Scream-Free Parenting

Let the Consequences Do the Screaming

Kenda and I found a great resource for parenting in a book called Scream Free Parenting by Hal Runkel, MFT. Over the last year we have been using some of the concepts in our parenting program and would like to share one of them with you. It is one of twelve principles that Hal describes and is called “Let the Consequences Do the Screaming”.

When parenting there are moments when discussions get heated and we or our children may say or do things that they or we may wish later we hadn’t. The overall concept in Scream Free Parenting is as a parent we must keep our “cool” in the sense of being a calming influence, especially if our child is out of control. By being “cool” we are being a parent first and when a child goes beyond the boundaries set by the family, then instead of screaming at the child for not following the rules, we let the “consequences do the screaming”.

By welcoming consequences into your home you work toward the goal of nurturing the type of behavior, maturity and self-direction that is necessary to launch your child into adulthood. If you want your child to grow up and accept consequences for their actions, then all you have to do is implement them. The bad news is if you start to welcome those consequences then you have to first learn to accept those consequences for yourself and watch your child “suffer” through them. It is kind of like the first time you took your child to have a vaccination shot. You had to “suffer” watching them cry as they were given the shot, but in the end you could share with them the benefit of having worked through that pain.

As a parent we have to balance protecting our children from life’s dangers and exposing them to life’s lessons. This balance involves intention, integrity and self-direction. Life’s dangers are emotionally charged and fear based which naturally invites anxiety and emotional reactivity. As a parent we set up the situation where they will be able to move through what they perceive is dangerous to leaning that lesson at the end be it good or bad. As a parent we must always remember that when children make a mistake that is the thing they can truly call their own and learn from it. As a parent we want to be there for our child when they choose well or poorly and be a part in helping them make those critical choices. Punishing poor behavior comes from anger; while Consequences for poor behavior comes from wanting a change to occur that the child will understand and learn from.

To learn more about this exciting parenting concept you can go to the website: You can also contact Phil and Kenda Smith at: to get information about their parenting classes which are done monthly.

Kenda L. Smith & Philip B. Smith
Marriage & Family Therapy Interns
Supervised by Laura Carr, LMFT (MFC 38400)