Hollywood starlets who paid 500,000 to a million dollars to get their kids into schools. I mean, parents do stupid dumb things in the name of loving your children. They do their homework, they do their science projects for them, they cheat for them, they make excuses for them, they tell lies why their kid isn’t in school today. They do all kinds of things, and so when someone says, “Hey, hold your kid accountable, keep their nose to the grindstone,” it sounds foreign, it sounds militaristic, it sounds unkind, but the kid who grows up with parents who not only exert love but discipline in the home, are the parents who will rise up and call their parents blessed someday.

Doug: There is a phrase that you’ve used in regards to this, and I’m going to butcher it, so you can correct it for me, but it is one that I later apologized to my children that I didn’t appreciate and [inaudible 00:10:47], which is, “Build psychological muscles.” Can you help explain that? Because now that I have half grown, half in the home, I’ve come to realize that that was a way undervalued goal of Andrea’s and I’s to help our children, because we still were too… Once we went from authoritarian to permissive, and somewhat in the back, we wanted our kids happy. Help us understand what does that concept mean and why is it important for our kids?

Dr. Leman: Well, they’re going to face trials in life. They’re going to face trials at work. Everybody isn’t going to like them. They’re going to have bosses who give them maybe rough evaluations. What prepares them for that? They need some experience at taking on things that are difficult, where they have to go maybe and face a teacher or another adult, and maybe owe up to something that they did that was wrong, or maybe question something that they think was unfair to them. I always tell parents, for example, of kids who have to go to juvenile court in the State of Arizona where I live, as a parent, you need to be there in the courtroom, but I always tell the parents, talk to the judge beforehand and say, “Judge, would it be okay with you if I sat in the back of the room, so my 14 year old or 15 year old is up front talking to you alone?” Most judges will see the value in that. I mean, if the judge really needs to talk to you, he can call you forward.

Dr. Leman: But my whole point is, I think the kids need to learn to stand on their own two feet. I mean, you’ve heard me rail on on too many activities for kids, and you’ve heard me also turn around and say, if you have access to a 4-H and your kid’s interested in anything along that line, encourage that kind of an activity. Now, what’s so healthy about 4-H? You both are familiar with that organization, right?

Doug: Yes.

Andrea: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Leman: And a kid will…

Doug: You have to serve?

Dr. Leman: Yeah.

Doug: Yep.

Dr. Leman: And the kids in charge of that calf from the time it’s born, or that little piglet or whatever, and they learn an awful lot about life, and economics, and hard work, and those are the kind of experiences that I think gives psychological muscles to kids, so when life throws them a curveball, they’re going to know how to hit that curveball out of the park. I was up at one of our schools, Doug, just this week in Mesa, Arizona, Leman Academy of Excellence, just located out in the East Valley, and I was in every class from kinder to seventh grade. It’s a K through seven school this year, K through eight next. And in several of those classes I looked at kids and I said, “Hey, I have a message for you to take home to mom and dad. I want you to tell them at Dr. Leman said, ‘You’re going to do great in life.'”

Dr. Leman: And you can see it in these kids’ eyes, you can see it how they comport themselves. You can see it in the courteous way they thank you. I may have a kinder and a first grader thanking me for taking the time to come to their class. Hello. I’m going to take a step on the gangplank of life and suggest that kid’s going to do well in life. I mean, meets people well in the first grade? My goodness, that kid’s going to be the top salesman in that organization for sure, or a diplomat, or a politician. We need some good politicians, by the way. But my point is that these kids, they don’t just show up that way.

Dr. Leman: It takes training, and I always, I love the example if you have a puppy, if you don’t start training the puppy when they’re a year old, you’re going to have a bad dog. Train the puppy when they’re young, and you have to train up kids. In fact, there’s another biblical adage, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Well, do we train up kids in our society? I don’t think so. I think we train down kids. I think we’re very negative toward kids. So it takes a lot of that vitamin E. Your kid has to feel like, “Hey, I got your back, but this is your project. Dad might run you down to Ace Hardware and you can get the construct paper and stuff, but this is your project. You’re going to do it.”

Doug: Well, and the reason I wanted to re-go over this one, is that even in Andrea and I’s life, we sometimes will snow plow the roads for our kids and regret it, but when we do stand up in authority, in love, not authoritarian as I used to, our kids do have to gain those psychological muscles and develop. And it’s hard nowadays too to realize, wait, I do have the right to tell my kid no, and I do have the ability to say, “This must be done.” And it’s for their sake, not mine, because we’re raising adults.

Doug: In just a moment, I want to come back to something that you started off with that we haven’t touched on that was super important, that you said we had to make sure we had it right, and that point is that mom and dad have to be on the same page. And to that point, you guys, this is going out on March 24th. You have seven days to get the ebook for only $2.99 between now and March 31st of 2020. And we’re going to ask Dr. Leman why it’s so important to have mom and dad on the same page, but I’m telling you as a dad, this book I would read, because it’s funny, and it’s easy to read, and it’s super practical, and it’s not just me that saying you want to be on the same page, you want to read a great book? Here is Andrea. You said you found somebody on Amazon, right?

Andrea: Okay, here we go. “Loved the core principles that I repeat to myself, like a mantra. ‘B doesn’t happen until A gets done,’ et cetera. It’s what we all know, but forget in the bustle of everyday life. Making the principals a priority really helped me nip adolescent sloppiness and cut childhood whining to a bare minimum.

Doug: So again, if you go online and start reading these on Amazon, there’s sure there’s the few that are crankies, but man, there are some people who have said, “This has helped set us up for the long term.” And if you’re a mom or dad, listening to this and you’re not on the same page, get the parenting book, highlight it, ask them to read it, and you will thank me. So between now and the end of March of 2020 for only $2.99, get the book, please, for your sake. Alrighty. And now, a parenting moment with Dr. Kevin Leman.

Dr. Leman: How do you build trust with your children? By trusting them, by giving them a little rope, by giving them responsibilities, and then when they finish those responsibilities, coming back door and saying, “Honey, I was just thinking today, one of the things that I love about you is when I ask you to do something, you do it, and you don’t do it in a slipshod manner. You do it in a great manner, and I just want to compliment on your diligence.” “What does diligence mean, mom?” Tell him what diligence means. Okay. It’s easy. If you want your kids to have trust in you, you’re going to have to show that you have trust. So always give your kids high expectations, not extremely over the top high. We want to work toward excellence, not perfection. This is something basic to the formulation of a great relationship between you and your child.

Doug: Okay, Dr. Leman, explain to me why Andrea and I should be on the same page parenting, because clearly, I know what’s right and she doesn’t, so she’s just whatever. So help me out.

Dr. Leman: Well, it creates dissonance in a kid’s life when mom and dad are not on the same page. It creates anxiety in a kid’s life. Kids want discipline, number one. They want you to be on the same page. When they see that you’re not and they hear you going after each other, it gives them fear. A number one fear of a kid today is not nuclear holocaust, number one fear among children is, “My parents are going to divorce.” And so working toward oneness and marriage is great. You’re going to have great communication, your sex life’s going to improve. That just got somebody’s attention.

Dr. Leman: It’s really worth… I have a book out called The Intimate Connection, and if you can get to that point in life where you and your wife are on the same page in all things, that’s a dynamite relationship that’s going to feed and encourage anybody that’s close to that relationship. Even your friends, or your sister, your brother, but especially your children who live with you 24/7. So it’s just, it’s one of those fundamental things, it’s the foundation of the family, and like I said, if the foundation of the building isn’t right, the whole building’s off.

Doug: The reason I asked that question is because Andrea and I have seen that played out where we are in agreement, it goes great, and when we aren’t, it’s terrible for everybody around us. And this is why reading some of these Leman books, again, I don’t get a dime from the Leman books. I’m telling you, it’s for your sake and your child’s sake that I do this and say, please, will you do this so that you and your spouse can be on the same page, and also if you’re a single mom or a single dad, listening to this and you’re like, “Well, that doesn’t apply to me,” this will give you the confidence when guilt has risen up and you’re unclear on what to do.

Doug: And the reason this applies to authority is at times, we forget we do have all four aces in our back pocket, and to use them, it’s nice to know when and how to use them in the right way, and that’s what this book gives you, that’s why we do these podcasts, so that you can have the confidence for your kids’ sake to grow up great adults, not happy children, but great adults. And now that we can see that, we almost have a 21 year old, we’re beginning to see, oh wow, this does pay off. I have a 20 year old who calls us, texts us, sends us all sorts of crazy information, and it’s because we loved him and were an authority with him.

Doug: So alrighty, that’s enough about four aces. Please, again, I know I just said it, but I’m going to say it again. Please go get the book. Please. Have a New Kid by Friday, $2.99, March 31st of 2020, wherever eBooks are sold, for your sake. It was great to be with you today, and we love, love helping you as you journey down this road of parenting and adding to the toolbox so you love those kids more and more, and we look forward to the next time we get to be with you.

Andrea: Have a great week.

Doug: Take care.

Andrea: Bye-bye.

Mar 24 2020



Parenting Basics – Eating and Sleeping Battles (Episode 305)

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It’s time to go back to the basics! Do you battle with your kids when it comes to eating and sleeping? Tune in to today’s episode for some practical advice from Dr. Leman himself.

**Special Offer– March 1 – 31: Have a New Kid by Friday ebook for $2.99 at AmazonBarnes & Noble, or wherever you get your ebooks**

Show Sponsored by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing

Produced by Unmutable


Doug: Are you tired of the bedtime battles? You put the kid down, the kid cries. You lay down, you fall asleep next to the kid and you think, “How in the world is this ever going to happen? How am I ever going to be able to sleep in my own bed without my child?” And worse, how do I get them to eat anything but peeled grapes? This eating thing is driving me nuts. I’m trying to figure out how the heck I’m going to live my life. If those are questions you’re asking, you get to hear the answer from Dr. Leman today.

Doug: Hi, I’m Doug Terpening.

Andrea: And I’m Andrea.

Doug: And we are so, so glad that you are with us today, to add that parenting toolbox and if this happens to be your first time, welcome, welcome, welcome. And we want to let you know that this is for your education and entertainment purposes only. If the subject matter raises any concerns for you or your child, please go seek a local professional for help.

Doug: So, Dr. Leman, I was on a plane last night and I was watching Incredibles 2 and the moms off doing their thing and the dads there and the kid keeps getting out of bed, keeps getting out of bed, keeps getting out of bed and the kid wants cookies, cookies, cookies, cookies, cookies. And it made me think, “Hey, we’re doing parenting basics. We should talk about one of the biggest questions that we get is: how the heck do I deal with eating and sleeping battles?” Help us.

