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DD 2 1/2 shrieks sooooo loud

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Help! My dd (30 months) likes to shriek that loud high pitched scream that just makes my ears hurt, head spin, and blood pressure rise. She especially likes to do it during meal times at the kitchen table. This would only be annoying except that dd#2 is 4 mo. and often sleeping during meal times and the house is small...

Dh and I don't have a clue how to get her to stop. Any advice from moms who have been through this or have suggestions for convincing a 30 month old to do what you want?!? Is it possible?

post #2 of 8
It's awful, isn't it? I feel for you...my dd does the shrieking thing occasionally, but she's a bit older (just over 3) and can usually be convinced to stop...I often suggest singing a song, and this diverts her attention away from the screaming (have to pick one of her favourites, though!).

If that doesn't work, we explain to her that the shrieking is hurting our ears and we'd like her to stop. But that if she doesn't stop, she'll need to go up to her room to shriek. This works for us.

When we have had to take her to her room, I explain that we'd love to have her back downstairs, so whenever she's ready to stop shrieking, she can come down and join us and we'll ...read a book, do arts and crafts, make banana bread, etc. (fill in the blank with something she likes).

We've been doing this with various issues (like hitting her sister, tantruming, etc). and it seems to be helping...she'll generally come back downstairs after a minute or two in a much better mood and having stopped the offending behaviour.
post #3 of 8
oh dears...i see your babies are 3 years old...and my baby does this at 10 months! at meal times, in the car, in the store, any time she feels like it!!! i'd love some ideas for how to "change her tune" for at times she'll be screaming/screeching for hours on end. lovely way to spend the weekend!!!

take care,
post #4 of 8

i just ignore it

when they are older--like yours, and do that i would ignore it.

or say, 'mommy dosen't like that sound'--but say it CALMLY.

it doesn't bother me much though.

it bothers other people, but i just tune it out.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
I wish I could ignore it, but when I do she does it more. I know it's to get attention, but when I give her attention it also continues.

Thanks for all the helpful repsonses. I have been having her sing a song when she gets really loud and that seems to be helping.
post #6 of 8
Some people on this board have probably read my screaming story a few too many times but here I go again. My son was a real screamer so I know just what you mean by "ears hurt, head spin, blood pressure rise". When he was a baby it just seemed to be his noise, it didn't seem to indicate anything, he was just screaming to himself. Ow. We tried to ignore it, re-direct, etc. When he was about 18 mo he realised what a powerful thing this scream was and started doing it to get a reaction. We tried to continue to ignore or re-direct but it got really hard to handle. It really pushes your buttons, doesn't it? Especially when the screaming is accompanied by a knowing grin. Anyway, one day, he screamed while I was changing his diaper. We had been playing and tickling with direct eye contact but when he screamed I just looked away and dropped all emotion from my face (I was trying to control myself, actually, I was just so disappointed that the screaming had interrupted our fun). He stopped immediately and I could tell he was studying my reaction intently so from that time on whenever he would scream I would look away and stop interacting so he really saw the consequences of the screaming. I gave him back my eye contact/attention after only a few moments of no screaming so he could see the flip side. He tested this for a while but eventually stopped altogether. He's about 30 mos now and if he screams we just have to say no screaming.

Since your dd is already 30mos. she should be able to understand some more direct explanation like "I don't want to play with you when you scream. It hurts my ears." Then you go away. I think the key is to decide on a logical consequence and stick to it, applying it at every infraction for as long as it takes.

I know screaming at the dinner table is tough to handle because you don't want to interrupt dinner time. All I can think of is to ignore her but tell her why you are ignoring her. "I can't talk to you when you are screaming." Oh I don't know, that's a tough one! Just don't get upset. I think that's what got through to my ds was the absolute no reaction. Kind of Zombie Mom, ya know?

Hope that's some help,

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Yes, I know exactly what you mean! Thanks! I'll try that when singing a song doesn't work. It has worked for her whining (Mom: "I can't understand you when you are whining, please tell me what you want in a good voice!") She does exactly what you wrote--shrieks and then smiles or laughs at me!! ARGH! I LOVE this stage... just kidding. I'm reminded of the book-There was a little girl, who had a little curl, right in the middle of her head. And when she was good, she was very good, and when she was bad...

Minus the curl, that's my Annika!
post #8 of 8
Wow--I can feel my bp rising just thinking about this issue. My dd has been doing this behavior forever (she's 25 months). At first, it was just her way of expressing herself and letting off steam. She was a fussy baby, so a noise that was happy and not a loud crying fit actually sounded good to me, even if it did attract a lot of attention from others :

I had chosen to adopt the ignoring approach--my gut told me not to make it an issue--but she started "teaching" her friends to scream, and their parents wanted them to stop. I knew they would never stop if dd was allowed to continue right in front of them. Then it became the big, ugly "use your inside voice" issue: yet another toddler power issue. And now we have 6-wk-old ds who doesn't think much of it.

Lately, the approach has been to ask her to apologize when she does it anywhere but in appropriate or designated places (one room in the house, at the park or outside, and in the shower), especially if it bothers someone. If she continues, I'll take her somewhere appropriate and have her do it there: often she won't, because it's not fun without the reaction from me. That's definitely the hardest part: controlling that reaction and trying to make it a non-issue whenever possible, especially when there are others around who don't take that approach first. Sometimes ignoring the behavior can still diffuse it before it escalates.

It's great to read other ideas, too.
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