Screecher... any tips? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 14 Old 08-02-2009, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My dd is extremely verbal for a 13 month old, but I realize that while she may be able to use words and let us know what she wants most of the time, some of the time she's unable to actually FIND that word to use because of her age. This is resulting in an ear-piercing screech that literally makes my dh see red. He's a very calm man - doesn't get flustered easily, but he has said that he literally feels like putting his fist through a wall after she starts screeching and won't stop, because it hits a chord in his ear that physically HURTS him. He would never hurt our dd, or become physically violent in any capacity, but he is really bothered by this and often has to remove himself from the house when she starts screeching because he feels nearly ill when she hits this particular pitch with her screech.

The screeching has been going on for about 3 months or 4 now, and initially I thought it was a phase. I've tried telling her to find words to tell me what she wants, I've tried telling her to use an 'inside voice,' I've tried telling her she's using an 'outside voice' and we have to do it outside, and removing her from wherever she is and sitting on the porch. I've tried redirection. I've tried ignoring it. I've tried a sharp 'NO!' and 'STOP!' I've tried everything from laughing to see if she'll stop and laugh back, to imitating her screech. Nothing works. My dh is frequently so upset that he has to leave and go outside because he doesn't want to have a meltdown of his own (which he WOULD, if he had to continue to listen to the screech). This happens when she's happy, happens when she's tired, happens when she's fed - there's no rhyme or reason to it. It starts out as an excited squeal and then turns to a full-blown screech. I'm completely stumped on what to do, and I WOULD just ignore it, if it didn't bother my dh so much - but it's really a problem for him, and I want to be respectful of the fact that it literally causes him pain when she does it.

I don't know, at this point, what more I can do. I don't spank, I don't believe in CIO, and I try to use the most GD approach with everything that I can possibly use. I actually got upset with myself when I tried using a loud/stern voice to stop the action - I reserve raising my voice only for times when she could physically hurt herself (i.e. - touching the oven, reaching for a hot mug of coffee, etc) because it DOES stop her in her tracks... yet, with the screeching, she just proceeds to screech right through it. I've tried setting aside a space for her to be able to screech (which has turned into the porch, because we have a small house and I don't want her to think of her bedroom as anywhere other than a restful, calm place), but when she's full-blown screeching (and this is a CONSTANT, SHRILL, HIGHPITCHED screech), she'll stop immediately after getting to the porch, and then will resume once we've come back into the house.

I really feel like I'm at the end of my rope with this. I don't know what else to do - I know most kids DO go through a shrieking phase, and I attributed it originally to a lack of being able to communicate what she wants, but 9/10 times, if she wants something, she'll make it known either through talking or signing. The screeching has started happening in public and I'm afraid if I don't figure something out soon, it's just going to escalate.

If anyone has BTDT, do you have any tips I might try that I haven't already tried? As I said, it's been months, so I've tried each thing consistently before moving on to trying something else, then tried going back to each thing and NOTHING is working. I'm frustrated and my dh has a nearly constant throbbing headache from it. It irritates me, too, and make me frustrated and headachey, but to him, it's fingernails on a chalkboard and he equates it to noise torture.

Our clan: Me (25), Dh (29), dd (6/19/08) and ds (10/2/09) :
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#2 of 14 Old 08-02-2009, 12:54 PM
 
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My youngest has the same screeching thing going on and has since she was about a year old. She is now 28 months old and still does it (not as often but probably still every day at least once). My husband tried the same "It causes me pain" thing with us but has basically just accepted that he HAS to deal with it. There are moments in parenting that cause us pain. I had to nurse through thrush...oh yeah, and live through the pain of pregnancy and birth...I know it sucks but parenting is about the good moments AND the painful ones. Shame on him for putting this on YOU. He needs to grow up, get over himself, take some aspirin, and deal with it. Your daughter will not be a baby/toddler forever.
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#3 of 14 Old 08-02-2009, 01:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by PajamaMama View Post
Shame on him for putting this on YOU. He needs to grow up, get over himself, take some aspirin, and deal with it. Your daughter will not be a baby/toddler forever.
He's not "putting this on me" at all - we've both tried to come up with ways to stop the behavior. We're BOTH her parents, and we parent as such. I have told him he needs to put on his big boy pants and deal with it, too - and he's tried. It isn't pleasant for me, either, I assure you. However, he happens to be overly sensitive to sounds and certain pitches (in music, machinery, etc) and this certain pitch truly does cause him pain, so I do feel bad for him that neither of us has come up with a solution to make this stop.

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#4 of 14 Old 08-02-2009, 02:00 PM
 
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Okay, sorry, I didn't mean to upset you when you're here looking for help. It just seems to me like he has a problem, but he is the one walking out while you do all the searching for a solution. That's what I meant by saying he's putting it all on you. I am a little sensitive today and it's hard to sound diplomatic over the internet sometimes, but I really do hope your family finds a way to work through this.
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#5 of 14 Old 08-02-2009, 02:11 PM
 
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As someone with similar auditory issues, it really isn't something her DH can likely work on, short of earplugs (and trust me, they really don't work for some frequencies).

