Need help with a SCREAMER! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 09-14-2010, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
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My DS is 1 year old (12 months). And he screams like a banshee.

I hate Hate HATE it! I try to be a patient mama and am trying to be a gentle disciplinarian as much as I can. But that sound physically causes me problems. It's so HIGH pitched that I can literally feel my ears ring and if he's doing it consistently, I'll also get a headache. It also makes me angry. I can't describe how hearing that sound transforms me into Mama Hyde.

I guess I should pause and say that nothing else he does causes me to get angry like this. I feel like I'm pretty level headed about most things, which makes me wonder why I have such a severe reaction to this behavior. He's also a really great kid most of the time and I love him to pieces. This is just our major clash.

Anyway, I lose it when he starts screaming. I don't know how the best way to handle it is, and so I'm not consistent in my discipline with him. I'm also not proud to admit I've started screaming back sometimes. I'm afraid I'll want to spank him if it keeps happening. (I grew up in a spanking home, but I have not ever spanked him yet.) I dislike myself for feeling angry and out of control.

What would be an effective way to handle screaming? Do I ignore it and walk away? Or do I pick him up and try to love on him? Or talk to him about how that's not an appropriate way to express himself?

Nothing really seems to fit and I'm not sure what would be the most effective and kind. Whatever I decide to do, I want to do it consistently so he knows what he can expect. So I want to pick a method that will not make the situation worse, and that I can still do when I'm trying to manage my inner rage.

Any advice? I really need help on this one.
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#2 of 15 Old 09-14-2010, 02:22 PM
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My 11 month old is doing the same thing!!!

Yeah..I've never wanted to hit a child before...I haven't (hit him that is) or truely considered it...but its defiantly crossed my mind.

I've just been walking away until I'm calm and then I say I love you when you are finished we'll talk/ I'll hold you whatever. Or I'm sorry you can't have that you can have this, this is something you can have. and pull it together. All calmly lovingly.

The first pause (usually a big breath) I'll pick him up and hug him, then put him down if he starts screaming again, then pick up again. This goes very quick and it seems to be stopping.

The pattern I've seen is the more on edge I am the more upset during the day he is.

I don't know if what I'm doing is the best thing, but it seems to be working and having a 'plan' helps me stay calm.

It should just be a phase right?

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#3 of 15 Old 09-20-2010, 01:54 PM - Thread Starter
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I still really need help with this. I'm going to lose my sanity and turn into a horrid parent.
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#4 of 15 Old 09-20-2010, 08:10 PM
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My ds2 is 16 months and still does this. I find that it is pretty extreme when he is teething. He will shriek for no reason (so its different than the usual toddler shrieks) It becomes his "teething song" I wish I had some good advice about it. It doesn't bother me like it does my DH. He goes off the handle angry when it happens. He has earplugs that he uses when it gets bad. He can still hear but it takes the edge off.

Good luck! It will get better.

mama to L (4) and G (1.5)
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#5 of 15 Old 09-20-2010, 08:27 PM
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This is my least favorite parenting phase,assuming a child doesn't have colic. I hated it when both my dds went through it. A huge trigger.

Sadly, I don't think there's a way to make a baby that young stop doing anything. I tried whispering to them when they did it, but I'm not sure it helped. I felt like it did but I might have been just trying to make myself feel better.
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#6 of 15 Old 09-21-2010, 11:08 AM
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Mama of a 17mo here...and in the same boat (this thread is slowly becoming a tribe isn't it? )

Right now we're trying to decide how to deal with it. He's quite bright and understands a lot (complicated instructions for ex) but not verbal so, right now, THIS is all he has to express his anger (I'm currently dealing with it as I *just* told him he can't pour my coffee all over the keyboard) We're dealing with the physical violence when he's angry (pinching, hitting, etc...) but we are totally lost on the screaming.

Kas (24), Helpmeet to Stefan (25), Mom to Franklin Gaudelio 4/15/09, Jonathan Boswell 1/2/11
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#7 of 15 Old 09-30-2010, 08:48 AM
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Hi, my 18month old dd has been a shreiker since she was 6 months old! But it comes and it goes. Tends to happen at times she is more tired. In the beginning it was something she did b/c she had just discovered she could actually make the sound, so we ignored it completely. It was hard, but every few months or so she would shreik and look for a response...she didn't get one and then she would stop completely after a day or so and it wouldn't rear its ugly head for another couple of months..

Now, she does it when she's angry, or she wants something. The first couple of times she shreiks we still make no reaction. If it continues, I try one of these things and they always work for us - ask her to "tell me/show me", get down on her level and whisper in her ear or sing a very soft song, change the situation (pick her up and take her to a new toy/activity).

Sometimes I do just want to smack her! B/c that's how I was dealt with as a child, but I remind myself that this is just stuff kids do to test the limits of behavior, AND I don't want her to learn to respond in anger. ALSO, I have a lot of friends who would scream back or yell back at their kids in this situation, and now they have 5 or 6 year olds who are REALLY SCREAMERS and just seem like angry children.

