Ladies and gentlemen, my child is a screamer. There, I said it. The cat’s out of the bag. (Though, if you’ve ever been in a 20 foot radius of my son for more than five minutes, then you already knew.)
He screams when he’s frustrated. He screams when he’s mad. He screams when he’s hurt, tired, scared, excited, playful, even happy. He screams.
Not just a loud yell, I’m talking a SCREAM. High-pitched, bouncing off the walls and your eardrums, stop-you-in-your-tracks screams.
It catches us off guard every single time. And we’re sort of used to it. So, it stands to reason that it would catch strangers off guard too. So, if he decides it’s a moment worthy of a scream, and we happen to be, I don’t know, at the library (true story), a lot of heads turn in our direction.
And those heads then give a good shake of disapproval, and then they go back to whatever it is they are doing.
Sometimes, I let the screaming go on a bit, so he knows he can’t get what he wants just by screaming. This irritates the hell out of people, even if we’re in a crowded park in the middle of the city, urban noises coming from every direction. A time when a child’s scream should just blend in.
I know it seems like I’m used to the screaming, and I’m tuning it out. But that’s not the case, it really isn’t. I’m just trying to let him get the screaming out of his system in a place where I think it’s ok for him to do that.
It’s not something we taught him either. We don’t go around screaming at top high-pitched volume every time something doesn’t go our way. So, if you think that’s why kids scream, you’re completely wrong.
(Though, he might get it from me, in a way. A half dozen or so times in my life, I’ve been so upset, so angry, so sad, I couldn’t think of anything to do but scream. But, I will be alone in my house or in my car. Not in the middle of the pediatrician’s waiting room.)
And, the woman who said quietly (but not quietly enough) after Bowie screamed once at the grocery store, “What a terrible child.” She’s wrong too. He’s not a terrible child. A child isn’t terrible for screaming. And I’m not just saying that because he’s my kid.
Children are still learning how to identify their feelings. And they are still learning how to communicate those feelings. And they are learning how to cope with situations where their parents don’t know what they’re trying to communicate. It can be a difficult, isolated world they live in sometimes. I think a good, loud scream is warranted sometimes.
Screaming: it’s the new tantrum.
That said, it’s still a seventh level of Hell to deal with it as a parent. I’ve tried everything in my power to “predict triggers” and “avoid problem situations” but they still seem to find us. Everywhere. What can I do? Do I discipline him? Is it just a phase he will outgrow?
I’m so frustrated. I just want to SCREEEAAAAMMM!