Lessons Learned, Week 3: Using All the Parenting Resources Available to You

Posted April 21, 2010 by

As many parents have learned the world over, not every program will work for every child, every time. Sometimes you have to take bits and pieces of different programs and meld them together to suit your individual child.

For the most part, The Total Transformation Program has worked beautifully all on its own without any supplemental help. We’ve seen real progress in both our sons, Thomas (11) and Brandon (8).  We’ve seen progress in ourselves, as well. (We’re about to go into week three now, identifying how to be coaches in the learning process our children are going through to gain coping skills.)

Just a week after receiving the Total Transformation Program, I had also received another book that talked about a different set of consequences. Since the Total Transformation Program doesn’t start with changing how you discipline the kids, I decided to use the philosophies from the book, “Don’t Swear with Your Mouth Full!” by Dr. Cary Chugh.

When I interviewed Dr. Chugh about his book, I mentioned that I had just begun the Total Transformation Program and he had positive things to say about it, too. He suggested I could use both programs, simultaneously. I would use his “behavior-based” techniques while I absorbed the lessons I needed to learn about parenting from the Total Transformation Program. He said the two could work well together — and indeed they have.

In a previous blog post, I spoke about talking to the kids about using the Total Transformation Program to make changes to how we, my husband Jerry and I, were parenting them. I explained the steps to corrective action and how that reinforces the idea of accountability.

One also has to understand that with autism (which both boys have) skills in one area do not sometimes transition to other areas. In this instance, Brandon has practiced listening to me telling him to pick up his laundry, so he no longer argues over that. Thomas has learned he cannot argue his way out of eating what I have cooked for supper but he still argues over picking out his clothes (getting dressed) in the morning. Brandon still argues about listening to me about picking up his toys. It’s all about listening to me the first time, no matter what the request is — but to the boys, each thing being requested is different, therefore each “listening” is different, and we have to go through the drill for each type of offense.

As we progress into the next week (Week Three), I know we’re going to learn about creating a culture of accountability. The kids are already aware that they have the control over their behavior and their choices anyway; Mom and Dad are just in charge. So this ties in really well with the idea of accountability which is defined in the Total Transformation program this way:  “Someone who is accountable is completely responsible for what they do.”

And therefore one can see that these two programs together can work in tandem. I’m still not sure as I’ve told the kids whether or not these discipline techniques will change when I get to that part of the Total Transformation program, but I do know this: sometimes it’s okay to take what works from one program and put it  to use with another program, especially when the programs have complementary features.

The next program I want to explore is “Getting Through to Your Child.”  This is also another program by James Lehman, so I know it’ll complement what I am already learning with the Total Transformation. This is for that particular nasty subject: verbal abuse. My oldest can be the foulest mouth on the block when asked or told to do something or not to do something. He listens and he complies, but he sure has learned how to let you know how he feels about it — and you — in the process. I’m sure I’ll learn a lot from that program as well.

Stay tuned… “Lessons Learned Week 3” is a post coming up soon!


Heather is a mom of two special needs children and has spent over a decade working with them and other children who present challenging behaviors. She has been writing for over 20 years.

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