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is this normal behavior for a 4 year old?

I have a 4 year old and he's become quite a handful lately. He is very loud and makes a huge deal about everything. He plays with his food an utensils at the dinner table and becomes very silly very easily. He has become more defiant and demanding and throws enormous temper tantrums when I put him in time out. Time outs take almost 20 minutes because the first 15 minutes I am having to constantly put him back in the time out spot, like physically pick him up and put him back on the time out step all the while he's throwing this huge tantrum. I find myself yelling a whole lot more than I used to and I don't want to be that mom that has to yell in order for him to listen to me but really, it's almost the only thing he'll respond to now. someone please tell me that this will pass.

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Asked by Anonymous at 8:35 PM on Dec. 10, 2010 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Answers (7)
  • it should pass but start looking up on here about odd behavour and things you could do, my friend has a very similar situation and her last resort for her son has been meds n he is now getting better but she has dealt with it for about 2years i hope yours grows out of it cos i know how tough it is on her

    Answer by angelbaby1323 at 8:41 PM on Dec. 10, 2010

  • Seeing that time out hasn't worked for him you might have to try something else, discipline doesn't have to be limited to timeout and spanking. I used to be a teacher for 4yr olds and they can be tricky.

    Answer by Jenaiko01 at 8:44 PM on Dec. 10, 2010

  • yes, it will get better. he's testing you. just try to keep your cool and be consistant. you can wear him down. what i do so i don't yell so much is i sat them down and told them that i was going to start something called 2 strikes and then you're in time out. so the first time i tell them to do something and they don't listen, i tell them again. that's strike one. if they are still not listening, i call them over (calmly) and get their attention. then i tell them it's strike 2 and if they don't do it they're going to time out. sometimes instead of time out i do another punishment (especially if it's dinner time drama). i'll tell them eat their dinner, give them a warning and then tell them on strike 2 if they don't eat their dinner there is no dessert. it works really well for my kids (5yo, 2yo). the key is to stay calm though. gl....i know it's so annoying.

    Answer by princessbeth79 at 8:44 PM on Dec. 10, 2010

  • Thank goodness it isn't just us!

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:01 PM on Dec. 10, 2010

  • Sounds pretty normal as at this age they are trying to assert their independence over EVERYTHING. Timeouts in our house for our 4yo son either involve me putting him in his room and sitting in the hall holding the door shut or strapping him into a highchair and setting him in the corner. Sounds vicious, but our son can get very aggressive and refuses to hold still for a time out at all. Sometimes you have to get creative. Also, sometimes, if he is really aggressive, I will take him to a quiet part of the house, turn off the lights and sit and just hold him in a bear hug, not allowing him to get up until he is calm I won't say anything except I love you while we sit there in the dark and he really seems to calm down nicely. Good luck!

    Answer by LadyKatya at 7:15 AM on Dec. 11, 2010

  • He doesn't get aggressive much other than stomping or pushing us away. I was thinking that it might be that he's not getting outside as much since the cold weather started. We used to go to the park almost everyday and now we are stuck in the house playing games or watching movies. So does anyone have ideas on how to get out his energy while stuck in the house?

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 6:06 PM on Dec. 11, 2010

  • Lots of moving games/dances. I keep a lot of empty cardboard boxes in the garage so that on days like yesterday (21.5 inches of snow and vicious winds) and today (-17 degree windchill) The kids can build forts and such and take turns being monsters or whatever. They also love to take turns being exercise instructors and lead the others in stretches and jumping jacks and such. That one is great because they love to exercise with me and it keeps me moving too.

    Answer by LadyKatya at 5:25 AM on Dec. 12, 2010

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