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March 17, 2015

Testimonial Tuesday: Taking Back Charge

Image: Flickr/photon_de

Image: Flickr/photon_de

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. Today’s story comes from one mom who was exhausted and going through a really rough period in her life. With the help of ScreamFree Parenting, she was able to take back control of and immediately saw a change for the better in not only herself, but her entire family as well. 

“I’m finally sitting down to write about my wonderful experience with Scream Free Parenting. It has transformed my relationship with my sons into something beautiful, irreplaceable and one from which they will greatly benefit. Leon is 14 (9th grade) and Seth is 11 (6th grade).

The back-story: A year ago, things in my home were awful.  I was sick (but didn’t know it) and so worn out I didn’t have it in me to do anything (drive, work, discipline, set boundaries).  My sons suffered.  As you know, my husband is a firefighter working 24/48…I am the constant in the home. The only way to describe the tone is to say it was “dark.”  No one wanted to be home.  There was tension, no discipline.  By the end of March, Leon and I were diagnosed with celiac disease. As we started to feel better I desperately wanted to make some changes.

Fast forward to Scream Free.  I lacked the skills and tools necessary to help my sons be confident, independent young men.  Much of my screaming was my behavior (i.e. turning inward, leaving the room) and some verbal. While reading each chapter I felt Hal was talking to me, describing me and my behaviors.  One evening as I waited for Leon to finish marching band rehearsal I read Chapter 5.  That same night Leon told me he gave his homework to a friend to finish for him (Leon was having trouble keeping up with school/band schedule).  It was as if he came to me knowing he was wrong and looking for guidance. Before Scream Free I would have sucked in my breath and raised my voice, “You what? You can get in trouble!”  Instead a myriad of thoughts went through my head from how I could “save” him to how I handled this would directly impact the direction of Leon’s life, our relationship, future decisions. I pressed my pause button, took a deep breath and calmly talked with him.  I could see the tension leave his body and a look of relief come over his face. We discussed his options including an honest “F” rather than a dishonest “A.”  Leon understood how his grade may be affected and was ready to accept the consequence.  He later gave me a hug, told me he loved me and thanked me for helping him.  It turned out the teacher gave the class an extra day for the assignment and Leon felt good about the “A” he earned.   He will spontaneously hug me, thank me for dinner, hold the car door open….he’s happy.  He recently said he knows he could come to us (my husband and me) about anything and we wouldn’t turn our backs on him.

The same type of transformation has happened with Seth.  Just last night he wasn’t getting in the shower and going to bed.  Before Scream Free I would have raised my voice, taken the computer away for who knows how long.  He would have been crying, I would have been crying. Instead…I remained calm.  I took a minute to go to my room and refer to the book.  I was then able to speak with Seth and, ultimately, he got in the shower and went to bed.  He felt left out because the rest of us were still up and he had to “leave the party.”  He didn’t shower and go to bed exactly when I wanted.  He had refused to follow directions.  Because I remained calm he was able to tell me what he was feeling (which was the most important thing). There was no punishment. No harsh words. No threats. His consequence was being more tired than usual when getting up for religious school this morning.

These are just two of the many, many examples of how much this book has impacted our lives. My children are comfortable coming to me with almost anything.  Just because Dad is at work doesn’t mean my sons don’t have questions…and I mean questions.  Each time, I remain calm and answer honestly – even though I’m silently saying, “I can’t believe I’m talking about this.”  By the way, even when my husband is home I’m the one who answers the questions.  It has become quite the joke.

We went from a dark, desolate, lonely place, each on our own respective island, to a place that is joyful, bright, and comfortable.  Our sons ask us to be drivers for activities with their friends and like it when we volunteer with their school bands.  They are both proud of their father and the job he selflessly does.   These days we are all glad to be home and we each have our own “space.”

My copy of Scream Free Parenting is already worn out…. I wrote in it, highlighted lines, took notes.  It is my reference manual.  It guided me to a very personal place where I could learn about myself and make changes…my husband and sons are the beneficiaries of those changes.

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