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Screeching, screaming, squawking, shrieking. Why is my toddler so LOUD? On Babble.com’s Parental Advisory.

My ten-month-old son has developed a habit of letting out loud, shrieking yells all day long. It is literally non-stop. I have been asked to leave some places because it is so unbearable. He just seems to be enjoying doing this, and it does not appear that there is anything wrong with him. My two-year-old never did this, and I am having a hard time dealing with it. Could you please tell me if this seems normal to you, and also what your suggestions are for a “cure” or break in this excruciating noise all day long? – Shhhhh

Dear Shhhhh,

Congratulations! Your son has found his voice. As for the volume and tone, well, you have our sympathy . . . and many parents’ empathy. We’ve heard this complaint from a number of others with babies around this age. Ten months seems to be a particularly shriek-inducing age for some kids. The good news is it’s a normal phase, not a cry for help or an indication that he needs more attention, as it might be with an older child. But the fact that it’s just developmentally appropriate vocal exploration doesn’t make it any less annoying.

So, the good news: your son will outgrow it.

The bad news: until that happens, there’s not much you can do about it. You could try spending some time with him in the morning or at night making a whole range of noises – low ones, sing-song ones – and see if he can imitate you. This might give him a repertoire of sounds to try out when he gets the urge. You could avoid lavishing attention on him right after a shriek session. But discipline for this kind of thing is not really appropriate or necessary at this age. So use your instincts. Mostly, you’ll need to figure out a way that you can live with this until he grows out of it. Try family-friendly public spaces, ear plugs for yourself and/or fellow passengers if you’re traveling. You can try to avoid libraries and nice restaurants and stick to chaotic family gatherings where most parents will just be relieved the shrieks aren’t coming from their kids.

Of course you won’t be able to completely hide. And it can be really trying to go out in public with a loud baby. It only takes one hostile glare to feel the wrath of judgment. You just have to know that soon it will be over and that stranger staring at you doesn’t know the whole deal. You can try offering an explanation; something like, “It’s a phase. We’re trying to ride it out.” Or make a crack about how his father is part pterodactyl. But you don’t have to make excuses for your kid. Try to forgive him his audible ways. Who knows? He may become an opera singer! But it’s just as likely he’ll stop the loud squawks and turn out to be a nice, quiet kid. Just like the ones you momentarily wish you had when he’s humiliating you in public.

Have a question? Email parentaladvisory@babble.com

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