About Breaking the Cycle Consulting

Laurie’s Story

 

In the beginning

Today, I’m Laurie Reid, licensed marriage and family counselor, certified addictions professional, former personnelman in the United States Navy, co-author of the Breaking the Cycle of Child to Parent Violence curriculum, and author of the “Parents’ Guide to Resolving Teen Aggression and Abuse” video program.

My older sister, me, mom and my younger sister. (Baby brother is in front.)

Older sister, me, mom and younger sister (Baby brother is in front.)

However, I wasn’t always those things. First, I was a daughter of bipolar and alcoholic parents, and the younger sister of an angry, aggressive and violent sister. Then, I was an angry, aggressive teenager, myself, and a shoplifter who got caught and wound up labeled as a “juvenile delinquent.”

When I was growing up, my mother had not yet been diagnosed as bipolar. My dad drank heavily. My older sister, when she hit her teenage years, started becoming very physically, verbally and emotionally abusive toward everyone in the home, but particularly, my mother and me.

She would punch holes in the wall. She would barricade rooms. She would threaten us. I lived in fear of her, and I felt like I had to protect my younger sister.

Then, when I reached my teen years, I started mimicking my sister’s behavior. I was especially verbally abusive to my mother because I felt like she was weak. I resented the fact that she did not protect us from my sister’s violence when we were younger.

I also was very angry with my dad because all he seemed to do was lock himself up down in the basement and drink so he could avoid all the drama.

When my best friend and I got caught shoplifting, of course our parents’ first response was to tell us we could never be friends, again. Fortunately, we still are friends 30 years later.

 

In the Navy

That shoplifting incident led to community service, which I did in a Navy recruiter’s office. This was very fortuitous for me because it led me to a career in the Navy, eventually becoming one of the first women to work on an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf, and receiving a Southwest Asia Bronze Star Medal.

Since being honorably discharged from the Navy, I’ve not only completed my education as a therapist, but I’ve also completed many hours of my own personal therapy. I’m also happy to report that most of the other members of my family have as well, including my mother and older sister. Although our relationships are still not perfect, we now can be together as a family, laugh and talk and treat each other as friends.

 

The birth of Breaking the Cycle Consulting

Role playing (and demonstrating why finger pointing is not good).

Role playing (and demonstrating why finger pointing is not good).

My first job after becoming a licensed therapist was as a Child Specialist for the Community Health Center in the Orlando, Florida area. I soon was promoted to Behavioral Health Quality Manager. While it was a great position, it took me out of what I most enjoyed: working directly with families as a therapist. In particular, I missed working with children and teens, so I was pleased when a friend presented an opportunity to work with adolescents charged with domestic violence. I felt this was an area in which I could really make a difference in someone’s life.

The domestic violence program established through the Juvenile Justice system had been in operation for 18 years prior to my arrival. The facilitator at that time was retiring, and the program on the verge of extinction due to the lack of participants.

Though I worked with the adolescents, more and more parents reached out to me, desperate for help because of the escalating violence their children were exhibiting. Typically, these times of crisis occurred when the parent tried to implement techniques learned from their court-ordered parenting classes.

Since I didn’t know what the parents were learning in the parenting classes, I wasn’t sure at first how to help.

What I quickly learned is that, by separating the child and the parent from one another, the violence was actually escalating.

The best practice, when working with families experiencing teen aggression and child to parent violence, is to include all members of the family, not to separate them.

Unfortunately, I could not effectively persuade the Juvenile Justice program director that inclusion was the best for families dealing with child to parent violence because the Department based its reasoning on success in separating adult batterers and victims of domestic violence.

After attending a conference on the subject of child to parent violence, I gained the confidence to propose my vision to the Juvenile Justice Diversion program manager, and she agreed!

The program was redesigned to incorporate the parents into the teen program. I asked a group of close friends to my home and presented to them with my plan. These individuals were chosen for their expertise in research, group facilitation, curriculum design and family therapy.

