There will be times when your kids pull away from you, but maintaining those relationships is key. Listen in as Dr. Leman breaks down the four components of a relationship: trust, honesty, communication, and transparency.
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Doug Terpening: Do you know, Andrea, without this, we have nothing. And actually, if with our kids, we don’t have this, we ain’t got nothing. What is this thing that without it, we got nothing in our parenting that we need to hear from Dr. Leman? Hi, I’m Doug Terpening.
Andrea Terpening: And I’m Andrea.
Doug Terpening: And we are really, really glad that you’re with us today. It is such a delight to be with you. I want to let everybody know that if this is your first time, this is for your education and entertainment purposes only. If the subject matter raises any concerns for you or your child, seek a local professional for help. Well, Dr. Leman, here we are, the end of September. School is back in session and some of us are in quarantine, some of us are back in normal. What is it that you say, “Without this, you have nothing”? And what does it mean?
Dr. Leman: Well, without a relationship with your mate, for example, you don’t have anything. You’re a paper tiger. You’re going nowhere. It’s going to incinerate before long and a lot of people are going to be hurt. If you don’t have a relationship with your son or your daughter, it’s going to blow up. Anger, explosions, tantrums, a feeling of betrayal and a separation, if you will, between parent and child. So, what’s in a relationship? Why don’t the three of us come up with some words that would describe a relationship? I think a relationship needs to have at least three components, and you guys can be thinking of others as I talk about this. Number one is trust. Number two, honesty. Number three, there has to be communication. And number four, there has to be a sense of transparency.
Now when I say transparency, I’m not saying to parents that you have to share with your kids everything that’s going on. You just don’t. I always say, if God wanted us to know what the other person was thinking, he would have given us glass foreheads. So there’s the ability, hopefully, of a parent or a mate to use discretion when we talk about honesty and trust and communication and transparency. So there has to be some division there, and that takes us to the A word, which is authority. And as parents, you have to remember that you are in authority over your children. Does that mean you run their lives? No, it doesn’t. But it means you’re in healthy authority over your kids.
For those of you believe in almighty God and his son, Jesus Christ, who are the same, by the way. If you’re a heathen, that’s a curve ball for you. You’ve got to ask yourself, does almighty God just pull strings and run our lives for us? No, he gives us that right. He loves us so much that we get to make choices. So in relationships, Andrea, you and Doug made choices every day and you made choices with your children. And it’s an art form, I’ve said many times, parenting, but what words? I’m just curious what words you would add to describe what a healthy relationship looks like.
Doug Terpening: Bacon, steak, physical closeness. Are those them?
Andrea Terpening: He stole one of mine. I was going to say communication. And now he’s got all the good ones and I can’t think of anything.
Dr. Leman: I love affection. I think that’s part of a good relationship. Can you be overly affectionate? We haven’t used the word love, but can you love a kid too much? How do parents interpret love? I sat in a restaurant last night, and a young lady who had to be 18 or 19 years of age, I about fell over. Her mother came over to the other side of the table. There were just two of them eating. And she cut up her meal for her. And so nosy me, I kept my eye on this kid for the rest of the meal. And I thought, “I wonder if this kid is physically challenged or something’s going on, or in some way has some physical or mental disabilities.” Well, I watched and she was talking and laughing, having a conversation. Seemed very normal to me. So I’m wondering what that parent’s perception was of her role.
I mean, I can understand cutting up a kid’s meal at age three or four. I just don’t get it at 18 or 19. Somebody help me out with that. So all these things that we’re talking about, take a parent to use good judgment in discretion and learning how far to go with trust and communication and transparency and honesty and affection. If you came out of a dysfunctional family where you never felt like you were loved and you never measured up, then this conversation’s already got you a little baffled because you grew up in a foreign land and we’re speaking a different language.
Doug Terpening: Yeah. So in the area of parenting, this is one of your pocket phrases and it’s one that you taught Andrea and I. What I really liked about it as I was researching that I don’t think we’ve ever done a podcast on this, that you use the analogy that parents, this is how you can use it to help you out. That when your kid says, I hate you, or I don’t want to be with you, or they’re just uber disrespectful to them, you say, “Later,” when they ask you to go do something, the classic later. You tell them, “Without a relationship, we have nothing. And you can’t treat people this way and expect them to want to be with you or help you. Once we have a relationship again, then I’ll gladly help you.” And I thought, “Wow, that is such a good phrase to help us get the concept that we need to care about others.” Is that-
Dr. Leman: Yeah. So if the Terpenings are coming to me behind closed doors and they say, “We’ve got a kid who was all of a sudden, terribly disrespectful to us and we just don’t know where to turn,” I might suggest, “Hey, Doug and Andrea, you didn’t give your son or your daughter bread and water treatment.” And the bread and water treatment basically is all of a sudden as parents, you do nothing for your child. You don’t give them lunch money. You don’t drive them down to the corner to catch the bus. You do nothing for them. They get, “No, I don’t feel like helping. No, I don’t want to get you a glass of milk. No, you can’t go to your friend’s house. No, you can’t have a goldfish or a puppy.” Whatever it is, it’s no. And that will rock a kid’s world. They don’t know what hit them.
