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How do I discipline a 4 year old.

I have a 4 year old and when my husband and I try to discipline her for something that she has done wrong, either she lashes out at us and just screams, or when we put her in timeout she does the same. She gets mean towards her younger sister. Please help.

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Asked by welderfamily at 2:50 PM on Jul. 17, 2010 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 4 (28 Credits)
Answers (11)
  • I would spank her butt and tell her I loved her too much to tolerate such behavior and to allow her to grow up being a brat.

    Answer by NannyB. at 2:56 PM on Jul. 17, 2010

  • We have tried that and the same thing happens. She treats us like crap and the more that we try to correct her behavior she gets worse and worse.

    Comment by welderfamily (original poster) at 2:57 PM on Jul. 17, 2010

  • There are some good books out there that can help with this. Dr Phil's is supposedly great. Find her "currency", that thing or activity which is most important to her, and withhold that as punishment. Time out can still be effective too. If she stays in the spot you have designated that's half the battle. Tell her, calmly, it is not over until she stops screaming and can talk about what went wrong. Make the length of time appropriate for her age and be consistent. Do not talk to her if you have to take her back to the time out spot. People give up on time out because the child has to be returned to the spot. It can take a long time before she stays there. Whatever method you pick do it every time and stay consistent and stay calm. Make sure she also is getting enough one on one time with you and hubby. That she is getting praise for the things she does right. And lots of hugs and kisses.

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:02 PM on Jul. 17, 2010

  • I taught my 3.5 year old son to take big deep breaths when he's upset.

    He'll still scream and yell when he doesn't like something that's happening, but it last waaaay less time now. I'll say to him "Silas, I can't understand anything you're saying right now because you're screaming. Sit in time out and calm down. I wont start your timer until you are absolutely quiet."
    If he keeps screaming I say, "You need to calm down. What do you have to do to calm down?" then he starts taking his deep breaths and he calms down.
    Sometimes when he's starting to get mad about something, he lets me know he's mad by taking deep breaths, and frowning. Lol.
    He doesn't freak out though, so I praise him for it and then I talk to him about why he's upset.

    Answer by Laila-May at 3:06 PM on Jul. 17, 2010

  • cont...........You and DH have to decide on a strategy, present a unified front, and stick with it. Transitioning to more consistency will be a battle by itself. It will take time for her to learn that now you mean business and won't give up. This can all be done with her best interests at heart and with love.

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:06 PM on Jul. 17, 2010

  • she can't hit anything or anyone, but she can scream. she will get more inner control soon (you want her to for K). she feels full of power maybe (are you the in charge kinda of mom~calm and assertive?)...

    she is allow to be full range of emotions if she must, but dealing with stopping ourselves and modifying stuff does help make really help with friends builds.

    does she know about her engine? It can run hot and red and fast~that feels like what? It can run blue, cool and calm and for a long while~easy...I have done paper plates with kids coloring half red and half blue with a arrow when fix to the center. when kids are feeling angry or frustrated or hyper I can use that paper plate to show the red zone and help them internalized some of this and cool their stuff down to the blue zone.


    Answer by surfcitymom at 3:07 PM on Jul. 17, 2010

  • sorry for the typos~child invasion, I guess its lunch! If she is a brat, you have to get her to shift. I have been known to pull super special stuff away to get brattiness to chill....even my dd favorite blanket (love that currency concept) was mine until she could pull it together and even after. All day she needed to be pleasant.

    Answer by surfcitymom at 3:13 PM on Jul. 17, 2010

  • I have a similar post too about my son's violent temper tantrums that I'm trying to deal with. I love the train idea though. He's a huge train fan & that might help him to understand his emotions. Thanks.
    It's so hard sometimes when you want them to show the emotions but show them the proper way. lol. I'm always saying to my son use your words I can't understand you, breath, it's ok to be upset just let me know when your ready to talk.

    Answer by jfblaine83 at 3:38 PM on Jul. 17, 2010

  • i have the same problem with my son... nothing has been working for me and now when i put my son in his time out chair he pees his pants, my son is fully potty trained there is no reason for him to pee when he goes to time out me and my bf think he does it just to get out of timeout

    Answer by kris8525 at 8:59 PM on Jul. 17, 2010

  • Consistency is the key, pick something and stick with it. I tell my son to break and clear his eyes. It distracts him away from the fit and allows him to calm down long enough to tell me what is going on so I can handle the situation. Make sure you aren’t yelling back he sees that it is ok that you are doing it why can’t he. Let him know how much you love him when you are getting on to him and make sure you are showing your child enough attention sometimes they act out because that is the only way they know to get you to pay attention to them. I’m not saying this is the case but it does happen especially if you have a older children and he is the middle or if he is the older and has younger siblings that require more attention.

    Answer by Amanda_03 at 9:46 PM on Jul. 17, 2010

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