My four year old step son has shown some behavior problems since he was about two years old. We've tried everything under the sun, but still nothing has worked. Me and my husband just had a baby girl in March. My husband is in the Air Force, and we just moved to Arizona. I stayed with my parents during my pregnancy. My stepson is extremely intelligent. So much so that he can manipulate the best of us. We've tried seeking outside help, but it's hard to fix a problem you can't see. Most people just say, "Oh, he's just a normal little kid." "...He don't know any better." But they don't see the terror we have to deal with. He's violent, he's constantly trying to find ways to hurt his little sister. He's just so jealous. We've tried spending more time with him, talking to him, doing for him, disciplining him. Nothing works. He just doesn't want her around, and he asked for her. He's so selfish, and self centered, that he literally thinks that the whole entire world revolves around him. He's not empathetic towards anyone or anything. If someone dies the only thing he wants to know is what they left him. My husband is about to go crazy. He blames himself, and we both can't understand how a four year old could possibly know the things he knows. I've read books, tried other peoples advice. He's even hit me before. There have been several incidence where his tantrums have gotten so violent that I had to pin him down. He especially likes to to act up while in public, when he has an audience. When we talk to him he ignores us. It's hard to get him to pay attention to anything. He's so unattentative that he's constantly tripping, falling, walking into walls. One time we went for a walk has a family and he tripped right over his own feet and landed face first on his nose. He completely scraped up his nose. He whines all the time. He can even produce tears at the snap of your fingers. Time out doesn't phase him, and if you try to hold him down he'll either make a big enough tantrum that the cops are called, resort to violence, or any kind of combination of the two. I'm concerned of my daughters well being. Don't get me wrong he does have a good day every once in a while. But a good day for him, is a bad day for a normal child. Most strangers think he's cute and adorable. But anyone who's had to watch him has some concerns about certain things he does. It doesn't help that he is extremely hyper active. His doctor put him on a special diet, but it's hard to tell if it's just something toddlers do, or if we should be concerned. We've even tried spanking him, he just laughed at us. What should I do? Is he ADHD, or just a unusual four year old? Help!
I am sorry that your question sat for so many days without a reply. I have been away and am just now getting back to the posted questions.
While you son may display ADHD, this would not explain the severity of his behavior. It is possible that, alongside any ADHD, he might well display a biologically-based emotional disorder, such as a mood disorder (the more likely possibility would be bipolar disorder). A thorough evaluation would have to be undertaken to determine all this. Suffice it to say that his behavior is very much outside the norm for his age, so don't regard it as simply a phase or what all children exhibit. Now, from a behavior management point of view, employing a systematic aaproach to manage the behavior will be critical, regardless of the ultimate diagnosis. You can find such an approach in Lynn Clark's book titled SOS: Help for Parents. If you read this Forum regularly, you will know how much I value Dr. Clark's approach: it is tried, tested, practical and very helpful. But don't try to handle this only by addressing the behavior yourselves. Seek an evaluation by a child psychologist or child psychiatrist.
Reading your letter about your step son is like reading about my life with my three year old daughter. No one ever believed my husband or myself when we would tell them how awful she would act, and now that she has started throwing her tantrums in front of them, they are all concerned that she needs to be on medication. I am not "hip" on the idea of puting my three year old daughter on medication, to control her temper and actions. I can remember the days where my dad would give me a good stern look and my mom would give me a patt on the butt, and I no longer had tantrums. But when it comes to my daughter, I fear that if something is not done to control her and if I cannot find a way to control her, there are going to be serious measures for my husband and myself, to deal with!
She has already passed the stage of where she beats her 8 year old brother up and the fact that he's been raised to never hit girls, puts him in a situation where he has nowhere to turn. If he cries when she's litterally beating him with a shoe, toy, or even fly swatter, he's considered a "sissy" 'cause his 3 yr. old sister beat him up". Plus the fact that when he's being told about being a sissy, she's sitting right there listening to what they are saying. So she continues to hit and beat him, knowing that she's going to get away with it, and the entire time she's doing it, she saying to him "cry baby; sissy".
