15 answers

How Do I Get My 4 Year Old to Listen?

My son is 4 years old. I can't get him to listen to me at all. He tells me no, screams at me, and hits me. No disciplinning or rewarding has worked. I have no idea what to do.

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Hello K. H.
I have a daughter 5 and a son who is 9 and this works on both but I had to keep doing it until they knew I was serious. I count to 5 and before I started it they looked at me like I was crazy. I kept with it and now it works everywhere. I can do it all over the place and if they dont listen for some reason than I take away a favorite thing they have and it gets their attention. By the time I get to 3 and they dont listen they know they are going to loose a privelidge. It should work.

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Hi K., I have a 4 1/2 year old girl and we were having the same issues you are having with your son. She was great acting in her Nursery School and with other people, she just misbehaved at home. I finially had enough and asked her why she was doing the things she was doing and she said that we didn't listen to her. I wasn't that we were listening to her, it was that she was having a hard time communicating to us what she really wanted. She's a very smart little girl and she knew exactly what she wanted, but sometimes had a hard time putting it in to words so her father and I could understand her. We started to take more time to understand what she wanted from us and would repeat what she asked us to make sure that we actually knew what she wanted. Things are getting better and she is starting to misbehave less. On the occasions that she does misbehave now we take things away for a day or so depending on what she has done. We give her time outs when she speaks to us in a manner that is not exceptable and we sit down with her and have her explain to us why she thinks she go the time out. I have recently found out that giving her the silent treatment really works with her when she is yelling at me or hitting me. She really doesn't like the silent treatment. I hope this helps you, good luck with your son. Congratulations on your twins.

1 mom found this helpful

hi, i HAVE TWO BOYS THAT ARE 6 YEARS APART AND WHEN MY YOUNGEST WAS BORN MY OLDEST ACTTED OUT IN THE SAME WAY JUST TO GET ATTENTION. I FOUND THAT IF I SET TIME APART TO DO SOMETHING FUN WITH HIM WHENEVER I COULD IT MADE HIM FEEL IMPORTANT. I EVEN FOUND THAT LETTING HIM HELP OUT WITH HIS BROTHER HELPED. SOMETIMES IT WAS A SIMPLE GAME OR 5 EXTRA MINS. OF CUDDLING. GIVE IT A TRY IT MIGHT WORK FOR YOU TO.

1 mom found this helpful

The key is consistency. If something doesn't work right away, you have to try and stick to it. I have a 4 year old as well and had the same problem. What I chose to do was pick one punishment for each bad behavior and keep it that way. For example, if I get a bad report from his teacher, then he cannot play his video games for the night. If he yells at us, then he loses his Spongebob show for the night, etc. Just keep it consistent...good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

i know this all to well.... some of it maybe due to having new siblings and setting time for just him is very important. also affirming what he is saying helps so he knows you are listening to him and hearing what he is saying. helping him understand consquences to his actions is important and following thru on them.... and trust me it can get hard in the beginning but you need to stick to your guns and having a place to sit and think about what he is doing is important. its hard so good luck and the book by adele/faber is really good to get ideas.. you have to adapt it to his age but thats easy...

1 mom found this helpful

Hello K. H.
I have a daughter 5 and a son who is 9 and this works on both but I had to keep doing it until they knew I was serious. I count to 5 and before I started it they looked at me like I was crazy. I kept with it and now it works everywhere. I can do it all over the place and if they dont listen for some reason than I take away a favorite thing they have and it gets their attention. By the time I get to 3 and they dont listen they know they are going to loose a privelidge. It should work.

1 mom found this helpful

I know you've tried everything, but make sure you are consistant with it, when you are disiplineing him. I dont know it all, but I myself have 3 kids,6,3,and 2, so I know how hard it is, but they'll get tired of what ever punishment you set for them if it takes up to much of their time; what works for me with all three of my kids is standing in the corner, facing the wall, they are also not allowed to touch the wall, trust me they'll feel it, they will cry and scream that their tired, but they have to know that if they do not listern, they will go in that corner, and the longer they cry and screm is the longer they'll stay there; when they finnally stop their madness, they have an extra 5 to 10 min in the corner, then when they come out, I tell them why they were in the corner, and if they do it again thats were they will be, Hopefully it work for you, just be consistant.
If u get some time, let me know how it goes, ok
But remember it takes time.

