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Preventing 4 Year Old Behavior Problems

In this article we’re going to see what a “normal” 4 year old behavior is and what you can do to avoid 4 year old behavior problems. If your child is difficult to manage, the parenting advices given in this article will help you better understand your 4 year old and see what you can change in your parenting.


4 year old behavior characteristics

4 year old is an important milestone. Your child’s skills are expanding quickly and this year is the continuum of last year’s development which also means that previous behavior problems might still be there.

4 year old behavior is defined by better self control and the need to be more self-reliant, making decisions and exploring the world (new activities, new friends).

– As their language skills expand, 4 year olds are more willing to share their own feelings and experiences with others. They’re better at managing their emotions and are also less centered on themselves and therefore more interested in others.

–  Having a lot of imagination and engaging in complex pretend play is typical of 4 year olds. Imaginary friends are ok! Not making a clear distinction between reality and fantasy is a normal for 4 year olds. They shouldn’t be punished for making up stories.

–  4 year olds have a logical reasoning and can understand complex things as long as it’s not abstract. They understand what they see. They need to be often reassured and to have many things and situations explained to them (why someone is crying, where you’re going, etc).


Preventing 4 year old behavior problems

Below are advices to help you avoid 4 year old behavior problems. Being an educated parent about these behavior patterns will help you handle the different issues you may face.

  • Always praise your child’s good behavior. 4 year olds and children in general want their parents to be happy so if you emphasize the fact that your child’s good behavior makes you happy and proud, you’ll see more of his good behavior.
  • It is normal for 4 year olds to ask for some privacy (if you knock when entering your child’s room, he will learn to do the same when going to yours) and this should be respected by parents (to a certain extend).
  • 4 year olds can participate in chores and have to be praised if they do them well so that they’ll enjoy doing them and will be more willing to still help you with chores when they’re teenagers (isn’t that great?).
  • It’s important to give 4 year olds choices. Still, open questions such as “what do you want to wear?” should be avoided.  It’s better to give your child the choice between one thing and an other in order for your 4 year old to understand that you’re the one who makes decisions but that you’re willing to listen to your child’s opinion and have him participate in some decisions.
  • Be consistent, firm and loving. Do not spank nor yell. Time-outs are effective but consequences of broken rules have to be very clearly explained. 4 year old behavior issues are often caused by misunderstandings or consequences that are not applied by the parent.
  • Asking embarassing questions is also a 4 year old behavior aspect that shouldn’t be neglected. Answer your child’s questions (even the ones about death and sex) in a simple and clear way. Use the correct terms. You can also say that you don’t know the answer when you actually don’t, but remember to look up the answer online and give it your child later.


Need more help?

In certain situations, additional help is required, a clear and effective parenting method that you and your child can follow. Parenting solutions are varied. If you want to know the solutions that exist for the specific problems you’re encountering with your child, we recommend you take this test that will suggest relevant parenting solutions.


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