Best of 2018 – Episode 218 Replay: Is there really only one way to raise a kid? Today’s episode deals with the three main parenting styles: authoritarian, permissive, and authoritative. Learn more about Dr. Leman at BirthOrderGuy.com.
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Doug: Hi, I’m Doug Terpening.
Andrea: I’m Andrea.
Doug: If this is your first time with us, we are so glad that you’re here, and just to let you know, this is for your education and entertainment purposes only. If anything comes up that you have a concern about, please go seek a local professional for help.
The topic we’re going to talk about today is, I’m going to challenge Dr. Leman on his, There’s Only One Way to Raise a Kid, but before we get there, I don’t know why I’m going to talk about this. Those two voices you hear at the beginning are our middle two kids, and they, Dr. Leman, I don’t even think you even know this, they have joined a speech and debate club. One of them has made it to regionals for a speech that she’s done. It’s really, really fun to see your kids grow and develop, and all those things.
Before I go there, one of the things that has helped us is the Dr. Leman books, and the good people at Baker and Ravelle are making this podcast happen. They, one of the really fun things for me is they tell me about these incredible promos before they come, so that we can tell our listeners, and like I think this is one of the few ways you can find out about them, is Dr. Leman’s mazine book called, Making Sure They Mind Without Losing Yours, is going to go on mega sale, on eBook for only $3.99, starting tomorrow, July 11th to the 17th of July, so go to Amazon, go to Barnes & Noble, go to wherever you buy it on digital. Making Sure They Mind Without Losing Yours, only $3.99, absolutely amazing.
The question I want to ask, because it does relate to the book, Dr. Leman, is this, you say there’s only one way to raise a kid. How can that be true?
Dr. Leman: Well, I’ll be glad to answer that, but I was told, trying to get over the shock that we’re downloading, Making Children Mind, for $3.99. Let me be clear on this, if that was my choice, that would never happen. That book has sold over a million copies for a reason. Somebody must have been smoking something up there to make that decision, that we’re going to download that book for $3.99, so if you’re a Blue Light Special person, you like bargains, let me tell you, that is a bargain. $3.99, you’re getting in your nook, or your device, Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours, for $3.99. Wow, that is amazing. Wow, that is really something. I’m telling you, you’re going to love that book.
That book, some of you say, “Well I read that book years ago.” Well, that book was totally revised, I mean totally revised in 2017. It rocks and rolls. It came out, went immediately on the bestseller list. It sold well over a million copies for many, many reasons. In fact, when I speak to business groups, a lot of the information I share with CEO groups comes right out of Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours. You will love that book. I know that’s a short window, here in July, but wow, take advantage of that. That is a wonderful opportunity to save some bucks. As long as they put it out there, you might as well tell your friends about it, and let them download it as well.
See, as an author, I’d much rather them walk in a bookstore and buy it at retail price, but nevermind. I won’t go there. I beat that dog enough.
Now, to answer Doug’s question, oh up to what I said, yes. There’s only one way to rear your child. I know that sounds a little loony, because people are saying, “How could that be, there’s only one way to rear a child? Aren’t you painting yourself in the corner?” Well, I’ll let you be the judge of that.
You know, there’s three basic types of parents, and to really understand our podcast, to know where we’re coming from, from almost any question people can ask us, you need to have this foundational information. Most of us grew up in an authoritarian world, where adults were the head of everything. They were in charge. They were the authoritarians. They were the king and queens of the family. What they said goes. They ruled with an iron fist. They said things like, “Hey, you’re going to do what I tell you to do. You understand me? As long as you live under this roof, you’ll do what I tell you to do. I’ll tell you when to do it, how to do it, okay? Hey, you want something to cry about? I’ll give you something to cry about. Hey, don’t make me come over there.”
Now a lot of you can resonate with that. Some of you told me, “Well, it wasn’t that, it was my mother or my dad, who gave me the look. When I got the look, my whole body tightened up. My heels clicked together, and I knew that they meant business.” Well that’s the authoritarian parent, and authoritarianism has been with us for a long time. Let me point out to you the Civil Rights Bill was passed way back in 1964. There was a hierarchy in our society that we all grew up with, where white people were “better than people of color.” Men were better than women. Adults were what, better than children. There was a hierarchy that was based upon supremacy, okay?
