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Old 09-24-2011, 02:28 AM   #1
mel j
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Screaming at night

Sometimes my 3 year old screams so loudly when something's bothering him. If you have a LO who does this how do you deal with it? And esp. at night? Sometimes he'll scream because he has to go to the bathroom in the night but is tired and doesn't want to get up (then needs me to pick him up and bring him to the bathroom because he's too tired to walk.) How can I discourage the screaming?

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Old 09-24-2011, 08:19 AM   #2
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Re: Screaming at night

Encourage communication? My ds knows that if he's screaming (unless sick of course) I will ignore him. At age 3 I also have to tell him that I'm going to ignore him each time "Oh hon I know you want to tell me something but it's so sad because I can't understand unless you use your words' and then I walk off.
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Old 09-24-2011, 08:30 AM   #3
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Re: Screaming at night

Thanks! That's kinda what I do during the day but at night it is impossible to reason with him
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Old 09-24-2011, 09:53 AM   #4
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Re: Screaming at night

Mine did this. This may sound mean, but I would leave. I would come in covering my ears and making it obvious that his screaming was hurting my ears. I would tell him to please stop screaming and say why and say I would have to leave. Then I would leave. Usually I would come right back because he would get more upset. I would repeat the whole shpeal. Sometimes I would try to hug him and shh him enough to get him to hear me first because its kiinda hard to hear me when he is screaming!! I tried not to do what he wanted until he stopped screaming (even for a second) so he didn't get the idea that screaming was effective. This is a hard game of chicken though with a boy that needs to pee though. Sometimes I just whisked him off to the potty then talked to him about it once the panic was over. Eventually I made him walk himself while holding my hand. Then we graduated to him even going by himself. (Gasp! Imagine that!! LOL) Good luck! Night lights were a must for us too so the dark wasn't an issue.
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Old 09-24-2011, 04:33 PM   #5
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Re: Screaming at night

I wouldn't carry a 3 year old to the bathroom. He can get up himself. sounds like a control issue. Why should he stop if you are catering to it? You know he is capable of better behavior and I don't find tired as being an excuse for bad behavior. Can he get up and go by himself to the bathroom during the day? If not, work on that for sure whether it is handling his own clothes, wiping or whatever and then once you know he CAN do it, help him wake up at night and then let him take care of his business on his own. Then slowly but surely, step back and let him do more and more by himself. BTW I have a 3 year old too that would readily scream if she knew that it would make us come running. I put a small potty in her room (even though the bathroom is the next room over). She pees in there at night and wipes and gets back into bed on her own. I know she can get up and go potty during the day so I am not about to get up and help at night (especially when I have a 5 month old infant that actually does need me at night). Its been a long time since I carried her....she's well over 40lbs and I am not that strong!
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Old 09-24-2011, 04:36 PM   #6
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Re: Screaming at night

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Originally Posted by mel j View Post
Thanks! That's kinda what I do during the day but at night it is impossible to reason with him
Sorry but there's no way I would cater to my ds's screaming. You're just giving in and he's getting what he wants so why would he change? Heck if I could just lay in bed and scream and have someone carry me to the bathroom at night I WOULD.

I may give a 3 year old choices about some things but an issue like this in my family it's either my way or you're going to get in big trouble. Gosh I can barely reason with my dh, if you can reason with a 3 year old I would like to know how!

ETA again: 'Just let him pee' wasn't literal. I mean obviousl
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Old 09-24-2011, 04:43 PM   #7
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Re: Screaming at night

My 3 y/o DS still wakes up crying/screaming in the middle of the night occasionally. He used to have night terrors, so we do come to him. He also will ask for help going to the bathroom because he is too tired. I do cater to helping him, why? Because when I don't he either tries by himself and misses the toilet or ends up wetting the bed. Both mean more work for me. I also make him stop crying and use his words to tell me what he needs.
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Old 09-24-2011, 05:40 PM   #8
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Re: Screaming at night

Ok, after reading the responses, thanks for your perspectives. I realized I may have left some details out. I am not perfect about it but I don't just come running and give into him like that just because he is tired or screaming. We live in an apartment and just canNOT let him scream like that but even though it bothers us that doesn't mean we just give him everything he wants just because he screams - in fact whenever he screams I tell him firmly to "Calm down" and "I cannot teach you that you can scream like that to get your way" and wait for him to calm down. During the day he is totally capable of using the bathroom by himself and yes, I am sure he can learn to be able to do it at night, too; helping him at night is not really what bothers me though. Although yes, maybe he is spoiled that I have helped him while he was learning so he expects it now. During the night I don't blame him for being tired though I definitely don't think tiredness is an excuse for "bad behaviour" either. But sometimes he screams because he has nightmares (I know because he'll talk in his sleep and then calm down when I remind him that he's sleeping and it's night time) and I think it takes him a few seconds to wake up and fully realize that what's bothering him is he has to pee - it's not always that he has to pee - sometimes it's that he is thirsty/hungry, sometimes it's because he is having a bad dream, etc. and it usually takes him a bit to realize what it is exactly that is bothering him - I guess I just don't think it's because he thinks I will come running - it seems more like it's because he doesn't really know how to express what's bothering him right away since he is so tired (that is what I meant by it being impossible to reason with him at night - I have tried!) And it's not every single night - he only has to get up to pee once in awhile, maybe once a week or so. I guess I was just frustrated about it last night so really wanted some insight from others. Thanks again!

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Old 09-24-2011, 06:05 PM   #9
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Re: Screaming at night

I think if you help him understand in the daytime that screaming isn't the best way to communicate that nighttime will follow eventually.

I would NOT just let him pee himself at night. If that were me who was upset and wanting help, and someone just ignored me so I peed myself I would be so hurt! They like me enough in the daytime to help, but not at night? I think that sends the wrong message. Not to mention WAY more work for you in the morning.

AND - I've recently met a 5 yo who was let to sit in her mess so much that she HONESTLY doesn't care. The more we let them get used to it, and don't help them understand the benefits of being clean and dry - they won't bother to do it themselves.

I would continue to talk to him about his nighttime behavior, etc, while I helped him to the bathroom (whether it was carrying, or holding hands, or "meet you there" or whatever) so that staying clean and dry AND treating others kindly is a priority. Not one over another.

The potty in the bedroom might help, too? But I would still help him get there for awhile so he gets thru the transition smoothly.

I guess mainly I would turn the situation around and think "if it were me, how would I want to be treated and helped thru the situation?"

Good luck! Reasoning isn't easy, but it's worth it. and each side of the "battle" deserves it.
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