End of my rope with 4 year olds behavior

Kelly - posted on 05/25/2012 ( 10 moms have responded )




I feel like I am at the end of my rope. It seems like every night lately I go to bed feeling so guilty and helpless. I have a 4 year old son and my daughter will be 2 in June. they are complete opposites. My son was pretty much a perfect child, or close to it. Well, in the last month or so he's not the child he once was. Is there an issue or is this normal 4 year old behavior? I ask him questions, or just trying to talk to him in general and he ignores me, CONSTANTLY. It drives me crazy, so then I end up yelling to get an answer and of course I feel bad about that. Another new behavior is he just plain doesnt listen to his daddy or me. He says okay when we correct him but not even a minute is gone by and he's doing the same thing we just told him not to do. Another concern is that this week I caught him lying to me twice. It wasnt anything huge but thats not the point. On two different occassions I asked my son who did this or that and he blamed his sister. Where did this behavior come from? was he taught to lie or do kids just learn to lie on their own?


Atasha - posted on 05/25/2012




I wouldn't ignore the behavior at all, because in his little mind he wins! When it comes to the lying, what I have tried with my daughter (and this doesn't always work) is when she tells me someone else did it, I look at her and say "I know sissy/daddy didn't do this, want to try again?" Usually she gives in and says she did it. I tell her I am proud that she told me the truth, but I am sad that she lied about sissy/daddy doing it. Without prompting she responds with sorry mommy. If your child understands what they did was wrong it is a small step to realizing that they are not protecting themselves by lying but hurting others. As for the issue of him continuing doing bad behavior after being told no, you could try a couple of things. Explaining why he is being punished before the punishment helps the child learn from his mistakes. As for the punishment, it should fit the crime. Ex: he decides to paint a picture on the wall - punishment, he should be the one to clean it. You can always go over it again after he's in bed (so he can take still take pride in knowing he did what was right without his self worth being diminished by thinking it wasn't good enough). I hope this was helpful as well.


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Bethany - posted on 06/08/2012




well, the behaviour comes from being human, at that age, they'll all say whatever they think will keep them 'safe'

When you speak to him, is he watching tv, colouring, playing, doing anything at all? My 3.5 year old, I need to turn off what ever she's doing and say look at my face, then ask her the question. If it's not important, like sandwich filling or whatever, I don't even bother to ask, she gets what she gets. But I do need her proper attention or she just literally can't hear me, they aren't too good at multi tasking.

The fibbing? That's self preservation. Maybe if it's a mess that's been made, get them both to 'help' you clean up, because you 'don't know who did it' so everyone has to help. That way, he will know that regardless of who made the mess, he'll still have to help out.

I've read that the same hormones they'll have in the teen years are strong now also. so handle it well and you might have a better time in 10 years time, maybe? A very helpful book is The science of parenting' by Margot Sunderland. Looks at the chemical and physical factors behind their behaviour at different stages and how to manage them intelligently. I found it in my library.

User - posted on 06/07/2012




My so tried to act up immediately i gabbed a huge piece of card and wrote down 7 rules if one rule is broke its the corner for 3minutes and no wii before bed. I also tell him the days activities and add one fun thing(park,library,toy ) (or a piece of candy after dinner) if any rules are broken no fun stuff no candy.

Ana - posted on 06/07/2012




I had a friend who told me the same thing abouther 4yr old. Said he just does what he wants and screams, falls out in public, and makes her crazy....just a power struggle...like others have said, he wants to see what yall are made of....

Jennifer - posted on 06/06/2012




I think they morph at this age. My almost-five daughter has been the same way! Good to know I'm not alone!

Tabitha - posted on 05/27/2012




I agree with the others, it's normal for them to try and find your limits. Keep those limits consistent. When he crosses the line, be calm and give him a consequence. This will most likely have to happen several times before he realizes where the limit is. No, he is not purposely trying to drive you crazy, but it will feel that way...lol. Don't give up, even if you feel like you're not getting anywhere. He'll figure it out eventually. And be ready, cuz little sister will put you thru the wringer as well. Consistency is the key!!

Kelina - posted on 05/26/2012




oh thank God my sons not the only one! HE's turned from this wonderful, helpful obedient little boy into an entirely different child. He repeats things over and over and over again, and has started bossing his little sister around. One thing I have found helpful is when I ask him to do something, wait 30 seconds before asking him again. Usually he's just taking his own sweet time doing it, even if it is infuriatingly frustrating that he's not listening right away like i'd like him to. Try not to yell to get an answer, if you're talking to him and he's ignoring you, try getting down on his level and making sure he's hearing you. If he still ignores you-then come up with some form of consequence. JJ's pretty good about not ignoring me when I'm talking to him, but is absolutely wonderful at ignoring or forgetting what I've just told him within seconds. Like to stop talking and eat. Or just to stop repeating what I've already acknowledged several times. Drives me nuts some days lol.

Carol - posted on 05/26/2012




My son is 3 and doign the same thing. I seriously have to yell his name and even then i don't get his attention. I wish i had tennis balls sometimes so i can throw them at his head. He dosent listen, he fights all the time, when he does somethign bad and get in trouble for it he stands there and cries when all we have done is told him to go sit down. I have alot more patence but i know my husband is seriously at the end of his rope, he leaves the room, or takes our daughter to the store just to get away from our son.

Kelly - posted on 05/25/2012




Yes it does help bc I have been reading on this issue and a lot of the things I read said what you did. He is just trying to get away with as much as possible and see how far he can push me. But, next question how do I respond? Nothing so far seems to really phase him. If we put him in his room, it doesnt seem to bother him, timeout didnt make a difference, and a few other things didnt seem to phase him. How about just ignoring this behavior is that an option? What do you think about that?

Atasha - posted on 05/25/2012




Kids will do anything to get out of trouble. My 2 year old daughter loves to tell me her 10 year old sister messed up her room or put her dinner plate under the table. She also has no problem with telling me Daddy peed her pants. Mostly they are just trying to see what they can get away with. As for the repeatedly doing something after being told no and responding, I am almost 100% sure he is just trying to see how far he can push before you or your husband will physically stop him. It's the age... They are not trying to drive you nuts, but more just learning boundaries. Try to be patient and don't be afraid to get down to his level and explain why listening to mommy and daddy is important in keeping him safe and happy. I hope this helps! :)

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