how do i properly and effectively discipline my 4 year old son?

i have a 4 year old son and a 16 month old daughter. my son was great with my daughter the first year of her life. then he started teasing her quite a bit (out of jealousy). now its gotten so bad that he is hurting her most everytime i leave the room. i snuck around the corner one day to witness him raising his fist at her pretending hes gonna punch her. she would start crying, as he did this a few times, then the last time he actually punched her in the head. ive put him on time out standing in the corner till his legs were sore (because short time outs had absolutely no effect on him), yet when he comes back out of time out (which could be hours later) he keeps doing what hes doing hurting her. ive tried sitting him down and talking nicely to him, ive tried paying more attention to him than her, ive tried bribing him with candy and cchocolate bars saying you can have this every couple houurs if youre nice to your sister. im at the end of my rope and dont know what to do with him. please let me know what you think. any input will be much appreciated…Thanks

Look Him Straight In The Face and Say NO! If The Behavior continues,Put Him In Time Out. Make Sure He Understands why He Is in time Out and That you will not tolerate That Type Of Behavior. You don’t need to bribe Him,just let him Know Who Is Boss.

of course we won’t answer with horrible words -just know that you are not alone. The key to discipline is consistency – no more spankings. Designate an area in your house to be the naughty corner or chair or couch or whatever it is you want her to be. ALWAYS, use the same thing – give her one warning. If you use naughty words with me, you will sit in the naughty chair for 4 minutes. You can set a timer so she can see how much more time she has. If she gets up, you pick her up and put her back. It will be exhausting until she gets the idea that you are not going to give up. So whatever you do, don’t give up! And try very hard not to lose your temper. I usually find at school that if I have a plan, I feel better about things and I normally end up bonding with that particular disclipline or behavior problem child. Nice of your husband to tel YOU to find a solution – this has to be a team effort with him fully supporting you and him helping out when he is home. Good luck – I know it’s tough, but hang in there. She’s so worth it!

Four year olds are usually a lot more intelligent than people give them credit for. Yes, he wants your attention, but he also wants your approval. Let him know that you are ashamed of him, that you really thought he was a good big brother. I would also try to get him involved in activities with her, letting him be the “teacher” let him show her how to stack blocks, draw circles, etc. I have 2 boys, one’s 3 and one’s almost 5 and I know how difficult siblings can be, and as I’m sure you know, what works for one won’t always work for the other and sometimes it seems like nothing at all works. Just remember that kids are like us too, there’s something out there that will motivate them to behave well, it’s just a lot harder to find out what it is when they’re four.

To toddlers and preschoolers, all attention is desirable, even negative attention. So by giving him lots of attention when he misbehaves (even if it’s unpleasant attention) you are reinforcing his behavior. He knows that when he hits his sister, he gets your attention focused on him. The best thing to do is stop rewarding him with attention. When he hits his sister, you just calmly and quietly pick her up and remove her from the room — you and she go into another room and play or occupy yourselves somehow in something that does not include your son. You don’t have to punish him, scold him, bribe him, etc. The message should be “if you hit your sister, you don’t get to be included”. Then when you catch him acting appropriately and nicely, you can offer lots of praise and encouragement. This way he’ll quickly learn that bad behavior gets him no attention, but good behavior gets him lots of attention.

It is important to make your son understand that his behaviour is unacceptable. He is not the issue it is his behaviour and this must be clear. You should praise him when he is good. When he miss behaves put him for time out, explain that that type of behaviour is unacceptable and why. Don’t leave him there for hours – that is ineffective. I know that this might mean you are putting him in time out more often but keep at it. Also, try to have some time where it is just you and him and you are doing something he enjoys.

