How to understand and control your difficult child

What’s the best way to get your kids to listen without an argument or scene?

Angry Boy

The question:

I have a 4 year old that is out of control. He doesn’t listen and no matter what I do doesn’t seem to help. He’s causing so much stress in our family. We have a baby in the house now (he’s 11 months) and sometimes I think he does this to get attention even though he overshadows the baby with his behavior. What’s the best way to get him to listen without a argument or a scene? – Debra in Maryland

The Pediatrician Answers:

It sounds as though the 4-year-old is trying to get attention. He may also be an unusually demanding child or one who has difficulty with anger and/or impulse control.

Generally, using time-out disciplinary techniques for bad behaviors, combined with increased parental attention when the child is behaving, will help improve behavior. If this is not effective and the child is out of control despite reasonable parental efforts, a visit to a good pediatric psychologist or psychiatrist may be in order.

Some children who are “out of control” actually have ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), ODD (oppositional defiant disorder), CD (conduct disorder), or are children who are bipolar. These conditions can be helped with medication and psychotherapy.


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