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 BirthOrderGuy.com.
NEW: When Your Kid is Hurting –Dr. Kevin Leman
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 BirthOrderGuide.com, BirthOrderGuide.com, 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 DrLeman.com. 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. DrLeman.com.
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).
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 DrLeman.com. 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.