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How should I deal with my disobedient child?

Q: My 5 years old son is very unruly and is disobedient. He does not like if any other child is playing pranks on him and does not avoid going with the same child to play. However, we try to convince him to avoid such children who repeatedly trouble him, but he does not listen. Instead, he starts shouting at us and demands to play with the same children who are not interested in him. He is our only child in the small family and gets all kind of attention. And when we do not pay attention to his demands, he does not give up and hits us. He demeans me a lot. His behaviour is so unpredictable that I am scared to take him anywhere and calling any one at home. Many times we have to face embarrassment where ever we take him with us. Few people call him hyperactive. That is not true. His paediatrician has said that this problem is due to too much pampering, and is likely to go after some time. But when? He gets beaten up by me when things go out of control. But he tells me,” mom, you hit me any number of times nothing will go wrong with me.” Tell me what should I do?

A:Beating up a 5 years old kid (even if he is your son) sounds terrible! It is too harsh and highly inappropriate. You seem to vacillate from being over-indulgent and adoring to be highly punishing and intolerant. Please do some introspection and see where the problem originates. You also seem averse to your child being described as hyperactive. People generally use it to mean very active, although the technical meaning is slightly different. However, we can get away from labels and see what practical steps to take. If your child enjoys playing with some children, who may tease him, he still wants to be with children rather than with adults. Unless they are hurting him, it is not necessary to stop him. Instead of using physical punishment, you should talk to your son and find out what he wants to do. Let him talk about how he feels. Teach him to observe himself and to use words for his feelings and emotions. Give him plenty of opportunities for running, jumping and other kinds of physical exercise. You must stop your child hitting you, whether there are other people present or not. You should not feel demeaned merely because you do not have an obedient child. If you have patience and a sense of humour, a lot of problems can be handled. Plan a routine for him and take some steps for him to be a part of the planning. Have a chart up on the wall at home, where he can mark off the times he has been good. Both parents should be agreed on the measures taken and not make the child take the crossfire of their different points of view.

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