Scream Free Parenting

Is there anything worse than sitting in church and hearing a beautiful talk on family happiness that includes some prophetic quote about how you should never, ever have to raise your voice to your children or spouse for any reason whatsoever, only Β to realize in that moment that you just might be screaming your way to Hell?

I got another parenting book in the mail from my mother last week, Scream Free Parenting. Haven’t cracked it yet because I’m still too busy contemplating the title. Sounds like a load of horse muffins.

On Friday we needed to leave the house to meet Jason. The kids were scattered around the upstairs engaged in a number of different mess making projects (most of which included destructive materials like scissors, make up, and discarded scrap metal).

“Kids!” I called, “We need to leave in ten minutes, I want everyone to get shoes on RIGHT NOW please! Thank you my little darlings, Mommy loves you!”

Setting the timer on my phone for ten minutes, I pulled on boots and checked my German “going out” basket to make sure it was loaded with the essentials–diapers, wipes, keys, bandaids, sandwiches from yesterday, snow shoes etc. Moving to the kitchen I gathered shoes for the baby, quickly sitting down next to her and fastening them on her chubby little feet.

I looked at my timer. Three minutes and not a single stir from the nether reaches of my home.

I headed upstairs to the family room and looked in on my kids. “Harrison, Rex, Junie Bug, seven minutes before we go. Please get your shoes and coats on right now, we have to leave!” I headed down flipping off lights along the way then quickly fixed my lipstick and grabbed a coat.

Timer check. Five minutes to go and they hadn’t moved an inch. That’s okay, I told myself, there is still plenty of time for them to get shoes on and get in the car if they come down right now.

“You guys, I’m serious. We have to leave now, please grab your shoes, I’m taking Georgia to the car. Hurry!”

I headed down to the garage and strapped the baby and my basket into the backseat, throwing the keys in the egnition and checking for my purse. Taking the stairs two at a time I entered the kitchen and looked at my phone: two minutes to departure.

There wasn’t a kid in sight. I looked around at the random shoes and coats strewn about the entry way, lazily waiting for me to do something about them already. How many times had I asked my kids to put their shoes under the bench or hang up their backpacks? How many times did a woman have to kindly speak to her children before they actually listened?

And before I knew what was happening Nice Mommy was replaced with Now I’m Going To Yell My Head off Until I Get a Little Respect Around Here Mommy. And so the thunder storm began.

By the time I’d dragged my kids from their veritable projects and verbally forced them all down the stairs and into shoes I was sweating.

“Gosh Mom,” Harrison (8) said, “You don’t have to yell at us! All you have to do is ask!!”

“Yeah, Mommy!” June said, both hands on her hips. “You don’t have to be so MEAN!”

I know many professionals who say that parents in my position just drive away and leave their kids to teach them a lesson, or they make them come without shoes and coat. Unfortunately I don’t think they would have missed me, and while the “you’re coming with or without shoes” works for some people, it’s also really annoying to take your kids out in foreign country, in January, with soggy socks on their feet.

I guess maybe it’s time to crack that book and see if scream-free parenting is myth or magic.



  1. I can imagine that if my mom had left us—we wouldn’t have been all that sad so I see what you mean by that:) Good luck. I have zero advice, but plenty of sympathy:)

  2. Let me know how that book is. I just might have to pick up a copy for myself.

  3. yvonne stewart says:

    I am full of sympathy for you, I remember sitting in church on Mother’s Day one year swearing I would never return. The stories just kept coming from one man after another about their wonderful mothers, who never raised their voice in anger and raised 10 children, each one better than the next. The next year I convinced my family I really just wanted a day at home with all of them, a picnic and love all around. It was the best Mother’s Day ever.
    As your kids get older, it will work to take them with no shoes, or leave the late one home, and they will all learn to be responsible adults. My mother must have wondered at times if I would ever get my head out of the clouds, and my nose out of a book, and learn how to work. I’m happy to say, and she was thrilled to see, I really did learn how to clean that room.

  4. Mary Richards says:

    The only parenting advice I have is to put chapstick on kids while they are asleep so they don’t lick it off. That’s all I got. I may need that book, too.

  5. Most kids can’t remember what they did that morning. I don’t remember my mom yelling, though she must have. I’m amazed each night when I gingerly ask each kid what their happy and sad moments were, that they rarely remember the times I’ve gotten upset. This is when I’m grateful for the rose-colored glasses that soften memories.

