At first I corrected him. “No, buddy, don’t scream. Use your inside voice.”
He’s a year and a half. He knew exactly what I was saying. He grinned. And the minute I walked away, he did it again.
Here is where I diverge from my old, failed way of parenting. In the past I would “lather, rinse, repeat,” until BY GOLLY HE QUIT SCREAMING! I had to win.
Now I’m a more thoughtful mom.
I wondered what could be causing this scream. Is he doing it just because he can?
Nope. I noticed that the scream comes after he has been in the oversized play yard his daddy built for him–for a while.
He can see everyone, he’s more or less in the middle of things, but he’s still confined. And when you are less than 3 feet tall and a very active, social little person, any enclosure must feel isolating.
And he’s had the same toys in there for a long time.
He’s bored. He’s tired of being alone. And he just wants some company.
When I take him out, he stops screaming. Or if I send a buddy to play with him. That works too. Or if I get him some new, fun toys or books.
My not-yet-very-verbal little guy has found a no-fail way to get my attention, and he’s using it.
Now it’s up to me to read his cues and recognize when he’s getting frustrated. Or better yet, to not even let him get to that point.
He’s a sweet little boy. He just doesn’t like being alone for too long. Can you blame him?
He’s not trying to be willful; he’s trying to tell me something.
It’s up to me to help him learn a better way to say it.
How do you recognize your child’s needs? How do you teach them to communicate appropriately?
Look for my eBook, Fearless Mothering, this fall!