Jump to content
Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

Screaming Toddler


Recommended Posts

Hello all,

From my four years of lurking around the MP boards, I realize that there are a lot of parents on this board, possibly someone has some decent advice for me.

I am the proud father of a 22 month old toddler, and a three month old infant.

The toddler has developed an amazingly annoying habit. In the event that he can't have something, or is prohibited from doing something, he cries for a few seconds (no tears), then he goes into a screaming fit. This is no baby squeal, this is full-on banshee, slasher flick type shrieking.

When this happens, I firmly tell him "no screaming" and it stops temporarily. However the next time he is faced with a scenario not to his liking (being seated in a high chair or being told he cannot do something), the 90db scream begins.

For the sake of my hearing and sanity, does anyone have any recommendations or previous experience with this type of thing?

Thanks all,

Jason

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 39
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Don't give in. He is doing his job - testing you to find his limits. If you give in to the screaming, he will know that it works and it will continue. Instead, when he starts the screaming, calmly let him know that it is inappropriate and say 'no' to whatever he is screaming for. If it gets on your nerves and you start feeling angry or want to yell or worse, remove him from the situation entirely. I used to keep a playpen in a "quiet room" and when the screaming got to be too much, I'd put my son in there. This is a learning phase for your son. As soon as it sinks in that he won't get what he wants by screaming, it will stop. Some kids get it quickly, some are more stubborn. The key is; dont get upset and definitely don't give in.

 

Good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know if the 'duct tape method' is legal in your state. But here are my thoughts:

 

1. NEVER reward the behaviour, or I promise you'll get much more of it.

You probably already know this, but I see parents giving into their kids inapropriate demands all the time. Big mistake. So, I thought I would mention it.

 

2. Try setting up a chair in a corner away from people. It could be his 'screaming chair'. He's not allowed to scream unless he goes and sits in the chair. Once you start applying some rules and conditions, the behaviour will probably start to subside.....unless you reward it, that is.

 

Screaming might be the way he deals with the stress of not getting what he wants, as well. So, having a chair in the corner, away from distractions might also help him calm himself.

Super 8

 

Hear my stuff here

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by PBBPaul:

Don't give in. He is doing his job - testing you to find his limits. If you give in to the screaming, he will know that it works and it will continue. Instead, when he starts the screaming, calmly let him know that it is inappropriate and say 'no' to whatever he is screaming for. If it gets on your nerves and you start feeling angry or want to yell or worse, remove him from the situation entirely. I used to keep a playpen in a "quiet room" and when the screaming got to be too much, I'd put my son in there. This is a learning phase for your son. As soon as it sinks in that he won't get what he wants by screaming, it will stop. Some kids get it quickly, some are more stubborn. The key is; dont get upset and definitely don't give in.

 

Good luck!

I second this! I'll take it a step further by suggesting that you inform him when he goes into time-out that his ill behavior is the reason he is being placed in time out. Let him know that once he stops crying and settles down in his behavior, he'll be allowed to come back out and play and maybe... if he's a good boy... let him know he can "help". Reassure him that if he starts into one of his temper tantrums again for no reason, he'll be right back to ground zero in his pen. As Paul said, don't give in.

 

However, I'll also add that your son is most likely suffering from typical sibling rivalry. Whenever there is a newborn in the home, there is automatically a threat to one that is used to being #1 and only. Although you and your wife may try to give both children equal time; what adults see as necessary nurturing, such as feeding, diaper changing, burping, pampering, and etc... the toddler may view what he sees as "playtime". He's more capable of handling himself, so he's easily overlooked when the infant NEEDS attention. Your son has probably noticed that when the baby cries... mom or dad goes running to see what the need is; hence, his reason for crying. When the crying doesn't grab the attention for him as it does for the baby; he moves to a more effective tool to gain attention. Where positive attention is not available, negative attention will get results.... even if they are adverse results; it's him getting the time instead of the infant.

 

If you don't already do this, try to include your boy with the nurturing of the baby. I know it is difficult to allow yourself to trust a 2 year old with an infant, but special measures sometimes need to be taken to keep resentment from fostering. Under VERY CLOSE supervision (and a guiding adult hand to hold his hand when necessary) allow him to feed the baby it's bottle. Hold him on your lap while allowing him to hold the baby; of course your hand will be supporting the baby's head while the other hand will secure the two from quick movement of the toddler.

