Screaming children

Screaming children

Renee EllisonApr 14, '21

Do you have a young child who engages in screaming episodes?  Here are some suggestions for delivering him/her (and you) from them, totally, now.  Those bouts are taking a toll on the nervous system of that child and also are triggering negative reactions in the child’s young siblings.  When the child screams, the siblings’ entire bodies go rigid and tight—meaning a tight tummy inside, too, no doubt.  Sooooo what to do?

Parents of six, eight, or ten children are likely to have become experts at child training, through lots of practice.  I have seen such parents tell their toddlers to "Cry quietly"—while they were calmly and lovingly chastening them.  Thirty years ago this was a new concept to me.  The children were only allowed to whimper quietly, even when they were being spanked.  I had no idea children would even be capable of doing this—if I hadn't seen it in practice in several families who were shaping the behavior of strong-willed children.

How to achieve it?  Train your child about screaming when he/she is totally calm—when screaming isn’t even an issue.  For example, have a serious talk at the beginning of the day while it is warm and cuddly between the two of you.  Talk to her and say firmly, "We are not going to allow screaming in this house anymore.  If you scream, you will be spanked.  And even while Daddy and Mommy are spanking you for your screaming, you will cry quietly or you will be spanked again."  Demonstrate the difference between the two, yourself.  First, whimper for her, and then shake your head wildly and make a silent scream.  Say, "Does that look pretty?"

Now you’re ready for the child’s next screaming episode.  Pick her up, look her in the eye, say “No screaming,” and discipline her.  She might scream.  Just get through it.  Then wait a while.  This time, as soon as she is calm and playing peacefully again, you make a firm issue, later, of what she did a few minutes ago.  This time, you initiate a confrontation—on your terms.  Pull her up on the couch and talk to her.  You say, "Do you remember when Mom and Dad said that you were not to scream?  Well, you just disobeyed us and screamed.  Because you did that, you will now be spanked again—but this time, while you are being spanked for your disobedience, you will cry quietly or you will be spanked again. We will keep this up until you do exactly what we say: cry quietly."

So, interrupt her happy activity and give her one firm calm switch on her seat (never on her hands or face – and never with your hand).  Make it sting.  If she screams again during that episode, go through the whole ordeal again.  Just bide your time.  You wait until she is again playing quietly and then interrupt her play, and give her that firm talk again.  Initiate the confrontation again.  You go at this like trench warfare, even if it takes multiple times for her to get the message.  Eventually (after you are sure she understands your expectation and you see that she "gets" the concept), you do it speedily, swiftly, before she can even think about what is happening—before she can entrench.  Surprise her with the consequence.  Remind her afterwards why you just did what you did.

If you are unsuccessful at accomplishing a complete eradication of it by yourself, as the mother, wait until the weekend and have your husband go at it all weekend.  You will probably only have one terrible horrible weekend like this and the problem will be solved!  Meanwhile, for the short term, expect war.

Teach your children these two phrases "Obedience brings blessing" and "Disobedience brings trouble."  Repeat this over and over again.  Have them say it at quiet, happy moments—while they eat, etc.

The over-arching training principle?  If you are intimidated by your child at any point, you have to initiate conflict over that point, on your terms, until you – not your children—are running the show.  The wonderful thing is you have God's backing!  He loves righteous authority that produces peace in our homes, and a stress-free, predictable (cause and effect) environment for all of the children.  That is why those huge families eventually get it down pat :)—they simply get more practice at it, and have to, in order to survive all under one roof.

Some children give us a real run for our money.  May these strategies give you a boost.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published