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Redstone Arsenal parents will have an opportunity to take a course in Scream Free Parenting this April as the Department of Defense recognizes Child Abuse Prevention Month.

The Scream Free Parenting webinar will take place April 27 as part of the Healthy Living and Working 2021 Webinar Series, the result of a partnership between Team Redstone’s Employee Assistance Program, Army Community Service and headquarters Army Materiel Command Surgeon Office. The webinars take place over Microsoft Teams and are free for Redstone employees.

Tim Rolfe, who serves as the Family Advocacy Program manager and also manages the Army’s family violence prevention and response program, said the goal of Scream Free Parenting

is to restore balance to the parent-

child relationship.

There have been several popular movements in parenting throughout the years, Rolfe said, starting with the old attitude that children should be “seen, not heard.” In more recent years, the pendulum has swung to the opposite end of the spectrum, resulting in “helicopter parents” who are over-involved in their children’s lives and do not allow them to fail or make mistakes. Rolfe said Scream Free Parenting fills the gap where these other methods fail.

“What Scream Free Parenting is about, what we’re after is seeing the benefits of being an involved and engaged parent, which is a lot different from a hovering parent,” he said. “The outcomes that we see are that we increase feelings of love and acceptance, that the child feels more confident in their ability to overcome adversities and challenges. It builds resiliency and it provides guidance and opportunities for the child to grow.”

One of the main goals of Scream Free Parenting is teaching parents to control their level of emotional reactivity, which, if left unchecked, could lead to conflict escalation and even violence.

“Scream Free Parenting is a lot about self-awareness of the parent, and what does that emotional reactivity oftentimes look like if we’re anxious or stressed or overparenting,” Rolfe said. “It can be screaming … but not necessarily physically screaming at the child. Scream Free Parenting is a much broader look at emotional reactivity. It talks about sometimes how we disconnect with the child if we’re stressed or anxious about something, we avoid or neglect the child. Again, sometimes it can be overcompensating – giving in or giving up. And oftentimes, it can even result in parents being physically abusive with a child because they’re emotionally reacting to a situation.”

Rolfe said controlling this emotional reactivity is a cornerstone of Scream Free Parenting, allowing parents to approach their children with cool heads and avoid negative outcomes. He also said it has been useful in his own life as he parents a young teen and guides her through the stresses of adolescence.

“This stuff truly does work,” Rolfe said. “I’ve seen it in my own life, and so that’s why I’m very passionate about the program, the curriculum, and being able to offer it this April.”

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