 

Acknowledging your toddlers' feelings of rejection (whether you realize it or not) will help him to better accept the infant as a part of the rest of your lives.

 

Just advice from an ole mother hen, here. :D

You can take the man away from his music, but you can't take the music out of the man.

 

Books by Craig Anderton through Amazon

 

Sweetwater: Bruce Swedien\'s "Make Mine Music"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ignore Ignore Ignore. Even negative attention resulting from the screaming is attention. Remember who is in control (that would be the parents, btw), stay amazingly calm, put him somewhere that he doesn't have an audience, and don't let him come back until he quits.

 

Some incentive - the baby is learning from the older sibling, so if you do it right, you won't have to go through as much of the same thing with the younger sibling when they get older.

 

You and your spouse may also want to take 1 kid each for some good one-on-one time whenever you can.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you everyone for your insightful comments, your time and thoughts are appreciated.

A few notes to clarify the situation:

- the sibling rivalry is not really there, the toddler is thrilled with the infant, we keep him involved in changing him, feeding, holding. Same with attention, a lot of solo trips to the parks/playground/beach for the toddler. The screaming is strictly a case-sensitive reaction to not getting his way.

- Is 22 months too young for a time out? I could put him in his room after he screams, my guess is he'll totally freak out, we've never left him alone or isolated him after we tell him he's done something bad (I've heard you need to wait until they're older?). In public, I guess I take him outside and calmly tell him no screaming. If that doesn't work, then what?

Much appreciated,

Dahkter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

PBB is on the mark.

 

Here's some other food for thought. My little one is three later this month.

 

Toddlers do not like surprises. Everything must be conditioned. You can't pick him up from a pile of toys and say "bath time! Here we go!" You have to prepare. The script goes something like this:

 

Me: "bath time in a few minutes"

Me: "Not right now, in a little while"

Child: (sheepishly) "OK"

Me: "a few more minutes we get a bath"

Me: "Not right now, in a little while"

Child: (sheepishly) "OK"

Me: "OK, one more (whatever you are doing) and then we get a bath"

Child (usually ;) )"OK"

Me: (gently) "OK, that's it, bath time"

Child: "NO!"

Me: "Did we just talk about this? We said one more time, now were done; let's go get bath"

Child: (sheepishly) "OK"

 

Works 9 times out of 10.

 

Then, when the bath is done, he doesn't want to get out of the tub, despite not wanting to get in ten minutes earlier. :rolleyes:

 

The other thing I do if the behavior is unacceptable, is to physically remove him from the scene. Try to reserve raising your voice for true safety issues.

 

I really don't recommend too much ignoring, though there are sometimes when that is the best response.

 

Draw limits now, because if you don't have a foundation, the grade-schooler and teenager of the future will really go off the wall on you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't give in. The most important part is making sure you and your wife present a united front. It doesn't do any good for dad to be firm if mom is saying "Awww, but he's upset". So, that has to be the first groundrule. That's not to say either one of you can't comfort the little guy if he gets truly upset...but it has to be along the lines of:

 

(cuddle) Now, you know mommy's right. I'll give you a hug, but, you can't behave that way.

 

And NEVER:

 

(cuddle) Poor wittle guy, mommy's so MEAN, isn't she?

 

Again, rule number one, husband and wife reinforce each other 100 percent in front of junior. That's not to say you won't ever disagree, but if you do, do it in PRIVATE.

"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by dahkter:

In public, I guess I take him outside and calmly tell him no screaming. If that doesn't work, then what?

Much appreciated,

Dahkter

Sometimes you just have to be prepared to give something up.

 

Last month, we went to a church pageant starring two of his cousins. He made it partway through and started acting up - climbing here there and everywhere, refusing any offered distraction like crayons or a drink - I walked him outside, calmed him down, and took one more try. Lasted two minutes. I spent the rest of the show in the lobby with him :( Just had to miss some of the show to keep from spoiling everyone else's thing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Billster, I didn't mean to ignore the kid, I meant to not respond to the behavior. Take him elsewhere, put him in timeout (1 min for each year old). He may freak out at first, but he'll figure it out.

 

Also avoid getting into the trap of debating issues with your kids. If you're saying no and you mean no and you tell them why once, then that's it, don't discuss it further. Again, they're looking for more attention. They're fishing, don't take the bait.

 

The parental united front that someone else mentioned is also critical. Both parents have to be on the same page, even when one isn't there.

