Can anyone give me any advise on how to help my 5 year old son. He is currently on his second suspension from kindergarten and nothing I do will stop his behaviour.

He has hurt other students and his teacher, he will not listen to anybody.

He is intellectually "gifted" and has been diagnosed with superior intelligence.

My next step is to medicate him, but I really do not want to have to do this as he is only 5.

Can anyone help?

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    Is there any other information you could provide? How did he hurt the other students and teachers? Hiting? Biting? Throwing toys? Carelessness? Have you asked him why he acts this way? What does he say? You say medication is your next step... what steps have you taken already? The more details you provide, the better the chances of someone being able to give you a useful answer.
    – user420
    Mar 13, 2013 at 13:00
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    "diagnosed with superior intelligence" ... not sure that's a medical issue. Regardless, you need professional counseling here. We simply can't answer the question on the internet. Try and find a child psychologist if you can. They can help steer you in a particular direction.
    – DA01
    Mar 13, 2013 at 17:39
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    A child can get suspended from kindergarten? That's a joke, right? Aug 23, 2014 at 21:26
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    A child who bites or hits other children can be suspended. What would you do if a kid in your daughter's class clocked her with a Tonka truck? Tell her the stitched across her forehead added character, and to try to play nice with the kid who hit her? Sure, the kid who can't control his behavior needs help and should get it, but the rest of the kids need safety.
    – Marc
    Aug 24, 2014 at 1:41
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    @Marc - in that situation (1) the kid who hit my daughter with the Tonka truck has already done it and she's scarred anyway. A suspension after the fact did not prevent it. (2) Kids develop behaviour through repetition. They cannot link their violent action with being excluded and don't learn from it. (3) Since they haven't learned and a suspension is temporary they will probably repeat the behaviour when they return. Result: all you've done is make some other parents feel better by expecting adult reasoning from a child. Nothing has been happened to protect other children. Aug 25, 2014 at 9:30

5 Answers 5


My son had similar issues, we tried everything during the school year. We have extremely helpful teachers, staff, administration, the best group of people I could've asked for. Nothing helped get him on track for longer than a few hours. He was also suspended multiple times his kindergarten year. Eventually we had him diagnosed with ADHD.

He was put on a light dose of Focalin, 10mg. The difference was absolute night and day. There are no major side effects, but he's able to participate and listen to his teachers, he's no longer getting in trouble and has turned around from being one of the more misbehaving children to one who is lead of his class. The difference between his kindergarten year and his first grade year is astounding, and while maturity has some to do with it, his focus is also greatly improved.

I was initially opposed to medication as well, but my son is so much happier now that he's no longer getting in trouble at school, that he's able to sit down and do his work, that he can excel with his class and participate.

If that's the route you end up taking, be candid and open with your doctor about all of your concerns, any questions you may have, everything.

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    I know that doesn't technically answer your question, since you seemed to be looking for answers which did not involve medication. It's more of a "I've been there", and I know where you're coming from with it. Do everything you can before you opt for any sort of medication, but don't take it off the table since there are some cases, like my son's, where it made a huge difference. If that's the route you take, start at the smallest dose and work up as needed.
    – StyxRiver
    Mar 13, 2013 at 3:24
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    Medication should never be the first thing you try, but it shouldn't be eliminated from consideration either. The brain can have problems just like any other part of the body, and medication may be required to put it right, just like any other part of the body.
    – Marc
    Aug 24, 2014 at 1:44

I think StyxRiver's answer is spot-on, but I wanted to add a couple of things:

You need to have him tested. You've obviously had him tested for intelligence or something of that matter, but even the most intelligent people can have learning disabilities. You can't begin to help him until you get to the root of his problem. He may have ADD or ADHD or he may be dyslexic or any other number of learning or emotional disabilities. Proper treatment is everything and you can't have that until you have a diagnosis.

If you live in the U.S., the school and/or teacher cannot/will not come straight out and tell you that you need to have your child tested, but they might be dropping broad hints. Next time you speak to your son's teacher or principal, you might initiate the conversation yourself and see what they say.

The sooner you get this done, the sooner you can start addressing the underlying issues causing his behavioral problems. Most parents are not fortunate enough to know at this young age that their child might have some type of disability--a lot of children go undiagnosed until they're around 2nd or 3rd grade (age 7 or 8), and some aren't diagnosed until much later than that.

