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Screamfree Parenting: The Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool Hardcover – September 4, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“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.

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.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; 1 edition (September 4, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767927427
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767927420
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (286 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #559,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

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.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

240 of 251 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
"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.
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173 of 181 people found the following review helpful By Meryl K. Evans on October 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
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.
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75 of 85 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl on February 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
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.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Mr. G. Miller on April 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
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.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Human in Training on September 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.
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