Dr. Leman: Well, they are two of the biggest, and again, if you’re a newbie to us, a dog and Andrea are parents. They’re good parents, they’ve learned a few things, they got four kids. We try to be practical on our podcast and I don’t know what could be more practical than tackling eating and sleeping because those are areas that parents get way sideways with their kids over.

Dr. Leman: And you have to think about this parents, what is more natural: That a child, a human being’s, desire to have food, to eat. Nothing. It’s one of those naturals. And sleep is something that we all need. We all crave. We want it. So why is it such a big deal?

Dr. Leman: Well, your bringing that little 19 and a half incher home from the hospital and you’re in awe, as the Terpenings were and the Leman’s were, when our little firstborn came home and you realize, “Wow, this is on me.” And the lactation nurse has disappeared. Your pediatrician is at work in his or her office and there he are. What do you do?

Dr. Leman: Well, your little child is going to develop a little time clock and you’re going to get to know that child like nobody else. As I say, you’re the best teacher to your child. So, we begin with some kind of a schedule. Now not going to tell you, “Here’s the schedule.” Because it doesn’t work that way. Your kid will have a rhythm, a schedule, and you tune into it and once you get ahold of it, you make sure there’s a routine. A routine. A mundane routine in that child’s life. That’ll get you off to a good start.

Dr. Leman: The other thing that will get you off to a good start in all areas is after a couple of weeks of that child being on this earth, you and your spouse go out for a dinner. Get a babysitter, give yourself permission to be away from the child. I know you’ll worry and all that, but that baby’s going to be fine. You’ve got a good babysitter, maybe grandma or grandpa, but a trusted person. You’re in good shape. Go and enjoy yourself.

Dr. Leman: Now to get to the point of eating, watching a baby go from a formula or mother’s milk to real food is always fun because you’ll see it on the kid’s face. Food is foreign to them. They make faces. It takes them a while to adjust to the whole food thing. But the point is that you’re going to develop our relationship with your little son or little daughter and you’re going to be pretty good at figuring out, “Okay, now it’s nap time. Now it’s feed time.”

Dr. Leman: And as the child gets older and we get into the breakfast, lunch, dinner routine, you have to take this on carefully. If you make a big thing about eating and your frustration shows to that child, that child just being a few months old, will take their cues from you and they’ll fuss and they’ll feel your displeasure and your excitement, your emotion, and we get off on a bad foot.

Dr. Leman: The kids are going to eat. They’re going to eat. Now, let’s jump forward to the three year old to try to be as practical as we can here. And you learn as a parent that it’s okay to give a kid a choice. What is not okay is to give a kid 10 choices. So again, you know your child, they like cereal, they like cocoa puffs, which are loaded with sugar by the way, or some of you do those little waffles you put in the toaster.

Dr. Leman: Whatever it is, you give them a choice. “Honey, do you want cereal or do you want scrambled eggs?” And whatever that choice is, I would make sure from the very beginning that that is what they end up eating. So if a kid says he wants scrambled eggs, he’s going to eat scrambled eggs. In other words, he’s not going to be offered other things.

Dr. Leman: That’s what gets you off on a good start. If a child said, “No, actually, I don’t want scrambled eggs.” No. You’ve already scrambled the eggs. “I want cereal.” Well, honey, cereal’s off the menu now. We have scrambled eggs. You put it down in front of them. “I don’t want that.” And he swats it. Okay, what do you do? If you want to pick it up and put it back on a plate and put it in front of him, I’ll tell you what he’s going to do. He’s going to flip it again.

Dr. Leman: Well, what are you suggesting, Leman? I’m suggesting that breakfast is over. For a three year old? Yes. For a three year old. Now we have a wonderful teaching opportunity for a child. Okay? Let the reality of the situation be the teacher to the child so the child learns right away through what? Through hunger, that swatting away the scrambled eggs was not the coolest idea they ever came up with. Even at age three. And you’re sitting there and you’re having your English muffin and your cup of tea or cup of coffee and he’s just sitting there and he starts whining, getting miserable. More miserable by the minute. Put him down from his highchair and let him do what three year olds do. In all probability, he’s going to be at your ankle doing some ankle biting cause he’s very unhappy because he didn’t get his way.

Dr. Leman: Now there’s a new invention called a playpen. There’s also inventions called children’s rooms. And if a kid becomes too much and you can’t enjoy your muffin, pick him up, put him in his room, close the door, and have your tea and crumpets. So there’s lesson number one.

Dr. Leman: So, we’re going to have routines. Kids are going to have a choice. Give them two choices. Crispy Critters or Cheerios. And he says Crispy Critters and you go get the milk and put it on the Crispy Critter and now he wants Cheerios. If you want something to chuckle at, you can’t re-crisp a soggy critter. So, once the choice is made, you hold them accountable for it and you will end up with a good eater.

Dr. Leman: As kids grow older, I wouldn’t put food on a child’s plate. What do you mean? Let them take it with a serving spoon. Well, they’ll spill it. Yeah, they might. It’s not the end of the world. But let them take from serving dishes and put on their plate. You’re going to find your kids a better eater that way. Don’t make a big thing about everything under the sun. Some kids just eat spaghetti with only butter sauce on it. All kids have their quirks. They will not die. Check with your pediatrician. And as far as eating junk and too much sugar, ask yourself, who does the shopping. Your four year old or you?

Dr. Leman: So again, I don’t know, Doug and Andrea, you’ve been parents of four. I’m sure you had battles with kids, trying to get them to eat and all that. But what I’m saying is there’s a natural need for the child to eat. Don’t overdo it or you’re going to end up in a power struggle. And if you end up in a power struggle, you’re going to lose it.

Andrea: Dr. Leman, I love all of this. I love the basicness of this, and I want to go back to the beginning where you mentioned the importance of a routine and setting a routine and figuring out the flow of your child’s day. What is the importance of that?

Dr. Leman: Well, it’s a great question because parents today are just way over the top with worrying about their child’s self esteem. Kids garner security and self esteem by feeling comfortable and identifying with a home. The home is their safe refuge. So, routines give kids comfort and that’s why it’s important to have nap time at a certain time once you figure out what that child’s rhythm is.

Dr. Leman: And little two year olds need naps. Some kids by the time they’re three, they’re outgrown naps. But not to the pleasure of most moms that I’ve talked to, they wish they were still taking naps. And sometimes smart moms will just say, “Well, we’re going to have quiet, honey. You don’t have to go to sleep.” I think that’s a great suggestion for any mom. “Honey. You don’t have to go to sleep. We’re just going to have quiet time.”

Dr. Leman: I’ll come in just an hour and get you. Half the time they’ve fallen asleep. Give them a book to look at, put some music on. But part of the thing with the nap is you need time for rejuvenation. The dishes are still there and it’s two o’clock in the afternoon and you’re thinking about what are we going to do for dinner?

Dr. Leman: So, I’m just trying to be practical with people and let them see that it’s a double win. It’s a win for you mom and dad, but it’s also a win for your child because he does need that downtime and he does need that connection. His room, his gold fish, his church, his school, his preschool. A child’s world is very small and so that’s a wonderful way to give psychological comfort to your child by being predictable.

Andrea: So, what you’re inferring by this is that the child is not sleeping in my arms while I nurse it to sleep, or I’m having to hold it while it’s napping.

Dr. Leman: Yeah. So, who gets mom in trouble? Mom does. Because she decides this is great just to nurse my baby and let my baby fall asleep in my arms. It sounds great till you lay the baby down and then they go wild. Or you say, “I love the comfort of having my little one snuggle in bed with me.” Well, there’s great comfort you can give to a kid during a thunderstorm, for example, when a kid comes into bed with you. I don’t have a problem with that at all.

Dr. Leman: But when the thunderstorms over, they go back in their bed. And so kids do not belong in your bed and you say, “Well, Dr. Leman, we can’t help it. He comes in in the middle of the night.” Lock your door, dummy. Lock your door. They might curl up outside your door where their blankie tucked under them. It won’t kill them. But they don’t belong in your bed. Now if you want to try to make that work, good luck because I’ve heard thousands and thousands of stories over my lifetime and they don’t work.

Doug: Just to pick up on that, why would I not want my kid to be in my bed? What’s the negative part of my having my one year old, two year old snuggle in bed with me?

Dr. Leman: It takes away from the individual identification of the child that that’s their room, that’s their toys, that’s their bed, that’s their pillow. Kids don’t belong in there. It’s a parent need that’s being fulfilled here, I’m telling you.

Dr. Leman: So, parents use your head. You’ll eliminate so many problems if you can tackle nap time, bedtime, and again follow the birth order on this. Put the youngest to bed first. I know some of you have physical problems and that you have three bedrooms and four kids. That creates a problem when I suggest things like that. But be as innovative as you can and grant the birthright to the oldest child. Whether you know it or not, your oldest resents the younger children to some degree and so giving that firstborn priority is really a very good thing.

Doug: We’ve done, this is episode number 305, that you and I have recorded together plus countless conversations plus all sorts of other things. And I just had an aha moment from what you just said about my question. That putting the kid in my bedroom until he’s two, three, four and we’ve heard all the way up to crazy numbers, is for my sake. And by actually having my kid in their own room, in their own bed with their own routine, is for their sake. But when they’re in my bed, it’s for my sake.

Doug: And I just sitting here thinking through my parenting real briefly as you were talking, but I was listening to Dr. Leman, I wasn’t zoning you out. But I was like, “Oh my goodness, he’s right. So many of these things I have done that have backfired on me for my sake and not for my child.” And then you said it would help my child develop if they have their own spot. Did I hear that correctly?

Dr. Leman: Right, yeah. Let me be a three year old for a second, or a four year old. Now, would you rather sleep in your own bed by yourself or would you rather sleep between these two warm bodies? It’s pleasurable for a kid to cuddle up next to mom and dad. The kids getting some things out of this as well.

Dr. Leman: But I’m telling you, parents, starting off on the right foot, it’s like building a foundation on a home. If the foundation is not right, your building’s not going to be right. And eating, sleeping, and going potty are three of the basic areas that parents just invariably goof up. They don’t get it right. All those things are very natural things. They’re going to happen sooner or later and if you’re smart in how you attack these three areas, your kid is going to profit a lot from your allowing them to have their own bed, their own food, their own privacy going potty, learning to do all those things you do when you do a potty in life. If you start forcing potty, good luck. Start forcing food, good luck. Start forcing going to bed, good luck.

Dr. Leman: So, bedtimes need to be specific. I think they should be different for different kids. And routines are important. The brushing of the teeth and all that, the drink of water because once a kid … Again, kids are con artists. Once they’re in bed it’s, “Water! Water! I need water!” They’ll think of anything. “I’m afraid. There’s a monster under my bed. There’s a monster in the closet.”

