173 of 181 people found the following review helpful
Save your voice box
, October 10, 2005
This review is from: ScreamFree Parenting: Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool (Screamfree Living) (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. 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.
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