I have a five year old that is out of control.

If I ask him to sit down and relax (because we live in a one bedroom apartment), its very frustrating because I repeatedly have to say it to him.

If I yell at him he'll usually yell back along with my two yr old. My oldest does have ADHD so that does make it a little more difficult but I'm trying to slowly take him off the medications and put him on a natural supplement instead.

For example, just now he was sitting on the couch watching television and a commercial came on. He went right for his brother to hit him or push him.

I have to constantly separate them. They drive me nuts... Please help me. What else can I do so I don't have to yell anymore?

  • 1
    Try to go outside more.
    – oɔɯǝɹ
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 20:38
  • It's important that you keep your cool so that you don't make any outrageous disciplinary "threats" that you aren't going to follow through with anyway. Take yourself and your words seriously, and be consistent with whatever type of discipline you choose. Here are some communication tactics that will help with cooperation: lifehacker.com/… Read the bit about "stop repeating yourself".
    – Ben
    Commented Jun 6, 2013 at 17:53

3 Answers 3


I feel for you. My son is only 2, and the repetition is already very frustrating. Unfortunately, repeating yourself, calmly yet firmly, is the best way to get through to your kids.

While the temptation to resort to yelling is hard to resist (and you're not alone! This article references studies that show that nearly all parents do so at some point), I believe it sends a message to children that it is okay to yell back. The fact that your son yells right back at you would seem to support this, and I know other parents who have experienced the same.

If you find yourself losing your calm, take a moment or two to remove yourself from the situation, gather yourself, and then come back.

This question, while describing a situation more extreme than yours, does have some useful advice in the answers. The key takeaway for me from one of the answers is: "Children key off their parents' reactions more than the argument or physical discipline itself." I think this is fantastic advice, but it can be very difficult to change how you respond, especially with a defiant child.

Losing privileges is probably an appropriate response if he continues to engage in poor behavior. If he pushes or hits his brother during a commercial, the TV gets turned off (or perhaps his brother gets to change the channel to a show he wants to watch, instead, or even his brother can stay and watch TV, but he has to go to a different room).

Asking a 5 year old to sit down and relax may be expecting too much, though. Especially if he's been diagnosed with ADHD. Instead, try to find ways for him to burn off some of that extra energy. Trips to the playground, games inside or outside of the house, or even a walk around the neighborhood are better alternatives.

I also absolutely agree with Vicky.

If you disagree with the medications prescribed for your son, find a different doctor. Don't just pull him off the medications and devise your own treatment plan. ADHD is arguably over-diagnosed, and I don't believe that medication is always the right course, but that's not a decision to make lightly, and you should have professional guidance in whatever course you follow. Especially if your son is having significant behavior problems.


The number one step would be to keep on with his prescribed medication and not to attempt to replace it with a "natural supplement".

  • 1
    every part of this.
    – acolyte
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 17:39
  • 1
    I agree with this. Taking medication is a feedback loop. If reducing the dosage makes his behaviour worse then he is not ready to go without it.
    – dave
    Commented May 24, 2013 at 0:27

Just a couple of points from my experience:

  • My son was partially deaf (adenoids blocked his eustachian tubes). We didn't know because he would usually respond but not always. Surgery fixed it. Have your son's hearing tested.
  • My son was then prescribed Nasonex, a steriod to help keep his nose clear. This made him more agresssive and gave him poor sleep. When he went off it, things improved within days. Look out for the meds that he takes - some have subtle side-effects.
  • My son still does not process sounds correctly (it'll take 6~18 months to catch up from his period of poor hearing). Sometimes to get his attention in a loud environment, we have to touch his shoulder before we speak. A figure-ground test can be performed to see if this is an issue.
  • Kids mirror your behaviour. If you yell, they will yell.
  • If the ADHD meds were working - stick with them. If not, there are literally dozens of conditions that look like ADHD but are not. We had a pediatrician who was willing to diagnose ADHD after 2 minutes even though a psycologist had not (after spending 3 hour with him). We've been told by two psychologists that 5 is too young to diagnose ADHD.

As for his agression, keep calm and consistent. Time-outs and loss of TV privileges work well. A 5 year old is a bundle of energy, TV can get them hyped up. Our 5yo son is rarely allowed to watch TV, but will play for hours with his lego.

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