17 answers

4 Year Old Boy That Is Hyper and Other Things

My son is 4-years-old and has always been hyper. This has never changed and I have pretty much learned to deal with this. However, over the past year it is getting worse because he is absolutely not listening to me. I have to tell him to do things about 5 times before he starts to listen, and by that point I'm frustrated. When I try to calmly sit him down and have a talk with him about what he did and I ask him what I just said he says "I don't know." I notice he just wants to move on to the next thing to try to get away from being talked to. He's always wanting to play with something or be moving. Lately I have noticed that he is becoming sensitive to noises. If things are too loud like the tv, or if we are at a family function and everyone is talking, he covers his ears and tells everyone to be quiet. I have no clue if this is anything but I have really noticed him doing this lately and I don't know why. I ask him if his ears hurt and he tells me no. I guess I'm just at a loss of what to do. We take him to a birthday party or a family function and he is so hyper I find that we end up leaving early because I'm worried what people are thinking about his behavior. Another thing that throws me is that he is able to sit and calm down at times (like when he is a little tired in the morning, or if he is watching a movie and there are no other distractions). I have talked to the dr. about his hyperness and I feel like he just brushes me off which makes me even more frustrated and makes me almost want to cry. I have researched things about ADD/ADHD and I'm just not sure. I feel like it is diagnosed too easily but then again I have no clue if he has something like that. Anyone else have any suggestions? Or experience this type of behavior?

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Thank you all so much for all of the great advice! It's really assuring to know there are other moms out there that deal with this same type of thing. I am surely going to talk to the doctor the next time we go. Once again thank you so much and if you have any more advice please let me know!

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I have a 12yr. old grandson that I thaught you were talking about. he has been on meds since he was 4yrs old and boy is there a huge difference. my daughter takes him off for the summer and I can tell he's not on them. he is a honer roll student, and only gets in trouble in school if he forgets to take his pill.[can't sit still or focus] I also have a 3 yr old grandson the same way but the doctor says to wait till he's 4 cause sometimes they out grow it. If I were you I'd find a different doctor. meds will help him and you I know it is very stressfull on you to. J.

4 is very young to dx ADD/ADHD.Most Drs will not pull the ADD/ ADHD label out until they are 7. But he does sound like he has some sensory issues.

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I have a friend who's little boy(4 1/2) is just like that. She is doing evaluation through this goverment program that is FREE where specialist comes and observes a child(he is in preschool and they voiced some concerns). They are just in the begining of this prossess, but were already told that there are some issues. You might want to look and see if health dept in your county has something like this.

4 is very young to dx ADD/ADHD.Most Drs will not pull the ADD/ ADHD label out until they are 7. But he does sound like he has some sensory issues.

Hi,
sounds, to me, as though you're dealing with 2 different things.

First, for both of my *very* active boys, I never (but never) repeat myself. If they do not do what they are told the first time - there are consequences (not after I've had to repeat and repeat). If your child *does* turn out to have an auditory processing problem or adhd, he's going to *need* the skill of following through with instructions the first time in order to deal with school.

Second, sensory sensitivity and/or auditory processing problems can look very similar, but both are very common, and can be dealt with effectively.

When you want your boy to do something: first, make sure you have his attention, and that he is looking at your face (make sure you stay calm). Make sure there is little or no background noise: go into another room if you have to. Tell him what you want him to do as clearly and simply as you can. Get a verbal response from him (either a "yes mama." or even if he asks a question to clarify what you want: whatever); finally, make sure he follows through right away.

Just a suggestion: good luck!
t

Find a developmental pediatrician to talk to. So many things are possible....sensory processing disorder, ADD/ADHD, Aspergers, etc. Once you start researching different disorders, they all start to sound the same and your son will start to fit all of them in one way or another!

Most importantly don't let your pediatrician brush you off. If you are concerned continue to push until you are seen by the right doctor.

Good luck,
K.

I just want to offer a suggestion. Your son sounds like my daughter when she was that age--and she does still have issues which we are working on. It sounds like your son might have a sensitivity to noise. I have this problem and I believe my daughter does as well. We all tend to get bothered by lots of noise. However, for some, the hearing is so acute that when the TV is on and someone is talking and maybe other noises are going on as well, it is hard to tune things out. It has a name and I am totally tdrawing a blank right now. I had my hearing checked because there is an issue in my family and it came out perfect. When i asked the doc why I feel I have to talk louder to someone right next to me when the noise is 25 feet away or so, she mentioned this. It has to do with sound overload. The recommendation for it is to have a little quiet time each day, about an hour or so if possible. Otherwise at least 1/2 hour. This could be why your son can easily sit through a movie--nothing else is going on. You could check into ADHD but my d came back as not 2 times.

