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Dealing with the screaming of a 4-year-old

(6 Posts)
mamaeff Sun 05-May-13 16:31:33

Any thoughts / advice on how to deal with a 4 yr old girl who screams the house down several times a day? It is her first reaction to not getting her way / when tired / hungry etc. but really difficult to cope with. Obviously if it's fatigue / hunger I try to get her to sleep or feed her but the hysteria usually gets in the way and it's just awful.
We try the naughty corner, but however much we tell her she's not coming off until she's quiet the screaming just goes on.
I'm sure it's a phase but if anyone else has dealt with this better I'd love to know's driving me nuts.
An example: just now she wouldn't eat her supper, and got down from the table without even trying it. I sent her back and she set up screaming so I put her on the naughty step. Irreconcilable, she sat there screaming (now for me) went on for ages. Eventually I let her off (still sobbing) and gave her a cuddle so she calmed down. Am I handling this wrong?

3littlefrogs Sun 05-May-13 16:38:09

I think the first thing is prevention; if you know what the triggers are you try and avoid getting to that stage.

Is this a new development? How did you deal with tantrums when she was 2? 3?

Do you have very clear rules of behaviour that are consistant, with the same consequences for poor behaviour?

I think you need to work out why you have got to this stage. IME most children have outgrown this type of behaviour by the age of 4, so something must be behind it.

At the moment it seems that she has learned that if she screams loud and long enough you will cave in.

mamaeff Sun 05-May-13 17:31:48

Hi 3littlefrogs, thanks for your swift response!

She had the odd tantrums that all 2-3 year-olds have but the full-on screeching business is perhaps 6-8months old. I think it may be an attention-seeking thing deriving from her being the middle child of three (5-and-a-half-year-old and 2-and-a-half-year old brothers), plus I am a working mother so I'm not around as much as she would like.
She knows I am softer than her dad so I suspect that adds to the whole thing...
I really don't think I do cave in, but perhaps I ought to make a note every time she does this for a week or something, and see if in fact I do cave in more than I think!

superbagpuss Sun 05-May-13 17:42:45

I would like to know the answer to this one

my D's 3.11 has just started screaming really loud when in trouble, not so much a problem at home, but not great when we are in public and he is yelling mummy don't hit me, I never have hurt him at all, and just hold his arms, wrists to keep him from hurting himself. it makes me look like worse mum in world sad

notcitrus Sun 05-May-13 17:47:37

Ds did this for a bit just after turning 4. He'd just acquired a baby sister, etc.
Mostly averted by food or juice, whether it's a mealtime or not. I try to avoid any battles over food as he restricts his diet a lot and is much worse under any stress. So if he screeched at the table I told him to go to his room and scream there instead.

There was one tantrum which went on for nearly 3 hours, but much better after that. Until yesterday he hadn't had one for a good six months. Good luck!

3littlefrogs Sun 05-May-13 18:29:48

Just come back to this.

I think, at 4, she is old enough for you to have a conversation with her about this, at a time when she is calm.

You need to decide how you will deal with it, and stick to this every single time.

When my dd was going through a tantrumming phase, as they all do, I always removed her and put her in her room until she calmed down. Removing her from whatever was the cause seemed to work well.

She outgrew it pretty quickly.

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