You Can Start a Revolution in Your Family . . . Tonight
ScreamFree Parenting is not just about lowering your voice. It’s about learning to calm your emotional reactions and learning to focus on your own behavior more than your kids’ behavior . . . for their benefit. Our biggest enemy as parents is not the TV, the Internet, or even drugs. Our biggest enemy is our own emotional reactivity. When we say we “lost it” with our kids, the “it” in that sentence is our own adulthood. And then we wonder why our kids have so little respect for us, why our kids seem to have all the power in the family.
It’s time to do it differently. And you can. You can start to create and enjoy the types of calm, mutually respectful, and loving relationships with your kids that you’ve always craved. You can begin to revolutionize your family, starting tonight.
Parenting is not about kids, it’s about parents. If you’re not in control, then you cannot be in charge. What every kid really needs are parents who are able to keep their cool no matter what.
Easier said than done? Not anymore, thanks to ScreamFree Parenting, the principle-based approach that’s inspiring parents everywhere to truly revolutionize their family dynamics. Moving beyond the child-centered, technique-based approaches that ultimately fail, the ScreamFree way compels you to:
focus on yourself calm yourself down, and grow yourself up
By staying calm and connected with your kids, you begin to operate less out of your deepest fears and more out of your highest principles, revolutionizing your relationships in the process. ScreamFree Parenting is not just another parenting book. It’s the first parenting book that maintains—from beginning to end—that parenting is NOT about kids . . . it’s about parents. As parents pay more attention to controlling their own behavior instead of their kids’ behavior, the result is stronger, more rewarding, and more fulfilling family relationships.
For those of you reading who are parents, know parents, or have had parents, the notion that the greatest thing you can do for your children is to learn to focus on yourself may sound strange, even heretical. It’s not. Here’s why: we are the only ones we can control. We cannot control our kids—we cannot control the behavior of any other human being. And yet, so many “experts” keep giving us more tools (“techniques”) to help us try to do just that. And, of course, the more we try to control, the more out of control our children become.
“Don’t make me come up there.” “Don’t make me pull this car over.” “How many times do I have to tell you?” Even our language suggests that our kids have control over us. It’s no wonder that we end up screaming. Or shutting down. Or simply giving up. And the charts, refrigerator magnets, family meetings, and other techniques in most typical parenting books just don’t work. They end up making us feel more frustrated and more powerless in this whole parenting thing.
This practical, effective guide for parents of all ages with kids of all ages introduces proven principles for overcoming the anxieties and stresses of parenting and setting new patterns of connection and cooperation. Well-written in an engaging, conversational tone, the book is sensible, straightforward, and based on the experiences of hundreds of actual families. It will help all parents become calming authorities in their homes, bring peace to their families today, and give kids what they need to grow into caring, self-directed adults tomorrow.
“Whew! What a relief—a fresh approach to parenting that eliminates the battles, the bickering, the frustrations and guilt while allowing children the space to learn and grow. It’s inventive and doable…parents stay calm, connected, and in control—a miracle. In Screamfree Parenting Hal Runkel gives you the tools to take care of yourself so you can take better care of your growing children. Every parent needs this book—it changes how you think about parenting…and how you parent. You’ll wonder why you ever raised your voice or broke a promise.” --Susan Newman, Ph.D., author of Little Things Long Remembered: Making Your Children Feel Special Every Day.
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
HAL EDWARD RUNKEL is a licensed marriage and family therapist, relationship coach, and international speaker. He is founder and president of ScreamFree Living, Inc.—dedicated to calming the world one relationship at a time. Hal’s principles have already helped thousands of families revolutionize their relationships. He lives with his wife, Jenny, and their two children just outside Atlanta, Georgia.
"ScreamFree Parenting," by Hal Runkel, is an excellent parenting guide that will help moms and dads everywhere to keep (or regain) their sanity. Runkel is a licensed family and marriage therapist and one of the founders of ScreamFree Living, Inc. His thesis is that parents cannot keep tabs on their kids 24/7, nor can they force their children to consistently behave in a certain way. Therefore, mothers and fathers would be better off learning to focus on how they react to their children's words and actions.
Parents, Runkel contends, should take stock of themselves. Are they in control of their behavior when they interact with their children? Or are they at the mercy of their "emotional reactivity"--their unthinking, knee-jerk reactions? If the latter is true, it is likely that parent-child interactions will be tense, angry, and unproductive.
All of us who have struggled with parental responsibilities instinctively realize that a calm and reasoned approach is far more effective than a hysterical and dictatorial one. However, because of fatigue, ignorance, or inertia, many of us impulsively lash out, saying things that we don't really mean when our kids push our buttons. What to do?
Runkel does not advocate permissiveness. Rather, he recommends what he calls "judo parenting." Judo is "the art of going with another's momentum." A ScreamFree parent facilitates rather than dictates; he encourages his children to use their own resources to solve problems. By helping kids to get in the habit of making their own decisions and living with the consequences, parents will be more likely to launch "self-directed" adults.
The writing is clear, concise, humorous, and to-the-point. "ScreamFree Parenting" is conveniently divided into easy-to-read sections and the chapters all conclude with thought-provoking "reflection questions." In addition, there are many practical examples that demonstrate how the principles discussed in the book work in the real world. Runkel's amusing quotations from a wide variety of sources add liveliness to his message. In additon, there are lengthier anecdotes that are taken from the author's experiences as a family therapist. Most parents will pick up many useful tips from "ScreamFree Parenting." It is an entertaining, intelligent, and practical approach to raising our kids without losing our minds.Read more ›
I've been trying to cut down on yelling and work through problems by staying calm, which is the approach Runkel, a licensed family and marriage therapist, advocates. The book is an easy read and doesn't overwhelm the parent with too many steps as self-help books often do.
