12 answers

4 Year Old Boy, Rude and Disrespectful

My son is 4 years old. He has always looked at the world different then other kids. He was never fascinated by toys as a baby and bored quickly. I love that my son is smart and intuitive to the world around him. He understands his responsibility in situations and has compassion for those around him. However, with his quick mind I found that he is doing things that most other 4 year olds don't. He will ask me a question and when given the answer tells me that I'm wrong. He acts like he is completely exasperated with us sighs, rolls his eyes, and will say "OOKKAAYYY MMOOMM" when asked to do things. His daycare see's all of these things also. They are always saying what a great boy he is and how smart and well behaved he is. It's makes it even harder to not get super frustrated when I know he knows better and can tell me what he's done and understands not to.

We have tried time outs, talking, sending him to his room, taking toys away, not talking to him...and many others. It seems that nothing works and just creates a power struggle. He's so smart!!!

I feel like I have a 16 year old already. I wasn't ready for this yet?

How do I teach my son that he isn’t an adult and that we are in charge, that he need to treat others with respect, and that sometimes he isn’t going to get it his way (without creating a fight)?

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Switch it around and focus on rewards. Smart kids can be particularly challenging to manage because they don't fall for the typical parenting strategies. However, rewards often can be a good alternative when punishments don't work. For instance, tell him it's not ok to talk back to you and give him an example so he understands. Tell him on days when he's a good listener and polite, he gets a reward. This could be a trip to the park, a toy from the dollar store, whatever. Make it daily so he gets the immediate reward. If he has to wait too long, he'll lose motivation and interest. Hope this helps!

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers

Hi There-

I worked with your son, only she was the 4 year old I was a Nanny for = )

Here is what I did:

First, I realized how great it was for her to be smart and observant at such a young age. I tried to view it as a bonus to enhance, (even when it bugged me to death).

Next, I realized the word "no" or other negative wording did not work for her, so I used Yes Statements, "Yes you can go outside, as soon as...."

I also believe in listening and encouraging respectful negoiations. I don't always see everything that happened, so if she came to me stating a punishment was unfair, I listened. However, she had to present her argument in a respectful way & honor my final decision. This helped a lot.

Kids who are smart and independent do not respond to normal techniques. Instead of treating him like a child, as most adults do, treat him like a person, talk to him, explain WHY you need X, Y, Z to happen. While he is not your equal, he is begging for respect, but in rude ways.

Tell him you're starting a new rule, you will listen to him, but he has to be respectful and show/tell him what you belive respectful is. When he is being rude, tell him, "try again, I felt that was rude".

You'll be teaching him great skills while eliminating the fighting. When kids feel respected and listened to, they will obey!

R. Magby

7 moms found this helpful

I could have written this! We have a saying in our house that "Our boy is wicked smart"!

My 4 yr old is also this way...I have had to basically just let him know by telling him straight out that "You are not the boss"!

I get the "okay mom" as well as the eye rolling and the "never mind, you just don't understand" (he was trying to tell me he was big enough to walk to the park alone!)...after some time of pointing out his behavior, these days I can just tell him he had "better check himself" and he realizes he is acting too big for his britches!

He is in a regular pre-school class now but next year I am going to enroll him in the Pre-K class...he needs to be challenged!

Mine needs and craves structure...so we plan out every day then have a talk about it the night before and first thing in the morning...so he knows what to expect and doesn't start plotting what he is going to do next, to take over the world:)

*I just saw you live in Spokane too...hope you guys are enjoying our wonderful weather...finally, right?!

4 moms found this helpful

i'm sorry - it sounds to me like you're placing the blame on him giving you attitude on his incredible intelligence instead of on the parents which is where it belongs. just because a child is super smart (even if he is a certified genius) doesn't mean he can treat people disrespectfully. don't allow him to treat you that way and he won't. be consistent, don't laugh or say how smart or cute he is, don't give him whatever he is asking for - stick to your discipline for bad attitude. if it is consistent and he stops getting what he wants from it (attention, whatever), then it WILL stop. ask him to repeat his statement WITHOUT being rude to mommy. refuse to respond until he asks properly. give him NOTHING, not even a glass of water, unless he is respectful. he didn't magically dream this behavior up just because he's "so" smart. it's been allowed. a super smart child should be quite capable of learning better behavior, if he's taught.

