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4 year old and 3 year old.......4 year old behavioral problems

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Old 05-14-2008, 05:31 AM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Charleston, SC
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CruiseMomInSC HB User
4 year old and 3 year old.......4 year old behavioral problems

Our 4 year old tends to "feed" off of the 3 year old's toddler ways. He will throw temper tantrums and just act worse than the 3 year old at times. There are a lot of times where he's such a good boy and we praise him, telling him "wow, you're really the big boy now!" We give him big boy responsibilities, etc. but this attitude and throwing temper tantrums is horrid. Our three year old does the typical things and we encourage talking to us instead of throwing tantrums - and he's getting better. (Normal for a 3 year old) but the 4 year old is to the point where we get a lot of looks when we're in public. I know....there are rude people out there that will stare and pass judgment, but still.....

He is the size of a 5 year old, so that doesn't help, BUT.....

Any suggestions?

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Old 05-14-2008, 01:22 PM   #2
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cmpgirl HB User
Re: 4 year old and 3 year old.......4 year old behavioral problems

I think it is just a matter of stages. He is probably feeling like he is no longer the one and only. Not that you have done anything to make that so. It's just his perception. But, it should never be ignored or go without some sort of punishment. I don't mean anything harsh. You don't want him feeling singled out either. It's a fine line.

At 4, he's probably old enough to have a more serious "sit down" conversation with. Kids are a lot smarter than we give them credit for. I think some consistant conversations about what is acceptable behavior and the consequences involved and some one on one time for him with each of you would help.

Good luck. I'm sure you can get it straightened out.

Old 05-14-2008, 01:36 PM   #3
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mcr285 HB Usermcr285 HB User
Re: 4 year old and 3 year old.......4 year old behavioral problems

actually, i would treat the 3 and 4 year old the same.... keeping in mind that expectations for the 3 year old are slightly lower, but not really by a whole lot! don't let yourself fall into the trap of dismissing the 3 year old's tantrums as "just being a typical three year old," while coming down hard on the 4 year old for the same kind of tantrum, because the 4 year old will pick up on the inconsistency and double standard and he will be resentful of it (which could actually cause even more tantrums and discipline issues). our kids are aware of a lot more than we give them credit for!

your sons are close enough in age that they will benefit a lot more if you are consistent with the discipline for both kids and if you'll have the same expectations for both as well. it will help your 4 year old feel more secure in his place in the family, and it will help your 3 year old become more independent in wanting to be "big" like his brother.

i use the same method with my two girls and they are exactly two years apart (ages 4 and 2). since i started doing this, i've found that their behavioral problems have dramatically lessened in the past several months! good luck!

ps - my 4 year old looks like she could be 6 years old, so i completely understand the looks you get from others when a tantrum happens out in public!

Last edited by mcr285; 05-14-2008 at 01:37 PM.

Old 05-14-2008, 02:22 PM   #4
Join Date: Sep 2004
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CruiseMomInSC HB User
Re: 4 year old and 3 year old.......4 year old behavioral problems

My boys are 14 mos apart! There's also a little sister who is 5 mos. (yes, we're done!)

For the most part the 4 year old is VERY good about sit down conversations. We can tell a big difference between the two *at times* but then there are other times where the 4 year old doesn't seem as "mature" (for a lack of better terms) as the 3 year old. It's as though when he does throw his tantrums they're worse than what the 3 year old dishes out. If that makes any sense.

I have to input though - the baby really isn't a part of this I don't think because both boys are really fond of their little sister and we've made sure we go above and beyond to NOT give special attention to the baby and not the boys. The tantrums we get aren't even at the same time as anything we're doing with the baby.

Curious...what are some of the ways you discipline your kids when they start whining and throwing tantrums?

Glad you can relate to the older looking child and the looks from others! Stinks, doesn't it?

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