I really like the idea of being “ScreamFree”, but I
don’t want to become one of those parents whose kids walk all over
them. Why do you say the greatest thing a parent can do for their child
is to focus on themselves, rather than the child? What about when the
child is totally out of control? Are we supposed to just sit back and
let them go crazy?
Great questions. As long as I am focused on my children,
orbiting my whole life around them, then I am putting all of my
emotional responses into their hands. I essentially give them my remote
control and I become dependent upon them, the least mature persons in
the family, to actually lead me. This is simply backwards thinking.
Children are not given to us to become our whole world. Their purpose
is to become self-directed, contributing adults. Our calling is to
create an environment that helps them do that.
This means focusing more
on what we’re doing and less on them. How am I going to behave, regardless of their behavior? I have to focus on me because I am the only one I can ultimately control.
Now, when your kids start to unravel, lose control of
themselves, essentially going crazy, that’s when your calm becomes even
more important. At these times, parents should make sure they
themselves are in the most control possible. Too often, we focus so
much on the child that we lose control of ourselves, which only makes
things even worse. This can occur with the toddler’s tantrum in the
restaurant or the teen’s struggles with promiscuity. Our harsh or
fearful reactions will only make things worse.
I am in no way advocating the kind of lazy parenting that many of us see too often. On the contrary, ScreamFree Parenting
allows us to have more influence on our children than we ever thought
possible. Once we’ve brought ourselves under control, it becomes much
easier to respond to our child with wisdom and principled decisions,
instead of anger and regrettable words. We can set and enforce
consequences. We can better understand what’s emotionally behind our
child’s behavior. Most importantly, we can become the leaders that our
children are truly craving.