How To End Power Struggles With Your Unruly Kids



‘You can’t make me!’

Slamming doors, throwing toys.

Have you had this?

I know I have.

(And much worse.)

Life in my house was, for a while, like living in a war zone.

I never knew when the bombs were going to go off.

I didn’t know who would show up – Dr Jekyll or Mr Hyde.

We lived in a constant state of chaos, confusion and craziness.

We were unhappy, stressed and in despair.

That was a few years ago now.

And life has changed. Immeasurably.

With effort and research and diligence, it is possible to turn things around.

To end the power struggles.

To build the problem solving skills.

And create a happy, secure family unit.

I firmly believe raising kids is a holistic process.

Raising a child isn’t about one particular method, philosophy or practice.

When a kid is out of control, anti-social, abusive at an age when they are old enough to have learned to respect limits, something needs to change.

Some kids are more prone to needing movement, that is without question.

Some kids are more articulate and questioning.

Some have a poorer ability to think about consequences before acting.

And some are simply harder to manage than others.


  • When they are breathtakingly disrespectful.
  • When you are embarrassed to take them to social occasions.
  • When you feel like you are in an abusive relationship.
  • Your self-esteem is at rock bottom
  • They’re not getting play dates
  • You have seen the inside of the principal’s office more times in elementary school than in the whole of your own school career

You need to change.

Yes, you.

And you probably need to change a lot.

Sleep, exercise, food, schooling, parenting are the five areas that need to be addressed.

Working on just one of them isn’t enough.

Great parenting will not bring results if the child is chronically tired.

Getting a ton of sleep will not help if their brains are high on MSG, high fructose corn syrup, Red #40 or BHA.

Schooling has to be of the right type to allow them to learn and thrive.

And they need to get enough exercise to reset those brain chemicals, burn off the energy and help the body work optimally.

If these elements aren’t in place and you have an angry, explosive or depressed child, you need to up your game.

“Experts” tell us we only need to be ‘good enough.’

But some of us blessed with kids for whom “good enough” parenting is not good enough.

Some kids demand more of their parents if they are to grow into successful independent adults.

For them, parenting has to be at a level way higher than than is necessary for others.

That’s just the way it is.

It isn’t anyone’s fault.

Not yours, not your child’s, not the school’s, or your in-laws.

It just is. And we have to deal with it.

It’s no good complaining it’s not fair.

We just sound whiny, like the kids we are having trouble bonding with.

When you were a kid, your own parents said to you, ‘Life isn’t fair.’

And it isn’t. It is what it is.

Now, what can you do about it?

I’ve talked about food and the impact it had on the behaviors in our home (including my own) before.

And as the mother of twins, I was obsessed with sleep – mine and the babies – when they were little.

Parks were our playground and homeschooling became necessary, reluctantly at first and then enthusiastically, for a while.

But we still weren’t where we needed to be.

And after much searching I came across The Total Transformation Program.

My husband and I were so desperate to get out of this war zone and to a place of calm and stability, that we sat, notebooks at the ready night after night, watching the DVDs.

We had tried many things (except medication,) seen many professionals, read a library of books. Much had helped a little. Or a lot – plain diet, exercise and sleep are prerequisites for any parenting program.

And the The Total Transformation Program helped us a lot.

Child Behavior

It was a few number of words that made fireworks go off  in our heads and catherine wheels spark and spin.

Paradigms changed.

“Don’t talk to me like that; I don’t like it.” And walk away!

Walk away? You mean, his little, innocent, fragile self-esteem won’t be crushed for ever never to reform? Who knew?

I’m not always crazy about the way The Total Transformation Program is sold – through sponsored blog reviews, infomercials, radio advertising.

It can seem cheesy and yet another exploitative hard sell.

But it does deliver the goods.

As long as you play your part, of course.

This works, not just for your kids, but for you, with your boss, with your family.

So if you have a home that resembles Beirut.

And your child is the terrorist.

If you’re at your wits’ end and close to calling 911 on your child.

If you look ahead with dread and count the years until s/he is out of the home.

And you wonder how you’ll all survive that long.

If you are contemplating using college money for professional help because if you don’t you’ll be using it for bail bonds.

If you’re researching wilderness camps and military school.

Fix your kids’ diet, get them outside, send them to bed early. Then get this program and do some heavy lifting.

You’ll learn many things, among them,  ‘You don’t have to attend every argument, you’re invited to.”

I don’t?

That’s cool.

Child Behavior

Have you experienced this kind of thing? What worked for you? And would you call the cops on your kid? Let me know in the comments!

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

JDaniel4's Mom October 19, 2011 at 9:32 am

This sounds like a great program! I Stumbled this post.
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Alison Golden October 30, 2011 at 4:25 pm

It is a lifesaver for some.


Dana October 19, 2011 at 3:55 pm

My daughter’s only six and doesn’t ever get unruly enough that I’d want to call the cops, but one of my brothers got that bad when we were teenagers. Not a good scene. My parents could have used this. I might still look into it at some point, because I could see my daughter *getting* to that point, she is so headstrong.


Alison Golden October 19, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Hey Dana, good to see you!

I used to rehearse what I was going to say to the 911 operator if it ever came to that. I don’t think I ever got the right words planned out satisfactorily. Thankfully, we have outgrown that stage (for now) but it was scary at the time. Crossed fingers history doesn’t repeat itself in your case. Thanks for stopping by!