  6. ok ok so. I have read this book a few times, I enjoyed it quite a bit when I only had one daughter and didn’t know too much. It still is ok. No more than ok, it is good. Quick read, good points, most of them. I’ll tell you what though, not a fan of the author’s wife. One time she emailed me asking me to help her work with I think she assumed since I was also a blogger in Utah that we would be BFFS. When I told her there really was nothing I could do BUT I would love to help her by blogging about it and suggesting other blogger’s names who I knew and were bigger than I….she told me that she ONLY was interested in in quite a condescending snivvley sort of way. I didn’t like that. Can you tell?

  7. Well, you’ve got my utter & completely sincere empathy/sympathy. That being said it really is easier in some respects once they are older & you’re past this “little” stage. The trick is You surviving with your sanity intact! And like yvonne, I also convinced my family (sooo not hard to do!) that Mother’s day was for wimps & surely the Lord won’t mind one sunday a year spent in harmony even if that means lounging around in our pj’s all day! At least it’s one day where I feel like I’m doing something right.

    Oh & here’s a freebie. When you goof & sign up to feed the elders on Super Bowl sunday & your husband declares it a tivo free zone then punt! By that I mean totally cheat & make up all the fixens for nachos & deliver it to the missionaries at church & tell them to enjoy them (the nachos) in the privacy of their own apt heated by their own microwave or oven. Sounds awesome right? Yeah, totally lame but it’s all I’ve got. Hang in there, Annie!

  8. My kids love to go out so I don’t have a problem getting them out the door. But I do yell a lot. Like you, sometimes asking nicely don’t get the job done. Tell me your verdict after you read the book: myth, magic or wishful thinking.

  9. Marek Steed says:

    Read Bonds That Make Us Free by C. Terry Warner. It will

  10. I’m sick of yelling. I get the books from my dad too. They are SO appreciated (eyeroll) But this book, may be a book I need to ask him to buy for me πŸ™‚

  11. Let us know how that book works for you,. I was telling my daughter, Emma, about how funny it was that your mom sent you all those parenting books, and she came over and read that article.
    I say…show me a mom who doesn’t scream….and I’ll show you a mom drug induced into a near coma.

    DO YOU HEAR ME !!!

  12. Alicia Cunningham says:

    I read this book a few years ago. The main point was that you only yell when you are overwhelmed and so you should not get overwhelmed and then you will not yell. Gee, thanks. Should have told me that three kids ago.

  13. Love how our kids turned it back on us to make us the guilty party. Children are so good at making us feel bad. Cause we let them. When my kids would tell me to not yell at them I would tell them I am not yelling, I am speaking firmly. Then I would YELL at them to show them the difference. They still laugh at me about that to this day and I still speak firmly to them;- ) Need your child to do somethng? Get a verbal commitment from them. Then they can’t throw it back at you when they are not ready. Hold them responsible for what they said they would do and what they need to do. Parenting with Love and Logic was a life saver for me.

  14. The only way I can find to get my son to move without yelling is for me to hold his chubby cheeks in my hands and say (through gritted teeth or not), “Look at me. No. Look at me. LOOK. At. Me. I need you to….” Eye contact works better for us than an request released into the air. Then he wonders who it’s for, even though he’s the only person in our house with his name.

    And if that doesnt’ work, I yell. πŸ™‚ I haven’t committed to the love and logic idea yet because I’m just not sure my kids are logical.

  15. And there you have it. Exactly why I yell. Because when nobody listens to nice mommy, I have to scream to be heard.

    Someone told me to whisper when I’m really serious, but honestly, it just isn’t in my nature.

  16. Marek Steed says:

    I’m not gonna lie, the ONE THING that has helped me be an insanely better mother is running. I don’t know if it’s the endorphins or being able to pound my issues out on the pavement, but let’s just say my husband asked me kindly, “Don’t ever stop running, okay?” I’m not preaching that everyone needs to go out and start running, themselves, but I think it’s important to find something that does that for you. Somehow, all my stresses and worries and issues and aggression get run right out of me, and I cannot tell you what a difference that has made to me, as a mother. I’m more patient and calm and honestly, I never thought I could have more patience.