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My baby boy is 19 months old, he screams while he plays, while he sits in his high-chair, while he is in his cot, while he has time-out, whatever and wherever he screams, screams, screams and does not stop.

It isn't a normal screaming either, he does it as loud and horrible as he possibly can, and his favourite trick is to do it right inside our ears by surprise, making us jump and go crazy.

Does anyone else have this experience, is it normal, what should I do about it? We have been trying the time-out technique for many weeks but it has no effect. After time-out, of any interval - minutes or hours, he just smiles and laughs and starts again to scream. During time-out, either in his cot or high-chair, in the same room or in another room, he just screams like usual, it seems he doesn't care about it at all.

Is there any way to teach our baby to stop this or an alternative non-violent discipline technique to time-out? How can we find out the real reason our baby is behaving with this extremely bad and stressful way? It is ruining our lives. After hearing that screaming, it has disturbed our minds, we cannot think straight or concentrate on anything at all.

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    I'd say first examine how you react to it. Most kids do weird things because something happens when they do. Resist reacting and pay no mind to it and I bet he will find some other way to drive you insane. I refused to react to my kids crying for no good reason or whining to get things and they pretty much don't do it. Havent since like 1 year old or so. Maybe put on some loud music on an mp3 player and wear some headphones. So long as you can see your baby and you're not actually ignoring them there's no reason to call you negligent for that. – Kai Qing May 11 '15 at 22:43
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    @KaiQing To expand on your excellent points, you might try artificially reacting to something else he does. That way you misdirect him to stop screaming and doing the other behavior that is much more desirable. – Nick2253 May 11 '15 at 23:07
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    I'm not trying to be facetious or flippant, but you may want to try ear-plugs temporarily, to help take the edge off while waiting for a resolution. I know it's not ideal, but it may help preserve your sanity. – user11394 May 13 '15 at 6:46
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  • Sternly and firmly explain that's not acceptable behavior. With some "classic" parenting you can curb this, or you can be soft and have your kid screaming for a couple of years. – Eric May 14 '15 at 14:58
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19 months is too early to get into complicated strategies, and time-out is just a waste of time as you've discovered, keep it simple.

  • Get a health check with a doctor to talk about it
  • Be mindfully and rigorously consistent about how you react to his screaming ; he keeps doing it because he thinks there is still something new he can get out of it. If the same thing keeps happening, he'll get bored and move on to something else.
  • This may sound silly to some but it's worth a shot: have you tried telling him normally as would to an adult how you feel about his screaming? Don't be fooled, babies are smart and by the time they are 1 yr old usually understand the essential of what is happening and being said.
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Children crave control. I had a friend whose son had a similar behavior, only instead of screaming he'd yell "Boo!" or "Hey!" He liked the way it made people jump, and it drove her crazy. She finally decided to deal with it by putting in light earplugs so that she could still hear but the sound wasn't enough to make her jump, then she made it a point to pay extra attention to him when he wasn't yelling, and to go do housework or something else around him but not interacting with him, every time he yelled. It took a couple of months but she finally has got the behavior licked.

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Okay, I know this isn't a fun situation at all for you. First, before anything else, have you been to the doctor? I think that you should make sure that there are no developmental issues. If this has been going on for awhile, it is worth considering. The reason I say that is because some children with Autism have this reaction when they become overwhelmed or bored.

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  • Hi, and welcome to the site. This is a helpful answer; if you could flesh it out, it would be a good answer. For example, can you link to an article on autism where this has been documented to occur? The usual Stack Exchange model is to give verifiable answers (or based on experience); if not, the answer is little more than a comment, which can be left after you've earned a small amount of reputation. Please see the site tour and the help sections for more information. Thanks. – anongoodnurse May 13 '15 at 4:23

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