Separate focus groups, both with teens and parents, were conducted to solicit feedback on what is important to them in addressing teen aggression within the home.

Since that time, Breaking the Cycle Consulting have served more than 600 families, collaborated with two universities for research into child to parent aggression and violence, and presented at numerous national and state level conferences on the subject.

Breaking the Cycle’s philosophy and foundation could not be possible without the input from the adolescents and parents who gave feedback along the way in terms of what worked for them and what did not.

 

About Breaking the Cycle’s philosophy

Our program emphasizes the need for physical, psychological, and emotional safety for both the parent and child.

We recognize that individual family members often have different types of trauma in their lives and each requires a gentle holding space that is supportive and understanding.

Safety is paramount.

Once safety is established, then we can address self-esteem and confidence and, finally, relationship. A safe, therapeutic environment allows each member of the family to freely discuss their perspectives without judgment and without criticism. Each person deserves to feel safe and to feel like he or she is heard. Ultimately, the only way to reduce violence in the home is to address the underlying reasons for the anger, violence and acting out.

 

About Breaking the Cycle’s mission

Me with my older sister and mom today.

Me with my sisters today.

Our primary mission is to serve and support parents who have an aggressive teen within the home. Parents do the best they can with the tools they have. Most often, there is not enough support for the parents who go through this transition phase of their lives with their teens.

Many parents of angry, aggressive children feel judged by others. This feeling of judgment often leads to tremendous guilt and shame. Unlike other therapeutic programs, the Breaking the Cycle program emphasizes the health and wellbeing of the parent, as well as the child.

In our work with more than 600 families, we have learned that the best way to reduce abuse and violence within the home is not by separating the family, but by collaborating with the parent in a supportive and empowering stance.

Together, we can break the cycle of child and teen violence.

To learn more about Breaking the Cycle Consulting and how you can help, please contact us at laurie@breakingthecycleconsulting.com.

 

About Laurie Reid, Founder, Breaking the Cycle Consulting, Inc.

20150514_PORT_0622-edit (1)Laurie Reid, is a Florida-licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Life Coach, and Founder and President of Breaking the Cycle Consulting, Inc., (BTC), a service-disabled Veteran and woman owned and operated small business based in Central Florida. BTC is an experienced voice on the topic of Parent Abuse internationally known as Child to Parent Violence.

For more than 18 years, Laurie has worked with tweens, teens, couples and families in the area of family counseling, and child to parent violence. She is the co-author of the Breaking the Cycle Family Curriculum, a 10-week multi-family group program addressing teen abuse and violence within the home, and the author of the “Parents’ Guide to Resolving Teen Aggression and Abuse” video program.

She is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, and earned a B.A. degree in Sociology from Wichita State University and a M.S. degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Friends University. In addition, she is a Certified Life Coach, Certified Recovery Educator by the Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery and a Mental Health First Aid trainer through the National Council for Behavioral Health.

Laurie is an expert in behavioral health quality management, assessing and improving clinical operational and financial performance, behavioral health accreditation preparation, clinical documentation, and Florida Medicaid documentation regulations.  She often provides consulting services to organizations on these topics.

Laurie volunteers as the Board Chair for the Federation of Families of Central Florida, a non-profit family run organization and Parent Abuse Action Coalition proposing to Florida legislation the need for appropriate services such as Breaking the Cycle to address teen aggression within the home. She also frequently speaks on topics such as Parent Abuse, Women Entrepreneurship and Women Veteran issues.

“My personal mission is to educate as many people as possible about the child to parent violence crisis and to serve as a resource to families in need,” says Laurie. “This online curriculum is the next step in the evolution of our program and will allow us to reach more families with a critical message: You are not alone.”

To learn more about Breaking the Cycle Consulting and how you can get involved in the fight to end the cycle of child to parent violence, and teen aggression and abuse, please contact Laurie at laurie@breakingthecycleconsulting.com.