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Anonymous asked in Pregnancy & ParentingToddler & Preschooler · 1 decade ago

Problems with 4 year old?

I am 20. My parents died and left legal guardianship of my 13 year old sister, 4 and 9 year old brother. My gf is also pregnant. The 4 year old seems to think that he runs the house. If I tell him no swimming today he will go against me and jump in the pool. I tell him that that is a no no because he could get hurt. If I tell him it's time for bed he'll tell me no it's your bed time. At dinner he throws his food and I take it away and say if you can't eat like a big boy you won't be finishing your meal. If he continues to throw it I take it and put it in the fridge for later. He hits me and back talks. He does have a thing with cursing. I have given him a few swats on his butt for going in the pool without anyone watching and for disobeying me and throwing his food constantly. I also take his cherished toys away and put him in timeout. He also likes to run in the street and let go of my hand when we go shopping. I have no clue what to do about this. It's constant and I have gotten calls from his day care center telling me that he picks on some of the kids there and throws fits when they say no or when they don't go outside. He also does that here. Please help.

P.S. I have this question in parenting too but not many people are answering. I really need help and advice thanks.


Thanks for all your answers. Right now he is taking a nap cause he is quiet cranky. Thanks fo all your sympathy. Who ever said giving them to someone else. Im sorry but I can't do that to them. They just lost their parents they can't lose another family member. I do think he is grieving but he was acting this same way when they still were alive.

18 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer


    one heck of a mess up kid

    my sister is like that (at times)

    make the others help you out by taking care of him and making sure he doesn't go swimming(like the older siblings)

    as for school...tell him he'll get rewards for being nice and not getting in going swimming and stuff

    and he's only four years old...make sure to get it though his head that your the boss...or he's going to walk all over you

    good luck my friend!

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  • 1 decade ago

    You have your hands full and kudos to you for taking your younger siblings. It's better they are with you than in foster care. Now about the 4 year old. He is acting like that probably because he misses his mom and dad. I know all of you do but he's the youngest. You said your girlfriend is pregnant so maybe he feel like you won't love him as much when the baby comes. 4 year olds are at an age where they test boundaries and he's pushing his to the breaking point. Try to sit him down and ask him basic questions that he understands and try to get to the root of the problem then the solution will be easy. If he's not under control when the baby is born he might hurt the baby. You could try the rewards calendar. That's where you buy a calendar and stickers and have him earn stickers for basic things like obeying rules. At the end of the week if he has so many he earns a prize. At the end of the month he earns a big surprize. The prizes can be inexpensive or even a trip to the park or even a day dedicated to him. Have your other siblings help out too. You could do calendars for all of them if you want to just to set an example for the 4 year old. If all else fails SUPERNANNY!!! Good luck to you. Remember god will bless you for being there for your siblings in their time of need.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I am so, so, sorry for your situation.

    You sound like a very good person, that quite frankly is in over your head.

    Your brother is acting out because he misses his parents, and doesn't understand the new situation he is in. It is impossible to explain this to a 4 year old. At 20, with a pregnant girlfriend and a 13 and 9 year old kids to be responsible for, I am afraid you are probably constantly stressed, and not in the best emotional or psychological mood to be dealing with a greaving 4 year old.

    You need professional help. Please try to find a good Christian church that can advise you. Or look in the yellow pages for social services. Dig up phone numbers of an aunt or uncle. Honestly, a church might be your best bet, a better relationship with God wouldn't hurt.

    But please, don't think you need to do this all on your own. You are young, and have your own life ahead of you. Your siblings deserve mature parents raising them, and you deserve a break, plus you have your own responsibilities now with a child. You are a good brother and a good son, you are trying your best. But sometimes doing the right thing means understanding your limitations, and asking someone else to help you out.

    Good luck, and I will be praying for your and your family.

