May 19, 2010 / 3:15 AM / 9 years ago

Time to become a grown-up, and here's how

LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) - Celebrity therapist Stacy Kaiser says it’s time adults became “fully-loaded grown ups” and after 20 years in practice has written her first book telling you how to do so.

Celebrity therapist Stacy Kaiser is seen in this undated publicity photograph. REUTERS/Courtesy Harper One/Handout

Los Angeles-based Kaiser is a therapist for TV’s “Celebrity Fit Club” and “Diet Tribe” as well as the chief program officer for the national ToughLOVE program that helps parents handle difficult kids.

Amid a plethora of self-help books, Kaiser says her “How To Be a Grown-up: The Ten Secret Skills Everyone Needs to Know,” published by HarperOne this week, stands out because it gives readers positive action for changing their life.

She spoke to Reuters recently:

Q: Your book is about being a ‘fully-loaded grown-up’. That suggests that adults behave more like children these days.

A: “What has happened to most adults is that they have lost the ability to control their own lives and make good choices. We were sold the bill of goods that we could have everything and anything. We all wanted to try and believe that and a lot of us ended up suffering.”

Q: Do adults still have a lot of growing up to do?

A: “As adults we have a lot we still need to learn. We aren’t really raised equipped to manage a full life with a job and finances and family and friends. No-one hands us a training manual, so that is what this book really is. It’s the manual our parents never gave us.”

Q: So is it a myth that you can have it all?

A: “I think you can have it all but not at the same time and many of us have been pursuing everything at the same time. I had my kids young and then I pursued my career. I got lucky. You have to prioritize, and then when you are elderly you can look back and say you had it all, just at different times.”

Q: There is a huge market in self-help books. What gaps does your book fill?

A: “It’s about making better choices and taking action to change your life. The big complaint I always hear is that people read self help books over and over again, they feel motivated, but they put the book down and never do it. This book tells you how to do it. As adults we feel we should know everything and we just don’t.”

Q: How have people’s problems changed over the years? What kind of issues are you hearing more of now, compared to 10 years ago?

A: “Financial issues. If you feel financially burned or afraid, it trickles into every area of your life. Also the divorce rate is higher than ever, so people are struggling more in relationships. A lot of it has to do with finding out who are you, what you want, and how do you go and get it.”

Q: In March, you were appointed chief program officer of ToughLOVE. What is the basis of that program?

A; “It empowers parents. Most families that I see, the kids want to run the show. This program puts parents in charge and gives them concrete instructions on how to do that. So there are a lot of similarities with my work. My book is about empowering the person. ToughLOVE is about empowering parents and it offers them support.”

Q: How do you balance own needs with the problems that your clients bring you, and stop taking them home?

A: “Unless I have a client who is having an emergency, family time is family time...There are days that I hear really horrible things about kids getting molested or people being abused and then I have to take care of myself by exercising or taking a bath or distracting myself with a good book. There are days when I cannot shake it off but fortunately it doesn’t happen all the time.”

Editing by Miral Fahmy

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