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Testing behaviour in 4 year old

(11 Posts)
c00k1e Mon 10-Feb-14 17:47:25

I'm not sure whether I should be worried or not and hoped someone may have gone through something similar and maybe able to offer some advice.

Background is I have two boys - a 5 year old E and A who is 4. (Also have a dd who is 18 mths but everything ok as can be there ) Both are Autumn born. A is taller then his older brother. So it's possible we compare him too much to his older brother. He's also very competitive with his brother and always wants to be first - first upstairs, first to brush his teeth etc. I try and limit this and explain he can't always be first.

As you can probably guess A is who I get really stressed over :/

There are two main issues. He talks really loud no matter how much I or my OH explain to him to speak quietly he doesn't. His speech is slightly unclear but his range of speech and vocabulary is the same if not advanced as his 5 year old brother- A. If I speak quietly or look the other way and call him quietly he responds. So could his hearing still be affected? School don't seem too concerned although I am toying with whether I should get his hearing checked.

Second issue is. He never listens! He will always without fail still do what he wants. It doesn't matter how many times it is explained to him what someone wants him to do/ not do. I can get him to repeat the instruction and he will still do the opposite. As a result he does tend to get told off a lot:/.
Normally it doesn't matter but for instance yesterday my OH took them swimming. The 4 year old wasn't confident in the water so my husband stood him in the corner of the teaching pool and told him to wait and hold on to the bars while he sorted out the 5 year old. E is confident in water(although can't swim) so he was walking across the pool, OH heard a splash and A is in the water trying to stand up ( he was trying to copy his brother). Thankfully he was fine as dad was with him. But it scares me that one day he is going to get hurt because he doesn't listen.

Does anyone have any advice to how to deal with this? Does it sound like there is something to be looked into or is this normal behaviour for a just recently turned 4 year old?

Many thanks in advance

c00k1e Tue 11-Feb-14 08:04:17


LastingLight Tue 11-Feb-14 09:09:39

What consequences do you invoke when he doesn't listen?

Marn1e Tue 11-Feb-14 09:12:19

He's just turned 4. You're massively overthinking this.

I still have to give my 7 year old simple instructions because by the time he gets to the top of the stairs to carry out said instruction, he's usually forgotten.

All you can do is keep repeating yourself at this age. It eventually sinks in

affinia Tue 11-Feb-14 09:22:44

Its really normal for a just turned 4 year old. Perfectly describes my DS2 at that age. He's a bit older now but still a slightly improved version of the same. Its very easy to expect too much of younger siblings as often(not always) they will naturally try to copy and compete with their older siblings without the same level of understanding as the older child. He probably feels a bit stuck in the middle too (I also have 3 DC).

Set your boundaries and then repeat, repeat, repeat, be consistent firm and kind always (much easier said that done and I'm saying to this to myself as much as anyone else!!!!)

DeWe Tue 11-Feb-14 09:34:22

I suspect you have a very well behaved 5yo and a normal 4yo wink

I had similar, in that I asked about ds, having had two girls who had superb concentration etc. GP chuckled at me and told me he was "more usual" than they were.

The competitive thing is also usual, probably made worse by the closeness in age. Mine have 3 years between them, so when each hit the competitive phase, the older was old enough to roll their eyes and let them win at least some of the time, and not feel insulted by the other "winning" as they knew they could, if they tried, beat them easily.
Ds (my youngest) is now 6yo and has mostly grown out of it, except strapping himself in in the car, which is a relatively new thing for him to be able to do (complicated car seat).

I would have the hearing checked with ENT if he seems sometimes not to listen. Ds has glue ear and it makes huge differences to his behavior when he can hear. But although he has, at times been really bad hearing, as a parent, I don't notice it because I'm used to it. Children hide it well, I'm told by the experts!

c00k1e Tue 11-Feb-14 09:37:21


Thanks for your replies.

Lastinglight - I will give him time out but sometimes he refuses to do that.

Marn1e and Affinia - I know part of it is I expect too much of him because he doesn't looks 4. bleugh.

I guess boundaries are the key. I just have to keep at that and also realise he is only 4. Im glad I am not the only one who has had to deal with a 4 year old who is hard worksmile

Affinia, Im glad your DS has improved, hopefully A will too at some point.

Thanks again for all your advice, it has helped me see things from a different angle.

LastingLight Tue 11-Feb-14 10:21:30

We managed to avoid some of the battles at that age by turning tasks into challenges e.g. "I bet you can't get dressed faster than I can". In general his behaviour sounds pretty normal for a 4 year old.

I would get his hearing checked. My dd is partially hearing disabled and she can hear some frequencies fine but others not.

ladyquinoa Tue 11-Feb-14 19:27:10

Come close when giving instructions. Make sure he is giving you his full attention with eye contact. Get him to repeat instructions back to you a few times. Wait while he completes the task, literally just wait next to him !!

AnotherMonkey Thu 13-Feb-14 08:56:14

My DS (4) is the same. I came on here trying to work out how to post the things I've been worrying about but you've covered the main ones, you could be describing my DS. Even down to the water incident!

DS does have glue ear and I'm hoping for some improvement when that's sorted.

He does other strange things too but most of the other stuff again can be put down to having one of his senses out of kilter (I hope!).

PeterParkerSays Thu 13-Feb-14 09:26:11

The only thing I'd say is in response to your last post, "I will give him time out but sometimes he refuses to do that." He's 4, he doesn't get to decide whether he does time out. That does need working on.

A lot of the rest is just being 4. My 4 year old responds better if I come down to his level and look at him when asking him to do something.

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