4 Year Old Behaviour Getting Worse

Trying to discipline a kid can be frustrating. If you notice your 4 year old behavior getting worse, then you need to learn how to correct such behavior.

Does your 4-year old child seem out of control? You have tried everything you can to correct the child’s bad behavior but your efforts seem fruitless. 

You are not alone. Many parents complain about this stage of development. It is common for a child at this age to throw tantrums what you deny them what they want. 

The tantrums are a way of expressing their frustration or anger. However, the behavior is unacceptable, especially if it is risky to the child.

Another change to expect at this age is the child showing signs of independence. The child may want to do some tasks without your help or away from other children. 

Many parents that complain of 4-year-old behaviour getting the worse talk about the child not listening, shouting, or talking back to them.

Every parent has a different experience with a child at this stage. Read on for tips on how to handle different kinds of bad behavior.

4 Year Old Not Listening

It is frustrating to talk to a child that is ignoring you or repeating the same thing several times. 

You can see the child is ignoring. It is tempting at some point to either hit or yells at the child. 

Does that help? In most cases, it makes the situation worse. Communicating with the child is the right way to handle such a situation instead of shouting.

Calm yourself down and observe what the child seems to be busy at as you talk. You can remove a privilege for every time the child ignores you.  Be sure to give a verbal warning first before you take away a privilege. 

For instance, you can inform the child that you will take away a favorite toy or cut off TV time if the child continues to ignoring you or anyone else.

Avoid raising your voice at all costs. A 4 year old behavior getting worse does not mean that you apply the wrong parenting  approach. 

You want to correct the child’s behavior without losing your mind or destabilizing your emotions.

4 Year Old Not Listening and Talking Back

Here is another problem that parents struggle with at this stage. The child is not only ignoring you but also talking back at you. 

You will note the same behavior with other family members or even with the teacher or caregivers. One thing to note about bad behavior is to deal with it as soon as it starts. 

Your child may just be ignoring now but if you start seeing signs of attempting to answer back, deal with it immediately.

The good thing about 4-year olds is that they understand verbal reprimand. Be very clear that it is unacceptable to talk back to an adult. 

Give the consequence of the behavior. You need to progress from removing privileges and verbal warnings to other measures. 

For instance, you can introduce the time-out system. Many schools use the system for preschoolers and the method has proved effective.

Look for a room or a place in your house where the child can sit alone and reflect on the bad behavior. 

You have to stay away from the child at this time no matter the reaction. Sometimes parents experience a 4 year old behavior getting worse because they give up along the way. 

At first, the child will throw tantrums to see if you will change your mind. The child is just testing the boundaries with the screams. 

Wait until the agreed time is over then explain why the child had to sit alone with no play.

4 Year Old Attitude

A bad attitude in a 4 year old is annoying but it should not make you go overboard. The child may try to make you look stupid for reprimanding or giving instructions.

No matter the disciplinary approach you take, stay in charge of your emotions. Kids are quick to note your behavior, copy it, or even test it to see your consistency.

Before you reprimand, try to find the source of the bad attitude. Sometimes the kid is just tired after a long day at the kindergarten. 

Hence, the kid gets home with a bad attitude and is unwilling to cooperate. Other times the child is trying to communicate the need for attention or overwhelming issues.

It helps to wait for a time when the child is calm and explain the need to change to a positive attitude. 

Do it several times and explain how such an attitude affects others. Again, you need to set clear rules on how your household deals with such an attitude if it persists. 

If the bad attitude is intentional, start withholding some privileges.

4 Year Old Psychology

One way to solve a 4 year old behavior getting worse is to understand the child’s psychology. 

As indicated above, sometimes it helps to sit back and assess where the bad attitude or behavior is coming from before handling it. 

It could be that the child is overwhelmed by sudden changes at home or broken relationships. Understand that at this stage the child is still learning different emotions but has not mastered how to control the emotions. 

If the child feels an emotion, the most likely way to express it is to act it out. You need to step in and teach the child a better way to express an emotion other than bad behavior.

4 Year Old Hitting Problems

Your child’s behavior may graduate from hitting slowly or suddenly. Sometimes kids do everything they can to get attention or express an emotion.

Hitting is dangerous for school-going kids because they may either bully other children or start fights. 

A time-out works for such aggression but you must do it immediately. You may feel like hitting back but you will only enforce the behavior. 

The time-out gives the child time to cool down. You can talk to the child about the need to stop the behavior when the child is calm.


The right way to deal with a 4 year old behavior getting worse depends on the behavior. The correct disciplinary measure will also depend on the child. 

Differentiate between normal and abnormal behavior because the child is still in the learning process.

You have a great opportunity to shape the child’s behavior at this stage even if the bad behavior seems out of control. 

If your current approach is not working, try some of the suggestions given above.

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