How To Deal With A 4 Year Olds Defiance

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My four year old suddenly seems defiant.

If I say yes, he says no; if he says he wants cheese for lunch, I bring him cheese and he says he doesn’t want cheese.

I say go get your shoes and coat on to leave for school and he says I am not wearing a coat.I am sure it is a phase, testing his boundaries, but it is a very frustrating one.

Any suggestions?

This sounds like a child who is clearly eager and ready to take on more responsibility. Are you ready to give it to him? Assign him a shelf on the bottom of the refrigerator and a shelf in a lower cupboard. Keep a few snacks, drinks, plastic plates, bowls, silverware, cups, paper towels, and a sponge on his shelves.

When he wants a snack, encourage him to pick out what he wants. If (when) he makes a mess, encourage him to clean it up and ask him what he needs to get the job done. Does he want a sponge, paper towel, or broom?

Instead of telling him to go get his shoes and coat, ask him if he knows if it is cold or warm out. If he doesn’t know, ask him to open the door and check for you. Then, ask him if he thinks he would rather wear his coat or carry it today? And, does he suggest that you should wear one? Give him choices.

This child is yearning to start making his own choices and to do things for himself. It might take more of your time, but it will be well worth the effort and reduce frustration as you see him stop resisting and start getting involved and creative about his life.

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