“My daughter is my world,” says Kevin Cleaver about his 6-year-old daughter Jessie. “She deserves the best.”
But Kevin and his wife Jenny were struggling with how to be effective parents and give Jessie the best they could give. When they set limits with Jessie, she got angry and would start jumping on furniture and yelling. It was difficult for everyone to manage. Making matters more challenging, Kevin, a truck driver, was often away for work, and he and Jenny didn’t always agree on how to best deal with Jessie’s behavior issues. The Cleavers worked hard to find the best way of addressing Jessie’s out-of-control behavior. They tried one thing, and when that didn’t work, they would try something else. Nothing worked, and they did not know where to turn next.
We hear about these struggles a lot at Empowering Parents. Parents are pulled in so many directions these days. Between work and school obligations, it is difficult to find enough time in the day to get everything done. When a parent has to travel a lot for work, like Kevin does, the last thing he or she wants to do when the family is finally all together is argue. But how do you address the problems that arise in every family? It can be helpful to have a plan for everyone to follow so that both parents are on the same page.
The Cleaver family found The Total Transformation Program, a parenting program created by social workers James and Janet Lehman, which started them on their path to great results. Lesson by lesson, the Cleavers learned how to set expectations and how to be consistent with limits and consequences. Kevin learned how to have a problem-solving conversation with Jessie that taught her how to manage her anger in more effective ways. The family learned how to step out of power struggles. With time and effort, this family found the tools that worked for them.
We are so glad to share the Cleavers’ success story with others who may be struggling to find their way. They are a great example of how perseverance and dedication, along with a willingness to learn new skills, can lead to remarkable changes.
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About Rebecca Staples
Becky Staples has worked with children and families in a variety of settings including schools, homes, and community agencies. She has a degree in Education and Child Study from Smith College and her Masters in Marriage and Family Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Becky has been working with Empowering Parents families since 2008.