Updated

I just want to offer a suggestion. Your son sounds like my daughter when she was that age--and she does still have issues which we are working on. It sounds like your son might have a sensitivity to noise. I have this problem and I believe my daughter does as well. We all tend to get bothered by lots of noise. However, for some, the hearing is so acute that when the TV is on and someone is talking and maybe other noises are going on as well, it is hard to tune things out. It has a name and I am totally tdrawing a blank right now. I had my hearing checked because there is an issue in my family and it came out perfect. When i asked the doc why I feel I have to talk louder to someone right next to me when the noise is 25 feet away or so, she mentioned this. It has to do with sound overload. The recommendation for it is to have a little quiet time each day, about an hour or so if possible. Otherwise at least 1/2 hour. This could be why your son can easily sit through a movie--nothing else is going on. You could check into ADHD but my d came back as not 2 times.

I would go back to the ped and ask about testing to be done , not sure if it is the same thing nation wide but here in VA we have child find , it is free for kids who are under 5 , it does sound like he has some kind of sensory issue going on.

This sounds quite a bit like my son. He just turned 7 and was diagnosed in November with ADHD combined and an accompanying anxiety disorder. The ADHD is obvious. It's the anxiety that people don't understand. He gets sensory overload in noisy, crowded areas and his brain goes crazy trying to keep up with everything that's going on (ADHD), but then he just breaks down and has a panic attack from all the stimulation. He's been that way since he was a baby. My husband's family likes to open Christmas presents one at a time so everyone can see it, but every time a gift was opened the room would erupt in cheers, laughter, etc. and my son would go crazy screaming and crying. I had to go sit in a bedroom with him until it was over. My son's dr also told us there wasn't really anything we could do until he was older other than just not put him in those situations, or at least not for long periods of time. We also decided not to medicate until it interfered with school work, which it did this year in 1st grade. It's kinda funny though, my son can also sit and watch tv/play video games/read a book for hours without interruption.

Anyway, we have charts for everything he does every day. We use the timer on the stove as motivation to do his 15 minutes of reading, 15 minutes of piano, pick up toys, etc. When we need to talk to him, especially about something important, I get down to his level, put my hands on his cheeks and make sure he is looking me in the eyes. There are good days and there are bad days, but it's all manageable.

Hi,
I would suggest you to take him to the pediatrician and have him tested. It doesn't have to be ADD/ADHD but it could be something that could be treated w/o meds and he would get better. You can ask your pediatrician to send him to see a behavioral specialist. Whatever it is, you need to nail it down and get him the helps he needs. The doctor does not have to agree with you, but be firm and tell him you want him tested. He might think that he is just spoiled and that there is nothing wrong with him. But you know your child better than anyone else. If this doesn't work with your pediatrician, then change and get someone that will listen to you.
If he gets diagnosed with ADD/ADHD or anything else, don't give up and pray for him. Prayers do miracles, I've seen it.

Your pediatrician is not usaully the best resource when you have concerns like this, and you should never "wait and see" or assume that everything will work out later when it comes to such serious developmental issues.

I would suggest that you contact your local children's hospital and find a Developmental Pediatrican and have a full evaluation. This is the very best thing that you can do for him, because a Developmental Pediatrician will miss nothing, and you will get every kind of referal that you need, from speech and langauge, to occupational therapy, to neurology; all these different professionals will contribute to the comprehensive evaluation and you will know exactly what is going on and have a plan for intervention that you can trust.

You have described some classic presentations, do not ignore it, and no matter what anyone says about thier "cousins best freind's nephew who was just like this and is now a brain surgon," do not assume that your son's outcome will be so rosey unless you seek and follow standard medical treatment and therapy for a real medical issue.

Also, there is no evidence that suppliments or diet make any real difference in developmental issues. You may be able to improve his general health with vitamins and diet, but you will neither reverse, cure (or cause) a neurodevelopmental disorder with diet or "natural" supliments, so don't beat yourself up with any thought that you have been feeding him wrong, or letting him have dyes or sugar; these are myths perpetuated on a population that is desperate to find an answer that they have some control over.

Make the appointment today, it may take many months to get in. In the mean time, one thing that you can do with him is to be concrete. Instead of saying that he does not listen, say that he did not respond to what you told him. To him, "listen" means hear, not comply. Say only what you mean, and put it in active tense for him. Tell him what to do instead of what to stop doing and avoid "don't" statements. Say "hold your body still" instead of "stop moving around." Fewer words are best, and getting his physical attention is going to help you communicate with him.

Last, don't fall into the trap of thinking that because he can pay attention some times, he does not have a problem or that it is within his control at other times and he is just to lazy to work at it. This is a vicious circle that will put you at odds with your son and damage your relationship with him. Put kidney desease in place of ADHD and you will kick yourself for ever assuming this. "my son can keep from wetting his pants sometimes, so he must not have kidney desease" it sounds outragous. Praise him when he can pay attention. It does not surprise me that he can pay attention when he can either hyperfocus or when he is at his very best (in the morning when he is rested.) This behavior only means that there is hope for him with proper treatement, not that he is able to control the behavior in other circumstances.

