5 Year Old Out of Control Behavior

Updated on November 06, 2010
A.T. asks from Denton, TX
8 answers

I am so concerned about my 5 year old's behavior. It is so hard to explain. He is the sory of child that demands alot of attention and has difficulty entertaining himself. He cana't/doesn't watch movies solo, play with any of his toys solo, read solo, play computer games solo. Nothing. If he can't rope his younger brother into playing with him, begs demands that someone else play with him. I play with him as much as I can but I can't be his source of entertainment 24/7. This also leads into his demanding food, drink, or anything else. I leave out snacks and water bottles so my children can nibble throughout the day, but that isn't enough. If he wants something and I'm in the restroom, tending to his brother, or resting (I'm kinda of tired @ 8 months pregnant) he will go and do it himself. Make popcorn, pour himself a drink. I am afraid of safety issues (5 year olds do not need to using microwaves) and simply doing what he is told. I am terrified for when the baby comes and I'm breastfeeding and his decides to do something and I can't chase after him. This also extends to when we (he & I) have a disagreement. WHen its time to leave he won't, when he wants to do something and it simply is not a good idea he throws a horrible tantrum. I make sure he is heard repeat back what he says but he wants what he wants.

I am a stay at home, mother of 2 boys (2.5 & 5 year old) and I am expecting my third in April. Up until recently I have been concerned about my 2.5 year old adjusting to the new baby, but now my concern is switching to my 5 year old. He is a VERY smart, inquisitive, gorgeous little boy. He is very charming and outgoing. He feels comfortable having conversations with anyone and he is very well spoken which only leads to others being 'put under his spell'.

From day one, my husband and I have made a conscious effort not to spoil him. We love our son, and we go out of our way to express our love to him. We give him lots of experiences such as zoo trips, playground play etc.

I hope I expressed myself clearly. There are so many things going on regarding his personality, mine, and what is going on in general. This is really affecting our relationship.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Thank you for all the responses. My husband and I are very clear and consistent with our son as far as consequences. If we can we discuss ahead of time what the consequence is for a poor decision to be proactive. Sometimes things comes up that we did not expect, but I believe our 'reactive' response fits the 'crime'.

We spend lots of quality time with our son, so anymore would take away from my other child, whom I also make a point to spend quality one one one time with.

I appreciated the responses that expressed similar personalities with thier own children. I feel better knowing that I'm not alone or a horrible parent for being so frusrated. Its very easy to become defensive when parenting and I really appreciated moms who took the time to word their response with that in ming. It meant alot.

More Answers


answers from Dallas on

Hi A.,
I have a 4.5 year old and a 2 year old boy. My eldest is very similar. Being the first is different than any other child. Even though you didn't "spoil" him he had all of your attention for a while when he was younger. He's used to of having someone be there for him. It was his "norm". Then came 2nd baby and things changed for him. And now he's headed for yet another baby coming. I really would suggest spending some special time with him. You don't have to go anywhere or anything like that. Just try and get on his level a little bit every day and let him take the lead with you in it. Play, talk or hang out and watch a movie. It will do wonders for you both! You know, connect with him again. As for him wanting to do things for himself, let him. And be encouraging of it when he does a good job. I know for me, I have a really hard time realizing how much my son can do until I see just how well he does them.As for the fit throwing, well they are a part of him trying to learn self control. He gets frustrated just like the rest of us and hasn't gained the skills to deal with them yet. Try and not give him attention while he's doing them and try and validate his feelings after he's calmed down. Talk about what happened and what he could have done different. If he's throwing a fit in public be prepared to drop everything and leave, after a few times he'll get the idea. It's tough to do but if you know you might have to leave you'll know ahead of time.
Sometimes we can just get "put out" with our children and they know it. For us it's overwhelming and frustrating, for them it can be scary and unsure and they can act it out in their behavior. I can imagine that it must be a bit overwhelming for you now with another baby coming so soon in your future too. Congrats on your new family member!
Best Regards,
I started homeschooling Kindergarten this year with my eldest son! We love it. We are almost done with this year and can't wait for 1st grade next year! Happy Homeschooling!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lubbock on

Dear A.:

Your son sound so much much like my eldest. The thing that worked best for him was talking things over. If he "understood" a rule, he followed it. I worried about his strong personality. I pictured a life of crime or disability for this "out of control" kid.

Fortunately, my wildest fears were the furthest from the truth. He still has a strong personality. No one can convince him to do anything immoral. He had actually learned from all of our conversations. He is very independent. All of that inquisitiveness led to a high intellect (and truthfully - lots of injuries). But he is now a star athlete and has a 4.3 average.

