Shouting Match

July 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Mommy Monday

“Why do people let their kids scream at the top of their lungs?”

So posed my friend Julia on Twitter last week. The debate that followed on Twitter and Facebook ended with no one really understanding why some parents allow their kids to scream like banshees in mixed company, but everyone agreeing that it was annoying as shit.

One person said, “No kid is perfect. Some kids scream, some pick their nose, some wet the bed. Most grow and learn.”

I think we need to take bed-wetting out of the discussion as  I don’t believe it’s controllable. You have to be raising a special kind of badass kid that he’d be willing to lay in his own waste to spite you. But I think the last point deserves attention. “Most grow and learn.”

But how are they learning if there’s no corrective action taken? If your attitude is, “Oh well, my kid is a screamer/nose-picker/hitter/biter,” then there is no grow and learn. Just yesterday we watched a kid of about 3 scream and yell in the grocery store. Everything was a shout. The mother didn’t once tell him to lower his voice. Other shoppers were trying to talk amongst themselves – “Honey, do we need rice?” – but they had to compete with this ill-mannered child.

Now, I’m not naive. I know all about noise pollution and what one should expect any time they leave the house. I don’t think it’s unreasonable that you teach your child that screaming in public places is not okay. Chuck-e-Cheese? Fine. The playground? Definitely. The waiting room of the doctor’s office? Not so much. The movie theater? Oh, hell no!

Whoever came up with “inside voice” and “outside voice” needs to be smacked. Why? Because sometimes it’s not okay to be loud outside either! And sometimes, your kid will be inside with outside wants! It all falls on the person in charge to teach the child when it’s appropriate to dial it back.

My nephew is a screamer and one Saturday my son got zero naps because my nephew insisted on screaming. Any attempts to ask him to lower his voice while Jack was sleeping were met with louder screaming. And we were indoors! My Dad says, “But I know he’s not doing it to be bad.”

I’m not saying that children are screaming to be bad, but when they are screaming and you ask them to lower their voice (and you know they understand) and they don’t… well, that’s kinda being bad. And no matter what the child intentions are, it doesn’t make it any less disruptive.

Jack is a screecher. Though he doesn’t yet understand, we still try to counteract that by teaching him to replace the screech for a word. That’s how he will learn not to scream for everything he wants. Hopefully.

I don’t think that parents are doing their children any favors when they allow poor social behavior to go unchecked. I’ve worked in the childcare industry, I’ve seen firsthand how the kids with behavior issues are regarded. I’m not saying the teachers are pinching their arms and spitting in their apple juice, but you don’t want your kid to be labeled, “the problem.”

I wish more parents would remove their loud children from social situations if they can’t get the behavior modified. That may mean the parent’s meal in the restaurant is interupted, or they miss a portion of the movie, but so be it. Maybe that will be more incentive to get the behavior under control at home, where it’s not an inconvenience to everyone else.

So, what do you think?


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37 Responses to “Shouting Match”
  1. Rogue says:

    Ok first off I missed your blogging and thank god for twitter because I was showing signs of “Nina blogging withdrawal.”

    2nd I do agree about the whole inside and outside voice thing. Theres a time and place for everything and the use of high and low level voice usage is one of those things that have their time and place to be used.

    I dont like hearing children scream. I dont like bad social behaviors from children PERIOD. I do understand some things have underlying causes such as some children being deaf and not knowing or understanding that their voice is too loud for the situation. But most things such as hitters and biters, those are bad behaviors that reflect the parent’s parenting. For example, a child should know by a certain age that biting is only for food. Hitting should not happen(under most circumstances. I would be that mother to tell my child to beat the other person’s ass if they are hit with malicious intent because if not they better prepare for an assbeating. Dont judge me I was raised that way lol)

    Anywho, great blog. I really missed this lady!

