Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Review: The Total Transformation Program

In recent months I’ve begun to get more offers to review products/books on this blog. At first I was hesitant to do this, but I have decided that I will review products occasionally as long as they relate directly to child development topics.

So, with that said, one of the first products I was asked to review was The Total Transformation Program developed by James Lehman, MSW. Lehman is a licensed social worker and has worked in private practice for many years focusing mostly on children with behavior problems. The Total Transformation Program is a set of several audio CDs for parents. The program also has a toll-free telephone advice line for parents using the program. I was sent a abridged version of the program to review since the complete program is too lengthy for a busy mom/blogger like myself.

Before I begin, I should mention that my background is in Human Development and Family Sciences, not Social Work. Social Work is a much more hands-on, deal-with-families-everyday kind of field than the research-oriented field I come from; hence, my review comes from a somewhat different perspective. I felt the program was most appropriate for late elementary-adolescent age children (Mr. Lehman refers to adolescents quite a bit). Based on the types of techniques and language he suggests parents use, I do not feel it would be appropriate for parents of younger children.

One of the things I appreciated about the CDs was their practical approach. Mr. Lehman has a very no-nonsense style that I found very refreshing and I think many parents would probably find it helpful. He focuses primarily on practical skills and techniques that parents can use to deal with children with behavior problems. When he refers to behavior problems, he is generally talking about disrespectful, abusive, or destructive behavior in children.

One of the main goals of the program is to help parents re-gain authority over their children. According to Mr. Lehman this is one of the first things that often goes by the wayside with children who are disrespectful and misbehaved. He offers parents some very specific strategies for ending negotiations and pleading with their adolescent children but just simply focusing on their compliance. Mr. Lehman emphasizes the need for parents to not accept any excuses from their children and to follow through on expectations. I really appreciated this approach and felt it was appropriate for adolescent children to have such limits and expectations.

Another aspect of the program I appreciated was Mr. Lehman’s goal of helping parents focus on their children’s behavior, not so much on their attitude. As he explains, many of us as adults have feelings/attitudes about our job, our chores, etc. that may not be all that positive, yet we know we have responsibilities to our employer or others so we continue on with our duties. I think this is a wonderful lesson to model for children. A big part of growing into adulthood is learning to manage your emotions and have enough self-control to do what is required of you, even if you do not feel like it at the moment. I was glad to hear that Mr. Lehman emphasized this point.

Self-esteem is another topic that The Total Transformation Program addresses. In popular culture, many people understand self-esteem to just mean that you feel good about yourself because someone (usually parents) tell you how great you are or what a wonderful job you’ve done on a task. I was happy to hear that Mr. Lehman goes beyond this superficial understand of self-esteem. He wisely explains that self-esteem develops when an individual takes on a challenging task and is able to complete it. If children avoid challenging tasks or are praised all the time, true self-esteem does not develop. Mr. Lehman goes on to explain further the role of self-esteem among children with behavior problems.

Overall I felt The Total Transformation Program would be helpful for many parents trying to develop more effective strategies for dealing with difficult children. Given my bias towards research, I wanted to understand more of the “why” behind the behavior problems. I kept asking myself “why do children get to the point of acting out this way in adolescence” or “how did these problems develop?” Although the program addresses some of these questions, I still felt like it did not get to the core of early parent-child interactions that may have set up this scenario. However, I realize that these issues are really outside the scope of the goal of these audio CDs. The goal is to give parents some hands-on techniques to help address their child’s behavior. If you have a child with severe, on-going behavioral problems you may need to seek out further help from a family therapist who can work with you personally. Otherwise, if you need some strategies to help you and your child get back “on track” The Total Transformation Program is worth checking out.

For articles and free advice from Mr. Lehman check out Empowering Parents.

* The Thoughtful Parent also acts as an affiliate marketing partner for Legacy Publishing Company.


Kendra said...

These sorts of programs -- sort of do-it-yourself counseling -- cause something of a knee-jerk reaction in me, which is generally not that favorable. The way you describe it, though, I can see the utility here; if this is a resource, for parents, in a tough situation, I can see how it could help. Thanks for the review.

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michael said...

One thing I like about the Total Transformation Program is it teaches children to solve their own problems. With that, children can become independent and can have self-confidence.
total transformation reviews

Anonymous said...

General answer to the question of "Why"...
As the child grows and begins to individuate, he/she repeat behaviors that result in acquiring wants and needs. Not as an adversary, simply as a(naturally selfish) "individual". The parent perceives a battle of wills. The child is simply and quite naturally asserting their individuality, as they have always been able to do.
It's all about getting wants met, as they were always able to from birth (but wants were so much more basic and simple).
It's been proved many times that there is no "definitive point" at which "bad change" begins, because the variables are so complex. It's mostly just organic adaptive change that the child asserts once it perceives rewards.
Thanks for your review! It was very helpful.

dave said...

A good review of Total transformation method.

justme said...

As a former practicing social worker for 25 years with a specialty in public health and almost no specific "hands on" emphasis on either early childhood development or adolescent behavior, I must say that this program caused a knee jerk reaction in me as well. Maybe, however, for a different reason. While I don't know the program first hand I can't help but wonder why I feel that there's a strong blame element attached to it . In any relationship there are going to be 2 parties with differing components to their makeup. Yes, obviously I understand that this is a specific relationship with a dominant and submissive role incorporated but I still feel there is the air apparent in the advertising of this program that these behavior problems all sort of popped up due to a lack of parental skills and discipline techniques. What if the problem actually rests in both parties and they both need to work on their own separate issues? Childhood development is a very complicated and circuitous path whose parameters can sometimes be blurred with specific issues that can occur within the family , the child or both. That's just my .25 cents worth and maybe I totally missed the mark. There is no specific guidebook or set of directions that can apply to parenting as a whole. There are definitely very useful and even therapeutic assets out there either in print or otherwise but again, it makes me very skeptical when a diagnosis is made through a video or a book and one side of the relationship.

Anonymous said...

Before buying this product, check out Amazon reviews.

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering where you got your information that he was a licensed therapist or licensed clinical social worker. I don't think he had any credentials beyond an MSW. But I'm not the research person, so maybe I'm wrong. That said, I'm sure he helped many people but the amount of money charged for those transformation CDs? Highway robbery.

Thomas said...

Before you invest $399 in this product, you have to ask yourself if YOU are willing to change. Most problems with kids were instilled by bad parenting. If you are permissive, confrontation-adverse, do not agree with your spouse about parenting, or if you are not willing to put in serious effort of your own, do not waste your money. This is not a panacea; the techniques are nothing new; good parents follow them all the time. This is more about transforming the parents than it is transforming the kids.

Anonymous said...

I ordered the Transformation set and some add on items and never received anything, but I am being billed every month. I repeatedly e-mailed and questioned where the items were with no answer. Then I receive an e-mail to post a review. I post the review that I never got the package and someone from Legacy calls me. They tell me it tracks as delivered. I explain it wasn't. They tell me I will have another set in 4-5 days. Over a month later it is still not here but another bill on my credit card is present. I call Legacy and they have no record of anyone from their office calling after reading my review. They now tell me to deal with the Post Office. I have never had such an expensive run around! Stay away from these products and this company!

Anonymous said...

My library carries this program, you can get it there for FREE. See if your local libraries carry it, no need to pay hundreds of dollars for something you can get at no cost.

Mycuteface2 said...

Best review yet..