Now, ask yourself today, is that the society we live in? No, kids view themselves as social equals to parents. Men and women are of equal social value. Are they the same? No. Are parents and children the same? No, but again, keep in mind the authoritarian model is what most of us grew up with. Now here’s the problem. I’m a person of faith. Now I realize there’s heathens listening to us right now, and you can just disregard this next part if you’d like, but I got to share with you that I became a believer in Jesus Christ at age 21.
My life did a 180. I was brought up in a church, but God was some kind of a distant entity to me. God became real when I was 21. My life did a 180. God gave me motivation, went back to school, became successful in life, but I think our model for parenting, and this is really important to understand this, is well, almighty God he an authoritarian? Did he take Doug and Andrea, and rub their nose in it? Did he twist their earlobe and tell them, you will do this, you will do that? No, so to answer the question, God is not an authoritarian, so if you’re bringing your kids up, and with all due respect to my friend Jim Dobson, who has done many good things for the family, those of your who brought your kids up with Dobson type material, from his many, many books, have brought your kids up, in my biased opinion, in an ungodly way. Certainly not a way that’s consistent with God as the authority, and not as the authoritarian.
There’s many, many people who believe that the authoritarian model is the way that parallels Christ-like teaching. I’m not one of those people who believe that. I believe that Almighty God is the supreme authority. In fact, his word says, every knee shall watch, shall bow, so our model, I believe, is not to be authoritarian based, but to be authority based, supreme authority based.
You have three distinctly different types of parents. You have the authoritarian, who’s the traditional parent. You have the permissive parent, which is the seems like the opposite of the authoritarian parent, but check this out, if you bring up your kid to be in a permissive environment, they’ll learn to rebel, because you weren’t firm. You didn’t have guidelines. You were too laesae fair, but the parent who brings up their kid by authoritarian means is sowing the seeds of rebellion as well, so either extremes produces a rebellion, a self-centeredness in children that’s not healthy. I’m not backing down. There’s only one way to rear a child, and that is to be in healthy authority over your child. Well, you better explain to us, Leman, what’s the difference here, because I’m not sure I’m getting what you’re saying.
Well, the authoritarian parent. Let’s just take something really simple. It’s a cold winter morning in Tucson, Arizona where I live. The temperature plumates to a bone-chilling 53 degrees. I mean people are shivering. They’re cold. What does mom, the traditional authoritarian-based parent fix for little Harper? She fixes oatmeal, and by the way, this is important, why does she fix him oatmeal? Because it’s what? Good for him, okay, so out comes little Harper, got his little blankey with him. Sits down to breakfast. Mom puts the oatmeal in front of him, and he says, “I don’t like that.” Then mom goes into her little jingle, “Honey, eat it. It’s good for you. Eat it, you’ll be big and strong like your 137 pound Dad someday.” Then if he still balks, we tell him about people over in Bangladesh, who would love to have that food. It didn’t work years ago, it doesn’t work today, but that’s your authoritarian, traditional, well-meaning parent, okay?
Now the permissive parent, she’s got three kids, and she’s fixing a cheeseburger for one of them, noodles without any sauce for a third one, and Crispy Critters for the third one, so she has a short order menu. She’s the chief, cook and bottle washer in the restaurant, called the home. It’s too permissive. It’s too laesae fair.
Now, the parent I want to create, I’ll go back to, There’s Only One Way to Rear a Child, is the authoritative parent. When the kid comes out, little Harper comes out, you might be brave enough to give him a choice. “Harper, would you like Crispy Critters this morning or Cheerios?” “Um, Crispy Critters,” so you go get the Crispy Critters, you pour the milk on them, now he changes his mind. “No, no. I want Cheerios. I want Cheerios.” All right parent, here’s where you become responsible. Here’s where you become action oriented. Here’s where you use what I call, reality discipline, that comes from making children mind without losing yours. He’s made the choice. You can’t re-crisp a soggy critter, so he has a choice to make. He either eats the crispy critters that are now getting soggier by the second, or he doesn’t eat.
