Q: My five month old daughter won't stop screaming. She screams for no reason. How do I stop this, or discipline her for this?
A: Assuming that your daughter has no medical issues and has been evaluated by her pediatrician, let's talk about her screams as a form of communication. I know, it's hard to listen to; but believe it or not, she's "talking" to you. Take it as a good sign, if you will, that your 5 month old is able and willing to express herself. Now let's figure out why she feels the need to "scream" it. I think it's easy for us adults to forget to talk to our babies and tell them what we're doing and what's going on. For instance, she needs a diaper change. Do you just jump right in and do it? Or, do you give her a 2 minute "heads up", letting her know that her diaper needs changing? As I found with my own budding screamer, I found his screams would greatly diminish when I gave him fair warning about what was to come next. Don't underestimate your baby. She may not be able to speak, but she understands you. Let her know when a change in activity is coming. Talk her through diaper changes, bath time, car seat rides, and other activities. Echo back to her what you think she might be feeling when she starts screaming. Talk her off the ledge, so to speak, with your attention to how she might be feeling and the knowledge that she does understand you and really wants to know that you understand her too. By modeling listening, empathy, and understanding she's bound to return it to you in spades instead of those high pitched screams.