Does the state of your marriage affect the way you parent? Dr. Leman discusses what it means to have balance in the home, beginning with your marriage.

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NEW: The Intimate Connection –Dr. Kevin Leman


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Doug: Hi welcome to this episode of Have a New Kid by Friday with Dr. Kevin Leman. Today we tackle the topic, does my marriage affect my parenting and if so what can I do about it?

Doug: Hi, Doug Terpening.

Andrea: And I’m Andrea.

Doug: If this is your first time with us we are go glad that you are here, it is an honor to have you. But we want to let you know that 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. Before we jump into today’s topic I want to give all the podcast listeners the latest Baker Books Special, it’s Planet Middle School. Planet Middle School, April 23 to 29 for only a $1.99. Incredible if you have a teenage kid or a middle school kid, excuse me. This would be a phenomenal book to get as Dr. Leman says behind their eyes to know what they’re talking about.

Doug: Well Dr. Leman, more and more people know that we do a podcast and sometimes people ask us what is your bit of advice and my advice is always the same. It is learn to get along with your spouse, love your spouse actually is what I say. The reason I learned this is that confession time, Andrea and I were having an argument one time and we started in the kitchen and it went over into the living room. Before long I was standing with fists clenched, veins in my neck, red faced, yelling three inches from her at the top of my voice, you are a liar. Right behind me were my kids.

Dr. Leman: That’s why I like you, you’re so stupid.

Doug: I realized this affects my kids and parenting. So why should I care about this?

Dr. Leman: Yeah, you know kids are like delicate flowers in many ways. Yes, some of you are thinking of your nine year old who spits and drives you crazy. Dr. Leman says he’s like a flower and you’re thinking like a flower with stickers sticking out of it. But kids shouldn’t be hearing parents screaming, yelling, fighting and I’m here to tell you that most kids grow up with a lot of anger around them. A lot of name calling, a lot of fighting. If you just look at the divorce rate that will give you some idea of the millions of kids who are subject to that stuff on a daily basis. Rule number one is be the adult. Realize that your words matter that you say not only to each other but to your children. It’s very important that you realize as a woman that you represent womanhood to all of your children with particular emphasis on your son. Dads you represent all of manhood, obviously to your sons but especially to your daughters. Your kids are taking notes on the things you say and how you say them. They’re figuring out what love is like in the flesh.

Dr. Leman: We all make mistakes. We’ve all said things in front of our kids that we wish we hadn’t said. Well that’s one thing. It’s another thing to be bombarded with that on a daily basis and that’s my concern when you ask that question. About how many parents just bombard their kids with negativity and yelling and screaming. I’ve had so many parents tell me, oh, I can’t help it, I can’t help it. Well if you can’t help it who can help it? If you can’t stop it who can stop it? Those are just lies we tell ourselves. Marriage and the intimate connection, I’ve got a book out, comes out April 30th on this topic and I’m anxious to see what people will think. But a the beginning of the book I ask the reader this, does any of this feel or sound familiar? You can’t remember the last time you had a conversation just the two of you? You’ve forgotten what the tingles of first love felt like? The line you hate hearing most is you just don’t understand, you’ll never understand. Your former passionate kiss before work has turned into a flung see you as you run out the door.

Dr. Leman: I mean it goes on. The most meaningful words you’ve said to your spouse lately were did you get orange juice. I mean many millions of couples live the married singles lifestyle. Their married but you’d never know it because they literally live singular lives. There isn’t that connection. Certainly isn’t that intimate connection. Holding hands is a distant memory. You really when you think about any type of closeness you struggle. I mean the last time you saw a flower was at your uncles funeral. If that’s your life you’re a great candidate to read The Intimate Connection. It will tough reading for some of you because you’ll realize you are so far removed from that goal of having the intimate connection. But be clear, we’re talking today about how your marriage influences your kids. It influences your kids greatly.

Andrea: So if the kids are in a home where the parents are living like you called it married singles or something and the kids see them arguing and fighting, how does that play out in the kids lives?

Dr. Leman: Well it plays out that the kids figure out that what they get, they get anyway they can get it. They become very self centered, they learn not to care for other people. The normal sibling rivalry that appears in most families is heightened. Every dog for himself, it’s all about me. I mean take a look around at our generation today Andrea, that’s what we’re looking at right now. Look at the marriages that have ended. Walk into an elementary school and do a survey. Like you could do this but hypothetical and ask how many kids in that 26 person classroom, how many of those kids are the product of a marriage where mom and dad are still on the first marriage. You’ll see four hands go up. Two hands go up. Six hands go up. You’ll never see 24 hands go up.

Dr. Leman: So society has changed and evolved. When we were kids we didn’t know anybody who was divorced. My buddy Moon and I had that conversation a couple of summers ago. We were amazed that we couldn’t think of one kid in our entire school whose parents were divorced. Of course divorce was tougher back in those days, I understand that but it’s just so prevalent today.

