Lots of high-pitched screaming: what to do? - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-28-2011, 07:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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DS is just 13 months old, and this behavior has been going on maybe 2 weeks. He screams ~a very loud, high-pitched screeching scream~ all the frickin time. When he's frustrated, when something doesn't do what he expected it to, when he wants something, when he doesn't want what he's got, etc.etc.etc.... Sometimes I don't even know why he's doing it, but it happens many times throughout the day, all day long. We even had to leave a restaurant before our food arrived last weekend because he would not stop screaming. I generally try to ignore it, but there are times either I or DH get so annoyed we snap back. irked.gif Sometimes I do what he wants just to get the screaming to stop, but I don't want him to learn that this is the way to get what he wants.

 

So please enlighten me, how am I supposed to deal with this screaming? I fear this is the onslaught of the "terrible twos" and is not going to stop anytime soon. I assume he's just trying to assert himself ~he started walking at about the time this behavior started, so I think he feels newly powerful and this is just his way of expressing that. I don't want to squash his natural life energy, but I can't even tell you how annoying this is. What am I supposed to do?

 

Any insight, experience or advice is much welcome, and thank you!


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Old 06-28-2011, 07:35 AM
 
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I don't have any advice for you. You sound very frustrated though. My 10 month old daughter has recently started doing that as well, I attribute it to trying out her new voice and I just remember it's a phase that will end, eventually. I know that's not much help to you.


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Old 06-28-2011, 07:37 AM
 
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I should add that when she is screaming for something I hand it to her and say it in a gentle low voice you want you [blank], if she's trying to communicate with me I have to show her the right way to communicate. Just saying 'no yelling' or 'no screaming' at this age isn't going to help, I need to model for her what I want her to do.


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Old 06-28-2011, 07:55 AM
 
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One game I play with DS is matching his scream (tone, pitch, etc.) as best I can. Then I try to get him to copy me, so I will lower my voice and then raise it again and gradually reduce to a whisper etc. and we try to echo each other. DS has great fun and it gives him the opportunity to explore his vocal range in a way that's less annoying to me and slowly phase out the scream. Now that he is older we more often just ask him in words to be really loud, really quiet, etc. but your DS might be a little young to fully grasp that yet so you can just show him rather than tell him, you know?. Make it fun though!! When he gets the hang of it, you can ask him to be LOUDquietLOUDERquieter really rapidly & he will probably love the challenge!!

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Old 06-28-2011, 08:23 AM
 
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Earplugs, the kind that go inside the ear. You'll still be able to hear and interact with your son just fine, but it will take the impact out of the screaming. Sometimes, we use these big headphones to muffle the sound. My son finds them fascinating, but then he will want to grab them, so I'd go subtle if I were you. 

 

I would just avoid quiet places if I were you, till he's done with it. I think it's just a natural stage. 

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Old 06-28-2011, 08:24 AM
 
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ooops double post. 

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Old 06-29-2011, 12:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

One game I play with DS is matching his scream (tone, pitch, etc.) as best I can. Then I try to get him to copy me, so I will lower my voice and then raise it again and gradually reduce to a whisper etc. and we try to echo each other. DS has great fun and it gives him the opportunity to explore his vocal range in a way that's less annoying to me and slowly phase out the scream. Now that he is older we more often just ask him in words to be really loud, really quiet, etc. but your DS might be a little young to fully grasp that yet so you can just show him rather than tell him, you know?. Make it fun though!! When he gets the hang of it, you can ask him to be LOUDquietLOUDERquieter really rapidly & he will probably love the challenge!!

 

I tried this today, and maybe I did it wrong or something, but it backfired! I screamed as loud as he did in the exact same way, and he thought that was just so so funny! So he screamed again...and again, and again, to get me to copy him. I then tried experimenting with being quieter and he didn't seem to get that part. Should I just keep trying? Obviously this doesn't work when out in public.

