Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: Our family’s journey with The Total Transformation program

Hello.  My Name in Jennifer Eaton.  And I have a child with behavioral problems.

Whew!  Getting that off my chest is HUGE.  If you have a child with a behavior disorder, be it ADD, ADHD, or any of the myriad of other things out there, just admitting that there is a problem is a pretty big step in the right direction.

Since my youngest was two, he’s always been “a handful”.  We kept waiting for him to get out of the terrible two’s.  I used to joke about him still being in his terrible two’s at five.

At six, when his “bad” behavior started becoming violent… when his siblings began to get hurt, when he would scream at us and break things if he didn’t get his way…  When I was afraid to sit beside him… when I cringed in fear when my son came near … we realized we had a problem.

We tried everything we could think of.  But it just got worse.

I work full time at an office, and my husband works full time from home.  He gets the worst of it.  Near the “end” I would drive up and sit in the garage for a little while, preparing myself for what I would walk into.  Sometimes I cried before even opening the door.

Our lives had become as close to Hell as I EVER wanted to come.  Our family was being torn apart.  We yelled at all of our children, not just the troubled one.  My husband and I started to fight– and quite honestly only our values kept our marriage together.

One day, my husband left (again) just because he had to get away from the house.  I understood.  I don’t know how he keeps sane… but within half an hour my middle son was bleeding from an altercation with my youngest, and I was sprawled on the livingroom floor uncontrollably sobbing, with my oldest son holding me, himself in tears.

This had become my life.  Lost, alone, and hurting with nowhere to turn.

That night, we contacted a child psychiatrist.  I was horrified, because being medicine-phobic, I didn’t want to pump my son full of drugs, but I had to protect my family, both physically and mentally at that point, because my other children were being harmed emotionally now.

The psychiatrist told us he could have us come in for six sessions at $200 a session, and by the end of the sixth session … are you ready for this … “I will be able to tell you if I can help you or not.”

What????? $1200 just to evaluate him?  Six more weeks of sinking further into Dante’s Inferno, and not even knowing if this is the right course of action?

My husband and I stewed over this for a few more horrible weeks.  When one of my husband’s relatives neglected to invite us to a family party, and we found out it was because of our son, my husband lost it.  Our lives were falling apart, and our family was hanging by a thread.

After much prayer and contemplation, and hearing the radio commercial for the Umteenth time (If that was you, God, sorry I didn’t call the number sooner) I contacted “The Total Transformation”.

I’d hesitated before, because my son was only 3, then 4, then 5, now six.  I still was afraid that he was too young, but someone on the website said it worked for their six year old.

The package has arrived, and it is a workbook and a series of DVDs for a seven week program.  For the price of two visits to the shrink, I have a whole program, and for an additional $50 a month, I have live professional help from 9 AM to 10 PM on weekdays (Which I plan on using a lot)

I listened to the first “Quick help” DVD, and tried out one of the solutions on one of my older kids.  It sounded dumb, even coming out of my mouth, but my son blinked, looked at me for a minute, and then did exactly what I asked him to do.

It was a heck of a surprise!

Now, will it work on the problem child?  Only time will tell.  I’m not expecting a miracle, but I need to do something.  I need to get my family back, and I need to save my son.

If you have a problem child, you are not alone.  You may feel that way, but you are not.

We know this is going to be work.  I’m not expecting a miracle overnight change.  The next seven weeks are probably going to be the hardest weeks of our lives, but if we can get our family back… If we can stop walking on eggshells… if we can stop worrying about our children hurting each other, or breaking things, or even hurting US… wow… taking any one of those things out of our lives would be a step in the right direction.

I’m going to let you know how this works for me, because I KNOW there are others out there in situations like this.  And if a stupid set of DVDs can give you your life back, then DERNIT I want to let you know about it.

I will fill you in as we go along.

Take a deep breath, and pray for us.  We’re gonna need it.