Andrea: So why does it turn a kid selfish to see the parents fighting?

Dr. Leman: You know kids need vitamin E, they need encouragement. Okay? They need acceptance. They have to feel like they’re loved. They need to be accepted for who they are. Do you think the parent who’s going after each other all the time is giving any vitamin E to their kid? I mean some parents are saying, I’m sorry I married him. I’m sorry I married her. Do you think a kid wants to hear that about their parent? So parents today in my opinion don’t think, they don’t use good judgment, so kids need to be accepted and they need to feel like they belong. Would you want to belong to a club where there’s just constant fighting and bickering? Now keep in mind that your kid is going to belong somewhere Andrea. So when that kid at school says, hey you want to drink this, smoke this, snort this, that’s a place for a kid to belong in a peer group. In a gang, in an anything where there is some kind of acceptance and an opportunity for that kid to identify. I’m a this, I’m a that. For some kids they identify in sports. Some kids rise above all the stuff that’s going on in their home and they find that school is a place where they can thrive because they get good grades and the get reinforcement that they can do some things.

Dr. Leman: But notice that all those things are the kid identifying outside of the home. I’m always telling young women look for a guy that wants to identify in the home. That’s a guy that’s going to be a good husband. That’s the guy that’s going to be a good dad.

Doug: So Dr. Leman let’s be honest, we were joking on the last podcast how Andrea are crazy busy right now. For me to stop and invest in changing my marriage and gaining new tools, it’s going to hard in this day and age. Why would I do it?

Dr. Leman: Well there’s a great payoff when you invest in your kids lives. I mean I have five kids, the youngest is 26. They love to hang out with mom and dad. How does that happen? We know of families where the kids don’t talk to each other, the married kids, the grown kids don’t talk to each other. The parents rarely see the kids. They’re never all together, ever, ever. What made our home different? We did not sign up for things outside the home. We’re not in the social pages of the Tucson paper holding a cocktail with a bunch of people we hardly know. We chose to invest our time with each other and our children. Now we’re old, okay.

Dr. Leman: Now Sandy and I this Saturday are taking our two grandchildren who are 15 and 13 to the monster truck whatever that is. We’re doing the monster truck event in Tucson. I know you’re laughing. I’m laughing too. It’s loud, I wear hearing aids, it’s going to probably take me about two feet off my seat. Now this is unique part about this event, neither of the grandchildren know they’re going. We’re picking them up ostensibly to take them to lunch. Well once we drive all the way downtown they’re going to think, wow we’re driving a long way to go to lunch, where are we going? Oh, you’ll see and we’ll pull in that parking lot at the community center and they’re going to think wait a minute, what’s going on. I mean they’re old enough to figure out somethings going on. I have no idea what the monster truck event is going to be like. The chances of me really liking it I believe are slim but we want to do some things with our grandchildren.

Dr. Leman: I guess what I’m saying is the commitment comes from within you as parents. Do you really want to be a difference maker in life? Do you want to be a difference maker in your kids life? Do you want to put that indelible imprint on your kids life? Then you’re the one that puts that emotion.

Doug: So Dr. Leman if I’m going to invest in buying the book Intimate Connection and if I’m going to then try and apply these principals, what’s my payoff?

Dr. Leman: Just knowing how many 15 years text you during the day and says grandpa, I love you. I mean how many of you have those deep, wonderful, meaningful relationships where your kids will call you and say hey, can I run something by you? What does that say about you? What does that say about your relationship? It says that you’ve paved the way for a trusting relationship where even later in life your kids covet your input. That’s how much you’re respected and loved. So the benefits are multiple at every level. I mean life is short, some of you as you grow older you’ll figure that out. Your parents probably said that to you in one form or another, it’s true. My daughter has a little linen in her kitchen that says, oh my goodness, everything my mother said was right.

Doug: Well we’re going to continue this in just a moment. But now Dr. Leman I’d love a straight talk moment with you that helps us around parenting that we’d get from, maybe one from the Intimate Connection book. Free talk with Dr. Leman.

Dr. Leman: You know intimacy eludes most of us. It’s just easy to live that arms length relationship. You don’t have to put much effort into it. But wow, the results are really different. If you do put and invest in your marriage you’ll never regret it. I give it you gentlemen, I know they’re weird. My wife has so many pair of shoes, I can’t even count them. I own one pair of shoes. I get that they’re weird. I’ll be ready in just five minutes. Actually 27 minutes, I timed it the other day. Honey, I just have to brush my teeth. Nine minutes later she was in the car. They’re weird, they’re strange, they lie like dogs. But they’re women, they’re wonderful, feminine women and you are lucky as a man to share life this wonderful creature. I’m just telling you if you just work hard at getting behind her eyes and seeing how she sees life and really knock yourself out to know what her needs are and some of them are strange.

