Secret Church Attending; Biting Child- Ask Dr. Leman 99 (Episode 213)

Is your teen being drawn into a cult? What do you do? Is your seven year old son's hysterical violent outburst too aggressive for you to deal with? You asked and now Dr. Leman answers on today’s episode!

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Question #1:

My 16 year old daughter (by HER choice) became an active member of North Coast Christian Church and their 11/12 Ministry, attended camps, and had a close relationship with friends and the teen community of the church. She got baptized while at camp last fall and she was generally doing great and moving into a good direction. She then met a boy at the beach who is a good kid. She abruptly stopped all of her church activities and we asked why but she didn't have an answer.

We just found out her boyfriends sister and Mom have been recruiting her to attend this cult with them behind our backs by arranging to pick her up “covertly” under pretense of her going “surfing”. My ex husband is very upset at this and confronted the Mom. What is your opinion on how to handle this situation so that we don’t push her away, yet keep her from joining this cult while she is still under our roof at age 16. Thank You

Dr. Leman’s Answer:

By confronting the boyfriend's parent, you have already muddied the water, so to speak.

It sounds like you have poured a lot of love, encouragement and a great foundation into your daughter.
To enhance the probability of her returning to this foundation and making the right decision in this matter, I would encourage you to employ hospitality constantly.

Invite the boyfriend over for a dinner.
Let her see the difference in his family and your own.
Kill her with kindness and take the edge off of her rebellion.
Let her know that you believe in her and her ability to make a good decision.
Pray for her.

 

Question #2 Vladimir:

I have son who is 7 years. He has become very aggressive. He explodes a couple times a day for minimal reasons. In his hysterical attack he has bit my wife and I and spoke to us with very bad words. He is very dramatic and for about 10 to 15 minutes before stopping. We used your advice but we don’t know what to do to stop his behavior. Thanks.

Dr. Leman’s Answer:

It sounds like you have been too good of parents! Your son has become ego-centric and does not know how to deal with failure.

I would recommend getting my book, Parenting Your Powerful Child.
You can change what you do as a parent, and hopefully find growth in your son.

When he throws a fit:
1. Step over him
2. Isolate yourself from him
3. Give him much Vitamin N (No)
4. Become solemn, don't talk to him

Remember, when you start changing as a parent with a powerful child, the kid will get worse before things start to improve.

 

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Can a Father Go to Far with Hugs and Kisses? (Episode 212)

Affection? How much? What is appropriate? Do you have questions similar to these? If so, Dr. Leman will answer them on today’s episode!

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You love to snuggle and hug on your kids. They love to cuddle up and read a good book. Kisses are how you show your affection.
Is this ok? Should Dad be careful how much affection he gives his kids?

My daughters still kiss me. I even have a son-in-law who will kiss me on the cheek. We all love to hug. This is all healthy relating. This should be part of a healthy daily life.

But, you have to make a judgement call on this one. If it is unhealthy, it will stick out like a sore thumb. If it is going too far, you will feel it.

The moment you start to feel that it is unhealthy is the moment you need to talk to the person who is taking it too far. If you feel uncomfortable, then speak up.

 

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Parenting as a Stepmother; Screaming Professional- Ask Dr. Leman 98 (Episode 211)

Are you a step-parent who is fighting for respect? Is the relationship with this child putting strain on your relationship with your spouse? Do you have a child who loves to scream when they don’t get their way? On today’s episode Dr. Leman explains how to handle both situations.

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Question #1:

My fiancé has a 7 year old son. The child mother is not in the picture at all and me and my spouse have only been together a little over a year. The son doesn't listen to me or his father when we ask him to do something or stop doing something. He waits for us to walk away then starts doing whatever it was again.

With me being the stepmother I really don't know the best way to go about discipline with him, though my fiancé is very accepting to my actions and really allows me to be the mother. I feel like the son isn't quite ready for me to be his mother and it’s putting a strain on our relationship. Is there any advice you can give me to help build a relationship with my son instead of push him away?

Dr. Leman’s Answer:

This answer will shock you.

Don't marry him…
Not until he does some hard work with his son.

I'd recommend having him read Have a New Kid By Friday or Plant Middle School.

You should not be the front-runner in the discipline of your fiancé's child. Nothing is going to magically change when you get married, and as a matter of fact, you will become the punching-bag for the boy's anger.

Have the hard conversation with your fiancé now. He can turn his son around quickly with some intentional work.

 

Question #2:

I have a child who is a year and is having a screaming fit. I’ll be at church and the screaming fits are off and on, the screams will stop and then start again. I don't have any place to take him and shut the door and let the screaming stop. Are there any good tips for screaming when you are in a stationary place that you don't plan on leaving for a while?

Dr. Leman’s Answer:

Kids scream because they become enamored by their own voice, or, we pay it off.

Here is what I would do:
Pick him up.
Walk outside.
Don't overreact emotionally.
Consider what you can use to help him stay quiet. It may be a pacifier, a book, crayons, etc.

Be patient. This will take some time.

