Concert tickets, new phones, designer jeans–what happens when you child wants something that you cannot afford? Dr. Leman speaks on how to respond to your kid’s desires and reasons that some things in life must be earned on their own. Learn more about Dr. Leman at BirthOrderGuy.com.
**Special Offer– Jun 13 – Jun 19: Have a New Teenager by Friday for $3.99 at Amazon or wherever you get your ebooks**
Show Sponsored by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing
Produced by Unmutable™
Doug: Well, hi. I’m Doug Terpening.
Andrea: And I’m Andrea.
Doug: And we are so glad that you are with us. If this happens to be your first time, 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, we have four teenagers under our roof, late teen to thirteen.
Dr. Leman: (Laughs).
Doug: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Dr. Leman: Oh, you guys. You know, people should know, you’re great parents and you’ve got your kids involved in a wonderful organization called 4-H. Yeah, I’m not a real activity person. I don’t think activities are inherently great for kids but activities like that are great. And you’re, if you’ll pardon me saying, a cute couple and you really do a great job. And you’ve learned a few things as you go along and haven’t we all.
And, by the way, I’ll paint a picture for you. Doug and Andrea are up in the State of Oregon. I live in Tucson, Arizona. So many mornings I will sit, as I am this morning, in a bathrobe with my baseball cap on. There’s nothing interesting about the baseball cap or the bathrobe. I was always a well-dressed man. And so, they’re up there, I’m down here, and through the power of technology we sound like we’re sitting around the same table, but we’re not. But, I know these people well and they know me well, and they are such a great addition to our podcast because, guess what? We’ve got a real mom and dad, we’ve got four kids in a hormone group, 13 to 19. Wow. Some people would say you need a jug of wine just to get through that but I won’t even go there.
Doug: Well, you know, you’re absolutely right. You’ve helped us change our parenting tremendously.
Andrea: Uh-mm-hmm (affirmative).
Doug: And, you know, for me it all started when I read one of your books. And so, right now, I just have to mention it because it is a screaming deal. Have a New Teenager by Friday, goes on sale tomorrow, June 13th to June 19th for only $3.99. You can get the e-book at Amazon on all these spots.
And the reason I tell you that is like, even if your kids are not yet in the teenage years but you can see them coming, buy the book, read the book so you’re prepared for it, so that you don’t get into the middle of it and go, “Oh, crud, what do I do now? How do I deal with this? How do I deal with that?”
And the thing I love about Dr. Leman’s books is, they are … absolutely give you the theories that you needed, but they are super practical. Like there’s so much. Like, oh, you can actually flip the pages and be like, this issue, here’s the solution. Oh, now I see how I apply the theory. I can’t encourage you enough. Go get the book.
Dr. Leman: I have to tell you that I am so vain, that I really do enjoy reading reviews of my book. And the reviews on, Have a New Teenager by Friday, are wonderful. You always have a few people that say, “This book is worthless. This guy’s an idiot.” You wonder what those people are smoking because it can’t be that bad, no matter what.
Doug: It helped me.
Dr. Leman: Anyway, they’re nice reviews and, you know, there’s books. There’s, Making Children Mine Without Losing Yours. Sold over a million copies. Have a New Kid by Friday, close to a million, New York Times bestseller. Planet Middle School for those kids in the … like I told my wife, an ll-year-old female is the strangest, weirdest creature walking the planet. But, you know, the Planet Middle School sort of covers the sixth, seventh, eighth grade, and then the teenage years.
They’re interesting, because the teenage years, we think of them thirteen to nineteen as represented with Doug’s family and Andrea’s family, but my experience has been that … especially boys. Boys don’t really grow up until their sort of mid-twenties. And so, those of you who have kids who are college age, who are commuting, or maybe they’re living on campus at your local university, that little book is loaded with gems about dealing with kids who are now fifteen, sixteen, seventeen. You’ll enjoy that book. So the good people at Revel Books have put that on sale in downloadable form, so under Kindle or whatever, I’d just snap that sucker up. That is a good read.
