Have a New Kid by Friday

BOOK: Have a New Kid by Friday
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Are You a Candidate
to Read This Book?

Take our quiz to find out. Simply mark Y for Yes or N for No on the line before each entry.

About You

___ Do you expect the best of your child?

___ Do you mean what you say?

___ Do you follow through on what you say?

___ Do you hold your child accountable for his or her actions?

If you’re 4 for 4 with all “Y” answers at this point and are feeling pretty good about yourself right now, you may not need this book. But if you have nothing better to do, finish the rest of this quiz just for fun.

___ Do you yell at, scream at, threaten, or cajole your children to do simple, routine things like get up for school, get dressed, eat, do homework, or perform a chore?

___ When you say no to your child and your child cries, are you overcome by guilt? Do you find yourself giving in to the original request of your child—saying yes to what you had just said no to?

___ Do you engage in long conversations with your child, defending why you said no to a certain request?

___ Are you worried that your child doesn’t feel good about himself or herself?

___ Are you bothered that your child doesn’t seem happy?

___ Do you plan over-the-top birthday parties?

• Seven-year-old Rosa’s parents chartered a bus and took her and multiple friends to a city 115 miles away so they each could “Build a Bear”; then they celebrated with cake and ice cream at an ice cream parlor.

• Five-year-old Mikey’s parents rented the stadium club that overlooked an athletic field.

• Marti, a single mom, spent a whole month’s income on her 10-year-old daughter’s birthday party.

___ Are you concerned about your child not keeping up with the success or achievements of other children?

___ Have you ever wished another child would fail so your child would look better?

___ Do you have a difficult time saying no?

___ Do you have a hard time saying to your children what you really feel as a parent?

___ Are you frustrated most days?

About School

___ Are you overly involved in your child’s life? Do you fear that something terrible will happen if you don’t chaperone every school field trip?

___ Do you complete your child’s school assignments and projects?

___ Do you require a full explanation from your child’s teacher when your child doesn’t receive a superior grade?

___ Do you make excuses for your child not having completed his or her assignments on time? (“Oh, it was our fault. We had to go to ______ and we had ______ to do.”)

___ Does a simple homework assignment take the whole family’s energy for an entire evening? Are the end results lots of tearsand frustrations—and an assignment that either never gets done or doesn’t get done right?

___ Do you check and correct homework on your child’s behalf?

About Your Children

___ Do they have to be asked to help around the house on a daily basis?

___ Do they disrespect you and not value what you have to say?

___ Do they fuss about obeying you?

___ Do they lack for nothing?

___ Are they engaged in one or more extracurricular activities?

___ Do they need to be reminded more than once to do something?

___ When they slam the door in your face, do you write it off as “just the way kids are”?

___ Is bedtime a battle zone?

If
any
of these topics resonated with you and you marked even one “Y,” you need to not only
read
this book but
carry it around with
you
. Keep one copy in your car and another in your home.

This book will scratch where you itch.

I promise.

There’s a conspiracy going on, right in your own home.

The ankle-biter battalion and the hormone group each have a game plan guaranteed to drive you up the wall.
Have a New Kid by Friday
is an action plan that will take your sails out of your child’s wind and set him or her on a different course.

It’s the miracle turnaround you’re looking for.

I guarantee it.

Have a
New Kid
by Friday

How to Change Your Child’s
A
ttitude,
B
ehavior &
C
haracter
in
5 Days

Dr. Kevin Leman

© 2008 by Kevin Leman

Published by Revell
a division of Baker Publishing Group
P.O. Box 6287, Grand Rapids, MI 49516-6287
www.revellbooks.com

Printed in the United States of America

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—for example, electronic, photocopy, recording—without the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Leman, Kevin.
Have a new kid by Friday : how to change your child’s attitude, behavior & character in 5 days / Kevin Leman.
p.        cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-0-8007-1902-9 (cloth)
ISBN 978-0-8007-3276-9 (pbk.)
1. Discipline of children. 2. Child rearing. I. Title.
HQ770.4.L43 2008

649'.64—dc22                                                    2007041883

Scripture is taken from
The Living Bible,
copyright © 1971. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

To protect the privacy of those who have shared their stories with the author, some details and names have been changed.

