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How much screaming for a 2.5 yr old...

(12 Posts)
NoNoNoMYDoIt Sat 20-Aug-11 18:26:30

On average, in a day would you say?

Because it feels like she screams all day long. It's worse around mealtimes and bedtimes and bathtimes and all times in between basically...

Really everything makes her scream. She doesn't understand consequences, so the reward chart isn't working. She is capable of screaming for an hour or more. I don't know how to get her to stop. I ignore her mostly, but she just goes on and on.

Is this normal or should I be concerned?

kindlekid0 Sat 20-Aug-11 18:31:45

What is her speech like? Is she easy to understand or is it from frustration?

I have a 2.9 year old and she doesn't scream to get her own way at all. She argues quite a bit and cries loudly when upset but no screaming. Don't think dd1 screamed like that either.

wompoopigeon Sat 20-Aug-11 18:33:49

Ok you'll feel like she can do it all day long. I completely empathise.
And doing it for an hour plus is not unusual.
However, from your post it's hard to judge because you don't give us an average day (today perhaps) and the number/ length of tantrums. When I counted carefully it was less than I felt, but still 6ish full-on tantrums a day, one lasting an hour (bedtime) and the rest shorter. HV noted that DD slept and ate ok and was otherwise thriving, and advised I just had a difficult sensitive child. She gave good tips on dealing it. Do you have a good HV?

VeraCanSignChocolateAndWine Sat 20-Aug-11 18:53:06

At 2 years my dd2 could scream all day. And I mean all day.

Has this screaming just started or has it been going on for a while? Have you changed something?

Also what kindle asked.. How is her speech? hearing ?

How is her behaviour generally screaming aside?

NoNoNoMYDoIt Sat 20-Aug-11 19:20:28

thanks all. her speech is excellent. she can chat the hind leg of a donkey. but she doesn't understand consequences. it doesn't matter which way i express it, the 'X behaviour = Y consequence' doesn't get through to her.

i tried a reward chart but she doesn't get that either.

haven't been to see the HV about her. she's #2; her elder brother was a git as a 2yr old but didn't do all the screaming. he did biting, which was worse. but the screaming is wearing me down too.

she can start the screaming the moment she wakes up. she doesn't want to get up, but she doesn't want me to leave the room. this can go on for half an hour. i leave her to it as her brother needs my attention too. i go in every 5 mins or so until she is ready to get up (still in a cot - staying that way for now too...)

then we have the screaming over taking nappy off / being wiped. then screaming over putting glasses on / having hair brushed. we don't even go anywhere near getting dressed - we leave that screaming episode for a bit later.

then we have breakfast refusal. absolute point blank refusal. screaming if asked to sit while brother eats breakfast.

then at some point we have screaming over getting dressed.

then usually we have a period of calm, possibly punctuated with a bit of screaming if she asks for 'something to eat' and i tell her she needs to eat breakfast first.

we are usually good then for a while, until it's lunchtime. then there will be more screaming about sitting and eating lunch. she screams it's the wrong plate; wrong spoon; too hot; too cold. she honestly sits and screams for up to an hour. we also have the same rigmarole at teatime.

so today she has eaten one rice cake, 3 mini sausages and one bite of a roll, and that is it. she ate none of her tea at all. before bed she had a beaker of milk.

she cries if we walk anywhere. i counted up one day when we were out - we were out for 4.5 hours and she spent 2.5 of them literally screaming as she walked along. she screams herself sick sometimes. other times she cries so much that she makes her head hurt (and mine too).

then we always have crying over not wanting a bath; then not wanting to get out of the bath. then not wanting to be dried.

and always some crying / screaming at bedtime, over which cuddlies, wrapped in which blankets and which pyjamas etc.

so - verdict??

i really don't care that she doesn't eat - i know she will eat if she is hungry. it's the screaming at mealtimes that i can't stand. i really find that the worst. sitting next to her, while she screams and screams and screams.

NoNoNoMYDoIt Sat 20-Aug-11 19:22:33

and a bit of background - i am separated from her father. we have been separated for a year and we have shared residence. it's more or less all that she has ever known as she was 18 months old when we separated.

i know that this will be having an impact on her, and i blame myself for not being able to be there for her all the time, and so feel guilty when she is so sad. but it has to be this way, so we all have to live with it.

i just hate seeing her so sad. and i hate the fact that she screams more or less non-stop.

kindlekid0 Sun 21-Aug-11 09:26:23

It sounds very exhausting. Do she do this when she is with her dad too? Is she is childcare during the week?

