I recently purchased the Total Transformation Program to use with my 15 year old son and 12 year old daughter. They’ve noticed that something’s a little different with mom, but they don’t know what it is. Should I let them know that I’m using the program?
— Jackie, Parsippany, N.Y.
Thanks for your question — it’s a great one, and something I get asked a lot through 1-on-1 Coaching. Here’s the way I look at it: sharing that you’re doing the program is the first problem that you’re going to encounter as you change the way you parent. Some parents dread that this is going to turn into another thing to fight about, or it will just be something else for your child to disrespect you over.
I’d like to encourage anyone in this situation to use it as a small step towards building up your authority and creating a structure in the home. You can view it as an initial opportunity to make the statement that everyone in your home has responsibilities and you expect your child to participate in the process. Also, introducing it to the entire family is a good idea because you can avoid a situation where one child is feeling targeted or attacked.
If you decide to go this route, a positive way to frame it is to focus on what you’re trying to accomplish. You can declare your own interest and excitement about learning some new skills, so that the family can become closer. I know this is difficult, and your mindset may be that this has to be kept “top secret.” (How else is a covert mission supposed to be successful if the enemy knows your strategy, right?)
My opinion is that it might be a good idea to take a break from the warfare in your home and put it out there to your kids that you love your family enough to look for help and to become a better parent. The thing is that your kids have loads of experience observing you (As James Lehman says, “Your kids observe you for a living.”) So don’t expect them to overlook the first time you say “Don’t talk to me that way, I don’t like it.” As Jackie says, it will register right away that you sound or look a little bit different when you start trying program tools out.
Here’s what it boils down to, in my mind: not sharing this program is giving the acting-out behavior more power than it needs to have. And not sharing this program robs you of the voice you have to direct your family in a more positive direction.
As you can tell, I am for sharing the program! But I also want to be clear that if a parent isn’t comfortable with that, then that should be respected. Ultimately, I think you have to pay attention to your gut feeling on things if you’ve also weighed out all the facts. In some families, the fact is that the child will retaliate and it does become another thing to fight about — every situation is different.
I’d like to hear from you about this. Whether your workbook has been catapulted out the window and is still hanging on a tree branch, or you want to share the look on your child’s face when they saw you use a technique from the program, I want to know!