Post # 1
I have a 5 year old stepson, let’s call him Chris. Chris is a good and good natured boy, but he has a tendency to be very loud. For instance, if DH or I are not in the same room as him, he will yell at the top of his lungs for us. I think yelling is ok in an emergency, but I have a problem with yelling for attention. Chris is old enough now that if he needs us for something, I think he should come and ask us instead of yelling. Also, when we play, he has a lot of excited screams. Now, Chris does not live with us full time, so DH is very responsive and gives him a LOT of attention when he comes over. If Chris yells for him, he goes running.
We are TTC, and I will not tolerate that kind of yelling or screaming once there is a sleeping baby in the house. So, I have been trying to encourage the use of “inside voices.” Chris has attended preschool since age 2, so this is a familiar concept.
Today, I pulled DH away from their play for a second and told him I needed to have an adult conversation with him for a moment about a defective OPK test I had that morning. As soon as I started talking, Chris started screaming in excitement about his game. I made a very annoyed face to hubby, but gently reminded Chris about inside voices. Hubby said I have been too caught up with that lately and that Chris was just excited. I told him that the screaming was getting to be too much for me. Hubby just looked wounded, and said “don’t worry, he’ll be gone soon.”
How can I talk about this incident productively? I don’t hate my SS or wish for him to go back to his moms. But I would like the yelling minimized. Am I being too much of a control freak?
Post # 3
Sorry but yes you are. Kids are loud, they get excited, they yell/scream…. it’s part of being a kid. My son knows what an inside voice is, but he has a BIG personality and it would be cruel of me to try to tone him down. Why would I want to? That’s who he is! Now yelling to be ugly is one thing. Excited loudness over a game/toy? Normal and you need to chill.
Post # 4
@TripleNickle: I think its just the way you worded it “its getting to be too much,” he might have taken that as “Chris is getting to be too much.” I’d make sure you let him know that thats not what you meant.
Edit: But yes, kids are loud. Especially when they’re playing games. The baby will be loud, too, though obviously for different reasons.
Post # 5
Each child is different. But yes, they make noise and can be loud. If he’s excited by a game or seeing his dad, then yelling is understandable. I think you can keep enforcing the inside voice when it’s applicable. And that standing on the 2nd floor and screaming for dad who’s on the first floor for non-emergencies is to be avoided.
Post # 6
- Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast
Sleeping babies sleep right through loud noises, particularly those made by siblings. So on that front you really have nothing to worry about. You want your kid to be able to sleep through noise.
Now, that said, you and DH need to have a 1 on 1 chat at a time when DS has not been around for a few days and you’ve both had time to cool off. Approach this issue as a team. You need to decide, together, what behavior is/is not appropriate in your household. Once you have established mutually agreed-upon boundaries, you will also need to establish a mutually agreed upon game plan for enforcing those boundaries. The first time he screams he gets a gentle reminder. The second time …, the third time… . And the final piece of the planning puzzle is to agree upon how you will remind each other of this mutual agreement. One of you may forget or not notice or whatever. How can you gently (and subtly) remind each other and hold each other accountable for sticking to your agreement? Then start putting all of this into practice. It may take a few tries, but you will figure it out as a team.
Post # 7
You’re not being too much of a control freak, and 5 years old is old enough to know when inside voices are expected (although he is still 5 so even if he fully “gets” it, he’s still going to have a slip-up or three), but your frustration and annoyance really needs to be directed at your husband, not at the child. The child is not yet at an age where he’s capable of rational decision-making or situational logic, and he will do what’s easiest for him to do and get the reaction he wants. You must work this out with your husband, and you as a couple must be unified in your approach, because it’s not going to work if you ignore the shouting and your husband responds.
You need to talk to your husband, preferrably while Chris is not visiting. Chris is a distraction for your husband so you’re not going to make any real progress while Chris is around. Explain the need for inside voices, and not in the context of how you won’t tolerate screaming when you two have “your own” child. This is about teaching proper manners to the child your husband already has, and you can’t bring up anything that makes your husband feel like you’re pitting one child against the other (even if that second child doesn’t exist yet). Focus on how you want to stop reinforcing to Chris that screaming is the right way to get attention, and how you want to teach him to communicate at more acceptable levels.
Do keep in mind that children WILL make a lot of noise when they are excited, especially during playtime, and that you may need to adjust your expectations a fair bit in the process. You *will* need to accept that playtime will be noisy and that if you have a baby one day, the other child will wake him/her up. That’s the nature of children. Your best bet on that front is to plan around it— get Chris involved in some quieter hobbies and activities like building model airplanes or playing with erector sets, but also accept the fact that kids are kids and they are not going to always be quiet when you want them to be.