But it gets down to the fact that once the teenager or the young kid settles down, you have an honest communication with them and said, “Hey, I’m done. I ask you to do simple things. Your dad and I work our tails off to put food on the table, clothes on your back. We don’t feel like you’re appreciative of anything. So from now on, I’m just putting you on notice. We are out of relationship.” It’s like you’re out of sync. People’s hearts sometimes go into what they call atrial fibrillation. And it’s the heart’s out of sync and it doesn’t beat right and the heart races. And sooner or later, you’ve got to deal with that because it can cause disaster for that person, for example, a stroke or a blood clot, or you name it.
So when things are out of sync, you can only let that go so long. Now here’s another Lehman pocket phrase. Do you want to slow leak it to death or would you rather force a blowout? I’d rather force a blowout because if you slow leak some of these things together, the damage is too much to recover from. So parents, you have to step up to the plate. Be the parent you need to be. Call a spade, a spade. Don’t be afraid to give your kid vitamin N. Now if you’re fearful, my kid’s not going to like me, you need to go read a Leman book and start there before we even have a conversation.
Doug Terpening: Here’s the connect the dot moment for dense Doug. So we know that I’m the slow one on here, is that I know about the bread and water treatment and all those things. But what was helpful for me with this phrase, relationship, we have nothing, and add, if you can’t treat me well, what makes you think that you’re going to treat others well. And to tie this whole concept of helping, because we’re training up an adult, not a child, to say that the world is not about you and you need to have real relationships with real people and this is not how you treat people. Because someday when you get married, this is probably how you’re going to treat your mate. I don’t know if you’d say that to a kid or not. So I’m using a lot of words and I apologize. But for me it was really helpful to go, “Okay. Part of my parenting process is not just that they treat me well, it’s that they treat others well.”
Dr. Leman: Right. Well, if you grew up in a home that was toxic and you saw your dad, for example, treat your mother like dirt and you marry, what’s the best guess of how you’re going to treat that bride of yours? Monkey see, monkey do. And it gets repeated over and over and over again. But we are so far off base with where we are today in America with rearing children. I always like to throw you Canadians in as well, because you’re not much better. We drive ourselves silly trying to make your kid happy at every turn. Again, I love these little one liners, but an unhappy child is a healthy child. Your job is not to create a happy child. Your job is to raise an adult so that when they leave their home, your home, you’ve equipped them to take on the tigers and lions of life because they’re going to be out there. Everybody’s not going to be like mom and dad.
Doug Terpening: Right. Well, I think for me, it really helped me in thinking through like, I’m not just trying to get these kids to obey and treat me right. Absolutely, that’s part of it, but if they can learn to do it to me, they’ll learn to do it to others. And I’m trying to set them up for success because I think all of us that are in the workforce these days are like, I tell my kids all the time, I think 80% of most jobs today are just getting along with people because it is crazy out there that people just can’t even get along. And I thought, “Wow, we’re not teaching our kids this concept.” Like treat others with respect and you’ll probably do pretty well in life. So bread and water treatment’s not to be mean, it’s actually to set our kids up for success someday.
Dr. Leman: Right. So talk to any employer, you parents. Y’all know employers. Just ask them a simple question. What’s it like when you hire people today? What are you seeing? What are the trends you see when you bring someone new into your business or company? And you’ll get an earful, because I talk with those business people all the time and they say it’s really hard to get good help. I know I’m in the education business. We have seven schools that are functioning beautifully, by the way, but we have teachers who flat out just quit because there’s not enough me time. Why would you take a job as a teacher and expect a lot of me time? I mean, we haven’t trained up a core of young people in our countries to have any type of a healthy work ethic. People bail out so easy.
When challenges come, they don’t say, “Wow, I’m going to solve this puppy. I’m going to dig in.” They walk away. Whatever. Well if you’ve got a business, you don’t need anybody in your company with a whatever attitude. But that is the attitude that most people carry out throughout life today. Now, you get your kids involved in 4H or in other activities that really challenge kids, make them think and work, hey, you’re on the right path, parents. But again, I’m not a huge guy on activities. So I’m not saying enroll your kid in every activity. I’m saying, try to find an activity for your son or your daughter that will help challenge them and set them up for the real world.