Note:  Other than buying this product, I am in no way connected to the Total Transformation, so if it stinks, I will be a fair judge.  My husband and I have agreed to follow it exactly, and not take any shortcuts.  Trust me… we can’t afford to.  We need this to work.


55 responses to “Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: Our family’s journey with The Total Transformation program

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  4. Whoa… Had no idea you were dealing with all that Jennifer! I’ve always wondered if that cd set worked (or would work on coworkers here in Saudi, lol). From the most recent post it sounds like it is! 🙂 prayers…

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  7. The world is not easy on children with behavioral issues, or on their parents. Thank you for speaking out. Sounds like the therapist you consulted was a dud. Fingers crossed that your therapy program works. You might still need additional support, but paying $1200 up front for maybe nothing isn’t right. Keep looking for insurance-covered and non profit therapy programs. Can’t wait to hear more about Total Transformation. Best wishes —

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  10. Julie Catherine

    Jennifer, I don’t have any children, but this post really tore at my heart and I cried for you and your whole family. Reading all these comments, I can see you are far from alone, which is really heartening to know (although my heart aches to hear this is such a wide-spread issue so many parents share). I admired you before this for all you’ve been able to accomplish this past year – that admiration has increased tenfold knowing what you’ve been dealing with at the same time. What really stands out in your message is that your marriage is strong enough that you and your husband can get through this with your faith and the help of others. That is real love. You are an incredible woman and mother. I will be keeping you and your whole family in my thoughts and prayers daily. ~ Love and hugs, Julie xoxox

  11. It’s better to try and get help now than wait nay longer. I sincerely hope this works for you. keep us up to date. One of my fears has always been that I would pass on my disorder to any child I had. X has some behavioral issues (daily tantrums at 6, constantly talking back despite discipline, extreme overreacting) may be early signs and it has me worried but I always feel like I fail at parenting by talking about it.

  12. My eldest son was very hyper and it came to the point where my family would make jokes about him and we’d be left out of family gatherings (which was very hurtful). He wasn’t violent, just noisy and demanding, so this is a little different to your situation. But I want to say that you’re very brave posting this because it must have become an absolute nightmare for you. I’d be really interested to hear how this program goes, so maybe a follow-up post is in order.

    I persisted with my son and when he reached 18 he completely changed. It was like he suddenly ‘grew up’. He’s now a fireman and has been for years. it’s a very demanding job, but perfect for him. (there is always hope!) 😀

    • That’s wonderful that he’s learned to adapt. I don’t think our family could survive 18 years of this, though.

      • I know exactly what you’re saying. They grow up so quickly (but sometimes not quickly enough). Since reading this yesterday I’ve had a bit of a read online about the DVD you got and it looks really good. A lot of people say it’s helped them.

  13. Goodness, I’m amazed that you manage to juggle all the bits and bobs of your life without having something drop and clunk you on the head. You’re amazing and I have deep respect for your being able to talk about this so openly. No doubt your words will help many others too, which is always something to be admired.
    The very best of luck and I hope this new technique works for you.
    I have no experience at all with difficult children – mine are only nine months old – but I do understand how things can make family life excruciatingly hard. I’m thinking of you.

  14. Hey Jen, so sorry to hear about what’s been going on with you guys, though I admire how much you’ve been able to accomplish despite of it. I know that I had some friends with similar problems, their middle child was adopted and they still try to convince me that I shouldn’t consider adoption, but when I look at them, and what they’ve gone through, I can’t believe how well they’ve held it together. And I think the same of you. Despite all odds, your family has stuck together, despite all reasons to tear apart. So you know that you’re doing something right at least. And I hope that things get better from here.

  15. I, too, have to second how amazing you are to be able to juggle your personal life, work life and still have time to write and keep such a great blog. Mostly I keep quiet, but in case you haven’t tried it, have you considered enrolling your kid in some sort of martial art, like taekwondo or aikido? Sounds kind of counter-intuitive, I know, but it might actually help with creating some structure in life, plus building self-esteem, social skills, self-discipline, and so on. In my experience, most martial arts focus on these sort of things along with the physical stuff. Best of luck to you.

