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How do you teach independance when you can't leave your child alone

My four year old has been so naughty lately. He says he has to go to the bathroom so I tell him to go. I go into the bathroom later and he has toiletpapered the bathroom. Last night he poured his bath soap into the cats litter box. This morning I told him to go brush his teeth. I timed him, when I went to check on him teeth not brushed, soap all over my counters. I want to teach him to be able to do things on his own but I can't trust him.


Asked by sandbuster at 9:07 AM on Feb. 10, 2011 in General Parenting

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Answers (8)
  • He has to clean up his own mess, that's rule number 1. And at this point, you don't give him independence. Complete independence is EARNED and thus far, he has not EARNED it. And let him know this. Let him know that until he can prove that he can go to the bathroom alone without messing it up - you go with him. He has to know that trust is earned and thus far you don't trust him in the bathroom alone.

    Answer by twinsplus2more at 10:09 AM on Feb. 10, 2011

  • do you make him clean up his mess?? You need to have strong consequences for your son

    Answer by Zakysmommy at 9:09 AM on Feb. 10, 2011

  • Maybe you need to give him more time. Kids mature at different rates and arent always the same as other kids they are around. I would maybe take him to the bathroom and get the toothpaste on the toothbrush and then tell him to start brushing. Whne you see he has step out for one minute then back in and make sure he will rinsing. I would do it that way baby steps until he shows he will do what is asked of him without making a mess.

    Answer by gemgem at 9:13 AM on Feb. 10, 2011

  • He's four? You can teach him independence without leaving him on his own. You supervise. Yes he can get his toothbrush ready and brush - but you're still standing there making sure it gets done. Give him jobs to do, but be there while he's doing it.

    A four year old that has an eye ball on him is not missing out on an independence lesson. He's 4 with great curiosity - you're going to use it wisely. Set parameters for him to explore his world. Supervise. Give him jobs. Just don't send him off on his own to do them until he's mature enough to actually *do* them without needing an eye on him.

    Answer by ldmrmom at 11:25 AM on Feb. 10, 2011

  • oh my. sounds like a prankster. you better be careful or he will grow up like mine and let 100 doves loose in the school on opening day of hunting season. Or put snakes in the coaches desk. Or convince 20 kids to help him build a trampoline in the school courtyard for them to jump on between classes. Yup, you better nip this in the bud or learn to buy wine on sale early. :) GL I got nothin..............

    Answer by jewjewbee at 9:31 AM on Feb. 10, 2011

  • He needs to learn the consequences of his behavior. And you need to be very strict with him. He needs to clean up his mess even his he ends up having a temper tantrum. If that doesn't work, counseling.

    Is he an only child or does he have older sibling and is trying to get your attention?

    Answer by robinkane at 9:31 AM on Feb. 10, 2011

  • UHM I could be wrong but I think 4 is a bit young to teach independence and I think everything he did is normal 4y/o behavior how cte you have a 4 y/o who's normal

    I hoover over my kids and my 6 almost 7 year old is the most independent person I know My son has not achieved that yet and its ok when he's ready he will (hes 4)

    Answer by MELRN at 10:53 AM on Feb. 10, 2011

  • My ds, 3.5, is a lot like your ds. I have gone over "proper bathroom behavior". I have also made a sign that's telling him don't play with the toilet paper (he has TPed the bathroom, he has dropped it in the potty and he has put it in a sink full of water!!) I also have a picture of soap and explain that if he doesn't pour all the soap in the sink (we have the Lysol auto pump and he just stands there and runs his hand under it to dispense the soap! lol (I HAVE to laugh...) He'll get a lollipop. And he does this with supervision! I give him less that 5 min and he still gets into stuff. Don't even get me started on the swirly he gave himself, covering the cat with cleaner and the countless times I've skidded across the floor to land on my behind because he's spilled something! I can't imagine what he'd do if he had more time! He is just "adventurous" lol. Heaven help me! And all this with a 9 year old with autism!

    Answer by Austinsmom35 at 10:21 PM on Feb. 11, 2011