What does real misbehavior look like over your own expectations of how your kids should act? In today’s episode, Dr. Leman dives into how reality discipline can help any parenting situation.
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Andrea: Is this child misbehaving or are they just being a curious child, or are they actually responding to who they are and my expectations are wrong? This is what I want to know.
Doug: Hi, I’m Doug Terpening.
Andrea: And I’m Andrea.
Doug: And we are so glad that you are with us today on Have a New Kid by Friday, as we figure out, is that kid a misbehaving kid or not? Well, if this happens to be your first time here, welcome and you are allowed to misbehave as you listen to this podcast. Maybe that’s not true. I don’t know, maybe I shouldn’t give you that freedom, but I’m going to let you know that this is for your education and entertainment purposes only, and if any of this content gives you any concerns, please go seek a local professional for help.
Doug: Well, I am excited to talk about this Dr. Leman, to find out if it’s misbehavior or wrong expectations, because I’ve been telling Andrea for years. I’m not misbehaving, I’m not bad, she just has wrong expectations of me, right honey? Isn’t that what it is?
Andrea: I thought we were talking about kids now.
Doug: Oh, oops, we’re going to talk about kids today.
Andrea: Although, Dr. Leman has said that your husband is a three year old-
Doug: Is a four year old.
Andrea: Four year old. Yeah, that shaves?
Doug: That shaves and seeking attention. Okay. So we-
Andrea: I wasn’t thinking of you when this question came in my head.
Doug: Well, I’m just glad that Dr. Leman’s going to vindicate that I’m not misbehaving. Dr. Leman help us out, how do we know?
Dr. Leman: Well, this is interesting because as you are posing that question Andrea, I was thinking about Mrs. Upington, who has said to me more than a few times in our marriage. She says things like, “Lemy, would you behave yourself? Sometimes our husbands, a lady will say, well I’ve got three kids, well actually four if I include my husband. Some of us as husbands certainly misbehave. Will my newest book Why Your Kids Misbehave – and What to Do about It help you with your husband. Probably not. There’s other books like Have a New Husband by Friday, that one will help you or any of my marriage books will help you with husbands. But since we’re talking about kids, I think we’ve got to just face the fact that kids are kids, you know? That’s why God gave kids parents to help guide kids in a positive, good direction.
Dr. Leman: I mean, kids are kids to put it bluntly, they’re dumb as mud sometimes. A youngster, for example, you mentioned curiosity. A three year old could take a very expensive vase or bowl of glass or something that really has value and they could pick it up and just drop it on the floor just to hear that wonderful shattering sound. I mean, it’s trial and error as they go through life. And so kids get to a point of accountability where they understand that you don’t just pick up a bass and throw it on the floor, but kids are kids they’re going to do stupid dumb things. They’re going to do stupid dumb things when they’re 16, 17 years of age. Now if you don’t believe that’s true. Have a nice, honest conversation with your Geico person, your progressive person, your state farm person who did I leave out your farmers person and they’ll tell you, explain to you why you pay such high rates for your 16 year old daughter or son to drive the family car.
Dr. Leman: Again, I think that what happens in families is we have parents who really believed that kids ought to just be little mannequins, that they ought to fall in line and do everything mommy and daddy say, well, if that’s true, if that’s the thinking. Those parents came out of authoritarian training as most of us did as parents, okay. Some of the younger parents today had very permissive parents, okay. But the great majority of parents today still came out of semi-authoritarian families. And that gets us to the point that Andrea brought up is wait a minute, is this unrealistic expectations I have for my kids? Yes. Many of us have very unrealistic expectations for our kids. One of the things that people have said to me over the years of my career, they’ve said things like, Oh, are you going to analyze me? Anybody that knows me knows I’m not an analytical person.
Dr. Leman: I take people for what they are. I’m not afraid to show my flaws to other people. I’m a relational guy. I guess what I’m trying to say is sometimes we try to overanalyze our children and play armchair shrink with our kid and the brand new book I put out. The reason why I like it so much is it gives you an opportunity by just looking at your own feelings, parent. To decipher at what level of misbehavior your kid is misbehaving at. If you feel annoyed by the kid’s behavior, he or she is an attention getter. If you feel provoked, you have a powerful child on your hands. A kid misbehaves and the question is, is he misbehaving or is this isolated, just kid kind of immaturity. And I always ask the parent, well, wait a minute. Tell me, is there a trend? Are you always feeling provoked?
