From representing womanhood to leaving unique indelible imprints, a mother’s role in parenting her son is vital. Learn more about Dr. Leman’s insight into the relationship between mother and son in today’s episode.
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Doug: If you were to ask me, I would say the only reason I am where I am today is because of my mom and what she poured into me. Moms make an incredible impact in their sons’ lives. But how? In what ways? Good, bad, indifferent. That’s what we get to ask dr Leman today. Hi, I’m
Andrea: And I’m Andrea.
Doug: And we are so really, really, really glad that you’re with us today. If this happens to be your first time, I want to let you know that this is for your education and entertainment purposes only. If the subject matter raise any concerns for you or child, please go seek a local professional for help. Well, during my crazy college days that were not good. They were really bad. I kept going down, down, down, down. It was my mom and her unbelievable, unique, mother-only way that helped pull me back into healthy, good spots because of what she had poured into me when I was a younger kid. So Dr. Leman, the question today is, I’m a mom and I’m wondering, “Well, it’s a boy. I’m a mom. What impact do I really have in his life? What do I need to know? What do I not need to know? Shouldn’t his dad do that?” Help us. What does a mother need to know to impact her boys?
Dr. Leman: Well, it’s such a good topic and a profound one. And I’m so glad that you used the term, “Poured into me.” I want everybody to envision making a cake, okay? Even you men who are listening, okay. Think about making a cake. And what every mom needs to understand is that she has a tremendous impact. I call it the indelible imprint on her son’s life, and so think of making that cake and use the term that Mr. Terpening just used, and that is pour into. And what every young man needs is to have a mom who will pour a great deal of, are you ready for the word? Femininity into that young man’s life.
Dr. Leman: Now, those of you who are veterans of our podcast have heard Doug very bravely and openly say, “I wasn’t exactly the greatest person in the world. I was very authoritarian.” And he’s done a lot of changing, but I think Doug would be the first one, and Andrea would be the person to second the motion, that if you scrape away some of that exterior that Doug Terpening had in his life, even back to those wilder college years, if you scrape away and really look at your heart, that’s Doug’s heart, you would find a softness that Andrea Terpening appreciates today. And their kids, both male and female, have profitted from the tenderness and the softness that appears in Doug Terpening’s life. Yes, it took him a while to get there, but the point is that moms pour into their sons all kinds of things, and I don’t think they’re always even conscious of what they pour into those young men, but the point is that women, you make a huge difference in your son’s life, and a husband’s. Dads, you make a huge difference in your daughter’s life.
Andrea: So you say the first thing that a mom pours into their sons is femininity.
Dr. Leman: Yeah, he needs a good dose of femininity. He gets masculinity, okay? He’s born with such things as testosterone, but you get my drift. You get my point that women have to realize, “Well, I’m just his mom.” What do you mean just his mom? You’re it. You represent all of womanhood to this young man. You set the basic foundation in that young man that he’s going to end up respecting women. So how huge is that today in a woman’s mind that she feels respected by the men in her life? So you’re really laying the cement, the foundation ladies, is what I’m saying.
Doug: Are there some specific things that a mom should be consciously pouring into her son? Such as … I can’t think of anything. What are some things? Ability to listen?
Dr. Leman: Well, kindness, thoughtfulness, gentleness. Boys, if you ever watch kids play, just watch, name an age. I don’t care if they’re three or eight or thirteen, watch them play. Do they play differently than girls?
Doug: Yes, definitely.
Dr. Leman: Yeah. Very much so. And so you don’t have to teach your boy to be rough and tumble, or in most cases to be competitive. Now I can hear people say, “I have the most non competitive son.” Hey listen, there’s always exceptions to anything we talk about here on the podcast. We’re using a wide brush here to describe the differences in young men and young women. There are many, many differences. I think one of the things that women, I look up my life, my mom had a calmness about her. Now, you talk about wild, I got thrown out of cub scouts. I got sent home from fourth grade. I got suspended from high school. I got thrown out of college. I mean I got thrown out of … I got thrown out of adult Bible study. That was just within the past two years.
Dr. Leman: So I’ve been there, but my mother, I’ll never forget. I’m 19 years old, okay? I’m a janitor. I’m making $195 a month and I come home and I announce at the dinner table, “I’m engaged, I’m engaged.” You know what my mother said? She said, “Oh, that’s nice honey. Pass the potatoes, would you? That’s nice honey,” is what she said. I went and put a $20 bill down on a $200 diamond. If I would have ever married that chick, it would have been disastrous. If my mother would have gone into a tizzy and reminded me that I was a janitor making $195 a month. And, “How could you even think of such a stupid thing?” Maybe my rebellious nature would have pushed me into a premature marriage with that woman, which I’m telling you would be disastrous.
