Seeking Guidance for Behavior Problems with My 6 Year Old!

Updated on May 16, 2008
A.C. asks from Lonoke, AR
15 answers

I have a 6 year old boy who has a very outgoing bubbly personality. 90% of the time, I love his personality. However, when he gets into a group setting, he thinks this is time to "clown around" and be center of attention. He talks out of turn and is steadily doing silly things and being loud. Last night, we had an awards ceremony at our church for Awanas. When it was his classes turn on stage, he was steadily interrupting the speaker, making faces and bothering the kids around him. His dad, myself and the leader of the group were all trying to get him to stop with no luck. When we got home, we punished him by sending him straight to bed without getting to watch cartoons. I could really use some suggestions on how to act appropriate in public. He is a super smart and loving kid. He just gets really hyper around groups of people!

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answers from Birmingham on

Well this could be several things. My situation was he is very impulsive and he can't seem to control it. When I asked him why and his teacher asked why, he didn't know. This went on for months and we didn't notice it until he was in K5. So after months of extensive research and him being place on a behavioral plan (it was only a problem at school because he had to stay in his seat often), it was determined he has ADHD. I was against the medicine at first, but therapy, punishment, rewards, etc. were not working. So we started on adderrall 5 mg and it worked for a while, but his doctor said 10 mg would be better but we'll start him on 5. We moved to 10 and it's been so much better for him. It doesn't affect him at all. All it does is help him focus and control his impulses more. Me personally I don't have a problem with him in public, but I will bring a game (gameboy) to keep him occupied if necessary.

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answers from Lafayette on

My son had a similar problem last year. He was also 6 and very bright. Our school system provides a counselor for the children. She helped him with learning appropriate behavior. You might want to check into your schools to see if they offer something similar. It has worked really well with my son. Good luck, i know how trying this situation can be.



answers from Huntsville on

A., I'm a mother of 5, grandmom to 5. There is never one kid in the bunch that has the same personality so they can't be expected to act the same. I do agree that he has to learn when and where he can show off his unique style. That falls on you and dad. Sit him down and talk to him about how he feels about performing. Most towns have community theater and you might have the next star in the making. That will give him the "time" to shine and he will learn discipline from watching the other performers. Art is a great teacher in life and the best form of extra-curricular activities. Good luck to you and him. He might have a special gift just waiting to blossom.



answers from Oklahoma City on

Hi A.. I don't know that I have a lot of advice, but my 5 year-old son acts similar. He is also the class clown. He's a very loveable and silly kid. We went to the birthday party of one of his classmates a couple of weeks ago, and I was mortified at the way that he acted. He kept trying to steal the spotlight from the birthday girl and would not stop talking! He also tends to be a big show-off. He always has to one-up everyone. It's really annoying! I just talked to him about it and asked him to put himself in their shoes. Would he like it if another kid acted like that with him? He admited that he would not. We haven't had an incident since that talk, but we'll have to see how it goes. Anyway, I feel your pain. Good luck to you.



answers from Birmingham on

My 4 year old son had a similar problem at Soccer games and Practices with clowning around, I told him for weeks to settle it down, we would get home and he would get punished. Finally, at a game I could tell the coach and the other parents were fed up with him, so I took him out of the game in the middle of the field with everyone watching and made him sit with his dad in the stands instead of the game bench. He had to watch the rest of the team have fun without him, It was harsh but it worked, he has not been disruptive since. Yeah I was a little embarassed to have to do that in front of a crowd but I had parents come up to me after and tell me that they told their kids if they didn't behave than I was going to take them out too! SO to the kids I'm the Soccer Meany Mom, but still worth it since I got my point across to my son.



answers from Baton Rouge on

I remember growing and seeing my older brother doing that and I recall my mom saying that its a nervous thing. When we would go to things like that for my sisters or myself my mom and dad would tell him very softly and potlitly that it is going to be fun without him trying to make everyone laugh. They would explain times that were appropriate and not. He got the hang of it after a while but he did stop. Just talk to him before you guys go somewhere and that it might help. Good luck



answers from Enid on

Goodness, a six year old that doesn't restrain himself in public? A. that is not an abnormal childhood behavior, very, very, normal. I don't think you have a reason for concern. Talk to him about when it is okay to clown and when it is time to sit down and be quiet (good luck with the 6 year old) and when he does act up? You or your husband could simply remove him from the situation until he catches on to sit quietly, and that should be sufficient punishment. You, your husband, and the leader were giving him just the attention you were trying to get him not to seek out. Getting him home and punishing him basically for your embarassment isn't going to be effective in changing his behavior long term. And then he may make a great fortune performing??? Who Knows?



answers from Birmingham on


Don't worry. He just sounds VERY typical ADD/ADHD. I have it and my daughter has it. Most kids with ADD ARE super smart but have trouble with impulsivity, speaking loudly, etc. Unfortunately you can't punish ADD out of someone. Neither can youchange their diet, etc. It is a chemical imbalance between the neuron synapsis in the body.

