It’s time for another Ask Dr. Leman: “Saying ‘no’ and walking away isn’t working. What do I do?” Dr. Leman reaffirms how being consistent and standing firm is the key to shifting your child’s behavior. Learn more about Dr. Leman at


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Doug:                       Hi. I’m Doug Terpening.

Andrea:                  And I’m Andrea.

Doug:                       And we are so glad that you are with us today. If this is your first time with us, just a heads up this is for your education and entertainment purposes only. If the subject matter raises any concerns for you or child, please go seek a local professional for help.

Well, I am so excited to jump into this question that is proposed today and I just want to remind everybody, if you go to, there’s two things that you can do there. A, you can go and, as soon as you go there, there should be a little popup and you enter your email, and you’ll get some of these pocket phrases that you hear Dr. Leman talk about like, B doesn’t happen until A is finished and keep the tennis ball of life on [inaudible 00:01:03]. And you can do that, which is a great little download. Or, the second thing is, you can go to podcast question and leave us an audio question like, I believe, it’s Mary did today, if I remember right. I think it is Mary. And we would love to be able to answer your question.

So, before we jump in, cause I’m so thankful for them, I just want to say again, a big shout out to Revel Books and Baker Publishing for making this podcast happen. It is because of them that we get to do this. Great group of folks and it’s a pleasure to do this.

Well, Dr.Leman, I say we just jump into the question today. Does that work for you?

Dr. Leman:           Yeah. Let me just say one thing. I was sitting here thinking about people who have access to us. I mean, think of a national known person that you know who’s an expert in this field. Okay, I’m thinking of Dr. Drew Pinsky, we see him on TV. I’m thinking of Dr. Phil. Jim Dobson’s been around a long time. I got news for you parents. You don’t have a snowball’s chance, an HEW hockey sticks, of talking directly to these people, getting direct feedback from these people, about your life, the personal challenges that you face as a married person or a parent.

But that’s what’s unique about this podcast. You know, as Doug just said, hey, go on ask your question, we get back to you, you get to hear it. You know, and we’re talking specifically to you. And thousands of others are listening because most questions apply to other people. So help us spread the word, would you? Get on Facebook, tell your friends about what we’re doing here. Our download is unbelievable. We know people really like these. We get a lot of positive feedback. So, thanks not only to Revel, Baker Books but thanks for you being such an integral part of what we do here on our podcast.

Doug:                       Uh-mm-hmm (affirmative). Here we go. Let’s get to Mary’s great question.

Mary:                       Hi Dr. Leman. Whenever I tell my children no, and I say it once and I turn my back, and I walk away, and they follow me, and then I tell them why I said no, and turn my back and walk away, like you suggest in your book, my children never stop following me. They continue to follow me screaming for hours or more. What step am I missing? What am I doing wrong?

Dr. Leman:           Well, I love that question and you’re not doing much wrong at all. You’re doing a lot of things right. But let me point out to you the nature of hedonistic children. When you tell them no, and walk away, notice they come right after you. Well, what’s the purpose or nature of that? Number one, they don’t like the fact that you’re acting responsibly. They want to needlessly involve you in their life. It’s proof in the pudding that to this point you have reared, which is actually the proper term, reared as opposed to raised. Bread rises and kids are actually reared. You have reared kids who are powerful, who see themselves as more important than they need to be, who have found a myriad of ways of keeping you needlessly involved in their life.

And these kids are either attention getters who are saying, I only count on life when Mom pays attention to me. Or, the better guess is, they’re power-driven kids that say, hey, I only count on life when I’m in control of this home, when the big people in this home do what I say. And so, when you ask, what you’ve done wrong, you really haven’t done much wrong at all. You’re following the script pretty well.

Now, depending upon where you live. If you live in Tucson, Arizona, where I live, and as I speak it’s in excess of 100 degrees today. We always have nice weather. Most of us have what they call walled yards. We actually have a brick wall in our backyard. Why? To keep serpents out. I guess that’s part of it. It’s just a tradition here in the Southwest. A lot of Southwest homes have that. Cause, if you’ve got a safe place to put a child, take him by the hand and put him in a room and close the door. You know, if you have to have the Kevin Leman living memorial doorknob on there that’s inverted, so be it. I mean, you can keep a kid in a room if you want to.

Now, again, for those tree huggers out there who get really excited when they hear me say, put your kid in a room, we’re not causing undue psychological harm to a child. We’re saying, listen, there’s guidelines in this home. I’m not the punching bag, the psychological punching bag for you kids to come after every moment. I’m a human being who deserves respect in my own home and when I say no, I want you to understand that it means no. And when I ask you to back off, I expect you to back off.

