14 answers

How Do You Transform Your Children from Wild to Not Wild?

My kids are 8, 5 and 2 and was just informed from other family members that they are wild. How did this happen? They don't listen. I am at my wits end here. Any suggestions?
Time out doesn't work.

2 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Many thanks to everyone who responded. I often think that everything the kids do is within reason of being kids, but the lack of listening gets frustrating at times. Naturally no one wants to hear that their children are wild. I do agree that a bit of fresh air never hurts either.
It's nice to know that there are other parents and grandparents who understand the challenges of being a parent.
So again, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!!!!!! I truly appreciate it!!!!

Featured Answers

When time outs don't work especially w/ the older ones you need to take away a special toy for us if my oldest gets a timeout he loses his computer game time that day so I usually don't have to get past 1 when I count. I recomend the book 1-2-3 magic. But I have a question for you are they really being wild or are they just being kids? When my boys get to loud and crazy for indoors we go outside to run around they can be as crazy as they want outside and make as much noise as they want it doesn't bother me.

1 mom found this helpful

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There are plenty of wild kids who won't listen, but then there are plenty of kids who are acting the way children act at a given age and adults often expect behavior that children are not capable of. I'm only throwing that out there since you said you were "informed" by your family that your kids are wild.

For ex, expecting my 2 yo to sit still for a lengthy meal out is unreasonable. Is she wild? No, she needs me to occupy her for that time, yk? When she's older it will be totally reasonable for me to expect her to sit still for a meal out.

I'd second the Dr. Sears book recommendation. I'd also suggest getting your hands on a book that talks about child development, so you will know whether what you are expecting is reasonable for their ages.

Good luck. And follow your own instincts on your kids, don't just listen to family members. It's really easy to criticize the parenting of others and tell them they are doing it wrong.

1 mom found this helpful

Teach them to listen, follow through, take control of your house and children.
What you do now will establish the basis of your parenting for the duration.
Have a very structured day with a schedule. Children function best with a schedule and they know what to expect when.
Make sure they have a period of time outside in the fresh air to run off their energies.
If we had one ( of our seven ) who seemed too lively for the house we would have them go outside and run around the house a given number of times. If there were more than one then it was a lot more fun for them.
Best to do your family a favor and have a strict schedule to follow.
Trust me in this...easiest and best way to manage energetic children.
Best wishes and God bless
Grandmother Lowell

1 mom found this helpful

I agree with others that you should make sure that you really do think this is an issue. But if your kids really don't listen when you tell them to do (or not do) things, if you feel like you are always repeating yourself or saying "no," or if you just don't bother saying "no" half the time because you know it won't work, then you probably do want to take some action. Time outs might not work for the 8-year-old, but they probably will for the younger ones if you are consistent about them. I've found that in order for time outs to be effective, first of all they must be short (a couple of minutes for the 2-year-old and 4 or 5 minutes for the 5-year-old; we use a digital timer so that the length of the time out is not in our hands and can't be negotiated during the time out). Next (and this one is particularly hard for me), I must give a time out at the FIRST transgression. No second chances, or my kids quickly learn that they don't need to do what I say immediately. So if I say not to turn the faucet on and my son turns the faucet on, I don't say, "Do that again and you get a time out." I immediately put him in time out, even though he's saying, "I'll stop doing that now. I'm listening now." It's no fun to put my kid in time out, so I'm always tempted to believe his promises of good behaviour and give him a second chance. But even if he does listen that time, it only encourages him not to listen the next time, and ultimately my life gets more frustrating.

For the 8-year-old, you might need to find a different consequence. Just make sure it is something that will really be a punishment. You could take away a toy or privilege except that once you've taken it away, you have nothing left to take away if he has a second transgression. My kids are both younger than that, so I'm afraid I don't have any ingenious suggestions.

1 mom found this helpful

You must read How To Listen So Kids Will Talk and Talk So Kids Will Listen. And I agree that your kids may just be spirited--and that is good. It will likely serve them well later in life. But if you want to move toward a more harmonious relationship, do try that book. It is wonderful.

1 mom found this helpful

Please try the book 123 Magic. It really, really works!! Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

When time outs don't work especially w/ the older ones you need to take away a special toy for us if my oldest gets a timeout he loses his computer game time that day so I usually don't have to get past 1 when I count. I recomend the book 1-2-3 magic. But I have a question for you are they really being wild or are they just being kids? When my boys get to loud and crazy for indoors we go outside to run around they can be as crazy as they want outside and make as much noise as they want it doesn't bother me.

1 mom found this helpful

Dear C.,

we found these books helpful: "The Discipline Book" (Sears & Sears) and "The secret of happy children" by Steve Biddulph. For sibling harmony i just read with great joy: "Siblings without rivalry" by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish, and i have ordered their "How to talk so kids will listen, how to listen so kids will talk".

Wild sounds nice, though. Full of energy, curious, explorative. Add trusting in their parents, connected to their caregivers and each other, kind, joyful, gentle and you'll have the perfect children. But then again: you already do.

