(In 2007, I donated peripheral blood stem cells to a 21 year old stranger.  Read about my journey.)

Juice in the City

Mabel's Labels - Labels for the stuff kids lose!

Business 2 Blogger

Tip Jar

Like what you see here?

Leave me a tip or buy me a drink.

Giveaway Posts

Coming Soon!

My Other Hats

Video Production/Editing Services

female empowerment through sports

Softball lessons & clinics.

Female empowerment workshops and mini documentaries.

LIVE web show


 Next episode:

TBA soon!!

Fans of Mommycosm

Where I Hang Out

One2One Badges



All of my The Total Transformation Program review posts will now reside on this page.

To read all of my reviews in order:

Disclaimer: I received the Total Transformation Program for free in exchange for writing my honest review.  In addition, all links to Total Transformation Program are affiliate links - meaning I will be paid a commission if you click through and purchase.


The Total Transformation Program: Lesson 7: How to Stop It Before It Starts

In Lesson 6, James Lehman discussed how to identify triggers. In the 7th and final lesson of The Total Transformation Program, he outlines “The Trigger Management Process” which helps to manage trigger thoughts before the feelings become too intense.

Interesting to note, he does not believe in “anger management”.  He believes that anger does not need to be managed.  Instead, the trigger that precedes the anger is what needs to be managed.  Thoughts are what trigger and maintain anger.  The Trigger Management Process aims to control those thoughts.

The following are the steps of The Trigger Management Process:

  1. Diminish the potential- avoid situations that bring on the triggers
  2. Manage the situation- escape negative situations
  3. Identify trigger thought
  4. Constructive self-talk
  5. Simple plan
  6. Communicate
  7. Implement
  8. Move on

How will I apply this lesson to my life?

I already have :)

True story:

I was in a car line for a drive-thru coffee hut.  My kids were getting antsy in the back seat.  I told them to keep their bodies to themselves or else they wouldn’t be able to play Wii when we got home.  My daughter was reaching over and tickling my son.  He went from laughing to angry in 2.2 seconds and said “stop” once before kicking her in the head.  She’s crying and my mother is looking at me from the passenger seat to see how I’m going to handle it.

Keep in mind, we were all strapped in the car while in line.  Although a part of me wanted to yell at them both, I took a deep breath, looked back and checked to make sure my daughter was OK.  She was.  I asked her what she should do the next time her brother asks her to stop.  She said “stop touching him”.  She apologized to her brother for not listening.  It was at this point that my mother looked at me like I had 2 heads...HE kicked HER after all.

[We were at the window for the rest of the dialogue.]

I then reminded my son that kicking was NOT OK.  He needed to apologize to his sister for kicking her.  He apologized.  I then asked him what he should do next time she got in his space.  He said, “use my words to tell her I don’t like that or walk away.”

[I then took away their Wii when we got home.  I made them earn it back by playing nicely together sans Wii.]

I didn’t realize the barista heard the exchange until she giggled and said “WOW” out loud.  As I was driving away, she was telling the story to her colleague.  I felt in calm and in control and my kids didn't cry or whine for long after because they knew they earned their consequence.

This exchange seemed fitting to happen today, the day I review the last lesson of the program.  I feel extremely grateful for the opportunity to review The Total Transformation Program.  I really believe that I will be using techniques from the program throughout our lives.

I wish I could send all of my readers a copy of The Total Transformation Program for free.  I did already promise mine to someone, although it has taken me much longer to complete the review than I intended.  If she no longer needs it, I will do a giveaway soon.

Whether you win it or buy it, I highly recommend trying out the program.  Click on the picture or one of the ads here on MommyCosm and you can try it for free for 30 days.  If you want to keep it, you can then spread the payments out over 3 months.  It’s worth it, I swear.

Although this is the last lesson, there is a Parents Workshop DVD that I am going to watch and review.  I will wrap it all up then...coming soon.


The Total Transformation Program: Lesson 6: What to Do After Your Child Acts Out

Lesson 6 of The Total Transformation Program discusses The Alternative Response Process. James Lehman calls this lesson the “heart” of The Total Transformation Program.

The Alternative Response Process is a simple step by step process to address both large and small lessons. It is centered around goal setting. It is extremely helpful because it outlines what exactly goals are. If parents can’t grasp goals, it can be hard to interpret to kids.

Goals are products, not wishes. Goals are measured by commitments. A commitment is a pledge to perform specific task. Commitments must be definitive, observable, realistic, reasonable and measurable.

This lesson discusses “what will happen then” and answers the question “How will we know the goal is working?”. He discusses the difference between a reward and an outcome, and stresses that not all goals need a reward.