To my son,

Kevin Anderson Leman II

You have always been a great son.

We’re so proud of what you’ve accomplished in life already. Winning two Emmys isn’t too shabby.

I have to admit that it’s taken a little while

to get used to people coming up to me and asking

me if it’s true that I’m Kevin Leman’s father,

but it’s a role I’m going to continue

to enjoy as the years go by.

What really means the most to Mom and me,

though, is the young man you’ve become.

We appreciate your kind, considerate, thoughtful nature.

We couldn’t love you more,

and I pray that God will continue to

richly bless your life.

Love,

Your semi-famous father

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

They’re Unionized . . . and Growing Stronger

I’ve got news for you. Kids are unionized, and they’ve got a game plan to drive you bonkers. Some hedonistic little suckers of the ankle-biter battalion have even graduated to emeritus status and are holding down the hormone group division. But you don’t have to let them call the shots. I’ve got a game plan guaranteed to work. Every time.

Monday

Where Did They All Come From?

These could have been General Custer’s last words, but they don’t have to be yours. Why do your kids do what they do—and continue to do it? And (secret news flash) how does your response to their war whoops relate to what your kids do?

Tuesday

Disarming the Dude (or Dudette) with the ’Tude

Want a kid without the attitude? With behavior that doesn’t make you slink away from him in the grocery store? A kid with real character who isn’t a character? Here’s why Attitude, Behavior, and Character are the most important ABCs of all—and how you can teach them in a way your child will never forget.

Wednesday

Show Me a Mean Teacher, and I’ll Show You a Good One (It’s All in the Perspective)

Look down the road 5, 10, 15, 20 years. Who do you want your
child to be? What kind of parent do you want to be? With
determination and 3 simple strategies for success, you can get
to that point—whether you have a 2-year-old, a 10-year-old, a
14-year-old, or a living-with-you-again young adult.

Thursday

But What If I Damage Their Psyche? (Uh . . . What’s a Psyche?)

Let’s debunk a major myth right now. Kids need Acceptance,
Belonging, and Competence—the pillars of self-esteem. But there’s
a big difference between praise and encouragement, and your kid
is smart enough to know it.

Friday

The Doc Is In . . . and It’s You

Today you review the principles and your action plan. Your mantra:
“I can’t wait for that kid to misbehave, because I’m ready to go
to war.” And she’s not going to know what hit her. Remember, no
warnings!

Ask Dr. Leman

A to Z Game Plans That Really Work

Straightforward advice and gutsy plans of action on over 100 of the hottest parenting topics. Flip through A to Z or consult the quick index at the end of this book.

Shh! It’s a Secret!

Epilogue

Fun Day

Today’s the day you launch your action plan. Sit back and watch
the fun . . . and the confusion on your child’s face. I guarantee
you’re going to hit payday if you never, never give up. (Old Winston
Churchill was right.) The stakes are high, but you can do it. The
power of your follow-through will reap benefits that will withstand
the test of time.

The Top Ten Countdown to Having a New Kid by Friday

Notes

Index of A to Z Topics

About Dr. Kevin Leman

Resources by Dr. Kevin Leman

To my editor, Ramona Cramer Tucker: It’s been a tough year for you, and I want you to know how much I appreciate your ability to hang in there and get the job done in such a professional manner. My heartfelt thanks for your invaluable contribution.

To the other woman in my life, my Revell editor, Lonnie Hull DuPont: I love the secure feeling as an author that you, Mama Bear, have your ever-watchful eye on this carefree cub and keep him in line.

Introduction
They’re Unionized . . . and Growing Stronger

Your kids have a game plan to drive you bonkers . . . but you don’t have to let them call the shots.