  2. Raeann says:

    OMG I have had the biggest time with my oldest and screaming. He is brilliant, very bright, but in special ed because of his behavior. He is considered mildly autistic. I have tried everything, and he gets better with time, but geez, but if things are “just not right” he has a tendency to over do it. I am lucky he rarely does it in public though, except for school where he has a routine. If his routine if off, he is more likely to do it. If say we go to a restaurant though that he is very familiar with and he doesn’t sit in the area he is used to, then it can become an issue.

  3. 2mara says:

    I completely agree.

    My kids have went thru phases where I know we were pointed out and cursed, so I can sympathize with parent of younger children. The parents of older children who are having the same problems… not so much.

    Sometimes… it’s hard to get your kids to be quiet when they are surrounded by other LOUDER kids.

    EH… let’s just beat them 😉

    I kid, people. Geez.

    • Nina says:

      I feel embarrassed for parents of older children cutting up in public, but you just knooooow they started young. So I can only feel but so badly for them, you know?

  4. Raeann says:

    Oh and I agree with removing a screaming child from a situation. It’s not fair to anyone to have to hear that.

  5. Marge says:

    I’m with Raeann on this one. My 8 year-old has Asperger’s. He’s not really a screamer any more, but we still have issues occasionally with melt downs in public (yes, that is MY child lying on the floor, and he’s getting too damned heavy to pick up, so if you see us, smile at me and walk on by, please). I usually don’t bring him to places I know are a problem.

    The little one? He’s just LOUD. So we leave when necessary. Not fair to others. But the next time you see a toddler or preschooler screaming his/her head off, consider that it might be something like the fact that the flourescent lights or freezer hum in the store is hurting his/her ears, and no one GETS it. The biggest problem kids on the autistic spectrum have is that others can’t always perceive what it is that is bothering them.

    • Nina says:

      Your whole first paragraph cracked me up. “Smile and walk on by, please.” Will do. I still remember the store we were in when Kali showed her little ass. I snatched her up and left. Sucks because I wasn’t ready to be done shopping, but I realized that other people weren’t out to listen to my kid have a fit. I think it happens to all parents at some point. At least once. And I’m talking about non-autism kids here, but good point about considering some other underlying issue and not just “bad ass kid.”

  6. Julia says:

    I think that it’s up to the parents to know how good/bad their child is. You know if you have a badass kid who is going to throw a tantrum, and it’s your job not to subject the rest of us to it!
    Case in point: we had my daughter’s birthday party this weekend. One of my friends brought her 3 year old son. His ass screamed and whined all. damn. day. I was about ready to kick them out myself when she FINALLY realized it was getting on everyone’s nerves and decided to leave.
    My baby, like Jack, is fond of screaming. Right now, it’s kind of endearing, but there is about a 6 month window when it’s going to become obnoxious. So we are working on fixing that so she doesn’t become THAT kid.

    • Nina says:

      We are on the same page. We joke about Jack’s screeching, but we also try to consistently correct it. If he screeches because he wants to be picked up, I look down and say, “Up. You want to go up? Up.” THEN I pick him up. He doesn’t stop screaming when I pick him up, but before that when I start talking to him. He’s listening and hopefully learning. We’ll see how it goes. He got saying, “Thank you” whenever you hand him something and vice versa rather quickly. I don’t want THAT kid either.

      And Sophie and I had many conversations about inviting the bad ass kid over. You feel bad for the kid, but that’s what I mean about not doing the kid any favors.

      A few years ago, Donny had this employee who was constantly coming in late, leaving early, or using his lunch break to go up to his son’s school. So, one day Donny comes home and says that the guy had asked for the next day off to find a new day care center for his son. Donny told him yes, and asked what happened. Turned out that the center had finally gotten fed up and told him that they could no longer keep the kid. He was just too out of control. Donny asked how old he was. He was 3. I remember Donny and I were like, “How the hell are you that bad at 3?! How do you get kicked out of day care?”

