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Blog Post #5 in a Series: Dr. Kevin Leman Interview: The Benefits of Vitamin N

184805039This excerpt is from the article

“The Child Is Father of the Man”: Dr. Kevin Leman on Childhood Memories

by Alicea Jones from an interview with Christian psychologist, author and humorist, Dr. Kevin Leman on how our pasts affect how we parent.

Q- What advice do you have for parents who may not have had healthy role models?

A – Parenting is not a popularity contest. Every kid needs vitamin “N,” which is “No,” and vitamin “E,” which is encouragement. Kids don’t need praise. Praise is actually destructive. Praise should be reserved for God. It’s the false praise that gets me. I mean, the kid strikes out at little league, and the parents are screaming “Great at bat!” I’ve got news for you. It wasn’t great at bat. “Everybody wins, everybody gets a trophy.” That’s the mentality today. It’s crazy. Failure is important. Talk to anyone who has done it in life. Ben Carson: His mother was illiterate but made him write a book report every week. I love that. She was a domestic, cleaning people’s houses. Ben Carson is the top neurosurgeon at John Hopkins Hospital. Those kinds of stories inspire me.

It’s sometimes hard for me to watch my child fail. But I know that’s how they learn and mature. How about you? Were you allowed to fail as a child? How do you handle failure with your own children?

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Blog Post #4 in a Series: Dr. Kevin Leman Interview

78616973This excerpt is from the article

“The Child Is Father of the Man”: Dr. Kevin Leman on Childhood Memories

by Alicea Jones from an interview with Christian psychologist, author and humorist, Dr. Kevin Leman on how our pasts affect how we parent.

Q – You’ve talked about parents who overcompensate in their parenting because they feel bad about their own upbringing. What impact does overcompensation have on parenting?

 A – Number one, guilt is the propellant for most of the lousy decisions you’ll make in life. There are certainly more guilt gatherers who are females than males. Men generally don’t run on guilt. Lots of women do. Because they feel bad about the circumstances they bring to their family with their children, they overcompensate. “I’m just going to love Little Buford, love him, love him, love him.” Which ends up creating a little monster because she doesn’t have the guidelines she needs to have. She doesn’t have the firmness she needs to have. So that combination of guilt with no model to really follow in her family—she survived and she’s coping, and now she’s got kids and she doesn’t know what to do.

Okay, so how many of us haven’t made parenting decisions because we felt guilty? I certainly have, more than once. If I were starting all over again, I would ask myself before deciding to buy that new toy or whatever article of appeasement: “What is my purpose for doing this and what message am I sending to my child?” If my answer is that I feel guilty, then I’d try to give myself some time to think about what I was doing before acting. At least that’s what I hope I’d do. How about you?

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Blog Post #3 in a Series: Dr. Kevin Leman Interview

122440385This excerpt is from the article

“The Child Is Father of the Man”: Dr. Kevin Leman on Childhood Memories

by Alicea Jones from an interview with Christian psychologist, author and humorist, Dr. Kevin Leman on how our pasts affect how we parent.

Q – Some people who have unpleasant childhood memories have grown into adults with a strong need to control their surroundings. How do you explain that?

A- A defensive controller is one who controls not because he or she enjoys controlling, but they do it for defensive purposes. Why? Because they’ve been hurt . . . hurt by people. So they’re really guarded. Very few people get close to them. You become a defensive controller to protect yourself from getting hurt. It’s a coping mechanism; it helps you get through the day. It helps you get through the year. It helps you get through life. Men are specialists at that because men thrive at arm’s length in relationships, where women want to hug everything that moves.

Aaah, convicted! I did try to control many things when my child was younger and often felt exasperated because there are many things you just can’t predict or orchestrate. I also learned that if you try to control everything, you stifle the sense of wonder and exploration in yourself and in your children. Vulnerability is a beautiful quality but one that doesn’t come easy  to most of us. I just finished a  study on the subject vulnerability with a group of other women.
We used the book, Daring Greatly by author and popular TED Talk speaker, Brenee Brown. I found it very motivating.

How about you? What experiences have you had with control and parenting? Any tips for the rest of us?

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Blog Post #2 in a Series: Dr. Kevin Leman Interview

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This excerpt is from the article

“The Child Is Father of the Man”: Dr. Kevin Leman on Childhood Memories

by Alicea Jones from an interview with Christian psychologist, author and humorist, Dr. Kevin Leman on how our pasts affect how we parent.

Q – How do you explain why some people who grew up in challenging home environments defeat the odds by making good of their lives?

A – How did I deal with a dad who was an alcoholic and drank too many brewskies most of his life? I never drank a beer. You see in families that lots of times an alcoholic father produces the alcoholic son; the alcoholic daughter. So you either fight them or join them. Part of that is the resiliency that’s in their personality. It becomes their thing to do things well, to pursue excellence, to be different from whatever [they] had to grow up with. Some people will turn their back on that [dysfunction] and live a life that is exemplary. Others won’t. I don’t have a magic answer to that. Some fall by the wayside. Some suck it up and go a different direction.

I, like many, was one of those who sucked it up and went a different direction. Propelled by a mother who hung in there even though she had to raise six children on her own, I wanted to make her proud of me.  I was also influenced by an aunt who told me stories about achieving impossible dreams. Those stories, a desire to live differently and wanting to bring happiness to my mother were my driving forces. But I wonder about those who don’t make it–those who fall by the wayside. Maybe the big difference is having positive role models. Perhaps if I hadn’t, I would have gone the wrong way. What do you think? What factors make the difference in influencing a young person’s life?

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Post #1 Breaking the Chains of Your Past

78815965I had the pleasure of interviewing Christian psychologist, author and humorist, Dr. Kevin Leman.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting his insightful thoughts about how our past affects how we view life and how we mother. Don’t miss his answers to some pressing questions.

Excerpt from article by Alicea Jones

All the eight-year-old boy had to do was run out on the basketball court and perform the five-second Williamsville Billies’ cheer: “Basket, basket! Score, score, score! Williamsville Central, we want more!” Somehow, young Kevin Leman, the eight-year-old mascot, wearing his sweatshirt that displayed a billy goat, forgot his lines. At first he froze, mortified. Then a surprising thing happened: When everyone started laughing, Kevin realized that he loved the attention and the ability to make people laugh. It’s that childhood memory, the heady thrill of willing people to laugh, that helps define Dr. Kevin Leman today.

Here’s what Dr. Leman had to say about his own family background:

Q – Some of your childhood memories include growing up in a home with an alcoholic father. How did that situation affect you?

A – When you don’t have a relationship you should have had with the dad, you pay for it in the long run. It’s sort of like making a cake and leaving one main ingredient out. Now what happens to the cake? It falls flat. So you end up with ways of coping with that missing piece. So you become a survivor; you’re in survivor mode. You go “I’ll show ’em.” That happens to a lot of people.

I’ve had a similar experience growing up in a home with a drug addicted dad and all the resulting fallout. And I can say that I’ve spent a large part of my life trying to prove that I am not defined by my childhood. But the older I get, the more I realize that it’s not about proving anything to anyone. It’s about knowing my purpose in life and working toward fulfilling it. How about you? How does your upbringing affect your life views, whether you are a mother or not? Has your view changed over time?

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