Why does your kid scream all the time?


Very recently, I have become fed up with the posts on one of my very favorite Mama site. I have never claimed to be a full on Attachment Parent, nor do I claim to understand Babywise by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t understand the method that includes my child or any other child crying to accomplish something.

When my now almost 3 year old Monkey was a baby I wore him, Breastfed on demand, co-slept sort of in our own variation that worked for my little dude and even read a bunch of books on the topic, but took what I needed and left the rest. My plan as a new Mommy was to show him do it on his own. That is until I saw and held my 8.5-week early preemie in the NICU for the first time 3 days after his birth…with that little body in my arms, I knew that it was my job to help him through it. To be there…so I found sites that inspired me and helped me feel less like a newbie with hippie tendencies.

But, this last few weeks I have felt like an outsider on these sites and read things that discourage me from even putting a word in the response section.

Synopsis’ of the most aggravating requests…

  1. My child suddenly screams in the middle of the night for no reason. But, when I gave him Motrin he was promptly asleep in a hour and slept for six hours. Should a 14 month old be able to sleep through the night without screaming?
  2. My child refuses to sit still at restaurants. 22 months old and she used to sit there and just play, but now she screams until I let her have what is on my plate or put her in my lap. How can we enjoy a meal like this? Should I just leave her at home?
  3. My 3 YO can’t be taken anywhere. He will break things and scream bloody murder if I tell him ‘NO’. He doesn’t understand that this isn’t okay. Sometimes he will just scream until I give him what he wants. I don’t want to always give in.

Okay, so these three stories from various age groups all made me want to yank out my hair with anger. They all have one thing in common…a screaming child. And, not just a screaming child, but a parent who is not seeing the big picture.

Your child is trying to tell you something and the screaming is a direct result of an inability to either communicate it through words or actions or you just aren’t listening and they can’t help but snap. My son has done it. I’ve done it. I have sat down on the floor in the middle of the room when I just don’t know what to do and cried. It’s natural to come to the end of your rope and not know what to do…but, for babies, toddlers and kids what can they do if their guides in life can’t stop and hear them? Well, let’s go for the loudest most distracting thing!


I even talked about this in therapy. I brought up how to handle tantrums and how to deal with people around me who think that how I handle them is just silly. My therapist giggled a bit, and told me that tantrums are normal and its how we as adults that teaches our kids how to identify their emotions and what they are…I love the way she puts things. She’s genius.

So I thought about responding to these posts and then I read the responses from some of the other Mommy Posters and I cringed at some and then I laughed at others…and I took a deep breath and wrote my patented response about looking into your child’s eyes and telling them in a quiet hush voice that if you scream Mommy can’t help you and if you’re out in public pick them up and walk straight to the car. If your child wakes screaming in the middle of the night comfort them and meet their needs. Show your child unconditional love. And for the lovely lady who was so worried about eating out, I wrote my recipe for eating our prep which so many find to be too much work for something that should be simple.

I’m not sure what kind of category I fit into as a parent. I’m not sure there is a category for my style, and if there is than I would be proud to be there.

  • I cuddle my son when he wakes up at night with a bad dream.
  • I let him sleep in my bed when he wants to.
  • I don’t make him sit at the dinner table until his meal is gone or else he gets nothing until the next day.
  • I kiss his boo-boos and I let him eat sweets.
  • I sleep sitting up with him while he’s sick and can’t sleep laying down.
  • I hold his hand while we hike
  • I tell him it’s okay to cry if you are sad
  • I make sure he knows it’s okay to be mad at me and tell me so.

I don’t know where I fit into the world of parenting styles, but I do know that I wish I could take the time to help parents who haven’t found their groove and give them a hug and tell them it’s okay to not know. It’s okay to be scared and it’s okay to just hug your child.
I don’t know maybe I am a hippy like my Dad or maybe I’m just the right blend of hippy and conservative strict Catholic Mama that raised me…all I know for sure is I’m learning and loving it.


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