Agenda driven, who, me?

I think it is quite funny how after a parenting class I assume I will get it right and my children will comply like angels. Our house will have warm glow from the street, as we have 4 children with little halos over their head. Michael and I would be perfectly calm all knowing parents. And our children will respond as we expect, using the new found Value Based techniques we have learned. And then the moment things don't go as the "should" I wonder what we are doing wrong, or what is wrong with our kids. We used the perfect technique and yet they are not doing what I think they should do. So I react with my former technique (previous to value based parenting) with the what are you thinking, don't argue about this, it is ridiculous, this it how it is and you know it, and your grounded for life, lock and key, never allowed to leave your room. Ok so the latter isn't something I usually say out loud.  Anyway we it may take a day or two
before I throw my hands in the air and try what Dean says again. Which is to go into a conversation seeking to understand and not drive home my agenda, even though I know I am right. Ha ha
So the other day I had a chat with my daughter. She had been having what I like to call "melt down moments", this usually involved rolling of the eyes smoke coming from the ears and the phrases, "it's not my fault, and you are ruining my life" I usually get aggravated and try to prove to her that she had a part to play in the problem and try to convince her that her attitude is way out of line. Which usually leads to the phrase, "no it's not, and it's all their fault. I am sure you can just imagine how the conversation continues to down spiral from here. So, as I was saying, the other day I let go of all my agenda, I let go of the points I wanted to prove, and I simply decided to put the ball in her court. The conversation went like this.

"So Kate, remember wen you were yelling at me the other night insisting I didn't know what happens" Yes, she replies. Well how do you feel about that conversation? Not good, she answered. What else to you feel? Please be honest, don't jus try to come up with what answer you think I am looking for, tell me what you feel. And she said," I don't like it when you yell at me." I responded " oh, I can understand that, I do need to work on that." Why did you insist on arguing with me?" She said "cause I want to be right." Do you think you were right? She said "not really, when I was arguing I thought there might be a 1 percent chance I was right, but I knew you probably were, but I didn't' want to be wrong." I thanked her for her honesty and her if she would like to here why I made the statement I made. From here on the conversation went well, I could tell by her facial responses that she understood where I was
coming from and agreed with the problem at hand. She walked away with a smile on here face and there was no tension between us.
I just had to laugh. I thought to myself, why am I always so surprised when I am truly not agenda driven, the principals actually do work. Some times it takes a little time, but if I stay at peace and leave my "gotta raise perfect kids" attitude out, we make a lot more progress. I went into that conversation, NOT trying to prove my point but to truley desired to understand what she was thinking and feeling, and wanted her to know where I was coming from too. And thing went sooooo much better. I know there were times I went into the conversation, asking the questions, looking like I was trying to understand them. It sometimes even "looked" like a perfect little value based technique for a moment, however the energy behind it was to prove my point and make my kid behave, and the energy is what the kids pick up on.

Jamie Lightner
TurningLeaf Seminars

Lock-up vs. Treatment

Sue Judd, M.S.S., L.S.A.C.

Opinions @ the Spectrum
June 10, 2009

Dear Editor:

Lock-up vs. Treatment.   As a Master’s Level Licensed Substance Abuse Counselor with over 20 years experience in the addictions field, I am concerned with the debate that seems to be arising about treatment vs. incarceration.  The value of treatment and the significance of internal belief changes incurring as a result of value based treatment are being overlooked for the quicker, easier dismissal of the alcoholic/addict.  There tends to be more a need for  visible, visual marker that shows me that the offender/addict is being punished and suffering rather than being rehabilitated.  Granted there are some “counselors” that are out there offering cut-rate, quick fix solutions which not only perpetuate the problem but over time truly victimizes the addict, the family and society even more.  This is due to the fact that the quick fix program does not offer solutions but enables the user to the opposite extreme of the punishment of incarceration. Internal change comes from changing the way I see myself enough to change my belief about myself.  By embracing incarceration as the sole model for those who relapse, we are only offering them the one paradigm which they continue to perpetuate the rest of their lives.  And then we wonder why they become institutionalized.  Recently, I was discussing a case with a person in a position of authority who told me treatment was too expensive and a bigger drain on the family than that person sitting in jail six months.  I propose the client sitting in jail incurring a rate of $45 a day charge, is going to cost the family more money in the long run.  Six months of jail will cost this person approximately $8, 212.50 in comparison to the $2500 for Intensive Outpatient treatment.  That is not to mention the costs incurred by family members to visit their loved one and the loss of income they may have been providing.  Also it does not address the emotional cost on children and family members and the message that it sends these children that this is the life you are going to inherit.  As a counselor, I know treatment can break this cycle, educate families and loved ones and offer hope to both the addict and the families opposite extreme of incarceration.  In summary, I know from experience that effective treatment works and can and does break the addiction cycle.  Unlike our neighboring states of Nevada and Montana which subsidize treatment, we still maintain a penal mentality.  Interestingly, however, the state of Utah subsidizes domestic violence treatment and yet the offender has to pay for substance abuse treatment which may exacerbate the domestic violence issues. There is also a victim reparations fund to help victims of domestic violence, however, none for the substance abuser.
The underlying issues are not treated and we actually create dependence and may “institutionalize” them. 

