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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
our ds is 4, and has started a bad habit of screaming nonstop. We know he is not in pain because he will stop to ask for ice cream/cookie/candy and when we say no he continues like someone cut off his legs. We usually put him in his room for as many minutes as he is old, but he doesn't care. He will scream for hours if he feels like it. Our christian friends tell us we should give our son a good beating and he'll never cry again. We would NEVER hit our child!<br>
Last night he started screaming and we put him in his room. He continued for about 10-15 min and finally stopped to a knock on the door. A caring neighbor called the police to report child abuse in our home. They did a background check on us and we heard them stick around our house after the fact to see what we would do. I am humiliated and upset, but understanding. The question is, how do we get him to stop doing this without our neighbors thinking we beat our child?
 

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I have no advice on getting him to stop screaming, but I would consider inviting the neighbors over whn you know an episode is likely to happen so they can see what is going on with their own eyes. Like a dinner invite or game night etc....
 

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I would call the police too if I heard a child screaming like you're describing. You can't really fault them for that.<br><br>
I'm so thankful to read that you don't spank your child!<br>
But I am concerned to hear your child screams for so long and alone. Clearly he feels very sad and misunderstood inside. I know this must be very hard for all of you.<br><br>
And if he stops to ask for ice cream/cookie/candy by all means let him have it! No need to create issues there. If you don't want him to have those things then don't have them in your home so that it's not such an issue and at least sympathize with his desire.
 

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Good Lord, what kind of Christians would encourage you to beat a child?!?<br><br>
Sheesh. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/angry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="angry">
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for your replies. We don't have good relations with most of our neighbors. They dislike the fact that we are renting our house while we finish school. We never leave him in his room longer than 2-3 min before coming in and talking to him, trying to hug etc. It's when he tries to kick the door down that I tell him he will have to stay in longer if he can't tell me what is wrong. I just don't know how else to deal with it. If I try to pick him up or hold him he gets mad. I'm hoping this is a stage that will pass. The screaming about treats happens because it is rare that he gets these things. If he sees candy in the store he screams all the way home if he doesn't get it. I'm getting used to it, but other people are not.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;"><i>Originally posted by sparklemom</i><br><b><br>
And if he stops to ask for ice cream/cookie/candy by all means let him have it! No need to create issues there. If you don't want him to have those things then don't have them in your home so that it's not such an issue and at least sympathize with his desire.</b></td>
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Let him have it? So then he realizes that screaming makes his parents give in to whatever he wants? Hmmmm...... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/confused.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Confused"><br><br><br>
Anyway, maybe sit down and explain that it is not a good thing to have the police called and maybe give him some of the repercusions(sp?) of what will happen if they are called again due to his screaming. I would not give him what he wanted though.
 

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No surprise that suggestion doesn't flow over well with some...<br><br>
I never like to see food of any sort turned into an issue at all. ever.<br><br>
Also, far worse than the horror of hearing him scream would be for him to learn that he has to stuff his feelings inside rather than let them out. At least his screaming is a physical release of his negative feelings---if he is told and threatened not to scream but yet the underlying problem of why he is screaming in the first place is not addressed and respected then his true problems could escalate in a dangerous and unhealthy way.<br><br>
I would not threaten him or get mad at him for these episodes. I would feel compassionately towards him and let him know that you truly want to help him feel better. And, again, pick your battles---if, for example, you're at a store and he wants some candy on the way out then get him some and move on! Respect is often a give and take. Children learn by example. As hard as it is for us parents sometimes, it's also hard to be a kid.
 