Dr. Leman: Are you always feeling frustrated by this son or daughter? If that’s the case, you’re a great candidate to read Why Your Kids Misbehave – and What to Do about It. But kids are kids, they’re going to do and say stupid things. Is there a way of handling those things without making it worse? Yes. One of my favorite expressions is remove your sails from the child’s wind. I mean, simple things. I mean, mom, where’s my shoes? I can’t find my shoes. And it’s getting crunch time, the school buses going to be there in a minute and a simple honey, I haven’t worn your shoes this week, once. Just a statement like that says, wait a minute, I’m not getting sucked into this. I’m not going to go through all the dog and pony show we normally do. Where my kid ends up getting more frustrated by me trying to quote help them.
Dr. Leman: Now, if the kid doesn’t know where his shoes are, you tell me you’re in the kitchen and he’s yelling from the hallway, how are you going to help your kid find those shoes? You’re not and they’re not your shoes. It’s not your job to find the shoes. Just come up with something glib like, honey, I haven’t worn your shoes all week, and you’re better off there than going through the dog and pony show about honey, where did you take them off? Oh, there’s a smart question. Where did you take them off? Now if your son or daughter knew that, they wouldn’t be asking the question, mom, where’s my shoes? But those are the kinds of games that kids literally create in a very natural way of how to engage us in their battles a life. And I’m reminding you that we’re not really rearing a kid, we’re rearing a potential adult someday. Let the kid figure out where his shoes are. they’ll find them eventually. Maybe they’re in the garage. I have no idea.
Doug: Dr. Leman question for you and somewhat for you too, Andrea, that the way you described it about the shoes, it’s a pretty common occurrence, even in the Terpening household. How do we allow ourselves to get sucked into that? Like, Oh, okay, I’ll go start looking for your shoes for you now. Like what? Why is that so common now?
Dr. Leman: All right, now listen, what you just said is golden. A kid yells from the hallway, mom, where’s my shoes? Honey. I haven’t worn your shoes this week, but I’m going to start looking for them. Now am I saying you’re going to leave the kitchen and go on the hunt for the shoes? No, I’m not. I’m just going to say you’re going to say to your kid, okay, I’m looking for them. Which means you’re just looking around the kitchen to see if they happen to be on the floor of The kitchen, in other words, did not engage. We engage because we’ve been trained by them to be engaged. And if you look at your parent, parent, what did you say to your mom and dad? Did you not ask them where your shoes were, or where your homework was, or where your book was, or whatever. It’s a tried and true way of trying to get your parents to solve your problems, and in traditional America we played that game for years, and I’ve said many times that we tend to say things to our kids that we’ve told ourselves we’ll never say to our kids.
Dr. Leman: Don’t poke your eye out. How many parents have said to their kid, don’t poke your eye out. Now everybody, I’m serious. Just for a second here please, is there anybody in our listening podcast audience who have witnessed a kid poke his eye out, write to us if you have. I haven’t met one yet and yet that’s a conversation that happens in millions of homes across North America and around the world. Well, why do we do that? We do that because we were trained, okay. Honey, eat your cereal, it’s good for you. Eat it and I’ll put extra sugar. Eat it, and I’ll give you a dollar. Eat it. And we have this whole reward banter back and forth where somehow we’re accountable as a parent for being the orchestrator of a kid eating his oatmeal. And as we pointed out on many a podcast, let the reality of the situation become a teacher to the child. If the kid chooses not to eat his oatmeal, he experiences some hunger and he’s going to be real hungry at school. He’s going to eat a big lunch or maybe even bum some food off his friends.
Dr. Leman: But the experience of not eating leads to hunger, which is a very natural thing. Let the situation be the teacher to the child.
Doug: Andrea, you’re the resident mother here.