      • chynachicka says:

        There was a little 4-year old girl in my daughters class who was kicked out of the daycare center. Come to find out the little girl suffered for ptsd and was also autistic. She was to be given medication but the mama wasn’t doing it. The teachers couldn’t handle her. As most children need stability in their lives, autistic children definitely need a consistent schedule and routine. Add that to the fact that who knows what triggers her ptsd and the mama not giving her, her medication it was a recipe for disaster.

        • Julia says:

          It takes a special kind of bad parent to not do everything in your power to help you child, especially when you’re probably the cause!

          • chynachicka says:

            yeah, i felt sad for the child because with a mama like that she’s going to have a hard time with getting a proper education, which will ultimately effect her future. the owner of the daycare wanted to keep the little girl but, with the mama not cooperating with them and the teachers spending 80% of their day restraining the child she couldn’t do it.

  7. i carry your heart... says:

    Maybe it’s time that people start yelling at other people’s kids again. If you’re in a public area and your kid is “disturbing the peace” then I get to yell at your kid. lol

    Seriously though, why do people allow their kids to misbehave in public? Are they not embarrassed? I can’t staaaaaaaand to hear a screaming child. I think also, parents should not only have the boundaries of certain places with lower voices but certain TIMES. Pleeeeeease parents, when you send your kids outside in the summer it is not acceptable for them to be running around the neighborhood SCREAMING at the top of their lungs while us work people, or the like are trying so hard to sleep in as much as possible, but can’t cause your kids wants to scream at 7 AM. No bueno, nuh uh.

  8. Ames says:

    this is sooo on time for me. I just came back from Chicago where I got to meet my 4mo old nephew for the first time and the 2 year old again since i hadnt seen him since he was 6mo. (pictures on facebook ) So…my sister-in-law is so afraid that her kids will hate her that she does NOTHING but cater to them in all ways…yes, they bought wireless headphones to watch tv so that the noise doesnt wake up the kids at night. (I put Dei’s bassinet next to the tv and played BET all day long so she could sleep through anything )
    My nephew is SO bad, if he doesnt like something not only is he yelling but he is hitting, throwing, destroying everything in his path…and then smiles like “im too cute for you to be mad” and my sister-in-laws explanation is “he’s a boy and its the terrible twos”….no, its you wont put your foot down and demand some respect.
    I don’t think you need to beat your kids, but I think a pop here and there when they are young lets them know you are capable…and never ever ever let them punk you, because once they know you wont do anything. With Dei she threw ONE tantrum in a store and i picked her up, said nothing, took her into the bathroom and smacked her behind ( still in diapers ) and from that point on all I had to say was “do we need to go into the bathroom” and she would straighten up

    • Nina says:

      “Do we need to go to the bathroom?”

      Ha! Love it.

      Until your smartass kid says, “Why? Do you need to pee?” LMAO

      • Angela says:

        This is funny because when my neice was little I took her to Disney World and during “breakfast with the characters” she started acting up. I told her if she continued I would take her into the bathroom and spank her, well she kept up so I brought her little behind in there and spanked her!
        So now, like 13 years later ALL of the kids in the family (including my own) know not to mess around. If they start acting up all I have to do is say “Do I need to take you in the bathroom?” and they straighten right up!
        It’s nice to see that I am not the only one. LMAO

    • Julia says:

      I thought it was just me, but I guess “we’re about to go in the bathroom” is the universal code for “I’m about to wear that ass out”. And no, I don’t actually DO it, it’s just that the threat is enough.

  9. Alegra says:

    I think the point you made about responding to people’s attitudes that ‘kids will be kids, they’ll eventually learn’ with ‘they learn because we teach them’ is so on target. I have found that most people who have that attitude are ones without children who have a romantic idea of children and what it takes to raise them. There is a time and place for kids to run wild and express themselves and I totally believe in giving them that freedom, they words being ‘time/place’. I don’t let my children shout or yell or whine or cry because it drives me insane but I give them options. If one of them needs to have a tantrum, I tell them if that they can go right ahead but they need to do it in their room and do it until they are done. If we are in a public place I tell them that they will go to the car etc. until they are done.

