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What can I do with my 4 yr old...?

My 4 year old has been very challenging from day 1, I have tried what seems like everything to me, but I am sure I haven't tried everything. I am at a loss though, when he is with me and I go out in public, if he decides to throw a fit, then it's all over for me, he throws his fit and anything I try to do to get him to stop...just makes it totally don't know what to do with him. One thing I have noticed is he listens to his father like 100 times better than he listens to me, so I know he understands and can listen, but I feel like maybe I am part of the problem...what do I do?


Asked by bethysmiles29 at 4:14 PM on Nov. 7, 2008 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (4)
  • I agree with everyone who posted before me. I have read children use tantrums to get attention, even if it's negative attention. So be sure you have special "just us" time with him (my daughter is much better now that we have "projects" we do together like arts, crafts, learning.)

    Lay out rules and always follow through. Give choices, but only once. Don't give extra chances (my husband is TERRIBLE about giving chances, so my daughter is much worse behaved around him).

    If he insists on throwing a tantrum in public, as inconvenient as it is, pick up and leave. If it's at home, put him somewhere isolated and do not pay him any attention. I tell my daughter she may come back out when she's ready to behave like a big girl, and not before then.

    It won't fix it overnight, so stick to it 100%. It takes 28 days to break a habit.If none of this helps, I recommend seeing a counselor.

    Answer by mommee_b at 10:28 PM on Nov. 7, 2008

  • when you go to the store and he starts taking a fit you can say thats 1,2 and 3 and if he dont stop then take him to the car and go home it might help thats what i was told to do by my sons counsler and all kids listen to their dads more than their moms mine are the same way

    Answer by wendy232425 at 4:26 PM on Nov. 7, 2008

  • You need to instill respect for yourself in him. When you're at home, put down rules, like "Pick up your toys, or I'll throw them away, " and follow through. Give him a choice, so he begins to understand what consequences are all about. Why does he listen to his dad better? Maybe it's because Daddy doesn't let him get away with little things, so he's learned not to even attempt the bigger things. Your baby is going to be a teen sooner than you want - better to lay the respect foundation now, before it's too late.

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:36 PM on Nov. 7, 2008

  • Apparently he enjoys the attention gained by throwing a temper tantrum. Next time he does it in a public place tell him that he stops or you go to the car. If he doesn't stop, pick him up, buckle him in his car seat and let him throw his big tantrum while you stand outside of the car ignoring him. If he wants to throw a fit for an hour you need to ignore him until he calms down. Once calm you can ask him if he is ready to go back into the store or wherever. If this brings on a new fit close the door and ignore him until he is done and then get in the car and go home. Of course this should not be done on a hot day when temps in the car can get too high; I would just go home and make him sit in his room until he stops. Good luck.

    Answer by Colleen801 at 7:08 PM on Nov. 7, 2008