New here, please help !


New Member
Hi, I have 3 young children, girl aged 6, boy age 3 and boy aged 2.
My 3 year old boy is causing problems, i'm not sure if he has a problem but I feel like I am failing him.
Its not so much that he is naughty but I find him extremly controling, clingy defiant and arguementative. He does not respond to disipline, if I shout he shouts back, if I try to reward good behaviour he just does not care whether or not he gets the reward. If I put him on the naughty step he will stay there but he tells me he wont sit he will lay on it.
He constantly destroys games and toys even if they are his own. He is bullying and controlling to his siblings and lately when I tell him off he says that I dont like him.
Most days I feel at the end of the day that I have been picking on him and I feel guilty, but my other children just do not behave like he does. I feel very claustrophobic.
At school his teachers say he is kind and quiet but he has latched on to one little girl & constantly follows her around.
It seems to me that he is insecure in some way but he gets more attention than the others because he demands so much of our time. He is a very loving, cuddly little boy and is wonderful on a one to one basis. If he upsets his siblings he then gets extremly sad because they wont play with him.
I've always been very good with kids and it hurts me to say that I really dont know how to deal with him. I'm probably too soft but this behaviour is not present in all my children so it cant be all my fault can it?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated, please help!


Active Member
My son didn't respond to discipline from the onset. At 21 months he was manageable but at 3 started to become a real handful that required constant supervision. If the child is raised in a loving, stable home environment then most will be responding to discipline by then.

I would suggest that you pick up a copy of the book "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. Much of it (the rationalizing part) will seem like it's for much older kids but what I would like you to take from the book is the mindset of flexibility instead of authority that it takes to raise a defiant child successfully. There's a thread at the top of this board that explains how to adapt it to young children.

A few questions for you--
1) What's the family mental health history like?
2) Are there any speech delays or differences?
3) Anything else unusual in the development--quirky interests, advanced or delayed cognitive skills, oversensitive to sounds/light/clothing/food, etc?
4) How are his sleep patterns?

Hang in there and we'll see if we can't get you pointed in the right direction.


New Member
I can only say to definitely read The Explosive Child. I wish I had read it years ago when my 2 older children were young. It's helped me a lot with difficult child#3...


New Member
My son is almost exactly the same. We are in a phase of finding what is going on with him. He is argumentative, defiant, and controlling too. At school he is perfect. for anyone else he is perfect. For us he is a violent tantruming screaming child. He doesnt respond to discipline either. We have tried everything as have his therapist. The only thing I can offer to you at this point are hugs and support. Defiantly talk to your pediatrician and make sure he doesnt have any devpmtl delays or anything. Other than that, know that you have tons of support here!


New Member
Ok, after another terrible week with Alfie I've returned for some more advice. To be honest I felt kinda guilty even writing on here because I feel like i'm labelling him a 'problem'.
I dont know a lot of family history but my father in law is epileptic & has suffered a nervous breakdown within the last ten years.Alfie's speech is understandable but by no means advanced. I cant think of any unusual developments although Alfie loves insects and snails.His sleep patterns are also fairly good.

He is overbearingly clingy to me, cries when i leave him at school, demands that I take him to bed not Daddy, wont walk anywhere, wants me to carry him.
I have found him throwing books at his younger brother & asking 'does that hurt' I also caught him trapping the babies foot in a video case & pushing it shut. This is all just in 1 week.

Every bedtime he pulls all the covers off his bed, takes clothes & coathangers all out of his wardrobe & has destroyed most of his books. He rarely stays dressed more than a few hours & refuses to even attempt to dress himself. He cries when his siblings wont play with him but he cant or wont play nicely with them.

Do you think i should take him to the doctors? if so, what do I say. My mother-in law just says his dad was exactly the same & I just have to live with it.

