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March 3, 2015

Testimonial Tuesday: Carpool Calm

From time to time we receive emails from folks just like you who are discovering just how revolutionary our content can be. We love hearing this — not just because it validates our materials but because it means lives are being changed. Our whole idea is to help people stay cool enough to handle any moment in the moment. We know that if they can do that, they can find the momentum they need to create great relationships. Great relationships, change lives, which transform communities, which, in turn, heal the world. So, we want to share with you some of the stories we get to hear — stories of life change, stories of transformation. To begin with, here’s a story from a mom who spends much of her life chauffeuring her kids and some other kids from the neighborhood to school in the mornings. She read the story of Hal at the Waffle House (video above) and decided to avoid making the same mistake he made. The results speak for themselves.  

I have to admit that when I first heard about ScreamFree Parenting from a friend, I was skeptical. I have read tons of parenting books and none of them really made any lasting difference, but I picked up a copy of your book to see what my friend kept raving about. After reading it this weekend and actually trying out one of the principles, I wanted to send a “thank you.” ScreamFree actually made a huge difference with me and my kids today. It really works.

I’m the carpool mom for my two girls and two other neighborhood kids, all under the age of 9. They are all great kids, but sometimes they bicker and drag their feet so much that I end up frazzled even before my day has really begun. I know I’ve said or done things that I really regret in an effort to get them to hurry up or quiet down.

This morning, we were rushed as usual, and my 9-year-old daughter, Jasie, announced to everyone as we were pulling out of the driveway that her seat, because of its location in the car, was making her nauseous. She took off her seatbelt and demanded that her friend Sara switch seats with her.

I started to think of threatening her and raising my voice, but as I turned my head to bark out a ridiculous threat, something dawned on me. So often in these tense situations, I was the one acting like the kid when they acted up. Like Hal in the Waffle House story (so, funny!), I was making things worse! So, I paused and took a deep breath.

I gave Jasie a choice. I told her that she could either strap up at that very moment, or I could pull over and wait for her to do it. I think I was really hoping deep down that she would immediately just pick “my choice,” but, instead, my daughter crossed her arms and said, “Ok. I still want Sara’s seat, because otherwise I might throw up.” Part of me felt like laughing and the other felt like yelling, but I didn’t do either. I just pulled the car over, turned off the ignition, and told her and her friend to work it out.

The kids were stunned and sat in silence for a moment, then they began to hash things out. At first, it was really hard to stay calm and not say something, anything, to get Jasie to cooperate one way or the other. My hands were on the steering wheel with “white knuckles” as the anxiety shot through me about how I could be perceived as a bad parent, how the school might respond, how my husband might respond to me “blowing” this discipline event in the car. It took what seemed like an eternity of patience and calm. Finally, after the other kids coaxing her along and me not saying a word for the whole time, my daughter let out a huge sigh, sat down in her own seat, and strapped the seatbelt on. I started the car and we made our way to school.

Thankfully, the traffic gods were also ScreamFree that day, and we got there with a few minutes to spare. My daughter was in a remarkably better mood and, since I kept my cool, so was I. Normally, I would have either yelled at her or caved in to her ridiculous request just to keep the peace, but this time, I actually stayed calm and acted like a grown up. Driving away from school, I let out this big cheer of joy as I felt really good about the interaction and my future as a ScreamFree parent.

After today, I’m definitely a believer. Now I’m the one telling all my friends about you.

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