When we are young, and we want something we merely stand, sit or lie on the floor and scream. So it’s in our history to fuss for the things that will make us happy when we’re feeling uncomfortable. Initially, these irritations take the form of wet diapers, hunger pangs and pokes by siblings.
As we age, the disagreeing events may get slightly more sophisticated when bullies push us around (If we don’t want to fight), our mother tells us to clean up our room, or we’re grounded for doing too much screaming! At this point, perhaps we start to get the idea that there are other ways to alleviate our issues than merely yelling when the going gets rough. Well, tell this to a teenager that wants to borrow the family car, stay out past her 10 PM curfew, or hang out with older kids.
Or, to my cat Judas, who stands in the living room and screams for what she wants. Last night I was on the phone and heard my 17 year old red tabby screaming downstairs. “Hold on”, I told my caller. “Judas, what’s wrong?” Then I realized it was time for her treat and our evening bonding in front of the TV. Though she sleeps all day, Judas wanted mommy next to her on the sofa for a few hours to pet her. Isn’t this like any family needing quality time together? Judas has her unique way of telling what she wants very clearly. Amazing isn’t it?
Perhaps quiet teenagers that go into depression should learn from Judas. It’s better to scream and be heard than commit suicide because no one paid any attention to them.
Eventually, all this screaming should turn into assertive, non-aggressive behavior in order to function in the real world. This is not an easy transition. By responding to Judas, I hope she will eventually learn that a smaller “Meow” will get my attention thus helping her to moderate her actions. Unfortunately, she found a way that works for her and she’s taught me well. Isn’t that exactly what we teach our children? Exactly, how to manipulate us? The answer is complex. If we ignore the behavior it can escalate, so that’s not a good solution.
If we try to show others that we do care and that acting out isn’t the answer, then just maybe, they might learn that a less aggressive tactic works. The healthy approach is to teach assertive behavior so that one can be a part of a community, team or work environment. What would the workplace be like if we all came in yelling for what we wanted? That said, we do know of those individuals that have to dominate team meetings, overly state their positions and intimate others to get what they want. This behavior is an extension of the screaming when they were young.
So parents, listen to your kids; kids, listen to your parents. And pet owners, listen to your pets. If we all learned to do more listening, perhaps there would be less screaming. In the end, screaming is a call for help. And, for those quiet teenagers out there, just be heard and get your needs met before you kill yourself trying.