Scream-free Parenting

I'm sure you've all come across the concept of scream-free parenting. In essence, it discourages yelling and encourages finding other ways to deal with your children. Here is a brief explanation, direct from the Scream-free institute:

Emotional reactivity is behind every bad pattern, bad decision, and bad relationship. Whenever we get reactive — whether by screaming, cutting ourselves off, overcompensating for others, or taking things personally or defensively — we operate out of our anxiety and, ironically, end up creating the very outcomes we were hoping to avoid. ScreamFree Living takes this reactivity very seriously and stresses that the number one step toward creating the types of relationships we truly crave is learning to calm down.
ScreamFree Parenting offers a revolutionary new option by inviting parents to focus on themselves, grow themselves up, and calm themselves down. The ScreamFree Parenting principles will lead parents of all ages (with kids of all ages) to create and enjoy the family relationships they've always craved starting now.

 I've come across scream-free parenting many times and thought that, while it was good in theory, it was practically impossible in practice. Apparently not; I recently came across the Orange Rhino, a blog by a very fun lady who got busted by her handyman for yelling at her boys. Realizing that she yelled more than she liked, she resolved not to do so for 365 days. She is now well past that 365 day goal, encourages people to take up the challenge themselves, and has a lovely blog full of great ideas to help people stop yelling.

Now, I don't claim to be a scream-free parent myself. In fact, I just finished yelling at one child for being the cause of some major pain to the other. My crazy girls are always causing bodily harm and huge mess and it is sometimes difficult to keep cool. So, yes, I yell. However, I can tell you that I have discovered our home's secret weapon for reducing yelling by at least 90% - THE WARNING BELL.
"The Warning Bell" is basically our system of letting the children know that they are grating on Mommy's last nerve all all hell may break loose if it continues. For us it's just a simple bell from a set of  Schylling Musical Handbells. They were once a toy of the children's so you would think they wouldn't elicit much of a response when used as a threat. As it turns out though, for some strange reason, "...don't make me ring the bell..." is essentially as terrifying as if I had threatened to skin them alive! I don't really get why, but it works. And guess what - manically ringing a bell when you're upset is even more therapeutic than yelling, with none of the associated guilt!

The effects of me not yelling are also pretty impressive. To my surprise, less yelling has actually resulted in BETTER behaved children. I also have more peace of mind because I am being kinder to my children. As an interesting side benefit, it seems everyone else in the house now yells less as well. Overall, it's been a great success.

So, why not give it a try yourself? Any bell will do. Maybe you will find yourself with a clearer conscience and a less hectic home!


  1. Great idea the warning bell. Sometimes I have to yell over my kids to get their attention to then give them trouble.. lol My kids are at the bickering stage or at least my daughter is in a diva stage.. Hope this one doesn't last or I don't know if I will survive the teenage years!

  2. Yes, Jennifer! A nice sharp ringing bell interrupts bickering REALLY fast! Give it a try!


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