Doug: Why do you think it’s so easy for you to be drawn into dropping what you’re doing? Get out of your chair, go down the hallway and start looking for shoes for kids. Like what is it about that that just naturally sucks you in, do you think?
Andrea: It’s probably easier than listening to them whine and complain about not being able to find something.
Doug: And you just want them to be quiet and move on, and go back to what you were doing?
Dr. Leman: Okay, so the question is, if she goes and starts looking, does she increase the probability of dependence or independence?
Andrea: Oh, we all know the answer, they’re going to-
Doug: Be more independent.
Doug: And they are going to need mother less.
Andrea: Yes. Next time they’re going to look where I looked and they’ll find them.
Dr. Leman: I mean just think of things a little, honey, I’ll look outside, okay. You live in the snowbelt. I’ll look outside, honey. I mean, have some fun with it. I mean, kids have all kinds of ways of sucking us in and they use us. And parents, you weren’t created to be used by your kids. I’m always reminding mommy’s, I’m big on mommy’s and sons and daddies and daughters and these sons can work a mom pretty good. I still remember and I actually believed this as a kid that when my mother made the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, okay. It tasted better than if I made it. And she would always make a clean cut on that bread. She’d cut it diagonally, okay. And whenever I cut it, it seemed like the edge is ripped the wrong way and it looked sort of raggedy.
Dr. Leman: I still remember, in fact, I made myself some tomato soup the other day. Campbell’s tomato soup, okay. And I had a flashback of when I was a little boy, my mother would put a little bit of butter on top of the tomato soup and it would spread out like oil on water kind of thing. And I still remember how good that tasted. Well, Hey, I’m on social security and I put that butter on just to remind me of, I think that pleasant, euphoric feeling of closeness to my mom and how special she was in my life and anybody that knows me knows that my mom was certainly the person who put that indelible imprint on my life. Again, just be aware parents, okay.
Dr. Leman: All of you who are [posi-pleasers 00:00:13:11], like our resident mother here, Ms Andrea, mother of four, it’s sort of your nature. You get sucked in by your heart, you pushed to give these little kids lives. And those of you who have gone through adoption, you fell in love with those kids the moment they came into your home, whether they were an infant or a year and a half years of age, whatever. They are kids and mommy’s tend to be across the board better nurturers than dads. Now I’ll get a nasty email on that one, but I’m just telling you across the board, mommy’s are nurturers to a higher degree than dads are.
Doug: Okay. When I come back, I have a funny story to tell you about what happened this weekend, to accentuate what you just said. But I want to make sure I get this in the eBook that is available for an incredible deal and Dr. Leman will tell you this is one of the books. Again, if there’s one of the top five books you should read by Dr. Leman, this is one of them. And between now and April 30th of 2020 The Way of the Wise is available for $1,99 wherever eBooks are sold for only a buck ninety-nine, and we have an Amazon review from Carmen about what she thought about the book.
Andrea: Carmen says if you want to read a life changing book and in a tight little easy to read package one that even those who don’t like to read will be sucked into and won’t be able to put down. It’s Dr. Kevin Leman’s The Way of the Wise. Three friends and I read it over a weekend and met for coffee to discuss it. We all look at faith, and God from varied perspectives, but in this book we found common ground and intriguing discussion, no matter where you are in your life journey. This wonderful book indeed provides simple truths for living well and a doable roadmap for getting there. I’ll be passing it on to everyone I know.
Doug: Go get it now, The Way of the Wise for $1,99 between now and April 30th of 2020 and now a no nonsense parenting moment with Dr. Kevin Leman.
Dr. Leman: Okay parents, I’m going to give you a golden nugget and you can tuck it in your back pocket. Your kid asks for something that’s just downright outrageous. I mean, it’s a car when they’re 16, or it’s a pony when they’re 12, or a trip to Europe and you are a family of simple means, rather than just slam dunk the kid’s idea. Here’s a principle for you to think about grant in fantasy, which you can’t in reality. Wow, wouldn’t it be great to have your own pony, or own horse? Wouldn’t it be great to take a trip to the Swiss Alps? Oh my goodness. I know how you love those skiers racing down the mountains on TV. And I love that too. Wouldn’t it be great if we could go? Usually a kid will come back with an answer. Yeah, but we can’t afford that much money to fly way over there.
