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My 5-year-old son demonstrates really bad behaviour which is embarrassing and upsetting me. This has been on going for the last 4 months.

At home, he is extremely naughty, and just doesn't listen to anyone (Mom, Dad and grandparents). He will neither take a telling nor do anything he is asked to do. When being told not to do or doesn't get what he wants he has a terrible temper tantrum, he will hit his grandparents, scream at the top of his voice, throw things that he gets in his hands, pull the hair. A very upsetting part is using bad words (I really have no clue where he has been learning them) and talking beyond his age (e. g. he says "I will leave the house and go and will not come back").

His behavior is not consistent as he doesn't do this at school. He doesn't want to go to tuition or read or write (forced to put him in tuition because he just doesn't listen to us at home) and is extremely slow in reading and writing. He gets distracted very soon. He has a lot of interest in dancing, swimming, skating, and music classes. We have also enrolled him in all these classes except music.

When he is in a good mood to listen and when told in a polite way he listens to what I tell, but he listens to it hardly for 10 minutes and not beyond that. We have already tried not letting him do what he likes; We have tried confiscating toys, giving time out, making him stand out, talking to him, giving no reaction, just ignore, and really some times hit him badly, but just nothing works with him. We have also told him if he is not been listening to us he will be sent to hostel and he is not going to stay with us; he says he is ready to go to hostel. He is just not scared or worried about anything or anyone in the family.

I am extremely worried and scared thinking of him and his future because of his behavior.

Please advise me how to control him with all these tantrums/habits. We just want him to be a decent and obedient child.

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    You should pick up the book How To Talk So Kids Will Listen And Listen So Kids Will Talk. – LadySunshine May 31 '16 at 2:25
  • I will not judge but at 5yrs, how does he know how to say he will leave and not come back. I think you need to talk to someone who he listens to and let them help you mend that relationship first. At 5yrs he's too young so it shouldn't be difficult. Act now before it's too late. You can start from school, I bet he must fear someone find out who. – Madona Syombua May 31 '16 at 2:51
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    This isn't an answer, but I would suggest that hitting him, and threatening him with hostel are possibly some of the worst things you could do, and potentially can make the whole situation much worse. Have a look at the posts here on attention problems to see some possible solutions, but in any case, love is likely to be more beneficial than threats! – Rory Alsop May 31 '16 at 7:35
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    To me expecting a 5 year old to listen for more than 10 min is a little much. I would also expect a 5 year old to be beginning to read and write 2 and 3 letter words, not actually be able to read and write. – Ida Jun 1 '16 at 18:09
  • Ida - my class could all read and write sentences before we were 5. This is not abnormal. – Rory Alsop Aug 31 '16 at 16:44
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Sounds like you're beyond frustrated with your son. And for good reasons! Although they may seem out of the ordinary and even unruly behaviors, what you're describing are actually age appropriate behaviors for a 5-year-old. At 5 years old, your son is learning how to interact with the world and push his limits. It's your job as the parent to set and follow-through with the limits. One way of going about it is to take away what he likes. Unfortunately, punishment only lasts temporarily, or not at all like you're noticing.

Children need structure and consistency. Yet, before any structure can happen, children need to feel heard. It might be worth trying to begin with empathy by letting him know you hear how he feels. It might look something like, "I hear you're angry when using bad words" or "It sounds like you're upset when you're yelling." Once children feel they are being heard, they can then listen to the limit you're setting. This is where the magic "and" comes in. "I hear you're angry when using bad words, AND, we use kind words with one another" or "I hear you're angry when using bad words, AND, please speak quieter so I can listen."

Any limit you set won't mean much if it isn't consistent, though. Feel free to reach out if you have other questions - happy to help.

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Hmmm... As Stephanie above has mentioned, this is pretty much what a kid of this age will do (give or take a few behaviours!).

I'm providing a perspective from my own experience. Hope it helps you out! Being from India, I get your angle probably a bit better than most here. However, please forgive me if I've read your situation in the wrong manner.

One question: Is your kid very active? Does he have boundless energy through the day? Are there periods where he just seems to crash (sleep?) and then rebound after a recharge?

If so, he might be just a high-energy kid, who isn't getting enough ways to expend that energy in a positive manner. Typically, a high-energy kid ends up exhausting his parents by constant demands for some form of recreation. They soon learn to ignore this incessant demand. Since they ignore him, he learns to use negative behaviour as a method for getting the attention that he wants. Any attention (even negative) is better than no attention. This can get perceived as "naughtiness" by parents.

When I say this, I don't mean that you aren't paying attention, just maybe not enough according to him.

Try enrolling him in activities that involve him. Drawing classes, swimming, running, high-energy demanding activities are good, as long as they don't overtax him.

As far as I can see, it is very important to be consistent with the way you treat him. Tantrums should be allowed to happen, just don't react (negatively/positively as well) TILL it is complete. Don't suppress, Don't encourage either! Though it is difficult for a mother to see their child crying, you must remind yourself that this type of crying is not due to physical hurt, or some pain.

Best way is to take him into a quiet room, and sit with him while he goes through his negative feelings. No negative reactions from you, just let him know that even if it takes two hours of crying/tantrum throwing, he will not get what he's clamouring for.

Once he calms down (which might happen only after say 30-45 minutes of tantrum, even upto 2 hours). The problem that most parents face is that they try allowing the tantrum to fizzle out on it's own, but a determined kid will rage on for so long, that they give up, and either end up shouting or beating the child for being so obstinate.

Here's a great book "The Aware Baby" which talks about how negative emotions are a part of our psyche, and how suppressing them doesn't do any good. Though this book primarily talks about small children, it definitely applies even to kids of your child's age.

Hope this helps!

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Raising up kids in today's time is a challenging task for parents and it can make things worse even more if you are handling a stubborn or angry child. In order to control them, parents need patience while dealing with them. I suggest you when your child is angry or behaving badly you should not argue during that time. If you argue the situation becomes even worse.

The best thing is to communicate with your child when they are calm and ready to listen. You need to find out the reason why the child is behaving badly and removing the child from the situation will help them calming down. You have to be more patient during that time.

Parents have to create a peaceful environment at home. The place has to be filled with happiness and peace for kids. Parents have to give more attention and priority to the children when deciding anything related to home. Hope this can helps the kids.

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