That’s a book … I get a lot of emails that say, “I’m reading your book for the third time.” Because, so many of us grew up in a traditional home where reward and punishment reigned. And I’m here to tell you, that doesn’t work anymore. It worked years ago, where everybody knew their place. Well, I got news for you, kids view themselves as social equals today. Are they equals? They’re not. Are men and women equals? Social equals, yes. Are they the same? No. Maybe we’ll tackle that at a podcast sometime. But anyway, the point is, this is a good little book. Put it to use. Times have changed and this offers you encouragement, hope, and practical ideas of what to do when my kid does this, that, and the other thing.
Doug: Absolutely. Absolutely. Thank you. And we get a teenage question today. So this will be fun to do. So here, let’s do it.
So, Dr. Leman, the question for today is, we as a family don’t have much money, but our teenage daughter really wants to dress like everybody else but we just can’t afford to do it. How do I deal with that reality?
Dr. Leman: Well, it’s a great question. And it takes me back to my role as Founder and Chairman of the Board of Leman Academy of Excellence. We had discussions early about dress codes. There’s all kinds of studies that say, you know, if kids have dress codes, they do better in school, which is true. But one of the things that we went to, we didn’t want to go to the plaid uniform. We don’t want everybody to look alike. And so, we’ve sort of developed plain pullovers. You know, jeans are okay. You’ve got to look nice but no Polos or anything like that, the ones that cost way out of sight. So Old Navy type stuff is what I’m saying.
And the question, you know, you don’t have much money. Right? Your daughter has champagne taste and you’re on a watered down beer budget. And so, when that daughter says, “Wow. More than anything, I want that designer watch.” Now, traditional parent says, “What! Are you out of your mind? Do you have any idea how much that costs? Where do you suspect we would get that kind of money for a watch?” Now, there’s your traditional parent. Okay?
Let me give you a little different take on that. “Wow. Can you imagine having that watch? Gee, I mean, that would be wow. I mean, people would look at that watch and say, wow” And there’s another side to that. Okay? And I forgot who it was that said it. It might’ve been Neechie, but I’m not sure. But he said this, he said, “If a man owns a beautiful horse, he must remember, that the beauty lies in the horse and not in the man.” Now, whether Neechie said that or somebody else, that’s good food for thought for all of us.
I tell the story of going out one night to buy underwear at Dillards. You can tell this is a personal story. I might as well tell you, extra large. And, I was walking through the mall and this watch caught my eye. It was under a high intensity lamp and it turned out it had forty-eight diamonds around the edge of it, and it was gold. Well, I’m looking at it through the window like a hungry dog looking at a steak bone. And the perceptive clerk inside came outside and stood next to me and she sort of startled me. And she said, “Isn’t that a beautiful watch?” I said, “Oh, yeah, yeah. Beautiful watch.” She said, “It’s on sale.” “It’s on sale!”
Well, long story short. I buy the stupid watch. The watch was $3,500.00 on sale. It was a $5,000.00 watch. I didn’t have $5,000.00. I didn’t have $3,500.00. I had an American Express Card with a $4,000.00 credit limit. I bought the stupid thing. I brought it home. Finally, worked up the nerve to show my wife. I said, “Isn’t this gorgeous?” She said, “What is that?” I said, “Honey, it’s my new watch. I just bought it.” She said, this is a quote, “That is the tackiest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Well, that was a lesson I learned years, and years, and years ago. But you know, cause you got a beautiful watch doesn’t make you a beautiful person. And that’s a conversation that has to occur between parent and child. And by the way, I still wear the watch. I wear it fishing. It’s a dress watch, obviously. I wear it every day. It’s bent up in spots. The gold is bent in some areas. And I wear it as a reminder of how stupid I can be, how vain I can be, how dumb as mud I can be. It’s my constant reminder.
