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High-pitched screaming from 18 month old - ignore or....what?

(9 Posts)
HellAtWork Sat 18-Jun-11 23:23:22

DS (18 months) has begun to emit supersonic screams....earsplitting. He has a handful of words (baba, dada, mama, bus, babbit, bebra) and can do a noise for practically every jungle animal (every child needs a party repertoire right?) - but is not yet speaking.

Suspect he is on the verge, which is where the frustration comes in...but what do you do? I have discovered (publicly) that saying anything akin to No screaming please (or even mentioning the word screaming) results in more screaming so have been taking the path of least resistance and ignoring but even when I am blanking my face I know he knows how annoying it is and he can, if he feels the urge, continue long enough to have to be removed from anywhere public and taken outside. My public humiliation levels (and other people's dining tolerance) is down to one scream and out at the moment. I have once screamed back (not in anger - just to see what would happen) and he jumped and didn't like it sad so obviously won't be trying that again and would only lead to competitive screaming in any event (he would undoubtedly win).

Anyone else had a screamer? Any useful tips please? Did it stop when they get a bit of language? He talks continuously in what sounds like a previously unknown dialect of Turkish and is very cross when I cannot make a good guess at what he is on about (Turkish friend has much more luck.)

SignOnTheWindow Sun 19-Jun-11 00:28:22

I think I have lost hearing because of DD2's screeching. Really, really high pitched, pearcing screams right in my bloody lughole. It made my ears ring and go funny for a few seconds. She thought it was highly amusing of course and couldn't wait to point out 'I sceeming!' hmm

This started at 17.5 months and settled down about six weeks later. At 20 months, she rarely does it.

I started off by saying 'NO! No screaming. Naughty screaming.' But this just delighted her more, the little ratbag.

In the end, ignoring it seemed to do the trick. Or perhaps she just got bored with it anyway - who knows? She's quite talkative, so I'm not sure for her it was about not being able to communicate, more that she was trying out the sounds she could create and having fun with my reaction.

Good luck - sounds as if you're doing the right thing. It WILL pass, honest.

AngelDog Sun 19-Jun-11 06:47:59

If you do need to respond to him, talking in as quiet a voice as you can (whispering, even) will help model the behaviour you do want. Whether it'll have any effect in the short term is another matter...

HumphreyCobbler Sun 19-Jun-11 06:50:59

it will pass but you have my sympathy

ds's screaming phase corresponded with baby DD's total non sleeping phase. It was rather a difficult time

honestly, he will stop doing it soon

CharlotteBronteSaurus Sun 19-Jun-11 06:51:14

definitely ignore
there is a girl like this at toddler group
her shrieks bring a large and bustling church hall to silence, while her mum whispers in vain at her to stop

and she loves all the reaction.

Haggisfish Sun 19-Jun-11 09:28:33

DD did this in tescos and some poor woman in front of her dropped the bag of rice she was holding - oops! I talk to her and say in quiet tones, 'oh dear, you need to stop that or you'll be thrown out' etc etc. And distract her by giving her something to hold/holding her in front of a kindly looking person who can distract her (she's very sociable and can't help but smile at people who smile at her!).

WhatsWrongWithYou Sun 19-Jun-11 09:34:39

This is probably more for verbal DCs, but pointing out what they're doing is usually more effective than telling them not to do it (a la the great 'How to Talk...' bible).
So you say, 'you're screaming loudly' rather than stop screaming.' Or 'you're screaming and it's hurting mummy's ears' - show the consequences. Don't know if it works at the pre-verbal stage, but worth a try maybe.

HellAtWork Sun 19-Jun-11 13:04:22

Thank you for replies! Will try the whispering/quiet voice trick and see what happens with a bit of consistency and also phrasing it as You're screaming rather loudly than in the negative. I do try (more for my own sake) pointing out to him how horrible it is for other people but atm that just looks like incitement to scream more to him. Will also get that How to Talk book, have heard it mentioned before on here and I think now may be the time!

HellAtWork Sun 19-Jun-11 13:08:37

Charlottebrontesaurus I think DS is definitely enjoying the evil looks we are getting throughout! It's a bit weird because generally (and realise unfortunately this too will pass) he is all up for a bit of praise (wants me to ask him what everything is in his books, where's the elephant etc and pointing and noise making and then claps himself for getting it right - willingly hands over dummy after waking for me to make a fuss and tell him how good he is being) so have tried praising for stopping but that's not really working. Distraction works but once he has started on the screaming, it has to be non-stop distraction because it's like a switch has flipped and he has remembered what fun it is and will start up as soon as I lose his attention for a moment.

All good tips to try though people, thank you.

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