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3 Bumps

Why doesn't he learn?

My 4 year old will repeatedly do the same things without fear of consequence. For instance, I make coffee every morning and we have had talks about how hot it is and how it will hurt. One day he stuck his hand on the pot and got hurt. Then again the other day I poured some into a travel mug and let it sit on the counter while I grabbed our shoes. He walked into the kitchen, tried to grab the coffee mug, spilled it and once again got hurt. The today I was making pasta, turned to drain it when he walked in, and proceeded to put his hand on the hot burner (we've had several talks about hot stoves). I don't like him in the kitchen period but short 9f building a wall and locking he whole room up I can't quite keep him out entirely. He doesn't just do these things in there, he also does things like attempting to run out into the street or parking lot despite our talks about how dangerous cars are and how badly he could get hurt. Why doesn't he learn from his mistakes? Is it just an age thing?

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 1:05 PM on Dec. 9, 2012 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Answers (9)
  • Some kids it takes mom to say it once other kids need to be continuously reminded other kids learn the first time it hurts then sadly there are kids that grow up to be featured in the darwin awards

    Answer by flowersmama at 1:09 PM on Dec. 9, 2012

  • Stop talking and start commanding. Young children have an incredibly short attention span. Anything longer than about 5 words, and you loose their attention.

    No! Hot! is about the extent of what you need to be telling him when in the kitchen.

    STOP! is about all you should be staying when he takes off out the front door.

    Young children do NOT have the capacity to reason or accurately predict consequences. We as parents try to reason with children more than we should. That part of their brains just isn't developed until they're grown. And sometimes, they just have to learn through experience.

    Answer by Rosehawk at 2:16 PM on Dec. 9, 2012

  • My daughter was about 9 months old. We had a solid oak, 5-foot tall entertainment center that I'd burn candles on top of. She'd see the candle burning and want to touch it. For months I'd turn her away from the little flame and say, "No, hot! Big owie". She'd persist and insist. One day, with dad next to us and her in my arms, I slowly moved her into touching range of the little flame. She touched for a split second, jerked back, cuddled into my shoulder and has never wanted to touch another candle flame, or the oven door when baking.

    She'd get close to the oven and I'd tell her, "No, hot!" and that was enough for her. At 5, that still works with her too.

    Answer by Rosehawk at 2:22 PM on Dec. 9, 2012

  • At 4, he is still going to be very impulsive. He also might still have some trouble with context. So while he might associate hot coffee with the coffeemaker after you tell him that it's hot, but seeing it in a travel mug is different and he might not have made that connection.

    I would try briefer, more demanding statements. "No, hot!" or "Johnny, stop!" if he's running out in a parking lot or something. Make it sound authoritative, like a command rather than an explanation. Don't worry about explaining WHY he shouldn't do something right now - focus on making him STOP doing it. You can explain the why of it when he stops doing things.

    Answer by wendythewriter at 5:54 PM on Dec. 9, 2012

  • When he got hurt, did it seem to actually affect him? Did he actually act hurt, or did it just make a mark on him? The reason I ask is because he may have a sensory issue that doesn't allow him to feel pain. Other then that, I would do as the other ladies have suggested and use shorter, more authoritative remarks. "No" and "Stop" worked well with my kids at that age. I didn't start giving explanations until they started asking why.
    Also, have you ever thought about just plain out asking him why he does what he does? There could be something in his explanation that will help you figure out how to make him stop.

    Answer by spiritguide_23 at 1:26 AM on Dec. 10, 2012

  • fetal alcohol syndrome or fetal alcohol affect produces children who do not comprehend consequences or it could be some other neurological disorder that he should be tested for


    Answer by Anonymous at 6:41 PM on Dec. 10, 2012

  • Lol thank you but I can most definitely assure you it is not fetal alcohol syndrome.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 12:16 AM on Dec. 11, 2012

  • After working with kids for many years, this does sound kinda strange. Most kids will stop touching something hot after two times. Because it hurts! He may need to be evaluated. Some kids get a "high" out of stretching their limits and they like the feeling of fear. But, it can definitely be a dangerous thing.

    Answer by Ruthmom802 at 9:07 PM on Dec. 11, 2012

  • Have you talked to his doc about this?? If not then you should.

    Answer by Crafty26 at 10:33 AM on Feb. 20, 2013

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