Category Archives: Total Transformation

Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: Our Journey with the Total Transformation #7

I just experienced a miracle – right in my own home.

I know it’s not Tuesday, and I usually don’t post at all on Wednesdays, but I needed to share this.

We just went through a very common occurrence in our household. Yes, it involved screaming, but what was different, is how it played out.  It was nothing less than a miracle.

My Nine-year-old came home from school today with a toy he received for something outstanding he’d done in class.  He was quite tickled with the prize, and loved the new toy.

My youngest loved the new toy too, and they both were playing nicely with it.  (Yes, a recipe for disaster, but I can’t not let them play together, can I?)

Anyway, long story short, my nine-year-old suddenly shrieks “He broke it!” and the tears started to flow.  I run to the scene of the crime, to see my youngest staring at the mess he’d made.  I could tell by the look on his face that he was stunned.  He had no intention of breaking the toy.

I immediately tried to defuse the impending breakdown by saying “I don’t think he did that on purpose.”

As I tried to calm the older child down, my youngest grabbed his head and started screaming and running up and down the hallway upstairs howling at the top of his lungs.

I had no idea what to do about that, so I consoled the older boy, saying that I didn’t think his brother meant to break it, and told him that his brother would buy him a new one.  He was sad, but okay with that.  I asked him for the wrapper so I could figure out where it came from, and while he was doing that, I reached for the phone to call the “help line” to find out what to do about the meltdown upstairs.

That’s when the miracle happened.  I suddenly realized it was quiet, and then I heard murmurings from the front hallway.  I peeked around the corner to see my sons hugging, and the older boy saying.  “I understand, and thanks.”

I watched as my youngest walked away.  My nine-year-old approached me, wiping a tear from his eye, and said, “He gave me his harmonica.”

My jaw hit the floor as he held up the little purple instrument.  You need to understand that the harmonica is so important to my youngest that it might as well be plated in gold.  That was HIS recent present from school for being good.  He SLEPT WITH THE DERN THING!

I said, “[Dude] do you realize how huge that was? He loves that thing.”

He nodded.  “Yeah, Mom. He also said he was really sorry.”

Do you wanna read that again?  I do.

“He also said he was really sorry.”

My youngest slunk in the other door, and I showered him with hugs, and made sure he knew what a great job he’d done.

If you have a “normal” child you might not understand this… but this little boy with extreme problem-solving abilities just stopped freaking out on his own, and problem-solved that his brother was very sad, and found a way to cheer his brother up… as well as agreeing to replace the broken toy.

Unbelievable. I feel like God has reached out and touched my house.

Did you hear that sniff?  Yeah, I’m crying right now.

swish swivel squiggle

Our Journey with the Total Transformation:

Week One post #1

Week Two Post #2 and Post #3

Week Three Post #4

Week Four Post #5

Week Five  Post #6 and Post #7

Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: Our Journey with the Total Transformation #6

Deep breath.  It’s going to be a bumpy week.  This week is an overview of concepts of behavior management.

My Son’s most common saying:  “It’s too hard”

OMIGOSH.  I just found out something that I think I already knew.  My kid is super-smart.  It makes sense.  His brothers are super smart.  So what’s the problem?  His brain works faster than he can “compute”  Ugh…. I wish I could explain it, but it took me an hour to understand myself.

So… something gets him angry.  His brain gets that anger trigger so quickly that it can’t hop the hurdle to “I should calm down before I do something dumb and get in trouble”  Instead, he just lashes out.  He doesn’t have the “problem solving skills” to get past the anger.  No, that still doesn’t explain it…

Let’s try another way.  He sits down to do his homework.  He argues with us for 30 minutes because he doesn’t want to do it.  When we actually do it, it only takes ten minutes.  He doesn’t understand what a normal person understands… that you do the homework – just get through it– and then you can do the fun stuff.  His mind just hits a road block.  He doesn’t have the problem solving skills to get from point A to point B.

This is also the reason he’s had trouble learning to read.  Learning to read is a problem.  You get past the problem with practice.  He couldn’t process the idea of “practice.”  He couldn’t get past the point of “I can’t read”

So what do you do about it?  We need to stop coddling him.  “I’m sorry that you don’t like homework, but that is what we need to do now.”  Period.  End of conversation.  No arguments.

This is a biggie that my husband and I need to deal with.  Don’t invite an argument.  It’s hard.  Really hard.  As a parent, I want to explain myself.  I can’t with him.

It feels mean when I do this, and it has to be done properly (they explain how in the program and workbook)

I feel a little like a loaded weapon.  The program says to expect resistance, and after the first night I dang well got resisted.  They said to stick with it.  Change will happen fast.  I can only hope.  There was a whole lot of screaming when they went to bed tonight (At the correct time, without negotiating.)

I feel like a totalitarian dictator, really I do.  But this is the hard part I expected — the time when the parents take back the household.  It’s kind of like war, isn’t it?