Now, sometimes you’ll take two kids put them in the same room. You say, well I’m not going to invert the door. Well, try this. Hold the door, and they’ll wail like stuffed pigs. But they’ll wind down and when they wind down, ask them if they’re ready to come out and behave like six and seven year olds or whatever their age might be. And then go about your work.

Now, let me say something about that last word, work. It is work because you have trained these kids in such a way that they’ve had full run of the house. They’re the king and queens of the house and now we’re trying to bend the course of a river, so to speak. So it calls for consistency on your part, a dug-in nature, the ability to give kids the look that says I am very unhappy, the ability to look the kid in the eye and say, I’m very unhappy what’s happening here. And then, the very next thing that any of those kids ask for, I don’t care if it’s a glass of milk, your answer is no. I don’t feel like getting you anything right now. Turn your back again and walk away.

Some people are thinking, aren’t you making the kids guilty? Yes, by design, guilt is a great motivator. Children do not like it when mom and dad are upset with them. So I think you’re doing a great job. But there’s irony here. I just want people to hear in your question how smart these kids are. They’re saying, wait a minute, we can’t give up, she’s got us. We’ve got to keep the fight up. We got to come after them. That’s why I say with tongue-and-cheek, we have seen the enemy and they are small and they’re unionized. It’s like they have a game plan. And part of the reason why we have this podcast every day is to teach parents how to develop a game plan where they become the co-captain of the ship and the navigator of the good ship family.

Doug:                       Mmm.

Dr. Leman:           So, my encouragement is hang in there.

Doug:                       So Mrs. Terpening, you are a mother, and a nurturer, and a lover of kids, and your kids follow you around and they scream and they won’t take no for an answer. You are now going to put them in the room and hold the door. What would you need to know, what would you need to feel to be able to do that?

Andrea:                  I think I need to know that they’re still going to know I love them later.

Doug:                       You need to know that this is not going to harm your longterm relationship?

Andrea:                  Right. That they’re not going to sit in there and think, mom doesn’t love me. Mom really doesn’t love me.

Dr. Leman:           God bless you Andrea. She’s got the sweetest heart in the world. Are they going to love me, Dr. Leman? That’s what I want to know. Yes.

Andrea:                  Actually, not that they’re going to love me but they know and believe truly that I love them.

Dr. Leman:           They know it. And here it is. And I’ll pull it out of the big book, and it’s a commandment. If you love your child, you are quick to discipline your child. And so love and discipline are inseparable. So, if you’re really talking about love, then discipline has to be a part of it. So every mom listening, every dad listening has to owe up to, wait a minute … hmm, okay, I love my children, right? Yeah. You got that right. I love them. I would do anything for them.

Well, the question is how do you checkout on the discipline scale? Are you spotty? Are you inconsistent? Are you and your husband on the wrong page? All of these things will frustrate a kid and make him angry, and they’ll strike out. Well, they’re kids. They’re hedonistic little suckers, I’ve said many times. So what are they going to do? They’re going to put they’re dog and pony show on, and they’re going to demand in an immature and inappropriate way how to get attention from mom and dad. So that’s what parents need to think about.

Doug:                       So going back to Andrea’s question Dr. Leman. The story I tell myself is that, in this new culture, parents are expected to kind of do all these things for our kids and or kids are kind of conditioned to expect this to do it for them. So, when Andrea’s question is, okay, now I’m going to not do what they want, I’m going to hold the door … that screams in every way possible that our culture’s going to tell me, that’s not loving my kids and my kids are going to be told by their friends, you have the worst parents in the world to do that. How do we overcome that?

Dr. Leman:           Yeah, well, I have a scar on my left hand that remains from a kid who told me my mother didn’t love me cause I didn’t have to change my clothes when I came home from school. I knocked him right off his bike and on the asphalt and, again, I still have a scar to prove that.

So, here’s the point. Those parents who have the inability to say no, not to hold their ground, are creating weak children. I was on a talk show this morning in California, KSFO Radio, and the host was raving about our podcast, Doug. You’d love that. And he gave a couple of examples. He used the example of a 5 year old who was putting holes in the wall. And his question to me was, well listen, if you have a kid who’s like this, what’s their future going to be like? And he laughed like crazy when I said, well, they’re probably going to be California Legislatures. And, if you know anything about the State of California and some of the wacky ideas they’ve come up with over there, it’s pervasive throughout our whole society.

We’re creating a weak generation of kids who don’t set goals, who don’t strive for excellence, and who have been coddled emotionally and psychologically and materially by parents. It’s crazy what’s happening. So the question is, do you want to build a strong kid who’s going to stand on his own two feet, make his own decisions, become a productive citizen? Or do you like what you see out there now, parents? You tell me. If you like what you see out there, continue what you’re doing.

