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Nine-Year-Old Son Can’t Control His Impulses and Shows No Remorse


​​​We need help with our 9-year-old son! Michael is a very caring and kind boy with lots of potential, but lately he's been having some problems. A little background:  I was 19 and engaged when I became pregnant with Michael, and his biological father disappeared. When Michael was 4, I met my husband, who ultimately adopted my boy. Things were fine at first and Michael gravitated toward his father as a male role model. But as Michael has gotten older, and as we've added siblings to the family, things have changed. First, Michael started having trouble focusing in school. We had him evaluated for possible ADD/ADHD, but the medication he was taking made him more hyperactive and even less focused on tasks. So we stopped giving it to him after just a couple of months. Fast forward to now. Michael's in the fourth grade and he's been suspended for "bullying behaviors," which include bumping into other students and making unkind remarks. Throughout his two-day suspension, I had him do every household chore I could think of during school hours. When he went back to school, Michael got in trouble again. Another concern is that he can't control his impulses and has no remorse for his actions. I decided to change schools to give him a fresh start. But now my husband has reached a point of using foul language, making rude remarks and becoming a bully himself as a result of these actions. That only makes the situation worse. I need help! I have to do something to help my son be successful in school, help us be a family again and have my husband dial back his own attitude. PLEASE HELP!



We are glad you discovered our website and are reaching out tonight. We can appreciate the frustration and concern you conveyed in your email about your son's behavior, as well as your husband's behavior.   It is good that you recognize the issues and want to take action to improve the situation. Like the old saying goes, "If we keep doing the same things the same way, things will stay the same."

First, it is important for you and your husband to be on the "same page" and support each other in your parenting efforts. It is very easy to start pointing fingers at each other for what is taking place in your home. But that only deepens the problems. You might consider seeking counseling or signing up for a local parenting class. This could strengthen the support you need to give each other, and help you develop consistent, effective parenting strategies that both you and your husband can commit to using. Taking a parenting class doesn't mean you are bad parents; it just means you're getting some help for the difficult situation you've described.

As for your son, he also might benefit from counseling. He seems to have had a lot to deal with in his young life, and learning how to process his feelings in positive ways would be helpful.

Again, seeking outside assistance does not point to any failures on the part of you or your husband. It simply allows a professional to observe what is going on and make suggestions.

Counselors are available 24/7 at our National Hotline (1-800-448-3000) to support your parenting efforts. You also can find parenting articles and videos on our website,

We are glad you are reaching out; it is the brave and wise thing to do for your whole family.