And so, kids are always going to want. Kids are hedonistic little suckers from the get go. Okay? So, for a kid who wants really nice clothes. “Honey. Listen. That’s pretty costly stuff. But you know what? You’re a real hard worker and you’ve got a lot of ideas. I’m sure you could figure out a way to create an income for yourself, make some money so you could buy that beautiful sweater.” Now, what have you just done? You’ve taken that tennis ball life, as I like to say, and you put it right back in the daughter’s side of the net. You haven’t said, remember what I said, “What are you thinking? Where did you think we’d get money for that? I mean, what’s wrong with you kid?” And that just sets up an explosion. Where, if you do what I just suggested, you’re saying, “Wow. You want it that bad, I bet you could find a way to earn some money to bring that puppy home and put it in your barn.” But you know what I’m saying?
That other talk about what real beauty’s all about isn’t the close we wear, and we’ve talked about that on another podcast about heart. And it’s the heart you have for others and your ability to serve other people, and think of other people before you think of yourself. And, as a reminder, as you’re driving today and you stop at your first red light or stop sign, ask yourself the question, why did I stop? Well, duh, it’s the law Leman? Well, I got that. Well, duh, I don’t want to get in an accident. I got that too. But how many of you thought of, you stop at a red light or a stop sign so you don’t hurt somebody else? See, that’s not usually our first thought because we tend to think of ourselves first.
So, I think in that question, there’s a lot of food for thought for you as a parent to be able to respond to your child without reacting to your child. I think that’s the key. As a reminder, when the doctor says, you reacted to the medication. That’s not good. If he said you responded to the medication, that’s very good. That’ll help you keep in mind you want to respond and not react.
Doug: So Mrs. Terpening, Mother Terpening.
Andrea: Uh-mm-hmm (affirmative).
Doug: Your daughter comes to you and says, “Mom. I feel so stupid at school. All the other girls at school are dressed so much nicer than me. And they look so much better and I just feel worthless. Can’t we go buy those $150.00 jeans to make me feel better?”
Andrea: Hmm. Do you think those jeans will really make you feel better?
Doug: I mean, can you say that? Would you say that in that moment?
Dr. Leman: Would I say that?
Doug: No, I know you could but could Andrea say it? Could you say it Andrea?
Dr. Leman: I don’t know.
Andrea: Well, maybe I would do like Dr. Leman said and say, “Wow. Those jeans must be really nice. Maybe we should go take a look at them and then we could figure out how you could earn the money to buy them.”
Dr. Leman: Yeah, yeah. And see, I think that’s the thing. You come around your son or your daughter. It’s just like my advice for the kid that comes home and he wants to go a rock concert and tickets are $150.00 and it’s 50 miles away. He wants to drive with another kid. You know, rather than just shut him down, say, “Wow. That must be a great group. I’d love to hear them sometime. Could you download that for me? I’d love to hear it.” That kind of stuff.
Andrea: You know, you asking me that question, reminds me when I was in fifth or sixth grade, there was a pair of jeans I wanted, and they were more expensive than my parents would spend for jeans. And I had to save up half the cost and I remember getting those jeans, loving those jeans, but I don’t think I ever did that again. Like it helped to get it out of my system. Like, Oh, well. Maybe, you know, it wasn’t worth it for me to do that again for another expensive pair of jeans.
Dr. Leman: Well, I think there’s a lesson in life there for the teenager, for the kid. And, you know, I think you sort of figure out that maybe I’m making more of that than I should as a teenager. Kids can grasp that. They have some depth to them. Not as much depth as parents, hopefully, but they get it. You got it.
Doug: So, you’re saying, again, you’re encouraging us to say, don’t come be the savior, don’t make the children the center of the universe, talk to them about it. Let them … go with them about the jeans and how great it would be and how wonderful it would be, but make sure that they … and then you turn it to, they’re responsible to raise the money to buy the jeans. Let them … I think you said, what grant and fantasy, what they can’t in reality … is that the phrase that you use?
Dr. Leman: Exactly. Yeah. It’s just like you’ve heard me tell the story about the kid who wants a pony and he, you know, lives with a single mom in a two-bedroom place. And the mom says, “Wow. Can you imagine having your own pony, riding to school in the morning waving at the kids at the bus stop?” You know, the kid ends up saying at the end of the whole story, “Yeah, but we live in a two-bedroom apartment. I can’t have a pony here.” The kid will figure it out. So, again, run with it a little bit. Don’t be so quit to just shut the kid down.
