My 2-year-old screams at the top of his lungs whenever he doesn’t get his way—which is usually when we’re in public. How can I teach him that this isn’t acceptable behavior?
The part of a tantrum that bothers parents the most (and causes them to give in or get angry) is screaming. The key is not to take the screaming personally. Take it for what it is – a verbal expression of explosive feelings. Screaming that is given into quickly turns into a tool for manipulation.
Nighttime is an especially vulnerable time for parents to feel powerless against screaming (for example, your two-year-old wants to nurse for the third time and you’ve decided to let dad take over). We tell parents they don’t have to protect the child from his own screaming. He is choosing to scream and he can choose to stop. As long as the child is not left to scream alone, he has your support without your capitulation. He’ll figure out how to stop screaming.