 

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The Three Cultural Forces Fighting Against You (Episode 210)

In today’s world there are many distractions and culture sometimes goes against the way we want to raise our kids. What should we as parents be on the guard against? How can we succeed? Dr. Leman has the answer for you!

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As a parent, you have a lot of things you could worry about. Culture offers much distraction, temptation, and confusion. If there are three things to pay attention to, I'd focus on these top three:

1. Social Media. It dominates.
Kids and adults don't talk to each other like we used to. Communication has become impersonal.
As parents, we are feeding it by buying phones and introducing our little children to screen time way too early.
For help on this one, check out our training called “Your Kid's Smartphone… The Modern Day Goliath” by going to https://www.haveanewkid.com/smart-phone-page-original/.

2. Social Guidelines and Taboos have all disappeared.
It is now a situation of “situational ethics”. If you don't stand for anything, you will fall for everything!

3. Children are the center of the family universe.
Mom and Dad, your kids need to see that your marriage counts. Not only that, but teach your kids to care for others by modeling it!

 

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Spouse Not Parenting; Anger in Parenting- Ask Dr. Leman 97 (Episode 209)

Do you ever feel like you are the lone parent working to raise your kids? Are all of Dr. Leman's techniques great, except that you cannot figure out how to keep your cool, without letting sarcasm or anger sneak in? These are your questions and listen to find out Dr. Leman’s answers!

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Question #1:

How can I convince my wife to educate herself on child development? We have a 8 month old, and one on the way. When she is not working, she's browsing Facebook and putting the child in front of TV.

Dr. Leman’s Answer:

You are right, it is not good for the development of a child's brain to be propped up in front of a screen. It would be much better if Mom engaged and read or played with empty boxes.

Your question is how to encourage her.
1. Print off research, and say,”Maybe I am whack-o, but…” By downplaying yourself, you draw attention to the expert's research.
2. Call your pediatrician and ask them to discuss it with her at the next appointment.
3. Pray for her.

Question #2 Marcy:

I love your books and listen to your podcast regularly. I have a hard time using the phrases and techniques you recommend without letting sarcasm, frustration, or anger into the situation. Do you have any advice on how to keep your cool? Sometimes I feel like I am just a mean mom. Thank You!

Dr. Leman’s Answer:

Anger builds up one puff at a time, like blowing up a balloon. Once you reach a certain point, it POPS!

Empty your anger tank.

How?
If you have a hard time saying things without the cheap shot, you need to take care of them one puff at a time. Learn to vocalize the things that bother you. Express it toward the situation. Not the person.

Try saying, “I am so angry when I come into this room and see it this way!”
Instead of, “You are such a slob!”

Practice speaking out the little things that make you angry as you go along, or into the mirror, rather than letting it all build up and boil over in an angry expression.

 

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How Do You Tell Your Kids You Are In Financial Trouble? (Episode 208)

It can be really hard to admit to your family that you are between a hard spot and a rock financially. How do you have the hard discussion with them? Dr. Leman tells us on this episode.

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There are times in our lives as parents that we really mess up. Sometimes we make bad choices that have an affect on the whole family, but it is really humbling to admit.
Like debt.
Job loss.
Is it right to tell your kids, or do you hide it to protect them?

Debt is never a good place to find yourself. It is a terrible place to be.

And, with your family, you must admit your mistakes.
Humble yourself. Tell the family what is going on.

“I have failed as a model. I made the mistake of thinking things are more important than people.”

This is an opportunity for the whole family to pitch in (depending on their ages). Mom and Dad find jobs. The kids can work as sitters and do yard work. Everyone can pitch in.

Don't let the shame eat you up. It is time for you to look yourself in the mirror, ask forgiveness and move on!

 

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Threatens to Kill Themselves; 5 Only Dresses Her Way- Ask Dr. Leman 96 (Episode 207)

Have you ever had your 9 year-old threaten to kill himself? How about your 5 year-old refusing to wear the clothes you buy her? How should a parent deal with these two powerful children? Listen to this episode to hear Dr. Leman’s answer!

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Question #1:

My son is 9 and just recently he started threatening himself when he doesn't get his way. If I discipline him or he gets mad at me or his dad he tells me to just kill him or he says he should just kill himself. Today he told his brother he should take his finger and push it into his throat. How do I respond to this behavior? My husband thinks he is just trying to get negative attention and to ignore it, but with the world today how do I know if I should rush him to a counselor. I don't think he is serious, but again…why does he keep reverting to those statements every time he is mad.

Dr. Leman’s Answer:

He is a powerful little guy.

When kids threaten, it is just that, they are threatening. You take actions seriously, not so much the threats.

The questions to ask yourself is: What kind of positive attention is he getting in the home from mom and dad? Does he have any privileges in the family if he is the oldest child?

I would recommend reading Parenting Your Powerful Child.

