Can a child be
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.
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
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
Ask your child about his day and discuss
any problems that he may have had.
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