  16. How do you find time to do ANYthing, Jennifer, with all you have on your plate? I’d be worn down (most likely because I AM worn down through overuse all these many years–you’re supposed to at least smile here), I cannot relate because I only had one child and although at six, she became a broken home kid and started acting up, I suffered only purgatory and certainly not hell. I hope this program works for you. So sorry to hear life is playing with you.

  17. Sorry to hear about all the problems:-( My youngest also went through the terrible twos for 3 yrs. Reading Love and Logic Parenting and the book The Strong-Willed Child helped me a lot. Of course, I already knew a lot of strategies since I’m a teacher, but sometimes teachers forget to use those on their own child, lol. I also had the school guidance counselor speak with her when needed since my insurance only covered up to 8 free counseling sessions with a professional. The best thing we did for her was stick to a strict schedule, including enforcing her chores every day. Kids thrive on routine. I know it’s hard when you all lead busy lives, but routine gives everyone peace of mind, and prayer. Lots of that. Ashley just turned 9 and is doing fine . . . I’ll pray for the same results for your family. It almost tore my husband and I apart too. You’ll notice if you read my Acknowledgements in 18 Things I mention something about keeping me from dropping kid #2 off at the fire station . . . yeah, I know the feeling of taking a few minutes of silence in the garage, readying yourself. Hubby used to stay home for his job too and I didn’t envy him back then! ~HUGS

  18. I’m there, with my sixteen year old. Because he is a foster-adopt, we are able to see a counselor through the state; I don’t know if I would try to cope with just a bunch of CDs. See if you can find a non-profit or community mental health organization; see if you can make insurance choices that will cover mental health care.

    You need a relationship with a person who will be there for you as your family grows through stages of development. Especially you need to find a counselor your son can bond with now, while he’s young. Our family waited too long. The law changes when they hit 13; our son was allowed to refuse care, and he did. We had to get a court order to keep him in counseling.

    I don’t call myself an expert. I often feel like a complete failure. But let me know if you want my e-mail, so we can talk in a less public setting.

  19. As a Teaching Assistant, I deal with these kinds of behaviors on a regular basis. 6-7 hours a day is difficult enough to work through, I can’t imagine what it would be like all the time. I really hope the program works for you. You have my best wishes and cyber hugs any time you need them. 🙂

  20. As someone with no children, I can only try to imagine how difficult this must be for you. As I read through the comments, though, I see that you are very much not alone. Joining or forming a support group with parents in similar situations might help all of you cope with the difficult task at hand. Sharing your experiences and the successes (and non-successes) might help many others facing similar problems. I wish you and your family all the best.

  21. If it works, let me know because my daughter can try it on one of the boys.

  22. I will definitely pray for you. I know first hand what it is like to have a ‘difficult’ child. I hope this works.

  23. Oh Jen, I am so sorry to hear this. I pray that things work out for you all. Whatever programme you are on, please, do pray fervently for God to change your son. My last boy used to throw severe tantrums like that, hurling plates of food at us and anything anytime he was angry, hitting his older brothers even chasing his father with a knife one day. As for the insults and swearing and cursing they were one a penny in my home. All all these when he was between 3 and 6 years. He is now 9 and to a large extent he has stopped these horrible behaviours. We did not have the benefit of a child psychologist. In fact it never crossed our minds. My despair and frustrations sent me on my knees and I prayed so hard to God, weeping. Maybe it seemed so trite but we didn’t have the resources for any other alternative.

    God listened and now, though he has flashes of anger, it is manageable. We show him more love, understanding and we dialogue wiht him more often. It also helped me when I was told by my in-laws that my husband used to have such rages and behaviour as a kid. I still see tflashes in him and I always point things out to him; that he must control his outbursts and find ways of managing them if we are to help our son.

