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What do you do for a 4 year old that talks back?

My 4 year old son talks back whenever we ask him to do something (grunts at you or spits at you or says "No!") from eating meals to going potty. We are always sending him to time out. It doesn't seem to be working. Any ideas?

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 12:38 AM on Jul. 29, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Answers (5)
  • Yes. Get him evaluated. Oppositional Defiance Disorder.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:43 AM on Jul. 29, 2009

  • Pay attention to his good behavior and ignore the bad behavior. My daughter who is also 4 was also extremely stubborn, and that is what I have been doing, she is doing a lot better, a lot less fighting.

    Answer by Nadali at 1:25 AM on Jul. 29, 2009

  • Check to see if you have a Parent Project class in your area. They specialize in helping you parent a strong willed child.

    Answer by bamatamimom at 9:46 AM on Jul. 29, 2009

  • Find positive ways of encouraging him to use his manners, even when angry. Allow that sometimes he may not want to do something and see if you can work out a plan WITH him that accomplishes both your desires and his desires. When he speaks disrespectfully, remind him to use his manners and give him the words if necessary. If he refuses, then give him a logical consequence that matches the behavior (e.g. if he doesn't want to speak respectfully, then tell him you won't listen or talk to him and walk away. You only want to talk to him if he can be respectful. If he has a strong relationship with you, he will WANT to be with you and have you listen to him, so this may help encourage him to use his manners.). And also remember that even we adults have bad days sometimes and allow for slip-ups as part and parcel of being human.

    Answer by JPsMommy605 at 10:06 AM on Jul. 29, 2009

  • My daughter is the same way. It didn't matter how we went about things she was going to act how she wanted. So we started taking her to a counselor. And her professional opinion was "she is a very bright, intelligent, normal four year old, that is very strong willed." Which of course i wanted to look at her like duh! But what she suggested and it has worked very well for us is doing a "token community" with her. Where she has her list of rules and responsibilities and she gets acknowledged for them. In return she gets to choose how she is rewarded. It makes her feel like she has more control. So what we have is a posterboard with her chores and rules on them (ie cleaning her room, not getting time out all morning) and when she follows through she earns plastic coins (each item is a different amount depending on how hard it is) then she can pick certain rewards and "spends" however much money that reward is for.

    Answer by lovelanalee at 4:58 PM on Jul. 30, 2009

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