Thursday, July 8, 2010

ScreamFree Parenting

So I've seen this title around, and kind of dismissed it. But I read a comment on another blog, that made me curious. I liked it.

I would say that it is more philosophy than practical "how-to's", although the author does include examples and stories.

Initially I was a little put off by his writing style. He comes off a little pompous, and seemed like he was trying to hard to convince you that his "ScreamFree" patented principle was unique and contrary to all that you've ever heard before. But its not. That being said, his ideas are still good. They are common sense. I think you can summarize his whole philosophy to the idea of keeping yourself calm and incontrol at all times. And I think we all want to do that, and know that that is how we should parent.

The author uses several catch phrases that he repeats. One that I thought was good was “In order to be in charge you have to bring yourself under control.” And that is the best part of this book. It doesn’t give you any illusions about your own powers, but instead focuses on what you can realistically do to have great results in your family.

Another thing I really liked is "if you are experiencing a pattern of behavior with your children, you are some how contributing." And ALL patterns can be changed. If one person changes what they are doing, the pattern has to change. This makes sense to me, and doesn’t require blaming the whole problem on the child or the parent.

Another piece of wisdom is that “no one is always ever anything.” Don’t you hate when someone labels you or assumes you are going to react a certain way, when you know you won’t? He explains, just because a child acts a certain way in a situation 10 times doesn’t mean he will do the same the 11th time. Labels limit our children’s freedom to evolve and develop. I loved that, for me and my kids. I love the belief that we can always change and improve ourselves and our behavior.

A few more nuggets of wisdom:

Insanity is “Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.”

“Asking any child, from toddler to teenager, to account for his motivation at the time of his mistake is a fruitless exercise. He simply doesn’t know most of the time. And your need to know is much more about you than it is about him.”

He paraphrases four levels of love as defined by a French monk: 1)I love me for my benefit. 2) I love you for my benefit. 3)I love you for your benefit. 4) I love me for your benefit. More than parenting, this really got me thinking about friendship and service, and what my motivations are.

The same chapter was titled, “Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask First.” I liked it. “The less we take intentional retreats for ourselves, the more we will find ourselves unintentionally finding ways to escape.”

Sometimes the examples that Runkel uses don’t seem to correlate well with the point he is trying to make. Other times he takes too long to explain or get to the point. Overall, I liked reading this book. It did make me think about several different aspects of parenting, and relationships in general. I recommend it because even if you don’t buy into his ideas, I think it will inspire you to evaluate yourself and your thoughts on parenting!