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Helping Your Hurting Child

Psychologist Dr. Kevin Leman shares how parents can help their children through tough days and anxiety. Read Transcript


- Well let's face it, theworld our kids are facing

is vastly different fromthe one we grew up in.

Bullies are no longer just in schools,

they're on social media.

The news is filled with stories

of violence in the classrooms.

So how can parents help their children

navigate these troubled waters?

Dr. Kevin Leman has the answer.

- [Reporter] New YorkTimes bestselling author

and psychologist, Dr. Kevin Leman,

believes that our children

are living in one of the mostchallenging times in history.

With reports of schoolshootings, racial violence,

cyberbullying, and terrorism,

our children are lookingto us for answers.

In his book, When Your Kid is Hurting,

Dr. Leman helps parents guide their kids

through tough times,making them even stronger.

- Well, Dr. Kevin Lemanis here with us now,

and we welcome you back to The 700 Club.

What a wonderful book.

I really enjoyed reading this.

- Thank you.

That's a needed book.

It's the only book I've ever said publicly

a parent must read.

- Yeah, it really is true.

Every parent, I think,wants to be able to converse

freely with their children, but sometimes,

even when kids are very young

if it's something that's deep in the wound

or they're not old enoughto know how to express it,

then teenagers shut down sometimes.

How do you get your childto talk to you about things?

- Well, number one tipis don't ask questions.

(Terry laughs)

I mean parents love to ask questions.

And you women, you love questions.

And here's the irony--- It's our specialty.

- Yeah, I know.

But here's the irony.

Husbands and kids share commonalities.

Husbands hate questions.

So do kids.

Husbands hate the why word.

So do kids.

So what do you say to a kidwhen he comes home from school?

How was your day today, honey?

Fine.

What did you do in school today?

Nothing.

Don't do that.

(Terry laughs)

But if a kid says something,

you could say tell me more about that.

Now tell me more about that is a command,

but it doesn't put up the defenses,

so if you're--- So being good listeners

isn't it.- If you can listen

without judgment.

A kid comes through the door,you know it's a bad day.

You can just make a statement

like wow, I can tellit's been a rough day.

Hey, this may not be the time or place,

but if you want to talk, I'm available.

And that teenager, especially,

might come into yourbedroom at 10:30 at night,

sit on your bed, and won't shut up.

- I love the way you broke things down

to out there issues and in there issues.

Talk a little bit about that.

- Well, kids see things.

They see volcanoes in Hawaii.

They see hurricanes.

They see devastation.

Tsunamis.

And a four or five, sixyear old kid, I'm not sure

they should be looking at screensto begin with, in general,

but they see it so youhave to deal with it.

They're afraid andsometimes you have to just,

I call it rearranging theirstate of the union address,

where you might say honey,that happened so far away,

we'd have to get in the car,we'd have to drive four days,

spend four nights in hotels.

But be proactive.

The Red Cross will accept your donation.

Operation Blessing.

I was talking up a storm yesterday

to a guy on the airplaneabout what they do

with The 700 Club- Good for you.

- through Operation Blessing.

And write that check and let the kid see

that you care about other people.

But the out there experiences,

you have to be able to tell a kid

hey, we're here, grandmalives down the street,

your little goldfish, Gill, is doing fine

and swimming along great.

So you reframe it for the child, Terry.

- What about the in there things?

- Well, best friends forever.

You've got three little girls.

They're 11 years old.

They hold hands.

You've seen them.

They're three little peas in a pod.

Now all of a sudden, you're 11-year-old

is on the outside looking in

and she doesn't want to go to school.

What do you say?

I know what I'd say.

I'd say honey, I'd feel just like you.

That's gotta hurt tobe turned on like that

by your best friends.

But you are going to school tomorrow.

But let me give you some advice

and you can accept this,reject it, modify it,

and I'm 30 years older than you are.

I'm like Farmer's Insurance.

I know a few things

'cause I've seen a few things.(Terry laughs)

I want you to go in the cafeteria tomorrow

and look for that studentthat's by themself.

I want you to sit across fromthem, introduce yourself,

and you'll probably haveto carry the conversation,

'cause chances are,that kid's sort of shy.

But at the end of theday, I want you to come

and we'll have a littletalk about how you felt

about what you did withthat kid who was by himself.

So in other words, whatI'm preaching, so to speak,

is hey, you have to teach yourkids to run toward the fear.

Do not develop the victim mentality.

And parents today want to snowplow

the roads of life for kids.

I just did an op-ed forFox News in New York

and they tell me the readershipon it was just sky high.

Somebody called it a lawnmower parent,

like a helicopter parent.

And I said every kid has gotta learn

that they need to shovel some snow

even if they live in Floridaor southern California.

(Terry laughs)

And there's no easy way...

Your kid needs psychological muscles.

The only way they're gonna get that

is by them facing those problems.

So yes, you have your kid's back.

You can even stand nextto them, I don't care.

You just can't be in front of them.

- Talk a little bit about someof the fears our kids face.

- Well, a kid goes out to school today,

most kids are fearing that today's the day

I'm gonna be picked on,I'm gonna be singled out.

So they fear rejection,the uncertainty of the day.

My little granddaughter came to me

and she said, "Grampy, grampy,I have 18 likes on Facebook!

"Isn't that good?"

I said, "Adeline, tell youthe truth, it's not that good.

"Do you really wanteverybody to like you?"

And she thought about it.

She's 13 years old.

I said, "You know what, ifthat's your goal in life

"to have everybody like you,

"you're gonna live a miserable life.

"It's more important thatyou learn about who you are,

"what you stand up for,"

and this kid...

I mean, she's done it.

I've watched my eye.

She's a marvelous 13-year-old kid.

But they need a little coaching sometimes

to be who they are.

- And sometimes, Kevin,with the in there things,

you know, kids face the deathof a parent or a grandparent,

divorce, abandonment byone parent or the other.

You say in the book that griefcan actually be a positive,

or have a positive impact.

- All things that areliving are gonna die.

From the little goldfish toyour puppy dog to you name it.

And it's important toshare tears with kids

and realize we grieve differently,

but anybody who's experienced grief knows,

grief comes like the wave off the ocean.

Hits you at the most inappropriate times.

So if you're grieving andyou just lost your dad

or your sister or whateverand the kids see you,

your tendency is to shut down

and don't let the kidssee what's going on.

The better is to let thekids see it, hold each other,

and talk about the specialmoments you had with that person.

- What are some of the things,

you just mentioned one of them,

but some of the other things we do wrong

in dealing with our kids and life?

- Well, that goes back to why I think

everybody should read this book.

We tell kids oh, it'll be okay.

Really?

How do you know it's gonna be okay?

And your 15-year-old is saying

hey, you're not the onethey're calling pizzaface

at school.- Yeah, yeah.

- You know what I'm saying?- Yes.

- So saying to a kid, and again,

the suicide rate among teenagers,

up 170% in the last couple years.

So you just have tolisten without judgment,

and that's the difficult part

because most of us, asmen, want to fix things

and most women want to go right in there

and you're such great wordsmiths,

you want to talk and talk and talk

rather than just sit back and listen.

- Yeah, well, you are a greatwordsmith, I want to say.

Read the book, loved it.

Very insightful.

And I want to just echo what you said.

Every parent needs to read this.

It's great advice.

It's Kevin's latest book,When Your Kid is Hurting.

And really, every child's gonna be hurt

somewhere, someway, somehow,so arm yourself, parents.

Thank you for being with us.

- You're welcome.- Always great

to have you here.

- My pleasure.- Sound, sound advice.

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