When it came time for us to move from Ohio, our daughter climbed a tree in the yard. She was screaming loud and clear, without making a sound. She silently clung to “her” tree and wasn’t one bit interested in our requests to come down. Finally, after her daddy climbed the tree and sat on a nearby branch, he was able to coax her to say good bye to that favorite tree and the place she called home.
Military moves are hard on everyone, and perhaps even harder on 3rd graders. Giving young children a voice when their vocabulary isn’t so adept requires patience. Sometimes, you have to be willing to meet them “shoulder to shoulder,” on a tree branch, just to figure out what they’re struggling with in the moment. That’s one of the principles of ScreamFree Parenting: be willing to meet your children “shoulder to shoulder,” rather than head-on. (Or shall we say, “Butting heads”!)
The ScreamFree Institute teaches their principles around the world, providing classes in various settings. Coincidentally, I attended their certification training at the Fort Campbell Army Post. As a veteran and career military (retired) spouse, being amongst military families put me right at “home” for the training. I never moved as a child, so my ability to understand the turmoil and triumphs it brings came through my children’s eyes. My heart has remained sensitive to the sacrifices of military children, beyond our years of service.
Thankfully, our children grew up to be resilient, caring, and responsible adults. However, those years of upheaval mixed with adventure as a military family, often brought us concern for their well-being. Having the rug ripped out from underneath you every couple of years brings exceptional stress to life.
Military parents are continually challenged to handle the fall-out of moving, deployment absences and duty stress, in addition to the ordinary challenges of raising children. No one issued us a “one size fits all” regulation to ease the journey. Though we had a wealth of support around us, it wasn’t within the walls of our home—where parents often need it the most. ScreamFree Parenting principles offer something I wish we’d had in our tool box while raising our children. The principles I learned during their certification training not only bring calm within homes, they bring calm within the parent and the child!
In August, my team and I delivered a pre-deployment segement of our Choose Hope Program to 7th Special Forces families. Now, I’m excited about being able to provide another component in our work with military families. We will be passing on the blessing of ScreamFree Parenting. Visit their site here for an overview of their principles for leading a calmer (“scream free”) family life.
“ScreamFree” training at the home of the “screaming eagles!” 🙂