Dr. Leman: “Honey. No, actually there’s not. I put the monster in the garage and he’s locked in for the night. Can’t get out.” I used to suggest to parents of kids who were fearful to get a one of those old perfume bottles that has a little puffer on it and put a little colored water with some perfume or cologne in it. And it wards off dragons and beasts and wolves and anything. But it gives the kid a little idea of control, one puff and the monster goes away kind of thing.

Doug: Okay. Before I get to some role playing and some more, I want to ask question, after this, is what do I do if I’ve already started down the wrong path? How do I change?

Doug: But before I do that, I have to ask a favor of everybody listening to this. And that is that Baker Books, right now we’ll let you get the book, Have a New Kid by Friday, for $2.99 from now until March 31st of 2020. $2.99. And I’m telling you, this is the book that I’ve said multiple times that launched us into changing our parenting. It’ll give you confidence. I literally read things, highlight them, and in those days I had to call my wife and be like, “This guy is nutso, but I think he might have some really good ideas.” And we read it and reread it.

Doug: And the reason I’m encouraging you to read is we’re talking about eating and sleeping battles and you want the confidence that what he’s saying, you can do. Get the book and you will have the confidence. You will know, “Ah, this is why I have to do that. Oh, this is how I can do it.” And you will laugh as you’re doing it. I’m just telling you for your sake, get the book. It’s a simple read and it will change the way you do parenting. So, between now and March 31st of 2020, for $2.99, go get the book Have a New Kid By Friday.

Doug: And now, a no nonsense parenting moment with Dr. Kevin Leman.

Dr. Leman: Parents, one of your best friends when you’re rearing kids is the weekly allowance. And Dr. Leman, that’s easy for you to say. We can’t afford allowance. Hey lady, I got news for you. You spend money on your kid anyway. Just give them some money so they have some dominion over it when they’re at the store and they want a simple candy bar or a can of soda pop or you name it, they can buy it themselves.

Dr. Leman: Let that be a teachable instrument that you use in the home. Many of you who followed my books know when jobs aren’t done around the house, what do I suggest? I suggest you hire a younger sister or brother do go in and clean that kid’s room or do the chore you’ve asked the child to do without fanfare and pay for it out of that older child’s allowance. Once that kid figures out, “Hey, wait a minute, this isn’t good. I’m losing money to my kid sister or brother.” They’ll pay more attention to the simple requests that you make.

Doug: Okay, Dr. Leman. Let’s talk about the fact that I didn’t read Have a New Kid By Friday and I didn’t read any Leman’s books and I’ve got this three or four year old. I’m not sure what age we should choose and I haven’t quite done it the way I want to. So, let’s take eating for example. I’ve got my three year old, they’re at the table and their favorite game is to take two bites and then flip the food on the floor. And I’ve been trained to pick the food up and put it back on his plate.

Doug: You’re the mom now and I’m Johnny. What would you say to me? Well, you’re the dad. Sorry. You can be a dad. I always make you a mom, sorry. But you’re the dad. What would you say to me?

Dr. Leman: I would say, “Oh, I see breakfast is over.” And I would take anything that’s in front of him away and I’d take him out of his high chair and I’d wash off his face and his hands with a washcloth and he would be free. If he happens to pick up some food off the floor in that split second before I go and sweep it up, more power to him. But breakfast is over.

Dr. Leman: Now again, when you realize that you haven’t done things right and now you’re going to start changing things. Whether it’s laying kids down for a nap or getting them in their own bed, you’re going to have what I call a fish out of water experience. It’s like watching a game fish flipping on a dock. He’s going to give it as best shot to get off that dock and get back in the water. So, you’re going to see the worst of your child because you’re now changing the rules of the game. Because we played this game, his or her way.

Dr. Leman: So, expect that and when you see that, say, “Good. Leman said that’s step one in winning the battle.” Because they’re going to do that. They’re going to flex their muscles. They’re going to let you know they are very unhappy and don’t overreact to it. Go about your business.

Dr. Leman: And are you saying to ignore them? Well, as best you can. But there’s times when it’s hard to ignore them. They’re just being obnoxious, coming after you. That’s when you pick them up, put them in their room, and hold the door. Whatever you want to do to just say, “Hey, you’re going to settle down. And when you settle down, you can come on out, be a human being again.”

Dr. Leman: But again, you’re taking the authority you have as a parent. Not as an authoritarian. You can’t make the kid eat it. You can’t stuff the food down his throat. It’s not going to work. So, let the reality of the situation become the teacher to the child. And the hunger, think of it, if the kid doesn’t eat and we’re talking 8:00 o’clock in the morning, what’s he going to be like at noon? Four hours later, the kid’s going to be ravenous. He’s going to eat anything you put in front of him. I don’t care what it is. Celery sticks. So, the food is a great reinforcer. Let that work for you. Don’t work it against you.

Doug: So again, I know you said it, but let’s say that you’re kindhearted and a compassionate mom and all of the sudden I come out at 10:00 o’clock and everybody, or dad, “Daddy, Dr. Lemony, I am so hungry. Please. Just a little just. Just two Cheerio’s please? I think I’m going to faint.” Right? This is my 10:00 o’clock snack that I want. What would you say to me?

Dr. Leman: You describe the mom as compassionate and loving, whatever. Let me add another one. Stupid. Dumb. Not clearheaded. If you want to change behavior and you realize it’s unwanted behavior, it’s unhealthy behavior, then you’re going to have to man up or woman enough to do some things that are difficult. Is it hard to see a little guy who’s hungry craving for food? Yeah, they’re con artists. Again, they’ll work you. They’re going to give you their best shot. But the nice thing about these ways of dealing with kids is that quite frankly, you don’t have to do these things very often. Once or twice and lesson learned. Kids going to learn, “Hey, I got to come up with another dog and pony show because that’s not working.”

Doug: So, let’s go to that point, to your bed, right? I’ve let my kid, up until age two, sleep in my bed. And now you threw out the crazy nutso suggestion that I closed the door and lock it. How many times will my kids sleep outside my door or how long will they bang on that door demanding that I let them in?

Dr. Leman: That kid, when he figures out that door is locked, he’s going to go ballistic. He’s going to kick the door, he’s going to pound on the door, he’s going to cry, he’s going to throw himself on the floor. If you had a video, it would be sort of cute. Again, he’s going to give it to fish out of water temper tantrum.

Dr. Leman: And what his behavior is saying is, “I am very upset that you guys are no longer playing the game the way I want to play it under my rules.” Well, if you want to create a powerful child who has little regard for other people’s thoughts, feelings, ideas, then let that kid back in the door. Then you teach the kid that all you got to do is throw a hissy fit, scream loud enough, and mom and dad will give in. And parents cave in all the time. That’s why I say warnings are disrespectful to kids.

Doug: Yeah. So, while you were saying that, Andrea’s face looked like she was about to cry.

Andrea: Oh yeah. I was just sitting here thinking of all the things that could happen. He’s going to hurt himself or what if he goes down the hall and starts throwing things and I’m in the bedroom? I have no control over what’s going on out there.

Dr. Leman: It’s the hardest thing in the world to keep your mouth shut. And again, my admonition to parents, you’re sitting there in bed, you’re laying in bed, you’re trying to get to sleep, and there’s your little four year old pounding on the door. The temptation. 99 out of 100 parents are going to say, “Don’t you pound on that door. Stop kicking that door.” And all that does is reinforce the kicking. So, as hard as it is to bite your tongue and clos your emotions down, you have to do it. Is it tough? Very tough. But the good news is you only have to do this a couple times with most kids. They learn that that’s the new sheriff in town and they’re going to have to stay in their bedroom.

Doug: So, we’ve been doing this podcast for five plus years. And the reason I asked that question every time is because most of the response I get is, “I don’t know if I could handle that.” And you have said that kid will pound on that door for two nights, maybe three, and that has been proven so much by our listeners that have followed this advice.

Doug: So, for all you parents out there that you’re like, “I don’t know if I emotionally could handle that.” We’re only talking a couple of nights and by the third night it’s going to be a pathetic display of angst to get in there and he’s going to give up or she’s going to give up and end up in her bed. So you can do this, parents. You can do this. Our next podcast we’re going to talk about the fact that you have four Aces and that you can do this for your kid’s sake.

Doug: So, thank you. Thank you, Dr. Leman for helping us with some of the basics again, and a reminder for your sake, please go get the book Have a New Kid By Friday now before this ends for less than a Starbucks, I know it’s an overused phrase, but for $2.99 between now and March 31st of 2020. I will accept thank you notes that you read the book and you’re so grateful for how it helped you if you’re skeptical and you question it, read the book. It’s super easy to read, very funny, for your sake.

Doug: So, it was great to be with you and we love hanging out with you and we look forward to the next time we can be with you to help you add to that parenting toolbox so you’ll [inaudible] those kids more and more.

Andrea: Have a great week.

Doug: Hope you have a super time with those kids. Take care. Bye bye.

Mar 17 2020



Parenting Basics – B Doesn’t Happen Until A Is Complete (Episode 304)

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It’s time to go back to the basics! Do your kids consistently shirk their chores and responsibilities? In today’s episode, Dr. Leman covers a simple reality in life that B does not happen until A is complete.

**Special Offer– March 1 – 31: Have a New Kid by Friday ebook for $2.99 at AmazonBarnes & Noble, or wherever you get your ebooks**

Show Sponsored by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing

Produced by Unmutable



It happened again. Johnny, again, didn’t do the one thing you asked him to do before he went to his friend’s house. Now he’s out at his friend’s house having a gay old time, and you’re in the house finishing it for him.


Sound familiar? Tired of that? Want a simple solution for yourself, on how not to get caught in that cycle again. Well, we get one of the best concepts that Dr. Leman has ever given the Terpening [inaudible 00:00:32].


Hi, I’m Doug Terpening…


And I’m Andrea…


… and we are so glad that we are with you today. Want to let you know if this is your first time, that this is for your education and entertainment purposes only. If the subject matter raises any concerns for you or child, please go seek a local professional for help.


Well, we are doing a basic parenting series. Going back to some of the basics with Dr. Leman, that have impacted the Terpening household a ton, and this is one of the ones that, gold standard, made parenting way easier for the Terpening household. And it’s B doesn’t happen until A is complete.


Dr. Leman, what in the world does that mean?

Dr. Leman:

Well, it’s probably one of the simplest corollaries that you can use in dealing with people, kids, business, things in general. B, whatever that B is, whatever that activity is, doesn’t start until A, the previous assigned chore, in this case talking about kids, is completed, to who’s satisfaction? To the parents.

Dr. Leman:

Okay. It’s just one of those things. Why we don’t use this more often is beyond me, because it’s so obvious. It keeps you out of battle. It simply keeps you on that linear thinking of, “Okay, wait a minute. I asked you to take out the garbage and I see it’s not taken out, and now you want to run next door and shoot hoops with your buddies. No, the garbage has to be taken out.”

