"It's just a phase" is in every parent's lexicon.  There are some phases that my children go through that I hope will never end.  My son asking for one more kiss at bedtime.  My daughter eagerly telling us what she did at school each day.  Snuggles while reading stories.  The children playing a game together.  These things are parenting gold.  And I know the older the kids get, the more independent they will become, and the less they will want to do with me and possibly each other.

Then there are other phases that can't seem to end fast enough.  My son has been really testing limits lately, as any good 2 year old does.  There is one behavior in particular that seems to bring me to tears of embarrassment whenever it happens.  He has an ear piercing shriek, usually reserved for public places.  He likes to use this particular gem when he is bored, to get out of a situation.  He will scream, and sometimes even ask for time out.  He knows that if he does this behavior, we will remove him from a situation, which is exactly what he wants.  Ideally I would ignore the behavior, but here's the catch.  Have you tried to ignore a kid with an ear piercing shriek in public?  You are the recipient of dirty looks from every adult in earshot.  And it doesn't matter if they have kids themselves.  You can read it on their faces, "my kid would never do that" or "lady, control your kid".

In my brain, I know this is a phase.  I know he is 2.  I know this will pass.  I know I am a decent parent.

However this is not my gut reaction.  I think, what am I doing wrong?  What if this phase never passes?  What if he is defiant and manipulative forever?

Is my children's behavior a direct reflection on my parenting skills?  Sometimes yes and sometimes no.  If my child screams in public am I a bad parent?  Probably not, but it can't help but feel that way sometimes.

So we will plug along, savoring the phases, good and bad.  And trying to remember, this too shall pass.  And if any has tips for dealing with screaming 2 year olds, please send them my way!


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