Dr. Leman: But she had that ability just to understand. She was the one that went to all those meetings at school with my teachers. The teachers all told her the same thing, that I was a little screwball and someday if I ever applied myself, I might be able to do something with my life. She tucked all that information, but she was not someone who overreacted. And there’s a lot of reactionary people in this world, but my mom had a calmness about her, a perspective. She was a good teacher and she loved her baby son. Trust me. I mean, you’ve heard me tell the story, I would say things about what I did in my life and my mom would come back and say, “Oh, you were such a good boy.” Yeah right. But that’s a mother’s love for her son. So there’s so many things that a mom gives to a son. Gives her, and again, the son is watching how mom treats dad, and maybe more importantly, how dad treats mom. So it’s a daily thing.
Doug: So Dr. Leman, one of the things you’ve said that when you said it, I didn’t believe it, but now that I’ve watched it play out in the Terpening household, I do know it’s true. You say that the most important relationship in a child’s life is boy to mom, or son to mom, and girl to dad. Why is boy to mom or son to mom the most important relationship?
Dr. Leman: It’s almost hard to answer that question other than to say it’s the way it is. It’s like asking the question, “Why is a rock hard?” It’s just if …Talk to any family. And today we’re a two car family for most of us in America, and lots of times we go different directions. We meet someplace for a quick dinner. I mean, it’s a hectic, hectic lifestyle we live in. But here’s my question. You have a boy and a girl and you’re in that situation. Who rides home with dad? Who rides home with mom? Why when the NFL player has just made a great play, why does he look in the camera and say, “Hi, mom.” Why doesn’t he say, “Hi dad?” I mean, it’s almost like it’s in the DNA. What did Jesus say on the cross? He said, “Hey, take care of your mother.” I mean, I’m just telling you it’s the way it is. You don’t need a mathematical theorem here to figure this out.
Andrea: Are there some practical things that us moms should know, other than yes, we pour femininity, gentleness, kindness, these things into our sons? Are there some practical steps or things that we should know as we mother our sons?
Dr. Leman: Yeah. Absolutely. Number one, it’s going to sound like it’s the opposite of what I’m telling you is don’t put a skirt on him. He’s not your daughter, he’s your son. So what do boys do that girls usually don’t do? Do boys spit. We could take a little mini quiz right now. Again, are all boys the same or all girls the same? No. Are there girls that spit? There are. I think as a woman, you have to understand this is a little boy. It’s what little boys do. I mean, little boys are immature next to your daughter. You got a 12 year old daughter and a 12 year old son, or if you want to be different, 13 and 12 okay? They’re not twins. But how different inherently is that young woman from that young man?
Dr. Leman: And so I think for a woman, she has to keep in mind, “Hey, this is a guy, this is a boy. This is part of what a boy does.” He’s showing his bravado. And yes, we make fools of ourselves. Think of what the girls said to us, Doug, in seventh and eighth grade. They said, “Why don’t you grow up?” And we would say with our squeaky voices, “We’re trying to.” So I don’t think this is a topic where you say, “Okay, give me three things that you do as a mom.” It’s not three, it’s 300. It’s 3000. It’s an ongoing process where you, as a young mom, get to appreciate the specialness of this young man in your life.
Doug: Great. Well, when we come back, Andrea, I’m going to ask you how you think about you as a mom to your boys. Like how you think about that relationship. Like do you really have full access to your boys or is it really sort of dad’s job to do things? But I’m going to forget this, so I’m going to do it now. And I want to talk about the ebook special that right now is on, and it is about moms. So What A Difference A Mom Makes for $2.99 from February 1st to February 29th of 2020. What A Difference A Mom Makes for 299, and I thought that the latest … We just flipped on to Amazon. I thought, “I wonder what anybody really says about these books.” And the very first one that just came out, I thought it was really great.
Andrea: This was from November. Jennifer wrote, she gave it a five star review on Amazon and it says, “I needed a refreshing as a mom. My teen son and his younger brother really wear me down. I know I need to change. Fresh perspective. This was just that. What it means to be mama bear to my boys, what they need and what matters most for them and for me. I feel like I have a new plan, a better way to begin again. I love his candor as he writes and shares testimonies, the clear and gentle truth. What we do matters, press on.”
