The 28-day Scream-Free Parenting Challenge will run until Monday, July 15.
The 28-day Scream-Free Parenting Challenge will run until Monday, July 15. Wolfgang Amri

Screaming doesn't help

FOR many Sunshine Coast mums and dads, breaking out of old parenting habits and into new ones is a long and hard task.

For others, these old habits can take just 28 days to kick.

Caboolture mum Michelle Zuber is one of 2700 Australian parents testing this theory today, as she starts the 28-day Scream-Free Parenting Challenge.

The launch is based on providing a support network for parents on a mission to change.

Put together by Self Help for Mums founder and Landsborough resident Jackie Hall, in partnership with parenting information website Essential Kids, the challenge is based on the premise that 21 days are needed to break a habit and seven days can reinforce a new one.

Jackie first trialled the challenge herself, using the skills she had gained from her work at the Anti-Depression Association of Australia to put a 28-day habit change test into practice.

"I noticed I was getting more and more cranky with my kids when my husband began working away," she said.

"So I took on the challenge of attempting to do 28 days of not screaming myself, using all of the information that I teach in my book The Happy Mum Handbook, and as a coach for the Anti-Depression Association of Australia.

"I committed to teaching myself to break the habit of yelling by deliberately changing how I think about the unwanted or unexpected situations with the kids."

Jackie and Essential Kids will provide parents around Australia with the opportunity to make the most of the 28-day challenge through the Essential Kids forum where mums and dads can share insights, tips and techniques that are working for them.

"There are so many resources that teach us to try and control or manage our child's behaviour, but not many resources help us to change our own behaviours," Jackie said.

"This challenge is not about making parents feel bad about yelling at their kids.

"This challenge is about educating those who want to change but don't know how."

For Michelle, the 28 days that lie ahead are well worth the challenge.

"I want a happier, calmer home," she said.

"It can be confusing and scary to have a parent who loves you all of a sudden screaming at you, and I'd like to be able to parent with a bit more understanding and patience."

The mother of one-year-old Amelie is expecting her second baby at the end of this year.

Michelle said websites such as Essential Kids had been helpful in her parenting venture.

"I go on to Essential Kids almost every day," she said.

"It's really helpful to see how other parents have handled things.

"While I know what I don't want to do in moments where I am challenged as a parent and lost my temper, I don't automatically know what the 'right' thing to do is."

The 28-day Scream-Free Parenting Challenge starts today and will run until Monday, July 15.

Parents can still enrol this week.

To become part of the national program, visit the website:


Tips to change parent thinking

  • Determine whether stress is caused by belief or reality. Events do not cause anger.
  • How we think about the events is at the core.
  • Separate the human from the behaviour. Separate your child from the behaviour and start to look at the priority for behaving this way, rather than seeing their behaviour as reflective of who they are
  • How do we know what to do until we've experienced what not to do? Remembering this when the kids misbehave will help to remind you of the reality of their growth and development.

* As recommended by Jackie Hall


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