Scream Free Parenting Works. For Some People. Apparently.

I came across it quite by accident, I assure you.  Really, I’m not one of those self-help book, “how can I better myself?” kind of people.  If I can’t get better through trial and error, then I’m prone to continue in the same, dysfunctional life patterns that have carried me through this far.  It isn’t an honorable way to go through life but the apathy comforts me.  In my perception, there is something insincere in most self-help books.  First, it isn’t really self-help if someone else is telling you how to do it.  Second, if the author of the book or developer of the program were really interested in helping people better themselves, they would just put the information out there instead of making us spend $30 for the hardcover, or wait a year to spend $15 for the paperback.
So, there I stood in my local library looking at the books on CD section.  Again, way outside of my normal pattern because I don’t listen to audio books.  Primarily because the only place I could listen to one is in the car, and secondly my ADD-ridden mind tends to drift and I lose huge sections of what was being said forcing me to repeatedly rewind.  And, if I’m driving a car, and already not paying attention, do I really need one more thing to distract me from the narrow strip of pavement that I’m maneuvering several thousand pounds metal and combustible fuel across?
With a business trip to the pacific northwest coming up, and a bit of a road trip once I got there to look forward to, I decided to try an audio book (I wouldn’t have the kids with me, which removes one of my distractions, so by adding the CD, I’m still at par on the old distraction tally sheet).  As I stepped in front of the metal shelves that hold the audio books my eyes rested on one in particular.  Do you know that angelic music that accompanies an “a-ha” moment of divine intervention in most movies?  I swear it was like that.  Faced with a wall of small square CD cases, my eyes settled on one in particular.  Scream Free Parenting.  Now, this audio book stood out for a number of reasons.  While I don’t scream at my kids, I have been known to get a certain kind of pissed off that leads me to yell.  It is a kind of yelling that I know all too well.  And I hate to yell.  Swore I’d never use this yell when I had kids.  So, as I stood there that morning, with my throat still a little raw from my latest tirade I wondered if I were being guided by a higher power.  I wasn’t really looking for a self-help/parenting book.  Fiction was what I was really after, but you can’t really argue with the planets when they line up just right, can you?  So, I checked out Scream Free Parenting (as well as a fiction audio book, because a business trip is really like a mini-vacation for work-at-home moms, and who wants to focus on self-help when you only have 30 hours to yourself?).
So, I’ve not only listened to the (entire!) CD, I’ve actually been implementing some of the strategies with my kids.  Don’t get me wrong–it isn’t easy.  In one week I’ve gnawed a hole through my inner cheek and bitten chunks out of more plastic items than the puppy has (sure is handy to have a puppy to blame that on!).  To anyone who doesn’t know better, it must seem like I’ve been stricken with some strange affliction that causes me to breathe deeply with closed eyes before every sentence.  I’ve also solved the problem of having spare liquor hanging around the house (notice I didn’t say that I’ve quite drinking, only that there’s no spare liquor around!).
I’ve only yelled once in a very stress-filled week, and it was for a very short-lived period, seconds really.  And I patted myself on the back for my reserve.  Then I surveyed the battle scene.  The Oldest and the Middle dutifully picking up every goddamn toy that I’d just tripped over (after having been threatened several times that if they weren’t picked up they’d be in the trash), looking back over their shoulders at me as they did so, eyes wide and glistening with tears as their lower lips quivering in defeat.
And I was 4 1/2 feet tall, and I could feel the wall against my back and how the sound of the yelling reverberated in my ears and rattled every bone in my body.  And how small I felt.  How very, very small and insignificant.  And I realized what an asshole I was to be standing there, patting myself on the back because I’d only yelled once this week.  This week.
So, now I’m off to the damn library to find that damn audio book again so that I can listen one more damn time and commit it a bit more to my damn memory.  And, while I know how important it is, how critically consequential, I have to admit that it pisses me off to have been showed my ass by self-help (audio!) book.

One Reply to “Scream Free Parenting Works. For Some People. Apparently.”

  1. Hi I just found your post and thank you so much for this one. I started off thinking: no it’s my sister who screams not me but then I thought wow, I do raise my voice. It never occurred to me to see it from my daughter’s perspective. Thanks.

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