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How can I get my 6-year-old to stop screaming all the time?

My 6-year-old is generally a happy and creative little boy. Unfortunately, he screams at every little thing he decides is offensive to him. For example, if his uncle makes a joke and he decides he doesn't like it, he screams... very loud and high-pitched.

He doesn't really do it with me in public, (he'll cry, but not outright scream at me), however he constantly does it at home.

When he was 4, he'd just talk back and be a general brat when something he didn't like happened. I'd give him a time-out. Eventually he added screaming to that, and now he just screams. If I give him a time-out he just sits there screaming and throwing a tantrum.

I even tried calm, consistent spanking last year... it wasn't doing anything and I had to do it so often it felt wrong. So I quit doing that.
My mom tells me it's because I don't "get angry". She wants me to scream back at him or something... but I just can't. I'm too in-control and loud yelling/screaming is just not in my nature at all. It also seems counter-productive to me.

These days, I emphasize to him that he needs to talk or I don't understand why he's upset. When he screams, I usually get eye-level and calmly ask him to just talk to me. Most of the time it works, but it doesn't prevent him from doing it again later.

So. Now that he's in Kindergarten, I really need to stop this. He has thrown a few tantrums in school. (They asked him to throw his food away because lunch time was over. He apparently didn't understand, and so he started screaming).

I'm at a loss here... he's old enough to know better but he doesn't seem to have any control over it. Maybe I should get him tested for ADHD? Maybe I just don't spend enough time with him?
In all other aspects, he's on par with other kids his age, (no developmental problems or autism of any kind). I moved his bedtime to 7pm months ago, (he gets up on his own in the morning at about 6:30am) but that didn't work.

I also can't think of anything major that happened in our lives that would've started all this in the first place... we have moved quite a few times in his life, so maybe he has security issues?
When he gets his shots, he never screams and doesn't even seem that worried, but we thoroughly explain things to him first, so maybe it's a communication issue?


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Asked by StarIceCream at 2:23 PM on Nov. 17, 2011 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Level 2 (5 Credits)
Answers (3)
  • I feel for you. I would consult a physician and rule out any physical reasons..Hope you get some peace!!!

    Answer by subiemama at 2:40 PM on Nov. 18, 2011

  • My son went through that last year well for a few years. It only happen at home if he didn't get his way. He would yell and scream and go to his room. He would cry loud for ten minutes or longer if I send him to his room. Thank God I think with him going to school it has helped him because he doesn't do this anymore.

    So my advice to you is he will grow out of it.

    Answer by Deb79 at 2:58 PM on Nov. 18, 2011

  • Whew! I'm glad I'm not alone, Deb. I just had a teacher conference last night and apparently he cries every day whenever he gets frustrated, but he hasn't screamed at all since the lunchroom incident. So hopefully school will help him out.

    subiemama, thank you, I might just try that too.

    Comment by StarIceCream (original poster) at 4:10 PM on Nov. 18, 2011

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