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Game Plan For Raising Well-Behaved Children (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
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March 2, 2023 5:00 am

Game Plan For Raising Well-Behaved Children (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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March 2, 2023 5:00 am

Psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Kevin Leman explains how you can avoid common parenting mistakes and implement "reality discipline," in which real-life consequences teach children rather than you lecturing, reminding or rescuing them. (Part 2 of 2)

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Amy was looking for a resource to help her grow closer to God and live out her faith in tangible ways. So whenever I found Focus in the family and started listening to the various episodes, I guess, found that so much of what was being covered were things that I needed in my life. Our podcast inspired Amy to volunteer at a pregnancy resource center, and she realized she could help save even more preborn babies through monthly giving. You are one person, but whenever you donate to Focus in the family like I do, it magnifies your impact. Focus in the family is able to touch millions of people.

I'm Jim Daly. Join Amy and Focus on the family in the ongoing fight to save babies and their moms from abortion. Become a monthly giver today at slash family. Kids can work here. They can play it like a violin on the back of making children mine without losing yours. It says we have seen the enemy and they are small unionized.

But Italian is on the move, so you better have a game plan. Dr. Kevin Lehman describing some of the common challenges that we face as parents. And there are a lot of challenges, aren't there? If you wish you could improve the ways that you and your children interact with each other, just hang on because we have more encouragement from Dr. Lehman today on Focus on the family. Your host is Focus President and author Jim Daly, and I'm John Fuller.

John, we had a great conversation last time with Dr. Lehman about where we are as parents and where we can get a little off track with how we're raising our kids. Do you feel like that sometimes? Multiple times it seems. Not a day. Well, yeah, actually a day sometimes.

Multiple times a day. Well, we often try to make life easier for them. I am guilty of that.

What little thing can I do? Sometimes that's good. Kevin Lehman last time talked about that. If you missed the broadcast last time, get the download, get the smartphone app. There's lots of ways you can listen and we want you to hear it because we think it's going to improve your ability to parent the way you need to parent, the way God wants you to parent. That's the key.

So get that download, get it on the smartphone, whatever you need to do. It was a great discussion. Yeah, and we're talking once again about Dr. Lehman's book, Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours. Just in a little print here at the top, Jim says more than one million copies sold. That says something. I guess that was pretty popular, wasn't it?

That's right. It's revised and it's got some new content in it and we've got it at slash radio. Or call us and we'll be happy to send a copy to you, 800, the letter A and the word family. There must be about 10 million more parents that need this, I would think.

Something like that. Kevin, it's great to have you back. Hey, thank you, Jim. Hey, last time we had a great discussion. I loved it and there were so many helpful hints there. But you wanted to talk about the distinction between praise and encouragement.

Yes. You know, I call it vitamin E, encouragement. And everybody knows that praise is great for kids. And you'll see me on a network television program and they'll introduce me as, hey, Dr. Kevin Lehman's coming up with why praise is destructive with children. Stay tuned.

We want to hear from this nut. And I go out there and make a case for why praise is destructive with children. Now, first of all, let me say this. If you want to praise something, praise God. God is worthy of your praise. Your husband, your wife, your kids are not. You use encouragement rather than praise and you're going to see a tremendous difference.

Let me give you just a couple of simple examples. Your kid brings home five A's on the report card, okay? You're the traditional authoritarian based parent. Oh, five A's? I am so excited.

I'm calling Aunt Sally and Uncle Jack right now. Oh, you're the best kid in the whole world. Here's four kisses and a $20 bill. Now, people are saying, hey, Lehman, what's wrong with that?

The kid got five A's. And I mean, you're happy and you're calling aunt and grandma and you gave him a 20. What's wrong with that?

A lot of things. Let me show you how to use encouragement in that same situation. Wow, five A's. You hit it out of the park. It looked like all that hard work you put in really paid off, honey. Congratulations. And guess what, parent? You just saved yourself $20.

That doesn't sound as fun. I want you to hear the takeaway. The takeaway for the kid is somebody acknowledged the hard work I did.

It's not blue smoke, it's not the carrot on the stick. And it's just part of our society. That's how we respond. Single mom coming home from a dental appointment on a Saturday morning and she's thinking about everything she has to do. And if you're a single mom especially, you know what life's like.

I mean, you get one day to get everything done in life. And she's thinking about her home and the kitchen and the dishes and Friday night's dishes and Thursday night's dishes are there. And she walks into a clean, sparkling kitchen. And there's her 13-year-old son with a dish towel over his table. The traditional mother, oh, my goodness, did you clean this up? You're the best boy in the whole world.

