My Child Has... Article

My Child Has...

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Screaming and Shouting


What is screaming?

Screaming is a super-duper temper tantrum unleashed by a child with exceptional vocal cords and lungs. A child is likely to repeat this behavior because it usually works. The child's screaming either gets the parent to surrender unconditionally or it causes the parent to scream back.

How do I cope with screaming?

  • Clarify the rule for your child: "We don't scream in this family. Either talk in a calm voice or go to your room."
  • If your child continues screaming, take her to her bedroom for a brief time-out. Don't try to ignore this disruptive tantrum. Close the door to your child's room. Every 4 or 5 minutes, open the door and tell your child, "I hope you feel good enough to come out now." Offer your child many chances to rejoin the family, but if she comes out screaming, return her to her room.
  • Make sure none of the adults who care for your child yells or screams. A child is a marvelous copycat.

Written by B.D. Schmitt, MD, author of "Your Child's Health," Bantam Books.
Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2008-06-12
Last reviewed: 2010-06-02

This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a health care professional.

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