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Do you have a 6 year old without manners? Do you have an adult child living at home that doesn’t agree with your no alcohol policy in your home? Dr. Leman shares his wisdom and insights on how to deal with both.


Question #1

From: Brooke
Subject: Powerful son…and he’s only 6!

Dr. Leman,
I have been recently listening to your podcasts and just ordered your “Parenting your Powerful Child” book. Our son is 6years old. He was an only child up until January of this year when we gave birth to a baby girl. Kyle has always been a strong willed child, but I am seeing more so now, he’s turned into a powerful child. Yes, most likely my husband and I are to blame. I feel like I am being too hard on Kyle. I rarley let him get away with anything, and I think that has turned him into who is he today. Sometimes he is perfectly fine at home, and other times he just gets in trouble repeatedly within a matter of no time. Most of the time it is when we are around other people, such as out in public or over at a family member’s house. Disobeys, acts out, whines, and is very rude to me as well as others that he’s around. It’s like he throws away his manners when he walks out of the door, and picks them back up when he comes back in. I am at loss when it comes to punishing. I have also backed off from punishing him so much and over doing it. I have noticed a little difference. However, he doesn’t willingly apologize or recognize his mistakes. I always have to tell him to say sorry, or say please and thank you. My husband and I always have good manners to others, and most of the time to each other. I am not sure why the lack of remorse, do I not say I’m sorry enough. What are some specific ways to handle this?

Dr. Leman’s response:

  • Thank you Booke for your question.
  • This is an example of what happens when one is an authoritarian parent. You have told your son, “Do this, do that.” Yes, he is a powerful child and you have trained him to be that way.
  • He sees himself as worthy when he’s in control.
  • It is good that you are backing off!
  • As far as the baby goes, this boy feels that his turf has been invaded by her and now he thinks he has to make you pay attention to him.
  • Reading these two books, in this order will be helpful to you:
    • Parenting Your Powerful Child
    • Have a New Kid by Friday

Question #2:

Our 21-year-old son lives at home, has a full time job and is paying on student loans and a car that I co-signed for. Recently found out he is going out and drinking with friends and has alcohol in trunk of his car. He is ADHD, very defensive, wants to live his own life. We are an alcohol free home and this is very concerning to us. How do we maintain a relationship and encourage better choices.

Dr. Leman’s response:

  • I have a surprising answer for you!
  • First of all, he is 21. That is legal drinking age.
  • He sounds like a very responsible kid who is paying his debts and working hard.
  • This is what I would do:
    • Remove the beer from his trunk, put it in your fridge, and tell him what you have done (because it tastes better cold). Wait til later to bring up the issue.
    • Do this very matter of factly, and respectfully. After all, you want the relationship with your son and this is a chance to increase your bond with him. He is an adult.
    • This will take the intrigue and mystery out of hiding the beer and acting like nothing is going on.
  • I am not minimizing the danger and risk of DUI’s, but emphasis is on relationship with your adult son.


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