My five-year-old son will be six in August. It's been a rollercoaster ride since he's been two. I'm feeling lost and failed as a parent. Me and his father are divorced since he's been two and we keep a straight line raising him separate. I can say we both love and support him.

He's been in speech therapy since age two, by three he was still not talking clear. I moved forward with professional help, being concerned that he may have autism. I went through all the testing and came back no signs of it just a receptive, expressive speech delay.

He started kindergarten this year full time, doing his academics in the morning with his special teacher, going to lunch, then joining his general kindergarten class to finish the day.

He's been responding well to the routine and made intermittent improvements with his speech. Unfortunately, the last month his behavior declined sufficiently.

My son feeds on bad attention. No matter how much I redirect him or his teachers, he feels no remorse and continues to repeat these bad actions. He runs around the classroom, has a hard time sitting in his seat, lately has been hitting students and teachers, something he never did at home.

I'm constantly having the same conversations with him and repeatedly going back to disruptive behavior at school. I don't let him get away with this behavior but he's pushing it hard at school.

It's one thing after another, I just can't catch a break. I'm moving on to professional help and I pray the outcome is right for my child.

I just can't understand why he loves to misbehave. Is this normal?


1 Answer 1


This sounds like classic ADHD symptoms, because it sounds like I was when I was that age to a scary degree.

My son feeds on bad attention.

Personally, when I was acting like this, I just wanted any kind of attention. I found that if I misbehaved (trying to kiss the girls, throwing sand, interrupting the teacher), I got the attention that I wanted.

runs around the classroom, hard time sitting in his seat

That's the Hyperactive part of ADHD, boundless energy coupled with the fact that your son literally won't remember or consider instructions that he is given by you or his teachers. Kids with ADHD have little to no impulse control, so he will think about doing something, and immediately do it without considering consequences.

I'm constantly having the same conversations with him and repeatedly going back to disruptive behavior at school

Linked to the above, because there is no mechanism for him to consider past situations before he acts, then there is little hope that he will change his behaviour.

Saying to him 'Just behave normally', is like saying to an asthmatic who is having an asthma attack 'Just breathe normally'. Your son literally cannot do what you are asking of him. His brain chemistry is atypical.

I understand that this is a scary thing to consider, and that the literature around stimulant medications etc can be scary.

In all honesty, I'm 23 now. I've been on Dexamphetamine since I was 8 after I was diagnosed as having ADHD. It worked for me (which is lucky because some people have to try different combinations of medications before they find something that works for them).

Honestly, my school life up to that point was horrible. I was always in trouble (I spent most of pre-primary under the teachers desk in time out), I had no social skills, I got skipped ahead a year at school because I was bright, which then put me further behind in social skills, which meant I had no friends. I wish my parents had considered ADHD and medication sooner than they did, because not doing so caused our me and my family to be miserable.

I say all this because parents are usually resistant to hearing this, but what I think you should do is take your child to a paediatrician and get him assessed for ADHD or another autism spectrum disorder.

I stress that you have done nothing wrong. You are not a failure. Dealing with a child with ADHD is a tricky prospect, because you can yell and scream and punish until you're blue in the face, but it's not going to affect his brain chemistry, which is where the problem lies.

It is of course possible that I am completely incorrect, and that your child does not have ADHD, which is why assessment by a paediatrician who deals with childhood ADHD/Austism spectrum disorders is an important first step into investigating why your child acts like this.

Good luck!

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