Still kisses and there's a $10 bill. Okay? Encouragement. Wow, did you clean this up? Honey, what a thoughtful thing to do.

I am so dead tired and have so many things to do. I appreciate that so much. The takeaway goes right to the kid's heart. Trust me. And so you want to think in encouraging terms. Simple things like, hey, good job. Now you're getting it.

Wow. Those are all encouraging words. Don't overdo the praise. Kevin, I got to ask you this because I think so many parents fall into this trap, which would be, hey, you did a pretty good job here, but you may have missed this spot or that spot. And it's age-appropriate, too. An 8-year-old, 9-year-old is going to do a different job than a 15-year-old. But distinguish between those parenting approaches as well. Well, there's parents who are just natural improvers.

They can improve anything. And I can relate this as a husband. We built one home in our entire marriage from the ground up. And when you build a home, you have no money left for anything, okay, especially landscaping. That's the last thing. And our backyard was covered with weeds.

I live in Tucson, Arizona. We got some mean weeds in that town. And one morning I got up at 5 o'clock, put a swimming suit on, went out in the backyard, and weeded that entire thing. I was like a little boy at 10 o'clock that morning, waking Mrs. Uppington, my bride, to tell her what I had done. And she's a hard woman to get out of bed. Well, she struggled to get out of bed. She puts on her little bathrobe, comes out with me, and she goes, oh, lean me, oh my goodness, it is wonderful. Now, she's a firstborn, and she is capable of finding a flaw.

And I can't make a story up like this. She looks down along the concrete patio, and there's a little weed about two inches tall that looks like he's going to grow up and become a weed someday, okay? And she points to that weed.

I'm telling you, if I had a gun, she'd be dead. I mean, it was just, it brought the carnal self out of me. I worked five hours cleaning that thing, and she found the flaw. And some of you parents are like that, you know? And some of you husbands are like it.

You're lucky enough to have a wife who cooks dinner. You sit down to dinner and you say, hey, what's with the carrots? Well, be careful.

You might be wearing carrots shortly, okay? And so it is with our kids. We can find the flaw. We say, but if you did this, and I call that shooding on your kid. Don't shood on your kid, okay?

And that shooding says what? You could have measured up. You didn't measure up. You want the kid to realize that his effort is what's important. That's the vitamin E. When you become the praiser, the evaluator, the critical-eyed parent, you're setting your kid up for failure. Watch out for that critical eye. It's called a carnal self. I remind you St. Paul said, he called himself wretched. If he's wretched, what are you and me? So we all are subject to that carnal self.

Don't bring it out on your kids. Well, it's so true. And you're hearing some of the laughter of the audience. We have about 20 people sitting with us in the studio, and they're going to ask some questions a little later, as they did last time. That was a really good conversation.

It really was. It adds a dynamic to it. So, Kevin, you also mentioned in your book, Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours, which I still am not sure you can accomplish that, but I'll read the book, the reality discipline, this idea that reality discipline is the right way to go. You touched on it last time. Let's go there again, give another example of what that means, because so many parents want to save their kids from problems. What's great about this, it keeps you out of the daily battle with your son or your daughter. For example, a 12-year-old is supposed to clean his room on Tuesdays and Saturdays, okay? And it's Tuesday night.

It hasn't been done. A smart parent without warning. Warnings are disrespectful acts.

There's another one that throws parents for a loop. Don't warn your kids. Somewhere it's written, you're supposed to warn them.

I don't know where it is, but it's not good advice. Bushwhack them. Surprise them, okay? Allow your 10-year-old sister to go clean 12-year-old's room and pay for it out of 12-year-old's allowance.

That's what I call let the reality of the situation become the teacher to the child. To be real frank, he doesn't care for his sister that much to begin with. And for him to find out that creep was even in his room, he's not a happy dude. Now he loses $5 out of his allowance for housekeeping services rendered. You have his attention. He has a choice, just like you have a choice.

Run your car through the car wash for $10 or wash it yourself. And that's why I call it reality discipline. You've got a kid that doesn't get up in the morning, and every morning you do battle with this kid. Now how do you feel once he gets on the stupid school bus half dressed and without breakfast? Do you feel good about the conversation you had with your kid all morning?

Yelling and screaming and saying things you wouldn't say in front of your friends? No. Well, don't wake him up. Again, without warning. Let him suffer the consequence of being late. And here's the note you're right. Dear teacher, dear administrator, Buford has absolutely no reason to be late for school today.