Mary E. Ulrich
October 20, 2011 at 3:33 am

I’m glad you brought up the ideas of diet and sleep. You’re right, it’s not just the kids–it’s also the parents who need to look at their own behaviors. We try so hard to be the best parents, and put all our energy into our children. I know it’s trite and boring to look within, but so necessary.
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Alison Golden October 20, 2011 at 5:05 am

Mary, your comment made me think of the saying – ‘what we resist, persists.’ The idea of changing ourselves in this regard often meets with resistance but if we keep on doing the same old thing, why would we expect to change. In the end it’s much easier to change ourselves. And that will evoke changes in others. Oooh, that was profound – swimming in the deep end, I am. 😉


Green Bean
October 20, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Super helpful post. Total Transformation seems cheesy but is some of the best parenting advice I’ve ever encountered! Thank you for sharing.
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Alison Golden October 30, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Hey GB! I hope more can benefit from it. And learning that they are not alone. 🙂


Kristl Story October 21, 2011 at 3:07 pm

I am always so impressed with your “take charge” parenting attitude! So many parents just do things because everybody else is!
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Alison Golden October 21, 2011 at 3:09 pm

LOL! I would love to have done it like everyone else but my kids wouldn’t allow it! Thanks. 🙂


DrJulieAnn aka The Modern Retro Woman
October 21, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Yes! Yes! Yes!!!!!! (did I say “Yes?”)

I’m an educational psychologist, not a school psychologist/therapist but I have to say that when I was working with teachers who had disruptive students, I would tell the teachers that THEY ALSO had to change because the current dynamic just.wasn’t.working. They would focus so much on the disruptive child that they would fail to take a step back and consider their role in the child’s disruptive behavior. It isn’t about blame…it is about looking at things from a holistic point of view. Once I helped the teacher get out of their interaction rut, we could start making amazing progress in the teacher-student dynamic. Was it perfect? Of course not. But the desire to down a bottle of Jack Daniels during lunch would go away (I’m joking, of course…if a teacher is downing a bottle of liquor during lunch, she needs to be removed from the classroom).

I am reminded of the most profound piece of advice I ever read (and I don’t even remember where I read it): You can only change/control yourself. If you want to change the dynamic of a relationship, you have to change yourself and your own rules of engagement.

PS: I just now saw the video of you speaking about the Browns from Scotland…totally made my day! You sounded just like my grandmother-in-law…at she had lived in the States for 60+ years when I met her!


Alison Golden October 30, 2011 at 4:28 pm

I always enjoy your comments, Julie Ann. Good to hear from you. Your point about changing yourself *and* the rules of engagement could apply to any relationship, don’t you think? A lesson there for everyone…


the Damsel in Dis Dress
October 24, 2011 at 7:02 pm

This reminds me so much of the parenting program I followed years ago called “Let’s Fix the Kids.” The title is tongue-in-cheek–it’s the parents that need fixing, not the kids!


Alison Golden October 30, 2011 at 4:30 pm

But I bet it got parents taking a look at it. No-one want to hear the message they need to change – especially when you’re exhausted from managing an unruly, rude child. But I’m reminded of the idea I learned many years ago, before kids (and I’m paraphrasing) – we only change when the pain of the present is greater than the fear of the future. Thanks for commenting, Damsel!


October 24, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Hello Alison,
This is my first time here. I followed your comment from Tim Brownson’s blog and boy am I glad I did! I feel like crying I’m so happy to try this program. I have a 7 yr old boy wrecking havoc in my house but now there may be hope. I already do a strict organic diet and he gets 10-11hours of sleep per night but I am super excited to learn what else I can do. Thank you so much for sharing this program!! 🙂
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Alison Golden October 30, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Ah yes, 7 and 8 were *real* trouble years for us. Not the terrible twos and hopefully not the teen years (I like to tell myself we have done that early – not holding my breath though just hoping.) I hope you’re able to get hold of a copy of the program and you see good results. For us, it seemed the final piece of the puzzle (throwing some maturity in there as well) and helped us adults finally feel we had some tools to give us back some control. Come back and ask questions if you need to. We have a marvellously well-adjusted child now – we (and he) can hardly believe our own memories. 🙂


Michele Clarke October 26, 2011 at 12:18 am

As the mother to 9 kids now ages 7 to 22 all of which still live home I can tell you there have been day that I have jokingly asked my husband if we can runaway and leave the kids home to fend for themselves. As you can imagine with 9 kids you get 9 totally different personalities and tolerance and activity levels. To put it one notch further all of our children including the 3 girls wrestle so when they get into physical fights things get heated. My husband and I use a combination of parenting methods and I thank god that he is a teacher with a masters in education and school administration because when I have had it I can tell him to do something with them, lol. Seriously, our children are extremely well behaved in public to the point that we get comments whever we go. This is because the children have learned that they have older siblings that they can stay home with. So now that I have become a coupon expert too I get compliments and the usual questions like are they all yours and questions now on couponing. Come and read about our many adventures at
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Alison Golden October 30, 2011 at 4:36 pm

You know those places where babies can be left, no questions asked? I’ve read that some people drop older kids off there too. I *completely* understand where those parents are coming from. You have 9 kids who wrestle? You mean, competitive wrestling? I don’t know what to say…;-)


Adeline October 28, 2011 at 5:49 am

Thank you ! i don’t feel alone anymore ! i have 2 kids, aged 10 and 7, and it is becoming harder and harder. I will check the link !


Alison Golden October 30, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Please don’t feel alone. I know it feels like you are but you are not. If cost is an issue, TTP has a program where if you can’t afford the program you can get it for free by providing them with feedback so there is no reason for you not to get this information if you need it. I hope things get better for you.


Adeline October 30, 2011 at 11:58 pm

Thank you for your answer.


Rie Brosco February 24, 2017 at 11:04 am

Thanks for your post. I have been looking into The Complete Guide to Consequences™ The James Lehman Approach but have been unable to discover it it applies to teens and not just young children. (It is so much easier to pick up a 5 year old and put them in their bedroom than it is a 13 year old.) Thanks to any one who can answer the question about age.
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