Dr. Leman:

Now, let’s take a situation where the kid is a little surly, and he finally takes it out and now he says, “Mom, all right, I took the garbage out. Can I go on and shoot hoops now?” “No, you can’t.” “What do you mean? You said, if I-” “I know what I said, but I didn’t like the attitude you copped.”

Dr. Leman:

Now when you go back to the book, Have a New Kid by Friday. I’m trying to think what it says on the cover of the book, and I don’t have one handy, but it says something to the effect of changing character in five days or less, as well. I think it says attitude, behavior and character.

Dr. Leman:

Well, this is the character part, because you’ve asked your kid to do something. He’s done it, but he did it in a very disrespectful way, with sort of a spit in your soup attitude. “Okay, I did the garbage. Now can I go?” “No, you can’t go.”

Dr. Leman:

Now, again, that’s where you just have to play this game of parenthood smart. Because is it really a matter of taking the garbage out, or is it really a matter of having a kid in the home, who appreciates the comforts of this home, is willing to pitch in and do their help? And I think we would all agree, well, yeah, that’s more what we’re after. So, that’s where the character fits in.

Dr. Leman:

So again, whatever that A is, whatever you asked that kid to do. Put it in marriage. Okay ladies, you ask your husband to do things. Okay, I won’t get too graphic here, but you know, he hasn’t done them. And all of a sudden, you’re lying there in bed and his foot is now touching your foot, and he’s just giving you a little sign. Let me ask you ladies, what do you feel like doing? Okay, you’ve answered it. You get my point.

Dr. Leman:

So it happened, this works in any situation. It brings things to a head. It keeps us from playing games, so to speak, and get us down to the rubber road of life. So if you implement these simple ideas, and by the way, one of the reasons why I think people love that Have a New Kid by Friday book is, the book itself is actually quite small. You can read the book in, I don’t know, hour and a half, I don’t know. It’s just not a very big book.

Dr. Leman:

But when the book stops, then I take on about every situation you can think of with a kid. So there’s a glossary, so to speak, in that book, that defines an action and gives you remedies to think about as a parent. So it’s not only an action oriented book, here’s what you can do, but it gives you specifics about all these daily hassles that parents find themselves in.


So Andrea, as the resident mom, B doesn’t happen until A is complete is hard for all of us. But for moms, especially compassionate, kind ones like you, now your kid wants to go have coffee with their dear friends and they haven’t done whatever you’ve asked them to do. Right?




And now, you have to walk in there and say, “Sorry, I asked you to do this, and you chose not to. We’re not going.” Then you turn around and walk away. Can you do that?


Why do you always ask me that question? “Can you do that?”


Because between Dr. Leman and I, you’re the most mom here, right? What would you like me to ask you? How would you like me to ask that?

Dr. Leman:

Yeah, she’s our resident mom. But you can grant in fantasy, what you can’t in reality.


Sometimes this decision is hard, because it’s going to affect me too. And I think that’s the real hard part of this, is whatever was supposed to happen might have been like, I was supposed to go along and I was looking forward to it.


Or it could be, I was looking forward to this frame of time that they were going to be out, and I was going to have some quiet downtime to myself, to usually get something else done that I could really focus on.


So there is, we have to pay the price too. But we have to remember, like Dr. Leman was talking about, there’s character training here. So I would not say that I have been lily-white of following this rule, even since I’ve learned it. No.


Right. And what else about it for you? You’ve also said that emotionally it’s hard to disappoint your kids.


Well, yeah. Yeah. And my kids don’t have a… I mean, I wouldn’t say that they have a habit of always trying to get away with things. So, it’s hard when it does happen. Yeah.

Dr. Leman:

All right. Well, it might help with someone who has Andrea’s wonderful personality is to grant in fantasy what you can’t in reality. And you say, “Anna, I would love to let you go and do that. Oh my goodness, that would be wonderful for you. I know you would enjoy every minute of being there, but there’s a problem. And the problem is that I had asked you this morning to clean the garage, and I see it hasn’t been done. So, as much as I hate to say this, the answer is no.”

Dr. Leman:

Now that’s giving your kid vitamin N, it’s letting a parent grant and fantasy what they can’t in reality. And yes, keep in mind parents is easier to look the other way. It’s easier to do it yourself.

Dr. Leman:

But what you’re trying to do, is train up your child so that they will become responsible. So when they leave your nest someday, you can look at each other as husband or wife and say, “We did a pretty good job. That little bird’s going to fly well.”


Here’s the other thing for all you parents who haven’t started this process yet, is you don’t have to do this very often. I mean, well you do this… we’ve had to do this way once or twice with each kid, for them to get the concept.


It’s really starting off and training them.


So Dr. Leman, why is it so effective that you literally only need it… I think with James, we did it once, maybe twice or the Anna, to get their attention that we really do mean business. Why does that work so well?

Dr. Leman:

Well, because there’s a shock element to it all. You’ve thrown them a curve ball. You’re showing them that you’re going in a new direction, and you’re also showing them that they’re old games, so to speak, that they play with you, are no longer in play. That’s why it works so good. It’s putting your cards on the table. It’s action-oriented. So what could be better?


Well to that point, you’re right, it is a shock, and it’s actions, not words which are way more effective with children. Yeah. So do encourage all of you out there, that you’re like, “I don’t know if I could do this. This sounds really harsh.” You don’t have to do it very many times at all.


It depends on if you have a powerful child and then go get the book, How to Parent Your Powerful Child. But, by and large, his is a pretty effective way to get their kid’s attention.


So we’re going to do some role-playing here, to help you actually hear how to apply it.


But before we go there, I want everybody to know that you can go get, Have a New Kid by Friday. Between now and the end of March of 2020 for only $2.99 wherever eBooks are sold. It is amazing. Andrea’s going to read what somebody wrote on Amazon here. Do you have it there?


Yeah. Okay, this is from Evan, and this is what they said. “Possibly the last parenting book you will ever need. If you have a child who challenges every aspect of your parenting, or even any aspect of your parenting, I highly recommend this book. This quite possibly will be the last parenting book you will need. I’m pretty sure it’s the last one I will need.


“My young twins, age four, were TRANSFORMED in about a week, and others who know them well commented on it. If you have a perfect child who never gives you any challenges, you don’t need it. If you are exhausted from your current parenting tactics, you need the information, principles and parenting phrases in this book.”


So I agree with what Evan said. Those parenting phrases are gold, and our kids complain about them all the time, which is lovely, that they’re like-


It’s funny, they pick up on them.


Yeah, they’re like, “That’s a Leman thing. ” We’re like, “Yes, it is.” I highly encourage you for your sake, for $2.99, please go get this book wherever eBooks are sold. For your sake and your kids sake.


Okay, and now, a no nonsense parenting moment with Dr. Kevin Leman.

Dr. Leman:

Parents, here’s a question for you. Helping around the house. Everybody should give back to the family, and I get asked the question all the time, “At what age should a kid start helping around the house?”

Dr. Leman:

Even a three-year-old can help. A three-year-old can help take dishes out of a dish dryer. Or fold clothes, towels. Yeah, they’re going to look like a The other hood like a three-year-old folded them. But the idea is to get that child’s mindset into, “Everybody helps.”

Dr. Leman:

That’s a good productive thing for kids to do. So many parents just do so much for their children, because quite frankly, it’s easier to do it that way. But here’s the question. Do you want to rear a responsible child? Do you? If you do, give them responsibility.

Dr. Leman:

When do you start training a puppy? When he’s a year old? You’ll have bad puppy. “Bad dog, bad dog. Why did you do that on the carpet?” You want a good dog? Start early. Train them when they’re a pup, same with our kids. Let them give back to you. And always say, “Thank you honey for helping. Good job.”


Alrighty. Okay, Dr. Leman, here we go. “My eight-year-old son wants to go shoot hoops down the street with his buddy,” We’ll use example you used, “But he didn’t clean his room, and his mother even reminded him that morning to get his room cleaned up today.” So, let’s role-play. All right, here we go. Ready?


Okay, Mom, I’m headed out the door. I’m going over to Freddy’s to go shoot hoops. See yeah. What what time do I have to be home for dinner?

Dr. Leman:

Hey, hang on a matter, honey. We need to have a little talk.


Okay, yeah.

Dr. Leman:

You were asked to do something earlier today. I’m going to give you just a second to think about what you were asked to do. It hasn’t been done, by the way, I’ll give you a clue.


Maybe, clean my room. Is that it?

Dr. Leman:

Yeah, that’s good. You know, I knew you were a bright kid. Man, you’re awesome. You got a great memory, most of the time. It hasn’t been done yet, honey. So, no, you’re not going anywhere right now.


But mom, I’ll do it when I come back. I’ll do it as soon as we’re done. I’ll even do it before dinner. I’ll just go, because it’s- [crosstalk 00:14:06]

Dr. Leman:

I’m not your mom, I’m your dad.


Oh, sorry, okay, Dad. Oh, sorry, I didn’t realize that. You guys both look and sound the same.

Dr. Leman:

Yeah. And that kid, he’s going to do his best. All that does, is give kids that opportunity to either lie, or exaggerate or connive. They’ll promise you anything if you’ll just let them go.

Dr. Leman:

And if you fall into that trap, you’re teaching your kids that instant gratification is the way to go in life, and that’s not a good healthy thing for your kids. So you got to really think this through.

Dr. Leman:

Some of the things sound almost benign. All right, you haven’t cleaned the room, so you’ve got to come back here and clean your room. Okay, I get it. But it’s more important than that, you’re character building with that kid. You’re teaching him about what’s going to happen on life.

Dr. Leman:

I mean, can you see him going out the door at two minutes to 5:00, and the boss is there. He says, “Hey, I’ll see you. I’ve got got to go here, or go there.” Well, “Hey, Winchell, I asked you for those reports. They’re not on my desk.” “Well, I’ll get you those tomorrow, boss.”

Dr. Leman:

Can you see the boss really saying, “Okay, well you just go and have a great time. And those reports I need for the board meeting, they can wait. So, whenever you get around to it.” That’s not life.

Dr. Leman:

We’re preparing kids for life, is what we’re doing. Don’t blow these things off in your mind as just simple little exercises. These are building bricks to your kid’s personality.

Dr. Leman:

I’ve said many times beautiful cathedrals are what? Built one brick at a time. So you’re layering in these things, every day that you have interaction with your son and your daughter.


Well, the other thing you say, and then we’re going to do one more role-play, is that we’re raising adults, not children. Which has helped us think about, this is not for today. This is actually, like you said, this is for decades later.


It’s good to think about it that way, and realize it’s not about just getting the bedroom cleaned or the dishes washed. This is a longterm, what kind of character do I want my child to have?