Wild greetings and good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

If you are looking for parenting/discipline tips, I found 1-2-3 Magic to be very easy to read quickly, understand and implement. You can probably find it in your local library.
I am currently reading Negotiation Generation. So far I like it, but it is not a quick-read like 1-2-3 Magic. The focus is on being proactive to set kids up for success.
The key to both is consistency, no emotion, no talking.
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


It doesn't matter if your kids were born 25 years ago or 2 years ago... morals and manners are still the same! As my sister always said to me when I had kids, get a hold of em now - or you never will!! I have lived by that! They turned out to be good, honest, hard working kids!

I learned that if you give them the choice, they will learn quickly to do the right thing - but you need to stick to your guns!! If they want to color all over the walls - you say "your choice - color the walls and you will be washing them and then having another punishment, or you can color on the paper" When they pick the later - praise them a little for choosing correctly. The better the choice - the better the praise - you know what I mean? But, when they choose to ignore you, they pay the punishment.

But - you need to stick with it!!

1 mom found this helpful

You say that you were "informed from other family members" about this issue, but do YOU think its a problem? What some people call "wild", others call "spirited" or really, just being kids!
However, if you do think this is an issue which needs to be addressed, I would suggest the William and Martha Sears Discipline Book. It begins with a base of Attachment Parenting, with the understanding that discipline is much more successful if you have a secure bond with your children. But read it regardless of your parenting philosophy; it will be helpful nonetheless.

1 mom found this helpful

Do these family members have kids, or kids that were born within the last twenty-five years?? I know that it's very easy for a lot of people to forget those tough times once their kids are past them, or their kids have not reached that lovely stage yet. A lot of times people that don't have kids "know" the most. Very easy to judge when you truly have NO CLUE. Don't you remember before you had kids thinking, "what a brat", or "wow, I would never do that!!". Some of us are smart enough to keep those naive thoughts to ourselves, and then there are the rest. All you can do is hope that Their time will come where they will feel like a fool for having such an "easy solution" to such a tough situation. Pick a method of discipline and be consistent. I have also learned to never get too confident when my kids seemed to behave. If somebody compliments me, I thank them and then tell them that It could all change tomorrow! There is nothing worse than somebody who has a "perfect" child because those are usually the parents who tend to look the other way when their child is acting up. Also, do you have boys? I have three and they are "wild" too, but they are also good kids and very sweet. Keep your chin up. Sometimes other people's negativity has a way of making us more stressed. You have to worry about your own opinion. If you think they are just being kids and they are pretty well behaved everywhere else, then maybe your family just has to lighten up. If it is a problem in multiple places (school, playground, sports) then maybe your family is onto something. Just reavaluate the situation and make your decision from there. Good luck! Keep us all posted!

1 mom found this helpful

I am quite surprised to see a lot of posts praising the "hard line"- like using time-outs for basically every annoying/inquisitve/explorative ect behaviour that we adults don't approve of.
Personally I try to steer away from using time-outs, it seems to be a no-win situation for the kid ... "you either stop yourself or I'll make you stop".
For us, it works better if the kids feel the natural consequences (with limits to safety issues of course) to their actions, like not doing their homework. I only have to mention that he'll has to tell his teacher why he chose not to do his home work, and he will grumpily sit down. Or not getting ready for bed will take away the time for a good-night story or reading.
I do agree, that as adults we often talk too much. Like which kid truly needs to be reminded to not jump on the bed 100 times? We often don't set fair expectations, and if we do, it is either our way or the highway. I have been working hard on seeing the world through a child's eye again, like remembering how much fun it is to play with running water.
I really like the book "How to talk so your kids will listen" and it help us tremendously to get out of this ever on-going battle of who is in charge. Both my kids realize that I will listen to their reasons for what I would consider obnoxious behaviour, and if they can convince me, - fine! But they are also challenged to explain it to me, and that makes them much more aware of what they are actually doing.

I like Parenting with Love and Logic, even more than 123 Magic! They offer sound, developmentally appropriate and logic advise, not just philosophy! They have materials available in CD, DVD and books! Check it out.

What is the definition of wild? Is it other paretns of young children who think your kids are wild? I somehow doubt it. While there might be a little something to it if it is the case that other paretns within your family group think your particular young ones are wilder than theirs - but even then, as long as your kids use their manners and aren't overtly rude or mean (different from "wild"), then wildness is in the eyes of the beholder. My 8 year old daughter might be "wild" in the eyes of people without children or people my parents age b/c she is so active, but I know that my friends with 6-10 year old boys think she is easy and a piece of cake incomparison to the hijinks of their boys. Boys or girls, manners matter, but kids are kids and they need to be free to be kids and not have to live up to adult ideals of behavior. Let them run jump and be loud outside and in play groups - they have energy and need to let it out. especially since the 2 older ones are in school for a good chunck of the day and it's TOUGH to sit still for as long as they do!

I know very few kids that really "listen" and do what they are told all the time or even most of the time. that doesn't make them wild :)

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