 

Consistency and predictability are both ingredients for success.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm thinking one of those pocket-sized, canister-powered stadium air horns in response to the screaming, would be good...y'know, a little "one-upsmanship".

 

'course, there might be a diaper change in your immediate future, but it's a small price to pay, methinks.

 

 

I can be louder than you...

I've upped my standards; now, up yours.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Billster:

I spent the rest of the show in the lobby with him :( Just had to miss some of the show to keep from spoiling everyone else's thing.
You could teach a few parents that I know... ;):thu:

Botch

"Eccentric language often is symptomatic of peculiar thinking" - George Will

www.puddlestone.net

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Time outs work great. Also don't let him know he's getting to you, that's what he wants.

 

If all else fails try bribery. Ground him from something he really likes. I don't know what the experts say but when push comes to shove it always works for me like a charm. Give him the choice of continuing his behavior or being grounded or having something taken away from him. That way it's his choice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Botch.:

Originally posted by Billster:

I spent the rest of the show in the lobby with him :( Just had to miss some of the show to keep from spoiling everyone else's thing.
You could teach a few parents that I know... ;):thu:
There is always the age old solution of a baby sitter. I dislike people who bring the young children to movie theaters, especially the ones that keep them there duing a temper tantrum.

KB Gunn

website: www.visionoutreach.net

 

....government is a necessary evil, but it is dangerous nonetheless ... somewhat like a drug. Just as a drug that in the proper dosage can save your life, an overdose of government can be fatal.

-Neal Boortz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by dahkter:

In public, I guess I take him outside and calmly tell him no screaming. If that doesn't work, then what?

Much appreciated,

Dahkter

Have you considered electro-shock therapy?? Not for the child, but for you!!

:wave:

KB Gunn

website: www.visionoutreach.net

 

....government is a necessary evil, but it is dangerous nonetheless ... somewhat like a drug. Just as a drug that in the proper dosage can save your life, an overdose of government can be fatal.

-Neal Boortz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by dahkter:

A few notes to clarify the situation:- the sibling rivalry is not really there, the toddler is thrilled with the infant

I'm not surprised. The rivalry bit probably won't start happening until your older one has to start sharing. That's how it's working for me, anyway. My son is almost exactly 2 years older than my daughter. He was fine with her until she got old enough to start taking an interest in his stuff.

 

- Is 22 months too young for a time out?

Probably not, as long as it's only maybe 2 minutes. It really depends on the child though. My daughter is 25 months, and we are starting to time her out for stuff. It works pretty well. We have chair facing a wall, and a timer.

 

I could put him in his room after he screams, my guess is he'll totally freak out, we've never left him alone or isolated him after we tell him he's done something bad (I've heard you need to wait until they're older?).

That's why I recomended the chair. If he's going to scream, he has to go to the chair. You may have to lead him there and sit close to him while he's sitting there. That way you know he stays there.

 

You can't stop the screaming. But you can put conditions on the screaming that will hopfully make it a real pain in the ass for him to do it.

Once he realizes that screaming doesn't yield any results, and it becomes a hassle because he has to sit in his chair while he does it, he'll probably stop doing it.

That's my guess.

 

In public, I guess I take him outside and calmly tell him no screaming. If that doesn't work, then what?

Then you leave.

 

I give my kids a warning when they are acting up that either they change their behavior or we are leaving....no if's, and's, or buts. They know I mean it too. We've only had to do it a few times, so it must have left an impression.

 

They're pretty good in public....unless, of course they are tired, and then you are screwed no matter what you do.

Super 8

 

Hear my stuff here

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You've received enough good advice here. I just wanted to add that all kids are very different in this regard.

 

I was one of those kids that almost never cried, much less screamed. Conversely, my little sister was a screaming banshee from hell. In addition to the screaming, she would have full body tantrums in public, throwing herself in the air and pulling her own hair out when she didn't get her way.

 

My own son leans more in my direction... he'll get mad, but he's never been a big "scream until I get my way" kid... mostly because he found out it doesn't work that way in this house. It's never too early to say, "That is unacceptable behavior." Ignoring it (or trying to) means implicitly condoning it, so my only advice would be to make sure the child knows that the screaming isn't helping the situation.

 

- Jeff

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't ignore the kid, but ignore the screaming. When my son was a baby, my wife would blow gently in his face and for some odd reason he would stop. I never figured out why that worked.

