Are Internet Behavior Programs Worth Buying?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Grant, May 16, 2008.

  1. Grant

    Grant New Member

    Hi Everyone. This is my first post, so I thought I would keep it short. I started writing everything down, but it became too long, and I wasn't sure which forum was best to post in.

    I have a 13 year old step son who is tearing our family apart, and I'm afraid his next stop may be jail. Therapy hasn't worked, so I'm trying to find non traditional ways of dealing with his oppositional behavior, and his seeming lack of remorse for anything he does. I'm pretty sure he's not on drugs yet, but he's slipping away, and it's probably just a matter of time.

    I think this forum will be a great help to hear what others are going through, and see what's working (or not working) for them. So I wanted to ask if anyone has found a program out there that really helps. I've come across a few internet sites that sell behavior programs "guaranteed" to stop defiant behavior, and they range from $30 to thousands of dollars. I know it can't be as simple as they say, but there must be different ways of handling situations that get better results. Is it worth it to buy these programs, or are there other resources that are better?

    Thanks in advance for your help.
  2. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Hi, Grant, and welcome.

    First off, most folks like to know kinda where you've been in this journey. If you can create a signature, that helps a lot. Also, what diagnosis has your son had and/or currently had, who diagnosed them, medications he's on, etc. It just helps others to know where you are and where you've been in this whole process of raising a difficult child.

    When I first came, the book "Explosive Child" by Ross Greene was recommended to me, and still is largely recommended here, and it was our turning point. Not a cure all, but definitely the point that we had a boy instead of a constant battle.

    Sorry you had to find us, but welcome! Its a nice group around here, and its always nice to see a concerned dad join in!
  3. So Tired

    So Tired Member

    Welcome Grant. I hope you find some ideas here that work for you.

    I actually purchased the "Total Transformation" program when my son was 17. It is pretty expensive -- about $300 but I found it helpful. Mostly it helped me see how MY behaviors were escalating the problems. I will give you a concrete example: before I used to nag and nag at my son to complete his household chores, causing many arguments and alot of times it would often end in a screaming match. After reading the reading the total transformation, I learned to give him a deadline, say 5:00 on Sunday night. If the chores weren't done by then, he would have to pay me out of his allowance. It was very difficult that first Sunday not to remind him, especially as the clock ticked closer to the deadline. 4:30, he's sitting goofing on the computer and I'm biting my tongue. 4:45 still no action from him and it's using all my self control not to say anything. Finally at 4:50 he springs into action to run around the house and do his chores. Not the time frame I would have chosen, but it puts the responsibility on him and takes my nagging out of the equation. It helped me detach from the emotion of the situation. We are still have issuses with my son, but they no longer escalate into actual physical confrontations because I have learned not to fall into the trap of argueing with him. The rules are well known, and so are the consequences.

    There is also a lot of good information in the archives here, but most helpful is the support and kindness of the other members who understand how exhausting it is to be living in a battle zone every day.
  4. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    No one can 'guarantee' how anyone is going to respond to any kind of treatment, behavior plan, etc. So, the word 'guarantee' would throw me off right there.

    I second The Explosive Child.

    Welcome to the board.
  5. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Hello Grant, and welcome.

    I agree with Heather that no single program is going to work for everyone. I would be leery of a product that "guarantees" behaviour change.

    Has your stepson been evaluated? Lots of children who present with oppositional behaviour, defiance, hyperactivity, etc. have one or more underlying issues. With the right sorts of interventions in place, you can see improvement.

    As others have suggested, if you create a signature file like many of us have at the bottom of our posts, it will give us a snapshot of your history and current situation, and help us to point you in the right direction.

    In addition to The Explosive Child, you might want to check out

    Glad you found us, but sorry that you're in a position where you needed to.

  6. missy7222

    missy7222 Guest

    Hi Grant,

    I own the Total Transformation and it does work, although, most of the burden falls on the parents to change the way they do things! Its not easy all the time, but the things the program teaches you are priceless.

  7. Grant

    Grant New Member

    Wow! Thanks everyone for your fast replies and recommendations. I put in a signature so I hope it shows up now.

    More later.
  8. Christy

    Christy New Member

    Hi Grant
    Just wanted to say welcome and cast my vote for The Explosive Child which is probably available at your local library. I would beware of shelling out big bucks for a product unless it was well-reviewed by researchers that are not affliated with the product.

    Good luck to you. Post often and let us know how things are going.
  9. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi Grant and welcome to the board!

    The biggest advice I can give you is that none of our difficult child's really fit a traditional mold and therefore they respond differently to medications, therapy, behavior mods, etc. Unfortunately for us, there is no "one size fits all" when comes to these difficult children.

    I too would recommend The Explosive Child. It gives you a different perspective.

  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It really worries me when people equate a large price tag with something worth trying. So often, the high price tag just means you have been ripped off. Again.

    Example 1: easy child did really well at school, especially high school. She went to a government school while a really good friend was sent to "the best private school". The friend did well also.
    At uni - easy child had learned at school to work well independently. Her friend had not, because the private school had everything available on tap. When the private student got to uni she found the services there to be meagre by comparison. She had to go looking for stuff for herself in the library, instead of having the friendly school librarian do all the research for her.

