Does caring for your spouse really affect the way your kids respond to parenting? Listen in to learn just how crucial partner care is on this episode of Have a New Kid by Friday Podcast.
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Doug: I got to spend all my time taking care of my children, that’s all the time I have for sweetie. While I’d love to give you more, I can’t. The question we get to ask Dr. Leman today is, is it smart to invest energy into that partner? And does that equal smart parenting or is it better to give that energy to the kids? Hi, I’m Dr. Penny.
Andrea: And I am Andrea.
Doug: And we are so happy that you are here with us today. It is so good to be with you. Welcome. If this happens to be your first time, glad you’re here, 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, the question today is, do I have to really care about Andrea at all or can I just pour all my energy into my kids and that smart parenting?
Dr. Leman: Well, before we get into that let me just remind people, you mentioned people who are new to us, do yourself and your friends a favor and yeah, us too I guess, by tweeting it out or putting it on your Facebook page that you found this podcast that you like. Hope you enjoy it, we try to be practical. We do admit we entertain you a little bit as we go along, but that seems to make the medicine go down a little easier.
Dr. Leman: The question is, do I put all my effort into my children? If you do your kids will really turn against you someday because they’ll be angry that you didn’t put enough energy, time, love, and attention into your mate. We literally love each other and have each other’s backs in marriage, a lot of good blessings so to speak, fall off the parental mountain and onto the children. A reminder parents, your kids are always looking up. They’re watching how you talk to each other, how you treat each other, how you treat strangers. They’re watching how you handle curve balls. Do you hit it out of the park or do you strike out whimper and put your tail between your legs and walk away?
Dr. Leman: You’ll never go wrong in investing in your marriage. I always say that marriage is like a delicate plant and if you don’t enrich it, you don’t water it, you don’t put good fertilizer around it and good soil around it, that’s going to die. And there’s nothing worse than getting into your marriage just 20, 25 years and realizing you don’t have much to talk about anymore because you put too much effort into the children. Again, you want a model openness, forgiveness, communication, closeness.
Dr. Leman: I love it when I hear my kids say, “Oh, I think that is so cute. You did what? You got a what? You did what?” It’s not rocket science. What you put into it you’re going to receive back, so prioritize. Marriage partners are number one, kids are number two, other things are number three. If you just have that simple paradigm in your life, your relationship with your family is going to be better I guarantee you that.
Doug: Dr. Leman, in full honesty that’s easy to say but really, really hard to do. Andrea, she’s a full-grown adult, she can take care of herself, but we got to get to piano lessons and we got to take care of their emotional needs. How do I balance that?
Dr. Leman: Well, again a reminder, the kids self-esteem comes from kids helping themselves, let’s start with that. But to make this more interesting. I talked with a man just this week who worked on one of the Kennedy campaigns. He is a well-respected man nationally and internationally. He has an office in Washington and an office in New York to give you an idea. He has hundreds of people that work for him. And he shared a story with me about the fact that he was given an opportunity to have another political appointment. And he told his wife, he was really excited about it. And she said, “Well, I’ll tell you what? If you take that assignment, we’ll come together again after that assignment’s over.”
Dr. Leman: Now, what did she do? She drew the line in the proverbial sand. And he told me, he said, “She looked at me and she said, ‘I know how you are in a political campaign. I will never see you so I’m not going to set myself up for disappointment. You just call me when you’re done.'” He had taken the job, he went ahead and took the job. And three days later he told this person that every one of my listening audience right now would know I’m talking about. He told him, “No, there are more important things in life than political campaigns.” And he went back and he became the husband he needs to be, and he still is her husband by the way.
Dr. Leman: Again, I think we need to really put our money where our mouth is. I know some of these things are difficult. Sometimes you get in temporary situations, I know a lot of football coaches in the NFL. You’ve got to be a special woman to be married to one of those NFL coaches, because those guys literally are not home very much. But when you marry a football coach hopefully you know what you’re getting yourself into. Well, enough of that, what do you think?
Doug: What are some tangible… You said that if the marriage is good there’s these things that follow them that are blessings, parenting blessings. What are some of those lessons that come from a healthy marriage and relationship to the kids, or to help us in parenting?
Dr. Leman: Well, I think if you have honest communication between a husband and a wife, honest communication, then you’re going to have transparency. Transparency is a good thing. Now again, should kids know everything that’s going on in a marriage? Obviously not. Okay? But if there’s good communication your kids learn to be good communicators because they had parents who were good what? Listeners. You see, this all intermingles together. This thing of being a parent, being a marital partner, it’s hard to separate. It’s like many strands of twine just come together and build a strong bond for your family.