Good luck. I can't say my suggestions will work for you, but I hope the "phase" ends soon for you!
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#8 of 15 Old 10-01-2010, 02:51 PM
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Just wanted to sympathize with the anger you feel. I'm like that too with the pitch my son screams at. He's nearly 5, but he's always had this pitch to his screams that just flip a switch in my brain! I don't know if a 12 mo can stop him/herself from screaming, but it might help you if your first reaction is to step outside for a sec to collect yourself. I've started doing that and it helps.

~helen~ mama to 5 yo twins jonas and micah and my 2 yo baby boy eli
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#9 of 15 Old 10-03-2010, 05:32 PM
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I hate to say this, but my son is nearing 3 and still does this. I have tried everything literally EVERYTHING to get him to stop. I truly do not know what to do with him.

Kris - married to Nate since 12/06, mom to Toby since 1/08. Also servant to two felines. Done having babies for medical reasons.

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#10 of 15 Old 10-03-2010, 06:12 PM
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My 11 mo DS does this, too, and it is so painful to listen to. At first I tried ignoring it, then I tried walking away, neither worked. Lately, I've noticed that he tends to shriek if he's tired, hungry, or unhappy, so I try to quickly get him some food, put him in his play area, and/or get him to nap. I can't wait for this to end, it is pretty much torture.

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#11 of 15 Old 10-03-2010, 09:40 PM
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my 4 year old did this and still does. i do know that magnesium deficiency can influence perception of sound, and that food chemical intolerances can contribute to 'loud talking' and other noisy kid issues- see of course no one is pumping their one year old with food coloring, but it could come through breastmilk. as for us, i am going to get her singing lessons when she turns 8, and hope she likes opera!
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#12 of 15 Old 10-04-2010, 06:24 PM
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My DD used to do this a lot starting right around 12 months, she's pretty much stopped all together now at 23 months. Here's what I did, inspired by Dr. Sears:
When she first started doing it I would get down really close to her and say in a whisper, "Are you screaming?", and she'd say yes, then I'd whisper "Oh" and walk away. As she got more verbal I'd ask her in a whisper "What are you doing?". She would think and then say "screaming", and I would say "oh" in a whisper then walk away.
I would never give her anything as a result of the scream. Sometimes if she kept screaming I'd ask (in a whisper) "Why", and she mostly didn't have an answer and that would stop her.
She just learned that she could not really get anything by screaming and she eventually stopped.
Good luck!
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#13 of 15 Old 10-04-2010, 09:33 PM
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Yup,part of the tribe!
my 12 month old is the chillest coolest little dude in town,just don't make him mad!!! he can scream! he hates the car and loves climbing,those are the 2 times he screams the most.In the car I just tune it out,we have to get home or to our destination and I get us there. I will give him a reassuring little pat.If you block the stairs or couch or a bed or chair as he is about to go up it he will take quite the fit. I very softly say "I'm sorry dude,not for climbing right now". I walk away,he screams a second then goes back to playing. Sometimes I'll go get a toy I know he loves and put it in front of him,sometimes I go turn on some music and start singing around the house.They are very very little and young and have no clue whatsoever how to regulate their emotions and it is up to us to help them deal with these powerful emotions. When you scream back you are saying "yup screaming works".It is really awful to want to scream "shut up" at your screaming baby,rescue remedy works great,take it from me.I am reading a great book for parents from abusive homes its called: becoming the parent you want to be...or something like that its downstairs and dh is cleaning down there and will stop if i go down.It's all about the hard work of doing the right thing by our kids and figuring out why when and what we need to do to change these patterns.
The thing that helps me the very most with my frustration with my sons screaming is realizing that 1 he is just a very little baby and 2 screaming back will only make him frightened and teach him (and mydd) really bad habits.

I'm very happy that you posted this thank you so much for sharing and creating this screaming baby tribe!
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#14 of 15 Old 10-05-2010, 12:11 AM
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Ugh. DS was a screamer when he was younger but has mostly grown out of it. Besides whispering another thing I found that helps is to disengage for a moment...

First warning is to tell him it hurts my ears. If he continues screaming I cover my ears and bow my head (so pretty much totally disengage).

This helps in three ways:
1) I save my hearing and a bit of my sanity
2) DS usually stops screaming to ask what I'm doing and
3) DS simply doesn't like me doing it for some reason (I think it's the disengaging part).

I actually feel it's helpful in teaching him that certain negative behaviours with trigger a negative reaction in someone else, but I can also respond quickly as soon as he's stopped screaming and suggest phrasing (ie "Instead of screaming you can just say 'Help please'") if it's due to frustration or anger.

I should add though that DS never screamed much in anger so much as for the sake of making noise. It wa just kind of random for him.

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#15 of 15 Old 10-05-2010, 08:16 AM
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Parenting From The Inside Out: How a deeper self understanding can help you raise children who thrive

Daniel Siegel M.d and Mary Hartzell,M.ed
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