I'm a mother of three, so I've been around tantrums, but when my daughter decides that a "tantrum is needed" there is no warning about it! All in one breath, she could be the sweetest most loving child, and one second later she's screaming, hitting, spitting, biting, and what ever else she can, for no reason at all! Usually it's due to her not getting to do something, when we don't even know what it is she's wanting. Here's an example: Today, she wanted popcorn so I put the bag in the microwave and started it. She started screaming and crying, kicking and hitting her head on the floor, and then scratched her face, as if it was suppose to hurt me. When I asked her what was going on and what was wrong, she screamed she wanted to turn it on, instead of me! I've seen kids throw a fit after they are told no, for something, but before they even ask for it, I've never experienced anything like this.
Is there anything I can do or give her, before she losses total control and hurts someone or even worse, herself?
Although my situation is not as extreme as yours, I have been looking for ways to change my 4 year old sons behavior. I came across this website where a natural vitiman (B3) was recommended for calming children and a few recommendations for altering behavior....I hope this might help.
My 4 1/2 year old has been out of control,i've tried everything,And it seems like nothing is working for him.he's always saying he's going to hurt his baby brother in some way he never litens,And i don't know what to do with him.Sometimes i feel like it's my fault like im a bad parent.i was hoping once he went back to school he would calm down but everyday he gets worse.I'm not sure if i should get him help,or is this normal?
My 4 year old daughter had been acting out agressivley for about a year...At first we thought it was because we had just given birth to a lil boy who was premmie( where he required more attention than a full term baby) but it had continued on...
The psychologist thought it was adjustment disorder from her brother being born but now they are looking at ADHD and oppostional defiance disorder or biopolar...
If any one else may have any suggestions please e-mail me at
reading this was like reliving part of my now 14 year old's pre school years. DO hold out hope for your children- then can learn to grow and cope and be productive teens and adults.
My son was violent at 4 & 5 years of age. It started when his sister was born (he was 3 at the time). At that time I was also going through an ugly divorce. All these things compounded his aleady existing problem and had great effect on my son. It was also difficult once he started school- he broke a window to the principal's office- ripped up another principal's 20 year old year book (the second school he went to in that same year)he made first grade teachers cry. He was kicked out of so many schools because they were not "equipped to deal with him". Along the way we learned a technique to handle him when he got violent- I don't know how we figured it out- maybe one of the few helpful people we encountered in our stressful journey.- but when he went into his fits we'd wrap him up like a little burrito in a sleeing bag and sit on him until he calmed down. This didn't hurt him- and I found our years later this we an in patient technique that works well to calm them, which it did- he'd scream like a crazy person- but he'd eventually "come back" from where ever he was in that part of his brain- and be calm. We we're lucky to find a few daycare providers who would help with this technique too. It was horrible for us and him to act out like this- we could tell somewhere deep inside he didn't want to be this way. He was misdianoised for a few years- were were never given any inkling it was ADHD related- but finally he was diagnoised with ADHD and ODD (oppositional difiant disorder). The doctor at the ADD institute told us we were dealing with our son the way they delt with in-patients. At that point we gave up our reluctance to put him on medication- and put him on ritalin. He too was very bright- his verbal IQ was off the charts at 3 years of age- his IQ is very high as well. He's no dumby- he just seems to be wired wrong in a few areas of his brainl. But ritalin (he now takes Adderal) and finding a school district that had the support classrooom and a couple loving and understanding special ed teachers who KNOW ADHD was the miracles he needed to grow to be a charming your man he is today. He's now 14 - an award winning skateboarder- he gets good grades (if he thinks the subject is actually something that is a benefit to him in his future life) and we are amazed everyday and now can't believe the issues we delt with years ago came from this wonderful boy we have today.
We also have a 4 year old- and just found out from pre school he's exhibiting ADD symptoms- our 11 year old daughter also has mild ADD- but nothing with our other two children has been as crazy as it was with our oldest. I hope in some way this lets you see there is light for you at the end of the tunnel for your children. With your help and the help of the right people who come in contact with them as they grow up- they can become wonderfully loving kids!
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