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4 year old behaviour, how to improve

(14 Posts)
rhetorician Wed 26-Jun-13 16:34:31

DD is nearly 4.5 and has a 19 month old sister. She is tricky, to say the least. Defiant, refuses to do as she is told, kicks off when told no, retaliates when disciplined. Today for example. Was told that she couldn't watch dvd, threw it at me. I put it in the bin. Later on told that she couldn't knock on neighbour's door, cried, shouted, pinched me. Bike in shed for 24 hours. Told me that I was 'naughty' amongst other things. Attempts to engage with her calmly result in her either not listening, changing subject or turning all comments back on us. Quite often she will say 'stop talking' or 'I've had enough of this' etc. I can't really see much of a pattern, although tiredness makes it worse.

Am I missing something here? She just doesn't seem to get it. I often have to ask her multiple times to do simple things (I know this is fairly normal). She is pretty impulsive so that requires constant nagging reining in, but I do try to balance this with lots of positive praise and attention. She seems bright in some ways, but I'd say is operating normally for her age - neither ahead nor behind.

Any comments, observations? We think she might have very mild ADD, but this hasn't been suggested by anyone else. She starts school at the end of the summer, and I'd rather they made their own assessment of her.

PiHigh Wed 26-Jun-13 16:37:13

Tbh I found that 4 was one of the most difficult ages. I just tried to be consistent but it didn't get better until she was 6.

ArthurSixpence Wed 26-Jun-13 17:18:41

DD has always been an absolute delight, but we've been getting "stop talking" a bit recently. And defiance, and pinching - all the things you mention, really. She's 4 in a few weeks ...

lechatnoir Fri 28-Jun-13 20:29:32

Was just coming on to post something very similar about my (just) 4 yr old DS but with the added delight of being very physical to the point where he's sometimes hurting other children hmm We've tried it all - reward charts, bribery, threats (always followed through), time out, removal of privileges/toys, ott praise for good behaviour etc but nothing seems to bother him. He's constantly acting the fool & seeking attention mainly from his brother/peers so we've tried to make a conscious effort to do more 1:1 with him & when it's just him & me/DH he's pretty good but put him in front of an 'audience' & he's a horror!!!

Like the op, any tips or hints most welcome as I'm dreading what the teachers will say when he starts school in September if he's still like this shock

betterthanever Sat 29-Jun-13 00:13:17

OP and lech you sound like you have very secure children that you have brought up very well and they feel very confident in themselves. I know it isn't displaying in a positive way at the moment as they have just found `self' but I think that keeping the boundaries will work eventually it may feel like forever but it will not be. People talk about children being`ready' for school which you can interpret to mean many things. My Ds is older but you have reminded me that just before he started school we had a spell of this. Good luck and get plenty sleep wink

TVTonight Sat 29-Jun-13 07:40:49

Could you try a different tack, so when you've said No to the DVD and she's not happy ask her Do you need a cuddle first? It gets things back to a positive rather than negative cycle and removes the confrontation.

superbagpuss Sat 29-Jun-13 07:50:32

op we have in stereo as dt have turned four
yes to the attitude and calling us naughty
tore up their bedroom posters this morning as we told them to go back to their room and play

will not do as they are told

one will not go to bed and sleep

any ideas?

nextphase Sat 29-Jun-13 10:15:07

I'd say your over punishing. With the DVD, I'd have taken it off him, said we weren't watching it, put it away, and moved on to what we were going to do.

I also ask what have I done which is naughty, and if its something I would tell them off for, let them tell me off, but if they wouldn't get told off, ask if they would like that to be a naughty thing, and if not, I can't have been naughty iyswim?

Its difficult tho as what works for some won't work for others. Pre school and nursery seem to think they are very well behaved.....

Doitnicelyplease Sat 29-Jun-13 13:10:15

Sounds like my DD1 who is 4.10 - lovely 90 percent of the time a cheeky/stroppy little madam 10 percent!

Some kids are just more challenging than others, the strong willed ones hate being told what to do and they are also at the age of push boundaries of what they can get away with.

It is hard and there is a lot of repeating yourself. My suggestion for punishment (consequences we say, I do A LOT of reminding DD1 that certain behaviour will have consequences that she won't like), would be something that affects her personally more, eg for the DVD offence I wouldn't have thrown it away, I would have said no TV for the next 1/2/3 days (my DD loves her TV time).

Or for the neighbour thing, same thing no TV or a favourite toy goes away for a week or if she hasn't really done anything wrong (just reacting to being told no, I would send to her room to cool down).

I still use time out her occasionally as well, just send her to the bottom step for 4 mins to cool down (but don't attempt if it just turns into a battle).

Our most repeated phase in this house is "are you listening/being a good listener" it does sink in after a while, but can be very frustrating. You have to be consistent as well.

Just on that post I wouldn't go down the route of thinking she has ADD.

psychologymum Sat 29-Jun-13 13:37:35

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

rhetorician Sat 29-Jun-13 20:55:04

All useful perspective, and many if the things you do I put into practice a lot of the time. E.g. A lot of this is frustration, feeling under pressure so I don't use time out so much as time to cool down (deep breathing makes her laugh). Taking things away works up to a point, but better to tell her that she can't do things, e.g. Play outside, or go on her bike. Her sister is suddenly verbal and keeps messing up her games, so am trying to make sure dd1 gets space for herself. We have 123 Magiv from library, but haven't managed to read it yet. She's a bit impulsive, and hasn't learned to master her emotions yet. We had a good day today, lots of biking.

rhetorician Sat 29-Jun-13 21:01:09

nextphase I think she would like deciding about what should be naughty and what not...within reason, of course. That's a great suggestion, thank you.

nextphase Sat 29-Jun-13 21:21:30

Yes, within reason! But it they do catch me doing things they would get told off for (not using a chopping board, and slicing fruit "into" my hand safely etc), and I do let them tell me off - tho its not a technique I can see everyone thinking shows respect for elders.

Does little sister get told off for the same things she does? As a tiny baby DS2 got told off for things I'd never expect a baby to know better than, but it works for us if we all follow the same rules??

rhetorician Sat 29-Jun-13 21:24:45

Increasingly, yes she does, she is big enough to 'get' that a toy belongs to someone else, even if she does cry and yell 'mine' repeatedly. DD1 is expected to do things that dd2 can't, but also sometimes likes to be babied, which is fine.

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