Tag Archives: Total Transformation

Success! – Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: Total Transformation #16

Littlest Dude came home the other day with a big surprise.  With a huge smile on his face, he opened up the grand-daddy of “Good Kid” prizes from school… The sticker chart.

Now, this might sound silly, but both his brothers have won the “sticker chart” in the past.  Dude #1 won it twice.  For those of you who are not familiar with this marvel of modern teacher-hood, let me explain…

Each child in the grade is placed on a list on this big poster board.  Every day they are “super good” they get a sticker.  If you make the special list (I think it’s called “Qualified Student” –picked by the principle), you get three stickers for that day.  The first person to get 35 stickers wins.

Littlest Dude Won!  Can you believe it?

Hubbs burst into tears.  I slathered the little guy with hugs and kisses.  There was even a really nice encouraging note attached from his teacher.

We made a super big deal out of it, but we need to be careful, because Middle-Dude said, “You didn’t make this big a deal when I came home with straight “A’s”

Ugh… you can’t win, ya know?

We explained to Middle Dude that his brother was having such trouble, and that this was a HUGE deal. (Hey, it’s a huge deal even if you don’t have ADHD)

(And then I reminded him of that special shopping trip we went on to celebrate his grades… oh how soon they forget)

Anyway… Celebrations are NOT to be thwarted!  I’m off to go hang a sticker chart on Littlest’s wall.

Yay1!JenniFer_Eaton Sparkle__F

A mixed week – Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: Total Transformation #14

I took a scary step this week, but one that I wasn’t afraid of doing at all.  I cancelled my Parental Help Line.  This was my life-line to a specialist for one-on-one help when I didn’t know what to do.  I really didn’t need them anymore.

I told them “I have a new kid”, and I do.

I hope that I am not jinxing myself, but I can’t really justify the expense anymore.  I honestly only needed it for the first few weeks.  Once the program started kicking in, things started to change so fast that I rarely needed help.

Yesterday my husband called me at work frustrated because Littlest Dude would not listen to direction with his homework.  He said he finally just told him what to do and walked away.  When I got home, Littlest Dude had at least finished his homework, but he forgot a few periods at the ends of his sentences. Not too shabby.  We then sat together while he read a book to me, and we started studying for his Friday tests (Starting to study of Monday worked last week, so that’s our new norm).

Overall, he seemed fine for me.  (We’ll have to work on him being good for Daddy too)

Then Littlest Dude helped me make dinner.  I coated the chicken with egg, and he held the bag and then shook the breadcrumbs on the chicken.  Once it was in the oven, he asked if I wanted to work out… so he, 12-year-old Dude and I had a workout before dinner.  It was a really nice night. I will admit that he did push for an extra story at bedtime, and I caved.  I love that he’s being good, but I need to realize that he’s now using “good” to manipulate me into a later bedtime again.  I need to stick to the schedule so I have time for myself after I tuck him in.

Now that my nights are better, I need to try to help the days with my husband to be better.  Hubbs acknowledges that work is extremely stressful, and he’s not always in the greatest frame of mind to deal with Littlest Dude.  I can understand that – but part of the training is controlling YOURSELF in a bad situation, because kids with behavioral challenges take their triggers from you.

I have to admit that this is REALLY HARD – especially when you are faced with “outside” challenges that are out of your control.

Just something more to work on.

JenniFer_Eaton Sparkle__F

The upturn – Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: Our Journey with the Total Transformation #12

The funniest thing happened this week.  Littlest Dude was preparing to spend the day at a friend’s house.  We sat together and reviewed the lesson on how to not get angry, and what to do if he feels something’s unfair.  We practiced the anger relief method the “help line” coach suggested.  I kissed him on the head, and sent him on his way.

After Daddy picked him up quite a few hours later, they both walked in the door laughing.  Apparently, Littlest Dude’s friend got mad at his sister, and started beating her up and pulling her hair.

Littlest Dude intervened and made him stop.

Did you get that?  Littlest Dude did not jump on the bandwagon with his BEST FRIEND.  He made the right choice, and helped someone, even though it might not make him popular with his friend.

The little boy had to go to his room for a time out, and Littlest Dude played with the sister for a while.

Oh!  I love hearing wonderful things (Less than a month ago he was thrown out of a friend’s house by the father for acting out) What a wonderful change!

*

Last night while I was reading a funny book before bedtime, Littlest Dude got a little excited and kicked me in the kidney.  OUCH.  It knocked the wind right out of me.

“I am such an idiot,” he said, but not at the loud decibel that he normally would have… almost like it was a pre-programmed saying that popped out on his mouth.  He then jumped up and ran out of the room, and came back with an ice pack.

Pretty good problem solving, huh?  Instead of yelling about what he’d done, he found a way to “fix it.”

I used the ice, and continued the story.  Everyone won.

*

The last lesson:  The Workshop DVD.

I must say that I realize we are at a critical juncture right now.  I’m not getting friction from my kid, I’m getting resistance to continue from my husband.  My fear is that if we stop focusing on the program, that everything will slip back to the way it was.  I cannot cave in and allow us to slip up now.

