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I have always let my son have his way. Now, he is going on 4yrs old, and he NEVER listens to me. How do I change what I have created???

It is embarressing to take him anywhere because he throws fits! Screams, slaps, spits, runs away! I almost always leave the grocery store in tears. At home, I spend the majority of the day yelling! I can ask him nicely ten times to do something, then I get frustrated and upset. I know that this is my fault, and he is only doing what I have allowed him to learn, but now I need to know how to change it without feeling bad for disiplining.

Answer Question
Emily S.

Asked by Emily S. at 11:38 AM on Oct. 6, 2010 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 3 (20 Credits)
Answers (9)
  • Well, fortunately for you and him, it's never too late! Of course he is old enough to make him sit down while you explain that his behavior is no longer tolerable. At that age, sometimes they have to learn through embarrassment. I would just let him know that the other kids around him are staring at him because it's not acceptable to behave like a baby. Just remember to be consistent in the method you chose.

    Again, it's great that you are seeking advice now.

    Answer by m-avi at 11:40 AM on Oct. 6, 2010

  • Hmm. You will probably feel bad for disciplining no matter how kind you are about it, but you are right to nip this in the bud now. My suggestion is that you read New Parent Power, by John Rosemond.

    For right now, when he's calm, sit down and explain to him that he throws the best tantrums you've ever seen, and such tantrums should have a special place. Pick a place where he can do limited damage to himself, and the next time he tempers, deposit him there. Pay him no attention until he's done. Attention is a reward, whether it's negative or not.

    Answer by lovinangels at 11:41 AM on Oct. 6, 2010

  • I was all set to help you until reading the words "without feeling bad for disiplining". No-one can help you if you aren't strong enough to discipline your own child. You have to be willing to discipline or nothing will change. GL

    Answer by Memigen at 11:42 AM on Oct. 6, 2010

  • like you say you created the problem. am wondering why didnt you set bounderies? or rules? i have a 3 yr old and even with the bouderies and rules i set for her. she is still hard to handle. i suggest you dont repet your self. this is what i do, i tell dd something once, in a low calm voice second time. i have a higer voice and add a warning. she only gets 2 chances if she doesnt listen she goes on time out in the corner for 3 mts. i used spanking as a last resort.

    Answer by piwife at 11:42 AM on Oct. 6, 2010

  • TIme to set the rules and outline the consequences. He's old enough to understand so keep the number of rules simple and enforce them. Pick consequences you know you can stick with and enforce. Don't cave! Before you leave to go somewhere, make it clear what you expect and what will happen. Until his behavior improves. you might try to find another way to get your grocery shopping done (i.e. a time when you can go by yourself). Don't forget to praise good behavior! Good luck!

    Answer by momofryan07 at 11:46 AM on Oct. 6, 2010

  • Stop Yelling and start punishing.
    It's time to put into place a set of rules that he has to follow regardless. Be consistant, follow through. This will not happen over night, it will take some time for him to realize you're being serious. Start with time outs. One minute for every year he is, so he gets a four minute time out. Tell him why he's in time out and for how long. When he gets up, put him back in silence. And in silence every time after that. It will be frustrating, but he'll eventually get the idea. Stick with it.
    Give him ONE warning. "John, if you slap me again you're getting a time out. We do not hit people." He hits you again he goes straight to time out.

    He's not a lost cause, you can do this!

    Answer by JazzlikeMraz at 11:58 AM on Oct. 6, 2010

  • Atleast you see the issue that you created. That is a start. Take some parenting classes to help teach you effective means of discipline. Set limits, have consquences and be consistent and stick to whatever you find that works. Try the book, "1 2 3 Magic" it is an amazing discipline technique that does not involve spanking. It is commonsense and takes the emotion out of discipline. And it works.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 12:05 PM on Oct. 6, 2010

  • Most important - don't feel guilty for disiplining him. Setting boundaries and enforcing them is a GOOD thing and your son needs you to do it. You must go into this confident and consistent - not ready to back down because it's uncomfortable. A child with NO disipline is in for trouble throughout his life. Help him learn NOW how to respect authority and rules.

    When he's calm, as others have said, sit him down and lay out the new reality. This is what is expected. Here is what happens when you don't listen. Don't repeat yourself. I do give my kids one rule reminder with warning of pending consequence. If DD asks me to buy something while we're at a store and I say no. It's no. Whining, nagging, tantrums just mean we lose additional privledges. If it gets bad, we leave. Cart in aisle abandoned. We're gone. It stinks for me - sure, but it's more important that my child knows this not acceptable public behavior.

    Answer by ldmrmom at 12:38 PM on Oct. 6, 2010

  • start spankin his butt and redirecting him

    Answer by mekarevell at 9:04 PM on Oct. 7, 2010

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