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Does my nephew have behavorial problems or is it a case of lack of disipline?

My nephew is seven yrs old. He gets angry at my sister if she says no and hits her and throws things when he gets upset. She is concerned that he might have behavorial problems and wants to take him to a physchiatrist. I told her that maybe she needs to disipline him more. What do you think is the best way of handling this situation ?

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Asked by Anonymous at 3:06 PM on Oct. 24, 2008 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Answers (5)
  • Its not natural for children to hit adults. EVen my bio-children that get spankings wouldn't even think to hit me. My SS though, has major behavioral issues and it is not a discipline problem. Its better that she get this taken care of now and not wait until he is so out of control he could actually hurt her. It could have started out a discipline problem but, now it is behavioral.

    Answer by matthewscandi at 3:27 PM on Oct. 24, 2008

  • It could be either one, or a combination of both. Without knowing how she disciplines, or for what, it's hard to say. Regardless of which one it is, I think counseling is probably going to be in order. She should probably talk to his doctor and get advice from him, and a referral to a counselor that can help both of them. I wish her lots of luck!

    Answer by tropicalmama at 3:43 PM on Oct. 24, 2008

  • Both. 'Behavioral problems' don't just appear out of the blue. Behavior is a habit. It's what you do to go about your day, and get what you want. If he's getting what he wants through bad behavior, then it's become a pattern. When I do this, mom does this. A good way to troubleshoot bad behavior is to figure out what the kid is trying to get out of it, and to take away the reward for the behavior. Which takes time. A shrink will help her troubleshoot exactly what the pay off for the behavior is for the child, and help her take away the 'rewards' for the bad behavior - f'ex not having to go to your room or take punishments, getting attention, or getting out of unpleasant tasks.

    They'll also help the kid find new ways to get the reenforcement they are looking for without acting up. The first step though, is changing the pattern, showing that he wont get what he wants with the bad behavior and being firm about it.

    Answer by Kestrel1 at 3:54 PM on Oct. 24, 2008

  • I would bet that by 7 it started as a discipline problem and then has morphed into a behavior issue. Odds are she is encouraging his behavior somehow. Either by not actually discipling his bad behavior, or by punishing him in ways he sees as rewards. She should get a professional evaluation however.

    Answer by Mom1Stepmom1 at 5:09 PM on Oct. 24, 2008

  • She needs to walk away and let him throw his fit. He is looking for attention and testing the wrong techniques in getting something he wants. It takes a lot of patience but he will slowly learn. My son used to do the same thing and he eventually got over it. An evaluation or counseling might not hurt either.

    Answer by brimarie8 at 12:12 AM on Oct. 27, 2008

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