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LuckyGuy's avatar

When playing, why do some kids scream while others are quiet? Does it mean anything?

Asked by LuckyGuy (38674points) June 21st, 2010

I’m sure you’ve been to the neighborhood park or pool with your kids or grandchildren. Did you hear the sound of little kids/girls screaming? What is the point? Does that seem like crying wolf? Do just you ignore it? Who taught them to do that?
Did/do your kids scream? Mine didn’t and thought it was bizarre that other kids did. What would screamers do if there really was an emergency?
(Hey. They don’t call me “Worried Guy” for nothing.))

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13 Answers

BoBo1946's avatar

they are kind of like some here on Fluther!

Buttonstc's avatar

Partly, it’s a reflection of their home life and their parents training (or lack of) and partly their particular personality.

Since it’s in an outdoor play context, it’s not necessarily as significant to anything as much as in more structured environment as school or indoors generally.

I find it extremely annoying to see mothers with screaming kids in grocery stores blithely ignoring it and making no effort at all to make the kids aware that there are other people not so fascinated by their precious vocalizations.

My nephew was just naturally one of these screamy meemy types (inherited from his Mother no doubt) and she had a carrot and stick approach to the problem.

She would remind him that if he behaved well, he would get to ride the horsie (mechanical thing costing a quarter) at the end of shopping.

If he decided to pitch a screaming fit cuz she wouldn’t buy him whatever, and persisted after a warning, that was it. He was promptly carried screaming out to the car, back home and into his room for a timeout.

Inconvenient ? Sure. But he was a smart kid and it only took a time or to and he learned not to pitch a screaming fit in public.

I realize that young children can be difficult at times, but these people make ZERO effort.

ucme's avatar

In my experience both then & now, the screamers are commonly known as attention seeking brats.

CMaz's avatar

Self expression.

KhiaKarma's avatar

Sometimes kids just play by chasing each other, jumping out at each other, or invoking the fight or flight response. Adrelaline can start pumping and often the scattered yells and screams are just a part of the playful process. It’s expected. Now if the screaming is prolonged or unwarranted then it may be time for “the boy who cried wolf” story. Temperment has a lot to do with individual play styles.

wundayatta's avatar

I’d like to think it has something to do with parenting, but it is possible that it has mostly to do with genes.

I, for one, can not tolerate that high pitched screaming. I think it gets inside my head like an oscillating sander, and turns the gray matter into brain jelly. I try to get as far away as I can, but sometimes it’s not possible.

The first time one of my children made that scream, I nearly drove the car into the oncoming traffic. I instantly started playing this game I made up. “How low can you scream,” I asked. I demonstrated, and they tried to copy, and that was the last time I ever heard a high-pitched scream like that. I was quite proud of myself for giving them an alternative instead of just telling them to stop it.

Was it in my children’s nature to be able to modulate their screams? Was it the trick I used?

I see parents towing screaming children by the hand and not really doing a think to deal with whatever the kid is crying about. This seems extremely disrespectful to me. I see parents who don’t seem to care if their kids scream.

A family like that just moved in to the house behind mine and chased me out of my back yard one night when the little one was trying to raise the neighborhood to put out the fire. The parents were sitting around chatting as if nothing was happening. Could they possibly have not heard it? Could they not be getting jelly brains? Or maybe their brains already had been coddled.

Sorry. I ain’t got no answers. Just observations.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I think it depends on what you mean by scream. My son “screams” sometimes when he gets excited while playing with his friends or if they are running around and chasing each other. I think that is a natural part of playing.

He doesn’t scream or throw a fit when he doesn’t get his way about something though and it wouldn’t be acceptable to me if he did. He has screamed out in pain before but that’s a different scream than his “fun” scream and he only uses it when he is injured and I can tell the difference between the two screams.

MissAusten's avatar

What kind of screaming do you mean? Almost all of the screaming I hear at the playground, park, or beach isn’t really screaming, but squealing with laughter or as part of a game of chase. What else would you expect of kids at a PLAYground? Why does that imply, as some have mentioned, a lapse on the part of parents?

The general lack of tolerance toward children has reached an all-time high when kids in an outdoor setting for play can’t scream or be loud. What’s next, a ban on running?

@worriedguy When your kids play outside, I’m sure you can tell the difference between a “playing” scream and genuine scream of pain or terror. I think all parents can. Little kids get excited, they aren’t self-conscious, and they have a lot of energy to burn. Playing loudly outdoors is one of the few things left to kids, who can’t be out of sight without parents being paranoid about child molesters or kidnappers. Let them scream! They’re only young once!

Now, if you are talking about a kid who screams in anger over things like not being first on the slide or having to wait a turn on the swings, then yes, that’s something the parents should address. Not all kids will react that way to anger, but some will and need to be taught to express their emotions in more acceptable ways.

DrBill's avatar

Controlling one’s emotions are a sign of maturity, just as a lack of control is a sign of immaturity. Parents are partly to blame if they make no effort to control their children.

Just as screaming (for no reason) is like saying “look at me” it is also a sign of very low self image. These are also the one’s more likely to be picked on by bully’s due to their learning to “scream rather than deal” mentality.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@MissAusten True. There is a blood curdlling kind of scream that sets the parental blood pumping. I can mostly tell the difference. But still, at a lower level when I hear any kid scream, I have to look. I think it is part of nature- just as a nearby female mouse responds to the ultrasonic cry of any baby mouse.
I do think we grow insensitive to it – like we now are to car alarms.

@DrBill That is an interesting view. I will have to think about that. Are they really looking for help?

ZEPHYRA's avatar

It means Herod should make a comeback!

DrBill's avatar


They are looking for help, but more accurately they are looking for someone else to handle their problems for them, so they do not have to do for themselves. It is a form of laziness.

Nullo's avatar

It may have something to do with the way that some people scream on a roller coaster and some are quiet.
And sometimes you just wanna yell.

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