Now I want to give one that’s a little less cut and dry, Dr. Leman. My 16-year-old daughter just gave me a bunch of lip, right? Like, “Dad, you’re the worst,” or whatever, right? Just that attitude that you get every now and then, the silent treatment, or whatever it is.


Now, they want to go hang out with their friends, so they come to grab the car to go hang out with their friends, right?


Here we go. I just gave you a whole bunch of lip and flack, or whatever the phrase is now ,I don’t know what it is, and so here we go. I’ll be a girl. Well, that’s kind of weird, but, oh well.


Hey dad, I’m going to go see Sally. I’m going to grab the car, and I think we’re going out for burgers, so I probably won’t be back… I’ll be back at a decent hour, but I won’t be back that late. So, okay, love you dad. Take care.

Dr. Leman:

I always love to hear you’re going to be home at a reasonable hour, but in this case I can guarantee you’re going to be home at a reasonable hour because you’re going to have a very difficult time starting that car without the keys.


Oh, why? What happened?

Dr. Leman:

What happened is, a few moments ago, anticipating what you were going to be doing, I took the keys from the kitchen where we hang them on that little ring and they’re now secure in my pocket.


Why? Is something wrong with the car?

Dr. Leman:

You know, the car has really worked really nicely lately. I’ve enjoyed, when I get in that car, I love the leather seats [inaudible 00:18:06] honey the best. But when I turn that sucker on, it always starts up.

Dr. Leman:

And then of course, you know the music I listen to. I know you hate it, but I happen to like it. So I just punch up my radio station and I’m ready to cruise. No, the car is fine.


Dad, what’s up? What are you upset about?

Dr. Leman:

What’s up?



Dr. Leman:

The sky, the moon, the sun.


Dad, come on. What’s-

Dr. Leman:

All right. You have the ability to play games with me, and I want you to be advised that parents have the ability to play games as well. Such as, what’s up? The moon, the sun, the stars.

Dr. Leman:

You know what’s up. So, why are you asking me what’s up?


Okay, dad, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said it, but it was just a moment and it’s been rough. I’m just tired, and school’s really stressful, and ballet has really gotten to me. I’ve got all these things that are on me, and I just lost it for just a moment. I’m sorry. [crosstalk 00:19:13].

Dr. Leman:

Honey, I get it. I get it. I get it. We all have days like that. And I understand all these things are weighing on you, and I think it’s great. I really think it’s great that you can enumerate all those things that are laying on you, and I think it’s wonderful that you can say, “Hey dad, I’m sorry.”


So can I go now?

Dr. Leman:



Dad, I said I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it. You know that I- [crosstalk 00:19:39].

Dr. Leman:

I appreciate it. I appreciate the fact you said you’re sorry. And I’ve told you, I’ve already forgiven you. [crosstalk 00:19:46] But you’re not going anywhere.


Dad, why not? What’s the big deal.

Dr. Leman:

Honey, the big deal is the words you chose the use with me 25 minutes ago, I really didn’t appreciate.


Okay, but I said I’m sorry.

Dr. Leman:

Honey, in life, you’re going to find there’s consequences. I understand. I’m sorry isn’t the passport to getting the keys?


What am I going to tell my friends?

Dr. Leman:

In life, there’s actions.


What am I going to tell my friends? They’re expecting me.

Dr. Leman:

Well, what I would suggest you tell your friends, is something like, “Whoa, I am so stupid. You know what I did last night? Or what hour I did 20 minutes ago, or whenever it was. I said some really nasty things to my father.

Dr. Leman:

“And I have to tell you the truth, I’ve got a great dad. He loves me as I am. He’s helped me in so many situations. He’s the rock of our family, quite frankly. Nobody loves my dad more than I did, but I said something really stupid. And in anger, I told him he was the worst dad ever, and the reality is, he’s the best.”

Dr. Leman:

You want to know what I would tell your friends? I just told you.



Dr. Leman:

Will you say that? I have no idea.


Daddy, you are the best daddy. And I do appreciate all that you do, but this is really, really important to me. This is really, really important. Please, Daddy.

Dr. Leman:

And honey, you’re the best daughter in the world. We’ve established that. Okay, we love each other. We’ve established that. What we are having a hard time grasping on your end of the equation, is you’re not using the car. Tomorrow’s another day.

Dr. Leman:

I know you’re disappointed. Deal with it. You’re going to get a lot of disappointments in life, and trust me, as you look at life in general, this is just a tiny one.

Dr. Leman:

We’re going to end our discussion now. We’re not going to talk about this anymore. You said, “I’m sorry,” I said, “Honey, I’ve forgiven you.” We’re going to face tomorrow, tomorrow, but this case is now closed.



Dr. Leman:

Now, notice what I did there. I brought it to an end. Because parents, these kids, some of them will make great attorneys. Because they can argue, and they’ll pull on your heartstrings as little Miss Douggie tried to do with me, with her purposeful tears.

Dr. Leman:

What’s the purpose of nature? Class of tears. How many of you as women would admit to use tears with us husbands, to bring us to our knees?


Tears are powerful.


But the thing about that, for all those parents out there Dr. Leman, that you need to help them, is that, your children will still love you in the morning and actually will respect you more.


And it’s not just about respect, but it is, right? They’ll wake up tomorrow and be like, “Yeah, my parents are for me,” right? Or will they hate him in the morning?

Dr. Leman:

No, by the morning all is forgotten. Life goes on, the crisis… Kids, especially when they’re teenagers, everything’s a crisis.

Dr. Leman:

What happens is, a girlfriend calls and says, “Hey, can you meet us at the mall? Todd and Michael are going to be there.” And all of a sudden it’s girls cooking up, “Oh, we’re going to see these cute guys,” whatever their plans are. But everything’s in a crisis.

Dr. Leman:

10 minutes earlier, they had no desire to go any place. They were just vegging out. But all of a sudden, the phone call comes and now it’s crisis mode, and I got to get out the door and get there.


Well, my encouragement to all those parents out there, and especially moms, is, again, you don’t have to do this very often, right? You only do this once or twice, and kids get it. Because it’s an action not words, and that speaks way louder.


And I appreciate what you said. I mean, we’re trying to raise them up to be adults and this is for their future character. That’s what you brought up, Andrea.

Dr. Leman:

Yeah. We have lots of principals, and one of them is let the reality of the situation… Okay, got that parents? Let the reality of situation become the teacher to the child.

Dr. Leman:

So the reality is, she chose to misspoke. She misspoke in a disrespectful way. Let that be the teacher to the child. All you’re doing is building in some parameters, so that experience that she initiated becomes a teacher to her. Simple.


Yeah, super simple. But if you do have a child who really does flip out on you, then you have a powerful child, and you need to go read, Have a New Kid by Friday and Parenting Your Powerful Child.


But you need to read them both, for your sake. And your child’s sake, quite honestly. So they don’t grow up, as Dr. Leman said, and be powerful with their bosses and go from job to job to job. This is all about character and raising great adults.


Well, I can’t encourage you enough to get this concept: B doesn’t happen until A is complete. It is so powerful to help you in your parenting. If your spouse doesn’t agree with you, highlight the book and these sections for them, and have them read it. Come together on this, and highlighted books are a great way for them to believe it and go for it.


And remember, that this is about building character. This is a longterm thing, get that longterm picture in your mind when you have to tell them no.


So, for your sake, go get the book, Have a New Kid by Friday. It just gives you so much confidence, and like Dr. Leman said, the back half is like, “What about when I catch my kid lying,” or stealing or all sorts of things. And it gives you very practical steps on what you can do next.


We look forward to being with you the next time, and adding to your parenting toolbox so you can love those kids more, and more and have the confidence that you’re doing the right thing.


Thanks for being with us.


All right. Lots of A this week, so that B can happen.


Amen. Thanks for being with us. Look forward to next time.



Mar 10 2020



Parenting Basics – Are you running a home or a hotel? (Episode 303)

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It’s time to go back to the basics! Do you ever feel like you’re providing room service for your kids? In today’s episode, Dr. Leman breaks down how the home ought to be structured to ensure everyone is doing their part for the family.

**Special Offer– March 1 – 31: Have a New Kid by Friday ebook for $2.99 at AmazonBarnes & Noble, or wherever you get your ebooks**

Show Sponsored by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing

Produced by Unmutable


Doug: Sam, come get your shoes out of the middle of the hallway. Sally, how many times do I have to tell you you’re on dishes. It’s the only thing I ask you to do around here. I mean, for Pete’s sake, I feel like I’m a maid, not your mother. This is what we get to talk to Dr. Leman about today. Are you running a home or a hotel for your kids?

Doug: Hi, I’m Doug Terpening.

Andrea: And I’m Andrea.

Doug: And we are so glad that you are with us today. If this happens to be your first time with us, just want to let you know that this is for your education and entertainment purposes only. If the subject matter raises any concerns for you or your child, please go seek a local professional for help. Well, Andrea, of all the people that are on this podcast, you probably are the closest to a mother, and do you ever get frustrated with trying to get your children to help you around the house?

Andrea: Oh boy. I think we’ve talked about this before. The number of different kinds of chore charts we’ve created over the years.

Doug: Oh, that’s right. So we created tons of chore chart. Remember the one where the little pegs and the little things that flipped over?

Andrea: The pegs, that was magnetized to the fridge. And if you knocked it off, you had about a hundred little circles.

Doug: Yeah. And then we had a little pack that they had to wear on their front of their shirts and all these things. So we tried everything until we tried Dr. Leman’s system, which is like gold and actually has worked beautifully. And this is what we’re going to talk about today. How do you get your kids to help you around the house? So Dr. Leman, help us, how do we get our kids to help?

Dr. Leman: Well, if this is an ongoing battle, and I love the way people send me messages, “Oh Dr. Leman, we’ve tried everything.” Well, really? Have you really tried everything? Well, that might be part of the problem. You’ve tried everything. You need to get yourself back on course and understand that you’re the parent here. We live in a home. No one member of the family is more important than anybody else in the family. But we all have responsibilities, and the key word is authority. Parents are in authority over children. That’s a God-given right and duty. Now, if you’re really frustrated, you’ve just had it and you’ve tried, in your mind, everything, I would try this, take a three by five card, or if you’d like something a little bigger to draw attention to it, in fear that your children will not be able to see the three by five card propped up on your kitchen counter, go bigger.

Dr. Leman: But here’s my advice, at the top of that three by five card, in bold print, I’d like you to print the words servant’s notice, underline it. And then number one, “We have resigned our positions.” Point number two, “Please be advised that all culinary, custodial, and transportation departments cease to exist as of this moment. We wish you well in navigating the waters of your young lives, love, your former servants.” That’ll get their attention. Now what’ll really get their attention is if you just fall in line and all of a sudden you’re mother deaf, father deaf, you don’t respond to anything. “I need lunch money, I need a lunch.” “Honey, you know where the refrigerator is.” You can say a few things, but just disengage the kids. You will throw them a curve ball like they’ve never been thrown before.

