5 Minutes for Books — ScreamFree Parenting

This is review one of two. For the other one, click here.

ScreamFree Parenting by Hal Edward Runkel is a unique parenting book (or revolutionary, as he describes it in his subtitle). Lest you think that you don’t need this book, because yelling at your kids isn’t something that challenges you, the concept of “screaming” is a pretty broad one–including actual screaming, disconnecting, and overcompensating. So, even if you interact with your children in a calm way, you might still need a little mentoring in being ScreamFree, which Runkel defines as

taking hold of your own emotional responses no matter how anyone else chooses to behave; learning to focus on yourself and take care of yourself for the world’s benefit.

He begins the book by telling the reader to take what you wish from the book: “You do not have to accept all that I say in order to enjoy the types of relationships you crave or become the type of parent you desire to be.” Yes, he believes in the principles that he’s teaching, but what a refreshing change from many of the parenting books that insist that you follow each dictum to the letter in order to have a successful family.

For some of us (I say, raising my hand guiltily) the lack of emotional control is where we most need help in relating to our families. For others, perhaps it’s being forced to admit that if Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. He encourages parents that we must take care of ourscreamfree-parenting.jpgselves in order to parent our children with the proper perspective and level of commitment that it takes to do so well. As he so rightly observes, “Parenting is not about children, it’s about parents.” He fills us in on the definition of a true show of love, being not I love you for your benefit, or I love you for my benefit (as many parents do), but I love me for your benefit.

I found the chapter on labeling to be quite helpful (humorously titled, “You are not a prophet (and neither is Grandma).” Not only does Runkel advise parents not to label their children (You are a Math wiz! or You are always so creative), but he tells you how to better express yourself–use “sometimes” or “can be” instead of always in order to allow room for a child to change instead of assigning them a certain personality within the family.

The second chapter that I should probably read daily until I can apply the concept is “Empty threats are really broken promises.” As a parent my words and actions (or lack of actions) are so critical to my children’s success. I know that parenting takes work, and this book perfectly straddles the line of encouragement, practical advise, and sometimes a much-needed kick in the pants!

For more information visit screamfree.com where you can take the ScreamFree Living quiz, and watch video clips and read the first chapter of the book. Leave a comment right here for a chance to win one of five copies of this book.

This giveaway is linked to Bloggy Giveaway’s Fall Y’all Giveaway. Click over there for many more giveaways, and come back here every Monday for a new book review and giveaway and the winners of this giveaway


  1. kathy z says

    I have 17 mth old triplets…and yes…patience is a virtue…but some days…let me put it this way…this book comes in handy!!!

  2. Ashley says

    Before being a parent, I was definitely a control freak. I am getting much better, but still have a hard time when things don’t go as planned (and my son is almost 2)! I am getting better, but this book would be so much help!

  3. says

    I CAN’T BELIEVE SOMEONE WROTE A BOOK ABOUT SCREAMING AT KIDS!!!!!!!! (my computer scream! haha) Seriously, not a daily issue for me but I’ve been known to let it fly now and then so I’m on my way to take the quiz. Scared, but gonna do it! =)
    Thanks for sharing this!

  4. Nunny11 says

    This sounds really interesting…I would like to learn more about his parenting philosophies and compare them to other books on parenting I’ve read! Thanks!

  5. Amy A. says

    Thanks for the chance to win this book. Who hasn’t found themselves screaming and thought, “I can’t believe I’m doing this!”

  6. says

    I would love to read this book. I’ve been a subscriber to the ScreamFree newsletter and bought ScreamFree bracelets.

    I’ve been trying to contact them to get a representative on the show but they won’t get back in touch. :(

    Anyway I would love a copy. I like the philosophy.

  7. says

    Oh, man. Yesterday, I found myself screaming, “I’m in the BATH-ROOOOOOOOOOOm!” in an oh-so-not-very-nice-tone. My two-year-old came in afterwards and said, “Sorry for yelling, Mom.” Oops!

  8. Jess says

    Wow, 98 comments already! Obviously there’s a need in the world for books like this, and I’m excited about this one that seems both practical and encouraging. Please sign me up!

  9. Angela Willis says

    They really need “scream free baby – a babies guide to not driving your mommie insaine!” :) We’d really love to read this book my son goes from wonderful to purple faced screaming and sometimes I feel like running outside to scream but I don’t.

  10. Renae Horner says

    My son is 15 months and not quite to the tantrum stage, so this would be great to have…before the tantrums start! Count me in!

  11. says

    Wow – I have this book title written on a notecard on my desk from last week! I read an article that Hal wrote about him losing his temper with his children and have been wanting to get this book. I’d love to win it but if not, it’s on my list for the next trip to the Christian book store :) The article I read last week was excellent! And he has great tips for keeping your calm as a parent (even when it seems impossible to do so).

  12. says

    I’m about ready to lose it right now as my 10-month-old who woke at midnight, 2, 3, and 5:30 (for good) last night, and who is currently STANDING ON MY RIGHT ARM as I type…is driving this very sleepy mama nuts.

    Any parenting/coping techniques would be very welcome!

  13. says

    I, too, could use this. SO BAD.

    My children would thank you.

    Not that I, of course, ever raise my voice or let my emotions get the best of me. *shifty eyes* Where would you ever get that idea? *shiftier eyes*

  14. Suzanne says

    Guilty! I need this book SO bad! I seem to ALWAYS be hollering at my kids (granted, sometimes I think it’s the only way they’ll hear me!)

  15. says

    OMG, I so need to read this book! My husband is gone so much (ARMY) and will be leaving soon on a 15 month deployment and I am already agonizing over what and how I am going to keep it together since we have a newborn now and not just the two year old and I have found myself this last month just losing it and telling myself I have got to figure something out before my husband leaves permanently for the deployment. So lucky numbers pick me!

  16. says

    I could definitely use this book. I admit my voice gets a little loud sometimes when dealing with my kids. But then again, you’d think they would hear me better than they do.

  17. says

    Scary how many of us say “I could really use this”. Funny tho, I was going to look for this one at the library. Please count me in on your drawing. Thank you!

  18. Jill W. says

    I saw this the other day on the today show & wanted it then. Haven’t felt the need to scream yet, as my daughter is just 7 months old, but I know it’s coming! Thanks!


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