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5 year old boy
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5 year old boy

I am concerned about my son, James, who turned 5 in March.  It's his behavior with other children that concerns me.  He loves to play with other children and is a very friendly boy but he tends to overwhelm the other children.  He likes to touch other kids (hold hands & hug).  He also gets too close to them when he talks.  He can also act hyper.  We were at the pool today and he and another boy he just met were throwing toys in the pool for a little girl to fetch.  After James throws the toy he's laughing and jumping around and dancing.  I notice the other little boy is just standing there.   James also tends to talk a lot.  I think he gets on other kids nerves because he'll ask them a lot of questions.   He likes to do things like dip his french fries in someone else ketchup, or steal some of their fries.  I think he does it for attention and he really wants the other kids to like him. But when the other kid doesn't like it sometimes it doesn't stop him.  He really likes to make other kids laugh,  sometimes he'll say "Poopie" just to make someone laugh, it normally works, and then he'll keep doing it.  I feel like when he's playing with other kids I need to supervise him, to make sure he's acting appropriately.

At home, he can sit and do puzzles by himself for an hour. (He loves puzzles).   He can play card games with his father or me.  He can sit and do a math or language workbook with me for an hour or more, sitting calmly the whole time.  He has no problems sitting at the table for meals at home or in a restaurant.  He's interested in deep sea fish, dinosaurs, bugs, spiderman, and rescue heroes.  He loves mazes and connect the dots.

He has some friends, most of them are the kids of my friends. He had a few friends in preschool, but we've recently moved across the country.  They like to come over and play with him, but at times he can play aggressively.  He's not hitting anyone, but if the boys are playing superheroes he'll stomp around like a monster and not know when to stop, or he might grab someone.  Even when the other kids want him to stop sometimes he won't.

I'm really trying to work with him on keeping his hands to himself.  I know he's trying, but it's so hard for him, especially when he likes a little boy.  I see he'll try to tickle them and the other kids normally don't like it.  

He's starting kindergarten in September, I'm so worried that he won't have friends.  I feel like I'm constantly telling him how not to act.  I'm always saying "keep your hands to yourself, no hugging, no touching anyone".  I don't want him to get low self esteem and feel like he can't do anything right socially, but at the same time I feel if he keeps acting like this he'll have problems in school.

I would appreciate knowing your feelings on this.  Thank you.
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One of the major developmental tasks of a five-year-old is to develop control over impulses. From your description it appears that social situations with peers (particularly groups of peers) tend to stimulate your son and his impulse control weakens in those circumstances. As he matures he will likely calm down when he is with peers. For now, the sort of monitoring you are doing is very sensible. Also try to minimize the frequency of his exposure to large groups of peers. For now he will have all he can handle with one or two other children. Relative to kindergarten, he may well experience the same sorts of difficulties you are witnessing. But the structure of the classroom will be helpful to him. It would benefit your son to have a teacher who is experienced and who tends to be quite structured and quite firm relative to limit-setting.
6 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
for my 2 cents, it kinda just sounds like he's a bit immature socially. From what you describe he's active and happy otherwise, interested in the world around him...  Try not to feel like a referee for his interactions with his friends, but help him to recognize the social situations, body language, expressions, etc.  Mention to him later, or on an aside, points that may help him, or get some stories that look at social skills to read to him. It may just take a little time (is he younger in his age group?). If he's starting kindergarten, he'll get lots of practice interacting with others. Plus often elementary schools have a social skills program the kids can participate in for a few weeks to help develop those skills.  There's lots of kids who need help (especially only children, less exposed to group play settings and the youngest of the classes), and most end up doing quite well:)
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Avatar_n_tn
OH MY GOD!!  You just described my son!  He is 6 and heading into 1st grade and I am terrified!!  He's been seeing a psychologist for over a year now and she is convinced he needs medication to get his impulsiveness, aggression and anger under control.  We are in our third day of trying Adderral (sp?) and haven't noticed a significant difference except when it is wearing off it sends him through the roof!  He is extremely argumentative and pushy!  Very on edge!

I too worry so much about him having friends!  He had routine problems in school but they weren't "bad enough" to warrant school intervention!!  It is very frustrating, insurance won't pay for it and he's not a bad enough case for the school district to take over!  I don't want to scare you, but its hard!

We were dead set against medication until he was finishing kindergarten and the problems just weren't going away.  He's in the middle of summer camps now and we hope the break will do him good, but I'm so worried he's not going to be able to sit in a desk the way he will need to in 1st grade!

Let me know if you get any useful information!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for your feedback.

Do you think he might have ADHD?  Can a child have a problem with being hyper and not have attention issues?

Today we went to the pool and he was playing with one of his friends.  I wasn't watching him for 2 minutes and his friend bit him on the arm.  My son said that he just wanted to take a turn on the riding toy and his friend bit him.  It's terrible, but I always assume that it's my son who instigated the problem.  After his friend bit him, he was upset that his friend got in trouble and wanted to play with him immediately.  Is this normal?   He was also trying to talk to some older boys who told him to "go away" and he keeps going over to them in a teasing way and saying "hello!".  The older boys don't find it funny, they get annoyed.

There is a summer program that they run in our town for kids going into kindergarten, it's 5 days a week for 3 hours a day.  It's playtime, arts and crafts, etc.  There are mostly college kids in charge of the kids.  Do you think this would be good for him to have more chance for interaction with other kids, or should I wait until Kindergarten starts and let him have playdates with me this summer so I can keep an eye on him?

Thanks a lot.
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Avatar_n_tn
I wouldn't worry too much about Kindergarten.  With my own kids, I haven't noticed any exclusion when I go on field trips or volunteer in the classroom.  They keep the kids pretty busy and the free-time is short.  

I would continue to work on curbing his behavior on the "majors" like rudeness, inappropriate touching, and defiance.  But, lighten up on the overactive, enthusiastic behavior.  

Don't worry about what others are thinking...their kids probably have issues too.  I've met kids that instantly trusts me, climb on my lap, talk close to my face.  No bother.    

Keep open communication with his 1st grade teacher on any signs of ADD/ADHD that she sees.  

Good Luck!

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Avatar_f_tn
Yes, you can have hyperactivity without having attentional problems, and sometimes, attentional problems are not evident to an observer, though they are present.  It certainly could not hurt to have an evaluation. When you have this, also ask about sensory integration. It seems like he is under-responsive to touch, and seeks it out. What they call deep pressure touch, like stomping, jumping, swinging, hugging, playing rough. If you do a search for sensory integration disorder, it will better explain it.
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