We did it! We made it to Friday! We’ve gone through (most of) Have a New Kid by Friday by Dr. Kevin Leman. So, do you have a new kid? Or the better question might be, do you feel like a new parent? I hope you’ve at least had some food for thought. I hope you’ve been able to evaluate the whys and hows of your parenting.
This final day is described as “fun day” by Dr. Leman. This is the day you get to try out all the things you’ve learned and see how your kids react. He says so many people tell him after reading this book that they can’t wait for their child to misbehave because they are excited to try out these new principles!
Dr. Leman closes this chapter with the top ten tips covered in this book. I’m going to share them with you and add my own thoughts and experiences.
1. Be 100% consistent in your behavior.
Isn’t this really the key to everything? If I could just be consistent regardless of how tired I am, what’s on my todo list or how aggravating they are being. I think it’s a choice we make. A hard choice, yes, but one that will definitely pay off!
2. Always follow through on what you say you will do.
This seems easy enough. But when your kids look at you with their sweet faces it’s sometimes hard to do what you say. The hardest part for me is when I take something from them (like going to the store) but I really wanted to do that thing, too! It’s like a punishment for me–I have to change my attitude and realize the gift I’m actually giving my children.
3. Respond, don’t react.
I just love that comparison to medication Dr. Leman gave about responding versus reacting. It’s helped me understand how to really respond to my children.
4. Count to 10 and ask yourself, “What would my old self do in this situation? What would the new me do?”
This is a good tip. Sometimes I feel like I need to be able to respond perfectly in a nanosecond. Counting to 10 gives me the permission to slow down and make a better decision. My kid can wait 10 seconds.
5. Never threaten your kids.
Threatening has been one of my go-to parenting strategies. And it does NOT work! I felt like I was just living by, “If you do that one more time, I’ll…” And what do you think the kids do? Misbehave again, of course! It was just a never ending cycle, I’d have to say it 1000 times and each punishment would have to be worse than the last. Ugh. Coupled with Dr. Leman’s advice of “no warnings” this has been the most freeing and helpful tip!
5. Never get angry. (When you do get angry, apologize quickly.)
Do you know I’ve only recently started apologizing to my kids? It’s been hard for me to apologize because usually the reason I’m upset is BECAUSE of them. But since reading Leigh’s post about this I’ve really tried (regardless of how bad they are) to apologize when I get out of control. And it makes such a difference in the heart of my kids.
6. Don’t give any warnings.
I love this one! I have implemented this technique more than anything else Dr. Leman suggests. It just works wonders. It stops arguments before they stop, it keeps me calm and it shows consistency and follow through to my kids.
7. Ask yourself, “Whose problem is this?” (Don’t own what isn’t yours.)
This is a hard one–especially if you have preschoolers or toddlers. Sometimes there are issues your kids just need to handle. Don’t jump in and solve every problem. Let the kids work for it, too.
8. Don’t think the misbehavior will go away.
So true. It’s easy to tell yourself this and talk your way out of good parenting.
9. Keep a happy face on, even when you want to…do something else.
I’ve found following some of these other tips has helped me keep a happy face. I am less emotional, less freaked out and more able to stay focused on the real issues at hand.
The rest of this book is “Ask Dr. Leman”. He answers real questions from parents on every topic imaginable: bedwetting, anger, tantrums, picky eaters, fighting in the car, power struggles and more. It’s a very insightful resource and full of good practical tips.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick review of the book. I really encourage you to pick up Have a New Kid By Friday because not only does Dr. Leman give good advice, he encourages you to look deeply at your parenting philosophy and make sure that regardless of what you’re doing–you’re doing it purposefully and consistently.
photo by Tiagø Ribeiro