There are 8 steps in the “Alternative Response”:

Step 1: Investigate: Ask the kid what happened and stick to the facts, not feelings.
Step 2: Confront: Meet it head on, honestly. State clearly what you saw going on.
Step 3: Identify: What were the triggers which preceeded the misbehavior?
Step 4: Challenge: Confront the kid’s perceptions about the trigger(s).
Step 5: Declare: Tell the kid to stop.
Step 6: Probe: What can you do next time?
Step 7: Choose: Ask the kid to choose how to handle it differently.
Step 8: Consequences and Amends: Not just an “I’m sorry”, but an amends. (Tee hee, this reminds me of my How to Apologize post.)

The end of this lesson walks through a couple of examples of The Alternate Response in action. It was very helpful to hear.

How will I apply this lesson to my life?
The concept that “goals are not wishes” really hits home with me. I am getting better at being consistent with my rules and setting consequences for bad behavior. It’s not always easy and I do fall off the wagon at times and turn into a screamer. However, I see that the non-screaming approach is better for both my kids and myself. I think I need to be more concrete with my goal setting so that my expectations are clear for my children. Also, just hearing an example of how to apply the lesson was very helpful. I hope to perfect The Alternative Response before my kids become teenagers.

An aside, I have joked about applying the techniques I have learned through The Total Transformation Program to communication with my husband. Well, James Lehman has created a marriage program called The Us Program. Check it out via a free trial:


Total Transformation Program: Lesson 5: Understanding Faulty Thinking


In Lesson 5 of The Total Transformation Program, James Lehman tries to help parents understand faulty thinking and how it interferes with communication and problem solving.

Faulty thinking is very common in our culture.  Just as people make errors in spelling or math which lead to wrong answers, people also make errors in solving social problems or taking personal responsibility for their behavior, which leads to ineffective or unacceptable solutions.

James Lehman starts lesson 5 out by outlining faulty thinking patterns:

Assuming: Jumping to conclusions and making uninformed decisions.

All or nothing thinking: Black and white thinking leaves no room for discussion about people or situations.  Avoid words like “never” or “always”

Personalizing: Blaming yourself for things you have no control over.  Don’t take it personally.

Hypodermic focus: Don’t put too much emphasis on one facet of the story.  For instance, forcing a child to look at you can take away from the larger message.

Embracing negativity: Rejecting positive feedback or suggestions.  When a child hears you respond to their negativity, their faulty thinking is challenged.

Emotionalizing: Feelings are emotions, not factual and true.  Feelings only have the value you place on them.  Parents can allow feelings at override calm, rational thought.

Projections: Mind reading.  Anticipating other people’s thoughts and feelings.  You will always fall short.

The blame game: Turning the issue around and putting other people on the defensive.  Placing fault, instead of responsibility.

Rule deflation: Keep the rules clear and consistent.  Rules shouldn’t change based on your mood/energy level.  The rules are the rules.

Uniqueness: “It won’t work for me because...”  My problems are unique and nobody understands.  This will not 

Excuses: Accept no excuses.  Excuses get in the way of making real change. 

Minimization: Making the harm done to others less hurtful than it really was in order to excuse the behavior.

Awfulizing: Projecting negative consequences and awful outcomes for any effort or action.

False self-perceptions: I’m so powerful, I don’t have to take the effort to change.  The same behavior will result in the same results.

Sincere self-delusion: We all believe what we think, even when our thinking is distorted.  Not knowing any better.

Faulty thinking inhibits ability to see the problem accurately and finding a solution that works.  We all use faulty thinking to justify behavior at times.  The goal is to learn about faulty thinking so that we can learn to identify it in ourselves.  Then we can identify it in our kids.

If we think and talk in ways that don’t help us communicate, we are not going to get anywhere.

Note: The end of this lesson discusses divorce.  I’m not going to delve into this too much.  He had a lot of really good advice.  As difficult as divorce can be, kids still need to be held accountable.  Divorce is not an excuse for bad behavior.  If a divorce has affected your family, your kid needs you now more than ever to coach the skills to behave properly.  I’m considering bringing Lesson 5 to Thanksgiving to allow my SIL to listen.  She is going through an ugly divorce and it has been very difficult on the kids.


So, what did I take away from this lesson?

I recognize a few faulty thinking patterns in myself.  For instance, rule deflation.  I am very guilty of allowing the rules to bend when I’m tired or busy.  I see how this sends a mixed message to my kids and deflates the value of my rules.  I’m going to try to be more consistent.

And that whole hypodermic focus?  That’s me.  I’m very guilty of making my son look at me when I’m talking to him.  I know he hears me, but the conversation turns into a power struggle to get him to look at me and it takes away from my message.  The message is more important than my need for him to look at me.  I’m going to cut him some slack the next time and stay focused on the message.  I'll let you know how that works out.

Stay tuned for my review of Lesson 6: What to Do After Your Child Acts Out?


