If there is one thing I cannot stand, it’s a screaming kid. Seriously, just thinking about it makes my insides curdle like spoiled milk. When kids are little, even the most basic thing will set off a series of blood-curdling wails, and you will do anything to make them stop. And I mean, anything.
Sometimes, desperate times call for desperate measures. I’m not above bribery, trickery, or at my lowest, most exasperated points, the dreaded empty threats to get the noise to stop. It may not win me any awards, but it’s for the greater good…really.
It’s really the greatest tool in your arsenal. A well-played bribe is kids 101. That being said, you can’t come out with the big guns first because then you have no leverage. Start small. If the kid you’re dealing with likes chocolate, mini M&M’s and Hershey’s Kisses are great. If not, fruit snacks seem to be a universal kid fave.
If that doesn’t work, you may have to try something bigger. A trip to the splash pad or fro-yo for dinner. Promises you have no intention of keeping only work with kids under 3. After that, the little fuckers have memories like steel traps and will call you on your bullshit, so be careful.
You know what else works? Cold. Hard. Cash. I don’t know a kid who will turn down money. “I’ll give you a dollar if you leave your sister alone” works wonders. You have to get creative at times.
Actually, this is the greatest tool in your arsenal. Feel what you will about it, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a little kid who isn’t down for some screen time. It can immediately thwart nearly any kind of tantrum. It’s like fucking magic. Need to change a diaper? Give them your phone. Need 20 minutes of peace and quiet? Hand over the tablet. You may not understand the appeal of watching some random kid cracking open Easter eggs, but it’s not about you. Technology is amazing. Embrace it.
This really only works if there is someone instigating a potential tantrum. You know, like an older sibling. The type of threat is unimportant, and you can follow through with it if you so choose, but letting it linger in the air is often the most powerful thing you can do. “If you wake the baby up, you are not going to the park/getting ice cream later” is always a good deterrent.
Just Give It to Them
Sometimes, the only way out of screaming hell is to just give the little stinker what they want. Do they want a toy someone else has? Negotiate with their older sibling (bribery works here too). They want the phone? Fork it over. Shove a lollipop in their mouth. Give them the keys to your car. Pop a boob in their mouth. Just do whatever you have to do to get the noise to stop, so you don’t lose your shit.
We want to have boundaries and consistency for the most part. But sometimes, we just can’t take another second of ear piercing shrieks. We are only human.