VINA asks:

I need help with my 4 yr old son. He is hyper and out of control and I'm at my wits end.

he has never slept through the night he wakes up demanding tea at least 3-4 times. hes always hyper running around and constantly doing things i ask him not to do. he fights all the time runs off from me when i take him out destroys toys and my house he pulls the wallpaper off the walls and makes big holes in the plaster he urinates all over my house even though hes used the toilet for over a year ( this ones a recent 1). he annoys my other 3 sons constantly causing uproar in the house. and he is not very intelligent wen it comes to writing or drawing he cant consentrate on anything for longer than 20min to half hour  please help
In Topics: Learning issues and special needs, Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago



Boys Town National Hotline
Feb 14, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

Thank you for reaching out to

It sounds like it is time to take your son in for an evaluation. If you have a pediatrician or family doctor you can start there. Your doctor may be able to refer you to a good child psychologist as well as give you advice on how to handle your son's behaviors. Getting help for your son now is very important before he starts school and his behaviors become more difficult to change.

There could be several possible reasons for your son's behaviors. Some could be be related to the type of discipline and structure in your home. It's also possible that your son has an attention or sensory disorder, or a learning disability which contributes to his acting out. The only way to know for sure is to have him evaluated by a licensed and reputable child psychologist.

From a behavioral perspective, your son is urinating on the floor and destroying things because he has been able to get away with it. He is obviously doing these things when you are not watching. He receives a great deal of attention...negative attention...from being destructive. It also sounds like he has always needed more intense supervision than your other children. While all children thrive on routines and structure, children with high needs and attention problems need it even more. They also thrive on praise. It has been said that for every one negative consequence we give our children, we need to have four more positive comments for them over the course of the day, or a 4:1 ratio of positive to negative consequences. Try to catch him being good and praise him for it, even if it is a very small accomplishement or action on his part.

If you would like to speak with one of our counselors about your son, we are available 24 hours, 7 days a week on our toll-free hotline or through e-mail. Our website: also has a wealth of information for parents who have similar issues with their young children. We can give you more information about Boys Town's Common Sense Parenting, which is taught to hundreds of parents and caregivers, as well as our Common Sense Parenting books. You may also e-mail us through our website. Either way we hope you reach out again and find the best direction to take for your son.

Best wishes to you and your family!


Cynthia, Counselor
Boys Town National Hotline


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Feb 15, 2011

Best Answer!

what's this?
from a fellow member
Hi Vina,

I'm sorry to hear that you are having trouble with this and hope that here at, you will find some solutions to the problems that you are facing.

1st- Tea contains caffeine, which is a stimulate, it will effect your sleep-keeping you awake and with a 4 year old ---awake & hyper.
I would remove tea from his diet along with any thing else that contains the caffeine like soda.

2nd- 4 year olds, particularly boys are active and tend to destroy a few items in the house, mine has created a few "dents" in the sheet rock walls also.  The household damage though is generally an accident that occurs while they are playing.  I've found that by reminding mine that inside play is different from outside play and making sure that he gets his outside play that this stops.  If you're like me, right now, it's too cold and windy for much outside play, but there are still ways to "get the edge off".  Clear a space in the floor and have your child do exercises, spin, stretch, jump, dance, etc.  interact with him with active play and later sit down to play a board game or something calm.  You will probably start seeing a difference but it may take several times since this is something that he is obviously not used to doing.  Generally just a little time a day spent this way gives your 4 year old the attention that he seeks and a little balance between indoor/outdoor behavior.

3rd-Okay, he's a boy with the ability to urinate in unique ways and unless shown the difference of what would be "clean" and "not clean" he's going to want to explore his creativity.  Mine, when he first realized his "urinating talents" also wanted to "express himself".  This quickly came to a STOP in my house, a slight tap on the back of the hand was enough punishment along with a canister of Lysol wipes for HIM to clean HIS mess up.  Fortunately, he never used his "talent" anywhere other than the bathroom, so it made clean up easy and once he realized that he was responsible for cleaning behind himself -even if he as much as urinated a little on the back or side of the toilet---it was much easier for him to "hit the hole".  I keep a canister of Lysol wipes in the cabinet under the sink and he knows to clean after himself anytime that his urine goes anywhere other than where it should. That problem was solved.  They need discipline in a positive way, they actually want you to set guide lines and rules, you won't need to punish harshly, but you will need to set the rules.

4th-Of course he annoys the other siblings--that's what kids do.  He just wants their attention, I'm assuming that they are older and he wants to interact with them and be part of what they are doing.  I would encourage the other children to allow him to participate in something with them.  Also, encourage the others to play a game, read a book, or do something that would be easy for a 4 year old to be a part of.  It would be good quality time for all the children and give you a break. Encourage them to become close and treat each other with respect by having them to celebrate each others accomplishments or make a homemade card for one another, teach them all to share together and it will make peace in your house, of course, they are siblings and there will be conflict from time to time, but with your encouragement they should be able to work through most problems themselves and find a way to "get along".

Finally,  Why do you say your child is not very intelligent? --- He's 4!  No, the attention span might not be that high for a 4 year old.  Children develop at different stages and different paces.  It's not unusual for a 4 year old to loose interest in writing or drawing after 20 - 30 minutes, in fact I think to hold focus for 20-30 minutes is excellent.  I found it best to move through activities quickly at that age.  If you are working with your child in studies, move on at an interesting pace, ex. color for 10-15 minutes, write 10-15 minutes, do a puzzle, keep the pace going.  I volunteer at school quiet often and in Kindergarten and even 1st grade, the pace is critical.  They move from center to center within 10 minutes.  This keeps the kids interested and they will actually benefit more and learn more than they would if you kept them in the same place on the same subject for extended periods of time.  It becomes boring and naturally they will start to find ways to entertain themselves or distract you & others, so don't insist that he stays put drawing for more than 1/2 hour.  10 minutes tops.  When reading books, you will be able to hold their interest much longer, and this is good practice to help your little one learn to become more attentive, so read, read, read to your child.

There you have it, I hope this will help you!!!  It seems to me that you don't have any problems at all.  You just have a wonderful, healthy 4 year old son!!!!  Keep in touch with us & Best wishes!!

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