Book Review: ScreamFree Parenting

When my youngest son was a toddler, he flushed his toothbrush down the toilet, stopping it up for days and requiring two plumber visits.  Frustrating!  My son didn’t seem to think there was a problem, except now he had to get a new tooth brush.  When I tell this story, most people laugh and tell a similar story of their own, depending on how long ago it was.  Other parents, who have had a similar though more recent experience, cringe in commiseration.  Indeed, raising young children can be hilarious and frustrating all in the same event.  Keeping your cool during these moments is critical to being an effective parent.


This sentiment is wonderfully captured and illustrated in the 2008 book by Hal Runkel, ScreamFree Parenting.  The premise of the book is that parents must maintain a position of non-reactivity in order to raise healthy kids.  The focus of the book therefore is not on the behavior of the kids, but rather on the behavior, and reactivity, of the parents.  As regularly witnessed in my work with families, kids who are explosively reactive to their parents’ instructions almost always have explosively reactive parents.  Reactivity, as a quality of relationships, is learned in relationship.  It is generally not a personality trait or defect.  It is a learned response, and thus parents must maintain an overall presence of non-reactivity in order to best rear kids.  ScreamFree Parenting illustrates this premise again and again.


If you struggle with reactivity – at home, at work, as a parent, as a spouse, look to this book for loads of wisdom.  I had to after paying those plumbing bills…


More Posts

Couples Therapy…. EFT Style

What is EFT- Emotional Focus Therapy? Emotional Focus therapy is a well-known humanistic and experiential approach created by Dr. Sue Johnson in the 1980s. EFT