Dr. Leman: Again, kid asked to go to a rock concert. He’s 16 years old, it’s a $90 ticket. Yeah, you can shut them down real quick by saying, Hey, we’re not spending our hard earned money to send you to some rock concert, 45 miles away. That’s one way of handling it, but it’s not a good way to handle it. A good way to handle it. Wow. You’re willing to pay that kind of money. Hey, could you download some of their music? I’d love to hear it. That shows interest in your kid. Remember, parents, you need to move toward your kids. Your kids, quite frankly, don’t move toward you, so grant in fantasy, which you can’t in reality. Pull that one out and use it, it will work.
Doug: Dr. Leman, we celebrated my birthday this weekend and I’m not making this up. I asked my kids for a picture of a memory that they have with us and one of my daughters who is the older one, I’m not going to name names, gave me a picture of her with this sly little like daughter look at her dad and she said, dad, I gave this to you because I know we have a special relationship and I know how to get you to do what I want you to do.
Andrea: Can you believe that? She had her hand on his shoulder in the picture.
Doug: Clearly it’s true what you’re saying, like she didn’t even unabashedly… I mean she’s an 18 year old and she’s like, I know how to make you dad get what I want. Isn’t that funny? Did she not say that Andrea?
Andrea: She did say that.
Doug: She did say that. For all those parents out who are wondering what is the first step in changing this mindset that we have of always running around, picking up our kids shoes and chasing after them. Is it that we sit down at the family table and we say, guys, listen, I’m done with this. Is it a mindset change? It’s a new posting on the wall. Mother is no longer available to help find shoes. What’s the first thing a parent can do?
Dr. Leman: Well, again, I think you really have to assess the situation first of all, before you go off in the deep end. I would never want to do anything to take away anything from your relationship you have with your daughter, okay. And if she works you a little bit, you’re not going to hear me screaming, okay. They have to pull a rug out. But you know what if the kids are constantly using you, if they’re taking you for granted, if their behavior is such that you really want to pull your hair out, you’re really upset and it’s from all angles, okay.
Dr. Leman: That’s where you have the blowout. That’s where you say, Hey, I’m done. That’s where before dinner and kids are arguing and you’re not getting help, that’s when you say, c’mon Doug, you and I are going out and you leave things, turn the stove off, let them fend for themselves and go out for dinner. And maybe even add a movie to it, so you’re gone for four hours and let them figure out that things are not well in the home. But see I’m not afraid to do that kind of stuff when I feel used and abused by people who are supposed to respect me and love me, so many times people jump off the deep end, they overreact and we’ve done a lot of teachings on, Hey, reaction’s never good, but you want to respond.
Dr. Leman: And so really assess the situation before you go off and create a bigger problem. That’s really important to do, their kids we’ve said it so many times they’re going to say and do stupid things, but when there’s a pattern that just continues, then you have to do some rug pulling and that’s when you might sit down the next day after you left the kitchen quickly and went out for dinner or maybe added a movie to that and enjoyed yourself and let the little piggies enjoy their sty. Then maybe you have a family meeting the next day after dinner and say, listen, I just want you guys to know dad and I are very unhappy. And that’s how you start that conversation. We are very unhappy. The kids will pay attention.
Doug: You know Andy and I just read your new book. We got a sneak preview of it, which is great on Why Your Kids Misbehave-and What to Do about It and in there you have the seven steps to reality discipline, and I’m sure it’s been in other books and I just have never seen it before or remember seeing it before. But I thought that layout for the concepts that you talk about reality discipline were so helpful to be able to be like, Oh here it is. It’s what I actually really like about this book a lot is that obviously we’ve read a bunch of them, but this book is so simple and gets to the core of these misbehaving issues and what to do about them. Why am I bringing this up? I’m like, as you’re talking about this do you blow it out and make it… You go on leave and have dinner or is it like this is the first step, where are we on the continuum? I thought those seven steps were excellent. It’s a great little book actually super easy to read.
