1. Loren, when did the idea strike you to write a book?
I was invited to write a paper for a professional conference. About this same time, in my personal life, my son was a teenager and was going through a rough patch, so I was going through a rough patch too. Because of how difficult parenting had become for me, I decided to write the paper on the importance of helping parents understand their own emotions. The paper was very well received. After the conference, someone in the elevator who had been to my presentation said, "You should write a book about that." I remember thinking, why would anyone want to write a book? The idea percolated, though, and a several months later I started writing.
2. For those who have not read your book, can you tell us about your children?
A few days after my son got his driver’s license he borrowed the car, picked up some beer and a few friends, and drove to the beach to celebrate his new-found freedom. A police car eventually drove by to check out the party. A couple of hours later, the officer called and we had to go to the beach to retrieve the car and watch as the policeman drove my son and his friends to the detention center. It was shocking to me that my son could really do something like that, and it was the beginning of a very rough few years.
My daughter wasn’t as confrontational as my son, but she had a mind of her own and didn’t like to be told what to do. Even though parenting was way more difficult than I ever imagined, the principles I write about did, in the end, come through for us. Both my kids are doing quite well now, and I have a close relationship with both of them. My son does enjoy taking some credit for being the inspiration behind my writing!
3. How did you come up with your twenty intentions?
I wanted to write a book that spoke honestly about how it really feels to be a parent. The Intentions evolved naturally as part the writing process. They're a combination of my personal and professional insights into coping with the challenges of family life. They're meant to reflect on-going goals, not something that parents rate themselves on everyday.
4. What gave you the idea to end each chapter with Food For Thought questions?
As parents, I think it's important not only to read about other parents, but to also look deeply inside ourselves. The Food for Thought questions are meant to encourage parents to explore their own inner worlds. I believe that the more comfortable we are within ourselves the better prepared we’ll be to take on the emotional challenges of raising children.
5. How many of the subjects focused on in your book have you experienced personally?
All of them.
6. Now that your children are grown, in hindsight would you have done anything differently?
I've wondered about that from time to time too. Sometimes, I think I should have been a bit stricter. I tended to let them off the hook – an apology with a big hug went a long way with me. Would they have acted out as much if I were a little more rules and consequences oriented? Or would they have rebelled even more? I don't know. In hindsight, I guess, alls well that ends well. They are responsible young adults with good hearts. So we certainly weren’t perfect. But, I guess, we were “good enough.”
7. Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
Speak publicly about your subject: If you want a mainstream publisher you need a strong platform. Persevere: Many, many query letters will go unanswered.
Accept rejection without personalizing it: This, by the way, is very very hard to do. Love what you're doing: When you get discouraged, commitment to your message will help you keep going.
8. Are you still available as a counselor and do you still make home visits?
I do have a private practice in Tampa. I don't make home visits, but I do phone sessions and skype sessions too.
9. What's next for Loren Buckner? Thinking about writing a second book?
I think about another book but haven't started one yet. With my full-time practice along with working on getting the ParentWise message out, I'm pretty busy right now.
10. Are you available for speaking engagements and is there any particular topics you would like to cover during our live chat on January 10th?
Yes, I do speaking engagements with both large and small groups. Anything that you've read that you're interested in pursuing is fine with me.
11. How were you raised? With intentional conscious parents or ?
My parents were good to me but they weren't really emotionally involved or psychologically minded. That's partly why I've become I therapist – so other people wouldn't have to be so alone or confused by their emotions.
12. What would you say was the highlight of raising your kids? and the not so highlights?
It's very painful when your kids hate you, even if you know it's a phase. So when they hated me or when I was furious with them (and even hated them sometimes too) those were our worst times. I should mention here, though, that even during these times, there was a line that was never crossed. Hurtful words have long echoes. Mutual respect no matter how angry we got was a rule I adamantly held to.
The highlights are when we have fun together and when they confide in me. I loved heart to heart talks when they were little kids, and I still love them.
13. Would you say you learned more about counseling in a book or hands on talking to clients and learning from them?
Actually, there are three important components – book knowledge, experience working with people, and exploring my own inner world. I was in therapy myself for many years.
14. What kind of help would you suggest for a depressed or suicidal person?
Of course, this is a complicated question. But, in my opinion, serious problems like depression or suicidal thinking require professional help. Forcing ourselves to be different is typically a short-term solution. There are underlying reasons why people feel depressed or anxious. Most times, friends and family want to help but they just don't know how. Once the relationship with a therapist is secure, people are able to talk about their thoughts, feelings and memories in ways that they don't normally speak about in their day to day lives. Therapy provides a safe place for people to gain a deeper understanding of themselves. It's an opportunity to work on problems from the inside out