 

Later in his toddler stage, when he would try to pull the give me a chocolate bar or I'll scream routine, we'd just ignore it. Sometimes we'd whisper to him and he'd quiet down to hear what we were saying.

 

Give in now, I can guarantee a lifetime of getting walked over.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Jeff Da Weasel:

Originally posted by Super 8:

That's why I recomended the chair.

The Chair? Seems a little harsh. :D

 

- Jeff

http://www.worth1000.com/entries/25500/25922_w.jpg

 

Something from "The Addams Family" playroom?

"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd go with a good beating before the electrical options.

 

Oh, :D .

 

We had a screamer, uh, have a screamer. That would be our third, who is just a wee older than 4. The doc always said "Ignore!", and that any attention, whether it be positive or negative was still attention.

 

Well ignoring it is tough at times. I mean damn, it's loud and makes your hair stand on end.

But it does work, and as she got older, she's learned to communicate more effectively without screaming.

 

But still, when she wants our immediate attention, man can she yell. Hang in there, see what works. I never feel that there's a guaranteed solution for anything when it comes to kids.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Earplugs work great... Put on a big smile and let them know it's going to be a while! My wife and I adopted 5 kids from 2 to 8 and all inbetween. I have one that can imitate screams of the others. Makes it difficult sometimes, careful not to add to the negative attention. Our guys all have craved it... In our case we even had to remove everything but the bed, blankets and pillow. The rest of the stuff can be earned /taken back by behaviour! Because a 1/2 hour up there with the toys can be fun!! It's always better to tap, tap tap... As instead of sending them away for 2 hours, send them up for the 5 minutes... It the trip up that drives them nuts! For about 5 months the eldest went up 10-20 x's a day! He was (I stress was) used to driving everyone crazy in many ways... But he thrived in caos. He's made huge steps forward! I see my guys follow rules better then my nephews.. It may seem harsh, but depending on the level of stubborness(sp). Might only take a couple of weeks! I had to cancel one on one dad's Saturday out cause of behaviour, the look on the ones face when the others go..(Cause in the previous house they could ruin everyones day out). Of course even when it's hard you must always say you love them dearly but find what they've done unacceptable!
Smile if you're not wearin panties.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by felix:

Billster, I didn't mean to ignore the kid, I meant to not respond to the behavior. Take him elsewhere, put him in timeout (1 min for each year old). He may freak out at first, but he'll figure it out.

 

Also avoid getting into the trap of debating issues with your kids. If you're saying no and you mean no and you tell them why once, then that's it, don't discuss it further. Again, they're looking for more attention. They're fishing, don't take the bait.

 

The parental united front that someone else mentioned is also critical. Both parents have to be on the same page, even when one isn't there.

 

Consistency and predictability are both ingredients for success.

Yeah, you're right. I try to focus on whatever the task at hand is, not the screaming. How many different ways can I say "No, we're going to do this" ;)

 

 

Hey KB Gunn: I never understood a child under 5 or 6 in a movie theater. Family type events like a big sister's dance recital are different. You just expect a little chaos. But if a kid can't last for an hour in ideal circumstances, why do people drag them into theaters?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bill - LOL on your "take a bath" story...

One general note after reading this, it also helps to keep the parents voices down as often as possible so the kids know what's appropriate - unity gain as we like to say...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's a different perspective. The toddler is seeking to influence his environment.

 

You want to balance two things. One is that you wish to establish parental authority. The other is that you wish to tell the toddler that he is important. I don't think that your sanity is a major criterion. Parents of young children should expect to be insane. (I've got a 3 and a 6 year old and I'm insane. ;) )

 

Only you can strike the right balance in how you do it. Firmness is important, and so is compassion. Birth order is important too. Remember your toddler has recently been displaced from his place of primacy with you. His parental lifeline has just been reduced in bandwidth by 50% or more. So he is responding with the tools he has.

 

Sometimes parents are more firm than ideal with the older child and less firm than ideal with the younger. However you resolve the firmness debate is up to you.

 

However, do some one-on-one dates with him (especially the dad). And allow the grandparents / aunts / uncles / friends to take him out and spoil him occasionally.

 

You should be commended for thinking about your child's well being. I'm cheering for you and your family,

 

Jerry

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:rolleyes:

Am I the only one around here that thinks that a well placed pop on the ass is not only an option, but sometimes necessary?

-Steve

-----------------------------------

Sometimes ya gotta find out what it ain't, to find out what it is...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...