Sure, he can work on helping DC express zirself without screeching, but once the screeching starts, he's probably totally out of the picture. I go fetal with some frequencies. It's insanely painful and sort of makes my brain shut off, you know?

He *could* be evaluated for vestibular disorders. I know that some family members of mine with Meniere's, for example, have issues with certain sounds.

Also, there may be something in the hyperacusis communities which could help. Really, though, My experience is really that I have to give *myself* a time out. Step away, breathe deeply, hope the screeching stops.

Chasing DS since April 2007 and pumping for DD March 2013.

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#6 of 14 Old 08-02-2009, 02:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, sorry, I didn't mean to upset you when you're here looking for help. It just seems to me like he has a problem, but he is the one walking out while you do all the searching for a solution. That's what I meant by saying he's putting it all on you. I am a little sensitive today and it's hard to sound diplomatic over the internet sometimes, but I really do hope your family finds a way to work through this.
He's definitely not walking out, but I can see where you might think that after reading my initial post. He's actually laid off right now, so he's doing a completely even 50/50 parenting with me (normally, I'm the SAHM and he works full-time, but currently, we're BOTH at home full-time while he job searches). He just recently started walking out of the house and sitting on the porch when this happens (only after a multiple set of screeches and trying a few things to make her stop - then he can't take anymore and has to remove himself).

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Originally Posted by jocelyndale View Post

Sure, he can work on helping DC express zirself without screeching, but once the screeching starts, he's probably totally out of the picture. I go fetal with some frequencies. It's insanely painful and sort of makes my brain shut off, you know?

Really, though, My experience is really that I have to give *myself* a time out. Step away, breathe deeply, hope the screeching stops.
That's exactly what happens - he has to leave or he completely shuts down. Giving himself the time out is the only thing that's working, but of course it's not stopping dd's behavior, which is the real issue.

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#7 of 14 Old 08-02-2009, 02:28 PM
 
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she is a baby she can't stop and your dh will have tofind a way to deal with this. it is a phase trust me she will not be doing this when she starts dating. Some phases last a long time some a short time. until she is more verbal this will last.
My stepdad has the same problem and he wears a pair of earprotecters when one of mine does this. the same ones people who work with heavy machinery use.

Adults so often forget that you have to learn to control your emotions and even as adults we still loose our temper etc at times! she is a baby it is unreasonable to expect her to control such intense emotions at her age.

photoblogging crafty Mama to 3 boys (8/04 and twins 08/07)
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#8 of 14 Old 08-02-2009, 03:01 PM
 
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I am just wondering if she would screech through a paper towel roll or something that would some how alter the sound to make it less painful. A towel? Her hands? A kazoo? A toy microphone (one of those toy hollow plastic ones that deaden the sound to all but the user). Maybe teaching her another way to screech would be easier than getting her to stop? You mention that she seems to do it a lot, and not just when she is upset, so I'm wondering if she just likes to screech. If you screech through a paper tube will she copy you?

I had a friend with a sceechy/yelling type kid. He just really enjoyed the sound of all that noise (very sensory seeking) and what turned out to work well was taking him to a tunnel and letting him yell and screech himself to his hearts content every few days. He was a bit older and she was eventually able to use trips to the tunnel as rewards at times.
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#9 of 14 Old 08-02-2009, 03:21 PM
 
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Lina loves screeching into her toys.

And we have had some luck with singing "ahhh" at her when she starts screeching. Kind of hard to explain, but basically matching her pitch and then doing another note on a different pitch, and all more quietly than she's 'talking'. It's not consistent at all, but even when she keeps screeching at least for me the noise is less irritating when I'm singing along.

Do they make white noise CDs? Because maybe really good headphones (like Bose?) and a neutralizing noise would work. Obviously, it'd suck for you talking to him, but it could make the difference for him parenting her.


(I'm quite sad to find out that this still happens at 13 months. I was really hoping that it'd be less by then.)
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#10 of 14 Old 08-02-2009, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm going to have to try the toy trick - that's a great idea!

I've tried screeching back and she thinks it's HYSTERICAL. So then she'll laugh and continue on, so I don't want to reinforce it as positive behavior.

Our clan: Me (25), Dh (29), dd (6/19/08) and ds (10/2/09) :
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#11 of 14 Old 08-02-2009, 06:10 PM
 
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Two words: duct tape.
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#12 of 14 Old 08-02-2009, 06:30 PM
 
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Two words: duct tape.


DS has just started screeching, and it's physically painful at times, so I'm here taking notes.
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#13 of 14 Old 08-02-2009, 06:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Two words: duct tape.



I can't lie and say this thought hasn't crossed my mind a time or two.

Our clan: Me (25), Dh (29), dd (6/19/08) and ds (10/2/09) :
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#14 of 14 Old 08-02-2009, 06:46 PM
 
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I can't lie and say this thought hasn't crossed my mind a time or two.
It's safer than Krazy Glue; that's all I can say.
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