Our younger son was much "easier" as a baby - but perhaps the extra effort that we had to expend on our eldest has paid off. Soon after starting school, he began to turn to peers to get some of that mental stimulation. It gave us a break and allowed him to develop relationships.

Good Luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

We do time-out and that works wonders. If our daughter is not listentening, we give her warning. For example, "if you continue to not listen to mommy and go into the kitchen while I am cooking, then you will get time out - you have two choices." Usually, she does the right choice. However, I do follow through with time for two minutes (1 minute for each age of the child) if she does not listen. Anyway, good luck!



answers from Dallas on

Most of what you said doesn't sound out of the ordinary at all. His doing things for himself is good! Let him! The microwave can't really hurt him, other than a minor burn, but I'm sure he is aware of that so it shouldn't be an issue. My 5 year old LOVES making dinner for himself and little brother! I help a little, but he'd prefer to do it all himself. Sounds like he's just ready to take on more grown-up tasks and will be such a help when the new baby comes. Take advantage of this...I think they grow out of it!! ;)
As for the 'demanding' behavior, my only other advice would be the book Love and Logic. It is the best tool I've found for my boys. This book was a life-saver for me and is simple and just makes sense. There is no arguing, screaming or losing your temper...it's really helped me to be a more relaxed, easy going mom and my kids are more fun to be around. Get it on cd since you won't have much time to read soon!! Good luck to you...he sounds like a super kid!



answers from Dallas on

Does he have food allergies? Is he fixated on specific topics? Does he have any issues socializing? Asperger children are very smart and can have behavioral issues. Just a different perspective.



answers from Dallas on

I know him. He is my daughter! My daughter is fearless. She can approach a room of people and not shudder or cringe. She can face off others to defend a friend. She is so independent and head strong she makes my head spin.

Advice from someone who went through it? No drugs. He is meant for something great. Maybe a General one day where he is surrounded by hundreds of troops and loves it. Maybe his self thinking and self motivating will allow him to lead where others are fearful. Maybe this will of his will drive everyone crazy but is a gift from God to stand up for what he believes in.

One thing you have to work on now! The obedience. Who is in charge. Who gets to make the decisions until he is old enough to manage and you are comfortable to release your authority.

I can give this advice and you can decide to accept or not okay?

You have to be very very very clear with the rules with this kind of child and very consistent.

You have other children too I know but this one will be a big help if you are willing to put the extra effort into it. Sorry, no rest for momma.

Reward him for self thinking for little assigned duties. Discipline him for the self thinking when it is outside the boundries of the rules. What are your rules?

Go with him through the house and tell him: "Adults only" (Microwave) "Adults only" (new baby) "this is okay for kids" (sweeping) "this is okay for kids" (getting his own wash cloths and towels, dishes out) you get what I mean?

Keep him very involved in sports and after school activities. Boy Scouts are great, t-ball, soccer. He will make you proud by becoming a leader. The teachers will need your help to make sure he follow the rules and know he is not the boss and doesn't wander with his own reasoning of what should be done.

Big thing: RESPECT for you and your family and for others.
This is what will help him through the school years. Always speak to him with please and thank you. That was very nice of you. Yes Sir. Make sure he answers you all with yes sir and yes maam. I know not everyone does this but that little word will make his teachers a little more forgiving.

You will do great. A big family is a blessing. Studies do show the first born's IQ is higher so you will have a smart boy there.

Just to let you know, my daughter still is brave and still self thinks too much. lol but she has no problem saying no to drugs and sex. No problem telling the mean girls what they can do with their meanness. :)

I always tell her, when she fails especially or when she is lonely, she is meant for something great and these lessons will make her who God has intended her to be and no matter what she does or says, I will always love her.

Just some advice - you don;t have to use it if you don't want.
Hugs to you all and congrats on new baby. C.



answers from Stockton on

Your son sounds like my 5 year old son and he was just diagnosed with ADHD. ADHD we found out is VERY common in boys and he carries alot of the same symptoms. They are very demanding and impatient, always want attention, can't sit still and entertain themselves because they get bored, hyper, unfocused. You first need rule out if this is just his behavior at home or does it extend to school and social situations. ADHD is not something that can be turned on an off although they may have good and bad days. Everyone used to tell me that we needed to be more consistent or etc........nothing worked. He is doing much better now but he still needs to relearned 5 years of bad behavior. Its all he knows and so we are working with him at home to make better choices. Hope this helps.



answers from Dallas on

Love & Logic series by Dr. Charles Fay.

This is the best resource/advice I have ever been given as a parent. This will take out all of the stress in parenting.

Next question: Sir and Ma'am