Dr. Kevin Leman Shares the Secret of How You Can Have a Happy Family by Friday!
Dr. Leman admits he had little going for him early in life. He says, "Let's just say wisdom was not my middle name and nobody on the planet would have called me wise." In high school he was kicked out of class for chasing his teacher out of the classroom with his antics. He graduated fourth from the bottom of his class in high school. After applying to over 160 colleges he was finally admitted to North Park University in Chicago where he maintained a C- minus average his freshman year. After the first quarter of his sophomore year, he was asked to leave. When his parents relocated to Arizona, Dr. Leman was 19, got a job as a janitor at a local hospital and met his future wife Sande. "I was a punk. I dressed like a punk. I smoked Salem cigarettes." Dr. Leman says he had no use for God. "Christians turned me off in more ways than you can imagine," he says. His mother was a devout Christian who dragged him to church every Sunday growing up. He admits he knew all the Bible stories in his head but didn't apply them to his life. He began going to church with Sande because he loved her. "She didn't beat me over the head with her religion," shares Dr. Leman. Sande quietly lived out her beliefs in front of him. At the age of 21, Dr. Leman started following God and it transformed his life. He went on to become an internationally known psychologist helping families, marriages, and parents improve their relationships.
A HAPPY FAMILY
Dr. Leman believes that any family, no matter how broken, can find happiness by using his 5-day plan. In fact, he says that change can happen as quickly as forty-eight hours because he has seen it happen with other families he has coached. He believes that families can revolutionize their home if they improve their communication, respect, and teamwork. Dr. Leman says that the most important area to grow in is communication because it is the foundation that all other areas build from. He says, "Communication is the track that relationships run on…you've got to share your thoughts, feelings, opinions, desires, and beliefs freely with each other¬¬ without feeling that you're going to be put down, belittled, rejected, or blown off." However, in order to communicate effectively it is important that you understand. Open lines of communication are essential to building a happy family because it is the very essence of relationships. Dr. Leman says, "What you say and how you say it, has everything to do with how your loved ones respond." If a family learns how to respond well to each other that sets the groundwork for building respect and working as a team.
Dr. Leman says that we are created for purpose and relationship but many times we live like hamsters running on a wheel. He believes that we can find purpose and build our relationships by improving how we handle the "Big Five;" time, priorities, activities, work, and finances. Time is essential to building a happy family because it's the very essence of relationships. He says, "If you want to have a happy family that supports each other, works together, and plays together, then you need to be in each other's lives." Dr. Leman explains that if children feel that you don't have time for them, they will consider that they are not a priority to you.
Prioritizing family is extremely essential to having a happy family because it broadcasts what is important to you and determines where you spend your time. Activities can also be a serious challenge to most families. According to Dr. Leman, "Everybody thinks activities outside the home are good for kids. Most kids are pushed too hard into too many activities because parents want their kids to be number one at everything." He believes that fewer activities mean less stress and more time as a family. Work and finances can also become an issue in most families because of the likelihood of both parents working. Many families are trying to climb the corporate ladder and earn more material objects for their family but Dr. Leman believes that the cost is often too high for the family. He says that parents should make room for family with their jobs even if it means making less money. He learned that, "…the advantage to growing up without everything you want is that you appreciate the little things." He says, "The attitudes you have about your time, your priorities, your activities, your work, and your finances strongly influence how your kids will view those areas in their growing-up years and in their adult years."
Dr. Leman also talks a lot about the importance that different roles play in the makings of a healthy family. He says that, "Every member of a family plays a vital role in the health and happiness of the household. Everyone is important, deserves to be treated with love and respect, and needs to know that when they make mistakes they will still be loved unconditionally. And when every member of the family is pulling for each other and on the same team, everybody wins." Families should strive to work together as a team rather than against each other. He says, "[That] means there is no free lunch. Everyone gives back to the family." He thinks that in today's world parents have become servants to their kids.
Dr. Leman says that one of the most common pitfalls that leads to unhealthiness is activities. He says that the modern day family has become activity and children driven. The family life revolves around the activities the child is involved in causing busyness and lack of time together. Children have become the centerpiece of the American family but the marriage needs to come first. A healthy marriage is the core of a healthy family and when children are put first it can create a lot of problems.
Another pitfall families face is what Dr. Leman calls "the perfect storm;" adolescence. Adolescence contains three elements: teenagers, like-minded peers, and struggling parents. Unfortunately this "perfect storm" describes most modern day families but Dr. Leman believes it can be navigated safely. He says, "First, remember that this is a family thing. You're all in the raft together. What affects one of you affects all of you. Second, remember that adolescence isn't terminal." By building proper communication, respect, and working as a team any family can avoid these pitfalls.
COUNTDOWN TO A HAPPY FAMILY
10. Spend your time on what's important. All else can wait.
9. Put relationships before things.
8. Focus on and encourage what your kids do right rather than eagle eyeing what they do wrong.
7. Choose your priorities wisely, with the long term in mind.
6. Be the first to laugh at yourself and create fun.
5. Expect the best and you'll get the best.
4. Don't outsource your children. The best gift you can give–yourself–doesn't cost a dime.
3. Keep your calm even during a crisis.
2. Don't hold grudges. Wipe the slate clean at the end of each day.
1. Remember that the words you choose to use with your loved ones will change their lives.