Dr. Leman: And that’s very hard to unravel because it’s so tightly knit and there’s so many different strands. Every time you invest, every time you give vitamin E to a son or a daughter, for you newbies, vitamin E is encouragement. And the other thing your kid needs is vitamin N, which is no. And we think that creates a situation where you’re unhealthy authority over your children, which means you’re not going to take any gaff from your son or your daughter at any point. And there’s no doubt in the children’s minds who the heads, notice that’s plural of the family are.
Doug: What about for that partner out there that is, they don’t have a good marriage, it’s struggling right now and they have teenage kids right there in the throes of all that craziness or busy-ness or they’re toddlers, either way. And now they’re sitting here going, “I love you Dr. Leman, but I can’t imagine spending the energy to fix my marriage and take care of my kids, that just that’s too much. Honestly, I just I’ve weighed the consequences and in my mind I can’t do all that.” What would you say to them?
Dr. Leman: I would say you’re probably going to be divorced. And that oughta put some chills up some people’s spines because they’re saying that’s where we are today. But that’s why we do this podcast. I’m telling you, it’s the stuff you do from day one in the marriage that makes a difference. You don’t go 15 years into a marriage and then decide you need to fix things, that’s very difficult to do. If you’re in trouble, I don’t suggest this often to people, but go get some outside help. And I’ve written books like Have a New You by Friday. It’s a great book, I wrote a book for someone who wants to take a look at their life and be their own shrink.
Dr. Leman: You are a product of your family. The stuff that you learned in your family is causing you dissonance today in your marriage. And your mate is the same one so if you both came out of dysfunctional families, should it be a surprise to anybody that you’re dysfunctional after eight or 15 years of marriage? No, but quite frankly the road back I think has to include God. I don’t know how people do it without faith. Being married to a woman is difficult or weird. They go party in groups of seven and eight, they hug anything that moves, they’re in love with her hair.
Dr. Leman: By the way I have to tell you this. We had a bat in our home last night and Mrs. Up in Tin, isn’t real big on bats and she knew that that bat was going to end up in her hair. And so she went and she got a hat I use for fishing when I’m out in the boat to keep the sun off my face, a wide-brim hat. And she sat there watching America loves talent or whatever, that thing, America’s Got Talent. While they had her I took a picture of her and I sent it to all of our kids. And one of our kids said, “The bat whisperer.” Well, I don’t know why I told you that funny little story but to me it was sort of cute and funny. But you know if you can laugh at yourself that helps? Don’t take things so seriously.
Dr. Leman: But you know what? If you’re at rock bottom, seek some help from someone who wants to get rid of you, some of them will sit down and hear you out. Your marriage is competitive, you’re trying to win things that’s why you fight. Fight that leads to that cooperation. And I wrote a book called Sheet Music. If you’ve never read Sheet Music you are missing something. That is one of the best marriage sex books ever written and it’s numbers prove that. Get a copy of Sheet Music, sit down and read it together, highlight it. Just commit, don’t be pointing a finger saying, “Hey, we both aired here and we both want it to be better so let’s just make it a priority in our home and start one brick at a time. And as I’ve said many times, beautiful cathedrals are built one brick at a time.
Doug: Dr. Leman I’ve heard you say this more often than I can remember. It’s like, you start with you not with your spouse. If I was supposed to start with me, it’s really hard for me to do it by myself. What books have you written that would help someone who is trying to get out of this? Not so great spot with their spouse or would they want to stay in a great spot with their spouse?
Dr. Leman: Well, I think the Have a New You by Friday and The Birth Order Book are the first two that come to mind. But so couples I’ve found there’s sexual problems in the marriage, and if there’s sexual problems in the marriage there’s communication problems in the marriage. Reading that book, Sheet Music and Have a New Sex Life by Friday are probably a couple I would certainly read. Books are basically cheap, therapists are very expensive.
Dr. Leman: And the question is, do you really need a therapist or is it something you can work on? You have the power within you to change your behavior. If the relationship is going to change your behavior, Doug, has to change. Andrea, your behavior has to change. The relationship doesn’t change by one person changing, both people have to change. Make it an assignment and you’ll eventually receive the blessing of that but so will the people around you, namely your children.
Doug: Well, this is a perfect segue into the ebook that we get the offer to you this month of September, which is what you just said, Have a New Sex Life by Friday. You can get it now wherever your eBooks, starting now to the end of September for only a buck 99. And Andrea, do you want to read what Timothy said about this?
