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Dr. Olsen
Dr. Olsen, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2336
Experience:  PsyD Psychologist
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hello my son will be 5 in december. the problem i am having

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my son will be 5 in december. the problem i am having now is that he wants constant attention. if im talking with someone he will interrupt me, he will nag me and show off until i answer him. he will show off if he doesnt get his own way. If i am busy with something he will nag me until i stop what i am doing and see to his needs, but this is constantly. he is a clever boy who will find an answer for everything. we have trouble with him doing his homework. i know he knows the answer but will not try and appears not interested and will say school is boring. his teacher has said that he wants attention constantly on him at school when doing classwork, even holding his hand to do the work.
His speech is not clear at times and he does seem anxcious at times. When we scold him and punish him he seems to change but only for a while. He has always had lots of attention from many different people from being a baby. i dont know if this has made it worse. I praise him for good work and good behaviour but he always seems to seek more negative attention, im at my wits end with him, as i feel he is controlling me and so manipulative. please help
Hello & Welcome to JustAnswer.
It sounds like he may be seeking attention from parents. His behavior may be impulse control issues. Your husband and you may need to set limits with his behavior constantly. You also may communicate rules and expectations to her in a clear and direct manner.

Rewards or ignoring his behavior
are considered to be more effective and positive than punishment.
If rewards are not working for 2 months,
I advise you to ignore his negative behaviors by not giving extra attention, high emotion and just correcting/directing his behavior.
Children tend to continue a behavior when it is rewarded and stop a behavior when it is ignored. Consistency in his parents’ reaction to a behavior is important because rewarding or ignoring the same behavior at different times confuses him.
It can take up to 2 months to work. Being patient and keeping a diary of behavior can be helpful to you.
If you still continue rewards,
choose 1 to 2 behaviors you would like to change. Choose a reward he would enjoy. Examples of good rewards are an extra bedtime story, delaying bedtime by half an hour, a preferred snack or, earning points toward a special toy, a privilege or a small amount of money.

You also can use the time-out method.
When he misbehaves, you may need to be calm and don't look angry. If he goes on misbehaving, calmly take him to the time-out area.

Please let me know if I have overlooked any or you have more questions. Feel free to continue discussion. Warm regards,
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Dear Dr. Olsen,


thankyou for your prompt reply. i agree with you, he does do it to his parents mostly, as when we are not there, say hes with his nan he is really well behaved. we do explain to him that his behaviour is unacceptable but it seems to go in one ear and out the other. he loves to tease mostly, getting him ready for school, brushing his teeth, eating his dinner are a mission. doing his homework is a pleasure when he responds well, but mostly he pretends he doesnt know it or is too lazy to do it. he is a bit behind his classmates in class, but i must mention that he lost 4 months of school last year as he had a teacher who always shouted at him and put him in the naughty corner. she was impatient with him and he had nightmares about her, hence i stopped sending him. he has also switched schools, so he has a new school.

Hes also very disorganized and messy with no disregard for what his doing. i know this is probably like most 5 year olds but i tell him that its not nice as mummy just cleaned and try to explain to him but he ignores me. i dont know if i am expecting too much or if this is the right age to teach him these things. like he has to get ready for school, he has to brush his teeth, etc, you know everyday things.

i am so tired of repeating and feel like i am getting nowhere with him. he knows he is doing wrong aswhen i ask him what he thinks he done wrong, he will answer correctly. im getting upset myself that we have to get angry at him for him to behave.i start feeling guilty. he is a very active child( and i mean active) from being a baby.he is always on the go. please any more advice on this will be greatly appreciated.

best regards


Hi It sounds like your son is active, approaching and capable child. He will be benefit from mutually positive, reciprocal parent-child interactions, which may motivate his cooperation with you. You may need to discuss the problem with him and decide on a solution and appropriate discipline together to eliminate unnecessary power struggles. Perhaps, you may need to work on one or two issues at a time; have clear and consistent rules that he understands. You may need to write down rules in a large paper and put it in a wall. You may need to incorporate choice and collaboration. You may need to institute routines re: tasks and discipline. Provide incentives that are appropriate for him.
So, ignore his negative behavior as I explained before OR use a small treat to reinforce him good performance in school and home. In addition, continue to help him develop attention, organization, and task completion skills. For example, you develop a routine schedule for him and stick to it. You may also clear away distractions. You also may teach him how to control impulse for instant gratification in middle of his routine. One of strategies is telling him "STOP, LOOK, LISTEN, AND THINK" to delay his instant desire. Also, PRAISE whenever he sticks to routines and completes whatever he has to do at the moment. PRAISE (positive reinforcement) is as important as correcting his behavior. Importantly, he has to feel positive about self and his achievement. Please let me know if you have more questions. Warm regards,

Edited by Dr. Olsen on 11/1/2010 at 6:00 PM EST
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Dear Dr olsen,


i will try everything you told me, i hope he responds well to these techniques. thankyou for your time.

best regards


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