Twenty minutes later, if he chooses not to eat, at least you have an answer that makes sense. “Mommy, mommy I’m hungry. My tummy doesn’t have anything in it at all.” “Harper, I bet you are hungry snookums. Could it have anything to do with the fact you didn’t eat your breakfast this morning? Now you run along and play, and I’ll see you at Noon.” Again, what will a kid eat at Noon? Anything, because he’s hungry.
Now here’s the principal, let the reality of the situation become the teacher to the child. Your home ought to be reflective of reality, that you just can’t have run of the house. There are consequences for even the slightest decision that you make, so we really are literally training up a child, and training is an essential part of rearing a child, consistency, your routines, it’s all a part of life, so I’m just telling you there’s only one way to rear a kid, and if you want to really explore, or challenge what I just said, read Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours. You’ll find it to be a delightful book that is jam packed with ideas about how to deal with traditional hassles over bedtime, eating, potty training, you name it. There’s answers and take away in that lovely book, and you can download it for $3.99. I still can’t get over the fact you can get that for $3.99. That’s a good one.
Doug: Mom, Andrea.
Doug: What’s the kid’s name again, not Buford?
Dr. Leman: Oh, Harper.
Doug: Harper, so Harper doesn’t do Crispy Critters, and at lunch, you sit down and you make him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and he says, “No, I want Cheerios,” then so you tell him, “Okay, this is all you get,” and he walks away. Now it’s 5:00 and dinner’s not til 6:00 because Dad’s not home yet, and Harper’s on the floor crying because his tummy hurts so bad. Can you do that, Mom, or not?
Andrea: It’s hard.
Dr. Leman: By lunch, Doug, that kid’s going to figure it out. He’s hungry, so let the hunger be the teacher.
Andrea: So he will figure it out at Noon? He’ll eat that peanut butter and jelly?
Dr. Leman: Yeah, he’s going to eat. Well why not just give him a choice. I have no problem with giving a choice to a kid. Some kids you’ve got to be more constrictive. I understand that. Would you like a potato or a potato? It’s like a tomatoe or tomato. That was a bad sense of humor in that one, I guess, but anyway, you know what I’m saying? Don’t make it a mountain. Eating, sleeping, and going potty are the most natural things in the world, and these are the stick points for so many parents. They have battles and tears, and temper tantrums over natural things. Kids are going to eat. They’re going to go potty, okay, and they’re going to go to sleep.
Andrea: The key thing that an authoritative parent does is give their kids choices within certain boundaries?
Dr. Leman: Choices are part of it. I sort of cringe at parents who seem to give choices at every turn, I mean it’s like, I mean some things we’re leaving now, we have to go. We’re going to school, it’s not a choice. The train’s leaving, we need to get on it, so no. I wouldn’t say that’s the key, giving choices, but choices are certainly a part of it.
Doug: Let’s jump up to 5th grade, 10, 11 years old now, and, “I’m not doing my homework. I hate math and I’m just not turning my math in.” If you’re an authoritarian dad, and I’m your 10 year old son, and I still haven’t turned in my homework, how would you respond to me about my homework not being in there? You’re authoritarian.
Dr. Leman: Hey, I found out that you didn’t turn in your math homework. Hey, I don’t know what’s going on, but in this house, everybody pulls their weight. You understand me? You need to do your math. Now you owe your teacher an apology, and your mother and I as well. Then there’s tears.
Doug: Okay, yep.
Dr. Leman: Then there’s tears and drama.
Doug: That, “Oh sorry, Dad. I didn’t mean to. It’s so bad. Okay,” right? Yeah, and then what’s the permissive parent? How does that look?
Dr. Leman: The permissive parent is, “John, listen. I have to get ready for work. Would you just write a quick note to the teacher and tell him that due to a family circumstance Daniel was unable to do his math homework?”