Doug: So what I love about Dr. Leman’s books, and I say it all the time, is exactly what Jennifer just said. He gives you a plan and he makes it clear, candor, and funny. So like if you want, if you’re a mama and you’re wondering like, “How do I engage my son?” And you want to have clarity with a plan, get What A Difference A Mom Makes for $2.99 February 1 through 29. Super easy to read and you’ll enjoy it a ton. Okay, Andrea, so back to you.
Doug: Do you think you have full access to your sons in all areas to pour into them or talk to them or engage them? Or do you think dad’s supposed to do it?
Andrea: I think that naturally, and before I’d heard any of this from Dr. Leman, I felt like there were a lot of areas that were your territory and that I could be the soft one. I could come and sit down on the couch next to them and snuggle up and maybe ask them how they were doing. But I didn’t realize that there were some areas it was important for me to actually speak into their lives. I kind of felt like once they became teenagers that maybe it was kind of, they were more on the man’s side and I maybe was less important in their lives and I was, mom, make dinner, help them with their school, take care of some of the details in their lives, but not the, like you said, access into their lives. Probably not knowing how, and I still don’t really feel like I know how to delve into their heart.
Doug: Dr. Leman, what would you say to the moms that feel like Andrea described?
Dr. Leman: Well, I would just add to that that a mom is so smart to go to her son and say, “Honey, I need your help with something.” Let that boy learn to help the key female figure in his life, namely his mom. It’s interesting, thinking back on our youngest daughter, Lauren, who today is writing screenplays and she’s writing for television and she’s a toy designer. She’s only 27 years old. She’s got three things she’s made that are in the Disney Worlds in Japan and Florida and in California. So I’m just saying this is a pretty high-functioning kid. But when she was little, my wife would always draw little drawings on her lunch bag. Just drawn with a thick magic marker. Different colors, different days.
Dr. Leman: And when she was about 12, I think Mrs. Uppington decided, “Well, she’s probably a little too old to have drawings on her lunch.” And so they stopped. It was like a few days later when Lauren came to mama bear and said, “Mom, how come you don’t put little drawings on my lunch bags anymore?” And what happened was, yeah, Lauren stopped getting them. But her friends, her friends who loved mama bear’s drawings said, “Lauren, how come you don’t have drawings anymore?” And Lauren, I’m telling you, she was getting drawings on our lunch bags, I think through high school.
Dr. Leman: And so I think what we failed to understand is the little things we do every day, that’s why I say there’s not just three things a mom does. It’s a continuing journey as you learn more about yourself as a mom and how much you need your kids in your life. And how much your kids need you in their life in little ways and big ways. But the things that you talked about, snuggling up, and talking to, and tucking in. And those are things that women are so naturally good at. Men by their nature are not great cuddlers, we’re not great communicators. We’re sort of arm’s length.
Dr. Leman: But when we enter our daughter’s life, wow. And men have to understand that their words are taken very seriously by their daughters, because most daughters want to please their daddies. Most sons want to please their mommies. Back to what I suggested earlier about helping, having your sons help you, Andrea, let him help you, because he actually wants to please you. And that’s one of the ways, ask any man what he gets psychological jollies from in his family, and he’ll tell you providership. There’s a very healthy thing in a man’s life when he provides for his family. Watch what happens to a man when his wife is still gainfully employed and he loses his job. He loses a sense of value of who he is because we identify so much in the world of work, where women as competent or more competent than their male counterpart, they don’t get their main identification from their work. They get it from the relationships they have.
Doug: To that point, Thanksgiving was a couple of months ago here, but at the time of this release, but Andrea, our son went and said, “Hey, I want to try and make a pecan pie.” And Andrea stepped back and just supported him in making that pie, because he was helping out with making all the desserts for Thanksgiving. He volunteered it. And Andrea did an amazing job of like supporting him. He screwed up on it and she just, she didn’t jump in and change it. She just said, “Oh, what about if we try this?” And you should have seen him like puff his chest out when that pecan pie came out and everybody ate it.
Andrea: It was really good too.
Doug: Yeah, but to your point about … But your point about he was trying to please mom and you’re right. They soak up, my two boys soak up when mother is positive and they shrink when she is critical of them.
Dr. Leman: Exactly. So the message is let them please you. But there’s certain things where, lifting something for example, and you’ve got a teenage son, “Honey, would you mind taking that? It’s too heavy for me.” I mean let him show his brawn, his bravado off to you. There’s something inside that young male that wants to show off that, “Hey, I’m becoming bigger and stronger.” And the message, of course, is I can help. And one of the things we preach on this podcast is let kids give back to the family. So mom, you’re not a minor person here, you’re your major in families. The whole family literally centers around you.
