Some time ago, I read a friends blog who requested suggestions for good parenting books. Three books were mentioned multiple times: Parenting with Love and Logic, The Power of Positive Parenting, and ScreamFree Parenting.
I have read a lot of parenting and child development books partly because I enjoy them and they apply in our life, and because I majored in Marriage, Family and Human Development, and this was the kind of material we read (along with lots of books on marriage). I had already read the first two of the books I've just listed and decided to check out the third from our library. As a side note, once I had the book in my hands at the library, I was suddenly very self conscious of the title. I didn't want anyone to make any quick ill judgments on my character, so I held the book under my arm, against my body as I checked it out. :)
After reading this book, I have to say I agree with those who recommended it. It was very good. And the title is a little misleading because it's not necessarily for 'screamers', rather the author says we all have our own type of 'screaming' we do when we're feeling a lot of anxiety.
ScreamFree was different from many parenting books in that it doesn't tell you specific things to do in different areas of parenting. For example, there's no chapter about how to potty train your child, how to teach them to take care of money or do chores etc. Instead, the author focuses on principles of parenting. The phrase that was repeated most often was, "calm yourself down and grow yourself up." I typed up a lot of notes from this book that I want to post in here. But because I took so many, I'll break them up and do it over a few posts. Here are a couple quotes for today.
“...no one, not even your kids, can make you feel anything, think anything, or do anything. Period. Your children cannot push you over the edge, press your magic buttons, or bring you to the brink. They are simply not that powerful. Your emotional responses are up to you. You always have a choice....When we scream at our kids, when we get emotionally reactive, we communicate one single message: CALM ME DOWN! No matter what words are actually coming out of our mouths, no matter how long our tirade is, no matter how old our children are, when we scream, the message is always the same: CALM ME DOWN! Whenever we react to our children's behavior by screaming, we are actually begging them to help us calm our anxiety.” pg. 27 and 31
“No pain, no gain....First, let us reaffirm what you already know about being a parent: It's probably the most challenging thing you've ever done. Let us also reaffirm, however, what you hope about being a parent: It can be among the most rewarding experiences you've ever imagined...Parenting is painful at times, and you already know it's really difficult. But what you might not know is that parenting is supposed to be that way. Why? Parenting is a growth process, that's why. And nothing has ever grown without feeling some sort of growing pains."pg. 39
“...the entire goal of parenting is to launch our children into the world as self-directed adults. We want them to be capable of asserting their desires, making their own choices,and taking responsibility for their actions. We want them to be able to stand up for themselves and choose for themselves what they will and will not do. We just don't like it when they practice demonstrating that will on us....our goal is not to stifle our children's expressions of will, desire and emotion. Our goal is to help steer those expressions along the most productive paths. ” pg. 105
And, here's a cute quote I thought I should implement in my home:
“My mother's menu consisted of two choices: take it or leave it.” Buddy Hackett, comedian