Share you successful discipline techniques for a 4 year old please! — The Bump
Pre-School

Share you successful discipline techniques for a 4 year old please!

When time out, sticker charts, talking through it etc. doesn't work, what does?

When our son misbehaves (yelling or talking back, refusing to do what he's told, etc.), we can usually curtail it quickly by telling him we don't talk to people who yell/speak rudely/refuse to clean up etc. and then ignoring him and he will immediately apologize or calm down because he hates not getting attention from us. But he will often do the same thing 10 second or 10 minutes later. We feel like we can stop it in the moment but we can't get him to stop doing things overall. He used to behave perfectly at preschool (he's introverted and shy in new situations) but now that he is more comfortable there he acts out there too- nothing crazy, but he will make silly animal sounds or say no and refuse to do what the teacher asks sometimes. He can be very defiant, but not to ODD levels. His teacher thinks it's just emotional immaturity (he's also at the young end of his class- he'll be 5 in July and will start kindergarten in September), but doesn't think we should keep him in an extra year of preK because he is very intelligent and she thinks he will be bored in preK and act out more if he gets bored. 

I'm looking for input and long term success strategies I guess.

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Re: Share you successful discipline techniques for a 4 year old please!

  • When my 4 year old is behaving bad enough that we have to deal with it (rather than ignore minor stuff), we usually start counting and if he doesn't knock it off by the time we reach 3, he gets time out. Very rarely do we even have to put him in time out because he knows that we mean business. I guess we've been "strict" from the very beginning in the sense that if we threaten something, we follow through. Ignoring worked when he was a toddler but as he got to be 2.5, 3 and now 4, ignoring doesn't solve the problem or correct the behavior so we use time out's for our threats. We don't yell, we don't get all worked up, we just calmly tell him that what he's doing isn't cool and he better stop or he's getting a time out.

    This age is tough, I know. I think consistency is key AND praising them and acknowledging them when they are good helps a lot too.

  • Structure, consistency, finding his "currency" and using it in your favor. 

    It seems like he's grown into a stage where he has a more sophisticated understanding of how to challenge the rules and how to conform to them -- which is ultimately a good thing.  What he seems to be lacking is the impulse control to stop himself from doing naughty things.

    When my son went through a similar stage of challenging and sassing, I worked hard (when I could, of course) to catch him in the "wind up" to something sassy.  If I could tell he was getting ready to talk back or to be defiant, I would verbally intervene and say, "Hey -- Think about what you're doing. What choice are you about to make?  What will happen if you make that choice?"

    Sometimes this verbal "speed bump" would be enough.  Pretty soon he internalized the ability to manage his impulses himself.
    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
    TwizBeans
  • Structure, consistency, finding his "currency" and using it in your favor. 

    It seems like he's grown into a stage where he has a more sophisticated understanding of how to challenge the rules and how to conform to them -- which is ultimately a good thing.  What he seems to be lacking is the impulse control to stop himself from doing naughty things.

    When my son went through a similar stage of challenging and sassing, I worked hard (when I could, of course) to catch him in the "wind up" to something sassy.  If I could tell he was getting ready to talk back or to be defiant, I would verbally intervene and say, "Hey -- Think about what you're doing. What choice are you about to make?  What will happen if you make that choice?"

    Sometimes this verbal "speed bump" would be enough.  Pretty soon he internalized the ability to manage his impulses himself.

    GREAT suggestion!
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