I'm realizing that it's my own fault that it has been allowed to become a habit, but no parent is perfect and sometimes (and unfortunately) we don't notice an undesirable trait until it's turned into a problem.
In our house, my mom never let us scream, not even while running around in the backyard. It was more of a safety issue than an issue of parental annoyance, and I understand her reasoning. You see, if my mom was so used to us screaming all the time while playing, how would she know if it was an emergency? She would always ask us (or friends who were playing at our house), "Are you broken or bleeding? No? Than don't scream."
Screaming is a good indication of a medical emergency, but it is also a warning of other emergencies, too. Take abductions, for instance. We tell kids that if someone tries to grab them, then they are supposed to scream and kick and bite, etc. But if adults are so used to kids screaming in play that it doesn't even alarm them, kids have just lost their best line of defense - help.
So, today I've started tackling the habit that I've allowed to form. Earlier I came around the corner and rushed up to tickle Hunter, and he let out a blood-curling scream. I told him, "No, Hunter, we don't scream. Am I a bad guy who is trying to hurt you or take you? No? Well you never scream unless you are in danger and need help. Mommy is not a bad guy, and you do not scream unless you're in trouble."
And that should be the end of that very soon!
"And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city."
Hunter is 4 years, 2 months old