This is not easy.  But each step to “understanding” I believe is helping me to cope with how to solve issues as they arise.

swish swivel squiggle

Our Journey with the Total Transformation:

Week One post #1

Week Two Post #2 and Post #3

Week Three Post #4

Week Four Post #5

Week Five (This week) Post #6

Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: Our Journey with the Total Transformation #5

Lesson Three:  Breakthrough

Finally!  A list of things we can try!

It you like to see how we got here, or exactly what we are dealing with, please see the links to previous posts below.

My Child’s most common saying this week.  “I’m Sooorrreeeeeeey” (I’m sorry said sarcastically so you know without a doubt that he doesn’t mean it)

I’m not going to say that any bells went off listening to this tape.  I’m feeling a little friction from the husband who doesn’t think it is fair that he has to change the way he wants to parent.  But I reminded him that before we started we promised each other that we’d do everything they say.

This is hard stuff, I admit it.  It goes against so much that we “believe in” as parents.  We need to find a balance between what has worked with the two older kids, and what we need to do now to SAVE our youngest child, and our family.  Again, this is not easy, and my husband and I have to keep reminding ourselves when we slip up.

*******News Flash*******

I just deleted everything I originally wrote, because I need to tell you something.

I received an email from my son’s teacher this week… “We are so pleased with [your son’s] progress.  He has been listening attentively in class, his work is improving, and we have seen him even helping out other students when they had a problem.”

Huh?  Do you have the right kid?  I was floored.

The next day, he came home with this big poster of something they had worked on in class together.  He told me that his teacher gave it to him as a prize for giving so many great answers for the project.  He proudly hung it in his room, and I “caught” him staring at it tonight with a big smile on his face.

He feels accomplished.  He has been recognized… and I think he likes it.

****So, what did we do?****

My husband and I discussed it, and we’re not even sure.  Maybe it’s a little of everything.  Maybe it’s our attitudes, or the couple of times we have challenged him with the ideas from the “ten things” CD that we started out with.

We still have HUGE problems at home, but knowing school is improving is such a huge “light at the end of the tunnel” – you can’t even imagine how excited we are!

swish swivel squiggle

Our Journey with the Total Transformation:

Week One post #1

Week Two Post #2 and Post #3

Week Three  Post #4

Week Four (This Post) Post #5

JenniFer_EatonF

Related articles

Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: Our Journey with the Total Transformation #4

If you’re interested in what I’m dealing with, and what we’ve experienced thus far, check the posts listed below this article.

We are now officially in week two. We’ve seen excellent results using the “ten tips to help you right now” ideas with the older kids… but my two “A+ over-achievers” aren’t really the problem. (Unless you consider crying over getting a “B” on a test a problem – Ugh they are carbon copies of me, I swear) The older kids blink in surprise, and then react to my new-fangled requests like normal thinking human beings.  The six-year-old, though, rants around my requests, giving just as much a problem as I’ve become accustomed to.

Our son’s most common phrase this week:  “It’s not my fault, it’s yours (or his)”

On the bright side, he did actually finish his homework yesterday without a shouting match.  I’m not sure if that is coincidental or not.

The lesson for this week is called “Why won’t my child listen to me.”

While the first disk explained that my child with behavioral issues does not use the same thought processes that the rest of us do, and assured us that his behavior IS NOT our fault… Disk two left us feeling like it WAS all our fault.  They listed a number of common parenting mistakes … almost all of which either my husband, I, or both of us were guilty of.

Here the anger sets in.  I tried to listen with an open mind, because everything they said made perfect sense.  My husband felt attacked and needed a little convincing.  Hubby admitted to being the textbook speech giver.  The CD said this almost never works.  And for, us, it never ever works… but hubby insists on giving a speech about right and wrong and why doesn’t anyone listen to him, and why is he giving this speech again if no one listens…  In effect, he was making himself feel better, but the kids (and even me, I must admit) were not listening at all.  After much soul-searching, he stamped a “guilty” button on his head, and admitted giving self-righteous speeches doesn’t work, so he shouldn’t even try.

I had to admit that I was the textbook negotiator.  “Can we have five more minutes, Mom, please?  I’ve been good.”  I always cave.  Then it’s five more, and five more.  GUILTY.  I have to set rules and stick to them.

These are just two of the things that we had to curb in our own parenting style.  Believe me, there were many more things, and their reasons why they didn’t work made perfect sense.

So, then, what the heck do we do?  We are still a little frustrated, because our “homework” last week was to consider why our child lashes out, and have a better understanding.  This week is to try not to use these useless parenting ruts that we’ve gotten ourselves into.  But how?  I expect to be using that help line a while lot this week.

We are resisting the urge to skip the “waiting” and move on to the next disk, which looks like it has actual things we can put into practice.  We promised each other that we would do this by the book, and this is what it says to do… wait a week in between … but it’s really hard when you are still living inside a nightmare with no immediate hope of waking up.