Andrea: Yeah. He says, “Every couple should get this book. If you love your wife or your husband get this book and learn how to treat and respect one another. You will learn things you did not know then practice it.”
Doug: Dr. Leman, is this book only about having a sex life or is it something more than that?
Dr. Leman: No, it’s a marriage book. But like I say so many parents just struggle in this area. Like Andrea just read it’s very well received by people, they like it. It’s practical. I share a lot of personal things in there as well and there’s a lot of laughs in the book. And when laughter is there it helps, I think.
Doug: Well, my recommendation to everybody, you can get it now for a buck 99. Read it, you’ll be blessed beyond. Also, I want to mention that a couple of little while ago we talked about who could call in and describe Doug and Andrea Terpening. And Mrs. Terpening and the Terpening kids listened to all of your voicemails that you left for us and I’m super happy to announce that Bethany Evans, you are the winner of trying to describe what Doug and Andrea look like. And so you’ll be getting an email from us about which Leman book you’d love to get. Now, a no-nonsense parenting moment with Dr. Kevin Leman.
Dr. Leman: Hey parents, I’m going to ask you to do something really simple. Just stand up and be the parent you need to be. I’m walking through a grocery store. There’s a four-year-old in a car with a young mommy. And every time the cart stopped, the child began to point, “I want that, I want that.” “No, honey, this is what…” “No, I want that.” A little fussing and before long what mom didn’t want, she said she didn’t want is in the cart. For the life of me, parent, every kid needs vitamin N which has no. If you don’t assume your authority your child is going to steal it from you and you’re going to create a little brat to put it bluntly, okay? There’s a reason people look at you sometimes in the store, believe me. They’re shaking their heads saying, “I cannot believe that mother. Who is an authority over who?” Don’t ever forget it, you are an authority over your children, not as authoritarian, but you are an healthy authority. Utilize it, its free.
Doug: Here’s a question that sometimes I wonder, how much affection should I show around my kids?
Dr. Leman: Oh, absolutely. Sometimes the kids will pretend they don’t want to see it, they’re a little embarrassed or whatever, but affection is always great for kids to witness.
Andrea: Why is it good for them to see that?
Dr. Leman: Affection shows closeness, it shows vulnerability, it shows caring. Make yourself a list parents, of the virtues you’d like to see your kids have and see how that simple expression of affection encompasses many of those values you say you want in your kids’ lives. The old song, people who need people are what? The luckiest people in the world. It’s not a sign of weakness that you need someone in your life. And some of us have lost friends, we lost a dear friend recently. They’re married forever and everybody describes this woman as wonderful, caring, helpful, compassionate, affectionate. And what a nice thing to say about somebody as opposed to hard-nose, critical, mean, knows everything, never says they’re wrong or sorry. Those teachable moments in the home, just those little simple caresses and little pats, they communicate that we care for each other in this family. And kids are very quick to catch onto that.
Doug: I think here might be my final question. You said that we are a product of the family we grew up in. If our marriage is dysfunctional, how much are we setting up our kids to have a dysfunctional marriage versus if we can try and get as healthy as we can or good to marriage? How much is our marriage going to equal our kids’ marriage?
Dr. Leman: Well, I think if you look at it like this, if you and Andrea have a good, healthy marriage, okay? You’re setting your kids up for success with the opposite sex. Will that always happen? No, because your kids have free will. And some kids even in a loving, transparent, warmth family, for whatever reason they felt like they had to be the dominant one, the winner. It just went on and on and on.
Dr. Leman: And so again life isn’t prescriptive, Almighty God made us all different and gave us all different gifts but what we do with those gifts and how we utilize those skills makes all the difference in the world. You’re still safe. The best thing to do for your kids is to love them, let them stay on their own two feet, hold them accountable, listen to them, love them, communicate with them, it’s pretty simple. Again, none of this is rocket science.
Doug: Well, thank you, Dr. Leman. And if you’re one of those individuals that’s in a marriage that’s struggling, I can’t recommend enough these great books for you to gain and grow for your own sake. Right now you can get Have a New Sex Life by Friday, which is about more than just sex for a dollar 99 between now and the end of September of 2020. Wherever you get eBooks go and get that one. Have a New You by Friday and The Birth Order Book are absolutely excellent books for you to get as well to really understand you more and understand your spouse more, which really does help when you begin to understand them. Well, it was great to be with you. We love hanging out with you and helping you add to this toolbox so you can love those kids more and more and we look forward to the next time we get to be with you.
Andrea: Have a great date with your spouse this week, and bye-bye.
Doug: Yeah, I like that nice throw in there. Alrighty, take care. Bye.