I know there are a lot of posts on here about screaming but I feel like my situation may be different. Feel free to mark this as a duplicate post if not...
My wife, my mother-in-law, my 19 month old son, and I are on a vacation. This has obviously been a difficult adjustment for our son and we've tried to make it as close to our routine as possible including:
- Bringing lots of familiar toys.
- Trying to have him nap/sleep at the same time as home (despite being in a different time zone).
- eating similar foods that we know our son likes.
Despite that, he seems to have recently picked up a habit of high-pitched screaming when he doesn't get something he wants. I don't recall him doing this before our vacation.
An example would be a tendency to "run wild" in public areas (e.g. aquariums, ice cream shops, bookstores, pools, malls, plane flights, etc). I realize that he's a kid and needs some measure of safe independence but eventually we need to "wrangle" him in and continue with whatever we're trying to do (continue visiting other parts of the aquarium, stay in the safe kiddie pool area, wait in line behind other folks at a store, etc).
When that happens, he tends to unleash a ridiculously high-pitched scream. Sometime it's multiple short bursts. Other times its lengthy.
During these episodes, he's clearly frustrated and admittedly, I'm not at my own personal best -- I usually feel mortified and immediately aware of the inconvenience (or perceived inconvenience) this may be causing others. I realize that's not the best perspective and am trying to work on that. I wish I could just shut the world out and deal with my son one-on-one.
In terms of addressing our son, I've tried a variety of things including:
- time outs if a quiet area is available.
- offering hugs and trying to comfort.
- trying to distract with something else.
- trying to give advanced notice if something is changing "OK david, in 5 minutes we're going to be leaving..." although I doubt he has a concept of time yet.
I'm not sure if anything is really helping to prevent future episodes so I can't tell if what I'm doing is making things worse.
Since he's 19 months old, he only knows a handful of words and can't really articulate how he's feeling through spoken word. I understand that's part of why he's screaming -- he's frustrated and trying to communicate during a tantrum.
Is this making any sense? Is there anything I can do? I'm honestly and sincerely dreading the 4.5 hour flight back home next week and feel like everything I'm doing now is just making things worse. :-(