The big problem I see is that my little guy firmly believes it is someone else’s fault that he gets angry.  In a way, he’s right.  But the problem is that he does not know how to deal with his anger, so he punches something (or someone) or breaks something that is important to the other person… or even breaking something he treasures himself.  He says he doesn’t know why he does it.  How the heck do you deal with that?  Yeah… I’m calling that help line.

swish swivel squiggle

Our Journey with the Total Transformation:

Week One post #1

Week Two Post #2 and Post #3

Week Three (This Post) Post #4

JenniFer_EatonF

Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: Our Journey with the Total Transformation #3

If you’d like to be filled in on our journey thus far, please see post #1 and Post #2.  I’m not going to go over this stuff again here. and here is Post #3

Continued from Monday …

Dang guys, once again I am overwhelmed by the support, and all the personal emails–many of which made me cry.  Part of writing these posts is self-motivation to FORCE me to keep going, because I have committed myself.  I really appreciate all the good wishes.

This is what I have learned thus far from disk #1.  My son doesn’t think the way normal people do.  I can’t expect him to be logical.  I can’t expect him to react rationally.  I cannot expect him to act “normal” when he is upset.  He does not have the ability.  In other words… I CANNOT PARENT HIM THE WAY I PARENTED HIS OLDER SIBLINGS.

Is there something wrong with him?  Well, only in that he doesn’t THINK the way most people do.

*** He doesn’t think the way most people do ***

Sounds scary, doesn’t it?  My job is to help him work around this.  I can teach him to be a normal, thinking adult, but if I don’t act now, the chances of it becoming worse are far too high.

Now, I don’t know how to do this yet.  Herein lies our frustration.  Following the course by the letter, we need to do our workbook and let this all sink in before going to lesson two.  BUT WE WANT HELP NOW.

I’m turning again to the CD of “10 things to help you right now” and I am listening to it again.

***Putting the Plan into action***

Last night, my 6 year old punched my 9 year old in the face because it was bedtime.  I called the “help line” and they walked me through what to do.  What I needed to do sounded incredibly stupid.  What I wanted to do was what my parents did – beat me senseless—but I have to realize that my 6 year old is not me.  Returning the anger and spanking will not work with this child. So I sat down and told him everything they said… and he went to bed.

***Problems with the older kids***

Now here is a new problem.  “Mom, you’re just letting him get away with that?”

The older kids felt like I’d done nothing.  I called them aside, and explained “The Total Transformation” to them.  They complained that this isn’t going to be fair to them… that they would be punished for things and their lives would have to change because of the youngest.

I said, “Yes, things will change, but this is what we need to do to get our lives back.”

They were not happy.  They groan when they start acting up and I hit them with one of the “ten things to help you right now” tips… of course, they then immediately cave and do what I want. Crap – if anything I have to say this stuff works with the older kids without a hitch.  The youngest?  He can still tirade through it.

But it’s a new day in the Eaton household.  I’m not really sure what that means.  But I’m convicted to making that true.  Now that I am a little more “educated” and understand more about my son’s challenges, and our challenges as parents to a behaviorally challenged child, at least I am ready to move forward.

At the moment, though… after week one… chaos still ensues.  And something upstairs just broke… and yep, there’s the screaming.  Bedtime is always such a joy… until next time!

Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: Our Journey with the Total Transformation #2

Last week I opened up with some really personal information, and I was encouraged by the outpouring of well-wishes, and emboldened by the number of you who contacted me both publicly and privately about your own personal battles.

Click here to see last week’s post. This is where we are.

My son’s most common phrase:  “I hate you.”

It doesn’t even hurt anymore.  I’ve managed to turn off my emotions.  I wish the rest of the family could.  It’s so hard, and my handling things without emotion just leads to fights between me and my husband, which escalate and draw in the rest of the family in one way or another.  Like I said last week, this is as close to Hell as I ever want to come.

We need to *****

Sorry, I had to mediate the screaming session going on upstairs. (again) and I completely lost my thoughts.

Anyway… We’ve now listened to lesson one “Why is my kid like this?”

Our frustration level with the program is pretty high right now.  We want help, but the first disk is really informational.  I’m trying to be as positive as I can.  I’m trying to keep my husband from throwing it against the wall.

Thinking it over, and remembering a comment from someone last week, the first disk seems a lot like a first professional session with parents.  It is all about assuring the parents that this is not our fault, which was a big concern.  Did we slip on the last one? Was he exposed to too much from his older siblings? Are we too easy on him? Too hard on him?  Why is our parenting working on the older kids and not him?

This is my situation.  I have a 9 year old and a 12 year old who are both off the charts smart.  They come home, throttle through their homework, and anything less than an “A” on a report card is a surprise (That we discuss in a manner of “how can we help with this” rather than being judgmental… we want school to be fun.)

Then we have our youngest, who acts out in school, has seen a counselor for anger, and his recent report card rated him at mid-kindergarten level across the board, and he is in the middle of first grade. I quietly contacted the teacher and asked if he was going to be left back.  This is when our lines of communication opened with her and his reading teacher.  I told them what we were doing, and they were excited and asked how they could help. Hey, I’ll take all the help I can get.

I’m going to cut this post here and continue it on Wednesday, because on finishing it I realized it was way too long.  I’ll start up right where I left off on Wednesday.

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.

Jennifer___Eaton