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My dd is only 4.5 months old but she recently discovered how good she can screem... she has incredible lungs, lol<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"> and after a screaming session she just laughes a lot... anyways, on labor day I discovered a blister in her leg and I called the ped but wasn't available so I called 911 to ask for advice (I wanted to make sure it wasn't an spider bite or else). My dd was screaming very happy so the operator decided to send an ambulance, I told her that I could go to ER by myself if that was necesary but she insisted twice. So they came, by that time dd wasn't screaming anymore, just smiling very happy, and this people was all over the house, then I realized that they thought I was abusing my child and wanted to check out! Finally they commented about how clean was the house with a baby and pets and how happy and healthy the baby looks and of course disregarded the possibility of a bug's bite. Just wanted to share it with you because I think that my little one will still be a good screamer when she grows old... you are not alone:LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I agree, food should never be an issue. That's why we try to never have problem foods in the house. I did tell him that if he screamed again the police will come. That made him pretty quiet when he started up again. Is that considered threatening? it seems that I am constantly worrying about any punishment and how it could be misconstrued.<br>
Our friends from church spank their children for just about everything, including spanking their 1 1/2 yr. ds for pooping in his diaper and not telling them in time for the toilet. I feel so horrible about it and never want to punish my child in a way that might be seen as wrong. After seeing the way they punish, I'm scared to even say something to my ds about his behavior.
 

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Oh, wow! How sad for you and your son. I always feel a little nervous about bringing this up b/c I don't want to push things on people, but since you said you're Christian and looking for non-punitive ways to parent your child, I would like to recommend looking into Grace-Based Parenting. It is a non-punitive while non-permissive style of parenting that is respectful of the child and the parent and very, very practical. Please check out the forums and articles at <a href="http://www.GentleMothering.com" target="_blank">www.GentleMothering.com</a> and the articles at <a href="http://www.aolff.org" target="_blank">www.aolff.org</a><br><br>
The thing that has helped me most, however, is to be a part of the group <a href="http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PositiveChristianAP/" target="_blank">http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PositiveChristianAP/</a> The ladies there are wonderful and I have learned SO much in the 18 mos. I've been a part of it. I would invite you to join (be sure to put yourself on "daily digest" when given the option) and post your scenario - you will get many thoughtful and helpful responses. Crystal Lutton, who "owns" the list, is wonderful and just came to speak at our church a couple weeks ago. And as far as people who aren't Christians, it's not an exclusive club by any means - the principles of GBD can be applied within any spiritual beliefs.<br><br>
As far as spanking and Christians - this is a very hot topic. In fact, I got a letter just the other day from a lady who's into Growing Kids God's Way (very punitive) who was accusing me of being un-Biblical since I am non-punitive. Well, despite what she and "they" may think, the Bible does NOT say to punish your child - it says to discipline. How we discipline may differ, but I just want to emphasize the fact the the Bible does NOT say to spank.<br><br>
This post is getting long, and I realize I never really addressed your original post! Well, anyways, please join the PCAP group and check out some of those links. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Hi bendmom,<br><br>
My ds had his screaming phase when he was about 24 months, till he was almost 3 yrs. He could carry on for up to an hour, sometimes longer if he wanted. Good news, it was a phase, it did end. But it was a long year. I know I'll never forget it.<br><br>
When he would start screaming, I would try to distract him into doing something else, anything else besides screaming. For example, if he was screaming because he wanted a toy, I'd pick him up, take him to the table and try to get him to color. Or some other activity that wasn't about the toy he couldn't have.<br><br>
If he wanted some kind of food that he couldn't have, I'd try to tempt him with something he could have. Like, no cookie, but he could have a grape, and I'd show him cool things to do with the grape, like how it could fly into his mouth, or roll around on the table or whatever.<br><br>
It was exhausting at times, but there was always something to distract him with. It makes you get real imaginative. I know it's tough, but hang in there, and good luck.
 

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My very strong willed 7 year old does this too. I have worried about the neighbors calling the police,b/c quite honestly it sounds like an axe murder going on when she gets going. The only advice I can offer is to try to avoid triggers (I know my daughter is more likely to have a meltdown when overtired/off schedule) and comfort yourself that it gets less and less with time. She hardly ever does it anymore, but a year ago it was still a rather frequent occurance. My oldest son did the same thing when he was younger, but stopped at a much earlier age. I think it is just a temperment thing b/c I have 4 other children who were never screamers.<br><br>
FWIW, my parents think I should smack her too. Yeah, that's the ticket. Smack a screaming kid & see if they stop screaming. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rolleyes">:
 

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I would be careful about telling him the police are going to come if he screams. He may begin to fear the police in general.<br><br>
Also, remember to acknowledge his feelings. Once he's calm enough to actually hear you say to him "You must feel SO sad!" or "You're really irritated with me right now" "You must be so angry with me" "You feel really upset because...." Acknowledging how he is feeling will help him feel calmer.
 

