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“The book gives many principles for overcoming anxiety and to start a new path of connection with your kids. It includes thought-provoking questions at the end of each chapter.” —Parents
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.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.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.
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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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When our youngest child went off to college, the school's president told us that many parents cannot let go. They call before, during and after every class. They help out with homework over the Internet. They want to hear about every stumble and bruise. The parents act like they are students in terms of how often they contact advisors and administrators on their children's behalf.
You can imagine what these kids are going to be like when their parents are ill or die. They'll feel like the world has ended. Is that any way to be a parent? I don't think so.
I like having children who become responsible, effective adults. I have four of them, and I'm happy with how it all turned out.
At the opposite end, you see parents going nuts because their two-year-old drops a spoon on the floor in a restaurant . . . again . . . and again . . . and again. We've all been there. We've all wanted to go nuts. But it's not good for anyone if you do.
ScreamFree Parenting gives you solid, realistic advice for how to handle those years from 2-18 so that your children end up the way you would like them to be . . . as themselves in a responsible life. . . and not as robots ordered around by you.
Hal Runkel does a good job of explaining how setting limits, letting children make mistakes and learn, and being calm make for a wonderful difference. I was reminded of the importance of calm last week when our local high school put on a one act play written by the students that described a 9 year-old girl being driven crazy by her parents' fights. Calm is good for children. They will eventually learn calmness from you . . . if you are a good role model.
So start to help your kids . . . by working on you!
I wish I had read this book when I was a new father. It would have saved lots of anxiety for everyone.
Nice going, Mr. Runkel
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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.