Total Transformation Program: Lesson 4: 27 Tools to Change Your Child’s Behavior Now

In this lesson, James Lehman discusses 27 tools to change your child’s behavior now.  He describes these tools as practical, real-world techniques to bring about real change.  He suggests that parents take the tools and implement the concepts consistently.  

He also stresses that you cannot change another person.  Therefore, it is your job as a parent to utilitze these tools and teach your kids the skills they need to be accountable for their behavior.  However, change is the responsibility of the child.

Here are the tools, along with my notes:

  1. ACCEPT NO EXCUSE FOR ABUSE - Non-Negotiable
  2. Use direct statements: Be firm, clear and direct.
  3. Disconnect: Don’t argue. “I’m not talking to you when you’re doing xx.”  Walk away.
  4. Stop the show: If in a public place, stop the show.  Go home.
  5. Give consequences: You can bring a horse to water.  You can’t make him drink.  BUT you can make him thirsty.  Consequences are designed to make a kid thirsty.  Make sure that consequences are task oriented and time limited, not just time limited.    
  6. Be an empowered parent: Don’t undermine the power you have.  Ask for help and reach out if you need it.  If your child has reached a point where your child is abusive, call the police.  They have the power to make them accountable in a way you cannot.
  7. Use consequences to get honesty: Don’t attach a moral issue to lying.  Be matter of fact; lying is not OK.  Set consequences for lying.
  8. Be clear about your values: Be consistent and clear about what you value in life materially, psychologically, functionally, morally and spiritually.  Talk about your values with your kids.
  9. Think of your family as a business: Try to keep emotions out of the business of teaching your kids how to behave properly.  If you keep your emotions out of it, it is easier to maintain control.
  10.  Identify Thinking Errors and Excuses: Don’t argue about the content of their excuses, focus on the process of excuses.  Kids justify their behavior instead of talking about the real problem.  For instance, “Blaming your brother does not make it OK to kick him”
  11.  Use Single-Issue focus: Don’t let kids turn around the issue.  Plan to address unrelated subjects at a later time.  Keep focus.
  12.  Use selective attention: Behaviors designed to get attention can be ignored if they are not abusive.  That will take away its power.  Pay attention to efforts to change and give positive attention. 
  13.  Redirect interest: Switch the activity.  Redirect the conversation.  Motion can change emotion.  (This works well with my children!)
  14.  Choose your fights carefully and WIN the ones you choose: Don’t get into every fight.  When you do choose to fight, you should always have a position that is explainable.  Don’t make speeches, but state your position.  Be firm and walk away.
  15.  Cueing: Come up with a signal between you and your child that you can give during times of high stress.  It can be very helpful in public and/or when you have company.  Discuss this during a non-stressful time so that the child recognizes the cue when you need to give it.
  16.  Use strategic recognition and affection: Always recognize what kids do right and give them credit for it.
  17.  Harmless humor never hurts: Humor can ease tension, but keep in mind that sarcasm and biting humor do not help.
  18.  Esteem: Show your child you hold them in high regard: Your tone and facial expressions around your child have to show them that you think they are worth it.  Kids get 60% of the message from the look on your face and 30% from your tone.  Your words only account for 10% of your message.
  19.  Give basic direction: Don’t be afraid to guide and show your child how to do something.  It’s important to give them a head start.
  20.  Demand and expect compliance: It’s important for parents to know what they are trying to accomplish and why.  Parents have a right to compliance with their kids.
  21.  Transition time: Allow for transition times for both yourself and your child during stressful moments.  Talk about this during nice, calm moments.  Give yourselves a 10 minute buffer.
  22.  Use responsible love and concern: Don’t let a kid get away with bad behavior for fear of not showing that you love your child.  You can love your child responsibly without allowing them to be disrespectful.
  23.  Replacement and reciprocity: When asking a child to stop a behavior, have a replacement in mind.  Give them the next direction.  Replace one behavior with another.
  24.  Don’t hold your breath: Don’t expect immediate compliance, appreciation, insight, acknowledgement, or credit.
  25.  Act as if...: Even if you don’t agree with rules of people in authority, act as if you do.  It teaches your child to disrespect authority figures.  Share your real opinions for other adults.
  26.  Be a role model: They learn more from what you do than what you say.  Acknowledge when you do something wrong, but don’t over apologize.  Own your mistakes.
  27.  Realization: Be flexible.  If you realize that something isn’t working, try something else.  Inform your child that your view has changed without overly explaining. 


How have I applied this lesson to my life?

Wow, this lesson was a bit overwhelming.  There is a LOT of really good advice.  I think the biggest thing that I immediately have taken out of it is not letting my emotions rule my behavior when setting consequences with my kids.  When I’m overwhelmed, I catch myself becoming a screamer and wondering wth I’m doing wrong.  I see their bad behavior as a reflection of me being a bad parent.