4 moms found this helpful

My daughter is very intuitive and "smart" as well... her emotional IQ is more than the usual kid her age. She too gets like that when we give her answers for things.

For us, we explain and talk to her at her level. Not talking it down for her... because she understands things even though she is only 7. We don't treat her like an adult... but if we give her HONEST answers or even saying "I don't know the answer to that..." she respects that... then we'll say "since we don't know the answer, lets go research it..." and then we do that.. .and she gets real interested in that and in "learning" the PROCESS of finding out things.

We also teach her about attitude and how that relates to relationships and friends/family etc. If a child is "smart" sometimes, they get impatient and that can come across as being arrogant. So... you teach the child HOW to treat others... because otherwise they will have a hard time making friends/keeping friends/being friends with others. So... teaching the kid that everyone is different... with DIFFERENT talents/knowledge... and that he does NOT know everything.
Teach him about getting along with people.... for my girl though, because she is so intuitive and emotionally "smart"... she can navigate herself around all kinds of people and she "respects" differences in people. We taught her that... that EVERYONE is DIFFERENT and has qualities that matters. She even befriended an Autistic boy who was in her Kindergarten class. No one else would interact with him, but my daughter did... she has "empathy."

So nurture these traits in your son... otherwise he will be real frustrated with the diversity of people/kids/friends out there in the "real" world. The "ability" of "teamwork" is also in tandem with this... and that the child can have a voice and say their "ideas"... not censoring them... but that it takes tact and understanding of others.

That is my advice. People skills and emotional IQ and ability... is what really makes or breaks a person... or makes difficulties more difficult or not.
"Emotional Intelligence" is real important to nurture in a child. It is not just about being "smart"... .

all the best,
Susan

3 moms found this helpful

Sounds like aside from this, he's a great kid!! Dr. Sears discipline talks about this in his book, so I would recommend it to you.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0316779032/jamen

One thing, when my son starts to back talk, my husband jumps in and says, "do not disrespect your mother". Really, teaching him to respect you and enforcing that you are the dominant person can be tough, but it can happen.

Also, if he sees other kids or adults being disrespectful, he may be mirroring this behavior from them. Arguing back and disrespecting them (we may do it without realizing it) can be contributing factors.

Maybe giving him a challenge to serve could help his attitude. Maybe everday, ask him if he has helped anyone that day? Have a little family lesson about helping others and seeking ways to help someone everyday and he may begin to look for opportunities to serve and be respectful towards others.

start small, knocking on a door before entering, asking to help clear the table... patterns develop over time, so starting small can be helpful

some good articles that can offer more examples and advice:
http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/InekeVanLint7.html
http://www.emaxhealth.com/20/5951.html
http://parenting.families.com/blog/teaching-your-kids-how...

3 moms found this helpful

Switch it around and focus on rewards. Smart kids can be particularly challenging to manage because they don't fall for the typical parenting strategies. However, rewards often can be a good alternative when punishments don't work. For instance, tell him it's not ok to talk back to you and give him an example so he understands. Tell him on days when he's a good listener and polite, he gets a reward. This could be a trip to the park, a toy from the dollar store, whatever. Make it daily so he gets the immediate reward. If he has to wait too long, he'll lose motivation and interest. Hope this helps!

2 moms found this helpful

He might be a genius. Therefore begin to take him to special lessons that build self discipline and respect. Tai Kwan Do does that. You will have to take him a couple of times per week. It will really pay off. It did with our out of control 4 year old who is now a high school honor student.

1 mom found this helpful

I think if you look at any of the love and logic books, CDs or DVDs, you'll find the answers there. They have excellent techniques for dealing with kids of all ages and perhaps what works on teenagers might work on your son.

1 mom found this helpful

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