Question #2 Cara:

I have a 5 year old daughter (only child). When she was about 3 her and I started battling over her clothes and hair. She refused to wear certain clothes, and began being very particular about the way her hair was fixed. After battling her, spanking, and losing control; my husband and I turned to your book. After realizing most of the battle was a power struggle I began to pick my battles. Her and I worked together to pick out her clothes. And I now take her shopping so she can pick out her clothes, and tell her she has to wear what we buy. The problem is we get home and she decides she doesn't like it anymore so refuses to wear new clothes/shoes. I have really surrendered and just let her pick her clothes, but she wants to wear a dress everyday, wants to fix her hair on her own, and wants to wear the same few favorites repeatedly. Our battle has definitely improved, but I feel like we still have many steps to achieve complete success. Does this still sound like a power struggle to you? And if so, how should I address it?

Dr. Leman’s Answer

My advice is threefold:

1. Let her wear what she wants.
2. Let her fix her hair however she likes.
3. Back off, and let it run its course.

When someone pokes fun at her over always wearing the same dress, she'll figure it out!

 

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How Do You Introduce Your Kids to Smoking and Alcohol? (Episode 206)

Your kid is entering a world full of temptations and peer pressure. How do you get them ready to face their peers, to say “no” to cigarettes, alcohol and drugs? Should you say something? Is it too late if they have already dabbled in it?

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When I was a kid, smoking was everywhere, and I still remember my first cigarette at age 7. Yep, 7!
We thought it was cool, it was everywhere, we even bought candy cigarettes.

Today things are a bit different. We know how dangerous smoking is to our health, and it is mostly the kids on the fringes with low self-esteem who get caught up in smoking. They are lonely and believe they have found a new friend who has introduced them to smoking.

Then there is alcohol. This one is a big deal these days! Peer pressure is strong.

The best way to prepare your kids for this onslaught is two-fold:

1. Give them a secure home, where they know who they are, and where they belong.
2. Give them freedom to make the choice themselves. It is a matter of free will.

They will make the choice either way, so by granting them in fantasy the right to smoke, drink or try drugs, it will take away the urge to rebel. Tell them, “It is your choice, but we hope you'll be secure enough to make a healthy decision.”

And, importantly, if you have a family history of alcoholism, it is important for you to tell them about their chance to become an alcoholic.

 

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Out of Control Nephew; Young Adult Dating- Ask Dr. Leman 95 (Episode 205)

What do you do when parenting your nephew drives you insane and takes a toll on your younger children? What about if your 21 year-old son is dating a 26 year-old, and you really don't like her? These are the questions you asked, and Dr. Leman answers today.

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Question #1 Denise:

One year ago I took custody of my nephew who was living with my uncle. My sister gave him to my uncle at about age 7 and he could not handle him and gave the option of someone else taking him or him going to the state. I took him and have been struggling ever since. I feel like I wake up angry at him… He doesn't listen; I have to tell him the same things every single day.

I have gotten so tired of cleaning up after him that every time I talk to him I can hear the anger and frustration in my voice and actions… I know I need to change my approach but I am trying and failing constantly. The 2 younger kids in the house (my kids 7 &5) are watching his constant bad example. He also has an only child complex, He HAS to be first in everything! We ride our bikes to church and he will run one of the little kids off the sidewalk just to be first.

I have younger kids watching him and doing and saying things he does and says. I don't know how to change my attitude toward him and I need help finding a way to stay calm, be nice and show him love. AND change his behavior because he is driving me insane.

Dr. Leman’s Answer:

You are stepping in quicksand when you bring a child older than your own into your home. You need to ask yourself the serious question: “Is this kid's involvement in our home worth it?”

For the sake of this kid, you may be sacrificing your marriage and your relationship with your kids.
It is time for a tough conversation.

“Things are not working out with you here. I need to see some changes, or you'll find yourself living somewhere else.”

He may say he doesn't care, but he does. You may just see the changes you need to see in him.

One book that you would find helpful is The Way of the Shepherd.

Question #2 Mari-lyn:

Our 21 year-old son has been dating a girl 26 for the last year we have told him many times we do not approve of her. He told us he understands her and why she is the way she is (self centered/know it all). Months back we set major limits for her at our house. We thought this would run its course and end sooner than it has.

Again today I was very blunt with him and told him he was being used and he needed to kick her to the curb. He was sad at what I said, but hasn’t said anymore. How do I get him to see clearly and understand what we see and feel? Thanks.

Dr. Leman’s Answer:

You've said your piece, Mari-lyn. It is time to sit back and let the relationship ride.
Over the years, you have poured into this kid. Let that be his guide now.

There are a couple of things you can do:
1. Back off.
2. Invite them both over for a nice dinner, thereby lessening the friction between you.
3. Give your son lots of Vitamin E in the form of, “We trust you.”

 

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Do My Kids Love My Spouse More? (Episode 204)

Are you having a pity party because your kids have more fun with your spouse? Do you feel like you are always the one having to tow the line, while they get all the credit for being fun? How should a parent deal with this? Is this just reality? Find out on today’s episode with Dr. Leman!

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These differences set you up to be a couple. It is the nature of your marriage.

There will be times when the kids gravitate one way or the other depending on the ROLE you play in the marriage and their need at the time.
If you are the parent who feels that you are always keeping things moving and directing the chores, ask your spouse, “Help me to lighten up a bit. What can I do? What do you see in me that I could work on?”

You will love the real-life conversation Doug and Andrea have in this episode.

 

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