    Example 2: difficult child 3 needed access to computer software in maths, to help him progress. We are bombarded with advertising for a particular company that has a very comprehensive package indeed. We made enquiries, were told we had to have a consultant come out and show us the program. The consultant brought his own computer, loaded with the software, and let out son loose on it. difficult child 3 took to it well and it looked good. But the package comes with the consultants who sell it; the tutors on call back in the office; the expensive ads on TV; the need for reports flying back and forth and so on. Every extra person on staff costs money. A lot of the need for extra staff was so they could protect their software from being copied - they load the software onto your computer for you so you can never access (or lend) your master copy. And the cost - many thousands of dollars. We would have also had to buy a new computer because the package is only available on IBM-compatible.
    Then we were introduced to another online maths coaching system by difficult child 3's correspondence school. It was clearly different to the expensive package but in some ways was even better. No expensive sales team, but tutors available if necessary. It also followed the school curriculum (which the expensive one claimed to do, but in fact did not). Fewer hoops to jump through, lots of incentives to use it. And it covered a wider range - the entire schooling years, in fact where the expensive one would cost even more when your child graduated to the next level of maths education.
    The cost - $99 a year.
    The package is still copy protected, because you use it online. It's more up to date and it generally works better. If you don't like it or find your child isn't using it, you jut let the membership lapse.
    Much cheaper than thousands a year.
    But we keep meeting people who think that they have done the right thing as parents, because they have spent more money. The cheap system we use - they look down on it. Surely it can't be as good, if it's so cheap!

    You don't have to spend buckets of money to help your child effectively. Also, spending buckets of money is no guarantee that you are providing any greater level of help than if you spent nothing.

    Anything which claims to guarantee success is in fact more likely to be shonky - nothing is guaranteed in life except death and taxes, so they're lying to you, right off. Read the fine print.
    The corollary is, anything that says it cannot guarantee results is often worth trying - at least they're being honest.

    Some good help is available, for little or no cost. Chances are you could spend a fortune and not do much, if any, better. Read "The Explosive Child" - it helped us more than anything else we had available.

    We've had difficult child 1 to various courses. He went on camps designed to help the difficult child learn independence, learn how to work in a group, how to organise himself. He was enrolled in and attended social skills courses. He was cooperative and really put in some effort - and all of it was pretty much ineffective. Hence, in his case, worthless.

    With difficult child 3, we have taken a different path. Forget the courses - despite the glowing claims, they are no more likely to work with difficult child 3 than they did with difficult child 1. Instead, I stopped listening to other people ad paid more attention to our child. Sometimes what we were being advised seemed to agree with what our instincts were telling us, so we went along with it. Where it clearly clashed - we did what we felt made more sense.
    basically, we plugged in to our child, got inside his head and tried to think like he does, so we could have a better idea of what motivated him and what set him off.
    This has worked.

    The book - it's a key to help you do this. And instead of having to spend vast sums, and also having to put your life on hold and fill your home with charts, stickers, special equipment, padded cells - we found we were able to throw out a lot of emotional and disciplinary baggage and breathe freely at last.
    It's EASIER, especially once we got into the swing of it.

    Give it a go. And if you have friends or relatives who pile on the emotional blackmail by equating your passion to help your child with how much it has cost you (in terms of effort, money, time and angst) then avoid those people. They are unhealthy.

    Good luck, welcome to the site, we don't cost a cent!

  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Hi Grant! Welcome, sorry you had to come find us.

    i strongly URGE you to stay away from ANYTHING that has a guarantee - be it behavior program, "all-natural cure" (remember, belladonna, curare, hemlock, and many other poisons are "all-natural"), or gadget.

    The sad truth is that NOTHING is going to magically cure our kids. If it did, one of us would have found it and shared it. We are that kind of a community. We are each actively seeking something (anything!) to help our children, and very open and giving about what we discover.

    The Total Transformation sounds much like Love and Logic. At a much greater price. You can get an idea about Love and Logic from - I have gotten benefit even from things aimed at teachers.

    The Explosive Child is a REALLY good place to start. It helps you look at things the way your child thinks. And, as long as this board has been here, to be recommended almost universally it has "earned" its recommendation.

    I also STRONGLY urge you to do a signature (this will help US remember your situation and things you ahve tried, so we can suggest other things you may not have). Even more helpful to your family, is the Parent Report. This is found on the Board FAQ forum (just above the general forum on the index). I think it may be termed Parent Input.

    A Parent Report is a way to write down what your hopes and dreams are for your child. What you have seen, tried, experts you have consulted, medications or other things you have tried. It is a way to not only keep it straight in YOUR mind, but also to clearly convey it to any professionals (docs, therapists, school, whomever) you go to for help. In mine I not only put my difficult child's photo on the front, but also at the beginning of every section, and in the middle of some especially long ones. I kept feeling the docs were not seeing HIM, but getting him confused with other children. After the photos, several of our docs stopped calling him/us by the wrong names! And, having the report helped when Childrens "Protection" entered our lives, and when the juvenile legal system also entered our lives.

    Whatever you try, remember that physical discipline/violence NEVER work with our kids - at least not in any long term way.

    Remember that EVERY parent loses it occasionally - you look at what you ahve done, assess how you could have done it, apologize and then move on to the next crisis.

    We also ask you to take what can help you and your family, and offer support or ideas where you can. Even if it is just hugs to someone.