For more info:
I am finding myself asking the question. Why do we struggle with our humanity? It is perplexing to me that we are all human, yet we all strive to be super-human. All the super hero movies of superman and wonder woman are not to far from what we wish we were and attempt to be. We may recognize the fact that we aren't bullet proof and we don't have x-ray vision, but we all want to essentially have bullet proof character and emotions, I do any way. I want to be a perfect parent, one who never is impatient and always knows what to tell her children when they are down. I want to be the perfect wife, with dinner on the table and a smile on my face.( yeah, my husband would probably love this too. Tonight we had what ever we could find in the fridge. I call it hodge podge day.) I want to be that perfect friend who never lets anyone down and never says anything stupid. Basically, I just want to be perfect. But what I am beginning to realize and I hope I continue to realize for the rest of my life is, I am perfect. I am a perfect human being learning and growing everyday. I am a human being who at times struggles with depression or yells at my kids. I sometimes cry over stupid stuff. What I am learning is that is ok. Dean Nixon has a blog post about not accepting our humanity. I always thought that I was a grateful person, a happy person who truly lived life. What is didn't realize is how I rob myself from enjoying and living life when I am at odds with my own humanity. The very being I am. I can't say it any better than Dean and his words have helped me these past couple weeks and I want to share them with you…."One of the most important lessons we can learn is to accept our human state. We tend to fight the simple truths. For example, kids will always get out of control when Mom gets on the phone, or that drinking "diet" coke isn't going to change the fact we ate a big bowl of ice cream last night, and that we will get our heart broken more than twice. Another simple truth we resist is we are not perfect and are not meant to be, we are progressive and meant to learn and grow. We are constantly at odds with this truth, fighting the aging process, hiding our mistakes and judging others for theirs. We live year by year for a reason, we don't just get it all over at once. Learning to accept the slow pace from birth to the inevitable death is a journey and we can run through it wearing the blinders of expectation and judgment, or roll the windows down and feel the breeze. That is the simple truth."Ya know, I do have my valleys, but I also have my mountaintops. And how much more I appreciate those mountaintops, because I have experienced those valleys. So to this day I say, I am human and proud of it!!!!!

Jamie Lightner
TurningLeaf Seminars

Change the way you see it

Change the way you see it. Hmmmm. That is one of TurningLeaf's principles. A simple concepts sometimes difficult to do. Today I was running. I wanted to get my heart rate up and have that great feeling after a good workout. So I ran for a bit and when I was finished I just began to cry. It had been a long few days and after my run the tears began to pour. I had just had a conversation with Dean the night before and it ended with him saying "your number one job while you are here on earth is to BE HUMAN. To experience the hills and the valleys. To be excited, to be ticked, to be sad and happy. Your job is to experience the fun times, to go through the struggles. Your job is to grow, to progress as a human being. So change the way you see yourself, and change the way you view the struggle." So as my tears began to stream down my face, in that moment I changed the way I viewed my emotional state, and I gave myself permission to cry. In that moment I did not view it as weakness or as not having it all together. I thought of that quote "there is a season for everything" and especially the line "there is a time to cry" and I chose to view it as my time to cry. So I cried and I let it feel good. I let it be exactly what it was. An emotional release from all the pressures I was enduring. I let it be a release I needed.

Jamie Lightner
TurningLeaf Seminars
I had an appointment with Dean and discussed the recent pondering of selling my 4th child on ebay. I began to vent to him about how I was being more consistent with time outs and it wasn't working. I also told him he listens to my husband fairly well. I mean he is still his testy self, but more often than not he listens to Michael. I also told him how surprised I was when I watched my sister put him in time out and he just stayed there, he didn't even fight her to get up. I was so jealous. I usually have to sit him back in time out 5 times in 10 seconds before he will sit there, and that's on a good day. So I asked him the obvious question "what am I doing wrong? His explanation was quite enlightening and it went like this…

You are taking it personally. You are taking his behavior as a personal reflection of your ability to parent. And you are agenda driven, meaning rather that being in the moment, handling that moment with confidence, you are handing that moment with the intention of creating a "perfect child". And when it doesn't go as you think it "should" for a "good parent" raising a "good child", you experience fear, stress and anxiety. You are also looking around at others taking on whatever criticism you "think" they are "thinking". Rather than it just being you teaching Bo from a place of Love, you have a whole pile of Fear driven emotions you are bringing to that situation and kids feel that, and don't usually respond well.

So first off you need to draw a mental boundary of how you will allow you to talk to yourself about you parenting abilities. Look at your parenting tactics honestly and be patient with yourself. It is all a learning process. It is time to stop beating yourself up as a mom, and know you're a good mom and don't let anyone tell you otherwise, not even YOU. And then remember that Bo is his own personality. He may be stronger willed than your others. That's o.k. too. Don't compare him to other kids. Learn to work with him as an individual. And remember to be consistent.

Here are some ideas for your next trip to the store. Before you go into the store jump in the back seat and have a little heart to heart. Make sure you have his attention and tell him if he screams, or throws things out of your cart that you will come out to the car and put him in time out. And then go shopping, and if he screams, leave your cart and go put him in time out in the van. And when you carry him out of the store screaming- don't even give thought to what other's may be thinking. Don't even care about anything accept having a powerful learning moment with your son. This will keep your energy and emotions where they need to be, so that Bo can begin learning to be accountable for his own actions. Because until now he hasn't really needed to be, because You are doing that for him.

After our talk, I decided to postpone the sale on ebay.

And after this conversation, I was able to let go, and take the pressure off myself and it was amazing the difference in Bo's response. I still find myself falling into that agenda driven pattern or letting peer pressure from other parents get to me, but I pull myself out of it quicker each time

Jamie Lightner
TurningLeaf Seminars

Los Angeles, CA School Training by TurningLeaf Seminars

Clifford K. Tapusoa, Seminar Director
TurningLeaf Wellness Center Office: 435-652-1202

"If you want what you've never had, You must do what you've never done."

Our need to be needed.


It is amazing to me how powerful our need to be needed can be and how it compromises even the wisest person to abandon wisdom and yield to the opinion of others rather than trust his/her discernment.

Dean N. Nixon, Owner/President
TurningLeaf Inc.
Office: 435-652-1202

"It's not about change, it's about growth."