Doug Terpening: So Dr. Leman, I want to make sure I get in the ebook offer and then I’m going to ask Andrea a question for all the moms out there about connecting the dots, because they are, like my wife is 100 miles ahead of me. But I better do the ebook before I forget. Right now you can get, Have a New Sex Life by Friday, between now and the end of September of 2020 for only a $1.99, wherever ebooks are sold. And as Dr. Lehman has said, this is not about sex, but this is about communication and about your relationship. I didn’t even think about, it is talking about what we’re talking about right now, that it does help you make sure that you have a relationship with your own spouse. And if you can get it with your spouse, it’s way easier with your kids, isn’t it? So now go wherever you buy your ebooks between now and the end of September, Have a New Sex Life, a buck 99. And now a no nonsense parenting moment with Dr. Kevin Leman.
Dr. Leman: I get asked all kinds of questions about, at what age do you do this? At what age do you do that? Hey parents, it’s not a matter of [Spanish 00:15:27], for our Spanish speakers. You know what that means. That means yours. It’s really about maturity. Now my question is, do you give your son or daughter opportunity to grow, to make decisions, to learn? Is failure acceptable in your home? If that’s true, I got news for you, your kids are going to mature. They’re going to realize that life is not built around them and that other people count in life. So parents, take it easy. Take a big breath. Life isn’t going to be perfect. In our seven Leman schools, I have a sign, Leman Academy of Excellence, where learning is fun. Keep a fun, positive environment in your home, and everybody’s going to feel better about themselves and other people.
Doug Terpening: Okay. Andrea, you’re the resident mom here, right?
Andrea Terpening: So you want me to connect the dots between bread and water and without a relationship, we have nothing. Is that right?
Doug Terpening: Or do you go, oh, I see how holding my kid accountable, saying no, helps them understand how to have a relationship and treat people well down the road? Like how they treat you.
Andrea Terpening: Yes, absolutely.
Doug Terpening: But what would you need to be able to go, “I am going to give them the bread and water treatment, because I know longterm, even though it might feel bad to the relationship for a couple of days, I can see longterm it will help them”?
Andrea Terpening: Right. Well, if I feel like they’re taking advantage of me or they’re pushing me around or they’re making it impossible for me to do my role as a mom, then of course, I’m going to see that they need this bread and water, this accountability in their lives, because it’s affecting our relationship if they’re trying to push me around or take advantage of me as their mom.
Dr. Leman: Andrea, you’re the better person of the three of us, but here’s my question for you. How long would you let a child push you around before you pulled up the bread and water treatment?
Andrea Terpening: Well, you’re asking a empathetic. So I don’t know how long. It probably depends on how forceful they’re being and what kind of mood I’m in.
Dr. Leman: That’s an honest answer. But I think for people like you, you’re what I call a positive pleaser. You would like the oceans of life smoother. When the rough seas come with your kids, your tendency is probably to, well, maybe he just had a bad day or whatever. And my admonition to parents is don’t let the cancer grow. Nip it in the bud, as Barney Fife once said. All the young people are saying, “Who’s Barney Fife?” Look it up. I’m not telling you. But I think the idea is to have kids really pay attention to the words you use as a parent. So you’re not calling them three times to dinner. You’re not telling them six times to pick up their room. You see what I’m saying? So if we can get a parent to be so efficient, that when they say something, a kid automatically says, “Uh oh, I got to get on it.” You see what I’m saying? So the quicker that response can come from a parent where, “Hey, I’m not taking guff from you, six-year-old,” the sooner you’re going to have a change in that child’s behavior. That’s a guarantee.
Doug Terpening: And to your point, what I’ve seen, and I think you have at times too, Andrea, is when we don’t react but we actually think about it and we take our kids aside and tell them, “We are noticing this behavior. Is this correct,” oftentimes they are contrite to us. Or we’ll say, “Great. We think we see it this way. You think you see it that way. We’re going to,” we do … It is amazing though, but if we just brush it aside, you and I, Andrea, if we just like, “Ah, it’s not that big a,” it does grow. Doesn’t it? It doesn’t matter. It just grows, doesn’t it?
Dr. Leman: Well, and think about a marital relationship for a minute, and your feelings are really hurt by your mate. Something is said, something is done. And you go to bed with anger in your heart. And we know that biblical admission. So if you fester, if it just doesn’t get dealt with, what do you do with it? Do you sweep it under the rug three days later and pretend it didn’t happen? Well, I think it’s a little bit like eating a pizza on a Saturday night. You ate the pizza at 10 o’clock, but 11 o’clock you still taste it. It backs up on you. It causes you to be irritable. And at even a subconscious level, you’re going to start taking cheap shots at your mate because you didn’t resolve what was obviously a problem in the relationship.
