How to Have a ScreamFree Holiday
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Your mother in law and your wife are about to be in the same kitchen. Uncle Jim has had a few too many, and the kids have turned it up to eleven. Join Daddy Owen as he chats with Hal Runkel of on how to have a scream-free holiday.


Owen Egerton: We are once again here with Hal Runkel from ScreamFree Parenting. He wrote the book ScreamFree Parenting and runs the web site ScreamFree Parenting. I want to scream. So we are back here, we are looking up to talk about the holidays that are coming up and that for a lot of folks is a time of screaming. Hal Runkel: That is not a scream free time. Owen Egerton: Yeah, that is not a scream free time. So can you give us recommendations of how to survive the holidays without -- Hal Runkel: -- screaming our heads off. Owen Egerton: Yeah. Hal Runkel: It's hard because we can predict. It's very easy to predict who is going to do what. Folks are going to come over, right? You can predict how long it's going to take before uncle Joe gets drunk. You can predict how long it's going to take for your mother-in-law to say something insensitive to your wife about how she didn't cook well enough for the house. Oh! I swear to you this just happened to a friend of mine where his mother-in-law came over and said to his wife, "You know what? Your house is really clean. It's almost as clean as mine." She really said that and that happens big time in the holidays because there is so much of expectations that's put on that this needs to be the frank cap for a moment. Owen Egerton: Right. Hal Runkel: Specially, to dads out there; if you and your wife are now hosting like the first time and you are going to the host this year; it's this pressure, pressure, pressure and outside you may be smiling but inside you are this guy, the UFC champion guy, just going to absolutely crazy because you cannot believe how rude this person is being, you cannot believe how many people - Do you know that Benjamin Franklin quote, that "fish and guests are the same" because they both start to go bad after 3 days, both start to sting after 3 days. That's probably a good rule. Ultimately recognizing, it's not going to perfect, that's what is going to happen, if he springs. He is going to collapse, it's not going to be prefect. That's the biggest thing, free yourself up. I know your wife is going to feel bad even more than you. You can help free her up, which will make your life a lot easier, by communicating to her, "I think you are doing a great job", over and over again. Owen Egerton: May be give her a positive reason to scream. Hal Runkel: That's ScreamFilled Sex, that's another book. Owen Egerton: Really? Hal Runkel: Yeah actually, my wife and I writing it together Owen Egerton: You are in research. Hal Runkel: It's a work affection. There are things you can do to help your life get a little easier by communicating, "You are doing a great job. Thank you so much, thank you for the littlest thing", in that time. Owen Egerton: That's part of your ScreamFilled Sex too. Hal Runkel: Exactly, that's what she says to me. She thanks me, you made a little small peanuts joke. Owen Egerton: That's what DadLabs is all about. Hal Runkel: Absolutely, small peanuts jokes. So yes, the holidays are difficult. What you can do is again, remind yourself, it's not going to be perfect. Remind yourself also, it does not have to be and you are not responsible, this is a big one, but you nor your wife are responsible for every one else's happiness. Owen Egerton: Right, that's even a hard one. Well, let me ask you about the kids because it is the time for kids -- my daughter is 2.5 and getting a little close to 3 and then my nephew is a bit older, and it's a melt down time and everything -- Hal Runkel: -- it's over stimulation Owen Egerton: Yes, yes, it is. What can you do to avoid -- whatever holiday you are celebrating - because Hownica is a 8 days away. Hal Runkel: I think the Hawnica thing is brilliant as compared to the way we do it with Christmas. In my family, Christmas it's all at once, all at once; Hawnica, it's spread out and I think that helps create causes to help people keep their cool. Owen Egerton: Yeah, we do both. Hal Runkel: That's right and one of my disc partners, they do both as well. It's interesting to see the contrast but I think any time you can interject a pause. That's really what's parenting is about. It's not a series of techniques to get perfect families, there is no such thing. It's just helping parents create a pause between stimulus, your kids push in your buttons, and response. Owen Egerton: We could go like a Santa pause. Hal Runkel: Wow, that's good, I like that. That will be a life time movie, it will be good. Creating a pause between and so it's actually -- we got this with my daughter. All these kids around with the presents of my daughter, we just take one when she was like 3 years old and just play with one for a while. Won't you leave all these unopened presents, she is like, wow! look at that. It's like self-regulation. So now we started to do is we take our time, slow, focus on each person, things like that, but also you got to give yourself some breathing time. Sometime you have got family. Okay, so with families coming in or you are going to stay some place for 3 days, right? You have got to find sometime. "I am going to go to a coffee shop. I have got some work to do.", make-up, whatever excuse, take a really long shower, just do something to give yourself some breathing time because the best thing for a dad specially to do is be the calmest one in the room. Do whatever it takes to not be this guy, right? Now it might be helpful. Owen Egerton: Yeah. Hal Runkel: It might be helpful to get with another dad and be this guy with each other. Owen Egerton: Well, thanks. Have those other good hints here at DadLabs of surviving the holidays with kids and family and also some do a bit at ones from our stuff that you can find at Hal Runkel: I don't have anything original but there is some good stuff, some articles written by me that's basically copied from him, Owen Egerton: We will see you soon.