Dr. Leman: My wife likes her back scratched, S shaped. That’s her favorite, S shaped, I want an S shape. Back and forth, I feel like a snake, like a viper on her back going back and forth. Then she really likes it backhand. Well how did I learn that? Through trial and error. Through instruction, from listening to her. So getting behind your wife’s eyes and ladies getting behind your husbands eyes, he’s not a girlfriend, don’t put a skirt on him. He’s a man. Some of us men don’t mind walking out the door with just one spot on our tee shirts, not the end of the world. Let him be the man he is. Let him go hunting and fishing or whatever his thing is. Love him as a man. Speak well of him always speak well of him in front of your children, in front of others. You will reap the benefit as you strive to become one in marriage.

Dr. Leman: Read the Intimate Connection, now there’s an investment that will pay off.

Doug: Thanks Dr. Leman and we, Andrea and I and younger have this story in our head that says if we give our kids everything they will be happy. If we do this and we do that and we do that. I’ve seen that the marriage, I’ve actually had friends of ours say, hey I’m going to deal with my marriage after the kids are gone. Is that good advice or bad advice?

Dr. Leman: It’s amazing to me, I’ve dealt with a lot of people with tragedies with their kids and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard it said, I just don’t understand why he would do that or why she’d do that. We gave him everything he every wanted. What a mistake to give your kids everything they ever wanted. You know you’re not Santa Clause you don’t snowplow the roads of life for kids. You’re the parent, be an authority. You earn the respect of your children every day and sometimes kids need yeses and sometimes they need lots of encouragement. More than other days, some days just a little encouragement will do it. Other days they need a lot but they don’t need the things they need you. They need your time, they need your love, they need your appreciation for who they are. They need for you to be able to communicate with them. Don’t worry about things. Things are the least important thing that your kids needs from you.

Doug: So Dr. Leman, Steph Curry’s wife, I can’t remember her name, recently came out and said we make sure that we have time for us first and our kids later. Is that good advice or bad advice?

Dr. Leman: I always said that kids need to be like Avis rent a car, number two and trying harder. It’s true, mom and dad. You know my advice in one of the parent book, I can’t remember which one is when a newborn comes into your family. Especially your first born. Within the first two weeks of life you leave the baby at home and go out for dinner by yourselves. The reason I say that is it sets a pattern for you as a couple that you can be a couple. You’re not always going to be there for your children and you need to make sure that the marriage is flourishing because that’s the foundation for your entire family. As we documented today if the marriage doesn’t go well, the kids pay for it in many ways.

Doug: I think my final question is I’m thinking about the book Intimate Connection and how we have had people have fear, like if I change and I start loving them, they’ll just take advantage of me. What would you say to the person who would say that in my marriage?

Dr. Leman: Well they have a rather myopic view. Just loving kids is many times interpreted as just doing things for children and that’s really not loving them. Love without discipline is incomplete, you have to remember that. I know where you were going with that. But you have to realize that love is a combination of being respectful and being a good listener and the loving on them as some parents would say, yes that’s very much a part of it. You want kids to feel loved but you don’t want them to feel entitled. If you take a look around North America today and look at our families you’ll see that most kids are entitled. You owe me. They don’t want to work for anything.

Dr. Leman: You know I’m the guy that wrote the book Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours. Well I’ve often said do you make children mind? No. But you set up situations where a kid figures out you know I money ahead to go with the program than be fighting city hall at all times. So what we’re asking you to do parents is have balance. Let your no be no, your yes be yes. Don’t be afraid to correct kids. Don’t be afraid to be the parent that you are.

Doug: Well thank you Dr. Leman and the reason Andrea and I do this podcast is because A, these books have helped us out so much and we want parents to flourish in all that we’re doing. A week from this podcast release, April 30th the Intimate Connection comes out. My final ask to you is, it’s hard to decide to buy a book and to say I want to affect change. To that person who is struggling in their marriage, what would be the final thing you would say to them about why this book will help them?

Dr. Leman: I’d say how’s life working out for you? If you’re really having these thoughts of leaving your husband, leaving your wife, you’re looking at other women or looking at other men. There’s an unhappiness and a loneliness when you lay your head on the pillow at night, there’s hope. I’ve been a part of changing millions of lives, quite frankly. Lots and lots of marriages, thousands and thousands of marriages and so many of them have started by someone simply picking up a Leman book.

Doug: Thank you, thank you, thank you. Well, Andrea and I we don’t get a cut of these books. We don’t get 1.0% of any books you sell. I just know that they help you so much. They’ve helped us, they’ve helped our marriage. They’ve helped our parenting which is why I always bring them up because it’s hard to decide to buy a book but it is such a small investment for massive reward. So highly, highly, highly encourage you to do it. I also want to remind you this weeks is Planet Middle School for $1.99, April 23 through 29 on ebook version and we look forward to the next time we get to hang out with you and keep adding to that parenting tool box so you can love those kids more and more.

Andrea: Have a great week.

Doug: Look forward to next time, bye bye.