I am only on page 65 (Wednesday chapter) of this 305 page book and already something amazing has happened. I can't even believe it myself and I've spent all afternoon crying, first tears of sorrow and now tears of joy. I followed the instructions for Monday by deciding just how much I was up against, figuring out my parenting style, and developing my plan. Last night I finished Tuesday's chapter (even though last night was Thursday) and this morning reminded myself what I needed to do when the kids got home from school today: Shut my mouth and don't ask questions. If something comes up remain calm, etc., and don't use "why" or "should" in my conversations. When my teenage son called me to tell me he'd missed the bus that takes him home after school I knew it was time to use the new tools Dr. Leman prescribed: Shut up, don't ask questions, stay calm, and don't use "should" or "why" statements. What happened afterwards was amazing.
When I got around to picking up my son I said hello. I did not ask how his day was nor did I ask why he missed the bus. I simply said, "Hi," and left it at that. Usually I ask how their day was and they say, "Good," and that's the end of our conversation 88% of the time aside from, "Do you have any homework?". Today was different, I was not going to do that. I would bite my tongue no matter how difficult it became!
My 12 year old daughter who was in the van, however, DID ask him why he missed the bus. I just listened. I continued to listen even after he stopped talking. Silence. Then suddenly, breaking the long silence, my son began to tell me that he bought a friend lunch today. He wanted me to know in case I would later notice how much was taken from his lunch account and that I might think it was too much for one meal. I said, "That was very nice of you," and I was quiet again, but really I was wondering why this kid wasn't provided with a lunch from home OR given money to buy lunch at school. Then he said, "Yeah, I bought him lunch because his parents didn't give him any lunch money again." "AGAIN?" NOW I started to ask questions. To make a long story short my son opened up to me about his friend not having enough food to eat because his family doesn't have much money (and apparently has not enough help either). He bought his friend lunch because his friend had already used his daily school assisted funds, "so he could have breakfast." My heart got heavy as I listened to this. My son told me about a teacher who has been helping this student by giving to him from her own pocket so I contacted the teacher and she was so grateful that I'd reached out to her. As it turns out the student needs more help than anyone realized and now, help is on the way not just with food but with clothes too, and for any student who needs it!
We are so fortunate to have Dr. Leman share his expert advice with us through books. I can't wait to read the rest of this one! I've already read, "Have a New Kid by Friday," and it turned my children into kids who think about others and not just themselves (as was evident today). Although I wasn't sure whether I'd really need "Have a New Teenager by Friday," I knew I was entering a different playing field with my kids now, being in the 11-19 age group (all three of them), and was curious to see what was different so I purchased this book. My main reason for doing so was because my son wants to get his driver's license and I don't know what to do (yes, it's a topic in this book)! I am so glad I bought this book! The hormone years are SO different! Dr. Leman really gets kids and he really gets parents. He knows all the things your kids will say and do in all kinds of different situations. He knows you too, believe it or not, and he will kindly call you out in his books and open your eyes so you can have a new teenager by Friday. My friends & I used to say we wish there was an easy read for how to raise our children -- Dr. Leman has done it and anyone planning to be a parent ought to read his parenting books so you can get it right from the very beginning. Read them ALL, even the ones that aren't about parenting! I've started my own Leman collection so I always have the reference available if I need a reminder. It has also helped me as a parent to have read, "The New Birth Order Book," because that book has helped me understand more about myself and how I apply my upbringing into my current family. I could probably write my own book on how much his books have helped me. What a lifesaver!