Post # 8
Your husband is encouraging the behavior by providing the wanted response to it – SS yells, DH comes running.
So DH needs to stop responding to it, and asking his son (kindly and patiently) to please ask politely if he wants dad around. When dad is available he’ll come over (and maybe he can tell his son that he won’t need to wait more than 10 minutes ever)
The catch is that dad needs to do just about the same thing – he needs to come running over if the kid asks politely. Otherwise we’ll just be back to shouting for attention.
Post # 9
@TripleNickle: I think you have unrealistic expectations for his behavior. He’s 5, I’m sure he is trying his very best to obey the no screaming rules, but kids get excited and forget and can’t control their emotions. As long as he is responsive when you ask him to quiet down that is the best you can probably do for a 5 year old. Your future child will likely be no different (especially if it’s a boy), so i’d get used to it.
As for a baby sleeping through it – they will. Baby’s are actually soothed by noise the vast majority of the time. My 2 month old nephew sleeps through all the screaming and chaos from my 3 year old nephew.
Post # 10
Yes you are being controlling, this is NORMAL for especially little boys. They get excited and at that age it is hard for them to use their indoor voice.
As for when you have a baby, you want them to be able to sleep through loud noises. I know for my son I would vaccum during his nap time. Heck he very rarely woke up.
Post # 11
wow, I’m surprised at how many people think you are overreacting! I don’t at all. My parents would never respond to me yelling at them if I was just l was just being lazy and didn’t want to walk into the next room to find them.
I understand kids getting excited and yelling for .02 seconds if something great happens in the game they are playing or whatever, but yelling constantly for attention? No way.
5 is plently old enough to know inside vs outside voice. He is yelling because your husband responds to it. You and your husband need to be on the same page and be consistent with him. Bring it up with your husband sometime when the SS is not there.
Post # 12
My oldest nephew is one of the most excitable, hyperactive little guys I’ve ever met and when he was 5, even he didn’t scream his head off to get the attention of people in the next room. I do not think you are overreacting at all, assuming you’ve not made your irritation obvious to Chris. I second PP’s suggestions to speak to your husband about this issue when Chris is not around. Just because he’s your stepson doesn’t mean you need to walk on eggshells and not ever say something about behavior that bothers you in your own home.
Post # 13
Being a step parent is hard because you don’t really get a say in how the child has been parented, and you get a minimal say in how the child is parented going forward. Ultimately, your spouse has total veto power.
This particular habit is a manners thing, in my opinion. But it is also just a kid thing, so be mindful of that.
My step daughter does it too and my FI and I have tempered it with just telling her to come find us if she needs something. Easy as that. We also have a house rule about waiting your turn to talk. We try not to interrupt, and screaming from another room constitutes interrupting. At the very least, if she calls from another room about something (non-life threatening of course! haha) she understands that she might have to wait a bit.
What is your “parenting policy” as a couple? How much input are you allotted as step parent? Some? None? Has it even been discussed? If it hasn’t it needs to be discused. But you are kind of at your husband’s mercy on this one if he doesn’t agree with your parenting perspective.
Post # 14
My parents thought my loud attention seeking sister would just dull down – they were wrong. To this day (as a teenager) she is extremely loud and ruins the peacefullness of the home. She’ll scream bloody murder when she gets a paper cut because for so long everyone rushed towards her. Growing up in an environment like that isn’t healthy for the other sibling, so even if the new child was only exposed to this part time it could still be bad.
I would say treat this like any unacceptable behaviour. Set rules and expectations plus the punishments in a way that he can understand. Don’t make excuses like he just got excited (unless it really seemed like a one time outburst) and be firm in reminding him he must be quiet. You both need to be on the same page and realize that this is going to help him in the long run.
It’ll be harder for him to change once the baby arrives (fingers crossed for you) as he’ll be wanting more attention and this seems to be his only way to get the attention he wants.
Post # 15
Addition – I understand screaming while excited during play, but what I’m talking about is different. Chris screams are purposeful wirh the intent to be as loud as possible.
Post # 16
Newborns and babies can sleep through anything. I was able to run the vaccuum right next to both of my kids while they slept. I never tried to be hush hush when either one of my kids slept. It’s good to make noises.
At 5, yes, I think you are being controlling. That’s children. They tend to get overly excited about things and they are just typically loud in general. Get used to it. Children will be children. Honesly, i think it bothers you more because Chris isn’t your child. if he were yours, you wouldn’t be so bothered by it. I guess that’s a parent thing.
Only advice I have for you is to direct him onto something else when he starts yelling. Get his attention onto something else.