If it turns out that he doesn't have a discernible disability, then it sounds like he may need some good counseling with someone specializing in children.

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    Spot on supplement. Combine our answers, and you've got very solid advice.
    – StyxRiver
    Mar 13, 2013 at 17:45

As somebody who was labelled as gifted from a young age, I have some advice from a different angle.

I caused a lot of problems at school, right from nursery.

Do not let people keep telling your son how smart he is. Tell the teachers not to single him out for praise. Treat him the same as every other child. Doing so will encourage him to try harder to stand out in a positive way.

He likes the praise, who doesn't? But he doesn't like the teasing that no adult ever sees or hears. Children don't like to be called geeks, not early on anyway. Also, you may inadvertently give him a superiority complex, or may have done so already, which isn't healthy for anyone.

I read something somewhere, that said you should not keep telling a child they are very smart, but instead give them praise only when they complete a task. It made a lot of sense to me, and I had a teacher who would do that for me, and she was my favourite.

More likely than anything he doesn't want to stand out, he wants to fit in. Children tease each other when they're jealous of the praise that one receives.

Challenge him with difficult tasks, designed for children above his age. When he completes them, do not do backflips, just say "well done" and move on.

Find him a mentor, or someone to look up to. More often than not, it will not be you that he looks up to. Additionally, it could really help for him to meet a child similar to himself, to work with them and be competitive. Together they can push each other, and whilst they're concentrating on difficult work, he won't have time to focus on being disruptive or trying to look cool.

For the love of God, do not place huge expectations on his shoulders, do not keep saying "you could achieve great things", treat him like a normal child.

Finally, maybe not yet, but in future, talk to him like an adult, but treat him like a child. He will understand.

Do not put him on a pedestal, if you do you're only setting him up for long fall if he makes mistakes. Challenge him.

This could have been written far better, but I'm not a psychologist, I'm merely offering advice on what did or could've worked for me.

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    I'm not sure how well this will address the behavior problems described (its entirely possible that the problems are due to him acting out for feeling "different", or there could be another underlying cause), but it is certainly good advice. There has been research that suggests praising effort instead of ability is far more productive.
    – user420
    Oct 3, 2013 at 12:21
  • @Beofett thank you, great find! What I read was more basic than that. There could be so many reasons for a child acting out, though I think even if this doesn't address the problem directly, its still the best way to manage and develop a gifted child.
    – Dom
    Oct 4, 2013 at 18:07
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    I tell my daughter, smart isn't something you are, it is a decision we make every day to be ready to learn something - She is advanced, has a superior IQ etc. etc. and highly intelligent and gifted kids are more likely to have behavioral/emotional challenges - a lot of these can be traced back to too much meaningless praise - but studies on the effect of praise in this category of kids are few and far between. While most of the info relating the two is anecdotal, studies certainly haven't found the hypothesis to be inaccurate. Jan 25, 2014 at 1:53
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    I spent my whole childhood being told how brilliant and amazing I was. Then I got to the real world and saw no one cared--they wanted to know how hard I could work and what I could do. +1 for effort over ability.
    – user6589
    Jan 28, 2014 at 21:42

My 5-year-old son was expelled from kindergarden after about a month this last Fall. Our pediatrician advised us to get a free psychological exam from the district. The doctor diagnosed him with Oppositional Defiance Disorder or ODD. We were loath to medicate him.

The most effective advice we've gotten for dealing with ODD has been from this book: Your Defiant Child: Eight Steps to Better Behavior. The thesis is basically that consistent behavior in parents is the key to better behavior in the child and that parents have to rebuild their relationships with the child before their discipline can be effective. (The book is much more insightful than this simplistic description.)

We started going through the steps a few weeks ago and the improvement is already noticeable. It's hard work but it's much easier than the pain and stress of the misery we were enduring before. He's been at his new school for over a week and we haven't once been called by the teacher to come pick him up!


You probably might want to check if he listens to one person at home. Probably you have many people at home and he might as well be pampered.

Usually the father does the disciplining process.

I had a similar experience with my kid and was prescribed Focalin 10mg by the doctor as what StyxRiver also mentioned. It worked. Although you might want to consult your doctor before you take any medication.

  • 3
    "you might want to consult your doctor before you take any prescription" -- how else would you get your hands on prescription medication? Apr 8, 2013 at 7:30

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