I’ve got news for you. Since the beginning of time, kids have been unionized, and they’ve got a game plan to drive you bonkers. Don’t believe it?

Take a look around. You tell me what you see in malls, stores, restaurants, and even your own living room.

What about the toddler who cries until she wears her mother down and gets to go not only
once
but
three times
on the carousel?

The teenager who yells, “Bleep you!” at his dad and stalks off?

The dad who allows his overweight 12-year-old to fill the grocery cart with Twinkies, Oreos, Coke, and Salerno Butter Cookies, then simply shrugs when the boy downs two packs of Twinkies as they stand in the checkout line?

The 7-year-old who gives his mom the “I dare you to do anything about it here” steely glare as he pushes the broccoli off his plate and watches it fall to the floor at the restaurant?

The 16-year-old who flips off her dad for not giving her money for a movie, then demands the car keys for the evening?

The 14-year-old dressed in all black who has “attitude” written all over her and gives every sign of going the wrong direction?

The 3-year-old who spends his day screaming, to make sure his parents appease his every whim?

It all goes to show that in today’s society, children even shorter than a yardstick are calling the shots. They’re part of the entitlement group—they expect anything and everything good to come their way, with no work on their part, just because they exist. In their eyes, the world
owes them
—and owes them big time. Some hedonistic little suckers of the ankle-biter battalion have even graduated to emeritus status and are holding down the hormone group division. Then there are the already-adult children who return home to your cozy little nest and stay and stay and stay. . . .

You know all about that too. If you picked up this book, you did so for a reason. Have you just about had it? Do you want to see some things—or a lot of things—change in your house? It isn’t always the big things that wear you down. It’s the constant battles with attitudes and behaviors like eye rolling, talking back, fighting with siblings, giving the “silent treatment,” and slamming doors. It’s the statements like, “You can’t make me do it!” and “I hate you!” flung into your face as your child retreats once again to his bedroom. It’s the exhaustion and stress of dealing with children who start swinging from the minute they get up.

Maybe your child’s behavior has embarrassed you (you could have done without your son’s all-out tantrum in the mall or your daughter’s belly button and nose rings, which she revealed for the first time when you had a business associate over for dinner), and you know it’s time to do something. Maybe you’ve been held hostage from certain activities because of your children’s actions (“Well, honey, I don’t know if we should go out to dinner with the Olsons; you know how the kids get”). Or maybe you’re seeing active signs of disrespect and rebellion, and you’re worried about where your child is headed next.

I’ll be blunt. You’ve got a big job to do and a short window in which to do it. I know, because I’ve raised 5 children—4 daughters and 1 son—with my wife, Sande. The years go far too quickly.

If you believe that you, as a parent, are to be in healthy authority over your child, this book is for you. If you don’t believe that you, as a parent, are to be in healthy authority over your child, put this book down right now and buy another. You won’t like what I have to say, you won’t do it, and you’ll complain about me to your friends.

But let me ask you something first: how do you feel after an hour of yelling at your kids to get up in the morning in time to catch the school bus? Could there be a better way?

What if you did something different? What if you
didn’t
wake them up this morning? What if you did nothing at all?

“But, Dr. Leman,” you’re saying, “I can’t do that. They’d be late for school. And I’d be late for work.”

Now you’re catching on.

How do you feel after listening to your children bicker constantly over who gets the bathroom first? Over who wore whose shirt and left it in a heap on the floor?

How do you feel after listening to your children bellyache over what you packed them for lunch?

What if you didn’t intercede in the sibling battles? What if you didn’t play peacemaker or rush to wash your daughter’s favorite shirt in time for her to wear it to school? What if you didn’t pack any lunch at all?

Ah, now you’re getting it.

There
is
a better way, and you’re holding it in your hand.

Did you know that your job as a parent is not to create a happy child? That if your child is temporarily unhappy, when he or she does choose to put a happy face back on, life will be better for all of you?