He chose to sleep in. Do whatever you feel free to do whatever you think is right for kids who are tardy. Love, Mom. What you've done is you've taken the tennis ball life and put it back in whose court? Yeah, I like that. Kevin, I like those a lot, but in that first scenario, I can hear some parents say, yeah, what I'm doing is setting up a big fight now because he doesn't like his sister, and I just gave him a reason to really not like her.

How do I manage all of that emotional spillover? Okay, and there's kids who'll say, okay, let's up the ante, just like John just said. And now he's snarky and nasty to his mom and to his sister, okay? Within 20 minutes, the kid wants something, and you give him vitamin N. Mom, would you do this? Mom, can I do that?

No, you can't. And they come back. They just don't put their hands in their pocket and walk away and say, well, I lost that one. Again, they'll come after you with badger-like fierceness, okay? And let him work for it. Let him figure out why you're not acquiescing to his request.

And a good answer is I don't feel like doing anything for you right now. Turn your back. Walk away.

See visually that you are one unhappy dudette, Mom, okay? And when he figures it out and you tell him very matter-of-factly, I didn't like the way you talked to your sister and your mother. And just let it go at that.

He'll catch on. So you're remaining in authority. You're not picking a fight, so to speak, okay? But again, he's trying to engage you in battle. If this will help you remember, remove your sails from the child's wind. Because the kids are going to try to engage you in battle. Fighting is an act of, you ready for it? Cooperation. When you're fighting with your kids, you're cooperating with them. You're the adult here.

You don't have to go there. You can say it once, turn your back, walk away. And notice they'll come after you because they don't like that.

They want to engage you in battle. If you get in a power struggle with your kid, guarantee you lose. Kevin, that's great advice, first of all. Last time you mentioned this idea of saving your kids. One of the things we've encountered is how many, I think, as we observe school projects like the infamous Science Project. Oh, yes.

Or whatever it might be. Well, Jim did help a little. No. You know what? Jean and I, I told Jean, I said, when our kids get to that point where they're doing the Science Project, we are not helping other than encouragement and giving them just any kind of advice they might ask.

But that's it. And so the first Science Project was hilarious. I mean, we in this town in Colorado Springs, we do have children who belong to astronauts.

And they come in with the rocket ship. You're going, there's no way that nine-year-old did that. Oh, yeah.

You know dad was on it. Yes. But talk about that idea of bailing your kids out, helping your kids, doing their homework. It should not be done for all the reasons you've talked about.

But be very specific as to why and what damage you're doing. Well, first of all, I'm going to give you the Lehman Five Star for you and Jean staying out of that, because it's so easy to get into, because we tend to project our unfulfilled dreams and wishes. Now, here's a psychologist in me on our children. And we want them to succeed. We don't want them to fail. We want them to get in the right school.

And once you hit that area, we've got college coming, and it's real easy to jump in. It destroys self-confidence, okay, in kids. That's why routines are important.

We had a question on yesterday's show about, what advice would you give to a young mom about to have a little firstborn? And one thing I didn't say is create routines. Routines for kids give self-confidence, okay? So, again, when kids learn early that mom and dad are not going to step in there and snow plow the roads of life for them, they build confidence in the fact that, hey, I can do this. And as a parent, can you advise your kid?

Yes, if they ask you a question. But one of the messages in making children mind is, guess what? Don't ask your kids questions.

That's like asking a fire not to burn for parents. You love questions. How was your day at school today, honey? Fine.

What'd you do in school today? Nothing. And then they go to their bedroom, you know, and text their buddies like a woodpecker that had a bad case of ADHD. And they just – That's a dramatic statement.

They do, but they just – they drive you away out of their life. And so don't do the parental – and I have parents say, Lehman, if I wouldn't ask my kid questions, I'd never understand anything. That's not true. Just shut up. Well, Lehman, what do I say when I pick my kid up from school?

Just drive home. You mean not say anything? If he says something, respond to him. Well, what if he goes home and doesn't say a word?

Consider it a good day. You know, I mean, don't get excited. Don't force things. Let that – let kids come to you.

Kids look up. They want to please you, believe it or not. Let them please you. Let them work. Let them give back to the family. Anybody who grew up on a farm need not read a Kevin Lehman book, because on the farm you learn to give back to the family and you learn what cooperation is all about. That is true. Kevin, one of those areas that can be cloudy for parents, particularly Christian parents, this idea of unconditional love, it's a wonderful thing.

We want to live in that spot where we receive it and we give it. But when it comes to parenting, that can also be real permissive and you don't have a spine when it comes to the job of parenting. So distinguish between unconditional love from a parent to a child and the responsibility of raising a child, which sometimes requires conditions. Yeah. You love a child for who he is, okay?

You don't love what he does lots of times. I think of my sweet mother who endured all the things she did in bringing up me. And one of my favorite scenarios in life was when – is you get old and near death.

