I can’t get my 4 year old to do anything I ask unless I get cross. What can I do?
Your child is pushing the boundaries to see at what point you will set clear expectations. If you only tend to do this when you are feeling cross and frustrated then it is more likely that your child will push you to this point next time. Try setting boundaries clearly and confidently when you are not cross, then if the child starts pushing remain as calm as possible (e.g. take deep breaths, imagine a relaxing place, tell yourself this won’t go on for ever).
Your child will keep trying to press your ‘angry buttons’ until they learn that there’s no point. So, if you can remain calm throughout their provocation then you will be teaching them a valuable lesson (you can’t get what you want by making people cross) and yourself a valuable lesson (I can be a more effective parent by staying calm).
For more information about discipline and behavioural issues, see the following articles:
- How to discipline your 3-5 year old
- How should I discipline my child in public?
- Discipline and your growing child
Dr Angharad Rudkin
Dr Angharad Rudkin is a Chartered Clinical Child Psychologist with over 10 years of experience working with children and families. She has a doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Oxford and provides therapy within the NHS and privately.
Dr Rudkin specialties include adolescent anxiety, and depression, stemming from bereavement, divorce and other life events. For individual advice by phone book a private call with Dr Angharad Rudkin at www.greatvine.com/angharad_rudkin.