Dr. Leman: I underscore the word simple. Again, parents, this is not rocket science. You know the book, the Have a New Kid by Friday. Many times when I’m on television I’ll say I’ll tell you the truth this book is a scam and it gets people’s attention. And I’m telling you, when you’re doing an interview on network TV, you want to get people’s attention. That’ll get people’s attention. But I’ll come back with something very serious and that is, you could have a new kid by Wednesday. You don’t have to wait until Friday. Well in the book, I laid out a five day plan at the publisher’s request, but it could have been a two day plan because when you, parents make a decision to behave differently and to stop playing the dog and pony show that you’ve helped create and orchestrate, quite frankly, your kids will, I guarantee it, they will change their behavior and it can be as soon as 48 hours.
Dr. Leman: Make sure you’re on the same page as parents and be clear, be an authority, not authoritarian, not permissive. And that is such a comfortable place to be because you can feel good about the things that you’re doing and you can feel like as a couple, as a family, we do have a port of call, we know where we’re going. And that gives confidence to kids that they can rely on parents who are consistent, they’re encouraging, they love us, they care about us. But guess what, they don’t take any crap from us to put it bluntly.
Doug: Dr. Leman, going back to the original question, I just want to make sure I heard you correctly that when we are trying to assess is this real misbehavior or is this just something else? Is it that we are looking for patterns?
Dr. Leman: Patterns, yeah.
Doug: That this is a repeated patterns and two, I’m looking for how I react to it. Is that the right-
Dr. Leman: Right.
Doug: Is that the two steps?
Dr. Leman: Well just assess your own feeling. Again, if you feel provoked. How can you do this to me? I’m going to rub your nose in that young man and that consistently is happening and you’ve got a powerful child on your hands. And again, this is a wonderful little book to deal with that there’s also a book called Parenting Your Powerful Child. I mean powerful children don’t always slam doors and make a lot of noise. Some powerful children on the outside are meek and mild. They’re quiet as a mouse. They don’t say much, but they’re stubborn as stubborn can be.
Andrea: Where is the line between misbehaving and not misbehaving? And so you mentioned the powerful child will provoke you. If you’re just annoyed and that child is an attention getter, is that over the line of misbehaving or is that just kind of childlike behavior?
Dr. Leman: Let’s just take attention getting because it’s so simple. If your kid is an attention getter and you feel annoyed, what you have to understand is there is a vitamin deficiency in your parenthood and by that I mean as a kid gets discouraged, he or she goes from positive attention getting to negative attention getting. And then the next level of misbehavior is powerful behavior. But the reason a kid moves from one level to another is they don’t get enough vitamin E in your home. As the discouragement heightens the behavior worsens.
Andrea: Okay. That’s really helpful. I think we’re going to do a podcast in a couple of weeks on those four different stages. I’m excited to hear more about that because that was kind of like a little light going on in my head, so thank you.
Doug: Good. Again parents, if you’re wondering misbehavior, wrong expectations, look for patterns, look for how you respond or how you feel about it. And then look if it is an attention getting attempt by your kids and then eventually I think we’re going to talk, well I don’t think we are. I don’t think we have enough time to talk about the power one in the coming weeks. On that note, in a month on May 5th Dr. Leman’s new book comes out. What is the title?
Andrea: Why your child misbehaves and what to do about it?
Doug: Yeah, why your kids misbehave and it’s not why your husbands, Andrea, misbehave.
Andrea: Oh, I was going to read it and-
Doug: No, it’s about your children. And is a great… If you have not read a Dr. Leman book before, this one is so easy to read, but it is so practical, like the seven steps to reality discipline the four ways of parenting. If you are struggling with these concepts buy the book when it comes out, read it and send me a thank you note. The other one I want to mention is The Way of the Wise, get it now for a buck ninety-nine between now and April 30th of 2020. We look forward to the next time we get be with you and help you on your parenting journey so that you can feel more confident. And I know I say it all the time, but I’m going to keep saying it. Go get Dr. Lehman’s book and have the confidence to know how to parent. And it’s so great. It’s so much more enjoyable parenting, it really nice. We look forward to the next time. We love being with you and [helped] again.
Andrea: Have a great week.
Doug: Take care.