Doug: It’s a great reminder isn’t it?
Andrea: And let them come to their own conclusion.
Dr. Leman: Yeah.
Andrea: I love that. That’s great.
Dr. Leman: The other thing about clothes. Now, you know, some people actually have budgets. Now, I have to tell you the truth. In all these years of being married, we never had a budget. Okay, now this is admission time. I never write down my cheques. Okay? So, that is not an attribute that I’m proud of, I’m just telling you, that’s who I am.
And, what some parents do and I think it’s smart is, if you are disciplined enough to live on a budget and it’s time for school clothes shopping for kids, and you know how fast those feet grow and sizes change. And yes, is it fair to give hand-me-downs to kids? Of course it is. It’s part of living. But, you give the kid money in hand, and say, “This is the budget for your school clothes for this fall.” Give it to the kid. Well, would you just send him out the door with it? Probably not. As a parent, I think I’d tag along with him. But let the kid figure out, “You know, I got $200.00 here,” which isn’t a lot of money when you talk about buying clothes. And let them do a little comparison shopping. “I can buy that Polo shirt. Hmm. It’s not on sale. It’s $89.00. Gee, I love that polo shirt. $89.00, that’s almost half of my $200.00. Well, look at this shirt. This shirt’s $29.95. Hmm.”
Let the kid figure out. Let them become a wise shopper and let them figure out how to stretch that $200.00 limit into school clothes for the new year. And ditto for shoes. Shoes are expensive. You know, tennis shoes are expensive. But certain brands just build in expense. So, again, giving a kid money so they understand. It’s right in their hand. This is your money. This is what you spend. Let them figure out how to do it.
Andrea: What age do you think they’re ready to handle that?
Dr. Leman: Well, I think certainly a 12-year-old kid. When kids become really conscious of clothes and how they look. And, with girls, sometimes that’s even earlier, that’s nine or ten sometimes. And girls tend to be a little bit more shop oriented than boys are, as far as that goes.
Andrea: Yup. Great.
Doug: Well, thanks Dr. Leman. And again, it reminds me that we’re trying to raise adults not our kids to like us, but to prepare them for adulthood.
Doug: And part of being an adult is learning that you don’t always get what you want. Yeah, so good. So, so good.
Well, thank you again, Dr. Leman. And I also just want to say, a huge thank you to our friends over at Revel Books, part of the Baker Division. Because of them, we’re able to do this podcast and, without them, it doesn’t happen. They are absolutely wonderful people. So thank you, again, to those guys for making this happen.
And, we wouldn’t be doing this if it weren’t for you guys out there on Facebook and everywhere else. Go to Dr. Leman’s Facebook. He reads every single one of them and he actually replies to a bazillion of them, and it’s just so encouraging to hear that you guys love it. And, if you hear anything on here that you think would help one of your sisters or one of your friends, you know you’re allowed to pass it on to them and tell them, “Hey, I just heard this and I think it might bless you. It’s a fabulous.”
Dr. Leman: You know, it’s funny Doug, about people communicating with me on my Facebook. Again, it’s Dr. Kevin Leman on Facebook. But people will write to me in many of the Slovak languages.
Dr. Leman: And they will write to me in Espanol, and in French, in German, because my books are in tons of different languages. Okay? And people just assume because it’s in German that I understand and can write and read German. So I get a letter to Herr Leman. And I can struggle through the Spanish cause I know Spanish a little bit. But I don’t always know exactly what the question is. But I do answer as many as I can. You know, you have no idea how many come but all I can tell you is, I do my best.
Doug: Well, thank you guys. Thank you Leman. And we absolutely love doing this because we just know how it’s affected us and we hope that it can help you in your parenting as well.
Andrea: Thank you Dr.Leman. Have a great day everyone.
Doug: Take care. Bye-bye.