Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

how to punish a four year old?

Answer Question

Asked by B.Birdow at 11:24 PM on Apr. 19, 2010 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 1 (0 Credits)
Answers (11)
  • Depends on what they did...Time out, take toys away, extra chores all worked and still do for my kids, it just really depends on the act. With my son I can take the computer away, with my 10 year old I can take the phone away, and with my 17 year old I can ground her, but she has already learned LOL,, don't need to punish her anymore..

    Answer by midnightmoma at 11:27 PM on Apr. 19, 2010

  • I would do all the above and if that didn't work, I would spank. But then again, a lot of mom's on here would stone me for that!

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:44 PM on Apr. 19, 2010

  • It does depend on what they did, if possible look at it as what can I do to discipline - rather than punish. To me discipline is guiding the child to better choices, punishment is taking revenge or getting even. Four is young to understand long term consequences - so Eg timmy drew on the wall - discipline would be Timmy has to clean it off and then have quiet time in the bedroom, or Timmy whacked his little brother - Timmy has to go to timeout for 4 minutes ( a minute for each year) and his special toy goes away for the morning. Try to not blow things out of proportion, and remember he is watching you to see how you handle being angry and frustrated, it you blow your cool, scream and smack, guess what he is going to do when he is angry and frustrated?

    Answer by myheartx4 at 12:13 AM on Apr. 20, 2010

  • Spanking isn't necessarily something a parent consciously chooses. Most often, it happens when grownups lose their cool, get worked up or feel desperate. Dad may give little Tommy a whack because he's already asked him three times to turn off the television. Or when four-year-old Johnny runs across the road, his mom may spank him and warn, "Don't you ever, ever run into the street again." All parents know how profoundly annoying it can be when their little one doesn't listen to them. Fear has the same effect: "Oh my gosh, what if Johnny isn't so lucky the next time he runs into the street?" The vast majority of parents have either felt the urge to spank, or have given their child a pat, whack or smack at one time or another.


    Answer by bookworm65 at 12:15 AM on Apr. 20, 2010

  • In fact, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, spanking happens at least once a week in 25 percent of two-parent, middle-class families. Why do so many parents end up spanking their kids? You might assume it's because spanking works. But, in fact, spanking works if, and only if, you look at the short-term. Three-year-old Lucy picked up her toys with lightening-fast speed after her mom gave her a swat on the behind. However, Lucy's teachers need to keep a close eye on her in the playground because she tends to bully the younger kids. What does one have to do with the other?


    Answer by bookworm65 at 12:16 AM on Apr. 20, 2010

  • So, what's the alternative? The following strategies are grounded in the belief that a child deserves to be treated with respect, even when he's acting up.

    Top 10 Ways to Handle Discipline Dilemmas

    1. Be firm and be kind.
    A child is more likely to hear what you're saying if you use a neutral tone.

    2. Pause.
    There's nothing wrong with saying, "I'm too angry to deal with this now. We'll talk about it later."

    3. Teach your kids.
    Instead of punishing a child for misbehaving, think in terms of teaching him to behave. "I don't like it when you leave your skateboard in the front hall. Next time, please put it in the mudroom. How can I help you remember?"

    4. Be positive.
    Instead of saying, "How many times do I need to ask you to brush your teeth?" Say, "Go brush your teeth and let me know when you've finished so I can tuck you in."


    Answer by bookworm65 at 12:17 AM on Apr. 20, 2010

  • 5. Give explanations, not threats.
    By giving your child a brief explanation of why she needs to do as she's told, you give her a reason to behave.

    6. Refuse to get angry.
    Instead of focusing on your child's misbehavior and working yourself into a lather, think of each conflict as an opportunity to guide and direct your child.

    7. Give incentives.
    Inspire your child to cooperate with phrases like, "It's time to go. Why don't you go down the slide one more time and then let's hustle. I want to get home in time to make cookies."

    8. Be flexible.
    If your little one asks, "Can I just finish watching this show before we go?" be reasonable. If you have the time to spare, make room for your child's requests. This is a great way for kids to learn about the art of negotiation.


    Answer by bookworm65 at 12:19 AM on Apr. 20, 2010

  • 9. Drop out of power struggles.
    Nothing is as frustrating or less productive as having a showdown with your little one. Invite your child to cooperate by saying something like, "I've got a problem. I want you to wear a clean shirt and you insist on wearing the same old one every day. How can we solve this problem?" Your child is more likely to cooperate if he comes up with the solution.

    10. Be smart.
    Parents will often deal with problems in a set manner, even if their approach isn't helping. If what you're doing isn't working, find a more effective way to handle the problem. Tip: It's much easier to change your approach than it is to change your child. Ask yourself, "What can I do differently that will inspire a better reaction from my child?"


    Answer by bookworm65 at 12:20 AM on Apr. 20, 2010

  • TIP: Remember these three important rules about punishment:
    •Don't assign a punishment when you're angry
    •Don't use punishment as revenge.
    •A more severe punishment is not necessarily a better one

    Cathryn Tobin, MD, is a pediatrician, midwife and a member of the Canadian Pediatric Society and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons. Her new book The Parent's Problem Solver: Smart Solutions for Everyday Discipline and Behavior Problems was published by Random House. Dr. Tobin has been speaking on parenting issues for more than 20 years. She lives with her husband and four children in Ontario.


    Answer by bookworm65 at 12:22 AM on Apr. 20, 2010

  • Wow bookworm... a link to the article would have been fine.

    I usually use a Time-Out.

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:10 AM on Apr. 20, 2010

Join CafeMom now to contribute your answer and become part of our community. It's free and takes just a minute.