By Lori NewmanApril 22, 2010
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- The post community was introduced to the concepts of "Screamfree" parenting and marriage April 15 at Army Community Service.
Hal Runkel, licensed marriage and family therapist and founder of the Screamfree Institute, visited Fort Sam Houston to present two seminars titled "Screamfree Parenting" and "Screamfree Marriages" to Soldiers and their Families.
"I knew early on in my career that I wanted to work with more than one family at a time," Runkel said. "I had to come up with a way to present some really life-changing concepts, in a very user-friendly way.
"I wanted to develop a program that doesn't use any jargon, and doesn't try to educate people as much as it tries to motivate people to do what most people already think is common sense," he added.
The therapist began developing the parenting material in 2005, and published the "Screamfree Parenting" book in 2007. The Screamfree Marriages book will be released in January of 2011.
"What works best in any leadership role is keeping your cool. You want to be respected and followed as a leader, whether you are on the battlefield or in the battlefield of your home, the living room," he said. "The best thing you can do is keep your cool, no matter what is going on. We always gravitate toward the person who is calm, cool and collected."
"It's our job [as parents] to remain the adult. It's hard, we have to learn to manage our own anxiety," Runkel said.
It's about managing your anxiety for the benefit of the Family, he explained. He said to look at parenting as a leadership role.
" It's not about telling your kids what to do all the time, but highlight the choices they have and what the consequences are for the choices they make," Runkel noted.
Runkel uses the same concepts in "Screamfree Marriages."
"It's not about keeping the peace at all costs," he said. "It's about willingly entering into the fires of conflict with your spouse and learning to represent yourself.
"Marriage invites conflict because two different people are trying to come together to create one Family. You cannot avoid conflict that way," he said. "If you learn to embrace it, grow yourself as an individual and work through it, amazing things can happen."
Runkel also conducted a two-day train-the-trainer course on the "Screamfree Parenting" concept for 20 Family Advocacy Program educators, Exceptional Family Member Program staff and Child & Youth Services staff from Fort Sam Houston and Randolph and Lackland Air Force Bases, along with social workers from Brooke Army Medical Center.
The next "Screamfree Parenting" class, presented by the New Parent Support Program facilitator, will be held May 1 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at ACS.