    I am sorry for this long talk. Good luck, Jen. 🙂 And take care. 🙂

  24. Given my background in pediatrics, I’ll be interested to learn how this goes for you. I’ve heard little about the program, though I just did a little research on it after I read your post. I wish you well with it.

  25. WIll be praying for you and your family. As a children’s minister I deal with several children with behavioral problems and I try to help the parents as much as I can. It’s so sad when a child has a problem that they don’t even know how to fix. Hopefully this program works. If it does I will recommend it to the parents I deal with. Sometimes they come to me in tears asking what to do. I feel helpless because I haven’t dealt with this in my son, but I deal with it at Church on Sunday and Wednesday. I can’t imagine living in it day after day and not knowing what to do for the child you love with all of your heart. Good luck and may God guide you all the way.

  26. Wow. My heart goes out to you Jen. My middle son, who is now 22, has emotional problems that for years now, we have been trying to get him to get help with. He self medicates with weed but of course, that not only doesn’t solve his problem, but it creates new ones. I wish you and your family much strength, patience and peace. xo

  27. Jennifer, thank you for sharing your story. It’s a story that more people than we might realize can relate to. I have heard the advertisements for the Total Transformation and been curious about it. I will look forward to future posts on how it is working for your family, and in the meantime, I’m sending prayers!

  28. What a heart wrenching post. Very honest. That must be so hard but kudos to you and your hubby for hanging in there and looking for solutions. I hope the DVDs work, and I’ll tune in to check on the progress.

  29. I’ll say a prayer for your family. We have issues with our daughter, but it’s nothing compared to yours. Worst of all the pains I know is the fear and guilt over the constant question of whether it’s your fault. If there was something you could do differently to be better as a parent. That’s what keeps me up at night. I look forward to hearing how this program works for you. Best wishes.

  30. Reblogged this on Paula Acton and commented:
    Something a little different Jennifer talks openly and honestly about a very difficult subject, it is hard to admit when your children aren’t perfect even harder of they can be a nightmare and you have to say those words no parents ever wants to utter – help I need help with my child – I know I am one of those mums who had to ask then shout to get help

  31. you are not alone hun mine is four and as a result of severely delayed speech he has problems with socialisation and behaviour, we cope most of the time as long as nothing disturbs his ‘routine’ but what drains me is the nights – the battle to persuade him to stay in bed which has been known to still be going at midnight then a few hours later and he makes his way into my bed and despite the fact I put him back in his own numerous times too many times I admit defeat for the sake of grabbing a few hours sleep I have been lucky in that we do get support through school and hopefully as his speech continues to improve so should his other skills but there are times that I am just so tired i dream about disappearing for a few days just to sleep

    • Oh I can completely relate. It’s great that the school is supportive. My sons teacher is on board because she believes he is smart but he just doesn’t want to apply himself.

  32. It’s brilliant to have this chat with you. Our middle son is 6 and he too is experiencing some behavioural problems. As you say about your son, ours has always been a handful but just these past six months it’s accelerated to something completely out of control. Just before christmas it got very violent and the screaming and obsenities where shocking for us… In australia it’s the summer break now and we’ve had a really interesting time with it. It all peaked at the beginning of the year and a friend suggested a behavioural paediatrician… It was a miracle that we got an appointment for the day after I made the call… thank god for cancellations. This one makes an assessment in three sessions. The first session was with my husband and I only and that felt more like therapy for us. The second was with my son only and in between we’ve filled out a stack of multiple choice questions, plus written a few letter. We also have to give one of the multiple choice questionaire to his teacher when school resumes next week. I can tell you that the time we’ve had at home since the beginning of the year has been really healing and not as volatile. He has only recently opened up to me and told me that he’s really scared of some big boys at school. Shit… I had no idea. I’m itching for school to start so I can have a meeting with the principal to work this out. As I said my son has always been a handful but maybe the ‘crazy’ behaviour could have something to do with the school bullying. I hear you about not coming out… and I understand that feeling of walking on eggshells…. I really do. I really hope you get some support and guidance with your program. Your son has you… and that’s his first step to working through this stage… masses of love and support to you beautiful one, and I’ll be keen to hear how you go. I’ll let you know how we go as well… our next appointment is late feb. Good to chat… Adriana…