It’s sort of like you have to clean filters. Filters are in washing machines and dryers and cars. Those filters are there for a reason. But there’s times you have to pull out the hose and clean up the filter and clean it out because you’re going to function better and all that garbage that you got out on the table, so to speak, and a got chance to vent and discuss and come to a solution, now you’re in a healthy mode again. And I think every couple, every parent has to realize there is a filter within you that has to be maintained and cleaned properly.
Doug Terpening: Well, I hope all of your parents can add this pocket phrase to your thinking about parenting that without a relationship, we have nothing. And when your kids or your spouse or mate is in the same situation, then you can go back to this. But I think for us as parents, my encouragement just is like, oh, that’s right. We are raising up kids to be adults and how they treat others. And it really does matter. It starts in the home and it starts with how they treat mom and it’s how they treat dad. And that we can do this. And this is why I do this podcast, is to say, guys, if you need, and gals, if you need help and clarity, go read, Have a New Kid by Friday, how to help … I can never, what’s the children mind? Andrea?
Andrea Terpening: Making your children mind without losing yours.
Doug Terpening: Yes. Yes. Sorry. I don’t know I can’t get that book in my mind. And read those, read the birth order book, so you have the confidence to do this because there’s so many messages out there that tell us the opposite and so many messages that are telling us to live a different way. I’m just telling you, Andrea and I, we are having so much fun with our 20, 19, 17 and 15-year-old right now that it pays off in unbelievable spades for you.
Andrea Terpening: Can I just say, I feel like I’m listening to this from the other side. I like to hear just this without a relationship, we have nothing. It just sounds to me like a foundation. And when I hear that, I’m not thinking about the bread and water coming down the road. I’m just thinking about building that foundation. And I don’t know, to me, that just seems crystal clear in my mind. If I can work on that trust and honesty and communication and transparency, then I think the bread and water will be few and far between.
Dr. Leman: Yeah, that’s a good thought, Andrea. If you’re going to build a cement wall, that wall is only going to be great if the foundation is laid right. You put rebar in cement and within blocks, why? Why do you put that metal rebar in there? To strengthen what you’ve already built. So it’s pretty basic stuff, but relationships are so important.
In the business world today, I’ll remind people that Herb Kelleher was one of my heroes. He is now deceased. He was Chairman of the Board at Southwest Airlines for years. And he had such great insight into people. He told me one day, he said, “Kevin,” he said, “at Southwest, we hire a personality. I can teach people the rest of the stuff, but I can’t teach personality.” So some of you have the gift of a very engaging personality and that’s going to help you throughout life. Each year kids are different. Some kids have very outgoing, they could be a snake charmer. They could talk their way through anything. Other kids are going to need some more self-confidence to even open their mouth.
So again, remember, you’re the captain of the good ship family. And the question I always like to ask is, do you have a port of call? Do you know where you’re going on the ocean of life? When the storms come, and they’re going to come, do you have a game plan? How are you going to handle it? And are you committed as parents to each other? And those of you who are living in separate homes, you’re divorced and you’re remarried and all that, boy, that’s tough to do. But if you don’t pick up the phone and talk to each other and don’t let things slide, then you’re going to be in trouble, big trouble, and your kids are going to pay for it.
Doug Terpening: So again, Andrea, I thought your points were great. And for lots of us, we don’t know how to do those things, to be honest. And this is where Have a New You by Friday can come in and help you really ask yourself the hard questions of life so that your life is just better. Spend the energy now. Okay, I’ve gone through enough. I’ve listed off like all of Leman’s books.
Andrea Terpening: All right, honey. Time to wrap it up.
Doug Terpening: I get no royalties. I get nothing from the books. I just know what they’ve done in our lives. I know how they’ve changed us. I could have my kids come out here and they would say, “It’s been great.” But you need to do it for yourself, and that’s why we do this, so that you can have a better and better relationship with those kids. So, a reminder between now and the end of September, you get to have, Have a New Sex Life by Friday for $1.99, wherever ebooks are sold. And I just can’t encourage you, if you heard this and something’s pricked in your mind, go read a different book, whether it’s about you or about how you’re parenting, and Dr. Leman [inaudible] will. We look forward to the next time that we get to add your parenting toolbox, that you can just love those kids more and more.
Andrea Terpening: Have a great day.
Doug Terpening: Take care. Bye, bye.