“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?