You might want to reduce the sensory overload, and unitl you have his evaluation, keep him in more quiet surroundings and avoid over the top, stimulating, crowded gatherings.

Make the appointment, stay consistent, get his physical attention before you speak to him, reward and praise him for good behavior, use active statements "what to do" statements, and reduce his sensory overload.

Good luck,
M.

Insist that your doctor refer you for developmental testing.
Your boy is too close to school age to neglect this.
Otherwise he will be set up for failure in a classroom setting.
There are services available in your community for you.
Check into it today.

I can feel your frustration! You are not alone with these concerns. As a Mom of an 18 month-old boy I have started doing some research and thinking about the differences between boys and girls, partly to improve my parenting skills since I am not a male! I was also a counselor for 8 years and am now a teacher and have heard these same concerns from many families. I think the bottom line is that boys are different from girls (generally and brain-wise). I watch my son and other friends' sons repeatedly jump off the couch or do risky things, then quietly read or do puzzles for several minutes. There is some very interesting evidence-based research and information about boys' brains and how to parent/educate them.

Here are a few things I've learned. 1) Boys are wired to be much more physical than girls and that's one way they learn best-by experiencing and doing. 2) It can take boys longer to transition from activity to activity because the part of the brain that helps with this is actually smaller in males-they need more advance notice. 3) Kids ages 2-7 live in the present, i. e. they often answer "I don't know" to a question about why they did something because they really don't-what they did is over to them. 4) Boys' language skills are 1-1 1/2 years behind girls, so they might not have the words to explain or express themselves. 4) Boys do well focusing on 1 task at a time.

I agree with you that many kids are misdiagnosed with ADHD and are diagnosed and medicated way too early. Most doctors do not diagnose that until age 7, and symptoms need to be seen at home, school, and everywhere. One thing you may want to try when you want him to stop a behavior and give a direction is to be right next to him when telling him what to do, put a hand on his shoulder-they can feel you there-not hard or rough, just feel your presence physically, look at him and tell him what you want him to do. Then ask him to repeat what you said and if needed go through that cycle again. "I want you to . . ., what is it I want you to do?" If you are out in public try telling him your expectations first and involve him in something physical or new to him.

Finally, don't beat yourself up! All parents go through these challenges and if they look at you funny they must not have children. There are some good books and web sites out now that may be helpful too.

Good luck!

I have a 12yr. old grandson that I thaught you were talking about. he has been on meds since he was 4yrs old and boy is there a huge difference. my daughter takes him off for the summer and I can tell he's not on them. he is a honer roll student, and only gets in trouble in school if he forgets to take his pill.[can't sit still or focus] I also have a 3 yr old grandson the same way but the doctor says to wait till he's 4 cause sometimes they out grow it. If I were you I'd find a different doctor. meds will help him and you I know it is very stressfull on you to. J.

Sounds to me if he does calm down and sit at times (when it's convenient for him or he wants to) then it's a matter of lack of discipline and/or respect. Might want to get a copy of RAISING RESPECTFUL CHILDREN. You alsmo might want to think about looking at his diet and pay attention and see if certain foods, dyes, chemicals, sugar, tend to make this problem worse or trigger it.

Talk continuously about alternative and appropriate behavior. When you set a boundary and/or rule......DO NOT give in even if it's not convenient for you. He won't respect you if you do and it will be that much easier to get by with it the next time. They need to know that "your word is law" and respect is something that is necessary, required and expected in your household.

Sometimes there are food sensitivities that can make your children act out. I have a son that cannot have hydrogenated oils (margarine, most peanut butters, Pop Tarts) and one who cannot have red dye (Kool Aid, Doritos). Wheat and/or gluten can also be a big contributor. Before you go for meds, check into food sensitivities. Notice if he is particularly bad after eating a certain food. Save labels and compare them. I was shocked at how my son's behavior changed by eliminating just a few items from their diets. I also have a son with ADHD who is unmedicated. We find that less wheat in his diet has a positive effect for him. Hope that helps!

Change his diet. Really examine what he is eating. Try a no sugar approach. Sugar is in everything in many different forms, even most fruits and vegetables. I'm not saying to eliminate them, just really cut down. Try to limit to 15 grams of sugar a day and avoid splenda, sucrolose, and saccharin. Even things like milk (lactose) and fructose (especially High Fructose Corn Syrup) are sugar sources. Most people consume far more sugar in a day than they ever realize.

talk to your doctor. it may not be add/adhd. He may be on the autism sprectrum. They can have sensory issues. My son use to have tamtrums because he could not communicate how he was feeling. Some kids have language processing disorders. If you get no where with you regular doctor, have him evaluated by a ped neurologist. A developmental behavioral psychologist can help you too. They will rule out everything before giving him a diagnosis. DO not let your regular doctor do a questionnaire and just put your child on med. You want to understand how this is caused and sometimes it is because hypersensitivity or allergies.

Things to Google: Sensory Processing Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorders, particularly PDD-NOS.

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