Lori's Blog

parenting, screaming, child therapist

Lori’s Little Wisdoms Vlog – Anatomy of Screaming

When a young child screams or tantrums after being told no for a toy or a cookie or because he does not want to go to bed, what is a parent’s best course of action. Responses to whining, screaming and crying begin in infancy when children are completely dependent and nonverbal. It is a parent’s legal and moral obligation to attend dutifully to an infant and provide for all of their developmental needs. However, it is imperative for parents to be mindful of the evolving capacity of their children as they grow older, especially as it relates to language. When a child is able to make deliberate sounds, such as “Ma” for mom, “Da” for dad and “Bye” for bye-bye, verbal expectations must follow suit. Toddlers and preschool-age youth continue to scream and tantrum, not because of an inability to communicate needs, feelings and ideas, but because parental expectations have not changed. Young people continue to utilize unwanted vocalizations because they are rewarded with a response. Screaming and whining are easily transformed into meaningful sounds, words and even sign language when parents require it. When your child has an outburst, be willing to wait for that inappropriate display to cease. Once calm and focused, redirect the behavior by modeling appropriate words for your child to emulate and, in no time, your child will make the connection between language, your response and getting needs, feelings and ideas heard and met in age-appropriate ways.

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