Friday, February 3, 2012

Three for Screaming

My children have a screaming problem.

The Little Buddy does it all the time. He lets out the most high pitched shriek you ever did hear. Typically, it's a sound emitted because he's happy. Of course, there are other loud yells that accompany a feeling of anger, annoyance or frustration. Several times he's squealed right next to my ear and caused a sort of temporary deafness. I did not enjoy it.

The Rock Star does it in response to his little brother aggravating him. Whenever Matthew takes a toy, uses physical violence, or generally behaves like a toddler, Garrett will let out this shrill scream. Sometimes it's just an unintelligible scream. Most of the time it's a very high pitched, "MAAATHEW!"

It's getting worse.

And I can't take it anymore.

So I implemented the Three for Screaming Rule. Whenever one of the boys shrieks--for any reason--he is sent to his bed for three minutes. He must stop what he's doing, sit on his bed, and wait. The time starts when Garrett stops negotiating. Likewise, it stops for Matthew as soon as he stops sobbing. The Rock Star is getting the hang of it. The Little Buddy strongly despises punishment of any kind and even three minutes on his bed is a cause for a major meltdown.

It doesn't matter if Matthew was the offender. If Garrett shrieks, he automatically gets sent to his bed. Obviously, the reverse is true. And, of course, I discipline the offending party as well. I don't really know if this method is working but I'm sticking with it because otherwise I'm going to go raging insane.

This morning, both boys were playing. Suddenly, they simultaneously began the high pitched scream. At the very top of my lungs I yelled, "GET. ON. YOUR. BEDS. THREE. MINUTES. FOR. SCREAMING. WE. DO. NOT. SCREAM. IN. THIS. HOUSE."

They both appeared in the doorway, blinking. Confused. I stared at them. "I probably shouldn't scream either," I muttered. "Get on your beds."

And then I put myself in blessed timeout. If only I could have thirty--instead of three--for screaming, life would be bliss.

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