Is your 4 year old terrible?

Mayra - posted on 04/12/2011 ( 11 moms have responded )




I love my 4 year old daughter but lately she's been talking back,not picking up her toys,fighting a lot,and not sharing her toys with other kids.I heard it's just a milestone but it's getting to the point where she makes me yell at the top of my lungs! She's an only child and maybe she acts the way she does because of itWithher Dad she is the total opposite.I'm affraid she'll be the same when she starts pre k.Anyone going through the same situation?


Candy - posted on 04/14/2011




Good advice here already from others who are suffering! I'm a preschool teacher and I can assure you it's common and normal behaviour- just hard to take!

One more piece of advice- when you speak to her make sure you get down on her eye level (don't just yell across the room), say 'look at my eyes' (if necessary use your hand on her chin to turn her head to you so she's looking at you) and then be very honest but calm in what you say. Eg, 'I feel sad and angry when you throw your toys around like that because I worked hard to buy them for you. Please STOP throwing them and pick them up now.' Or, 'STOP hitting. Hitting hurts. Is it okay if I hit you? No? Then don't hit me.' You'd be surprised how well simple logic can work IF you've got eye contact.

As another mum said, the calm voice is very important even when you feel like screaming. Hand signs and very simple directions are good too (eg 'put the dolls in that box' pointing to the box) as most 4-yr-olds don't really understand the concept of cleaning up their mess.

Good luck!

Amber - posted on 04/15/2011




While I can understand what (Valerie) is trying to say about there being no terrible children, I think it is a complete fallacy. I have six children, and two of them are absolute terrors. My eight year old has Asperger's syndrome, coupled with an unidentified mood disorder. He wakes up in the morning yelling, yells at everyone all day, calling names, picking on everyone else, and goes to bed with his little bad attitude. He may not be a serial killer, but he is a little sh*t. So, hopefully he will get better, or, he will grow up to be one of those people who hate everyone, gripe all the time and work best alone. For now, he is terrible. I love him to pieces, but he is not just a kid who gets treated badly and acts out, or is abused. He is just a hard kid. I don't think it's right to act as though all children are perfect except for what people teach them. Some of them just have it in them to be... difficult. Have a nice day all.

Jeanine - posted on 04/13/2011




I know how you feel. I also have a 4 year old daughter and she has quite the attitude at home. She started JK this past Sept. and she is really good there. She is also fine when she stays at relatives homes too. It's as soon as my husband or myself show up that all hell breaks loose. LOL They all say that she was good for them. I can also say that from experience that it is an act for mommy and daddy. I run a home daycare and the kids are great for me and when their parents show up they go nuts. The parents look at me and say they hope they weren't like that all day for me, which of course I respond "No, they've had a great day." I wish I could say it gets better, but right now she's testing you to see how you'll respond. My son, 7, still tries to do this too. I think maybe once they've moved out of the house I might get some sanity again. LOL Just be consistent and don't back down.

Valerie - posted on 04/12/2011




there are no terrible children; behavior is telling you something; either asking for love or giving love; build on what she is doing right and it will discourage the not yell for any reason as this is harmful...quietly call her to her kindness, caring, gentleness...what would help you to be kind to ...? catch her in the act of caring, peacefulness...and watch it grow. feed and nurture the environment that you want...she is calling for your love

Amy - posted on 04/12/2011




I know exactly what you are talking about. My son talks back, whines more than ever and disrespects us. Time out don't work for him anymore so I am looking for other options. I here this is just a phase, but I can't wait for it to pass.

This conversation has been closed to further comments


View replies by

Augustiana - posted on 10/04/2012




yes i have a 4 year old son who has started school and i through school would improve his behaviour but now he comes home kicks hits want listen screams all the time trash my house.If you but him in his room you ended up removing his toys in black bags because he runs in and out throwing down the stairs. I have asked at school today for so parenting help. They are passing it over to sure start. So i can get some support. So ask your under 5s or local sure start. x

Mayra - posted on 04/14/2011




Candy- thank you,i wil definitely use those tips.I cant wait till this phase is over. I will try to be very calm when she doesnt listen,thank you

Mayra - posted on 04/13/2011




THnak you so much to all of you for your helpfull hints,ideas and advices.I hope it gets better and just keep on thinking that its just a phase :) thank you so much ladies

Mayra - posted on 04/13/2011




thank you Dora,I will definitely try it and i hope it works as soon as possible lol

Dora - posted on 04/12/2011




Try different options. Start giving her choices such as when it is time for her to get dressed show her 2 outfits that you approve of and let her choose which one she wants to wear. Try to do that with different things. It will help her feel independent and she will only be choosing between things that you are okay with. You can do this with different activities, food, drinks, etc.......... Also try not to yell, I know it can be difficult because things can be frustrated but yelling won't get you anywhere. Try to calmly communicate with her but use terms she will understand. This will teach her how to speak to you and others and also teaches respect. One more idea if she is upset about something or throwing a fit about something, distract her, have her do something else and then talk to her about the way she acted. Things won't change right away but if you keep on top of it, it will get easier and better. I tried these different approaches with my soon to be 3yr old son and I couldn't believe how it is working. Good luck.

Jenn - posted on 04/12/2011




Honey, I feel your pain! My four year old son is developing quite the attitude as well. He will say things like "I don't care" and "Whatever", and five minutes after cleaning his room he will TEAR IT APART. I honestly think he does it on purpose. He is also picking on his liTtle sister a lot. Hitting, pinching, slapping, pinning her down and just being a bully. My son also starts Kindergarten this September and I hope he gets over this stage before then. I think part of it is he is learning that he doesn't HAVE to do what mommy says, he is practicing defiance. But he will also have me screaming at him, just the other day he went in the fridge in the morning when i was sleeping and opened like six yogurts and chocolate pudding and rubbed it EVERYWHERE. All over the floor, coffee table, his sister, there were hand prints all over the walls. I honestly wanted to strange him. And he KNOWS that thats inappropriate. He is also going through a very annoying whiny stage, like if he is watching cartoons and the shows ends he will scream and whine for me to put another show on...It drives me freaking crazy. But i am saying all this like he is never good which is not true, he can be a very well behaved child when he wants to, very polite and respectful, especially with other adults, which is why i think he will do okay in school. My sister in law has a son with ADHD and he is five, and he is the spawn of satan when he is home, seriously, but then he goes the school and all the teachers gush about how sweet he is and how good he listens. I am sure it will be the same with your daughter. Our children test us because we are there [parents, but deep down they really are good kids who like to please people. I am sure both of our preschoolers will do fine when school starts and i am confident that this phase will pass. In the time being, make the rules at home very clear, make what is expected of them clear and clearly define the consequences of what will happen if they misbehave (In my case its time out, or if he is throwing something or breaking something he loses the object he is misbehaving with, the toy, etc). A lot of people say that their discipline techniques do not work, but the truth is pretty much all techniques DO work, its just that the parents are not consistent. It is important to be consistent, give one warning (if you choose) and then immediately follow through with the punishment. Do not interect with them during time out, if they get up it starts over, after the time out is done get down to their level and explain to them why what they did was wrong and finish off with a hug and an I Love You. Time out is a good technique for preschool aged children because it removes them from the situation and gives them time to calm down and regain control.. It is often the technique used in kindergarten too. I better end this post now though because it is getting pretty long, lol. But just know that this behavior is normal, it is typical behavior for their age and you are not alone in your suffering. If you ever wanna talk about any other preschooler stuff feel free to msg me, it is nice knowing other people in the same boat. I hope I could help:) Good luck!

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms