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Toddlers & Preschoolers Toddlers & Preschoolers

Discipline for a strong-willed 4 yo?

Posted by on Apr. 7, 2014 at 10:31 PM
  • 12 Replies

I am brainstorming new discipline techniques for my high needs 4 year old for his severe tantrums when he does not get his way. Although I appreciate all feedback, he is not a typical child who has responded to  time puts or reward charts or systems. I would love to hear from other mothers who have older strong-willed children about how they dealt with them at age 4.

background: he is 4 1/2 years old 2nd born who was in behavioral therapy with me at age 3 (we stopped at age 4). He essentially has an explosive type personality, completely loses self-control when he does not get what he wants. He hits, spits, says horrible, hateful things. Currently we continue to practice self-control exercises when calm, discuss proper behavior when calm, and when the tantrum starts he gets taken immediately to a room, loses whatever he wanted for an extended period of time and often other privileges. Tonight I had to restrain him in order to get him to lay down. But alas the horrific behavior continues. I always feel like I fail him, thankfully his older brother is a typical child and responds to discipline in a normal manner, so I am familiar with traditional techniques

And becauses I know it will be recommended by a few, I'll address spanking--if you think it is helpful for a strong willed child, then you 've never met mine! 

by on Apr. 7, 2014 at 10:31 PM
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Replies (1-10):
ambergem
by on Apr. 7, 2014 at 10:42 PM
1 mom liked this
My 4 yo daughter is the strong willed of our four. I recently found from on here a couple distraction tricks that really worked with her mid-full meltdown. Shouting there's a frog! And asking a completely silly question like do jelly beans rain on the ocean? paused her long enough for her to come back to reality and be much more amenable to talking to. My MD said keep them in the same room for time out. When I would put her in her room, she would make scrape marks all down her legs. Also, asking her to take a shower once within reason has calmed her down a lot. With my DD, love and hugs help way more than discipline in some situations. I never tried it because it seemed like rewarding bad behavior, but if I can talk her down I will tell her to hug it out, which puts her in the mood for a stern but loving talk in my arms.
JuneCleaver256
by on Apr. 7, 2014 at 10:43 PM
I fill a squirt bottle and spray my cats in the face. Hope this helps.
Marti123
by Member on Apr. 7, 2014 at 10:47 PM
1 mom liked this

LOL! 

Quoting JuneCleaver256: I fill a squirt bottle and spray my cats in the face. Hope this helps.


bhwrn1
by on Apr. 8, 2014 at 5:35 AM

I use 123 Magic. It pretty much saved me with my middle, who is VERY strong willed (since he's 18 months and he's 7 and still going strong).

wife-4-life
by Bronze Member on Apr. 8, 2014 at 6:13 AM
1 mom liked this
My 2-1/2yo (my 2nd born) is strong willed with nasty tantrums. She also holds her breaths and swallows air (really bad- has distended stomach because of it). Right now we do
1) time outs- she stands, facing a wall (sometimes I have her out her hands on the wall I keep them occupied or else she is hitting herself and stuff), and I have her breathe with me inhale-exhale. By doing this her hands are distracted and she is focusing on breathing which calms her down an keeps her from swallowing air.
2) I give her a giant "bear hug" to keep her from flopping. Around and being violent. She usually fights it for a little while but then melts and we can talk.
Sitting down time outs and spankings do not work on this Child.

My oldest who is strong willed used to bang her head in the wall and hit or bye herself. She is turning 4 next week and has out grown that. But if she gets into a "mood" she will flat out say "no I can't" or "I won't" and slams doors ad screams loudly. But standing time outs w/ counting to 10 (however many times we need to to calm her down & distract her) then lots of hugs and I love you'd keep her in line for the most part.

I want to try the time out bottle as a distraction. A plastic bottle filled with water, glue & glitter. The can shake it and watch the glitter twirl around and stuff. It supposed to be calming from what I've read. I've seen them on Pinterest.
Marti123
by Member on Apr. 8, 2014 at 10:50 AM
Like this book, works great with my ODS, typical child.

Thanks for the response!

Quoting bhwrn1:

I use 123 Magic. It pretty much saved me with my middle, who is VERY strong willed (since he's 18 months and he's 7 and still going strong).

Marti123
by Member on Apr. 8, 2014 at 10:55 AM
Sounds like some good techniques. I've seen those bottles, they do look soothing, I think I need it more than him some days, just kidding.

Any suggestions on how to make the child stay in the time out area? That is my most difficult challenge. We could put him back in that space for hours, literally until he has bruises from fighting against us. He hates, hates being restrained with a hug. We do it, but it's a hard task so of like roping a wild snorting boar, lol! I have no idea, what I am going to when he gets bigger.