  10. Patti says:

    Did you post this because I screamed when we were in the grocery store the other day? You should have just bought me that toy I wanted and none of this ever would have happened.

  11. Angela says:

    “That may mean the parent’s meal in the restaurant is interupted, or they miss a portion of the movie, but so be it. “—-
    SO with you on that! The way I see it if YOUR kid (not your kid like you specifically, I mean your kid as in general lol) is misbehaving why should I be interrupted? Its your kid, you pushed him/her out, you take care of it. Why in the world should MY meal be disturbed when my kids are sitting here quietly next to me? Sure, my kids aren’t perfect but I teach mine manners…you will not see my daughters (age 11 and 9) pitching a fit in the store, restaurant, movies, etc because if they did they know I would tear their asses up! lol
    Now, my step-son is a whole different story….he has autism. He cannot speak. Most times when he is yelling or screeching it is not to misbehave. When we are in the store and he starts doing his thing and people start giving us dirty looks (or even in some cases saying how we should “control him”) that really gets my blood boiling. I mean, its obvious that he has special needs, its obvious that he isn’t doing it just to act up but people still insist on being jerks about it. I don’t take him places like to the movies where everyone is expected to be quiet, but there are times where I HAVE to go to the grocery store while he is with us, ya know?

    Anyway, good post! I’ve missed reading you…I’m not really into the show highlights, not that there is anything wrong with them…they just aren’t my thing. So its good to see ya!

  12. Stephanie says:

    My sister used to say I let my children rule my life because I would get up and leave places when they got unruly. That wasn’t the way I saw it, I saw it as my kids, my problem. I have left a shopping cart full of groceries, i have taken my meal to go, and I have bowed out of parties because of lack of a nap.(The kid, not me!) I just don’t think my kids have the right to ruin someones day. My kids are now 4 and 6 and they know how to behave in public. As for “indoor/outdoor” voices, I must admit I have used that reference. It’s one they get, I have even had to tell my then three year old that he needed to use his indoor voice even though we were outside because we were at a wedding. He did.
    Oh and as for just running around screaming? Uh, NO. My kids know that if they are outside and just screaming like madmen I might just throw a bucket of water on them, because I’m gonna assume they are on fire.

    • nina says:

      My kids know that if they are outside and just screaming like madmen I might just throw a bucket of water on them, because I’m gonna assume they are on fire.

      THAT made me snort with laughter.

  13. Cassie says:

    I do not like the screamer….it takes all I have while in a public place not to slap those kids and their parents.

    I understand letting a child get it out as far crying and such, but some of the things children get away with are sooooo uncalled for. I am of the mindset that ‘my’ children shouldn’t bother anyone else whenever they go somewhere with me. I say ‘my’ children and mean my nieces and nephews!

  14. Captain Cocktail says:

    Yeah if a kid keeps screaming or screams louder…hes doing it on purpose and to be “bad”.


  15. didn’t read through all the comments, so sorry if this is a repeat 😉

    nina, you’re right, the issue starts at home and should be fixed/should have been prevented at home. When I see screaming munchkins in public I’m usually willing to bet that as they have no consideration for the peace and comfort of strangers, they likely have none for their parents and family members either. Lots of people seem to believe that their children’s wants and needs should always be indulged; I saw this a lot when I worked with kids. The worst behaved kids were almost always the ones whose parents tolerated a lot of whining and protesting. Yes, we’re leaving now. No, it is not time to tell your friend one more secret. It is time to put on your shoes and come with me. Not to lay kicking and screaming on the floor about how you don’t wanna. I would see parents hunkering down for a pros and cons type conversation with their three-year-old child about why the child will be more satisfied in the end by coming home than by chilling in the kita all night. Hello? The child is three. You don’t bargain with a three-year-old–tell it to be quiet because other people are working/eating/sleeping/not wanting to hear its mouth, and drag its little ass to the car. FFS.