Dr. Leman: I guarantee you they’ll have an emergency meeting of the family council and try to figure out, “Hey, what’s wrong? I mean, are they crazy? What do we do?” It’s raining, and they expect to be driven to school. I mean whatever it is, get their attention, then follow through in their actions, and now you at least have open ears and open hearts, and we can negotiate some kind of a settlement that is respectful to all parties involved.

Andrea: Yeah, that’ll get their attention. I thought you were going to go with some chore list on the three by five card that we’ve all been taught to create.

Doug: Ah, Dr. Leman, I’m just sitting over here laughing. I just would love to do this with my children and print it off in big bold letters and leave it on the table, and Andrea and I are out for dinner and they’d come find that, oh, that would be awesome. Oh my gosh.

Dr. Leman: See I think, again, please don’t write to me and tell me, “I have a six-year-old and four-year-old and can’t go out to breakfast and leave them alone.” I understand that. But if you’ve got kids that are 12, 13 years of age, whatever, and you lay this note on them and they walk to school and sometimes they’d take a bus to school or whatever, I’d go out to breakfast, just leave for a while. I mean, do something that’s dramatic. Freak them out a little bit. Oh, Dr. Leman, you’re going to damage their psyche for life. No, we’re saying, “You know what, we’re sick of this. This is a disrespectful environment that you guys are really creating in our home and we’re done with it.”

Doug: So we do that. We get their attention, and we’re like, “We are resigning as the servants,” what’s the next step from here? What do we do next?

Dr. Leman: Well, they’ll come to the table, and they’re going to ask you to carry the ball and tell them what to do. And I think this is the second fun part. You don’t play that game. You say, “Hey, you guys know what this meeting’s about.” Because see, do you really believe that those kids don’t know what they’re supposed to do? Now let’s ask Andrea. How many times have you told the kids in your lifetime what they need to do?

Andrea: Over and over and over, I don’t know how many times.

Dr. Leman: It’s countless. So my point is the kids know what they need to do. Now if they need a little help organizing that sooner or later in that discussion, yeah, you can add a couple of things, but it’s got to be clearly on them. What happens though is we do the shocker, we get their attention, and then we end up micromanaging everything and organizing everything. What I’m saying is don’t do that. At Leman Schools, at Leman Academy of Excellence, at one of our schools, we have a great reputation for putting on great plays. We put on Annie and Aladdin, and do you know that those plays that, I’m telling you, you’d think they were college students, if you saw how good they were. Do you know the lighting director is a seventh grader? The audio man is in sixth grade. I mean, the kids put the production on literally by themself. Do they have a faculty member who oversees everything? Yes. And he’s marvelous, does a great job, but it’s run by the students, the scholars.

Dr. Leman: And so what I’m saying is in your home, when it comes to all of these chores that needed to be done just to make our home a better place, make sure you don’t step in and micromanage everything because it won’t work.

Doug: So Dr. Leman, let’s get uber practical here, and Andrea, the kids are supposed to do dishes, and nobody’s washing dishes, and they’re slowly piling up on the counter. What do you do about that? I mean, do you just let the dishes keep piling up and…

Dr. Leman: Yeah, you do. But a terse statement from Andrea or from Doug would really help, like, “Wow. I was thinking maybe we’d have dinner here tonight, but I see the kitchen is not ready for dinner,” and walk out of the room. Take your bride, and if you got a Whataburger in town, have a Whataburger. They’re great burgers by the way.

Doug: Ooh, they are good.

Dr. Leman: “Oh, Dr. Leman we’re vegan.” Okay. Deal with it. Have a celery stick. I don’t care.

Doug: So Andrea…

Andrea: We’re laughing.

Doug: Yeah, but now you can have meatless burgers. So that works out. So I don’t know. So Andrea, it’s your home and all of a sudden dishes are piling up on the counter, which is one of the things that drives you nuts.

Andrea: Yeah, there’s nowhere to work.

Doug: Right. Could you be like, “Okay, we’re going out to dinner and I’m just going to let it keep piling up and let these kids fend for themselves,” could you do that?

Andrea: It’s not my personality. Right? Or maybe it’s not my pattern. My pattern is to kind of keep making little reminders and maybe wash a couple of the big things that are easy to just kind of, “Wow, this will make a big difference if I wash this big mixing bowl and…”

Dr. Leman: Yeah, but Andrea, isn’t it easier quite frankly just for you to do it?

Andrea: Yes. Absolutely.

Dr. Leman: Yeah. And see, that’s the kicker that all parents struggle with because it is easier. And Andrea’s personality is that things have to look nice and things have their right place. And so you shrug your shoulder and say, “Oh those kids,” and they’re off to school, and now she’s got to look at it all day. It’s going to drive her nuts. And I’m saying fight the temptation, let it sit there, and deal with it that evening for dinner. But be prepared for you and Doug to go out for dinner and let the kids look at each other.

Doug: So you’re telling us, yeah, let the laundry pile up, let the dishes pile up. I mean, do your own, but let the kids… Of course, the boys won’t care about that. But the other thing that you have said in the past is about letting siblings engage in doing chores for them. Right? That you say if you do an allowance, right?

Dr. Leman: Right.

Doug: You actually pay, right?

Dr. Leman: Yeah.

Doug: How does that work?

Dr. Leman: Well, if you have one kid who wants to be responsible and the others are laying in the weeds being the slobs they are, and keep in mind a lot of boys, not to sound too sexist, they could give a rip about laundry piled up. They’d wear the same shirt for a week. I mean, my wife said to me yesterday, this is true confessions here on our podcast, she said, “Lemy, tomorrow you need to change your shorts.” I’ve worn them three days, I’ll confess. Three days in a row, my belt’s on them, I don’t have to put a new belt on, they’re right on the floor of my bedroom where it’s easy to pick up. I know where they are. I’m confessing way too much here.

Dr. Leman: But you have to realize some kids don’t give a rip, but if you got a little responsible kid and she likes to make money off of her sibling’s negligence, she’ll be a rich young woman before long. Because if you’re going to pay that young lady for doing her brother’s work or her sister’s work, and it comes out of that sister or brother’s allowance, you’re going to get that kid’s attention eventually. They’re going to figure out, “Hey, I’m broke, and she’s walking around like the queen.”

Doug: Well, I want to get the ebook special today, but when I come back, I want to talk about this very specific way that you suggested that we divide chores in the Terpening household, and it’s worked like gold. So let me do this, and then we’ll come back and tell you what Dr. Leman recommends on how to divide chores. And I’m telling you, this is the time to get a book from Dr. Leman, and it is Have a New Kid by Friday. You can get it now until the end of March of 2020 for $2.99 wherever ebooks are sold.

Doug: And this is the book that I got that had launched me into realizing that I needed to change my parenting. It is a New York times bestseller. It’s sold millions. This is, I was an unaware parent. I thought I was a great parent, but I didn’t realize all the things that I was. I was controlling, I was authoritarian, and Dr. Leman let me down or let me realize it in a really simple way. Go get this book. Have a New Kid by Friday ebook. Unbelievable. $2.99 for yourself. Go and get it today. And now a no-nonsense parenting moment with Dr. Kevin Leman.

Dr. Leman: Hey parents, I get a lot of questions about those computers and the new Goliath, the cell phone, and can kids use those in their bedroom? So many parents, and I think I’ve even made this suggestion years ago, that computers should probably be in a neutral place, but you know what? There’s history buttons, there’s all kinds of ways that you can run some control and some investigation on who your kids are talking to by way of the computer, what sites they’re looking at, et cetera. I wouldn’t make, again, the proverbial molehill into a mountain here. I think the message ought to be that we have confidence in you, and we trust your judgments. That’s the message that needs to go to your kids. So computers in the bedroom, it’s not the end of the world. I wouldn’t get too upset about it. Carry on. Do a good job. Be the parent you need to be.

Doug: All righty, Dr. Leman, so you said to us, “Okay, Terpenings, you want to stop the chore battles?” You gave us this crazy concept. Let the kids decide how they’re going to divide the chores and put it on one sheet of paper, or at least that’s how I remember it hearing. Did I get that? Is that what you say?

Dr. Leman: Right. Let the kids figure it out, and believe it or not, this principle, folks, works with almost everything. Your kid’s just got his driver’s license or his permit, let that son or daughter write the rules governing the use of the family car. So in other words, this is a one of those one-size-fits-all concepts that get the kids involved and committed. Big business uses this all the time, getting employees involved, to the extent of ownership. So there has to be ownership, if we can use that term, for your kids in your home. Let them divvy up the chores. And again, I want to make this point, as your kids grow older and that kid turns 14 and he’s in high school now or she’s in high school, her responsibilities should lighten up. Lighten up. You heard me right. Why? Because we tend to make the firstborn responsible forever, and they do far too much work. And once a kid gets to high school, some of those jobs ought to be handed off to younger siblings so everybody gets a good shot at being responsible in the home.

Doug: So we did this. So just to reiterate, you literally tell the kids, “Here are the things that need to get covered for chores, and you probably have more, kids, so here’s a blank sheet of paper,” and you walk away and have them sit at the table. And I thought this is going to be a total failure. Dr Leman is nutso. Our kids range from probably that time, I don’t know, 16 down to whatever that is, 8, and they all sat there and divided up and found chores that we didn’t even think of, and they’ve owned it ever since. And now as our kids are leaving, the other ones get together and reorganize it. I’m telling you, this is so simple and it works. The other thing that Dr. Leman said to us that we did too is not only did we say, “We resign as servants,” but we said, “We need your help to run this household. Without your effort, this household doesn’t get run.”

Dr Leman, explain why that’s so important to tell our kids that.

Dr. Leman: Because kids get a sense of wellbeing, self-esteem, if you will, from the mundane, from the predictable where they get to pitch in. Kids need to see that they’re needed. Okay? This goes back to basic needs, that their acceptance, they’re accepted by the parents, that they belong, that they have a sense of belonging. Where? In their home. And parents, you want your kid to identify more inside the home than outside the home. If your kid doesn’t identify with your home and he just identifies outside of the home with friends and whatever, that kid’s going to run aground here before too long because home is a safe harbor.

Dr. Leman: And then you have to teach your kids to be competent. It’s important that kids learn, “Hey, I can do some things in life.” Let me, I’ll ask you a personal question. I’m saying everybody who’s listening. Who replaces the toilet paper in your bathrooms? And I’d love to take a vote on this. Does the paper go over the roll or under the roll as it comes out? See, I’m an over the roll person, and once in a while Mrs. Uppington will take my job and she’ll put toilet paper, two-ply, on, but she insists on having it under the roll. What do you think, Doug?

