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Manners and Discipline Topics..

You are here : home > Manners and Discipline > The Hyperactive Child > The Overactive Child

The Overactive Child

Do you catch your child doing some mischief or the other all the time? Is your child overactive? Read on to find tips for dealing with an overactive child. 

Can a child be too active?

Shivani Goel describes her six-year-old son Arun as a 'human dynamo.' "He just won't sit still for a minute. He's constantly up to some mischief. I find it difficult to take him to restaurants or even other people's houses because he misbehaves. Other children from his class rarely invite him over to their houses. I'm tired and I just don't know what to do."

You can't expect children to be quiet and well behaved at all times. In fact, parents of shy, quiet children often complain that their children are too boring and wished that they would show a bit of life. In general, people expect children to be the life of the house - a little mischievous, quite noisy, full of questions and ideas. But some children cross the line and are wild, destructive and disruptive. They're just not cute any more and people find them a little hard to take. 

Are overactive children 'bad'?

Overactive children just don't fade into the background. They are loud, demanding and difficult to control. They soon discover that when they misbehave, they get noticed and are given attention even if it is of the negative kind. Their bad behaviour enables them to get their own way very often and this only reinforces their tantrums and indiscipline. As a result, hyperactive children often get labeled as 'bad' children and this affects the way they are treated by family, peers and teachers. This is unfortunate because if their excess energy were nurtured and channelized in the right direction, it could be an asset. 

Obnoxious behaviour could be a cry for help. So even if your child makes you tear your hair out in frustration, don't give up on him. You have to work with him to teach him to develop self-control, be considerate to others and to direct his energies towards constructive action.

What to do?

  • Take time out from your routine to give your child the attention he craves and to either tell him that you love him or show him by giving him a hug.
  • Get into the habit of making a plan for the day for your child and explaining it to him so that he knows what he's expected to do and when.
  • It is a given that your child is overactive so try to work within this framework. If he misbehaves, first give him a warning. If he pays no heed to you, firmly tell him to do something more constructive. For instance, if he's fiddling with the stereo system in somebody's house, remind him that it's not a play thing and that he should go and play outside with the other children.
  • If you are taking your child for an outing, remind him about the rules of good behaviour and promise him a treat if he behaves. Assign him some tasks like picking out a book in the library or choosing the flavour of ice cream that he would like. If he misbehaves, warn him that he might forfeit his treat and if he continues to behave badly, take him home.
  • Overactive children usually have really short attention spans. Offer your child the opportunity to switch to something else before he becomes bored and decides it's time to liven things up.

  • Show your child that you have a positive attitude towards him and praise him whenever he's well behaved. Don't let people label him as a brat or a terror.
  • Get your family and friends to help you in your disciplining programme. Speak to his teachers at school to be more patient and positive towards your child.
  • Be prepared to keep your child occupied when you take him out. Carry his favourite toys, colouring books and crayons, etc. and rotate these items from time to time.
  • Try to ensure that your child is not overstimulated and maintain as calm a home environment as possible.
  • If you can see that your child is becoming restless, give him an errand to run or find something for him to do.
  • Find outlets for his excess energy like tennis coaching or swimming lessons.
  • Try to spend as much time as possible with your child even if you have to forgo some social and extra-curricular activities.
  • Ask your child about his day and discuss any problems that he may have had.

Follow the above tips to the ‘T’ and do not lose patience. Your determination to teach your child self-control, you love and care will definitely help you to bring about a change in your child.  Remember that parenting is not easy and you are not alone. 

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Manish.5 years ago

My son is 14, study in CBSE English class 8. He studied in the same school since last 8 years. He can sing very good. But since last 2 hours there are complain comes from his school regarding he is hyper. He cant ready to bear little wrong happend with him by other student. He cant listen any abusive words and so he react on that point. Rather to talk to teacher he direct took the actions and he come under the boundry of fault. what i do ?
Christina.8 years ago
hello! i found the article very well written and containing some great advice. the advice however may work well with parents in an ideal situation. i am a single mother who lives a great distance away from any family. i do not have a real support network in this area. my daughter is 3 and a red head! she is wonderful and earns every strand of her red hair! i have to be able to get some work done in order to keep a roof over our heads. i have been out of the office for one week due to a case of head lice on my daughter. we have done everything that you suggest, nothing has helped. i have been unable to make the money i could have made from my home office. i am not even able to make a business phone call. i so much want to nuture my daughter's spirit, yet we also have to survive it. ;) any suggestions are welcome! sending all the love, light, and joy this life has to offer!

Miss Smith.8 years ago
redirecting is great but consistency with discipline works very well people tend to give in to easy to hyper children to quiet them.
shaney.8 years ago
my son has just completed his 3 years of age.....he is hyperactive...and at times makes me feel miserable...i wonder if this restlessness of his will always be there or with his growing age it's going to decrease? wish somebody wud advise me onthis topic.
shaney.8 years ago
my son has just completed his 3 years of age.....he is hyperactive...and at times makes me feel miserable...i wonder if this restlessness of his will always be there or with his growing age it's going to decrease? wish somebody wud advise me onthis topic.
Vee.8 years ago
my son turned 4 in january and is so active no-one wants him around, can someone give me some ideas of how to cope
Lora.8 years ago
read this story and i have three over active children also. my middle child, who is four, is the most disruptive. my husband and i live far away from family so i understand christina's dilema about being a 24 hour/7 day a week mom with no vacation. perhaps, in our modern era the children as so hyper because our society is so demanding, competitive, and fast paced. every one i talk too seems to have the problem of extremely active children who have all the energy to be destructive but are un motivated to do chores or help others. even in school when i was growing up we took shop and home economics to learn how to help our parents. at eight years old i baby sat my sister. my mother taught me how to be responsible. at 9 i would ride my bike to all of my friends houses all around the neighborhood in the suburbs of new york city. up to the 1970's children could have more freedom and independence. now as a parent you feel until the age of 18 a child must be attached to your apron strings. you feel guilty just filling your gas at the station if on a cold day you must leave them in a locked car, despite the fact you can see them from the speedway register. we punish the freedom of children and parents because police do not want to lock up criminals who harm children. its easier to call a parent irresponsible and blame them for our violent society. even at school the children are given too much sugar which in my generation people ate less sweets and more comfort food. when i was a child i was always with my friends outside running around. the kids today are entertained by computer games and since they get little activity they are either hyper at the wrong times or obease and lazy. perhaps restlessness and hyper activity will continue to be a problem until society as a whole calms down and is less aggressive.
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