  16. Joshua David says:

    Attention shoppers! Would the screaming child and his parents please report to the plastic bad aisle…

  17. Christine says:

    I’m glad you have it all figured out! Did it ever occur to you that these parents aren’t “allowing” the behavior? Part of what lends to being “loud” is a personality trait. My son’s nature is to be a bursting ball of energy. If you happen to have a reserved child then kudos to you. He isn’t trying to be bad. He thinks it’s a game. Sorry your kid literally lost sleep over it!

    As a parent when you realize your child’s behavior is going in a direction you are unhappy with it is very frustrating. I am frustrated when he doesn’t realize the appropriate time to be loud vs. quiet. I have walked out of many a place because of it and I’ve had to put up with looks and criticism from strangers as well as FAMILY! Definitely not the type of shit I’m trying to deal with. My “oh well” attitude is not a “who cares my kid is bad.” It’s a “screw you” for passing judgment. Don’t you think I mother$@$#!n realize it’s a problem????

    What would your suggestion be? Beat him? Scream louder? Analyze the situation. How is he supposed to know the proper way to behave in social environments when he spends day in and day out confined in the house with an old man and a couple of dogs? It is a learning process for him and I have to be patient. The damn boy is only 2. He isn’t a loud 7 year old. He is 2!!!!!! The majority of the time he is loud with a smile and playing. It’s not like he’s the kid who is always yelling some rude disrespectful shit. I constantly tell him he’s too loud. I do so with a soft voice because adding to the yelling won’t help.

    Am I pissed. Hell yea I’m pissed. I don’t believe it’s fair to throw stones, especially involving ones kids. Would I be wrong if down the line Jack became some problem child and I said “Lemme see you correct that!”

    Bottom line you have every right to your opinion and you can voice it publicly, such is the world we live in. I would never deny you that. Just as I have the right to say “Fuck lil’ Timmy’s party. Mommy will take you to the park instead where you can be you.”

    • nina says:

      I didn’t say I have it all figured out, but I’ve done this once before. Kali wasn’t some perfect baby who did nothing wrong. Like MOST kids she reacted when I wouldn’t let her do something she wanted to do and with consistent correction, she eventually stopped.

      When a kid is yelling at an inappropriate time and the parent is present and aware and says/does nothing about it, then they ARE allowing it. Just like when Kali pouts up to her room when I tell her no – I’m ALLOWING it.

      Jack’s naps weren’t the point (though it was annoying as hell later when he was having a meltdown from lack of sleep), the point is that those were the perfect times to explain and try to correct the yelling.

      And no, I don’t know you realize it’s a problem when your only responses were, “Oh well.” (To an update that wasn’t directed towards you, but one meant to spark conversations for blogs.) And then, the longer, “Oh well, some kids scream” response.

      My suggestion is the same as I said above, consistent correction which doesn’t always happen. If he’s yelling and it’s a problem to those around him, and the response is “Let me take you upstairs where you can scream or let me take you to the park,” that’s not teaching him that when people are watching TV, when people are sleeping, when I ask you to lower your voice and you scream louder, it’s not okay.

      And so what he’s 2! Are you kidding me? THAT is the age in which they learn by steady routine. Naps, potty-training, alphabet, numbers, basic discipline, etc. All things that require you stick to a pattern. That’s the age you want to get started cause it’s a helluva lot harder when they’re 7. A two year old knows what no means. A two year old knows what’s going on when you say to stop doing something and then they do it louder, bigger, harder.

      And let me tell you, FAMILY, friends and strangers are going to have opinions on EVERYTHING a mother does. From your decision to cut/not cut your kids hair at one to how late you let your 10-year-old stay up during summer break.

      That Saturday was used as an example to show that a kid doesn’t have to be doing it to be bad and it can still be inconvenient to others. It wasn’t meant to throw stones. I love my nephew and I love you.