Once we started my oldest on Concerta (the only ADD med that is not an Amphetamine), she started doing even better in school, she isn't talking all the time like a crazy person, but she is still herself.

You might want to go to for more information. Also, you will want to see a Pediatrician or child psychiatrist who is good at diagnosing ADD/ADHD. Not all of them are. Who is your pediatrician?



answers from Enid on

I found that my oldest daughter acted that way when she was feeling overly shy and intimidated by a situation. It really helped us to talk to her about how she was feeling and giving her some tools for appropriate outlets for those feelings. Good luck!



answers from Oklahoma City on


As a mother of two young men I too had one who was a clown and loved attention. We always thought he craved extra attention as the second born child. He seemed to compete with his older brother for attention. Most of the time the attention we ended up showing him was negitive attention in the form of punishment for his silly outlandish behavior. It is hard to figure out what to do.
We finally figured out that he didn't care if the attention was negitive - he just wanted/liked attention. Make some rules for him and his sisters to follow. Let him know what behavior is appropriate for going to the store or church. Reward him with an activity that he loves - something that you or his dad can do with him. You behaved nicely/appropriately in church this morning so we are going to ride our bikes to the park. Spending time with him is what he wants - make sure the time you are spending with him is positive. Soon enough he will come to crave the positive attention instead of the negative attention he receives by acting up all the time. I hope this helps - L.



answers from New Orleans on

I got this from Nanny 911 and it works like a charm! I use it for my child with Down syndrome ... works for all kids.

Before you go to one of these events, in the car, let him know where you're going and tell him everything he needs to do. "Okay Tommy, we're going to Cub Scouts. There's going to be a lot of people there. We need to listen so you will need to sit quietly with Mom and Dad and listen to what they're telling us at the meeting. We aren't going to interrupt the speaker or run around. We're going to sit together and listen."

then right before you go in the door, remind them... "remember, sitting quietly and listening, no running around, no interrupting, okay?"

If it's a long event, you might need to remind during the event.

My son went through this kind of stuff, restaurants, everywhere until we started doing this... HELLO, I'D NEVER TOLD HIM WHAT TO DO SO OF COURSE HE DIDN'T KNOW....
It was sooo simple.

Nanny 911 is a great show.




answers from Texarkana on

Get that boy into some sort of performance lessons! Music, dance, acting, whatever he seems to spark to. Then he can learn to turn it off and on. It's obvious that he craves being on stage. Encourage that-- at the appropriate time! I'm a professional musician and storyteller so I know what it feels like, and was the same way.



answers from Little Rock on

I would like to offer a suggestion,cause I think I have had the same or a similar problem a while back.My kids are really my brothers kids,I'm raising them because he cannot.When I realized that they were having the same issues or problems at home as well as at school,I went to the school's councelor.She was very helpful when I explained everything to her and got my kids set up with someone to help.Talk to your child's teacher and ask if he has the same behavior problem at school,if so then maybe talk to the school councelor and see if she can help guide you with where you can get help.Most likely he is seeking attention and I know as a mother it is hard to think they need more attention than we can give,but some children do.I would rather get them help and guidance now than to see it affect their lives worse later when they are older,my kids are 7,8&11.I want to wish you good luck with whatever you do and keep your chin up,we were not promised that parenting was going to be easy,we all need help once in a while.



answers from Tulsa on

People excite him. You are doing well. Make sure he knows in advance, in detail, what behavior you expect. Then he can remember why he is being punished. A general statement, such as "Behave yourself!" may not help.



answers from Little Rock on

This might be something to try. Reverse embasment(mispelled). When my son and daughter were agruing one day in Wal Mart and it was crowded and my son was yelling I was at my last nerve I just started acting like them yelling and I even got down in the floor and throw a temper temp kicking the whole nine yards. My son came to me and ask me to stop all I did is said are you done he said yes and I got up and finished my shopping and to this day when they start it I say you want me to throw down they say no and it stops. The best thing I ever did. They were 7 and 4. Now they are 18 and almost 15.

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