My son is six years old, quite intelligent,grasps things easily, is really sharp at school really, good with teachers, and often very nice with friends. But he is showing opposite behavior to me; he is misbehaving, very aggressive, doesn't listen to me, says "NO", uses bad language, shouts a lot, cries on the top of his lungs and doesn't listen to me even if I uses harsh words, slap him, or beat him. He also doesn't listen to his father, throws heavy things on others, especially on his 5 year old sister. He also beats his sister a lot, snatches everything from her, kicks her and says he doesn't like her.

When he was 3 years old I was harsh with him. To discipline him I would slap him often and used to leave him at a relative's home (as i have to take my daughter to hospital for admission) and he feels bad about this. I think I can't reverse things now. But now harsh behavior is not working any more. Harsh behavior worked when he was 4-5 yrs old but now its just hopeless. i don't want to beat him or be harsh with him, but he forced me so much that I can't control myself.

Why he is bad at home? What can I do?

  • I edited your question to use standard English. I tried to preserve the meaning of your question but I had to improvise at a couple of places. If I inadvertently changed the meaning, please edit it. Commented Jul 13, 2013 at 15:44
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    If you must tackle a small child, make sure they're wearing appropriate padding and gear, then go for their center.
    – user11394
    Commented Dec 7, 2014 at 20:29

4 Answers 4


Stop struggling with your child.

Stop fighting with your child. Stop vying for power with your child.

Control the things you can.

You decide what food you buy, where you guys live, which school he attends, who your family spends time with...

You cannot control him.

You cannot control his every behaviour, his every action.

Make yourself clear.

Explain clearly and concisely when he's lucid and willing to listen. Tell him what you like and don't like about what he's doing. Try to point out how what he does affects his life, so explain that hitting people will make people dislike him, not play with him, not give him things, whatever he would understand.

You may not be able to do this in the middle of a tantrum or violent outburst. Wait, tell him later. He can remember what he did yesterday. Tell the story with him, explain where things went awry, and how he can do much better next time. He still wants to be a good boy.

Be a model for good behaviour.

Be as peaceful as you can be. When things get too much for you, walk away. It's better than hitting your child.

Help the sister.

Instead of beating on your little boy when he hurts his sister, and accentuating and accelerating the circle of violence and abuse - take care of your daughter. Pick her up, comfort her, spend time with her. When he's extra violent, be extra sensitive with her. This is a very strong yet peaceful message for your boy.

Slow down.

  • thanks for the suggestion @ Henry how can i reverse things ?how can i erase bad memories so that he will be as nice as before?
    – aliya
    Commented Jul 13, 2013 at 7:04
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    @aliya Kids are pretty resilient. If you can consistently be a better parent, time will likely be all it takes to improve the situation. Commented Jul 13, 2013 at 15:23
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    Even if your child remembers every bad thing that you've done, at least you can demonstrate the ability to improve. Don't worry about the past. Focus on the present, and do the best you can.
    – Henry
    Commented Jul 13, 2013 at 15:30
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    I should add, 'do the best you can' may mean getting professional help. You shouldn't completely ignore the past. If you know you are violent with children, that needs to stop and/or you need to find someone else to look after your kids.
    – Henry
    Commented Jul 13, 2013 at 16:18
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    @WilliamGrobman I completely agree. Parenting is like sports, you get lots of attempts and you don't have to succeed on every attempt to be successful overall.
    – tomjedrz
    Commented Jul 13, 2013 at 21:10

Have you considered trying to listen to his perspective and to understand what is going on in his mind and, more importantly, to understand how he feels?

In addition to other things, the poor kid might be frustrated and not being understood, not being listened to, and being constantly told what to do. Perhaps his side of the story has not been heard. The book How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish discusses why not properly listening to kids can damage kids and provides guidelines on how to improve your listening.

Removing this source of frustration, if it is indeed the case, could turn the kid around, but I would also consider seeking professional help.

  • My answer completely ignored the boy's 'side', his thoughts and reasons. Excellent point Dave.
    – Henry
    Commented Jul 13, 2013 at 21:35
  • yes he does not discuss things with me rather he prefers discussing it with his teacher or someone else but not me :(
    – aliya
    Commented Jul 14, 2013 at 8:33

You're really doing the right thing to ask people for help, that's really responsible of you :-)

From what you write, I'm getting the impression that you are beating and punishing your child or have done that fairly much in the past. I'm thinking, no wonder he has become the way he is.

Usually the behavior of beating ones children is inherited from parent to child, so I would guess that you yourself was sometimes being beaten by your parents and that you have bad/sad memories of that.