      • Christine says:

        I read your whole response and still somehow missed what I’m supposed to do about it! (Great press conference but what the hell IS the health plan???)…. You say that parents should remove their screaming child as not to disturb others, but then you said “Let me take you upstairs….” isn’t the answer. Hmmmm….

        I am consistent with Elijah. When we are home AND in public I speak to him softly and sternly about being quiet and/or not running. If he insists then we leave. I’m delivering the message. If I yell it only encourages him to yell back. He gets “popped” from me all the time. My attitude is I want to be the one in charge of disciplining my child. It isn’t okay with me for extended family to think it’s okay to spank him. Therefore, I get nice and mean in a desperate attempt to correct the behavior so I don’t have to be overly concerned about it when I’m not around.

        It’s not a good feeling to have your child be considered the “problem.” Especially since Elijah is such a sweet, loving, smart boy. He’s that puppy that just wants to play. I’m not against you or anyone else having an opinion. The issue is this wasn’t some livingroom discussion. You brought it to a public forum in an attempt to entertain at my son’s expense.

        The reason I saw it is because I support you as a writer. I still do. I already know you don’t want to have to censor yourself just because a friend or family member may be offended. By all means express your opinions and document your experiences…. However, know and understand that people WILL sometimes get offended.

        Elijah is my world. I want nothing more than for him to be happy, healthy, and successful. I am working towards getting him into daycare so that he can benefit from socialization and the structure of a classroom setting. Yes your insensitive approach hit home for me, because it is something I STRUGGLE with. In a perfect world your closest family and friends are a source of support and offset the BS the rest of the world throws at you. I’m reminded everyday that this is far from a perfect world.

        I’m no longer upset. I’m confident knowing that Elijah is a good kid and we will get past his growing pains. I need not concern myself with the negative opinions of others. As for me mentioning his age, it was to point out that he is IN that growing/learning phase. I haven’t failed YET!

        • nina says:

          What I meant was removing them from the situation as a correction. For instance, Kali cut up in the mall once because I wasn’t letting her touch shit and pull things off shelves. I removed her. We left. She wasn’t happy because we were going to shop and get ice cream. No, your punishment is we leave and you can sit at home with no shopping and ice cream because you decided showing your ass was more fun. But if your kid is screaming and disturbing someone’s nap or someone watching TV and you say, “Let’s go upstairs so you can scream all you want,” that’s not teaching them to respect other people’s space.

          I’m sorry that you feel like I’m trying to “entertain” people at his expense. No one said he’s horrible or bad. In that particular instance he was asked repeatedly by me, my Mom and Daddy to not scream because the baby was sleeping and he screamed louder. It was annoying. HE’S not annoying. The behavior was annoying. Kali talks a lot. It’s annoying sometimes. Jack screeches. It’s annoying. I’ve used my own kids as examples too. It doesn’t matter if it’s your nephew or your son. And it doesn’t make you or me bad mothers to say, “Yeah, sometimes my kid does some stuff that isn’t exactly cool when in public.”

          And I regret that you see this as an “insensitive approach.” NEWSFLASH: Elijah wasn’t the point of this blog. Every Monday (ok, sometimes every Monday) I discuss issues in motherhood that may affect ALL mothers. This wasn’t aimed at you or designed to get you to do anything. It wasn’t an approach. It was blog designed to spark discussion… as they all are.

          • nina says:

            Oh, and the “old man and a couple of dogs?” Not cool. He is in the situation you’ve provided which is free child care by people that would jump in front of a bus for him. It could be worse.

        • Kemari says:

          I have twins- boy and girl. They are 10 years old now. But when they were little (2 and 3), my son, Jordan was one of those ‘bursting, balls of energy’ you mention. Despite what some people think, yes, there are children out there who come tumbling out of the womb ready to voice their emotions in a very loud, physical manner. And no amount of ‘shhh baby, shhh’ is going to change that personality trait. So I can see what you’re saying Christine, I totally can because I have been there. I am still dealing with my son’s energetic approach to life. His sister, she’s not the same way, so it obviously isn’t my parenting approach so much as it is WHO THEY ARE.

