my 4 year old back talking, how do i break her?

Marian - posted on 12/05/2009 ( 2 moms have responded )




my 4 year old lil girl back talks me all the time over just about everything, when she does she gets diciplined weither its a 4 minute time out in the corner, her favortie toy gets taken away, i give her a spanking and put her in her room, neither one of these work.... she will scream at myself, her younger sister whos 2 1/2 and her big brother who's 5, it all started cause my mother, my mom is no longer allowed to come over to see the kids atleast for a while anyways cause everytime she would she would spoil the kids rotten when they would do something bad. very few things she would leave alone and let me deal with it like if one kid hit another but if i stand one in the corner for back talking or what ever the situation is my mother would tell me right infront of them "there just kids you dont need to do that" so now anytime i tell me daughter to clean her room or to help me with the livingroom the first words out of her mouth is "" my grandma said i dont have to"" and then the screaming like im beating her will start and the constant screaming she does at myself or anyone else.... she wont dare pull any of this while her father is home and half the time im strickter than he is, she always waits till he's gone to work. she used to never be like this and now she acts up, screams, cries, stomps her feet, and occasionally slams doors just about everywhere we go and over just about anything. and anytime i decipline her she screams bloody murder even more, eve if alls i do is close her bedroom door so no one has to hear her scream and cry. any advice on what i can do to lower this problem??? everyone i talk to says to let it run its course and she'll stop on her own but it doesnt she just gets worse about it.


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[deleted account]

That seems to be typical 4 year old behaviour as my four year old started talking back at me too and I've been researching some disciplining methods that are more positive. Anytime that I use a negative discipline method my son gets more aggressive, and worse and worse.

I'm about to start a "reward chart" method which works towards some kind of a positive goal (reward) where a specific (not general) positive behaviour is rewarded (with stickers) and a specific (not general) negative behaviour is punished (taking away stickers).

Start with one positive, and one negative thing so the child always knows when the stickers will be earned/removed. So you can come up with something positive you want your child working towards (doing something nice for his sibling for example) - put up a sticker. If a child does one thing negative you are working to get rid of (talk back) - remove the sticker. Come up with some rewards to give at 5, 10, 15, 20 stickers as discussed with the child before. Once a level has been reached don't move below it (if reached 5, don't remove a sticker, only add).

Make it something meaningful (non-material, no candy, no new toys) for the child that is worth improving for. :)

The 20 stickers reward should be something very meaningfull: like going to the movies 1-1 with just one parent (no siblings!) or a favorite restaurant. The you can start again at 5 stickers etc.

Easier said than done. :) Now I got to come up with my positive and negative behaviours and motivational rewards. Experts say that it can take 4-6 weeks before you'll see any effect so don't give up.

Teresa - posted on 12/09/2009




It is the job of a four year old to push your boundries and see how much they can control and get away with. So I do think it is normal. However, you do need to draw a line and let her know what is and isn't okay. When she is calm and happy and being lovely, and you are too, sit down with her (and your husband too, if he can be helpful and back you up) and maybe while you do something nice together, talk to her about what is and isn't going to be okay. Tell her you love her but you are the boss and you make the rules in your house. Let her know those rules, including the doing as she is told by you and her dad. You need to choose a way to consistently and quietly discipline her. If you are quiet and steady about it, she will learn that screaming isn't helping. My daughter loses a toy if I have to ask her to do or stop doing something more than once. It goes in the cupboard until she goes 24 hours without losing any others. If she screams at me for taking a toy, I take another and another until she calms. I don't take her bed toys that she needs to sleep (that just makes my life hard), but sometimes I take things she doesn't care about and sometimes I take special things. But I do it without fuss and without overreacting to her tantrums. I works for us. Good luck with whatever you try. Keep cool and calm and remember you are the boss.

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