The clear, direct, and humorous writing style allows parents with hectic lives to quickly read the book, absorb its concepts, and put them to use. Each chapter ends with reflection questions to reinforce the themes from the chapter. The book continues its effectiveness whether or not the reader answers the questions. However, thinking about the questions might shed light on you, your kids, and your relationships.
The concept of parents not letting their emotions guide their response to a child's troubles is not new, but Runkel shares stories, experiences, and explanations on how to do it. Sure, junior spilling juice all over the carpet can make any parent mad, but dealing with the situation while maintaining control has better results than a scream fest, spanking, or arguing.
Though the book focuses on parenting, its concepts largely address ourselves as individuals. For we have to take care of us first before others. Instead of permissive or dictatorship parenting, Runkel encourages judo parenting, which is "the art of going with another's momentum." He shows how to do this by providing the answers to the questions all parents get like "I'm bored," "Are we there yet?" and "I hate you!"
Two nitpicks. First, there are a few religious references. I wish this had been omitted because religion is a hot issue and the book's concepts fly well without the religious quotes or references. Using these unnecessarily limits the book's reach as people who skim the book might get the impression it's only for Christian parents. It's not.
The second is not an issue, but rather a want for more examples of using the ScreamFree approach. The stories in the book explain the concept very well and having more would enhance the book's usefulness.
When I told my oldest about the book, she said parents who yell are teaching their kids to yell when they become adults. Deep and accurate insight, as we've seen many children grow up to pick up their parents' bad habits. Overwhelmed parents can begin with one step by picking one situation that pushes their buttons and applying the ScreamFree approach until they get the hang of it. Runkel doesn't pressure the reader and the concepts are doable.Read more ›
I wish this book was out five years ago when my daughter was born. This book has been such a Godsend to me - a real eye opener. Of the hundreds of books I have read on parenting - this is the only one that actually deals with being a parent and not about molding/training your child. I also bought his class on cd and it has changed the relationship I have with my children. I can't recommend it enough.
Hal E. Runkel's ScreamFree Parenting is a great book. If, like me, you share a certain aversion to self-help books then this book will pleasantly surprise you with its good sense and clear non-jargoned prose. And if, like me, you are somewhat cynical about your ability to change long established patterns of behaviour, Hal has the unnerving ability to surprise you into believing that you can.
The author's understanding of the real ways human beings interact in families is revealed both in his persuasive arguments and in the excellent anecdotes that pepper the book. The book is about parenting, but Hal has much more to say about human relationships in general. He even has some fascinating comments on the modern disease of obesity in Western society.
Hal basically asks the reader to "grow up." But he does this so persuasively, and with such good humour, that this reader actually wanted to grow up, and more importantly, thinks that this may be a possibility.
If you have young children, don't bother with this book. Like others have said the whole book can be summed up in the title...don't scream. Translated: keep your cool, your kids don't have a remote control to your emotions and by staying calm you show that you're in charge. I found Hal Runkel's style meandering, pointless, stretching to find many ways to say the same thing. He gives extreme examples (the power of language...yes kids repeat things, but sometimes I LOVE hearing my messages repeated that I was thinking weren't getting through...but the stupid example about the girl who told the wheelchair-bound person that he didn't eat his vegetables? Maybe there was another teachable moment there.) He lacks actionable advice, i.e., tell me how to keep my cool...maybe deep breaths, counting? (To name a couple of ho-hum things I can think of).
I suppose he believes that calming your anxiety about their choices is one way to keep "screamfree." Give your child space... "calm your anxiety about their messy room...whenever you feel anxious about their mess, go clean your own room." Perhaps he thinks that I should let my far-sighted daughter suffer the consequence of not being able to find her eyeglasses anywhere, or not remembering where she left them. Now, I didn't scream or shout over that incident, but it's still a little ludicrous that he suggest that at a young age (6), I'm leaving her to her own devices.
There's something....missing. Runkel doesn't address differences in personality or ages. I certainly think not all parenting is cookie-cutter and that it changes as years progress and as situations and inputs change. And while I think the message is fine: don't scream, there's a lot more to consider when you're parenting. Give them space is fine I suppose, but only after you've laid all the groundwork and you can reasonably feel that they have the tools to make their own decision, only THEN you can say "I'm here if you need my help" (as he suggests as part of being "screamfree") and only THEN let go of some anxiety because you know you did your job.Read more ›
Hal Runkel is a world-renowned expert on helping families face conflict and create great relationships. A licensed therapist, relationship coach, international speaker, and organizational consultant, Hal is the bestselling author of ScreamFree Parenting, and the newly released ScreamFree Marriage.
Hal is Founder and President of The ScreamFree Institute, an international training organization dedicated to calming the world, one relationship at a time. Here he has applied the most advanced approaches to family relationship theory in his practice, and developed the revolutionary ScreamFree Living methodology. Hal now presents the ScreamFree relationship programs to audiences around the world through live training events, teleconferences, webinars, and publications. In addition, he actively trains and supervises hundreds of other family professionals working to further the ScreamFree movement.
Hal and his message have been featured on over a thousand media outlets, including NBC's Today Show, Redbook, Good Housekeeping, and The 700 Club, and with his wife, Jenny, hosted "ScreamFree Radio" on Atlanta's 750 WSB-radio.
He and Jenny have been married for 17 years, and they are raising their two teenagers in the Atlanta area.
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I agree, this is an amazing book. It is so true. Everytime I see myself or other parents get upset, I think, they need to calm down. They need to put down the gauntlet. I have read the whole book and listened to it.
Authors use this disclaimer to protect themselves from being sued by real people who may recognize themselves in the book and who do not wish to be in it - not to say everything in the book is fiction or didn't happen! They change the names but the the stories are factual so no permission is... Read More