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Need help with 6 m.o. baby who has discovered his scream

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

My son "R" seems impressed that he is able to emit the sound of a scream, I don't know any better way to describe it! He just turned 6 months old, and for the last two weeks, he has been yelling and screaming (often starting with a yell, then raising the pitch into a high scream) A LOT.

 

It's not always for the same reasons. Sometimes it seems he is doing this for fun/experimentation, because immediately after a shriek, he will start babbling or blowing bubbles contentedly.

 

Other times, it is because he is tired or wanting to nurse.

 

Sometimes I can see it coming and prevent it by whipping out a breast. But other times -- when it's seemingly just "for fun" -- there's no predicting it. He did it a bunch the other day when we were visiting someone in the hospital.

 

Maybe I've misunderstood, too --maybe it's always a sign of frustration (and never for fun, but just seems that way). I've tried to become more responsive in general so as to head off any frustration he feels communication-wise.

 

What I'm wondering is, what SHOULD be my immediate response to a scream? And especially when I want to avoid rewards/punishments? (I LOVED Unconditional Parenting by Kohn.) I don't want R to feel that I am withdrawing my love when he expresses himself in this way. Most advise turning my back or leaving the room when he screams (punishment), and responding much more positively when he does something different (reward). I think surely there's another way, but I don't know it. I feel especially limited in my response because he is so young. What I DON'T want to do is to just let it go. It's the kind of thing that will keep us from taking him out places, you know? It will make him an unpleasant baby to have around (for other people). And until now, he's been very easy to take places, so this is a new twist.

 

Any advice for this new parent?

post #2 of 5

ignore it if you can, it will go away.  your babe will tire of it (not as soon as you will though).  respond to the shrieks that are obviously for your attention, for milk, etc. and perhaps remind of the sign if you're signing, or suggest other ways to get attention if not.

 

by ignore the rest, i mean treat the happy or the testing the voice shrieks as you would any other babble or coo, but if they take place somewhere not so desirable, like the hospital or something, just walk baby outside and tell him something like "we can scream outside." (we UP, too, and that just makes the most sense.  it's perfectly appropriate to teach context and the correct way to ask for milk)

 

your instincts are right, though.. it's just a discovery.  he's just realized he can make these sounds (and unfortunately that they really attract some attention).  i used to think my dd was trying to echolocate-- she tended to enjoy the way the shriek changed when bounced off different surfaces. 

 

dd discovered her shriek the day i took her to work with me.  in the library. 

post #3 of 5

Oh gosh, DD went through that. She had everyone in the house cringing. For her, it was almost always for fun. She really liked to get me to pick her up and then screech right in my ear. She must have felt pretty powerful to be able to belt out such a big sound and make everyone jump. It took some effort, but once I stopped reacting, she lost interest in it. Any reaction and she was absoluted delighted with herself and encouraged to keep it up. It was a game. Never had to punish her, withhold attention, et cetera. Just acted like she hadn't just attempted to shatter glass with her vocal chords and went about our business. It will pass.

post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by tooraloora View Post

Oh gosh, DD went through that. She had everyone in the house cringing. For her, it was almost always for fun. She really liked to get me to pick her up and then screech right in my ear. She must have felt pretty powerful to be able to belt out such a big sound and make everyone jump. It took some effort, but once I stopped reacting, she lost interest in it. Any reaction and she was absoluted delighted with herself and encouraged to keep it up. It was a game. Never had to punish her, withhold attention, et cetera. Just acted like she hadn't just attempted to shatter glass with her vocal chords and went about our business. It will pass.


This. 

 

She is experimenting with her voice and finds her newfound power thrilling. We ignore the fact that it is very uncomfortable to listen to, but respond to her motive behind the scream (playing/discovery, wanting to nurse, anxiety, etc). With time, she'll tone it down. :) 

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

Forgot to reply with thanks for everyone's input! I found it very reassuring to hear from you. Lo and behold, the screaming phase DID pass rather quickly. Thank goodness! :-)

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