Despite pre-arranging time to do the DVD, and my husband agreeing to do it at an exact time… He forgot and started planning all these other things he wanted to do.  Now watching the DVD was “in the way” of getting things done, and we had a fight about it.  He got really angry when I used the lessons against him “I’m sorry that you made other plans, but this is what we agreed on.”

I must admit, that I fell into my “negotiator” role and agreed to only do part of it, since it was 1.5 hours long.  We watched only the first two lessons.

(And if you read this dear, I love you and I understand that you have so many other responsibilities and you are totally right that there is not enough time in the day to do everything that we need to do… but this is working, right?  Aren’t you glad we kept going?) 

To be honest, the DVD isn’t all that great.  It would not make me want to go to one of the live seminars.  What we both agreed was good about it though, is that it reviewed the lessons in a very high-level way.  What we got the most out of was when we stopped the DVD and said “I tried that and this happened” or “That really worked for me” or “That didn’t work for me”.

I found out that he had been using the program a lot more than I had realized, and where I had trouble with some things, he had success– so we discussed that.  I highly doubt we will finish the DVD this week, but even if we keep our once a week slot and discuss things, I think it will keep us on track.

The Dreaded Parent-Teacher Conference – Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: Our Journey with the Total Transformation #11

Do you love parent teacher conferences?  We used to be bored by them as teacher after teacher raved about our sparkly overachievers.  Now they are a time when we cringe.  So, after eight weeks of our behavioral program, how did it go with Littlest Dude’s teacher?

My husband went to the conference live.  I was on speaker phone.  I cringed when I heard another voice other than my child’s teacher on the other line.  Oh no… the reading teacher.

My cringe soon melted away to tears.

***“He’s like a different kid.  He used to just sit there and look bored, now he is engaged, responsive, and totally into school.  Whatever you guys are doing, it is totally paying off.”***

Neither of them could stop raving about how well he was doing.  His reading is improving, his comprehension is improving, he always raises his hand.  His teacher even described times when she saw him “almost” do something wrong, but she could tell that he was problem solving, and made the right decision.  The relief I felt… you can’t imagine!

So what about the remedial reading? Apparently it is not remedial reading like when I went to school.  This actually is “an opportunity” like they said in the letter.  They hand pick kids for this program who are really engaged to give them a jump start.  It’s like a reading club where they will have fun, play on computers, and not even know that they are advancing.  So exciting!

***“Mommy, did you forget that it was my bedtime?”***

Oh!  And this week he actually said to me:  “Mommy, did you forget that it was my bedtime?”  (He didn’t want to stay up past his bed-time, because that’s not what good boys do)

8:  The Parents Workshop DVD – This is a DVD of a live workshop run by the doctor who created the program.  I’m hoping for some grand enlightenment to keep the system working, because my greatest fear now is things slipping back to the way they were.

Go Littlest Dude! Dealing with a child with behavioral issues: the Total Transformation #8

First of all, I posted something last Wednesday.  If you missed the miracle, please go back and read it.

Before starting lesson five, I need to tell you something. Last week’s miracle was just the beginning. On Friday, my youngest came home with his test scores… 87%, 100%, and 105% (nailed that extra credit question)   Way to go littlest Dude!

There was also a note from the teacher about how horrendous the class was all week.  I flipped over the “Weekly behavior score” sheet, and saw that for the last few weeks he’d received a “1” meaning perfect (where he’d scored in the “bad” 2’s and 3’s normally.)  I asked him if there was trouble in class, and he said, “Yes, everyone was bad but me. I’m a good boy now.”

Hmmm…

I contacted the teacher, who confirmed that he was quiet and polite the entire week while the rest of the class acted inappropriately.  Go Littlest Dude again!

Every day this week, I came home to a quiet house.  My children all came and hugged me at the door, and my husband was smiling.  No chaos. No screaming. (For the most part) Is this what a normal house is like?  I’m not sure, but I like it.

My son’s most common sayings this week:  “Excuse me Mommy”; “Please, Mommy”; and “Yes, Mommy.”  (Wow)

I think now is the most critical time.  It feels like we have our life back, but once in a while I feel a slight push from my littlest (I’m sure he doesn’t even realize that he is doing it) but he is trying to re-gain control. (Like trying to negotiate that bed time again.) I need to be resolved.  So does my husband.  We need to be careful not to slip back into our old back habits just because things are getting better.

I’m also finding it a little hard to get my husband to sit down and listen to the CDs for an hour a week.  I use the “10 tips” on him:  “I’m sorry you’re tired, but this is the time we agreed to listen to the Total Transformation.”  His eyes narrow.  He knows I’m right.  I’m inclined to stop as well, but we need to finish the program.  It’s working, and I want to know everything I need to know to keep it going in the right direction.

Lesson Five: Understanding Faulty Thinking

This lesson is all about how pre-conceived notions and reactions by both the parent and child can undermine everything that you do.  Faulty thinking is when we “decide” our kids have done something wrong before we have all the facts.  This is one of those annoying lessons that let you know you are doing something wrong, but don’t really tell you what to do about it.  The “Homework” is to make notes of times when we see faulty thinking.  I guess the idea is that recognizing it will keep you from doing it.

Onward and Upward.

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

Week Six (this week) Post #8

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 #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