I’ve taken a step back, taken a deep breath and tried removing my emotions from the equation.  It’s going to take some practice, but it does seem to work better.  At a minimum, I’m not as angry or frustrated by bad behavior.  I’m starting to see it as an opportunity to teach my children how to act properly.

Tonight, I survived a trip to McDonalds without screaming.  Max was acting up, testing me every step of the way.  He wouldn't eat his food, wouldn't sit down, kept climbing under the table...and ended up hitting and biting me.  As his behavior deteriorated, he lost his Happy Meal toy, his book before bed and then had to go to bed when we got home at 6:00pm.  Each bad behavior resulted in another consequence.  I was clear, precise and didn’t waiver.

I gave him a kiss goodnight when I tucked him in, told him I loved him and that I would like to see him behave more respectfully tomorrow so that I can read him a book before bed.  He didn’t like it, not one bit, but there was no question why he was there and who was in charge.  Best of all, my blood didn’t boil and I didn’t have thoughts of duct taping my 3 year old to a seat until he turns 4 and his behavior magically improves.  I need to fight the fight now.  I can’t picture how fierce he will be when he’s a teen if I don’t establish my authority now.  Oy vay!

Stay tuned for my review of Lesson 5: Understanding Faulty Thinking


Total Transformation Program: Lesson 3: Parenting Roles That Lead to Accountability

Raising a child is a difficult task.  Avoiding that task leads to ineffective parenting roles.  In the past, we have discussed ineffective parenting roles.

In this lesson, James Lehman discusses the 3 effective parenting roles.

1) Training & Coaching Roles

2) Problem-Solving Roles

3) Limit-Setting Role

effective parenting = teaching skills and bringing about change while creating a culture of accountability

Beyond setting goals, it's about teaching the skills to reach the goal.  An example he gives really resonates with the softball coach in me.  When you're teaching someone to shooting hoops, you can't just hand them a ball and give them the goal to shoot 3 hoops in a row.  You first have to teach them HOW TO hold the ball, set your feet, make the shot and follow through.  You then need to practice, practice, practice.

He also says something interesting about therapy:

"You can't feel your way to better behavior, but you can behave your way to better feelings."


Just talking about your feelings does not teach them HOW to change.  If you are thinking about therapy, please keep that in mind. You might get more for your money buying and trying The Total Transformation Program first.

In this lesson he stresses accountability.

It is all about expectations.  Not just what you expect from the child, but what the child can expect from you.  He brings up tantrums in small children.  All 2 year old throw tantrums.  The way you respond to respond to that tantrum will shape every tantrum they have going forward.  Think about that for a minute.  You have to respond in a way that teaches them that they are responsible for their behavior.  If you give in, compromise or re-negotiate, you are going to continue to get temper tantrums.

Here is an outline of the 3 effective parenting roles covered in this lesson:

1) Training & Coaching

- Skill building, rehearsal and repetition

- Keep the child's eye on the prize

- Teach by example, utilize social skills in everyday life

- Understand the importance of skill rehearsal and repetition

- display responsible love and concern

- provide strategic help and solutions

- provide ideas for replacement and reciprocity

2) Problem-Solving

- understand the importance of problem solving as a process

- help child to identify goals and obstacles

- encourage exploration and experimentation

- recognize setbacks and failures as opportunities for life's learning experiences

- participate in mutual decision-making

- accept independence as a legitimate interest of adolescents

- set firm outer boundaries with fluid, flexible center

3) Limit-Setting

- establish and maintain parental authority

- task-oriented

- identify the parent as person you answer to

- expect progress with problems

- communicate belief in the child through expectations

- view behavior as a performance issue, not a moral issue

- understand importance of standards

- perceive compliance as a legitimate interest of parents


What have I learned from this lesson?

In the past, when my son would hit my daughter:

- Time out on the "naughty chair" for 3 minutes.

- He had to apologize to his sister.

- He had to give her a hug.

He was often faced with back to back to back naughty seat visits.  It wasn't solving the problem.

What is the problem?

He is frustrated and angry and is hitting his sister to express this anger.


- Separate the kids and make him sit for 1 minute while he cools down.

- We talk about why he got angry.

- We discuss what else he should do next time he gets angry, ie. use his words and/or walk away

- We practice using his words.

- He apologizes to his sister.

- He tells her why he got angry.

- He tells her how he will act differently next time.

Stay tuned for my review of Disc 4: 27 Tools to Change Your Child's Behavior Now

(Disclaimer: I did get sent this program for free.  However, I promise to give my honest opinion about the program and will not gloss it over.  Also, they will kick back an affiliate commission to me if someone actually buys the program after clicking through a link here at Mommycosm.  Buy it if you want.  Or don't.  Doesn't hurt my feelings, 'kay?!)