“Have a New Kid by Friday” (my thoughts on the book)

I heard a person say that your life will be shaped by 3 things: 
The people you meet.
The places you go.
The books you read.


I am not an avid-reader; but, many of the books I’ve read recently have really, really helped me, my marriage and my family.  Even though I’m really nervous about posting these ‘book reviews,’ my hopes is that at least ONE of these books I talk about will change at least ONE thing in ONE person’s life!

So, I’m starting S-L-O-W.  (Yes, I’m sorry for the teaser.  But, this is NOT the book that kind-of changed our family’s life and caused us to consider leaving all of our family behind and moving away for something “weird.”  Don’t worry… I’ll get to THAT book soon!)  For tonight (where I don’t have to dig too terribly deep), here’s a great, easy-to-read parenting book…


  “Have a New Kid by Friday: How to Change Your Child’s Attitude, Behavior & Character in 5 Days”
AUTHOR:  Dr. Kevin Leman


This book outlines how, if done correctly and consistently, parents can teach their child how to become accountable for their actions, take on more responsibilities (that will not only benefit the family, but will positively affect their confidence in life and make them feel invested and appreciated in the family) and place appropriate expectations that will build character and self-worth in the child.
It explains how important the “ABC’s” are in your child: Attitude, Behavior and Character.
It also points out what type of parent you may be (and the weakness associated with either being too permissive or too authoritative).
It explains the “ABC’s” that build self-worth in your child: Acceptance (the more of this they get from YOU, the less they will look for it in unhealthy places), Belonging (work HARD to build strong bonds in your home; give each person a ‘vote’ and a voice; protect family time) and Competence (“empower children by giving responsibility”).



  • you’re ready for your child to become more responsible.
  • you’re tired of asking you child to do the same, simple things each day.
  • you’re child isn’t a team-player in the family, feels entitled or typically doesn’t put others first.


Faith based?       No.  (However, Dr. Leman IS a Christian and his goals in this book are woven around values in the Bible.)
Easy read?          Yes!  Dr. Leman is funny, practical and tells great stories!
Age group?         I’m sure any ‘kid‘ would benefit from Dr. Leman’s principles, but he speaks a lot on issues ranging from 2 years old (potty training, tantrums, etc.) to 16 years old (piercings, driving, language, curfew, drugs, etc.).


There were several topics in this book that challenged me to change my approach with my kids.

Quick changes were:
Possibly adding allowances (to teach responsibility, allow them more opportunity to help others and encourage giving); Re-enforcing skills and disciplines (ie: manners) in a way that’s more fun and less strict; Not stressing over a picky-eater; Telling more (funny and honest) personal stories about my own mess-ups in life.

The heaver ideas that I hope to change are:
Giving more responsibilities (and realizing it’s doing them a dis-service to NOT give them chores); Being more intentional in teaching selflessness within our own family and towards others; Reflecting on the qualities I want my child to have, then focusing on how to encourage and teach those strengths; The concept of offering Encouragement (“I’m proud of how hard you worked!”) instead of Praise (“You are so smart!”) to show them love is not based on actions or accomplishments.  (This one has been really challenging for me because I love praising my kids and building them up.  You can certainly still do this; but, it’s important to direct the positive attention towards their heart, character or hard work.)



  • “When your child misbehaves, he’s doing it to get your attention.  All children are attention getters.  If your child can’t get your attention in positive ways, he’ll go after your attention in negative ways.”
  • “…today’s kids are growing more and more powerful.  They’re all about ‘me, me, me’ and ‘gimme.’  They are held accountable less and less and have fewer responsibilities in the family.  To them, family is about not what you can give but what you can get.  Fewer children today consider others before themselves because they’ve never been taught to think that way.”
  • “One family who was struggling with the behavior of their son told me all the activities he was involved in.  Other than school, that young man had something every single night of the week, and he was only 10!  My advice to the parents was, ‘Cut the extracurricular activities.  All of them.  Instead of taking your son to counseling, stay home and spend time together.  The behavior you are seeing is because your son wants and needs your attention.  He’s desperate for your attention.  And no coach is going to replace the role you have as parents in the life of your child.’ “
  • “If you want your child to enjoy spending time with you, start now in setting aside non-pressured time to spend with her instead of getting caught up in the rat race of constant activity.”
  • “Feeling good is a temporary thing.  It’s based on feelings, and those change from moment to moment.  A child can feel good about getting a toy he wants, but true self-worth is established when the child works hard for a toy, earns that toy, and truly can call it his own, thinking, I did that myself.  Wow.  This is how it works.  By providing the types of experiences where children pull their weight and learn responsibility and accountability, you are establishing a healthy self-worth.”
  • “From the get-go, establish your home as a place to belong.  Give family members a vote in decisions.  Listen to what others think and say.  Support each other in any activities you do.  Instead of piling on a host of after-school activities, choose them wisely so you can set aside family time.  Don’t lose your family dinners or your family vacations.  Friends will change, but family stays.  Say through your actions, ‘We’re a family.  We belong together.’ “
  • “Without a relationship, your rules, your words, and your actions mean nothing.  The wedge between you and your children will drive them toward Acceptance and Belonging in a group outside your home.”
  • “When you understand the basic principles in this book, you don’t need a shrink, because you can be the shrink.  In fact, instead of paying a shrink to “solve your family problems,” take a trip together as a family.  Too many parents pay psychiatrists to prescribe a label and then medicate their child when all the child needs is her parents’ time and attention.”
  • “Don’t do for children what they can do for themselves.”
  • “To change a child’s overeating habits, you need to change your lifestyle.  Sit down for dinner together as a family (this often requires the biggest change in the parents’ schedule.)  There’s nothing like a home-cooked meal for satisfaction, for lower fat content, and for bonding conversation.  So don’t miss out.”
  • “If you are constantly praising your children for what they do, giving them the rah-rah treatment, and rewarding them with a prize every time they get a good grade or win a speech meet, then perfectionism will run its course and make your child overly cautious.  You may not see it come into full maturity until your child is in his late teens or early twenties, but it will be there.”
  • “Tell your child what you do well and where your blind spots are.  She needs to see you laughing at yourself instead of taking yourself seriously and getting upset when you make a mistake.”
  • “When it comes to the safety of your child, there are no privacy rights.  If there is something going on, you are responsible to find out.  You’re the parent.”
  • “Children love to hear stories about you and how you fell short.  It gives them the freedom to also be imperfect.  So tell your children (especially your girls) how you fell short.  About the time you got a bad grade.  When you got into trouble with your parents for lying.  When you did something really stupid.  Believe it or not, children still see parents as model-like.  To children, parents can do no wrong.  Explaining that you have done some dumb-as-mud things shows your child that everyone does goofy things sometimes.  No one’s body is perfect.  By showing your imperfections, you give your children the courage the be imperfect in an imperfect world.  That’s why I applaud the cover model who insisted, “Don’t airbrush my wrinkles out.  I’ve earned every one of them.  They’re a part of me.”  Let your imperfection show.  Even flaunt it at times.  It will give your child the freedom she needs to be imperfect- and healthy.”




Please let me know if this was helpful!
I have several more that I’m even MORE excited to share soon!

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