Doug: Oh, totally wrong. Over.

Andrea: It’s confusing. It’s so confusing.

Doug: Over. No, it’s not confusing, over the roll.

Andrea: No, no, no. It’s confusing if it’s not coming the right way.

Doug: Oh yeah. But you sometimes put it the wrong way.

Andrea: That’s because I’m not paying attention.

Dr. Leman: Back to the kids. I mean the nitty gritty of a parent might be, if you got the seven-year-old changing the toilet paper in the bathrooms, as a parent, I’m going to find out, “Honey, is your preference over the roll or under the roll?” Because if it’s under the roll, I got a problem. I’ll use napkins from the kitchen.

Doug: Oh my gosh. Ah, but to your point, one of the things that we haven’t talked about is don’t criticize your kids when they do a project, right? Dr Leman?

Dr. Leman: Yes. You got to respect their efforts. Yeah. Respect their efforts is important.

Andrea: And that means don’t go back and vacuum the room again after they’ve vacuumed poorly. Don’t go back and re-dust the shelf.

Doug: So in conclusion, if you’re struggling with getting chores done at your home, A: don’t micromanage, B: quit being the servants. Acknowledge that you’re doing things and you’re going to do things differently. C: let the kids choose the chores, right? And then D: get out of the way. Let them do it. Tell them you need their help, and then however they do it, respect it. I’m telling you, it actually works. It’ll take you a while for your kids to get the new system, but it works.

Dr. Leman: Yeah. Let’s go back to the point that Andrea just touched on, which is really important. When your kid does something really slipshod, it’s not done well, I mean it’s still a mess or whatever, we’re not saying, when we say respect their effort that you allow sloppy, not completed work, that doesn’t pass. What happens in that case is the son or daughter says, “Hey, can I go outside? I want to go down to James’ home.” And you say to your child, “Honey, I see your room isn’t ready yet for you to go outside.” That’s all. In other words, he doesn’t… So now we’re go back to B doesn’t start till A gets completed. So parents, don’t feel trapped here. This is something you can pull off, be an authority. It works.

Doug: So especially for all the moms out there that are doing, you love your kids so much and it’s just, as Andrea said, it’s easier to do it yourself, I’m telling you. And it takes years and years and years to get it there. But like the other night we came home at 10 o’clock as a family, and our son, not to brag on him, was like, “Oh, that’s right, I got to do dishes.” And actually did them because he knows it’s his responsibility to get them done. And it does pay off. It’s kind of a fight at times, and you can’t let up, sorry. But it will change. It will change, and it’s you that has to change, but you can do it. So anything else, Andrea, that you’d recommend since you fight this more than anybody else on here?

Andrea: I don’t know. The one thing I was thinking about was with younger kids, there’s the training phase, and as they get older, then it’s the stepping back and biting your tongue when they decide their timeframe hasn’t run out.

Doug: Well, I’m really glad you brought that up. Sorry to add one more thing, but Dr. Leman said this, and again I thought he was crazy when he said it, but he’s right. Your five-year-old can start helping around the house, and if you set that ethos way back when, it helps so much.

Andrea: Well, your two-year-old can start helping around the house.

Doug: What was it, Dr. Leman? What is it like-

Andrea: Three?

Doug: … three or four, you said when they start helping with [crosstalk 00:22:01]-

Dr. Leman: Yeah. Yeah. Even a two or three-year-old can help with laundry or helping with the dishwasher, or we talked about the toilet paper roll. I mean a three-year-old can do that. My goodness.

Andrea: I remember our little kids, they would deliver the laundry to the bedrooms. It was one of their favorite jobs, and they’d put the clothes in a basket and they’d drive it like a train down to the bedrooms where it had to go, and they just thought that was a ball.

Doug: Yeah. So all you moms and dads out there, I hope this helps you, to give you some practical, practical ways that you can get help around the home and finally kill the chore monster so that you’re able to do it. So I will say if you want confidence to be able to pull this off, go get Have a New Kid by Friday, please, for your sake. You can get it for $2.99 between now and the end of March of 2020. If you have not read that book, I’m on my hands and knees begging you, for your sake. It is a great, great, great book and will give you tons of confidence on how to do this and relieve the anxiety and be able to love those kids a whole lot more. Well, it was great to be with you and we look forward to the next time we get to hang out and help add to that parenting toolbox.

Andrea: Have a great one.

Doug: Take care. Bye bye.

Mar 03 2020



My oldest is jealous of the middle child. – Ask Dr. Leman 141 (Episode 301)

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It’s time for another Ask Dr. Leman: “My oldest is jealous of the middle child.” Find out Dr. Leman’s answer in today’s episode.

**Special Offer– Feb 1 – 29: What a Difference a Mom Makes ebook for $2.99 at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or wherever you get your ebooks**

Show Sponsored by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing

Produced by Unmutable


Doug: Okay, you have more than one kid and now you’re noticing they’re not getting along so well. In fact, I think the oldest is making life miserable for my middle child and I’m afraid it’s going to destroy their relationship. What do I do? That’s the question that Sierra asked Dr. Leman today that we get to hear his answer. Hi, I’m Doug Terpening.

Andrea: And I’m Andrea.

Doug: And we are so glad that you are with us today to add that parenting toolbox, but I want to let you know if this is your first time, welcome. And this is for your education and entertainment purposes only. If the subject matter raises any concerns for you or child, please go seek a local professional for help. Well, I’d like to make a confession. I think my oldest sister destroyed our relationship. She is a horrible human being. She used to hold me down and do that typewriter thing on my chest, and then hit your face, ah, and have your sister do it was like the worst thing, but-

Andrea: And you have no relationship with her now do you?

Doug: None. None. No, I love my sister now, but obviously that’s not what destroyed the relationship. So let’s get to Sierra’s question about her kids destroying the relationships.

Sierra: Hey Dr. Leman, I have three boys, 10, six and two and for the most part they get along wonderfully better than typical brothers and sisters do. But the 10 year old has a really hard time with the middle one who’s four, he’s very jealous of him. The middle one doesn’t get in trouble very often. He’s very kind. He stopped… well, he’s quick to say he’s sorry. The older one doesn’t typically have good intentions and he gets in trouble a lot more.

Sierra: He struggles when he hears us encouraging the four year old when he goes to his first hockey practice, we’re very encouraging. He tries really hard and the older one sees how nice we are to the four year old and he really struggles. And then the four year old looks up to the older one and he’s angry at him because he’s jealous and he doesn’t encourage him.

Sierra: The four year old’s just looking for his encouragement like regarding hockey practice. I’m just wondering how do we instill good sibling relationships when there’s such an age gap and there is jealousy there. Thank you.

Dr. Leman: Well, thank you Sierra and I am going to turn tables on the Terpenings and I’m going to show you how smart Andrea and Doug, sometimes we call them Douglas really is. So we have a family of 10 year old, four year old, two year old. So I’m going to start with you Ms. Andrea-

Andrea: Hello.

Dr. Leman: How many families are represented in those three children?

Andrea: Oh, let’s see, because between the 10 and the four year old, there’s a six year gap that is an only child and then the four and the two are considered siblings or one-

Doug: Or a new family.

Andrea: A new family.

Dr. Leman: There you go. Now friends, I’m calling you friends, everybody listening to the podcast. Do you see how smart she is? She sees the 10, four and two, she says, hey, there’s two families. So let’s think about this for a second. We’ve got a 10 year old who’s the king of the mountain? He is King. He is unchallenged. He is the lion with a big mane. Okay. He gets to the top of the mountain and he just roars and he says, I am King.

Dr. Leman: And then he hears a new word, pregnancy ,and his life is about the change and the thing comes home. What goes on in that now 10 year old’s mind when he first heard that word pregnancy? What do you suppose it was, Doug?

Doug: Competition.

Dr. Leman: Competition. That I wasn’t good enough, they had to get another one. And then they bring the thing home from the hospital and the thing has its own room and grandparents come and bring the thing presents. And before long, firstborn 10 year old feels what? What’s the word that a 10 year old would feel with this little new baby brother moving into his turf?

Andrea: Forgotten?

Doug: Neglected, pushed aside.

Dr. Leman: Yep. Pushed aside, forgotten, threatened by the kids’ existence. And so pretty soon firstborn says, you know what? I’m going to be okay. All that kid does is sleep all day long. That kid can’t do a thing. In fact, that kid is useless. But as the months go by, little Mr. Useless becomes more capable. Oh my goodness, he’s walking. Oh my goodness, he’s touching my stuff. Do you get the picture I’m drawing?

Dr. Leman: And so what happens in families is there’s a search for dominance. There’s a search for being the boss, being the big guy. And not only that, the now four year old, but mom and dad had to do it again and now we got a two year old? So get behind the 10 year old’s eyes for just a minute. And so if I’m a parent, I’m saying things like Sierra, you know what? You’re probably way too hard on your firstborn son.

Dr. Leman: I think you ought to pull them aside and have a conversation like this. Hey honey, can I ask your opinion about something? Sure mom, what? Well it’s about the two little ones? Are they a pain in the butt or is it me? Now, your 10 year old will do a double take when you say that. I can’t believe mom just said pain in the butt, but thank God somebody understands what I’m up against.

Dr. Leman: I get in trouble for what they did. They’re the ones that are messing with my stuff. All I did was tell them to get their hands off it. I’m just protecting my turf. So you have to come alongside of the 10 year old and let, he’s got to feel and see that you understand what he’s up against. Now trust me again, Sierra, I think your question was how do I have positive sibling relationship?

Dr. Leman: You’re not going to have him for a while in all probability, but if you take this approach, it’s going to lessen. These kids will be in each other’s wedding someday. When these kids are older and somebody does something to the four year old or two year old who’s now 12 or 13, big brother’s going to come to their rescue. He’s going to challenge harm to someone who does harm to one of those kids. He’ll be the protective one. So again, don’t get too uptight right now about what you’re seeing.

Dr. Leman: So what I’m saying is get behind the 10 year old’s eyes, do some psychological disclosure, that’s the technical term for it, about what you see going on. So that he see us like somebody sees life from behind his eyes. Then the talking to with a four year old who sounds like a very nice little kid at four, there’s times when four year old is crossing the line, be quick to admonish the four year old.

Dr. Leman: And just using that same example, four year old don’t touch 10 year old stuff, that’s his stuff. You only touch that if he gives you permission to play with that or use that, that kind of thing. So what I’m saying is, mom, you end up being a mediator here, two year old is going to… they’re still at the give me stage, but you’ve got two families. You’ve got the compliant firstborn and the four year old, you’ve got the only child who was invaded by these martians from another planet who have come in and crippled his lifestyle.

