Discipline for 4Year Old?

Updated on September 07, 2012
M.E. asks from Bronx, NY
10 answers

What type of discipline do you guys think is appropriate for a 4 year old? He just started school and has had 2 tantrums(one for over an hour) and today i found he hit 2x? I asked my husband and he just told me that whatever I thought was ok. God grow a pair!

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answers from Houston on

Dr. Sears is an expert in this field, and he has some excellent discipline advice for this age here:

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Washington DC on

Did he tantrum at school or home?

At home, frankly if DD wants to yell, she goes to her room and I shut the door. She gets no audience.

If he was at school, then they need to handle it and I would tell him I was very sad to hear about his behavior today and talk about how to use words vs yell and hit. You might try a stoplight - if he had a good day, it's green. If he had a so so day, it's yellow. If he had a bad day, it's red and x happens.

I also like the idea of more sleep. How grumpy are you when you don't get enough sleep? I don't even always tell DD she's going to bed early. When she learns to tell time, I'm in trouble!

If it's any consolation, my friend's K-er is having a tough transition to all day school and is also very tantrummy. It's not just your kid.

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answers from San Francisco on

I think the school should handle tantrums he throws at school. They are supposed to be experts, right? I don't understand why everyone always thinks the kid needs more consequences once he/she comes home from school. You are paying this preschool (I assume) good money for your kid to go there - they should know how to deal with kids.

He might be having a hard time adjusting to school, and he's still just a baby in many ways.

If he does tantrums at home, you could ignore it and/or put him in his room and tell him he can come out when he's done.

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answers from Dover on

Just to show my support, I would like to say the, "whatever you think" answer is my least favorite. I wouldn't hate it if the person with that response could keep himself from commenting if it didn't work in the way or as quickly as he would like. Where were all the ideas when I was asking your opinion, love??

As to the 4 yr. old. Is this preschool? Is it all day? Is it every day? What are the new dynamics at work here. It takes a lot of getting used to and it may take some time for him to get used to the new routine, surroundings and rules. I would find out what prompted the fits and talk to him about them and about his feelings when happened.

Our son started kindergarten this year with no previous school or classroom experience. We figured there would be a learning curve in his getting used to that level of structure. Our deal was if he got in trouble at school and it was dealt with at school, we would use discussion at home to reinforce unless it was a habitual offense or a temper tantrum. Our answer to those was early bedtime. If he got in trouble for not following known rules or throwing a fit he must not be getting enough sleep so that he could keep his cool and remember the rules, therefore more sleep was required and he would have to go to bed 30 minutes earlier.

You have my sympathy for the bumpy ride, but it will smooth out as he gets used to the change.

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answers from Jacksonville on

If the tantrums were at home after getting home from preschool, then you need to be aware that it is perfectly normal for even a GREAT kiddo, to "lose it" after they get home sometimes. It can be quite stressful for these little people to go off all day (or even a half day) into a new and different environment with all these "expectations" placed upon them.

Usually, if they manage to keep it all together at school, something is going to hit the fan at home. At least in the early years. Maybe not for an hour, either. But give him a chance to fall apart in the safety of home/mom, and then go right back to your regular routine. It still doesn't mean that you have to suck it up and "make him feel better" when he has a tantrum (send him to his room to do it, whatever you would normally do), but expect that there will be a few, and when it is over, let it be over.

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answers from Dallas on

Check out Love and Logic - it's all about choices and learning to make good ones. loveandlogic.com. They may have facilitators that hold classes in your area, and for reasonable prices or free.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

If your husband is actually a parent rather just a sleep-over he needs to start acting like a real man, husband and father.

If you don't like the tantrums now, just keep doing nothing and in 10 years he will be a real monster. I would use spanking after I had used other things.

The way I stopped the tantrums in my house is by making the child repeat the tantrum over and over until they almost begged to be allowed to stop. I had one child that would jump up and down and cry and screem. When they stopped, I told them that I hadn't seen enough and then they had to jump up and down and yell and scream some more. They soon got tired of it and asked to stop. I would tell them no, because I hadn't seen enough of the crying and screaming and the jumping up and down.

Another child, about 2 years old, cryed and screamed for about an hour before I'd had enough. I tried to talk to him, but he just kept crying. So I picked him up, put him under my arm and carried him to the kitchen, grabbed a picher of water we kept in the frig and took him to the sink. He saw what I was going to do and he yelled, "No daddy. No daddy. I'll be good. I'll be good." I was a new father, but that taught me that he knew exactly what he was doing all during the tantrum even though he was only 2.

Take her to the kitchen and take a picture of cold water out of the frig and pour it on her face and upper torso. It will shock her out of her tantrum. Then make sure she does whatever you asked her to do that caused the tantrum. If you reward bad behavior, you get more bad behavior.

Good luck to you and yours.



answers from New London on

If he had a tantrum at school...and hit at school. I would ask the teachers how they handled it. The teachers should be taking care of it at school.

On the other hand, is your child getting more than 8 hrs of sleep each night? It's very important !

Has he hit at home? Does he tantrum at home? Does he watch alot of tv?
Did he behave for you two this past summer?



answers from Anchorage on

I would use time outs and taking away of toys or activities. If he tantrums then put him in his room and tell him he can come out when he has control of himself, and then close the door so you don't have to listen to it.



answers from Pittsburgh on

I think talking to him, giving him a hug, feeding him and making sure he gets enough sleep are the appropriate way to go. Starting school is a big deal for kids - it is physically and mentally exhausting (even if they were in full time child care previously). At the beginning it may be all he can do to hold it together during school. He needs to know that he is supported at home.

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