Customer Review

173 of 181 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 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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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 22, 2006 8:23:58 AM PDT
C. Williams says:
Quote: "Using [religious references] unnecessarily limits the book's reach "

I don't agree that the religious references are used "unnecessarily". In my opinion, these references may be helpful to some parents, and I fail to understand how their inclusion could possibly detract from the overall message of the book.

The author addresses this issue specifically in the section titled "How to Read This Book". Mr. Runkle speaks briefly to his own spiritual background and clearly states that while the principles presented in his book are in keeping with Judeo-Christian principles, "this is not meant to be an explicitly Judeo-Christian book."

On the contrary, I believe that if you are able to view the religious references as unnecessary, it must mean that Mr. Runkle did an excellent job of conveying his concepts in a way that people of all beliefs (or non-belief) can benefit from his book.

Posted on Aug 8, 2008 11:29:19 PM PDT
shannon lear says:
After reading your comments on the religious references, i knew someone...just like C.k., would argue that "It might even help someone". But I was very unhappy to learn religion was even mentioned. And I'll just go ahead and say the dastardly words; I am an atheist. I believe science along with history has already proven the cause for religion, and dis-proven many of the Bible's so-called facts. So people who feel the need of a higher power to guild them though life can now just live within society's man made laws; and for good measure, and like myself, live by the Golden Rule.
So, with that said, it bothers me to be subjected to religion within a parenting book that doesn't mention religion within the main description.
But thank you for commenting about it in your review. I know now that it's not going to be a bunch of Bible lessons!
And I'll still try it.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2009 7:29:39 PM PDT
S. Jensen says:
It's sad that people are voting down your post simply because your opinion is different from theirs. It is relivant and respsectful and has every bit the right to be included as the atheist's comments.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 22, 2009 9:15:03 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 22, 2009 9:37:20 AM PDT
I think we have a right to write what we want and should not have to label every religious reference - the exact way secular or atheist writers do not label their writings. Just because someone is an atheist does not mean that Christians should have to hide their faith, as one does not have to hide their lack of faith.

C.K. Williams has stated very clearly that the author explains his point of view and in clear terms.

Meryl Evan's erred by saying religion is a 'hot issue'. It is not a 'issue' it is a full part of the author's being and he has every right and even an obligation to himself to bring all he has to his books - his education, his experiences and his beliefs. They, together, form his expertise.

Unfortunately for Shannon Lear, she/he lives in a Christian Nation and feels the majority should bend to the minority. The majority is more than respectful, beyond the point of reason in many cases.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 2, 2010 8:42:54 PM PST
I agree with you completely!! One speaks from experience--and the author's experience comes from a Christian background. He doesn't ask you to go out and read the Bible to your children! Although, that wouldn't be a bad idea!!! To all who have commented, may God bless you. This is from someone who did not see the light early and led a deceitful life. I now have seen the light and am so blessed. As they say, try it--you'll like it!

Posted on Oct 31, 2010 1:35:19 AM PDT
Ann Snyder says:
Quote: "Using [religious references] unnecessarily limits the book's reach "

I think using religious references expands the books reach. The author does not limit his references to Judeo-Christian ones. Plus, many of Hal's principles are very radical to a Christian audience. The references were very helpful for me to look deeper into what he was saying instead of disregard this book. I'm very glad I stuck with it!

Posted on Dec 29, 2010 9:03:10 AM PST
I am an unashamed atheist and while I probably would have preferred not to have the religious references, they also didn't really bother me too much. The author wasn't preachy about them, and I don't think they detracted from the message of the book if you are able to see past them (as most atheist I know are smart enough to do).

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2010 10:01:33 AM PST
What I meant by "hot issue" is that it's one of those topics where people become emotional and opinionated. That's all. It's the author's right to do this -- I am an unbiased reviewer and I know that some people don't want to get religious spiel in a book that's not primarily focused on religion.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 27, 2013 10:40:28 PM PST
McPris214 says:
It takes more faith to be an atheist. I don't like to push Jesus down anyone's throat... but MAN, are you missing out! Also, the golden rule came from Jesus, IJS.

Posted on Nov 10, 2014 10:36:40 AM PST
Jfree says:
He writes churches teach us family first. This is not true most churches teach God first. I don'e believe the religious references are not necessary.
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