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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010

    Default How do you get your 4.5 yr old to listen to you?

    I've seen parents who often say this line: "i'll give you 5 seconds to put that toy back" and the child obeys and follows his/her parents as soon as the 5 seconds are up..or "play gently"...any lines similar to that... How do you get to teach and get your child to listen to you by only saying that?

    My 4.5 yr old boy seems to be having little improvements in controlling his emotions and hissy fits and as a boy who starts big school next year, I feel like he still doesn't seem to understand much of other people's feelings or the importance of people's advice to him, and even the consequences of his actions.

    He does have frequent breakdowns and tantrums at home and public even over a small matter and quite occasionally when he feels his hearts are not that content he can breakdown easily. The more I give explanations (or warnings rather), the more i cannot calm him down, such as "i'm really gonna go now even if you don't want to come" (he still doesn't care and still stares at the toy section and if i take a step back, he screams and drags me back instead but still that doesn't make him give up yet) or "im gonna put your stuffed toy away if you keep throwing it to me" (he cries his heart out, tries to grab his toy back and tries to do little punches to get back at me! )

    I know the only trick to calm him down is by giving him bribes which I RARELY use! I don't use bribes using toys, etc at any given situation as much as I can, even in public. So whenever he's crying his hearts out, I usually let him be.. although it will not be a good scenery and sight to see if you happen to see us.

    I wonder if there are any magic words/sentences/acting tricks for us mothers that will work to calm down your child's breakdown/tantrums, no matter how much you're trying to explain it the best possible way?

    One of the cheekiest behaviour that i have to cope with my lil boy is that the more I give pre-warning the more likely he'll ignore the warning, such as "if you want to play in that slide area, make sure you don't push the kid in front of you, or if you want to join the kids at the thomas train table, make sure you don't get upset if someone tries to touch your train too", but the aftermath of that warning is my boy did push another kid or he did get upset and angry over a boy who tried to take a look at his toy and wanted to do something physical to the other boy too even though i've told him beforehand.... sometimes I just pray that other kids' parents were not paying too much attention at us.

    my son understands what he's done wrong and that he's just thrown a hissy fit, tantrum, ,etc.. because on a good day that he doesn't have his tantrums out, he can clearly share stories about that he should be like if he wants to be a good boy etc... I know he's learnt.... but on not so good days, chances are he will not listen to us all day long and he'll be a repeat offender! I know there's nothing in his daily activity that makes him upset, but maybe it's just me that cannot read his mind and heart? Maybe i've already forgotten what it feels like being a child and what a child needs?

    Given that he will turn 5 in 3 months time, i feel like he should at least show his big boy behaviour ? or not yet?

    He'll usually calm down by himself after the storm, but I always have to deal with his bad breakdowns and cries first before he finally calms down and realises that he'll not get what he wants or he needs just to listen to us.
    Last edited by bunnymum; 03-06-2015 at 02:36.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Brisbane, Qld
    Achievements:Topaz Star - 500 postsAmber Star - 2,000 posts
    Follow through.
    If you say you are going - go. He will follow. Let him melt down but don't let him drag you back to the toy shelf (for example). By not following through he knows he doesn't have to leave yet.
    The first few times may be a challenge but it does get easier!

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  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Achievements:Topaz Star - 500 posts
    Follow through. As the pp said.

    And stop making idle threats. IF you say "don't throw that stuffed toy at me, or I will put it in the rubbish bin", them be prepared to do it. He's learning that if he throws a tantrum, he gets his own way. Next time you say that, throw away the toy. Or if you're not prepared to throw away the toy, stop saying it.

    Your child needs to trust in you 100%. For punishment, praise, safety, food, shelter, love, everything. So be trustworthy 100% of the time.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Keep instructions simple ie
    Be nice or we go home.
    Please help mummy put the toys away or I will put them in the bin.

    Don't give a choice ie "dont you want to help me?"

    When throwing a tantrum for an unknown reason, just sit down near them and ask if they want a hug. I find kids tantrum or just chuck hissy fits when they are feeling overwhelmed. So I sit down with my girls and ask them to verbalise their fears.

    wifey of hubby who is always away. mother of two girls who are always amusing.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    the behaviour in your first sentence (the hissy fitting) is exactly why my ds1 wont be starting school til hes 5.5, he has melt downs, full blown screaming 40 minute melt downs.

    I cant, I just have to be consistent, follow through with directions and deal with the tantrums

    Eta nothing works with my eldest, his been like this since he was a todddler.
    his preschool have asked me to have him evaluated by a pediatrician
    Last edited by Nemmi1987; 03-06-2015 at 20:17.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Achievements:Topaz Star - 500 postsAmber Star - 2,000 posts
    Here is a brain dump of ideas that worked for us:

    If he is consistently doing something you want to stop (every single time you go to the shops he has a Meltdown over a toy) then try a reward chart. He gets a sticker for good behaviour, working towards a reasonable reward. Role play with him at home- explain you understand that he wants toys, but he can't have one everytime, etc. if he goes to the shops without asking for a toy, he gets a sticker. Five stickers and he gets a reward that you have already agreed on.

    Prepare him heavily before you go somewhere. Sit him down at home before you go to the park and explain what you expect of him (no aggressive behaviour). Get him to tell it back to you. Give him a hypothetical "if a kid does this, what will you do?", so you can help him problem solve confrontation without aggression. Clearly explain if he acts aggressively, he will receive a warning. If he acts aggressively twice, he will go home immediately. Explain all this to him calmly at home. Then as PP have said, follow through, follow through, follow through. I have never gone back on my word with DS1, and he knows I mean exactly what I say, so I make sure I only ever make realistic threats. Once your son understands you mean what you say, you will be able to just give the warning and he will stop immediately.

    Speak in a very firm voice, with few words. "STOP. Do not hit. If you hit again, we are leaving." That's it. Don't yell, don't show emotion. Just speak in a very firm, controlled tone, and if he does it again, immediately follow through. Don't bargain, don't discuss it, don't negotiate. Just pick him up if you have to and take him straight home (or whatever the consequence was).

    sticker charts and praising good behaviour also work well at this age.

    good luck. Parenting and discipline is sooooo hard.

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  9. #7
    SuperGranny's Avatar
    SuperGranny is offline Worlds best grandma! Winner 2012 - Most Helpful Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    sunshine coast qld
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    hi bunnymum. there is no magic age for children to 'get it' . it is a process of every day, all day, every day sometimes. they learn from consistant teaching. the biggest thing is you must be true to your word. if you say you want him to behave, and he doesn't behave, then there must be a consequence. I used 123 magic, for the most part with my children. I never bothered with a naughty corner, or rewards charts, but that is just me. three of my four children responded well with 123 magic, but my third child was more stubborn. she was a bit of a battle sometimes. but we managed. the main thing is to be consistant and always follow through. marie.

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