My suggestions:

  • I'd suggest that you read a book that's entitled "Reinventing your life". In that book, there are chapters entitled "The Mistrust and Abuse Lifetrap" and "I'm Worthless: The Defectiveness Lifetrap" that might help you understand what's going on with you yourself. And there are many other chapters too, which might help you with your own life. And when eventually you understand yourself, it'll be a lot easier for you to help your child.

  • One thing that I think might help you to control your own temper and feelings, is if you yourself started practicing mindfulness, a kind of meditation. Practicing only a few minutes (perhaps 5 minute) each day does have some effects.

  • If possible I think you should consider getting professional help (from a psychiatrist?) with controlling your own temper and actions.

(Personally I have had help from mindfulness and the above-mentioned book, but this was related to completely different things.)

I wish you both the very best of luck, and
Kind regards.


I recommend the parenting books by Dr. James Dobson. He is explicitly Christian, and suggests corporal punishment, which cause many to consider him a troglodyte and reject his views. This is an error. His advice in not religious, and corporal punishment is not central to his methods and parenting philosophy.

I had a similar experience to yours with my daughter when she was young. She is very strong-willed, independent, and confident. She was a great kid, except with her parents! Dr. Dobson's methods helped us to gain control of her, and consequently allowed her to gain control of herself. She is now a senior in college and a motivated, self-disciplined, caring young woman of whom my wife and I are quite proud.

Dobson's book "The Strong Willed Child" helped us tremendously. I can't repeat it all here, but can go through the high points.

Parental Authority must be respected.
Defiance and disrespect must be eliminated and your commands must be followed promptly and without question. It all starts from this. Once you give the command, it must be obeyed or consequences are applied. Don't "count to 3", or ask "how many times do I have to tell you to ...?". When you tell Jimmy to do something, if he doesn't comply immediately, apply a consequence.

Don't Act from Anger
Correction and consequences must be applied calmly and without anger. Ideally, they are applied before you get angry, but if that ship has sailed ... take a moment and calm yourself before applying punishment.

It's about BEHAVIOR
Don't try and manage thoughts and feelings, but expect the child to manage actions and behaviors. Don't punish your child for being angry; punish your child for hitting, for cruel words, or for a disrespectful tone.

Remember, what you are really teaching your child is self-control.

Be Consistent and Predictable
The rules and expectations must be clear and known. When rules are broken or expectations not met, you must act quickly and consistently. The child should not be surprised when placed in the time out chair after yelling "NO", and it should happen every single time. Communicate with the child what the transgression was and what the consequence is.

All of this requires thought, discipline, and courage. You have to have standard consequences thought out in advance, particularly if you aren't going to use corporal punishment. Parents have to agree and act in support of one another. And parents have to be willing to sacrifice themselves.

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    -1 following the parent promptly and without question, -1 "applying punishment", -1 you aren't teaching your child self-control, you're teaching them to obey you, and eventually, quite possibly, hate you. However, consistent and predictable is an excellent point, and +1 for not punishing feelings.
    – Henry
    Commented Jul 13, 2013 at 21:37
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    @Henry Our job is not to be liked, or loved, or to be their friend. Our job is to raise kids who are good citizens and good people. Respecting authority starts with respect for parental authority.
    – tomjedrz
    Commented Jul 13, 2013 at 22:33
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    What does "respecting" authority mean? Does it mean obeying anyone who orders you around (or appears to be powerful or bigger than you) without question or hesitation? Doesn't sound very good to me. You're right, our job is not to be liked, loved, or be their friend. Our job is to love THEM, and treat them like humans, not servants, monkeys, or dogs.
    – Henry
    Commented Jul 14, 2013 at 1:39
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    @ThorinSchmidt I obey a policeman who turns his lights on because I have agreed to be part of this society and follow the rules of it, and I may have made an infraction (even if I am not aware of it). But I do not obey because a policeman has authority over me. They DO NOT! Think about that for a moment. If a policeman asked you to do something dangerous, illegal, distasteful...you would say no I hope!
    – Henry
    Commented Dec 13, 2014 at 17:11
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    It is very easy for us to conflate the gun a policeman carries with his legitimate authority. I am scared of the gun, so in the final analysis I will follow the policeman out of fear if I think he's crazy. This is not how it is supposed to work though. I should follow the policeman where he has legitimate authority that was invested in him by the people (me!), and the rest is up for debate.
    – Henry
    Commented Dec 13, 2014 at 17:15

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