In his first hint that his book is really about changing YOU, Dr. Leman points out that “the key to changing your child’s attitude is changing your attitude. (Page 39) Attitudes are caught, not taught.”
Dr. Leman explains that character is the foundation for attitude and behavior. “Character is taught through life lessons. Good and negative characteristics need to be addressed. Character is who you are when no one is looking. (Page 46)”
“Does your child have good character? Is your child respectful of you, of others in the family and outside the family – including teachers – and of your faith? Does your child have good phone manners? Does he tell the truth? Is he self-motivated to do homework (or does he wait for you to jump-start him)? Does he care about being on time? Is he bothered when others cheat on a test, or does that seem ‘normal’ to him? Is a ‘gimme gimme’ kid who has a Christmas list the length of the expressway? Is your child kind? Does he stick up for others smaller or weaker than himself on the playground, or is he the bully? Is he respectful of his sibling’s special things? Does your child take no for a no or push until he gets what he wants? Does he use language that your grandmother would approve of? Is he the kind of young man you would hire to work for your company?”
If not, Dr. Leman suggests letting reality be the teacher. “Let nature take its course. When nature doesn’t take care of the problem, you help nature along. Do not rescue kids from the consequences of failed responsibility. (Page 48) Warning: parents have a tendency to rub their child’s nose in what he does wrong. In most cases, letting reality be the teacher is enough discipline in itself.”
Besides “Reality Discipline,” Dr. Leman offers two additional strategies for successful development of good character:
Respond rather than react. (For clarification, consider the differences in these two sentences: “You’ve reacted to the medicine I prescribed.” versus “You’ve responded to the medicine I prescribed.”)
B doesn’t happen until A is completed. If child does not do whatever you told him to do, you do not do whatever he requests of you.
All three strategies are profound, important and at the same time E-A-S-Y to integrate into your daily life.