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Big Girl is a screamer. When I do her hair in the morning. When she bumps herself. When I am trying to teach her how to ride a bike. She screams. A lot. I am not a screamer. My husband isn’t, either. (Note to husband: I never said I wasn’t a nag, though, Chris.) It’s very, very draining, and I simply don’t know what to do about it.

Take the bike riding: I’m out there getting ready to teach and she screams when she can’t get on the bike. She screams when she gets on and the bike falls. She screams when the helmet isn’t positioned right. Once we’re off and riding (and running behind the bike) she screams when a neighbor sees her and cheers her on, “Go, Big Girl!” Crumpling in tears, the kid tells me that she doesn’t want anyone to see her trying to ride. That she doesn’t like it when the nice lady (nice is my word) tells her, “Go!” Then she screams when I attempt to let go and let her ride. I stay calm. I try another tactic, telling her there will be no more yelling or we have to stop. I try and build up her confidence. Eventually, by the end of the lesson, the screaming had subsided. Then we went in the house and she bumped her toe. She screamed like someone had shot her with an arrow.

This morning we had screaming when she couldn’t pick an outfit. She missed the bus because my husband, fed up with the screaming, told her she wasn’t going to school. She had screamed too much and would suffer the consequences, he said. He even called the bus driver and told her not to come.

She’s at school, of course. He drove her over at 9 a.m. I am drained for the day and it’s only 9:44 a.m. I have no idea how to get her to stop screaming. We listen to her. We talk to her. We reason with her. She gets plenty of love, affection, attention, and care. And still she screams. The girl who cried wolf comes to mind. As does the fact that my mother often told me that if I continued to cry over nothing eventually no one would believe my cries anymore. Great. Wonderful. My mother’s prediction — some day I would have a child who would drive me as crazy as I drove her — came true.

We’re going to go to the library tonight, I think. We’ll be taking out that old fable and reading it. Several times, perhaps. And then we will set up a behavior chart to try and curb this noise. Can you tell I’m trying so hard to be positive and proactive? What other choice do I have? Thank goodness the little one could fall off a bed or walk into a wall — yes, she’s done both — and barely give a sniffle. I don’t think I could stand the yelling in stereo.

Do you have a screamer? What’s your kids most annoying habit? How do you deal with it?

3 Responses to “My Kid is Louder Than Your Kid”

  1. susan delg says:

    Karen, we’ve all been there. It’s the hardest thing to walk away or put up the wall when the screaming starts, especially when you’re in public. That tough veneer that deflects the screams can look so cold to someone who doesn’t know what’s going on. Stay strong!
    I used to tell Joy that the only excuse for that kind of noise would be that she was seriously hurt. And yes, we have a book of fables in the house and read the wolf one incessantly and bring it up often at home. We also have a book of fables about very strong women that reinforce strong behavior. (will get the title for you later, it’s a good one.)
    I’ve also found that threats that I don’t intend to go through with are useless. Once I give an answer, it’s not going to change. (No more cookies, turn the TV off, you may not shave the cat, etc.) The “if you do that one more time, I’m going to _____” threat has to be followed up on. So I try to make myself think and be reasonable because I know I have to do it if I threaten it.

  2. Suzanne says:

    I have a screamer-boy do I! However, this is my 22 month old daughter who is delayed in language (that or lazy, haven’t figured that out yet). She’s stubborn as an ox, luckily so am I, understands everything but is frustrated and or having a temper tantrum. Hands balled in fists, arms rigid at her sides, all body stiff as a board and she opens her mouth and SCREAMS, SCREAMS, SCREAMS her head off. Seriously awesome parenting moments and sometimes it’s annoying and sometimes I am empathicitc since her frustration is palpable.

    Now my son is a ripper. Rips books, stickers, pretty much anything. I’ve tried to give him paper to rip so it’s sanctioned, but it doesn’t matter. Yesterday morning he came and told me he had ripped all the foam pieces off the front cover of his book (he’ll be four at the end of the month). I took all the library material, books and movies back, since I want him to know that if he can’t be trusted he can’t borrow other peoples things. I have removed privileges, sent to bed early, taken all the books away but it’s not working. Plus my daughter now wants books so I can’t take them all away anymore.

    Oh and they both officially suck when it comes to any writing impliments. My white couches, walls, buisness invoices can all attest to their abuse :(

    Any suggestions welcome!!!

  3. Christine says:

    I’d give you what I think is the right advice, ignore it, except the problem I have with my child (same age) is that she ignores me. So, I’ll keep my advice to myself and be just as perplexed as you are.

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