Oppositional 4 year old!! How can I stay gentle in my parenting?? - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-07-2012, 07:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My son will be 4 this month and he challenges me daily. He refuses to do pretty much everything, from brushing his teeth, cleaning up toys and getting dressed. He only has 2 chores that he does daily outside of basic grooming and hygiene which is taking the compost out and making his bed( I don't expect this to be at all perfect, just as ligh as he tries). Weekly he helps take the trash out and puts away his clean clothes. That's about it. He constantly fights me on these things and I end up telling him that we can't do this or that until he cleans up/ whatever. Sometimes it works sometimes not. Also he just says no all the time! Ethan, it's time to go, it's time to put your shoes on, it's time to blah blah... He just says no and I have to go in and start putting on his shoes while he screams or I have to drag him out of said place. Not easy to do with a 18 month old in tow too. Can someone tell me please that this is just his age? I thought by 4 it would be a lot easier but it's seems so much harder than 18 months or 2!! Tonight I had to tell him that he had to go unbhto bed early and then he lost story privileges since he hit me after several warnings not to and then then he got in trouble for not giving a book back to his sister after telling him to many times. I think he was just hungry and maybe not feeling good, but surely he's at the age where he should be learning to control his emotions. He wouldn't tell me what was wrong. I just need guidance as I feel like I'm being a slack parent!!

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Old 12-07-2012, 07:47 PM
 
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Some kids are very difficult to parent at any age. I have one and I feel your pain. I think fewer, if any, warnings might help. At 4 I would not tolerate any hitting. First offense deserves a consequence. I would also recommend reading the mistaken goal chart at positivediscipline.com
 

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Old 12-07-2012, 08:12 PM
 
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I second the suggestion to talk less. Be very firm. 100% consistent about consequences. You dont have to be mean to do this, just be firm and show him that you mean it. And have a plan , about what consequences will be given for what action.
Also, try to read some books on emotional development at his age. If you understand where he is coming from, it becomes easier to discipline( and I mean gentle).

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Old 12-08-2012, 03:09 PM
 
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I agree too,  consistency and firmness usually work eventually.

But what else is going on?  Is he a child who likes to help and be with you, or is he usually obstinate and contrary?  Is the opposition something new or have you been dealing with this for more than a year?

 

And, yes indeedy, intentional hurting is not an option.  We say "People are not for hitting", "It's ok to be angry, it's not ok to hit."  and "Let's talk about why you want to hurt me?"  Mind you, if someone is hitting HIM, it's hard to separate that it's ok for him to BE hit, but not ok to hit others.

 

Is there a way to make a game of these things?  Can you talk about them when he's not in the 'heat of battle'?  I'd love to know more so that we can find the best solution for you...

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Old 12-09-2012, 12:09 PM
 
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I'm right there with you! 4 is hard... And that is why I call them the f***ing fours! I am hoping things will get easier? Besides the oppositional challenges.. my little guy is quite the stunt man. I am forced to interven between him and serious bodily harm several times a day.
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Old 12-10-2012, 02:21 PM
 
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I have found this book to be very helpful:

 

 

Parenting the Strong Willed Child by Rex Forehand and Nicholas Long.


If the people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny." Thomas Jefferson.

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Old 12-11-2012, 03:57 AM
 
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here are a couple of good books to read

 

your 4 year old by Louise Ames Bates (or is it Louise Bates Ames)

 

Playful Parenting

 

the thing with 4 year olds are they are starting to get more independent. and you are in trouble if you have a super independent stubborn 4 year old. 

 

the good news is they are very much into pleasing so you have to find their language. with dd if i made it sound like i needed her help she would jump at it. if i made a joke of it, even better. 

 

hitting is normal at this age. make sure he isnt hitting because he is tired or hasnt had enough physical activity to get his energy out. 

 

the 3 golden rules are still v. important - enough sleep, enough exercise and enough food in the belly. 

 

what i love about the Louise Ames Bates books (they are a series) is that they explain what is going on and what is age appropriate for that age. now remember they were written in the 60s so while their explanations are excellent, their advice of what to do might not be the greatest. 

 

it is helpful to know that fearsome fours is not the end of tough times. there is going to be another tough time between the ages of 5 and 7 - worse than you have ever seen before when conscience develops. then another one around 10 or 11. and then they hit the tweens. 

 

for some reason i though parenting would get easier after the 3s. HAH!!!! the bonding has gotten deeper with each year, but the emotional and intensity and the independence has been hard. 


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Old 12-12-2012, 11:50 AM
 
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I would also suggest " how to talk so your kids listen and how to listen so your kids talk"

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Old 01-20-2013, 08:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Turns out my son needed much more consistency and follow through. He seems to be doing well with firm boundaries and reliable follow through on consequences. What a difference 6 weeks makes! I did read How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk and it is really what sparked my motivation to change my parenting. Thank you for the suggestions!

DH(9/04) DS(12/08) and DD(5/11)

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