Andrea: So Dr. Leman, I do have one question. What is a mother’s role in talking to her sons about pornography? I know you’ve mentioned this on other shows, and I’m just curious what you would say here in the context of this episode.
Dr. Leman: Well, first of all, I mean, if you’re a mom who’s just discovered that your son has been watching pornography, the first thing out of your mouth has to be something to the effect of, “I’m very disappointed in what’s happened here.” Okay? So you put the downer face on that as soon as you possibly can. And then you have to say is you’re disappointed that you’re disappointed for several reasons. “One of the reasons is that it’s so demeaning to women and it takes you down a track of life that’s not productive and it’s very addictive behavior. And so as a woman, I’m not talking as a mom here, I’m talking as a woman, I’m offended that someone your age, with your bright future, could in fact look at this stuff. I got to tell you the truth, I’m glad you’re attracted to the opposite sex. That’s healthy and good. Less problems for you down life’s way with you being attracted to women.”
Dr. Leman: “But again, you have to see the demeaning nature of this. You have to see how women are used in this industry of pornography. And are used by who? By men. It’s a very demeaning thing. And again, I want to go back to the fact that once you watch this stuff, what you saw is embedded in your brain now forever. You’re not going to get rid of that. When you’re 50 years old, you’re going to be able to see that image that you saw in that pornography in your brain. It’s not going to leave you. That’s why it’s devastating to a young person to get hooked on pornography, because it stays with you. It’s not something that you can just turn off. It’ll pop into your mind at the most inappropriate times.”
Dr. Leman: “So as a mom who loves you and cares about everything about you, I’m blown away. Am I surprised? Yes, but if you push me on that, no, because I know it’s so prevalent in our society and it’s so readily available for any eyes to see it. But again, I’d really like to partner with you in seeing if we can get beyond this. This is not an easy thing to shake. And you may want to have to talk to somebody else other than your mom. This might be very uncomfortable for us even to have this conversation. If that’s what it takes, I’ll be willing to pay for a couple of sessions for you to go and talk to somebody about this, because this can be devastating to your future and you have to understand that.”
Dr. Leman: “Now, can I do it for you? Can your dad do it for you? No, this is something you have to do for yourself. And quite frankly, it’s not just an emotional problem. I think it’s a spiritual problem, and I think it’s one that you need to correct between your maker and yourself.” But all that does there is it gets the conversation going. Now that son might get mad, he might shut down, he might come around a week later. And if he does, so be it. We’ll continue to have that uncomfortable conversation, but I think you have to draw some lines in your own mind and you have to put the stamp of disapproval on it for sure. But it has to be laced with compassion and understanding of how that can happen.
Andrea: Great. Thank you, Dr. Leman. I think that that’s really important for us moms to know that our boys hearing from us on this topic will make a difference.
Doug: Well, I just think of my mom would have come in and talked to me about this. Holy smokers, I would have listened. That would have been like … I mean, way more powerful than dad actually. Like dad, I would be afraid of, but mom would be like, oh man, that brings it home.
Dr. Leman: Well, Doug and Andrea, how many parents sit down and talk to their sons about nocturnal emissions, better known as wet dreams? Every kid has one. There’s not many an adult man who can’t tell you what that first nocturnal emission was all about, but it’s something that we don’t talk about. It’s the elephant sitting on the couch in the living room. We don’t talk to our kids. Again, I wrote a book called A Chicken’s Guide To Talking Turkey To Your Kids About Sex. It’s a wonderful book. I co-wrote it with a woman that lives here in Tucson who does seminars on teaching kids about sex from a Christian perspective all around the world. It’s a great book. It’s a great title. It’s my lowest selling title that I’m aware of. Why? Because no parent gets up and says, “You know what I want to do today? I want to talk to my kids about sex.” So parents, you can’t stick your head in the sand. You got to talk turkey to your kids.
Doug: Well, thank you, Dr. Leman for helping us. And for all those moms that are listening to this, we hope this helps you say this is how you can impact your sons. And I just want to remind everybody between now and February 29th of 2020 you can get What A Difference A Mom Makes for $2.99. Go and get it. And the reason we’re doing this is because we really do want you to enjoy your kids, love your kids more and more, have more tools so that you can just be a better parent for your kids’ sake. So we love being with you. We look forward to the next time we get to be with you.
Andrea: Have a great week.
Doug: Take care. Bye-bye.