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8. Book Review -- Have a New Kid by Friday

Subtitle: How to Change Your Child's Attitude, Behavior & Character in 5 Days

Author: Dr. Kevin Leman

Year of Publication: 2008

Publisher: Revell

Pages: 300

Author’s Web-site:

Languages: English, Czech

You should read this book if you…

Want to develop a more consistent method of discipline and help your children accept more responsibility for the consequences of their behavior.

“In a nut shell”…

This book lays out a very specific, practical action plan to help you become a better, more consistent parent.

Key Ideas…

Your job as a parent is not to create happy kids.

In our culture, the role of accountability has decreased in a child’s life and they have been allowed to get away with less responsibility.

The parent is the key to changing the child’s thinking and actions – it requires you to be the parent you want to be.

The long term concerns of a parent include:

Attitude – You, as the parent, need to stay calm – you set the example.

Behavior – Expect good behavior, and when it doesn’t happen, ask yourself the following questions:

1) Why is he doing what he is doing?

2) How do I, the parent, feel – are my emotions and responses helping or hurting the situation?

3) Am I making something big out of something little?

Character – Character is who you are when no one is looking. Our children get this from us (parents) and life lessons. Enforce the good and deal with the negative.

Teach your children with the end in mind – how you want them to be as they mature.

There are 3 types of parents:

Permissive – one who tries to be their child’s best friend, inconsistent in parenting, never lets the child fail

Authoritarian – one who is always right, yells and threatens, gives little freedom

Authoritative – one who gives choices, let’s the child experience consequences, consistent discipline, mutual respect

The first and second type cause rebellion, the third is the middle ground where you major on the relationship and minor on all else.

Speak with respect to your children.

Kids live up to the expectations you have of them – don’t be afraid to expect a lot.

There is a difference between self-esteem (feeling good about one’s self) and self-worth.

The pillars of self-worth are:

Acceptance – children long for your unconditional acceptance – it can show through words and actions. The more acceptance from you, the less they seek to accept it from peers.

Belonging – establish a home as a place of belonging – give family members a vote, listen, support each other, have family time, eat dinner together, vacation together.

Competence – empower children by giving responsibility – they will feel proud of their accomplishments

Praise isn’t good for children – it links a child’s self-worth to what she does – how “good” a person is. Instead, you should encourage your child – emphasize the act and not the person. Praise usually sounds insincere and links their “goodness” or “smartness” with how a child does a certain task. Children need to know they are accepted no matter what they do.

Action Steps…

When asking your kids to do something,

Say it once

Turn your back

Walk away

3 main strategies for a change in behavior:

Let reality be the teacher – let nature take its course which is usually enough discipline in itself.

Learn to respond rather than react – don’t answer without thinking and don’t let your emotions get the better of you.

“B” doesn’t happen until “A” is completed – you don’t go onto the next event until you have your request completed.

Give age appropriate chores – by providing the types of experiences where children do their share and learn responsibility and accountability, you are establishing a healthy self worth.

Top 10 ways to help your kids develop into who you want them to be:

10. Be 100% consistent

9. Always follow through on what you say you will do

8. Respond, don’t react

7. Count to 10 and ask yourself “What would my old self do in this situation? What would the “new” me do?”

6. Never threaten your kids

5. Never get angry

4, Don’t give warnings

3. Ask self “Whose problem is this?”

2. Don’t think the misbehavior will go away

1. Keep a happy face on even when you want to do something else


“The key to changing your child is changing your attitude” Pg 39

“Every child will fail, make mistakes, and embarrass you. But you don’t need to hold those failures over your child’s head for a lifetime. Correct the behavior and move on. What is most important, in the long run, is your child’s character.” Pg 44


To become the kind of parent you want to be, each day he gives a list of things you should do.


1. Observe what is going on in your house. What areas in your relationship with your child really bother you?

2. Think about how you’d like things to change.

3. Decide to take charge.

4. Expect great things to happen.


1. What is your attitude toward your kids?

2. How does your behavior reveal your attitude?

3. What changes do you need to make in your behavior toward your children?

4. What kind of character do you want to be known for? How can you get there?


1. What kind of parenting style do you have?

2. How does your child respond to this parenting style?

3. How can you adapt your parenting style to be more balanced?

4. In what ways can you emphasize relationship in your home?


1. How can you show your child unconditional Acceptance?

2. How can you emphasize Belonging in your family?

3. In what way(s) can you spur your child on to Competence?

4. Think about the difference between praise and encouragement. What truly encouraging thing can you say to your child today?


1. Review the key principles

2. Identify the big issues you want to address

3. Think through how you usually respond and how you’ll respond now.

4. Get ready, get set…go!

How this has changed my parenting…

There were several things in this book that caused me to stop and think and evaluate how I was parenting. I really like the principle that “B” won’t happen until “A” is completed. Granted, that works better when “B” is something they really want to do, like going to a friend’s house. I am still trying to figure out how to incorporate that idea when “B” is something they are not motivated to do, but thinking through the natural consequences of not doing “A” is helping.

Another thing I am now doing is saying things once and then walking away. I am also learning that sometimes I need to make a request when they are not in the middle of something. Or, I make a request once and then we figure a time (in the very near future) when they can do it.

Lastly, I am really trying to work in the Encouragement vs. Praise concept. I really like the idea of encouraging the acts and the work they put into it instead of focusing on them as a person. This also teaches children to do things for their own sake and not just to please others. It draws attention to the task and effort. It really makes me stop and think about what I want to say and how I say it.

© 2014 The Family Resource Library

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