  33. Good luck, Jennifer! We have a 9-yr-old son who’s struggling with “being more physical” than some of his friends. And he often goes from zero to angry with us when he doesn’t get his way. So we feel challenged by these small potatoes compared to your situation. I’m already wondering about the specifics of what you said to your older son to get the response you wanted. Those of us flailing about and dealing with all kinds of behavioral issues want any tips you have to share! May the force be with you!

    • Zero to angry I’d what we are dealing with. We thought he was just spoiled. At least that’s what everyone told us. When the anger turned to violence – that’s when we realized we needed help

  34. My day job for the past 17 years has been as a child and family therapist, part of that time as a therapist in a day treatment classroom for kids who had a multitude of behavior problems and were aggressive at home, at school, and/or in the community. The families of those children were struggling not only with the behaviors, but also with the isolation that comes with feeling like other families aren’t dealing with the same thing as well as being shunned by friends/family who find it difficult to be around the child with behavior problems. In my experience, there are far more families dealing with issues similar to your child’s than not.

    It is so hard to see our kids suffering and even harder to reach out for help. I’m glad you’re doing just that. I wish you the best of luck in your determined efforts to help your child and your family. You are so very right when you said “If you have a problem child, you are not alone.” Kudos to you for saying that and sharing your story.

    (Side note: I’ve also worked with numerous psychiatrists over the years and not one of them would tell a client that they would have to be seen over six weeks in order to determine whether he or she could help the family. A good child psychiatrist should be able to begin treatment within 1-2 sessions. Another route you could consider is seeking out a child psychologist or child/family therapist if you’re finding the program you bought not as helpful as you would like. Just an idea.)

  35. Thank you for sharing your story. I am so glad that you have found a program that might be helpful. It is amazing what you have been able to accomplish in any case, but especially under the circumstances. I wish you all the very best.

  36. Got a candle in the window for you all.

  37. I haven’t tried this program, but if it works for you – share! Even if it doesn’t, you will find something else.

    Admitting your child is troubled does not mean you love him any less. It means you love your family enough to work for each other.

    I have more stories to share than are necessary here, but you know how to find me. You all have my prayers and respect, too.

    You are certainly not alone. Not at all.
    By acknowledging you need help, you have likely just saved your child, your family, and each one of you. Well done, friend. Well done.

    • Thanks — with a tear or two

      • Tears are okay. Actually, they are appropriate here. It’s almost impossible to watch our kids suffer, and there often isn’t much that we can do to help them.

        I do want to add one thing – you and your husband each deserve a really big hug (all together, now) for recognizing that *all* of you need to be cared for, and for doing what you can to try to mitigate the impact one person has on a whole family. I have lost count of how many times I have witnessed entire families, many individuals, torn apart because parents focused too much on the needs of one, at the cost of the needs of all.

        There are no easy or quick solutions here, but you guys are doing it right: wrestling with it together, and, well, wrestling with it, and not ignoring it or blaming it on someone or something else.

        I don’t know how long it will take, or what it will take, or what “it” will look like, but all of you working together will come through this, figure out what works for each of you, and learn whatever it is that there is to be learned.

  38. Wow wow! I wish you all the luck in the world with this, all of you. And without wishing to sound patronising, it is very brave of you to start talking openly about this on here. Big hugs.

    • Thanks Vanessa. It is slightly self serving in that writing about it is a form of therapy for me. Admitting that this is all real and not a nightmare is helping me to cope