The 700 Club with Pat Robertson

Serita Jakes


NY Times Best-selling Author; Author of 40+ books, latest, What a Difference a Mom Makes (2012)

Former Consulting Psychologist for Good Morning America.

Has appeared on The View, Oprah, Live with Regis, etc.

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Dr. Kevin Leman Explains the Difference a Mom Can Make

“For some moms, sons are confusing right from that first diaper change,” says Dr. Kevin Leman, psychologist, humorist and best-selling author.  Confusion aside, Leman says a mom’s relationship with her son matters uniquely, contrary to the age-old idea that father-son bonding is all that matters or most important.  So whether mom is sifting through the treasures her boy brings home in his pockets during grade school, or trying to figure out the changes that come with puberty and driving priveleges, Dr. Leman encourages moms to push through.  “If any of that tempts a mom to leave the big stuff to Dad, she’s missing out on an amazing opportunity,” Dr. Leman says.  “Of all the people in the world, you, Mom, make the biggest difference in your son’s world.  He’ll never reveal it to you straight out, so I’ll say it to you plainly.  Your boy wants to please you.  And that driving need will stay with him for a lifetime.” That need to please gives moms a lot of influence over their sons, and mothers can use that to set their boys up for success in life.  “By recognizing the deepest desire of her son, a mom can speak into her son’s life in ways that help him develop good relationships with other women, understand his own sexuality, fight his own battles, and command respect,” Dr. Leman says.    He adds that it is also important for sons to learn to respect their mothers because this is the best way for boys to learn to respect all women.  “This is a great opportunity to teach him about life, and about women,” he says. 

Raising boys can be scary, but in this day and age, rearing any child can be a frightening endeavor.  Dr. Leman cites drugs, weapon-screenings systems at high schools, young children diagnosed with depression, playground fights and sexual pressures as just some of the challenges children today are facing.  “Your boy lives in a tough world.  No wonder sometimes you can get only grunts out of him after days like those,” Dr. Leman says.  It’s important to be aware of your son’s world.  “You see, Mom, there’s a time when you butt out and let your child handle his own problems.  But there are other times when you need to step in and take action,” he says. 

Are you worried you won’t measure up as a mom?   “Nobody can do it all,” Dr. Leman says.   As much as you try, it’s just not possible.  “We all have the same 24 hours in a day, but somehow moms are able to squeeze about 48 hours out of each day.  It’s a miracle I’ve never quite figured out.”  Even if moms seem to be able to do-it-all, sooner or later they will pay the price in exhaustion.  Dr. Leman suggests learning the powerful word, “no,” and figuring out when to use it.   For example, he says if you are unable to commit to helping with yet another volunteer position, simply say “no,” offering no other explanation, as an excuse gives the person asking you a way to rebut.   He also says to look at what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.  Whose expectations are you trying to live up to?  Also, take a look at your priorities.  “The idea is to get creative and see what you really have to do, what you don’t have to do, and what you can ask for help on,” he says.  Finally, he says do not allow yourself to be manipulated by guilt into trying to do everything.Along with the realization that you can’t do it all, comes the realization that you’re completely compable of making a lasting impression on you son. 

“A good mom makes mistakes,” he says.  Dr. Leman believes it is possible for mothers to learn some key coping skills for parenting sons and keeping a sense of humor along the way.  “True, moms may never understand why some things are funny to your son that are just disgusting to you, but you can still embrace the chance to leave an indelible imprint on your son’s life with fun and grace.” 

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known psychologist, radio and television personality, and speaker who has taught and entertained audiences worldwide with his wit and commonsense psychology. He has made house calls for hundreds of radio and television programs, including The View, Today, Oprah, CBS's The Early Show, CNN's American Morning, and LIFE Today with James Robison. He has also served as a contributing family psychologist to Good Morning America.

A bestselling and award-winning author, Dr. Leman has written more than 30 books about marriage and family issues, including The Birth Order Book, Sheet Music, Making Children Mind without Losing Yours, and Have a New Kid by Friday. He is coauthor, with his son Kevin Leman II, of a series of illustrated children's books for each child in the family. He is also featured on 6 video series on marriage, parenting, blended families, and single parenting.

Dr. Leman and his wife, Sande, live in Tucson, Arizona. They have 5 children and 2 grandchildren.

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