I think she sounds like she wants more control.

Do you give her limited choices? As in this plate or that one? This blanket or that?

Also at her age I would be thinking of moving her to a bed. Then when she wakes in the morning she could choose to get out or stay in instead of screaming for you.

With the meals I would try putting her meal on the table and calling 'dinner' or whatever and just see if she joins you, just a few times.

It could be that she is a very headstrong little girl who wants some independence. Is your screen name a reference to her?

Also I would see the HV too.

NoNoNoMYDoIt Sun 21-Aug-11 10:01:26

kindlekid0 - when you say she wants more control, do you think i am being too controlling? i am just interested, because i do tend to err towards the control-freakery... i do try and give her choices, but she won't make a choice. i do that with getting dressed - 'pink top' or 'purple top'? and she just screams 'no top'. i gave her a choice of two spoons at teatime and she screamed 'i want a different one'. in the end, when i had to go and wipe DS's bum', i came back in to find her eating with both spoons! but it had taken an hour by that stage.

i know it's a battle of wills with her, but she is soooo incredibly strong-willed, and her tantrums just exhaust me.

i have every reason to believe she is the same at her father's, but he won't admit to it. i hear her screaming when i call to speak to the kids tho.

she does go to nursery and i think she is a little angel there. from what they say at least.

what do you think the HV might say? at her 2 year check, she said everything was normal. and she is certainly bright, articulate, sociable etc...

NoNoNoMYDoIt Sun 21-Aug-11 10:04:11

oh and yes, rumbled on the MN username!

kindlekid0 Sun 21-Aug-11 11:19:42

I'm no expert on toddlers, believe me and there are several things I need to get on top of with my dds but in my opinion with 2 year olds it is important to pick your battles.

I wonder if your expectations are too high. When you talk about reward charts and behaviour/consequence what are you using them for? I'm using a reward chart at the moment for potty training but not in the normal x number of stars gets a big reward way. I don't think she is able to appreciate the long term goal yet IYSWIM.

When she uses the toilet I give her a star and stick one on the chart and go wild on the enthusiasm. If she has an accident I just clean her up - no fuss about it or scolding.

I try to praise the good and ignore the bad behaviour and it does work.

I've negotiated a few things too. For example about 6 months ago dd got very stroppy about nappy changes. She just hated lying down to be changed so I started using pull ups and changing her standing up - problem solved.

Do you ever say to her in a brisk tone 'stop that screaming and talk to me properly because I don't know what you want when you are screaming like that' ?

I'm not sure what the HV might say but sometimes I think it is useful to talk to someone outside the situation to get a different perspective.

NoNoNoMYDoIt Sun 21-Aug-11 18:12:33

thanks kindlekid0. i only started the reward chart this week as it was suggested to me by a friend who is a childminder. it doesn't seem to be working at all.

i really do try and pick my battles tho. but at the moment, it feels like everything is a battle, as most of the things she is doing are 'non-negotiables'.

she won't hold my hand when we are out, but runs off (and has run into the road on a couple of occasions). so we have lots of screaming when we are out as she won't hold hands, won't keep reins on, won't go in the buggy etc etc. she basically wants me to carry her which i am not going to do...

BUT, we have had a very much better day today, including 2 meals eaten and only the picnic meal wasn't touched, but i can forgive her that as we were out and about.

i think at the moment she is going through an emotionally very loud stage. she can't calm down, so when she starts screaming and i say to her 'you need to stop crying so i can understand you', she just screams louder.

it is a phase. it is really just a phase. i do know this. but just how much gin am i going to consume before this phase is out?!

NoNoNoMYDoIt Sun 21-Aug-11 18:14:33

i timed a tantrum today. we got to the park and she started screaming straight away. no idea why. in the end she was screaming that it was 'too sunny' and she wanted to go home. it lasted 20 minutes. which doesn't sound too bad really. except that we had literally just got to the park, so she should have been happy. in the end i had to walk away from her and leave her screaming on the ground because i was so wound up i was afraid i would scream at her. i went and played with DS on the roundabout and left her to it. eventually she stopped, and it was like a light switched on. she ran up and immediately started playing. but it was a long 20 minutes, and i have no idea why it happened.

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