4 year old behavior is worrisome!

C - posted on 05/13/2013 ( 6 moms have responded )




Hello, so I've decided to join "Circle of Moms" out of sheer desperation and fear for my 4 year old daughter. To start off, she's not the only child and has a 2 year old brother. I am a young mother (28) and still happily married to their father (great man). I have a number of concerns about her recent change in attitude. Less than 6 months ago she was a well behaved (but not perfect ;)) normal 4 year old. In the last few months there has been a steady decline in her behavior, she's now bullying her brother, talking back (huge issue), walking off when we're out in public and telling the most bizarre stories that just in general make 0 sense. I'm trying my hardest to keep my cool around her, but I'm also very very busy (like most moms) and just dont have time for her nonsense! We dont really lead a normal family life as such, we have a permanent family home in the UK but often fly abroad for various reasons (next month will be her 15th flight to NY). My husband has a very demanding job (although a blessing) so I'm kinda on my own with the 2 little ones. The thing thats worrying me the most about her is the talking back, for example:

ME: "E. will you please pick up your toys."

E: "But im too tired." or "Ugh moooom you always make me do everything!" or "Im just a little tiny baby, you do it!" or the old random "My leg hurts!" (or some ailment that pops up from nowhere and has nothing to do with what im asking her to do.)

I often have to ask her to do tasks 10-15 times before ill either get her doing it (with my help usually) or she'll just look at me and say "you never asked me to do that" like the whole hour conversation I had with her never happened?! I would like to note that although shes never been formally tested, shes probably near genius and probably accounts for a lot of the trouble. No excuse. Shes also constantly living in "fairy-tale land" she cant get dressed cause the fairies are sleeping in her room or shes not eating her pasta cause mermaids dont like pasta?! Ugh child, just do what i say!!! Can somebody please tell me that this is normal behavior for a 4 year old girl.


C. Creedon


View replies by

Sarah - posted on 05/20/2013




Counseling. When a child's behavior changes so suddenly, it is a sign that something is really bothering them. I had to learn the hard way that my Darling Daughter was being sexually abused, and didn't find out until just a couple weeks ago. Her abuse started when she was 6 and ended when she was 10...she is now 13. I am not saying that your daughter is being abused, but my daughter was fine one day and then started a quick decline in attitude and never returned to her sweet self. Just a thought!

Marissa - posted on 05/19/2013




ok one tip: for each year of age you get one word, so for her you get 4 words. "Pick up your toys." In addition the consequence has to be instant and consistent. Tell her once and then serve the consequence. As for the fairies they really do like to sleep in little girls shoes especially. Tell her to put baby powder in them. If you join in on her fairy tales it will make life alot funner for the both of you.

Hellen - posted on 05/18/2013




Yes this is normal! My 11yr old still does this but not as much! Try to ignore as much as you can (to keep your sanity) as for asking so many times its no wonder she won't do it she can play for time! I have the 123 rule I count to 3 and then there is a sanction. Be very careful what sanction you choose, be realistic. For a 4yr old time out or take toys away etc, but make sure you follow through dont threaten and not do it, it sounds harsh but you need to switch off emotion and not be roped into begging, conversation, pleads etc so for example" e please tidy your toys away" "no mum you do it" " I will count to 3 if you are not putting your toys away you will sit in time out" " 1-2-3" then proceed with time out you will prob get " no mummy please il do it now or I don't care I still won't do it" just ignore and follow through dont answer back at all, ( it helps to hum a tune in your mind!) as for the ailments my boy still does this, I find ignoring most of this behaviour works, you will know when it is genuine, as she gets older you can discourage it with things like " I can't I have a headache" " that's fine you can sit with no tv if your head hurts then you clean up when it's gone" slowly she will learn her excuses don't work. As for bullying her young brother, you will just have to be harsh and stop it, explain about bullying etc, there's brilliant books you can get to read with her like billy the bully, then talk about the characters and when she understands what is going on you can use the analogy by saying "E- are you being like billy? " when she does something. As for eating if she doesn't eat the pasta don't make a deal out of it, my lad ate puddings so I would always say that's fine no dinner no pudding, if you don't do pudding just leave it tell her there's nothing else and stick to it. She might be hungry later but just remind her why! Or you could go along and pretend to buy pasta that only mermaids eat!
It's all completely normal and consistency is the key, don't expect results over night, set the boundaries and stick to them. Good luck!

Enna - posted on 05/16/2013




I agree, this is normal (and annoying) 4 year old behavior. I think you might need to get a little tougher with her on the things you ask her to do. Don't let the argument go on for so long and if she's not doing it there need to be consequences. Time out is usually good for a kid that age. We always made our kids sit on the steps (near the bottom) because there's not much for them to do there.
And I really don't think mermaids eat pasta.

Kimberly - posted on 05/13/2013




Hi C.,
I feel your pain. I have a six year old boy and a lot of what your describing, he does. The running off, my leg hurts, when asked to pick up his toys, talking back etc. I think they are just trying their independence and their imagination.
One of his teachers told me to have him checked at six for ADHD, but I really don't think it is that. I really think she is just a normal kid. Sorry I know that doesn't really help, but maybe you won't worry so much about her.
Kim Park

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