This is a reminder for all these young parents around. When you get old and near death, they start giving you awards. I mean, they gave me an honorary doctorate degree and the University of Arizona gave me their highest award they can give to one of their own. But I got a call and a letter from my high school. Now, this is the high school I graduated fourth in the bottom of the class.

And they wanted to put me on their wall of fame. I said, I'm there. I'm there.

I'm going. And my mother lived to be 95 years old. So here I am driving my 90-year-old mother up to school. Here's the actual conversation. She said, Ma, we fooled a few people, didn't we? Oh, honey. She says, I am so proud of you. I said, remember the night the cops brought me home? She said, oh, I do. But you were such a good boy. Do you remember the time I got caught with the stolen sweaters? Oh, I do. But her – every answer to everything I brought up, everything I did, all the maladies of life that came to mind, she had the same response, but you were such a good boy.

And I think it was Romans 839 that says, nothing separates you from the love of Christ. And that's how apparent love is for the kid. Nothing – do you like what they do? Do you like some of their actions? Do you like their smart mouth sometimes?

No. And that's why you discipline them. But you guide, you know.

I wrote a book called The Way of the Shepherd, a leadership book, five-star rated on Amazon, which means somebody likes it. But, you know, the shepherd goes out of their way to bring that one little lamb back in, you know. He uses the rod to guide the sheep. He uses the rod to separate the fur. He uses it sometimes to give them a little shot in the tail to move along when they need to move along.

I'm here on the behalf of all the sheep in North America. They're not stupid. They know the difference between real love and real appreciation and a phony. So you've got to be real with your kids. You love them to death. Yes, there's times you'd like to string up every one of them for different things they've done. But that love permeates everything else.

Love never fails. That's a good answer. All right. Well, let's open it up to our guests around the table here. And just give me your first name and state your question. Hi.

I'm David. And I first wanted to thank you for your work. My wife and I have two daughters, 24 and 23, and they've turned out pretty good. We've used a lot of your principles.

And you kept us laughing, kind of take the heat off. And no grandkids yet, but we're thinking about that. Do things change as you become a grandparent and using these principles?

Well, David, thank you for the question. Let me point out one of those reasons why those kids turned out so well is if you've ever read a Lehman book, they underscore the daddy-daughter relationship and the mother-son relationship. When dads step up to the plate, be the dads they need to be, those daughters just flourish. So when those little – we have four grandchildren, okay? And it's just – it's a blessing. You know, the old adage is, you know, you can love them and give them back to their parents and go on and enjoy life and shuffleboard is true to a certain extent.

But you know what? I love to engage our grandchildren. I say things to my grandchildren sometimes that are sort of street education, and I see my daughter sort of cringe.

I can't imagine that. But then she'll come around and say, Dad, I am so glad. I am so glad that I have a dad like you who cares about my kids to bring up these things because I have an eighth grader now.

Little Connor has got size 14 shoes. And what's going on today in seventh and eighth grade in schools, parents need to know. It's not like it was years ago.

So it just deepens everything. I think a lot of parents who followed Kevin Lehman through the years, they're looking at their kids now and seeing how they're rearing their children. And they might be the ones that go out and pick up Making Children Mine and give it to their kids and say, you need to read this book because they're scratching their heads saying, what's happened here? This isn't how they were reared. So young people today have their own mind about how kids ought to be reared. And it's different in many ways from how their parents raised them. All right, let's move on to the next question. My name is Erin, and my question is what parenting pitfalls are there for two parents who were firstborn children?

That's a good one. Quickly hit the attributes of a firstborn, that will help the audience better. Well, firstborns are reliable, conscientious. They're achievers. They know everything there is in life. I finally worked up enough courage to say to my firstborn wife, and this will help answer the question, I said, you're bossy.

And without missing a note, she looked at me and she said, I'm not bossy. My ideas are just better than yours. So here's the thing. You have to understand that firstborn tend to be perfectionistic. They have a need to be right. And they're the great correctors. They're the great, I call the women Martha Luther's because they're the great reformers.

They're always reforming something. And it's so easy to see your kids and see imperfection in their life, and you just pounce on it. This kid, if you're critical, if you're a critical-eyed parent, and most critical-eyed parents are firstborn or onlyborn children, your firstborn is going to pay for it. So here's the caveat.

Here's the warning. Does your firstborn start a lot of projects and doesn't finish them? Do they draw a picture and tear it up in front of you and say it's no good?

