Teaching Kids Impulse Control

Understanding Impulsive Behaviour

A child with impulsivity is s/he who acts too quickly without putting much thought into their action. Impulsive behaviour can affect any kids. It’s a brain-based condition that has nothing to do with how one parents their kids. Impulsive behaviour varies from one child to another. The symptoms are likely to evolve as they get older. Here are some signs you might be noticing in your child with impulsivity:

  • S/he does inappropriate things to get your attention.
  • S/he has trouble obeying rules consistently.
  • S/he aggressive toward other children.
  • S/he has trouble waiting for his/her turn.
  • S/he grabs things from people.
  • S/he overreacts to mistakes.
  • S/he doesn’t see how his/her words or behaviour are affecting other people.
  • S/he rarely sees the consequences of his/her actions.

What’s Causing Impulsive Behaviour?

The most likely cause of impulsive behaviour is ADHD. ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It’s a medical condition that affects 8 to 10 per cent of all kids aged between 3 and 17 years old.

The three prominent signs of ADHD are inattentive, hyperactive and impulsive. Kids with ADHD think and behave differently because their brains work differently. Brain differences in a child with ADHD make it hard for him/her to control his/her behaviour and responses. It certainly not because of anything you have or haven’t done as a parent.

How To Find Out What’s Causing Your Child Impulsive Behaviour?

a) Talk with your child’s teacher or caregiver. Ask the teacher how does your child behave in school. Kids tend to behave differently when they’re at school. The information that you get from your child’s teacher can be very helpful in the future. Talk with your child’s doctor.

b) Discuss with your doctor what you’re seeing – your concerns; how is your child behaving at home. Make use of the information that you obtained from your child’s teacher earlier so that a more accurate evaluation can be produced. The doctor may do some testing to see whether or not your child has ADHD or communication disorders.

c) Consult with the specialists. The doctor may refer you to a specialist. Go for it. The specialist can be a neurologist (brain), pathologist (speech) or mental health professional (anxiety or depression).


Dalley, J. (2016, January 15). Retrieved March 21, 2020, from https://www.bap.org.uk/articles/the-science-of-impulsive-behaviour/

Team, U. (2019, October 16). Understanding Your Child’s Impulsivity. Retrieved March 21, 2020, from https://www.understood.org/en/learning-thinking-differences/child-learning-disabilities/hyperactivity-impulsivity/understanding-your-childs-trouble-with-impulsivity

Hasan, S. (Ed.). (2017, November). ADHD (for Parents) – Nemours KidsHealth. Retrieved March 21, 2020, from https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/adhd.html

Braaten, E. (2019, October 16). My Preschooler Has No Self-Control. Is This Typical? Retrieved March 21, 2020, from https://www.understood.org/en/learning-thinking-differences/child-learning-disabilities/hyperactivity-impulsivity/is-my-preschoolers-impulsive-behavior-typical

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