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How much obedience can I expect from 4 year old?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
She's actually 4 1/2, and it feels like I should be able to expect compliance to my reasonable requests (please get dressed) without too many repetitions. But perhaps I have unreasonable expectations. Does anyone know of a website or book that might give general guidelines on when this sort of thing "gets easier?" Would also appreciate personal experiences with this.
post #2 of 7
I think 4.5 year olds still need some physcial help getting through the things they are supposed to do. For some reason, their minds seem to wander ridiculously at this age. I would send my son to get dressed, and find him an hour later, in the nude, playing with bits of fuzz on his rug, completely oblivious. Nearly drove me crazy.

It helps to hang around, and nudge them along a bit with suggestions and conversation to keep them moving. He's 6 now -- and this sort of thing is *so* much easier. He can go shower, brush his teeth, and put on his pajamas after being reminded only that "Its time to get ready for bed."

Also -- I've learned it helps to depersonalize it. Instead of, "Please go get dressed" I might say, "Its time to get dressed." The first statement is an example of me getting to be in charge of him, and expecting obedience. Its a set up for a power struggle. The 2nd statement is an example of me helping him to keep to his schedule. I'm being a fascilitator instead of a boss.
post #3 of 7
I love anything by Brazelton. You might pick up his book on early childhood just to look over the development parts.

I find my son is very good but he does get easily distracted and part of this is due to his immense imagination.

Other 4 1/2 year olds I know are really flighty, I don't know any that are obediant.
post #4 of 7
I do think it's the age. My 4 1/2 year old needs a lot of reminders. Listening the first time is one of those things I'm always looking for so I can praise it - you know, accentuate the positive - and I just keep looking, and looking, and looking...:LOL

Though outdated, the developmental series by Ames and Ilg (entitled "Your Four-Year-Old," "Your Five-Year-Old," etc.) is pretty useful for knowing what's normal for each age. I find that they are often right on target. Just ignore some of the outdated stuff!
post #5 of 7
I can totally relate to this. My 4 1/2 yr old is the same way. She has her own agenda, and has trouble following mine. I keep repeating requests to her and feel like I am nagging all the time.
I have not found much that works. She can pick her clothes and get dressed by herself, brushes her teeth, pour a drink, get a snack, pick up toys, but of course, chooses not to do any of it on her own. "Mommy, can you help me, or mommy, I don't want to".

Mamaduck - that sounds like my DD - naked and playing in her room with her dolls instead of changing her clothes.

for everyone and I just pick and choose which battles are more important and that I want to fight. If she goes to bed in her clothes - oh well. IF she goes to school in her Pj's oh well. If she doesn't get breakfast before school - oh well. She will be the hungry one, not me. She will be the one in her pj's all day with her friends picking on her, not me. It happened to me when I was a kid and I hated it. She doesn't like it either, but until she follows the time line that is set in front of her, this is the only way I know to cope.
post #6 of 7
Originally posted by mingber

Mamaduck - that sounds like my DD - naked and playing in her room with her dolls instead of changing her clothes.
I am laughing my butt off here!!! Kaya does the same thing....sometimes I find her in bed playing with herself which is a whole nother post. I get stressed in the mornings cause she comes to work with me. We have had our share of power struggles but recently Kaya & I came to an agreement that mommy won't get mad if she listens and follow directions when I need her to. I also told her when she wants me to listen and help her, then I will. We help each other...or in Kaya's words..."we be nice to peoples right Mommy?!"

I am so glad to read that other 4 year olds don't follow directions.
post #7 of 7
Just to add something funny about naked children. I gave my kids a bath last night and got my son in his Pj's. I asked my DD to get in her's and I was going downstairs to cook something. 1/2 hour later, she comes downstairs naked and askes me if she can move her clothes around in her draws. I say, sure, just be neat about it. Then 15 minutes later she comes down dressed in long johns. It's 80 degrees outside! I asked her why and she said, I am playing dress up and it's winter time. I had to laugh. I then put DS to bed and when I went downstairs, DD was dressed in a summer nightgown. This child must change her clothes at least 3 times a day. My laundry is outragious! becuase she dirties everything she puts on.
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