Doug:                       So then, Andrea, let me ask you? Which one is more important? That your kids like you or that you raise kids that are great, productive members of society?

Andrea:                  Well, I think that goes without … I want my kids to be productive. I want them to be healthy, and it reminds me of what we’ve heard Dr. Leman say so many times, it’s like, you’re raising adults. And your kids are going to love you in the end and they’re going to want to be around you.

Dr. Leman:           You’ve got four kids. You’ve already reared productive kids. So what have you guys done right? And you’ve been quick to admit some of the things you’ve done wrong. But I mean, what have you done right? And what kind of changes have the Terpenings seen in their own home as they began to do things differently?

Doug:                       Oh, you’re correct that by, expecting our kids to be a contributing member of the family, you know, one of the phrases you used was one of the best things that we’ve ever done … Thank you Dr. Leman … because they feel a sense of ownership of what we do, like they have pride in the Terpening name because, when we have to do stuff, they will rally around and help us. Like for work, I had to do a big event and my kids came and worked their butts off for about six hours and, at the end, they were dancing and singing because they knew they were super helpful in helping to get this done. So, it is true. To push your kids to do stuff has done nothing but help us. So, yes, and they love us.

Andrea:                  Yeah.

Doug:                       And we still get hugs from 18-year-old son and our 16-year-old daughter still gives me kisses in the morning on the cheek, and so, yeah, they absolutely love us. And pushing them to do is definitely not pushing them away. It’s just hard that story, right Andrea? The story in our home?

Andrea:                  Absolutely. Yeah. Especially when they’re little.

Dr. Leman:           So a word of encouragement. I mean, I talk about it, but as I’m sitting here at whatever this thing is here in the middle of the kitchen, I’m looking at the bills. There’s a bout six or seven bills that are going out today and on top of it is a note to the principal of one of our schools and they just had their gala event. Well, I got news for you folks, I’m a busy guy but there’s a handwritten note in here that says to our principal, hey, thanks for the great evening. Thanks for all the wonderful work you did to pull this off.

And so, just like me. I’m the Founder of Leman Academy of Excellence. Okay? I’m the Chairman of the Board. But, I need to take the time to write that note and it’s a vitamin E note, it’s an encouragement. This principal needs to see that I realize how much work it went into to pull off this great gala event. So it’s the world over. So I want you to see the parallel here. We’re talking about kids right now. But it applies to your life. Look for opportunities to give encouragement.

My wife, in a restaurant, when she asks for a simple thing from a waiter or a waitress, she’ll say, oh thank you, you’re the best. She says that all the time. She’s a walking vitamin E. And those people who are walking vitamin Es, do people want to rub shoulders with them or not? They do. But people who just have vitamin N in their life, no, and they’re negative all the time, we don’t want to be around those people.

So, again, I just want people to see that when we talk about rearing kids on a podcast, most of the principles that we talk about can work in your marital relationship with that person you love, it can work in your business, whatever it might be, and these principles are universal, and they work in any culture on top of that. So, we’re just glad you’re a part of it. And Doug and Andrea, I appreciate you guys because you bring such a wonderful dose of realty to these podcasts every day. I want you to know that.

Doug:                       Well, I appreciate you bringing out the vitamin E and vitamin N, because one of the great things in our house is that Andrea is a super nurturer to make sure that those kids know that they’re loved, and she does a great job of stopping and acknowledging it, so that when the discipline comes, it’s not just discipline, discipline, discipline, but it is both. So, yeah.

Dr. Leman:           Well, listen. Let me underscore. I’ve met her parents. They’re great people. It’s no surprise that Andrea is a great person. And so, again, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. What I’m asking every parent to look at is, as that kid looks up in that tree, what does he see?

Doug:                       So true.

Andrea:                  Oh, yeah.

Doug:                       So true. So true.

Andrea:                  So the take away from this is, you have guidelines in your home, have the kids respect the parent and give them lots of vitamin E.

Doug:                       Yup.

Dr. Leman:           Yeah.

Andrea:                  Along with that vitamin N.

Doug:                       And don’t be afraid to do the hard discipline, they’ll still love you. They will still love you Andrea, even if you discipline them.

Andrea:                  Okay.

Doug:                       Don’t worry. Well, Mary, thank you for your question. It takes a lot of guts to put that out there and we appreciate it. We hope this helps you a ton. And we look forward to the next when we get to keep adding to your parenting toolbox and we just love hearing more and more about how you’re using it, and how it’s impacting your kids. So hope you have a great day.

Andrea:                  Thank you.

Doug:                       Bye-bye.