1 mom found this helpful

That book How to talk so kids will listen is great-they even have seminars at the family center.. It works wonders

P.

1 mom found this helpful

I had a serious problem with my ex husbands kids...and though they were older than yours when i came into the relationship they had some EXTREME behavorial issues... They would very often refuse to listen, call me vicious names, and even at times hit me;hard. Their father used spanking as a way to disaplin(excuce my spelling) his kids and i refused to use that for a while... much to my dismay when all my efforts failed in other venues, I had to resort to if you hit me i will hit you back, they had left me no choice... eventually through spending time with them, and showing them that there were ther options to expressing their anger those episodes got less and less. and we started to develope a working relationship where they listed(most of the time) to what i was saying and i LISTENED to what they were saying(that was key) What I'm trying to say, is that maybe, being four and not really knowing how to express fealing of anger, jealosy, or neglect, that acting out is the only way he knows how to tell you that something is wrong. I don't know what you have tried but perhaps setting aside a time of day especially for him, perhaps when the twins are asleep. it could be as simple as watching a movie together, making cookies, playing a game whether it be make believe or with a favorite toy that requires 2 players. and LISTEN to what he saysand in some occasions what he DOESN'T say. even at 4 i'm sure he talks as much as he's able. Perhaps after an incident such as this give hima time out and then before letting him leave the corner, talk with him. Say I know You are mad/angry at mommy; tell my what you are angry about. Being only four this may take a While for him to get used to or even really express(i'm not sure what a 4 year old's verbal abbilities are). But perhaps if you can incourage him to talk maybe that will help. I know it helped me in the long run. but it WILL take plenty of TIME.

Good Luck, I hoped this helped
-N.

1 mom found this helpful

hi my name is R. and i cant help think it is the new babys that is causing this behavior he is no longer the baby and is confused on what his role is. Do you let him help with the babys like getting there bottles and help with there clothes anything that you feel he could help with. Also if you canmake some alone time with him to read or play for a little while, i think that these actions over some time would help improve his attutide towards you. He thinks that he has to fight for his mama and is a little made but thats oky in a kids world its easy to feel let out.

1 mom found this helpful

K.,
I know exactly what you're going through. My 4 year old son is going through pretty much the same thing. The only catch is that he listens to his father. However, I am home with him during the day so I get that same kind of disrespect. The best advice I can give is to stay firm with your values. If he is misbehaving, disipline him, even if it means having to continually deal with the situation to get him to listen. He needs to know who is boss. Stay strong, firm and in the driver's seat! All the best!
-Maggie

1 mom found this helpful

Hi K.,

My 4 year old boy is the same way too. I just thought it was his new sister but now she is 19 months old and its was getting a little played out. I used to scream alot and take toys away and a bunch of other things. But lately I decieded to calm down and instead of screaming I talk to him. If he wants to scream at me some more I ignore it (thats the hard part!!) and slowly but surely he is more calmer. I noticed a big difference him actually (knock on wood)

K.
Howell, NJ

It's a power struggle between you and him. A very normal, and typical stage. You have to stay firm and consistant with your discipline. How you react and handle the situation will either reinforce that he has the control or you do. Stop and think before you react and ask yourself "what am I reinforcing?"

Hey K.,

Well have you tried spanking him? Although there are rules that we as parents have to follow a little spanking will not hurt him. First and foremost, of course you don't need to use any objects off course he is to young for that. Try popping him with your hands either on the back of his legs of his hand. Explain to him why you are doing it and also how upset you are. Last but not least put him on a good ole time so he can think about what he did for about 20 minutes. Once you take him out of time out talk to him and see if he has learned his lesson. Another tatic would be to grab him by the arm not to hurt him but enough to shock him. In a firm voice you explain to him how upset you are and how disappointed you are at him. please let me know how it turns out. oh by the way this is compliments of parenting classes along with the little knowledge God has given me.

K., Have you tried planned ignoring the negative behaviors and acknowledging the positives? Maybe once he sees that he gets some type of reaction from you (attention) when he is doing the right things and no attention from the negative behaviors, he might catch on and go with it. Don't be afraid to "up-play" the positives...you can't go wrong making a big deal out of telling someone when they are doing a great job! K.

Hi K.. I think its because there are two new members in the house that is taking up your time. The time that use to be exclusively his. I think if you take some "just him" time, away from the baby's, it will over time help him. Also let him help with the baby's so he can bond with them also.

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