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  • 4 years ago

    I think most 4 year olds have trouble listening, and I'd be wary of a teacher labeling a child ADHD so young. Sometimes it's actually the teacher who is having the trouble because they don't have enough discipline and coping mechanisms in their own toolbox for every type of personality. My 4 year old ran rings around her first teacher, who labelled her troublesome, willful, undisciplined, the whole nine yards. We moved her to a teacher who had a different approach, and she's one of the brightest in the class, loves her teacher, loves learning and is well behaved during class play times. I think you're right to look at diet though. The main things I've tried to cut out are refined sugars and carbs, sodas (even non-caffinated) and anything with a large amount of artificial dyes, including those almost-glow-in-the-dark yoghurts! Try replacing them with fruit, water and 100% fruit juices, and whole grain breads and pastas. But, especially if your doctor is OK, then try not to worry too much, there are a lot of hyper kids out there, just being kids.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I'm so sorry for your loss, what a huge and sudden responsibility on the heels of such a shocking loss.

    Your baby brother is angry and lashing out. He needs a lot more hugs and snuggling now. When he gets angry and says rude things it's time to take him to a quiet place and talk. I know it feels more appropriate to give him a time out, or swat, but that's going to make it all much worse. He's been abandoned by his parents and he's all messed up over it. It's going to take a truckload of love to help him recover from such a massive loss at such a delicate age.

    I know your plate is full, but you need to rally your sister and brother to share the love and help each other through this. Even though they may be coping better than your baby brother, they no doubt need the extra hugs and "I Love You's" and "I'm Proud Of You's" too, everyone does.

    If there are any grief recovery groups for kids in your area you might want to bring your siblings. A social services office would have a list of such groups/services. Better to offer support now than deal with troubled teens in a few more years.

    Source(s): Best of luck to you and your growing family.
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  • 1 decade ago

    I have had a similar problem w/my 4 yr old stepson. He breaks toys and beats on the wall in time outs, or refuses to stay in time out. I have been little by little removing toys and other things he likes or is using to beat against the door. My next step is going to be taking everything out of his room and giving it back as he starts earning it with proper behavior. I don't want to spank and hoped if I ever did it would hopefully hurt and be the last time I'd have to. It hurt, but probably me more than him lol. It didn't solve anything for long. Maybe if I would of been consistent and spanked the next time he deserved it, it might have been more beneficial, I just don't want to have to go down that road. But, maybe you should.

    BTW your a good dude, I hope everything works. I don't know how you'd find the time for counseling, and see no logical reason why it should be a "Christian" one. I don't think praying is a real answer, it's just hoping. We have the tools to solve problems, whether they came from God or not, it's our job to use them. I don't think the supernatural is the answer.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Its difficult when any child plays up especially a child aged 4 does it. The key thing to do is peservere with him and put him in time-out when he misbehaves. 1 min for his age eg age 4 equals 4mins. Once he has calmed down calmly explain to him that you are unhappy with his behaviour and not with him and then ask him to say sorry and hug him. This shows him that you love and care about him. NEVER hit a child as it hurts and doesnt get the message across and he may get more upset and misbehave. Just be paitent. As for him eating his dinner you are right to remove the food but dont say 'eat like a big boy' as he is only four and that would just undermine him. All 4 year olds may play up at the table. It may be a good idea to remove him from the situation eg timeout and then explain to him in a way he understands that he must eat his food as it is good for him. Oh and good luck!

    Source(s): I am a teacher working with this age group.
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  • 1 decade ago

    Of course you don't - I became a mum at 20 and find it hard enough with my own boy whose the same age....its an age where they start to reach for independance and you haven't raised him so its an issue of respect which you can gain - make sure you always follow punishments through don't appear weak.

    He is most probably confused and hurt about why his mom isn't around, and why should he listen to anyone else?? I think although he is your you could do with getting proper advice - any other family members, do you have a counsellor or something you could arrange - I know its something you could get for free in the UK but I am guessing you are in US?