Please help :frown:


Active Member
Sorry to hear the problems have continued. No one likes to cross over the line of admitting there might be something amiss with their child but it's really important to identify what exactly is going on in order to help overcome those hurdles. I'm thinking that it would be best for you to schedule an appointment with your pediatrician to discuss developmental concerns. My opinion is there are some red flags here.

There is a very good developmental checklist linked at the top of this board which would be good for you to work through.

-Is his love for snails and insects on the obsessive side? Does he play or talk about anything else?

-When he plays with toys or other objects, does he line them up in lines or formations?

-In his speech patterns, do you notice echoing going on now or in the past--Example would be when you ask "Do you want a cookie?" and he would answer you by echoing "Do you want a cookie?" instead of yes/no?


New Member
Thx for replying so quickly,

If he plays in the garden he will pretty much always be collecting insects, indoors he doesnt really play for long with anything imparticular.

He lines sweets up & sorts them out into colour groups.He also collects a lot of things in his pockets...often things he has taken from school.

cant say he really does the echoeing thing but i'll look out for it.

I'm gonna have a look at the checklist now, thx again xx


Active Member
We are all parents here so obviously we don't diagnose. We can help you with behavioral issues and suggest some areas of research to you, as well as send you in the right direction of getting assessments.

Sensory Integration Disorder is sometimes what is behind children who have trouble with clothes, blankets, and very often foods as well. See if anything here sounds familiar:

The questions I asked about speech and play behaviors was trying to see if it might be worth your looking towards the direction of high functioning Autism to see if anything there might sound familiar. It's very frequently missed by doctors and teachers unless symptoms are very pronounced so it's important that parents whose children display some traits do their homework well. Lining up toys, sorting, and collecting are very common with these kids and one of the earliest red flags in the absence of speech delays.

This is what I pulled out of your description which led to me mention Autism: Difficult, clingy, socially quiet--follows one girl around/aggressive with siblings, speech understandable but not advanced, inflexible, some lining up/sorting/collecting.

I've linked a site for the highest functioning Autistic Spectrum Disorder, called Asperger's Syndrome. Typically at age 3 all of the symptoms wouldn't be present yet.

This may be totally off base but this is where I'd suggest starting. Also, if you haven't picked up The Explosive Child yet, this would be a good time to do so.


Well-Known Member
I would want to see if he's on the autism spectrum. The lining up of objects and sorting is very typical for that and not liking to wear clothes is sensosry--my son used to undress and streak around the neighborhood when he was little! He has Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified. I would see a Developmental Pediatrician first off. Sounds like Dad may have been on the high functioning end of the spectrum. I would want to see what a Developmental Pediatrician thought. That would be my first move. Some of that sounds very familiar to me. Here is an online assessment test that you may want to take. The paernts I post with on another site feel this test is accurate, if you give honest responses. My son was diagnosed before I ever saw this test, so I can't comment on it's accuracy. You do need to see a professional. by the way, NeuroPsychs are excellent too.


New Member
I'm feeling ya! Don't know that I have advice but my son doesn't respond to normal discipline either. Yell, yell back. Time out? What a joke. He yells and throws things throughout the time out usually. We only have spanked for major/dangerous acts and you know what??? He spanks right back! He has even chased me around the house! What a ridiculous scene. We've tried contracts, tags, sticker charts, M&M's, weekly goals, daily goals, some have worked a little but none all the way. As for the school thing, My son had a girl he followed everywhere this year too in K-garten. Drove her crazy, but wouldn't leave her alone. The teacher even brought it up at conferences. (How embarressing) He has some Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)-like traits. The current obsession is (thanks Peter Pan) the city of London, Big Ben, bells and churches. It's all he talks about. He's heartbroken when we tell him we are not discussing these things any more. Feels as if we are ignoring his interests but it's all he thinks about, talks about, plays and draws for days at a time. Last obsession was Nemo. Hang in there. Let me know what disciplinary tactics you've tried and maybe I could give you some ideas. Just cuz they don't work for mine doesn't mean they don't work for anyone!