Dr. Leman: So you have to do some juggling here, but you get through this, it’s going to get better. It’s not going to cease immediately, but you can make a real dent in it from using psychological disclosure with your 10 year old. If you have a new kid by Friday, that’d be a good read. A lot of good practical stuff there.

Doug: Psychological disclosure, I remember the first time you said sit down with your kids and comment about your other kids, isn’t this kid a little over the top? Isn’t this kid a little too wound? And this kid a little, I thought that sounds terrible. Like I really didn’t. Finally, we were having some issues in our family and I thought, well, I’ll try this crazy guy and see if he could maybe… Oh my gosh, that was one of the best things I ever did.

Doug: To sit down and comment about what everybody knows about the siblings to a sibling was amazing. I mean it was… so, I know this… well, if you’re like me, you would think this sounds like you’re talking bad and can make the relationship worse, it does not. It relieves so many pressure points, it was crazy. So, sorry. Here’s my question though, for you, Dr. Leman, would you say to that 10 year old, hey, I need your help with the four year old in X, Y, and Z. Would you ever do that?

Dr. Leman: Yes. Yeah. Again, proof the Terpenings are smart people because you can reason with a 10 year old. Okay. You can have an adult type conversation with a 10 year old. And you preface it with, I know that kid’s a pain in the tail, but listen, I really need your help on something here because this is really bothering me. And it’s hurting all of our relationships. And quite frankly, it’s impeding our relationship that we have.

Dr. Leman: And I always thought we had a good relationship, but there’s days I’m not real happy with you. So you’re shooting it to him straight. Then you come right back and say, but honey, I need your help. And only you, only you and not the two year old, not the four year, only you can help with this. I want to count on you. Can I count on your cooperation? Get the commitment and then move forward. So I don’t… to me it… I get accused of using common sense and I’m so pleased that I get accused of that because it is common sense, but you have to do it in the right way. And that’s why those Leman books sort of help you learn to respond rather than just react because that’s what most of us do. We just react. That’s never good.

Doug: I want to make sure that we get the break in here, but I want to come back and ask you another question about how you would treat that 10 year old, but before our time runs out, I want to make sure everybody knows that you can go get the ebook, What A Difference A Mom Makes between now and February 29th of 2020 for $2.99. Andrea.

Andrea: Yeah. Here’s another review from Amazon. Wow! For me personally, this is one of the best books I could have read at this time in my life. I’m a mom to two young boys. Because I don’t have daughters and may not even have daughters, I felt my role as a mom wasn’t as important as that of my husband’s. How wrong I was. Dr. Leman explains clearly why moms matter in their son’s lives. I learned so much by reading this, such as how I should change my parenting style and what is acceptable and unacceptable attitudes. The book is not too heavy but just enough depth to convict me on some things I need to work on. I also appreciate how Dr. Leman used his own experiences to expand on his points.

Doug: So I recommend if you’re a mom and you want to have even more confidence raising your boys, go get or any of your kids, but go get What A Difference A Mom Makes for $2.99 between now and the end of February of 2020. So Dr. Leman, besides the psychological disclosure of isn’t that kid crazy, well, you would never say crazy, but that kind of concept. Would you ever say to your kid, your 10 year old, tell me what bothers you about the four and two year old? Would you ever ask them that question?

Dr. Leman: Sure. But I give him a litany of things that I observe first. So he knows that he can swing for the fences because sometimes as a parent you don’t know. I mean she described four year old is almost saintly, but who knows what saintly four year olds does when mom’s eyes are not on the room. So that’s always good. Always good to get the kid’s insight into that. You want to listen, you want to be a listener without being judgemental and that’s hard to do.

Doug: So say 10 year old says, I don’t want you to touch my Legos, we’ll choose one. Then do you go as a mom to the four… or dad to the four year old and say, hey four year old, Legos of 10 year olds, off limits.

Dr. Leman: No. I would wait until… because that situation is going to come. Sure as God made little apples, where that kid’s going to test that out to see if anybody really meant business. So when mom catches them with Lego’s in hand, then I’d pull four year old and says, hey, I’m very disappointed. I think your brother made it really clear that those were his Legos and he didn’t want anybody playing with them.

Dr. Leman: And here you are doing it. I’m very disappointed in the fact you’re not respecting your brother’s wishes. That makes mommy very unhappy. That’s exactly how I’d handle it. So now you’ve hit him at both levels. You hit him from a 10 year old’s position, but you’ve also shared with him as a mom how that made you feel.

Doug: How do you also say to your 10 year old, yeah, I know that four and two year old, they act like angels but you and I both know they’re not. Would you ever say that as well to the 10 year old?

Dr. Leman: Yeah, yeah. But you could do it in guessing way. You could say, honey, you know what? I think most people see your little four year old brother as a pretty cool little four year old who minds and does things sort of perfectly. I think you and I both know there’s times that that little angel has a few little horns on his head to. Something like that. Something the 10 year old would understand.

Dr. Leman: And again, at least the 10 year old saying, hey, somebody understands where I’m coming from. This isn’t easy. When something has to be done, the garbage has to be taken out, they don’t call on that four year old. You know who the garbage man in this house is. And I get in trouble for what they did. Is it my fault that four year old decided to traipse through the puddle and ruin their good shoes? Mom said I was supposed to be watching them. Yeah, I watched him. I watched him walk right through the puddle. What was I supposed to do? So again, keep in mind, you just have to make the sale to the customer, parent. And you have three little customers and they’re all very different.

Doug: Well, a little terminating story to back this up. So we have two boys and they’re four years apart. And I thought the younger one was an angel. I really did. I thought that he was perfect. And the great thing about our second son is that at times he’ll tell us the truth and he shouldn’t. And so we were like talking to James and Jay, our oldest, and he was saying, hey, brothers may not be as pure as you think he is. So we were, I sat down with the younger one. I said, “Do you ever provoke your brother?”

Doug: And he smiled and he says, “Oh yeah, all the time.”

Dr. Leman: I love it.

Doug: It crushed my opinion that he was the saintly child then I realized, yeah, these younger ones are poking the older ones all the time and then it really helped the older one to know that I did see that the younger ones were not walked on water and not perfect. You do need to do it. It helps. I don’t know how to say it other than that, so.

Andrea: I’m wondering if from the other side of the coin, if there’s anything that Sierra and all of us moms out there can do to actually build the family relationships. Like what suggestions do you have? I think what you’ve talked about already is like super powerful, but are there like traditions or activities or things that you could do on the other side to draw them together?

Dr. Leman: Well, I think when a mom says, “Honey, I need your help. Could you help me solve this?” We know this about us, men. Men love to solve problems. Give young men an opportunity to help moms solve problems. You can even invent the problems if you want, mom, I don’t care. Honey, I need your help. You’re so strong, could you do this for me? And so you have kids who are now taller than you. Hey honey, I can’t reach that. Would you get that for me? And then just a slip of a commercial announcement. You know what I love about you? If I asked you to do something, you do it with a smile on your face. Wow, makes me proud just to be your mom. I love you. Thanks honey. That’s all. There are little taglines that you give kids every day.

Andrea: So when the kids are helping you, it changes their perspective on their other siblings?

Dr. Leman: No, it changes their perception of themselves. The kid that’s acting out feels what? Hurt by life, life’s unfair. I’m always picked on. I’m always the one. So when a mom says, honey, I was just thinking about you today when I asked you to clean the garage yesterday to help me because I know dad wanted it cleaned up and you volunteered to help. I was thinking how easy it would be for you to make an excuse or say you had to have homework done or something, but you know what, you did it with a smile on your face. I just wanted to let you know that’s a great sign of maturity in your life. You’re growing up and I just appreciate your willingness to help. I am so lucky to have a son like you. If you want to add, now those two little slugs… no, you don’t want to say that.

Doug: Well, you know the other thing that you said that again I’m starting to see in living color is if you get your kids to serve others. That that just helps get the eyes off myself and to others. And now that can change dynamics and our family loves now to go do that as a group and as a family. And you said we need to have a protocol and it can’t just be about our own selfishness but about investing in others. Yeah.

Dr. Leman: Yeah. Just before Christmas time, NBC had a special called Ellen’s Eggnog, which stood for Ellen’s greatest gifts, grandest gifts or something, blah, blah, blah. But it was a marvelous show where they gave really deserving grateful people in life, great gifts. They gave one kid $150,000 for example, and a brand new car.

Dr. Leman: They gave one man who had lost his wife to cancer with two little girls, they gave him a new house. It was unbelievable. But my wife and I were watching the three night special and everybody that watched the program was in tears apparently, we were, but our son created that show and he was the head writer for and the executive producer of it and we were laughing because that’s who Kevin was as a little kid.

Dr. Leman: He was always a giver. He was always generous. He was always a helper. And here he is, I don’t know, I think he’s 40 years old now or so, but he loves to help people. And it’s something he learned in the confines of his home. And we saw a recent video of our kids that was found that we didn’t know existed, our daughter Hannah sent it to us and it was Christmas time in a Leman home.

Dr. Leman: And we remarked about if you look at that video right now, you could almost forecast what those kids were going to be like as adults by just watching that Christmas video when they were little kid. So here’s something for you all to think about. The little boy or little girl you once were, guess what you still are. So it’s really important to train kids. It’s really important to have these conversations that Doug and Andrea have suggested you have with your kids.

Dr. Leman: It’s called relationship building and it really pays off and you only have a short window to do this parents. Life goes by awful quick. Trust me, those of us who have kids who are older will ask the question every day, where’d those years go? They seem like minutes. So make the best of every day. Put a smile on the heart of your kid. Do it smart.

Doug: Amen. And my encouragement to you is, and I’ve said it a ton, Dr. Leman changed the way I parent and now as teenagers, we’re having way too much fun with our kids. It seems like we’re cheating somehow, but if you invest the effort early and now it a way pay off, we’re living proof. So please, please, please do it. If you want a roadmap, go get one of Dr. Leman’s books, it’s what helped us.

Doug: So right now you get What A Difference A Mom Makes between now and the end of February of 2020 where eBooks are sold for $2.99. Okay, we love adding to your parenting toolbox so you love those kids more and more. And we look forward to the next time we get to be with you and Sierra, thank you for this questions. Anybody that wants to go to We love answering them.

Andrea: Yeah, thank you Sierra. This was a great question for a great discussion. So have a good week.

Doug: Take care. Bye-bye.

Feb 18 2020



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Good info!

By Rn Meg 28 - Jul 28 2016
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The info is succinct and easy to implement. I love the catch phrases!

Good info

By brd5 - Jul 03 2016
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Leman can be very religious & full of himself, but there are good lessons to be had.