I have a 6-year-old son and an 8-year-old daughter. She is constantly being pinched, pushed, shoved, kicked and her hair is pulled by him. This is amongst a consistent flow of put downs and always being called stupid and other demeaning comments. This is constant, particularly every waking hour and I am going out of my mind.

My son is quite hyperactive and we do try to give them equal attention but no matter what we have tried, he continues to make her life a living hell. She regularly cries to me, begging us to take him to the police.

We are at our wits' end!

Nothing works, e.g. smacking, yelling, thinking spot etc.

He has started seeing a child psychologist recently but if anything, he has become worse. I took him to see a pediatrician to evaluate him for ADHD but it's only in the infant stages of diagnosis but will see the pediatrician again next mnth.

He is totally out of control and listens to nothing. He has become rude and disrespectful. He really was a star baby and the sweetest little darling boy up until approximately the age of 5.

This year he is regularly getting into trouble at school for rudeness and bullying also.

There have been no major changes to instigate this behavior. I am at a total loss. I feel as though I have tried just about everything and to no avail.

We are desperate. Any ideas or advice is most welcome and appreciated.

  • 4
    Does he watch shows on TV or the internet like youtube? He is learning this behavior (and it could be from family) and bottom line is you have to teach good behavior, not allow bad behavior, and above all else demonstrate and act in the way you want him to act. ADHD is not the same as being mean spirited. I suggest looking at lifestyle and culture he is in and researching behavior modification parenting.
    – Adam Heeg
    Jul 5, 2016 at 20:57
  • Sorry. Typo. Hyperactivity definitely. We demonstrate good behavior on a whole and he has never witnessed violent behaviors from us as parents or computer games etc
    – Bek.M
    Jul 6, 2016 at 0:28
  • 3
    I really would like to know what kind of demeaning words your son at 6yrs uses. This alone should sound an alarm. Who is he hanging around with? Is he home schooled or attends a montessori? You need to evaluate many things. I think he's probably learning from somewhere. Please investigate early before it's gets over hand. How can he call someone stupid? First find out his company, his playmates too.
    – user22314
    Jul 6, 2016 at 1:17
  • He goes to a public primary school and from what I can tell, his friends seem nice but of course they would be in my company. Best I can tell is that he is the bad influence if anything.
    – Bek.M
    Jul 9, 2016 at 12:26
  • 3
    @Bek.M Friends aren't the only people who you copy behaviors from. When I was dreadfully bullied as a child I slowly started to copy their behaviors as well. Keep an eye on what happens at school, school can be really damaging to a child.
    – jobukkit
    Oct 6, 2016 at 19:57

1 Answer 1


Firstly, start with your daughter. She's the victim, focus on ensuring that she's okay, and that she knows that you're dealing with it. But also check that she's not winding him up. If you're only seeing once he's reacting, you may be missing provocation, which, while not as bad as violence, needs to STOP if the violence is going to.

Secondly, if this is a sudden behavioural change, it signifies something's gone wrong for him. I don't want to scare you, but it's important to know his behaviour can be a sign that he's either being abused or bullied, and he doesn't know how to handle it. YOU NEED TO KNOW IF THIS IS WHAT IS HAPPENING. Not just because of the obvious reasons, but because it radically alters how you need to interact with this issue.

Beyond that, the important thing is a consistent response. Don't alternate between "smacking, yelling, thinking spot", that's not healthy. From this point onwards, have a consistent "behaviour threshold". When he hits it, he gets a calm warning. If he continues, calmly send him to his room to calm down. 5 minutes. Then go check on him. Sit with him, ask if he's okay and just listen. If he's still in a state, tell him you'll be back in another 5, and repeat till he's ready for a cuddle.

At worst, this isolates him when he's going erratic, and gives you some time with your daughter to focus on her. If he's really bad, you may have to remove the breakables from his "thinking room", but that's probably something you should do anyway.

I took him to see a pediatrician to evaluate him for ADHD but its only in the infant stages of diagnosis but will see the pediatrician again next month.

You're doing so much right. Be proud of yourself.

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