When your child yells, “You can’t make me do it!” he’s right. You can’t
make
him do something. But if he chooses not to be helpful, you don’t have to take him to the Secretary of State to get his driver’s license either.

You see, nothing in life is a free ride. The sooner children learn that, the better. Every person is accountable, regardless of age, for what comes out of his mouth. And homes should be based on the cornerstones of mutual respect, love, and accountability. There is no entitlement. If you play the entitlement game in your home, you’ll create BratZ—with a capital Z. You’ll create children who think they are in the driver’s seat of life’s car. Who think that their happiness is what’s most important in life, and that they are “entitled” to not only what they want but anything and everything they want, when they want it.

Many of us have unwittingly done this to our kids. We’ve spent far too much time snowplowing our child’s road in life—making far too many decisions for her, giving him too many choices, letting him off the hook or making excuses when he’s irresponsible, ignoring the little and big ways she disses us. After all, you want your child to like you, don’t you? No wonder kids think they’re in charge, and parental threats and cajoling don’t work! Many moms in particular tell me they feel like slave dogs, doing whatever their kids want them to do. And they’re exhausted by the end of the day. (If you’re saying, “Amen, brother!” read on.)

There are all sorts of experts who talk about boosting a child’s self-esteem. They promise that if you praise your child for this and that and smooth his road in life, you’ll land in the wonderful world of Oz and live happily ever after. But I’m here to tell you, after nearly 4 decades of helping families—as well as parenting 5 kids with my lovely wife—that often the opposite is true with that approach. Far too many families have landed on a stretch of road where they wish they had never gone.

You want your child to emerge as a healthy, contributing member of your family and society, right?
Have a New Kid by Friday
is a game plan guaranteed to work.
Every time.
It’ll help to produce the responsible adult you’ll be proud to call your son or daughter now and down the road. It’ll ratchet down the stress level in your home and give you freedom you’ve never experienced before in your parenting. It’ll even provide some chuckles along the way. (Just wait until Fun Day! More on that later.)

If you’re thinking,
This sounds too good to be true. There’s got
to be a catch
, you’re right. There
is
a catch—you.
You
are the key to changing your child’s thinking and actions. For this to work, it requires you to become the kind of parent you want to be. It requires your decision to stand up and be a parent rather than a pushover. So give me 1 week to change
your
thinking and actions, and you’ll be amazed at the results!

There will be times in this book when you’re going to squirm because you’re not going to like the suggestions. But I can offer you a 100 percent guarantee: if you follow the simple strategies in
Have a New Kid by Friday
, in just 5 days you’ll have a good kid on your hands. A kid who has figured out that life isn’t all about him. That other people do count in life. A kid who says thank you for the things you do for him. You’ll have a new atmosphere of mutual respect, love, and accountability in your home. And you just might find a smile creeping onto your face far more often than you could have imagined.

How can I guarantee that your relationship with your child can change so dramatically in just 5 days? Because I’ve seen this transformation in hundreds of thousands of families
every time
these strategies are followed!

Have a New Kid by Friday
isn’t just any old book. It’s a game plan that
really works
. Even better, anyone can do it. It doesn’t take a PhD in rocket science. Want to have a great kid? Want to be a great parent? Take the Leman 5-day challenge.

On Monday, I’ll reveal what your kid’s life strategy really is—and why he continues to do the things that drive you bonkers.

On Tuesday, we’ll talk about the 3 most important things every parent wants for their child—and how to teach them in a way the child will never forget.

On Wednesday, we’ll take a look down the road. Who do you want your child to be? What kind of parent do you want to be? You can get there with my time-tested “3 Simple Strategies for Success.”

On Thursday, we’ll identify the 3 pillars of true self-worth and learn how to develop them in your child.

On Friday, you get to be the shrink. We’ll review the principles and the action plan you’ve been developing since Monday and get ready to launch it upon your unsuspecting children.

BOOK: Have a New Kid by Friday
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