January 23, 2018

Total Transformation Techniques

We talk a lot about the Total Transformation Program by James Lehman, MSW, and I wanted to share a few Total Transformation Techniques that work for us. The program is full of ideas, tips, and tools for teaching parents to help their kids learn to problem solve, so here are a few that we use all the time.

Transition time. In our house, the kids can’t come to mom or dad with any problems or requests for 10 minutes after they get home. Here’s a fun video that we made to illustrate that point:

Demand and Expect Compliance. Compliance with family goals and rules is expected. It’s amazing how easy it is to let this slip, especially when the kids get to be teenagers. We have rules in our house like “no swearing, set computer/video game hours, and we go to church together as a family”. These are rules/goals that we have, and we expect the kids to follow them.

Give Basic Directions. Kids with low self-confidence have trouble getting going on projects, and sometimes need a running start. You can say “I’ll do the first 2 math problems, and you take it from there. Show me when you’re finished”. This works great for our kids.

Harmless Humor. I little humor never hurts – it can really defuse a situation! We’ve found that out in our house, especially where our daughter is concerned. She can get the mood tense real fast, and a little joke can relieve that tension nicely. However, one rule that Mr. Lehman says is that you don’t want to use humor to deal with inappropriate behavior.

Cueing. This is when you have a pre-arranged phrase that you use to let your child know they need to change their behavior. This works best with younger kids – we haven’t had the best success with teenagers with this technique. Here’s are two examples from the Total Transformation workbook: “When I ask you, ‘How’s the weather right now?’ it means look at how you’re behaving in the store.” And “When I tell you ‘That’s enough’ when your friends are over, it means I’m going to ask them to leave unless you stop immediately”.

Use Strategic Recognition and Affection. This is huge. I can’t believe how much my kids’ behavior improves when they think they’ve done a good job (been successful) at something and I recognize them for that. They just light up!

Pick Your Battles. You don’t have to attend every fight you’re invited to. When in conflict, use positions that are justifiable, not arbitrary. Something they can’t argue with. Mr. Lehman uses this example: “You know the rules. You can’t go to parties where no parents are home. It’s unsafe”.

There you go – just a few of the many Total Transformation Techniques that work for us. For many more tools and techniques make sure to check out Total Transformation today. It’s worked for us!

About the author: By

Matt is the parent (along with his wife Julie) to five wonderful kids. He has been self-employed for 25+ years and is the owner of the Parenting Allies website.

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  1. Establish what is needed BEFORE the time expiration. That way no one is surprised and if nothing has been done by the child as requested, follow up with a punishment This is not rocket science, but difficult to do if the parent does not have a sturdy spine to finsh the job. The parent MUST be the parent and not merely a friend. ALL Children need constant steady and moral guidance, boring and repititious as it seems.

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Disclaimer: We are not psychologists, counselors, or therapists. We are parents of children with special challenges, and the techniques, tools, and programs we recommend on this website have worked for us on our parenting journey.

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