Doug: “Thanks mom, you’re the best. I love you,” right?
Dr. Leman: Yeah, okay. That’s the permissive. Now, the authoritative parent, when you find out the kid hasn’t done his school work, okay, don’t own what isn’t yours, but be the responsible parent. Send an email to teacher, “Hey, heads up, Daniel didn’t do a lick of his homework. Would you mind putting a spotlight on him, and making sure that he knows that homework is essential, and a requirement, to remain in good standing in the 5th grade,” or I might send an email to the vice principal of the school, or call them, or go down and see him and say, “Listen, I’m concerned about my son, Daniel. I think he can do the work, but he’s not handing it in,” which is a telltale sign of a perfectionist, by the way. Let the vice principal call Daniel out of class, and say, “Daniel, I’m not happy. Understand you haven’t been handing in your math homework. What’s happening?”
The authoritative parent would say to a kid, “Honey, apparently there’s a problem with math. Listen, we have hired Samantha Smith, who’s a junior at the high school, and she loves math, and she’s going to be here at 4:00, three times a week, to help you with your math. I think that’s just a very practical way of maybe helping you see your way through math.” “Well, I don’t want a tutor.” “Well honey, I understand you don’t want a tutor, but I’m telling you as your father, you have a tutor. She’ll be here at 4:00 today, three times a week.”
Doug: That’s good. Let’s do one more, if you don’t mind. Let’s do dishes. I’m, again, I’m an 11 year old kid, and I’m supposed to do the dishes, and I don’t do them. I’m always have some excuse of why I can’t get my dishes done.
Dr. Leman: Okay, and mom comes in, and sees the dishes are full, dirty as they were last night. She just comes home from work, and 11 year old hasn’t done what the 11 year old’s supposed to do.
Dr. Leman: Mom makes herself a cup of tea, sits on the patio with her husband. He’s reading the paper, and nothing’s happening. 13 year old comes in, he just came home from baseball practice, he says, “Mom, mom, I’m starved. What’s for dinner? “Honey right now nothing. The kitchen is not ready to be even walked into, let alone prepare a meal.” “Mom, what’s the problem?” “Well, I think the problem is your 11 year old brother, I don’t know why, but the kitchen’s a mess. He hasn’t touched it, so when the kitchen gets ready to go, mom will get ready to go.”
At that point, the 13 year old’s going to probably pound on the 11 year old, which is another problem, but the point is, A comes before B, and if you just remember that simple principal, parents. “I’d be glad to cook dinner. I’m the mother in this home. I have no problem cooking dinner, and dad will help, but I’m not going to go in and do your work. That’s your work. You have an assignment, and I don’t know why you didn’t do it. It doesn’t make you the worst kid in the world, but I’m just telling you, until that place gets cleaned up, I’m not cooking.”
Everybody suffers the consequence of the 11 year old’s poor decision, everyone. The 13 year old could eat plastic he’s so hungry. He just came home from ball practice. He’s sweaty. He’s hungry. He’s a boy, you know. He’s a carnivore. Some of these natural things we set up, where we just stay in authority, without being an authoritarian. Now again, the authoritarian grabs the 11 year old by the scruff of the neck, marches him into the kitchen, about rubs his nose in the Dawn dish wash stuff, and shames him up good, and guilts him up good, and tells him to get on that right now, and there’s a big blow out, and then he leaves in a huff. The dishes don’t get done, and mom ends up doing them out of necessity, and now she’s gone from authoritative to permissive, because now she’s doing the work for him.
Again, authority is a very interesting, precarious, sometimes delicate line to walk, but you keep the tennis ball, as I like to say, in the appropriate court, which is the 11 year old’s court. Why he didn’t do it, I don’t really care why he didn’t do it. I’m going to be, bottom line here, the fact is the dishes aren’t done.
Doug: Andrea, you’re a mom.
Doug: Could you imagine sitting in the back porch with your husband, drinking tea, and not cooking dinner?
Andrea: It’s driving me crazy.