          However, a child screaming, and then screaming even more after being asked to stop is not part of that personality trait. It’s something that can be corrected. Children can and should learn that having manners and respect for others is mandatory, and that acting out is never okay, no matter what. It has nothing to do with his genes and everything to do with conditioning. I know this because I have been through it. Hell, I am still going through it.

          On the other side of it, Nina makes some valid points. I wish I hadn’t been on the defensive so much about it. I wish I hadn’t let me attitude and pride force me into that ‘oh well, fuck you if you don’t like my son’s loudness’ mindset. By the time I decided to try and crack down and be super consistent and change my approach, he was 5 and 6 and already running around like crazy with its head cut off. As he gets older, its harder and harder to make him understand the proper behavior because he has no foundation to build on. He thinks he gets in trouble more and talked to more because he really thinks I don’t love him as much as his sister. It’s heartbreaking, and I know it could have been avoided.

          He’s not a bad kid. He has gotten better. Way better. In fact, in school, you’d never ever know he is as rambunctious as he is, because he is the epitome of serenity. The reason: he is passionate about learning. And that seems to be the one way to curb his ‘social awkwardness’ – by making sure he isn’t bored with the situations. If we went to a party, or to family’s house, and it was mostly adults sitting around, he would get antsy, irritable, whiny, loud. Because there was nothing for him to focus on.

          The point is, there is no right or wrong way to parent. No matter what people say. You have every right to raise him how you want. But not doing anything, even if its easier to let it go, it only makes it harder later. And if you are going to have an ‘oh well’ attitude every time someone says something, then you are going to have to learn to deal with the fact that others are going to be unhappy with the situation and it will affect your invitations/social gatherings.

          Kids are going to disturb others at some point, no matter what. And people are going to have to understand that, no matter what. But if your family and friends see you/your kid as the ‘problem guests’ then there must be something to it. You should definitely be the only one to ‘discipline him’, i.e. spanking, putting him in the corner/time out, etc., but if you ignore him acting out while others are being disturbed, you can expect ppl are going to step up and tell him to be quiet. You might not like, it don’t make it right, but it’s just how its going to be. The only way to stop it is to be on him immediately with whatever tactic you use. And I can tell you, it doesn’t work overnight. Suddenly changing your approach doesn’t just automatically make him learn to calm down. It will take weeks, months, etc. But it’s worth it, in the end, for your peace of mind.

  18. Randa says:

    I have just started working at a school for autistic children, and while I definitely know where you’re coming from and have shared the “don’t make the behavioural problems of your children mine as well” attitude in the past, it is now changing. Specifically autistic children often start screaming or display other challenging behaviour in public places or anywhere else for that matter. Trying to explain to such a child that this is socially not appropriate/acceptable behaviour is in most cases absolutely pointless due to the nature of their condition. They simply would not understand it. However, one thing that can be done is trying to asses why they are screaming. All behaviour serves some kind of a function, and if a child hasn’t learned to communicate properly or is unable to, then sometimes screaming or challenging behaviour in general is being used as a form of communication. Mostly because it has evoked some kind of response in the past. Some behaviour intervention that is being used with autistic children to try and modify a behaviour or get rid of it altogether is to simply ignore it. For example, if the child is screaming because it wants social attention, then the only way to teach the child not to do it is to not give the child any attention, thus ignoring him or her completely. This way the child learns that screaming isn’t working, and then we may be able to teach him or her a more appropriate behaviour, such as nicely asking for attention, for example. Long story short, what I am trying to say is that, while I understand that this can be very annoying for everyone in the child’s immediate environment, sometimes the screaming just has to be completely ignored in order for it to become extinct. And removing the child from the environment where it usually happens (like the supermarket) will firstly give the child attention and secondly not teach the child that screaming in a supermarket will not elicit ANY kind of response from the carer/parent.

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