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6 Bumps

What to do with argumentative 4-year-old?

I know most of you are looking at the title of my question and laughing your butts off. ("Argumentative toddler? DUH!" lol)

But seriously, I could use some advice and encouragement. I am a full-time SAHM and I think that's part of the reason my 4-year-old has become progressively difficult with me. She will listen immediately when her dad/grandparents say something, but with me, she will argue and argue and ARGUE and it's only gotten worse lately.

I'm not giving in or encouraging her behavior, but things go on forever like this:

Daughter: "Mom, can I please have some more crackers?"

Me: "No, sweetie, you already had a lot and it's going to be dinnertime soon."

Daughter: "But Mom, I want some!"

Me: "I know you do, but you've had enough. The answer is no."

Daughter: "But MOM, I'm hungry for crackers!"

Me: "I said no. What would you like for dinner tonight?"


Me: "I'm going to start ignoring you now. I said no crackers, and the answer is still no."

**screaming, screaming, screaming,...**

Is there anything I can/should do, or do I just keep up what I've been doing? It is so bloody hard to ignore her when she gets into one of her argue streaks, but I try to. I literally never, ever give in, but consistency hasn't seemed to encourage her to give up. I am so tired of the same thing for every situation. As I'm sure many of you have experienced, the arguments are often about the stupidest possible thing! ("But MOM, I'm too TIRED to pick up the wrapper I threw on the floor!")

I know, I know, pick your battles and all that.

Gives me words of wisdom, ladies, so I know I'm not alone. :) lol

Answer Question

Asked by aliceryannesmom at 6:02 PM on May. 29, 2011 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 20 (8,465 Credits)
Answers (22)
  • After you have said 'No' the first time, if she asks again, put her in time out. If she starts screaming, tell her that her time out won't begin until she stops screaming and sits quietly. She might be there a long time the first time, but I can guarentee that it will be much shorter next time and she will soon stop arguing.

    Answer by layh41407 at 6:09 PM on May. 29, 2011

  • I do not debate or negotiate with my children, If I said no and it keep on they get one warning then time out.

    Kid: Can I have another one?
    Me: No. This was snack not a meal dinner will be soon (The answer and the reason are already given)
    Kid:But I'm still hungry
    Me: I already told you when dinner would be if you ask again you will be in time out. Do you understand? Say yes. ma'am.
    Kid: yes ma'am

    It hard to argue with something you have already a greed to. Every once in a while I will get a yes ma'am but... And then it is straight to time out. no more discussion.

    Answer by But_Mommie at 6:19 PM on May. 29, 2011

  • I feel your pain. My son is exactly like how you described your daughter. I look forward to reading even more helpful responses:)

    Answer by bloomsr at 6:24 PM on May. 29, 2011

  • My 4-year-old is TRYING to get this way as well. (watching for more tips)

    heres a bump for US!

    Answer by BaileysMom476 at 11:44 PM on May. 29, 2011

  • Use reverse Psychology. Kids HATE the word NO. Can I have crackers ? Yes, later when we are done with ....., we will have more. Figure out how to tell them yes by redirecting it for your benefit. They get confused but it works. Since they aren't told NO, there is nothing to argue about. Good Luck.

    Answer by LeJane at 12:12 AM on May. 30, 2011

  • Sometimes I say, "you can have more tomorrow"
    Sometimes I say, "we are saving the rest for daddy" or "to feed the birds" or somebody else
    Sometimes I say, "after you eat your dinner you can have 1 more"

    But I try to avoid saying NO because that is usually the trigger for an argument.

    In the event that I see I am being baited into an argument, I try to remain calm ala Screamfree Parenting (great book, by the way) and simply restate my answer, that it is final and should the arguing continue there will be consequences for being disrespectful. We have already established consequences for being disrespectful, so my kids know what that means and it usually stops there.

    Answer by nepenthe429 at 7:24 AM on May. 30, 2011

  • But I try to avoid saying NO because that is usually the trigger for an argument
    While I understand the 'don't say no it causes problems' thing. It winds up causing problems later when teachers and other adults say no. I recommend that you teach your kids to accept 'No' while they are young so you don't have to deal with the fallout later.

    Answer by layh41407 at 11:16 AM on May. 30, 2011

  • Just one no and an explanation. Then give a timeout warning at request number two. Follow thru on request three with a timeout. it should only be 1 minute per 1 year of age.

    Answer by mubbie at 11:16 AM on May. 30, 2011

  • You are not alone, and every child is different. Keep trying different tecniques and you will find one that they will respond to. It is normal at these ages to have power struggles. The terrible twos' end sometime around adulthood. Hang in there and keep your humor. When you get frustrated, just laugh. They will soon see that they are not going to control you. Ask for and give hugs often, ( approach it as mommy needs a hug ) especially when they are acting up. It will help to calm them and you. :-)

    Answer by LeJane at 11:30 AM on May. 30, 2011

  • She has to learn that no means no, and that is the way it is. Tell her once, and when she back talks you put her in time out and ignore her. Thats right, no explanations, no cajoling, no reasurrances. Don't start her time until she stops screaming. You will feel like the worst mom ever. Its ok. Just remind yourself of how much fun it would be for her to be 13 and start that. Or what if when shes an adult, she thinks bullying people to get her way is ok, it will not work out that way.

    Answer by CoiaCuppcake at 5:47 PM on May. 30, 2011

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