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Screaming: How should I handle this?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

My 2.5 year old has taken to screaming if I say no to him.  Even when I don't actually say no (ex. this morning he wanted a cookie for breakfast, I said "you can have a cookie when you get home from daycare" that set him off).  Sometimes I'll get a "I want it RIGHT NOW" followed by a high pitched "AHHHHHHHHHH".  Other times he skips right to the scream.  And after that bursts into tears.  I understand that he's frustrated and that's where the big emotions come from but I just don't know how to deal with this/stop it from happening.  My response is pretty much always "Please don't scream at me like that, it's rude/mean/hurts my ears".  I'm usually pretty calm with my response (although it can be embarrassing when he does this in public).  And I always feel bad for him because he will start to cry and say "I'm frustrated" or "I need a nap" (sometimes he really does need a nap but he will say that even if he's only been awake for an hour!).  He is pretty good at using his words to tell me how he's feeling but not until after he's had the initial scream.  


Any advice would be appreciated!

post #2 of 9

Why not just give him a cookie?


And if you really don't want to, can you listen and commiserate?  Let him scream his heart out and tell you just HOW MUCH he wants the cookie?

post #3 of 9

In all honesty, your child needs a spanking. He needs to learn that unacceptable behavior brings undesirable results. A wooden spoon would work great. He does not understand or care that he's "hurting your ears".

You should enjoy your child at this age, but he is a burden and embarrassment to you. Think of how much better a day would go if your little boy asked for a cookie and you said No, or Not until after "whatever".. and he said OK Momma, let's go :) It can happen

Some of you are thinking that spanking a child is abuse, but I will tell you what abuse is. Abuse is teaching your child to have no self control, be self-centered, and no one will like him. Abuse is when you let all this go until you are bubbling over with anger and you explode on him with violence and with hateful words. Your child will know even YOU don't like him. Wow.. there is so much more to be said, but most people on this thread don't want to hear it.  Love your kids :)

post #4 of 9

momma3429 Please read the guidelines for this forum http://www.mothering.com/community/wiki/gentle-discipline-forum-guidelines

Please appreciate that this forum is not a place to uphold or advocate violence against children. Things that constitute violence toward a child are things like hitting, spanking, humiliating, shaming, screaming, prolonged isolation, basically things that are intended to cause physical or emotional pain. We do not allow discussion that promotes or defends such behavior.


Evergreen. I can defiantly sympathise, my DSs reaction to everything seems to be a scream a stomp or bothlol.gif. I usually just end up saying "I don't want to listen to that sort of noise " and leave the room. For the times I can he usually calms down pretty quickly, at which point I can offer a distraction.  Trying to offer a distraction to early just results in more screaming here.


Still haven't worked out what to do when I'm in the middle of cooking dinner and can't leave the room.


Other than not giving in to the sreaming I'm not sure there is much to do other than hope they grow out of this phase quickly.

post #5 of 9
I recently read the publications at handinhandparenting.org. They talk about connection parenting and really listening to your kid through their emotions. It totally struck home with the way *I* want to be treated and what I was looking for as a kid. They point out that when the kid is screaming, they're asking for help, they're trying to get your attention in the only way that they've figured out that works. And if you leave the room, then what they learn is that nobody will be there for you when you are disappointed (or whatever they're feeling) and that 'no' means abandonment. If you stick with them while they're upset and let them work through the emotion, then their limbic system will reset and they'll be able to hear and accept the limit better when they're done. This time, they've learned that they're lovable even when they're hurting. And so they're much more willing to accept the limit and move on confidently through life.
post #6 of 9

Hmm.  Do you do "time outs"?  Although getting ready to leave might not make that work at all.  I wouldn't give him the cookie though, that will encourage him to scream to get what he wants in the future. Gently reassert that he can't have a cookie and offer other options (if it's meal or snack time) and perhaps acknowledge that you recognize he is upset.  Definitely put limits on him hitting you or breaking things and tell him that's unacceptable.

The biggest problem for me during tantrums was keeping myself calm.  Kids really learn how to push mom's buttons!

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the advice everyone!  I'm not even going to bother responding to the one response because it's ridiculous!


As for the others:


I can't just give him a cookie.  Obviously there are situations when he asks for a cookie and gets one.  In this situation he had already asked for toast, had toast in front of him, and then said he didn't want it and he wanted a cookie.  I'm not going to waste food like that and he needs something healthier than a cookie for breakfast.  I do try and commiserate with him but I just can't let him scream as much as he wants.  We have a downstairs neighbour and sometimes we are in public.   I do usually stay with him unless I'm extremely frustrated and need a time out for myself.  I don't know.  Nothing seems to work.  I guess it's probably just a phase that will go away on it's own.

post #8 of 9

I think you're on the right track in now you're dealing with him. He's 2 1/2, so this is a phase where he's trying to see if he ramps up his fussing if you'll give in.  Obviously you can't or you'll reinforce the behavior.  I agree, he shouldn't have a cookie for breakfast.  That's a "sometime" treat.  The only thing I would do differently is say, "oh, I love cookies, too... let's have one together (after school), "  or, "cookies are sure good, but they're not for breakfast!  You can have one xxx." That way you're acknowledging his desire.  I find that really helps with my kids.  Then, if he kept fussing I would say "please stop fussing, you heard the answer," then I would ignore the rest.  He might do it for another 6 months, though-- since he's so young.  But he'll stop doing it soon enough.

post #9 of 9
I would thin of this as a tantrum with words. I'd briefly empathize, "It sounds like you're frustrated", maybe do some wishing with him, "I wish it were after dinner instead of breakfast so you could have a cookie" or "I wish cookies were good breakfast food", and then let him tantrum. It sounds like he wants to hear that you hear him, so active listening (the "It sounds like you're frustrated" and repeating back to him what he says to you in different words to show you are listening") might work better than anything else, but just plain old maturity might be necessary too, so give him a little time. Hugs!
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