Quoting wife-4-life: My 2-1/2yo (my 2nd born) is strong willed with nasty tantrums. She also holds her breaths and swallows air (really bad- has distended stomach because of it). Right now we do
1) time outs- she stands, facing a wall (sometimes I have her out her hands on the wall I keep them occupied or else she is hitting herself and stuff), and I have her breathe with me inhale-exhale. By doing this her hands are distracted and she is focusing on breathing which calms her down an keeps her from swallowing air.
2) I give her a giant "bear hug" to keep her from flopping. Around and being violent. She usually fights it for a little while but then melts and we can talk.
Sitting down time outs and spankings do not work on this Child.

My oldest who is strong willed used to bang her head in the wall and hit or bye herself. She is turning 4 next week and has out grown that. But if she gets into a "mood" she will flat out say "no I can't" or "I won't" and slams doors ad screams loudly. But standing time outs w/ counting to 10 (however many times we need to to calm her down & distract her) then lots of hugs and I love you'd keep her in line for the most part.

I want to try the time out bottle as a distraction. A plastic bottle filled with water, glue & glitter. The can shake it and watch the glitter twirl around and stuff. It supposed to be calming from what I've read. I've seen them on Pinterest.
wife-4-life
by Bronze Member on Apr. 8, 2014 at 11:28 AM
I always had trouble keeping the older two in time out chairs- they always got up but I seem to have better luck with them standing. I put a sad face on the wall and explained to them (when I did it- everyone was in chipper moods so they listened) that the sad face was the time out spot. My 2-1/2yo has trouble still she will throw hersel on the floor. I just keep standing her up. I set a timer for time out- 1 min per year of age. The hate the timer but they know if they want to keep growing fits in Ionesco out I add a minute. The first week or two were pretty rough but then they understood I meant business. With dd2 is a battle but I always win.

I wish each kid came with a manual! Lol. I know hat you mean about needing te calming bottle more than the kid! :)

Quoting Marti123: Sounds like some good techniques. I've seen those bottles, they do look soothing, I think I need it more than him some days, just kidding.

Any suggestions on how to make the child stay in the time out area? That is my most difficult challenge. We could put him back in that space for hours, literally until he has bruises from fighting against us. He hates, hates being restrained with a hug. We do it, but it's a hard task so of like roping a wild snorting boar, lol! I have no idea, what I am going to when he gets bigger.

Quoting wife-4-life: My 2-1/2yo (my 2nd born) is strong willed with nasty tantrums. She also holds her breaths and swallows air (really bad- has distended stomach because of it). Right now we do
1) time outs- she stands, facing a wall (sometimes I have her out her hands on the wall I keep them occupied or else she is hitting herself and stuff), and I have her breathe with me inhale-exhale. By doing this her hands are distracted and she is focusing on breathing which calms her down an keeps her from swallowing air.
2) I give her a giant "bear hug" to keep her from flopping. Around and being violent. She usually fights it for a little while but then melts and we can talk.
Sitting down time outs and spankings do not work on this Child.

My oldest who is strong willed used to bang her head in the wall and hit or bye herself. She is turning 4 next week and has out grown that. But if she gets into a "mood" she will flat out say "no I can't" or "I won't" and slams doors ad screams loudly. But standing time outs w/ counting to 10 (however many times we need to to calm her down & distract her) then lots of hugs and I love you'd keep her in line for the most part.

I want to try the time out bottle as a distraction. A plastic bottle filled with water, glue & glitter. The can shake it and watch the glitter twirl around and stuff. It supposed to be calming from what I've read. I've seen them on Pinterest.
kinshipcaremama
by on Apr. 9, 2014 at 12:24 AM
1 mom liked this

Have you tried Parent Child Interactive Therapy? (PCIT)  I did that with my youngest, adopted shortly before his third birthday, and it works wonders!  They teach you how to discipline your child in a way that works best for your child.  My DS is very smart and very strong willed and responded well to PCIT.  It also helped with bonding.  Probably not so much an issue with a bio child but HUGE with adoption.  Google it and see if you think it could help.

Marti123
by Member on Apr. 9, 2014 at 10:25 AM
Thank you, I will.

Quoting kinshipcaremama:

Have you tried Parent Child Interactive Therapy? (PCIT)  I did that with my youngest, adopted shortly before his third birthday, and it works wonders!  They teach you how to discipline your child in a way that works best for your child.  My DS is very smart and very strong willed and responded well to PCIT.  It also helped with bonding.  Probably not so much an issue with a bio child but HUGE with adoption.  Google it and see if you think it could help.

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