Some children do not react to disappointments and frustrations with words. They scream sometimes about what they want yet other times without obvious content. When this becomes a pattern, it’s essential for parents to know how to react and cope to lead the child to being able to voice their discontent.
First, we must ask, “Why the screaming?” Only then can we decide what to do about it. If we take the position that it is a communication then it is a relationship problem. Somehow, for some important reasons, the child does not know how to communicate with the caretaking adult in other expressive manners.
Here are some questions for parents to ask themselves at the start:
If you find you are answering yes to any of these questions, they could be a big clue to why there is screaming. The child feels disorganized and insecure. They have not learned by example how to express their thoughts or learned how to soothe themselves when disappointed.
Remedies to the Screaming Pattern
Not reacting immediately, but waiting to understand the meaning behind the screaming may seem counter-intuitive if you’ve learned there must be immediate consequences for behavior. But if you don’t understand the message being sent, the consequences will not be understood, may produce more resentment, and ultimately will fail to eliminate screaming as a primary way of communicating. The parent’s job is to understand the child’s thoughts, opinions, wishes, and beliefs. That doesn’t mean agreeing with them, but hearing them and promoting discussions. Only then will screaming be a thing of the past.
Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. is a psychoanalyst with specialized clinical training in infant-parent, child, adolescent, and adult psychotherapy. She has been on the faculties of New York University and the Society for Psychoanalytic Study and Research, among others.
She has written extensively on parenting for various publications, including the Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, The International Journal of Infant Observation, The Inner World of the Mother, Newsday’s Parents & Children Magazine, Long Island Parent.
She also wrote her popular column, PARENTAL INTELLIGENCE, at Moms Magazine and has been a parenting expert for numerous publications such as Good Housekeeping.. She currently writes for Active Family Magazine (San Francisco) and blogs for Huffington Post.
Her new book is Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior.
Visit Dr. Laurie’s website: http://lauriehollmanphd.com/