Okay. Do they say negative things about themselves and other people? Watch out because you have what I call a discouraged, defeated perfectionist, one who is going to be great at doing themself and in life. It spawned from having that critical-eyed parent. Now let me ask you this. Is God a critical parent? Is he looking for imperfect people with the biggest wham-o slingshot on record, popping them off one at a time? No.

He says, come to me. There's got to be a submission there. And there's another word that people hate today, submission. You want to be a great parent?

I think you have to live a submissive life. And before we conclude our conversation with Dr. Kevin Leman on this episode of Focus on the Family, we've got one more question for him. And here's the question, Kevin. So a parent has been listening, or maybe a grandparent, that knows their grandkids and their adult children are in trouble in this area.

Speak to both audiences. What can a parent do who has a 17-year-old, an 18-year-old, an older teen, and they have been the authoritarian parent and they don't see how to back up? Maybe they're feeling that conviction right now that making them do everything perfectly has not won the day. And there's a lot of bitterness and a lot of anger in that relationship. What can they do to begin to retrieve that and to have a normal, healthy relationship?

Well, a complex question in many ways, but let me try to address that. First of all, you grandparents, you know, we just passed the Christmas season. In this day and age, how about this? How about making a DVD, a video, of your life to each of your grandchildren? Talking about the struggles you've had emotionally, spiritually, the time that you doubted the very existence of God, how you came to terms with Christ, how your life changed, what advice you would give to them as they go through life. You want to give your kids, your grandkids, a real gift, one that they'll treasure?

If there's a proverbial fire in the home, the one thing they'd grab is that DVD of Grandma and Grandpa? What a great way to keep your life active in your kids' lives. For those parents who are struggling, you've been too authoritarian, you need to come to a place of forgiveness, you just start with a simple apology. Ask for some forgiveness, see what's happened. Sometimes, though, when you have those authoritarian, know-it-all parents, you end up with kids who are really deeply divided from you. You've got a 14-year-old, 15-year-old who's four-letter wording you every day.

Life is hell on earth, to put it bluntly. What do you do? I would suggest toilet paper. Wait a minute, toilet paper?

Well, I prefer two-ply. If you want one, that's okay. But what I would do if I got a 14-year-old or 15-year-old that's way out of control, I would, just for effect, get 18 jointed pieces of toilet paper. I would say, honey, I need to talk to you. What do you want to talk about? Honey, I just need three minutes, and then you're a free man. I'd hold up those 18.

I would drop all but four off, assuming the kid's 14 years old. I'd have this direct conversation. You have four more years to live in this prison. You've made it very clear that you don't like living here, and let me speak for your mother and myself. You have not been a real pleasure to be around for the first 14.

It hasn't been good. I'd like to see things change. I'm willing to meet you halfway. And if you don't, you need to understand this, that in four more years, you're going to leave this home, and you're on your own.

We wish you the best. Sometimes you have to bring it right down to the street war kind of thing. You have to lay things on the line. And, again, would you rather slowly leak that life to death, or would you rather bring it to an explosion point? I'd rather bring it to that explosion point, try to deal with it as best we can. You only do that with God's help and with a presence of mind to keep in mind there's a balance here. So you're sort of giving them a tough shot, but you're also opening your arms to say, I am willing to do some changing and meet you halfway.

And that represents a big, big discussion. If you're facing a crisis like that in your marriage or family, Focus on the Family is here to help you. We have caring Christian counselors, and we'd be happy to put you in contact with a member of that team. Allow us to bring Godly healing and restoration to your family. It is a privilege.

Yeah, we're a phone call away. And let me also point out resources like Dr. Lehman's terrific book, Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours, and a free parenting assessment that we also have at our website. Links to those and further resources are in the program notes, or call 800-A-Family. And I'm sure that many of you are aware that the strength of our nation and culture is built upon the strength of our families. So when our families are broken or weak, we're in big trouble. And that's why Focus on the Family exists, to help strengthen and support today's families, to rescue hurting marriages, equip parents, share the good news of the message of Jesus Christ, and so much more. We're inviting you to join us in this family building ministry. We're looking for 1,000 people who will commit to a monthly pledge so that we'll have the funding and resources we need to respond to the hundreds of thousands of families who will contact us this year. Can we count on you for your ongoing partnership with Focus today? Anything you can give will help, a monthly pledge, or even a one-time gift. But we would like to hear from you really soon, like today. And when you make a pledge or send a gift of any amount, we'll say thank you for being a part of the support team by sending a copy of Dr. Leeman's book, Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours. Our number, again, is 800, the letter A in the word family.

Or check the program notes for all the details. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening today to Focus on the Family. I'm John Fuller inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-02 05:12:21 / 2023-03-02 05:25:33 / 13

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