Chapter One: Parenting Is Not About Kids, It's About Parents
"It's not you, it's me."
- George Costanza,Seinfeld
The greatest thing you can do for your kids is learn to focus on yourself. That statement might not make complete sense right now. It might, in fact, seem downright offensive. What? Turn the focus away from my children and onto myself? Isn't that against all the rules? No, it isn't. I'm not proposing that you put your children last on the list. Far from it. What I am saying is that by focusing on yourself, you will have a healthier, happier relationship with your whole family. You see, most of us have been operating with a faulty model of how to live in our relationships. That's not to say our relationships are all faulty, but the model sure is. We've been operating with a model that says in order to have healthy relationships, we need to focus on meeting other people's needs, trying to serve them and make them happy. To even question such a model draws controversy, I know, but stay with me. By focusing on yourself, you will have a healthier, happier relationship with your whole family. This book is going to talk about why this model is so faulty, particularly in our parent-child relationships. For now, there are a few simple things we should consider. First, it's a given that there are things in this world we can control and things we cannot control. Now ask yourself this question: How smart is it to focus your energy on something you can't do anything about, something you cannot control? Answer: Not very. Follow-up question: Which category do your kids fall into? In other words, are your children something you can control or something you cannot control? Here's an even tougher question: Even if you could control your kids, should you? Is that what parenting is all about? And what if it's not the kids who are out of control? A fundamental assertion of this book is that God wants us to parent our children the way he parents us. Think about how he relates to you. Does he constantly hover around you trying to make you completely comfortable? Is God some kind of control freak, pulling your strings and manipulating your every choice? Of course not! God is concerned about you, but he does not allow you to set his agenda. He always acts out of his own integrity. What would your relationships look like if you started to do the same?
Who's Really Out of Control Here?
Parents are facing the toughest challenge of their lives. They want to create a loving family environment filled with mutual respect and cooperation… but they find instead that human nature and the influence of our culture combine to produce an atmosphere of anxiety, exhaustion, and far too much screaming. Perhaps you can relate!
Whether you scream at your children or not, you no doubt feel anxious about them and their choices. You worry how they’ll turn out. Unfortunately for parents, many of the techniques some experts present only seem to make matters worse. Hal Edward Runkel has discovered why: Parents are spending far too much time orbiting their lives around their children. They need to return the focus to themselves. They need to grow up and calm down.
ScreamFree Parenting is about taming your reactive responses to your deep anxiety. Rather than learning new techniques, you’ll discover the liberating principles, based on scriptural truths, that are inspiring parents just like you to revolutionize their family life. Principles that will enable you to remain cool, calm, and connected with your children, no matter what.
Learn how to parent less out of your deepest fears and more out of the highest principles in ScreamFree Parenting.
Special edition distributed through Christian booksellers.
From the Hardcover edition.