The latest addition to our MomTastic bookshelf is by an author I recently heard speak at PEP’s annual Author Series – the latest in a line of winning presentations each year by – a guaranteed parenting education with lots of entertainment and laughs along the way.
The talk was based on the book, ScreamFree Parenting: The Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool, by Hal Runkel, LMFT and Dad Since 1997 (DS’97).
Runkel warmed the crowd with a “statistic”: “Some 98% of parents have screamed; 2% lie.” He used the analogy of our handing kids a remote control and telling them, “Don’t push the button.” But push they do…and he trains parents on how to be less reactive, less “triggered,” more calm, and therefore, more effective. I could never fit all of his nuggets of wisdom in one post, but here are some highlights I adored:
–> Try not to orbit your life around your kids and let everything revolve around them, and then be surprised when they’re self-centered.
–> Give your kids some room to make their own mistakes and learn from them. If we control everything for them, how can they learn to take responsibility and accountability? He dispels the myth that our main job is to protect kids – our main job is to prepare them. Let them learn from a frivolous purchase now rather than a costly one later.
–> You gain unbelievable power when you stay calm. We respect people who stay calm. He demonstrated how ridiculous the “out of control” parent looks.
–> Natural consequences are powerful. This concept is all over parenting literature, but I loved his examples. One, your daughter leaves her bike on the driveway every night. Tell her (calmly), “Honey, I’ve asked you for several nights to bring that bike inside the garage. Tomorrow, when I leave for work, I’ll either drive over it, or I’ll drop it at Good Will on my way to work…I’m sure someone will take better care of it.” The second example, your kid’s room is a disaster zone. At tuck-in time, say (calmly), “Sweetheart, I’m nervous I’ll trip over your stuff, so tonight, I’ll tuck you in from the hallway until it’s safe to walk in there.”
Finally, one of his BIG concepts he talked about several times in several ways was something to consider if your child is really upset – the open-ended, “Tell me more.” It’s an invitation for your child to start talking without you loading the conversation with your own perspective from “go.”
Loved listening to him talk, loved his approach and his prescription for “calm.” It’s unrealistic to think we’ll never scream, but this is a great way to minimize the volume.
And stay tuned for Part 2 – Staying Calm Through Life’s Challenges…coming soon.