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What a tight spot to be in. On one hand you have a screaming child and neighbors who are concerned enough to call the police. On the other hand you have the lessons to teach from the situation. You don't want your child to be afraid to scream for the police when or if a situation arose that he needed their help, but you also don't want him to draw them when they are not needed. It might be a good time for the story of the little boy who cried wolf. You can end it however you like (the real ending was rather gorey.) He needs to know that the police are there to help us when we need them but that they are also very busy with real crimes and they shouldn't be bothered with false alarms. He also needs to know that screaming is not the best way to communicate his feelings. I think it is a temperment thing as a previous poster said, but I think it stems from the same out of control feelings that children get that cause other misbehaviors (for lack of a better word.) I say pick a time that he is calm and talk about other ways of expressing extreme emotions. If he must scream maybe he could do it into his pillow so as not to concern the neighbors. I'm just throwing thoughts out there. You may have already exhausted these ideas and need some real help. Hang in there. You'll get through this too.
 

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How about you just stop saying no?<br>
I don't mean by saying yes, just by opening up conversations instead of shutting him down.<br><br>
ds-"I want some candy"<br>
mom-"you would like candy" or "I see" or "lets make a list of all the kinds you would get" or give him a small notebook and tell him to copy the names of the kind he wants.<br><br>
Responding like this really makes him feel like his thoughts and feelings are important and not just wrong.<br><br>
I also agree that talking about ways to express his anger when he is not mad could help, but by the time someone is so upset all they really need is some love and support. Have you read the tantrum article that was in Mothering last nov? <a href="http://mothering.com/15-0-0/html/15-2-0/tantrums.shtml" target="_blank">tantrums</a><br><br>
And yeah I think that telling him the police will come is threatening.
 

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I don't think telling him the police will come is threatening if you explain it right. Maybe by telling him that the police are there to help him when he needs it and he is really in trouble or hurt, but having them come because he screams over candy is not what they are there for.<br><br>
I agree over food issues, however, I don't consider candy/cookies to be food. My kids would eat that all day if I let them and we have had plenty of screaming fits with my almost 5 year old, but just because he screams doesn't mean he is getting what he wants. I tell him I will listen to him when he can talk so I can understand him. Screaming gets him no where and he has pretty much figured that out.
 

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you can't tell the mom of a screamer what to do unless you are also the mom of a screamer!<br><br>
joe does this occasionally & it is LOUD!<br><br>
do not give in to him, unless you want the screaming episodes to occur more frequently! try to wait him out, & i think too you could invite the neighbors over. have they never heard of temper tantrums?<br><br>
i am a Christian, but i would NEVER advocate the horrible ezzo & pearls, many of us are not like that!<br><br>
& i would tell your son if he screams the police might come~ it isn't a threat, it's TRUE.<br><br>
good luck, hope this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thank you canadiyank for the links. We started going back to church again, but as a vegitarian, enviro friendly, AP family, it's hard to fit in. We hope he will grow out of this stage soon, and thanks moms for your advice, that's why I come here.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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duh, how did i double post?<br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/sleeping.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="sleeping">
 

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Gosh, I sure don't know. My kids are younger but I do know they learn very quickly what gets attention. Does he do it deliberately; ie. when you say NO, he looks at you and opens his mouth? Any chance at all you can just simply ignore it and live life around him; ie. give him absolutely no attention for this? I teach 5 y.o. and I have learned that ANY attention at all, even if negative, is often what kids are seeking.<br>
I'd hold off on talking about the police b/c it could seem threatening OR it could seem rewarding.<br>
Could you get a note from your dr. about how screaming can be developmental and drop it on your neighbors' door? Silly and stupid, I know. But, maybe they don't know and maybe they'd respect "authority." <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rolleyes">:<br><br>
Does he play often w/other kids? Maybe preschool would be a good stimulus for him.<br>
I work really hard w/my toddler to identify all of his feelings and to "use his words."<br><br>
Dunno re: food. I wouldn't give in. IMHO that rewards him. Maybe it'll stop the present behavior, but you've taught him something about getting what he wants.<br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/headscratch.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="headscratch"><br>
Best of luck!!
 
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