Autism Information & Research
Archived Q&A Sessions
Crying and Screaming
Topic: Crying and Screaming
In handling crying and screaming from your child, always first focus on your attitude: How are you feeling about your child’s crying? Is it difficult for you? You may want to spend a bit of time exploring this and seeing if you can find ways to be even more at ease, more relaxed with this. Generally speaking, children often cry with people who are somehow reacting to or supporting the crying in some way.
It would be useful to analyze your responses:
- Do you move faster to get what your child wants when (s)he cries?
- Are there built-in benefits to crying that (s)he might get from you?
- Do you change in some way so that (s)he would feel it is an effective way to communicate?
- Have there been times when (s)he cries and then you stay longer? or open the door, etc.?
These questions will help you to determine possible benefits your child might get from this behavior.
Once you see ways in which you may be unwittingly supporting the crying, you can then alter and change your behavior to help your child see it is not as useful to cry as it is to try to communicate in other ways (words, gestures, etc.). You want to make sure that when your child does communicate without crying, that your reactions are excited, warm and that you are very responsive to his/her desires during this time. This will create a wonderful contrast: When I cry, things move slowly, no benefits. When I try to communicate in other ways – wow! Things sure do happen fast and in a very excited way! This could make a very profound difference for your child, and for you.Source: Bryn N. Hogan – Q&A Session 4 with the Director of The Son-Rise Program