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chrissy020
chrissy020 asks:
Q:

How can I get my 4 year old to listen to me???

My 4 year old doesn't listen to me when I ask her to do something.  Brushing teeth, picking up toys, etc.  She always responds with NO.  Sometimes I get so mad and scream and have cussed at her before.  If I send her to her room, I have to stand there and hold the door shut.  I am at my wits end and I know that part of the problem is me becuase I have a short temper, but I don't know what to do to get her to listen to me.   I have even spanked her out of anger/frustration before.  The "episodes" seem to be getting more frequent as well.
In Topics: Preschool, Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Dr.Monika
Dec 7, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

Your child needs to know what to expect. All children like predictability in their lives and having structure helps them behave.

First, establish daily routines.

Second, decide which behaviors will have consequences.  At age 4 years, time out (one min. per year of life) works well.  You can also start to withhold privileges.  For example, if your daughter does not clean up her toys after you ask her to, you can remove the toys from her for a day or two. Be consistent with the consequences, so your daughter knows that you mean what you preach!

Third, do not spank or yell.  It plainly does not work and breeds resentment.  Also, it sends a message that yelling and hitting is an acceptable way of dealing with issues.

Need help with parenting skills?  Ask your child's regular health care provider for a recommendation.

Best regards.

Suggested readings:

Practicing healthy discipline

http://www.pluggedinparents.com/component/content/article/172

Dealing with discipline

http://www.pluggedinparents.com/component/content/article/667

The concept of "no"

http://www.pluggedinparents.com/component/content/article/279

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Additional Answers (8)

vineetgarg
vineetgarg writes:
if you say politely and silently then he may listen to you
> 60 days ago

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domsmom04
domsmom04 writes:
My son has autism and I struggled for a long time with compliance.  Here's what works for us.  Remove from your daughter EVERYTHING that she enjoys.  This may seem cruel, but for a while it may be neccesary.  When you think about life, nothing is free.  You have to work to get things that you enjoy.  So let's just say she loves Barbies.  Take them, put them into a locked box or somewhere she absolutely cannot get to them.  Then when you ask her to do something make sure you phrase it like, "When you do ____, then you can have barbies."  It will not change overnight and you will have struggles, but eventually she will learn that good behavior equals good things.  I would try to refrain from yelling, spanking, etc.  because it can only fuel her anger and defiance.  Also make sure to give her LOTS of positive reinforcement when she complies.  When she does something that is asked says lots of good jobs and give high fives and show her how proud you are of her. Now i do not really remove anything from my son.  He just knows that when ____ is done then he will have time to play with _____.  Hope this helps?!
> 60 days ago

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Iamamentor
Iamamentor writes:
I'm glad you realize that you need to modify your behavior, because I think that your child may respond positively if you demonstrate a noticably calm demeanor.  A 4 yr old is learning what is acceptable, and I wouldn't want her to feel that yelling, cussing, etc. are acceptable.  Try gently taking her hands in yours and getting her to focus on what you say.  Then tell her that she is to brush her teeth if she wants to play with her friends tomorrow (etc. - a positive consequence).  If she responds with a NO, hold her on your lap in a firm but loving way, and tell her that we are not going to accept that kind of reply any more.  Tell her that she can say she doesn't want to, but she cannot tell you NO.  You must be consistant with this if you want her to change.  As for picking up toys, etc., make sure she understands exactly what you expect by asking her what she is supposed to do.  If she doesn't know, you may need to explain more specifically, or just repeat the request with a calm voice until she can tell you what she is suppose to do.  If you can change the behavior now, you will save yourself a lot of trouble in the future.  But remember that at 4, she may not be able to communicate to you just what is going on with her emotionally.  Sometimes behavior can be a way of saying "I want you to spend more time with me."  Or she could just be saying "I want to be my own boss!"  In the latter case, you may be "bucking heads" for many years to come; but remember that you are the adult.  Therefore you must act as one in authority by maintaining control of both your own emotions & actions, as well as her behavior.  (My kids are grown, but I still recall how I allowed my oldest to "push my buttons" - he was so good at it!  I have to credit God with restraining me at times.  How I wish I'd been emotionally more mature!  I pray you allow God to help you in your role as a parent.
> 60 days ago

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motimer
motimer writes:
Dear chrissy020, Your 4 year old and you are fine. Relax, breath, and remember she is only 4. There are too many distractions in the little people's world these days. If there are too many things she says no too; then work on one task at a time.
Brushing her teeth: 1) try to set a certain time, day or night
2) every time she completes the task tell her how great she was, and how proud you are of her, 3) work only at one task at a time
Once she learns to brush her teeth without all the fuss; then move unto picking up toys.
If you can try,  make it fun for her, rather than screaming, or sending her to her room.
Humbly yours,mortimer
> 60 days ago

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WorriedParent
WorriedParent writes:
When my children were preschool they refused to pick up their toys - I set the timer for 10 minutes and told them that any left on the floor would be put into a bin bag and thrown away.  They both ignored it and I ended up throwing away their toys - now (8&9) they tidy when asked.
I have heard myself scream "stop screaming" at my children (and have heard other parents) but was told by another older mother to go out of the room (providing the children are safe in the room they are in) and close the door behind you - take a couple of deeps breaths, calm down and walk back in put the kettle on and say nothing to the children.  My two hated me leaving the room and could not stand the silence - would come up and apologise (not all the time) and then sit and have a cuddle.
Good luck - remember when she is a mother and going through this you can remind her what she was like as a child!!
> 60 days ago

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Reneebk
Reneebk writes:
my son (3 years old) also has major listening issues.
This is what i do:
for bad behavior and not listening there has to be consequences,i take away TV time and toys
time out on a chair in a corner sometimes helps too (age appropriate)
Good luck!!!
> 60 days ago

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Rebecca503
Rebecca503 writes:
I know exactly how you feel and what you are going through. I figured I would Google my problem and maybe something or someone would give me advice. I have read your answers from other people and I hope it helps me as well as you. My 4yr old is worst than my 12 and 9 yr old boys. Good luck.
> 60 days ago

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LovingMommy
LovingMommy writes:
I would suggest taking a timeout for yourself as frequently as needed before acting out on your anger.  

But for the disciplining part, how about when she asks for something, give her an incentive first, and then ask her to complete a task. For example, when she asks if she can watch TV, instead of yielding to her right away, tell her that she needs to complete a task before she gets her reward.
> 60 days ago

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