 

He screamed maybe 10 times on the train home today (this is about a 15 minute ride). It was awful! I think earplugs may come in handy actually! DH and I are willing to accept that for a time we can't take DS to restaurants anymore. But to lock ourselves at home is not an option. I/we have a life and we go out and about quite a lot. What the hell am I supposed to do when he starts screaming in the train?

 

Does anyone have any experience with this? Please tell me it will end. I am really not dealing with this well at all.   help.gif
 

 


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Old 06-29-2011, 01:42 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P.J. View Post



 

I tried this today, and maybe I did it wrong or something, but it backfired! I screamed as loud as he did in the exact same way, and he thought that was just so so funny! So he screamed again...and again, and again, to get me to copy him. I then tried experimenting with being quieter and he didn't seem to get that part. Should I just keep trying? Obviously this doesn't work when out in public.


LOL well he's supposed to think it's funny!! And yes, you'll probably have to try it a few times before he'll follow your lead at all... just follow his lead for a few times.

You can also try having screaming sessions before you go out somewhere. See if you can get him to scream as loud as he can (probably by you screaming with him) and maybe get it out of his system before being in public??? I really don't know if it will work but maybe it's worth a try. DS only has done the screaming at home, he's too scared in public to open his mouth at all! I guess I'd just try to work lots of screaming (and eventually loud-quiet) games into his day, like a few times an hour, so he knows there WILL be a time to scream and maybe be less inclined to scream at less appropriate times.

Another idea for the train etc. is to have a special toy or activity to pull out when you sense he's about to scream. Maybe a song or simple clapping game you can do together, or a small toy that is reserved ONLY for that kind of situation?

Oh and yes, it will end, almost everything is a stage at this point!! hug.gif

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Old 06-30-2011, 06:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post



LOL well he's supposed to think it's funny!! And yes, you'll probably have to try it a few times before he'll follow your lead at all... just follow his lead for a few times.

You can also try having screaming sessions before you go out somewhere. See if you can get him to scream as loud as he can (probably by you screaming with him) and maybe get it out of his system before being in public??? I really don't know if it will work but maybe it's worth a try. DS only has done the screaming at home, he's too scared in public to open his mouth at all! I guess I'd just try to work lots of screaming (and eventually loud-quiet) games into his day, like a few times an hour, so he knows there WILL be a time to scream and maybe be less inclined to scream at less appropriate times.

Another idea for the train etc. is to have a special toy or activity to pull out when you sense he's about to scream. Maybe a song or simple clapping game you can do together, or a small toy that is reserved ONLY for that kind of situation?

Oh and yes, it will end, almost everything is a stage at this point!! hug.gif


Thank you so much for this advice, I will give it a try for the next week or so and see how it goes. It makes perfect sense that if he has a chance to scream and feel safe and loved while doing it at home, he may not feel the need to do it all.the.time and everywhere we go. It reminds me a lot of what Naomi Aldort says....don't know if you're familiar with her work but she also recommends letting kids get their ya-yas out in whatever way. It is kind of scary, because in a way it feels like I am encouraging him to scream when in fact I wish the opposite. It felt weird screaming with him and I thought "Oh great this is only making it stronger"....but I think you're right that if I just go for it with him a few times, maybe he'll be able to follow my lead eventually and get it that there is a time and a place. And most of all, I want him to know he is loved. It scared the begeebies out of me to see how angry I was getting over this. I don't want to be that kind of mom. I don't want to cut off his essential life energy and cause him to doubt himself, or that I am there for him no matter what, ya know? I worry that maybe he's doing this behavior because he needs something from me that he's not getting. I guess that's the most upsetting part of this.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Thanks again.

 

Anyone else's kid go through a screaming phase?

 


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Old 06-30-2011, 07:14 PM
 
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Chiming in. Loved the post. My dd isn't quite so loud but it's a constant on and off screaming. If she drops something, if she wants food, if she wants something out of reach, you name it there will be some screaming.  Looking forward to reading some more thoughts.


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