Four and Half Year Old Behavior

Updated on August 01, 2011
L.M. asks from Franklin, MI
7 answers

My dd has become oppositonal, emotional uncooperative and diffcult, with me. Pretty good at the babysitter and talkative but fine in school. Normal or not? because I'm slowlly losing my mind!!! Any input would be helpful, cause it ain't pretty here!
I do use time out, for those that mentioned it. I just wanted to check to see if what I'm getting is on par, again it's really not nice at home, and she does want to challange me to always be on top! Strong willed YES!

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answers from Miami on

4 years old and she is finally finding her own. She must feel secure enough to try it out on you. Why don't you try throwing off kilter when she says know like if she wont brush her teeth.. Oh dear get worried I hope you do not get a cavity that will hurt from not brushing walk away and then try again later.

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answers from Washington DC on

Totally normal. And, I agree, totally annoying. She's just expressing her independence. At times I think my daughter does this with just me, but she does it with my husband and my parents too.

I agree with the answer from Kellhy -- try to make your requests sound less like orders and she may be more cooperative.

Good luck!

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answers from Denver on

I have found the same "trend in behavior". Sometimes I think I am living with a 4 year old teenager. I have found if I remain calm and give her "choices" - then she does feel in control and does "choose well". For example, you can stop throwing your markers or we can put them away for today. What do you choose? Most times, she makes the right one... when she can listen long enough...

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answers from Williamsport on

Normal if you don't handle it.
Get Back to Basics Discipline by Janet Campbell Matson. And fast! This can all be solved quickly and you'll have a nice, confident, respectful daughter again. She'll still have freedom and choices and all her emotions in tact etc, but she won't continue the bad behavior if you don't let her. And she'll respect you for it. My 5 year old is truly an amazing sweet girl and were like best friends even though I'm supposed to be 'the boss" thanks to being firm early on. She needs almost no discipline and people can't believe I ever actually did have to discipline her for all the things you mention when she first tried them. You can do it!

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answers from Detroit on

Get some discipline going. Explain you're real proud that she behaves so well at school and the babysitter, but what is not fine is how she treats you and that it no longer will be tolerated. Find a time out place for her to sit when it happens, take her there for her age in minutes/. If she gets up and objects, take her back w/out words. When she stays there, get a hug and apology after you explain why she had to be there.



answers from Detroit on

NORMAL...Testing, 1,2, fair, firm and consistent with what you expect. She is old enough to understand. All little ones will test their boundaries. Do it now so she isn't still testing you when she is a teenager. Given that she does well at school and with the sitter, she knows what is acceptable. She is just testing YOU!



answers from Detroit on

I'd say COMMON but not NORMAL. Meaning, all kids do this, but it is a behavior that needs correction. It won't "go away" over time.

My daughter is the same age. She is very defiant and we work on that all the time. She has a very sensitive "unfair" button, and if that goes off, she looses all emotional stability and goes into a full blown kicking thrashing temper tantrum. I've had to learn to keep my cool, stay calm and deal with it. If its at that point its best to put her in a room alone to cool off. I only go in if she's kicking the wall or something. I wait for the tantrum to end and then go in and address the issue. She has to calm down and apologize before moving on in the day.

I've also learned how to avoid the behavior. I try not to mention things that "might" happen, or will happen later, because she gets obsessed with them, dwelling on the negative and spiraling out of control.

I need to learn to stop her behavior as its building to an out of control state. Then she can be corrected in a state of mind that is capable of understanding. Once they're out of control, you have to wait until they've calmed down before doing anything or its a waste - or even makes it worse.

Its normal for them to act different at someone else's place. This is a testing time of your authority as the parent. You must win every battle or it just gets worse. A strong willed child delights in the challenge of "beating" you. They believe they can outsmart you and will try at every chance. Every time they win, they desire to do it again.

Keep your cool. Find discipline you and your husband are comfortable with. Give one warning, remind them of the rule (we use a rule chart posted on the fridge, she walks to it and points to the rule + picture) and state the punishment. When the rule is broken, restate the rule and go directly into discipline. Never argue about why they should obey with your child. If they ask, tell them you'll be happy to explain why after they've obeyed. It is going to take a while for them to realize you're serious and not going to give in, but they will eventually. Stick with it.

Best wishes!

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