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Wow you have a lot of responsibilities at twenty years old.

    I work at a daycare center and have seen a lot of issues like the problems your talking about with the 4 year old. Most of the children with these problems come from the children with broken homes. His routine is messed up and that has a big impact upon kids. What you can do is develop a new routine and stick with it. Have dinner, and bed time at the same times. You prolly think im crazy.... but let me tell you its where your going to have to i said routine has a big impact on kids.

    Another thing. Ignore his comebacks to you. For bed time, put him in his bed and say goodnight one time. If he gets out of bed, pick him up and put him back in bed with out saying a word. Repeat this until he falls a sleep. It may take him a while to get used to this but he will. you may think its impossible he will never give in but he will just be patient and dont give up.

    Food throwing, your doing the right thing by taking his food away. Dont even save it for later. If he starts throwing food give him one warning and then take his plate away without explanation and throw it away. he knows why you took his plate. You may feel bad and feel like your starving him but if you stick to it he will learn.he will take you seriously.

    For shopping or going places.... if you have to put him in a cart or stroller.

    I have one kid at daycare that sounds exactly like your 4 year old brother. He just really needs a routine and needs someone who will be patient and consistent with him. To help you out more, id like to know more about this child. you can email me at ericarenee08@verizon. net

    Source(s): working with 3-5 year olds every day.
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  • 1 decade ago

    I think you should set some rules! Tell him if he doesn't listen to you then you will ground him. It's time to get tough, you need to show everyone that you are the man of the house. 4 year olds boys are the worst! My brother is 4 and when I babysit him he will make the worst mess ever! So I tell him I will take away his favorite toy and from there he'll begin to listen. Good luck with raising the kids! And I'm sorry about your parents.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I had a lot of problems with my 3yr old doing a lot of these things. I put him in Pre-K and with in a few weeks of school he got a lot better. He had teachers who made him listen and he didnt get to do the things the other kids got to do when he was mean. If you can afford it, Id try that. you will have more problems when he goes to Public school next year.

    At dinner if he tosses the food, toss it in the trash and tell him to go to his room till he can say he is food when he comes back out. Make him clean the mess off the floor, and put his plate in the sink. No TV after all this, he can play quietly til bed. He doesnt get dinner that night since he chose to put it on the floor.

    when he gets in the pool...go in after him clothes and all, pull him out and stick him in time out or his room for 4 minutes..he gets out, put him back in. (It sometimes takes 30 min to get my 3yr old to sit there for 3min.)

    When you take toys away...keep them away they dont come back til he works for them. Try giving him little chores like helping make his bed or fold clothes or picking out his own clothes, feeding dogs, putting his dish in the sink after he eats, spray the tables when you all are cleaning.

    bed, keep to the same bed time each night. Warn him hour before what ever it is you do. I do hour before I say bed in an have 30 min min. before we need to go relax. We count down and watch 1 show (30 min long) then I say its almost over bed after this. Ok time for bed. we read and I walk away. He comes out I wakl him back in there and sit outside the door. At times it took 2 hours. He is now staying in his bed but it took about a week and a half.

    Maybe talk to him about him acting up for being sad...he is 4 he understands what you mean and will be able to tell you his feelings you may need to ask questions to get him to talk but let him know he can talk to you anytime he is sad and if he is sad its no reason to act up that he will cont. to get a punishment for his actions.

    If he starts to act up maybe ask him what is going on why he is acting up or in this behavior...ask him questions if you think yo uknow why, like is he tired or did so and so make him mad..try to get him to tell you why he is acting mean or ugly.

    DONT ever give the other two the respons. to take care of him. They are too young and will start to act up as well because they wont want to do that.

    Your young and its so sad you were left with this situation, its hard for an older person who had the 3 kids. Maybe the whole family should talk to a someone about all the stress and loss of yo0ur parents so you can get to a point ot openly talk about your feelings together to learn to support eachother.

    Good Luck.

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