4 Year Old Attitude

Shannon - posted on 11/27/2008 ( 7 moms have responded )

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My 4 year old daughter is developing a defiant attitude. Usually very sweet and polite, she's talking back and very rude - often. I can't say whether it's from copying new school friends or just the age - but any tips, ideas how to squash the 'tude w/o time outs?

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Jenni - posted on 12/10/2008

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My son is usually so well behaved. When he started acting up we realized it's typically when he's hitting a growth spurt or getting sick.

Recently he's started acting up in school. The teachers agree he's a great kid, they see him watching everything around him, what the other kids try to get away with and then he tries. It's probably related to age too, assertiveness, testing the limits. Taking a favorite toy, bed early, show, etc are usually great means. We go through this sometimes and if he hits 3 times then he has to earn the toy back over 3 days or the same thing is not available to him the next day.

Melissa - posted on 12/06/2008

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My son started doing the same thing when he got around more school aged kids. I agree with many of the other Moms. There are other things outside of timeout to drive home the point....it really depends on what is important to your kid. For my son, he has certain shows/movies he likes to watch in the evening. I may use that versus time out, so if he continues being impolite or sassy he will not receive the reward of watching his favorite show.

Sarah - posted on 12/06/2008

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Time outs are usually a normal way of discipline. If you take that away then she won't learn respect and she won't know that her attitude is wrong. My son went through that too before he started school where he thought that he was the boss and he had a really bad attitude but I would send him to his room (not even for that long, just a few minutes) or I would send him to the time out chair and after that was over, I would talk to him and try to explain to him that his attitude wasn't okay. I mean, you could try to talk to her about her attitude without the time outs but I've never done that so I don't know if it would work. The most important thing though is to put some firmness behind your voice so that she knows and understands that the attitude is not okay and that she should respect other people and she's not the boss. It could also have something to do with the influence of her new school friends as well. Kids tend to influence each other at this age. Good luck to you

Vicky - posted on 12/06/2008

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Hey Shannon, I know exactly what you're going through! I don't know if Hannah will be old enough to understand, but when Alex is fresh, he gets a strike. If he gets 3 strikes in one day he has to go to bed at 7pm (the worst thing in the world for him)!! Maybe you can try something like that, you can substitute going to bed at 7 with something else, like taking away a toy or a privilage that she loves for the rest of the day.

Shannon - posted on 11/30/2008

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Thanks for taking time to reply. To answer Sati's question, I don't mean w/o discipline - I mean w/o time-outs. My daughter is very patient, and as I mentioned usually well behaved and a good listener. She does know better - but I try and reserve the time-outs for more serious offenses. For talking back and forgetting her manners, or being disrespectful I'm hoping someone can suggest another consequence - maybe taking away a toy as Shannon suggested...Thanks again for your suggestions...

Shannon - posted on 11/29/2008

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Is she going to school now??? Just asking because it sounds like what we went through when my daughter started school. Scary for me... the teacher raves about how polite and how well she listens, but at home... she ends up in her room a lot.... and she hates that since none of her toys are in her room!!

Time outs however were not working for us... we have learned that if she has a special place, or a toy or something that she was told she was going to either get or do.. we take that away till she can control her mouth and attitude. I thought i was being cruela t first, but it snapped her right back into her cute and adoarable self in no time!!

Sati - posted on 11/29/2008

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What exactly do you mean without time outs? You mean, without any discipline? Because, if so, then that's impossible! She absolutely has to understand that she is the child, and you are the parent. She has to show you, as well as other adults, respect, whether she is feeling the respect or not. If she does not, then she should have to face the consequences. Without consequences, there is no real reason to be good. I am a firm believer that children not be rewarded just for doing what is expected and right, once they know the right from the wrong. Now, if you were just now teaching her the concept of being respectful and polite, then okay, rewards when she gets it right. But now that she knows better, when she chooses to be rude anyway, you gotta draw the line, and she's gotta deal with the consequences. I'm a mother of two, and an aunt of 13. I've seen it, and I've dealt with it, and I cannot imagine dealing with something like this with no "time outs."

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