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Raising a Busy, Stubborn Boy


My five-year-old son has always been very busy, like he had a rocket-booster in his back. He is also very stubborn and seems to want to do the opposite of what we want, no matter what it is. He recently started not wanting to go to preschool or cooperate in any way. He says he wants to stay home with me, but when he is home, he’s a terror. My husband and I provide a loving home, healthy meals, 11 hours of sleep or more a night, timeouts, reading and religious upbringing, but we just can't figure out how to change his behavior. Can you help?



We're glad you contacted us with your parenting concern. Being a parent is never easy especially to very active little boys.

Using consequences and rewards is a great motivation system when trying to change behaviors. However, it's not a cookie-cutter approach. Since every child is different, you might need to modify your consequences and ​rewards to fit your son’s changing interests. What worked for him last month may no longer interest him this month.

When thinking about consequences, remember these three things: size, relativity and immediacy. How big is the behavior you are trying to correct? If it's a very big concern to you, then there should be a large consequence. The consequence should be related to the behavior and be issued as immediately as possible. When choosing rewards for positive behaviors, let your son have a say.

It's good that you make him clean up his messes because accountability is important. For every time you give in, it takes 10 more times to stand your ground. So, remember to stay consistent and provide lots of structure. Especially with kindergarten around the corner, your son needs to be prepared for rules and routines. We hope this helps and please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.