When Children Scream, Most Parents React Wrongly
When their child screams, many parents react with threats and severity. Instead, they should recognize that their children are overloaded in this situation – and find other solutions to deal with the situation. A mother of two gives tips.
The baby was swaddled, fed, and covered, but now it’s in the car, roaring. The toddler is sitting in the sandpit and screaming because Peter won’t give the shovel. The school child is supposed to do homework and instead slams the room door with a loud curse. All little tyrants? Don’t parents have an obligation here to finally “take proper action”?
The answer is no. Let it. If your child is crying, there is a reason. When a child cries, their system is overloaded – and whatever educational measures we take now has no effect at all. The child may be quiet if we apply enough pressure, but they are guaranteed to learn nothing.
Exciting, but no time right now?
That is why the following applies to clever parents: When our child cries, screams or yells, his brain is in a state of emergency. We have to postpone any educational measures until later and first ensure that they can even listen to us again. Of course, we have to act according to age.
Baby in stroller
The following applies to the baby in the car: We react immediately to a whimpering, crying or even screaming baby. It is a myth that even infants would manipulate their parents, their brain development does not allow that at all. Babies don’t lie: Studies show that babies who are responded to immediately and emphatically, cry less and less quickly, and develop better.
So we take the child out of the car, it usually calms down very quickly now. It doesn’t calm down? Never mind, you’re still doing it right! Because it is still better for its brain development when it cries in mum’s or dad’s arms than when it is alone in the stroller. A clear case.
Toddler in the sandpit
The following applies to the toddler in the sandpit: Here too we react immediately. Of course we’re not going to tear the blue shovel away from Peter to make Emma stop screaming. We expect much more often from a child at the age of one and a half, two or three years that Emma will “pull herself together”.
Basically, the assumption is also correct: In the second year of life, children learn to put their needs aside, sometimes to wait, to process frustration. But several times a day at this age the limit at which the child can still regulate itself is exceeded. Its little system can no longer handle the stress and it screams.
Acknowledge that the child is overworked
Giving a child the right does not mean doing whatever the child wants. It is said that we acknowledge that the child is overworked: “Okay, you really want to mess around, I’ll see you. At the moment Peter has the shovel and we can only wait.” We can go on the swing or offer the yellow shovel.
But be careful: A tired toddler can often no longer do anything with our lovely offers. Now we mustn’t lose control ourselves and shout offended: “You don’t want the yellow shovel? You little terror dwarf!” No, we are clever, we prefer to teach our child how to deal with stress:“ Oh, the yellow shovel won’t help you, I understand. I think the day was long now too, come to me, you can cry in my arms. “
We are the place where our children are safe with their helpless anger and overwhelm. And we show them that they always have a safe haven with us. Often the children don’t want to be close – that’s okay too. We stay there, make sure that the child does not hurt himself or others and wait until the “neuron storm” in the brain, because nothing else is screaming and raving, has subsided.
First listen to schoolchildren
For our schoolchild, the following applies: Before I loudly explain to my child that no doors will be slammed here, we must first discuss what is going on. The best way: first listen. “Hey, I hear you don’t feel like doing your homework. Tell me what’s going on. “
Schoolchildren can often say very clearly what is bothering them; they are hungry, tired, need help, do not understand the material or prefer to play. Then you can find alternatives and make it clear how you see the matter yourself. Only then do we remind the child of the family rules, which say, for example, that no doors are slammed here and no one is yelled at – which I can only say if I don’t scream myself.
If parents take action, the child learns nothing
Why so much effort? Wouldn’t it be easier to “take action”? No it is not. If I take action, the children may be quiet, but they haven’t learned anything. But we want children who learn something. So we act as science teaches us: only when children are relaxed can their brains pick up our words. We cannot raise a child who cries. We have to calm it down first and come to its side. And only then explain the social rules.
Because science also teaches: Children want to cooperate. Children want to be part of a group, they want to please their parents, to be loved. So our children are constantly in conflict: I want to please my parents, but I also want to make my own decisions. Most of the time, compromises can be found quite well by around four in the afternoon. But when the evening approaches, parents and children are tired, the brain is slowly exhausted. Everyone is affected by this: the children can no longer cooperate, we parents start to complain.
If we now manage to teach our child how to cope with stress instead of seeing a little “tyrant”, we have already won. And for this it is good to remember: children do not scream to annoy us. They scream because they really need help: “He who screams is right”. When we approach our children like this, we get surprisingly cooperative answers. Try it!