Dr. Leman: It will drive you, especially if you’re that first-born mentality parent, that says, you know, the right way to do things, but sometimes you have to walk the line, as Johnny Cash once said, and you have to make those tough decisions not to open your mouth, not to engage in battle, not to do the same old things that got you in trouble to begin with.
Andrea: Yeah, my tendency is to like give those subtle hints, like, “Well, Johnny we’ll make dinner when this is cleaned up.” It’s hard for me to keep my mouth shut.
Dr. Leman: See saying it to a brother, who says, “Mom, when are we going to eat?” That makes more sense, “Honey we’ll eat when your brother does what he’s supposed to do when he comes home from school. I see he hasn’t touched the kitchen.” I’m telling you, the 13 year old isn’t going to just go sit and read a book. The 13 year old is going to go at the 11 year old. He’s going to say, “Hey, get your tail out there and do your work. What makes you so special that you don’t work in this house?”
Doug: Yeah, and as encouragement to parents, at least in the Tourpanine household, when we have done crazy things like that, that are way outside our comfort zone, we’ve only had to do them once. Is that pretty normal?
Dr. Leman: Right, usually you only have to do it once, and the kid’s thinking, “What the heck’s wrong with mom? I mean she’s flipped. I’ve never seen her like this before.” That’s why I say you can change behavior in 48 hours or less with kids, but you have to have the resolve as a parent to do your life differently, that’s all I’m saying.
Andrea: Don’t you have to keep doing that? Like Doug said, we do it once, but don’t you have to continue that?
Dr. Leman: Well yeah, if you want that to be your MO.
Dr. Leman: You don’t want to own what isn’t yours.
Doug: Think about it, Andrea. When we’ve done stuff like that, where we’ve said, “We’re not cooking until these dishes are done.” We only have to do that like once every two to three years, right? The kids all talk about it like, “Oh man, mom went crazy on us,” right? It’s not like we have to do it, I mean how often do you really have to do it, if you think about it? It’s not that often.
Dr. Leman: Never be impressed with your kids thinking that you’ve lost it.
Doug: So true, so true. Well, it is hard to do, but it works. I just tell you, you don’t have to do many of them.
Dr. Leman: It’s not easy, but it’s simple. Keep that in mind. Everything we talk about on this podcast, it’s not easy, but it’s simple. There’s a simple paradigm to follow.
Doug: Think about it Andrea, you only believe, when the kids threw a temper tantrum in the grocery store, and you left all the groceries and left, you only do that one time, for them all to be like, “Oh no,” right? It’s not that … It’s hard. I mean that’s why I say, I mean I get no royalties out of any of this, so I have no vested interest, other than I want you to be happier, and that’s why I say, “Read the book.” It’s like it’s so practical and it gives you the theory to do it. You can hear all this and be like, “Ah …” Read the book, I just, so … I say that all the time, almost, because I know it works.
Dr. Leman: Some day, on a podcast, we ought to just take the frontest piece of that book, as I remember right, I don’t have it in front of me, but you flip over the cover and there’s a whole list of things that says something like, “Does this sound familiar in your home?” There’s a whole list of things that any parent, whose in the throws of raising kids today will say, “Ut oh, the author of this book gets it.” It’s all the stuff that you struggle with, parents, on a daily basis, but there’s relief in sight, through making children mind without losing yours.
Doug: Big time, and it pays off in mega spades. It pays off. The house has more peace. You have more peace, a lot less fights, like it just like, it’s so worth it. It’s, as a recovering authoritarian, it is absolutely worth it.
Well thank you again to Baker Ravelle, go buy the book, Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours. There’ll be a link in the show notes, birthorderguy.com/227, two hundred twenty-seven. I can’t encourage you enough. You can read the book and decide if Dr. Leman’s crazy, and that there really is or isn’t one way to raise a kid for yourself, and we love doing this with you, and we just want you to have even more and more joy as you raise those kids, and that you just have even more and more peace in your home too, so take care. Have a good one.
Andrea: Have a good day.