Advice needs please on how to deal with a very stubborn 4 year old

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  • #10171 Report


    hi, I’m currently sat on my bed thinking I absolutely suck at this solo parenting.

    There is no reasoning at all with my 4 year old, he takes stubbornness to a whole new level and after this weekend I can honestly  say I can’t wait for him to go back to school tomorrow.

    So the weekend started on Friday when I picked him up from school to be told he had a been naughty, not concentrating and wasn’t phased when sent to the head teachers office which resulted in me taking him straight to my mums for him to sit on the dining chair for 40 mins whilst I nipped and picked something up that couldn’t wait.

    Saturday had a lovely morning out at a garden centre with a farm and play area to be finished off with a kicking and screaming tantrum as it was time to go and he was adement it was a different way.

    His lack of listening all weekend has been really poor all weekend too for just about everything I have asked him to do or not do should I say and constantly having to repeat myself when he asks the same question over and over again because I say no.

    And the finally tonight is bedtime, he is normally so good at going to bed but tonight has resulted in another kicking and screaming tantrum. When I keep asking why he is acting  like he does after he has finally calmed down he says he doesn’t know why he does it and then tonight he told me he wanted to go to daddy’s. I explained why he couldn’t as away and doesn’t live close but then asked why he can’t live closer so he can see him more. This really upset me as I wish he did too for more support from him. (He lives 2 hours away and sees him every other weekend but it’s all fun,fun,fun)

    Ive been solo parenting for over 3 years now and feel the hardest part is when it comes to disaplining and not having the back up to assist and take over when needed.

    I know it’s just a bad day and tomorrow is a new day but right now I just feel like I’ve failed and just don’t how to deal with his behaviour when there is just no reasoning.

    Please someone tell me this is normal behaviour for a 4 year old?



    #10173 Report



    It’s normal behaviour for a 4 year old! Especially the not listening, the repeating yourself, the tantrums….

    (In fact it sounds very like my day and my daughter’s 7 and should know better! We went swimming with friends and she had an almighty strop when I said it was time to come home after nearly two hours in the pool)

    I think at 4, they’re beginning to find themselves and work out who they are, their likes and dislikes etc but are struggling to articulate themselves and make themselves understood because they don’t yet have the language. You’re going to have a screaming meltdown if you feel strongly about things but cant make yourself understood. My daughter is exceptionally stubborn and strong willed. It’s served her well in many ways but does make living with her hard work sometime. It’s very normal (I hope!)

    Has he ever lived with his dad and how recent is the split? If it’s recent, is that affecting his behaviour aswell? Either way, have you spoken to the school about his behaviour and have they offered any support? There’s nothing wrong with admitting to the school that you struggle occasionally with your child’s behaviour – everyone does sometimes – and they may have some ideas on how to help or for example, a family support worker who can spend a bit of time with your son. You’re not failing by asking for help. It’s tough doing this all by yourself and as the main carer you have to be the bad cop sometimes and take the fall out when they come home from the other parent. Every time my daughter comes home from her father’s, she’s exhausted because she’s had so much fun with him and i’m the last person she wants to see – everything’s my fault and she gets very angry with me. It’s tough but i’m trying to just be glad that she feels secure and comfortable enough with me to be able to rage at me and know I would never leave her.

    Do you ever get a break and time for yourself?

    Not sure if this is any help at all but your description of your son sounded so much like my daughter when she was that age that I didn’t want to not reply!

    #10175 Report


    Thank you so much for your reply AJ it has helped a lot.

    His dad left when he was 18 months old so  doesn’t really know any difference in the living arrangements. He sees his dad every other weekend for 4 nights which gives me plenty of time for myself.

    He goes to a really nice school but there is very little support and if I’m honest believe they expect too much from my son. He seems to be a very different child at school when it comes to his behaviour towards other children. His concentration levels have never been great but trying to work on that.

    He is just so strong willed it makes the littlest of tasks a huge issue

    #10182 Report


    Hi Anonymous.

    He is a July baby but the school doesn’t seem to take that into consideration when it comes to his concentration levels as they know he can do the  work but struggling to get him to do it on paper. They have basically said he taking up too much of the teachers times pushing him to do something they know he can do when they should be helping other kids who are struggling with the work.

    I’ve even looked into changing schools to see if this helps but the childcare he goes to before/after school and school holidays only do wrap around care for this school.


    #10186 Report


    Hi there,

    I do feel for you.

    I too am in the same situation with my 5 year old.   He just ignores everything I say or takes way too long to do it.

    I get so frustrated and do end up shouting at him.  It really stresses me out and I need to find a way of disciplining him in a way that actually works.

    Have you tried ‘the naughty step’ or ‘naughty corner’?


    Please help!!

    A worried Mum!!!


    #10188 Report


    Hi S777

    I’ve tried everything but he just won’t stay and he so strong now.

    He doesn’t have a favourite toy I can take away either.

    He actually laughed at me last night when telling him off and I didn’t have a clue what to do.

    It can be so difficult at time x

    #10316 Report


    Thank you for all your messages, I don’t feel quite  alone with it all now and feeling much better about it.

    He was at the hospital on Tuesday as his hearing hadn’t been great the past few weeks and it turns out the grommets he had in only August last year have already come out which can affect the his concentration.

    I’ve had a good talk with school and also seriously considering relocating schools if I can get the wrap around care to work.

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