Many times there are antecedents or little red flags (over tired & rubbing eyes, hungry, bored & getting antsy, etc.) prior to a tantrum happening. If you can spot what those are before the tantrum occurs, then you’re more likely to be successful in redirecting their behavior by addressing what you’re picking up on and re-communicating your expectations for them again, praising their good behaviors (even if small) and giving them plenty of reminders (reminders more so for the under 5 age frame). Children tend to learn best through repetition with a consistent parenting style. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed when it comes to repeating yourself over and over but it’s a crucial part of their learning development.
Probably one of the most important teaching opportunities for parents is with modeling. During a tantrum, it’s best to give them space, ignore them completely that way they cannot get the attention they’re seeking. Trying to approach and correct a child who’s in the middle of a tantrum doesn’t do anyone any good because the message is lost in the “drama” of the situation. If they can find a couple different ways to cope with their anger or anxiety through healthy means then you will be way ahead of the game.
When delivering consequences to your child, it’s important to make sure the consequence would have an effect on the child, is applied immediately after the tantrum has stopped, is appropriate and proportionate in its severity and hopefully related to the child’s behavior. Also, try to keep in mind that if you’re using the same consequences repeatedly then eventually the consequence will become ineffective. Here are a few negative consequences for you to try, if you haven’t already, that don’t only relate to taking things away or having time outs. For instance, when your child behaves inappropriately (ex. trouble sharing, picking up toys, poor boundaries, etc.) then have their consequence be to “redo” the behavior in the appropriate manner. You will need to demonstrate and model the correct behavior for them, then have them practice it. All the while it’s important to try and keep a positive attitude when correcting your child, as much as possible. Then follow up their practicing of the behavior with a rationale or brief reason as to why it’s important to do the correct behavior and not the bad one (relative to their age). After the child practices it, it’s important to give lots of praise and affection. You could even start a reward system that they could build on, where the rewards focus on family time, fun activities (like the zoo, park, movies, sports, coloring, etc.) instead of materialistic gain (like toys). They will probably need to practice several times, and that’s okay, in fact that’s an important aspect. The thing to keep in mind is if they’re willing to work on it and try then that’s most important. Their skills (including social skills in school) will improve with positive reinforcement, support and lots of practice.
Another way to deliver a negative consequence is to have the child “undo” the bad behavior. For example, if the child colors on the wall, the appropriate reaction would be to clearly explain why that’s not okay, have them clean the markings off the wall with your assistance and then provide an alternative activity for them to do after they’ve finished cleaning. Finally, there’s a lot to be said for proactive teaching. This means you would set aside some time, maybe 15 min. each day, depending on what it is you want to address or focus on. Hopefully you would have time to prepare a fun yet simple activity that teaches them the appropriate social skills and coping strategies through the use of an activity. Or try role-playing certain scenarios for them, focusing on the correct behavior. Repetition and practice are key concepts when trying to modify a child’s behavior, including when teaching them replacement behaviors.
For additional ideas or information, I’m recommending a couple of fantastic books that you might want to look into. These books have received a lot of positive feedback from readers.
The first title is: “Common Sense Parenting of Toddlers and Pre Schoolers”, by Ray Burke, and Bridget Barnes.
The second book is called: “1-2-3 Magic” Effective Discipline for children 2-12. 3rd Edition by: Thomas W. Phelan, Ph.D (winner of the National Parenting Publications Gold Award).
There are also a couple websites that you may want to check out. The first one is: and the second one is:
I also encourage you to call the Boys Town National Hotline at 1-800-448-3000 anytime 24/7, if you’re looking for advice, just a listening ear or want to find resources in your area. Good luck and all the best to you and your family……Counselor JH.

punishment needs to swift and sufficent
which means
once he does something bad, u gotta do something about it (dont wait, it will confuse him about why he is getting punished), and it must be sufficent to whatever bad deed he did
if he hits his little sis, pick him up and smack his butt a couple of times
and go old school with the dunce cap in the corner
take things away from him, keep him by himself
and offer rewards for doing good things- this is important
showing him the attention he gets when he is good is better than bad attention
offer as many rewards as u can, show him a chart or something
where if he does something good it makes him that much closer to going to the zoo or where ever he loves to go
but if he does something bad, it will put him 2 steps behind

Make him go to her and say sorry. Don’t let him do anything else till he does that.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

If time out doesn’t work, you need to find another alternative.
Take away a toy?
Make him go to his room till dinner?

You and i are going through the same thing… here is a good answer somebody answered to my question about my son hitting other kids in his class.

Hope it helps!

Follow up with logical consequences. If your child gets into the ball pit at the indoor play center and immediately starts throwing the balls at other kids, take him out. Sit down with him and watch the other kids play, and explain that he can go back in when he feels ready to join the fun without hurting other children. Avoid trying to “reason” with your child, such as asking him, “How would you like it if he threw the ball at you?” Toddlers don’t possess the cognitive maturity to be able to imagine themselves in another child’s place or to change their behavior based on verbal reasoning. But they can understand consequences.

Keep your cool. Yelling, hitting, or telling your child he’s bad won’t get him to curtail his behavior — you’ll just get him more riled up and give him examples of new things to try. In fact, watching you control your temper may be the first step in his learning to control his.

Set clear limits. Try to respond immediately whenever your toddler is aggressive. Don’t wait until he hits his brother for the third time to say, “That’s enough!” He should know instantly when he’s done something wrong. Remove him from the situation for a brief time-out (just a minute or two is enough). This is the best way to let him cool down, and after a while he’ll connect his behavior with the consequence and figure out that if he hits or bites, he ends up out of the action.

Discipline consistently. As much as possible, respond to each episode the way you did last time. Your predictable response (“Okay, you bit Billy again — that means another time-out”) will set up a pattern that your child will recognize and come to expect. Eventually, it will sink in that if he misbehaves, he’ll get a time-out. Even in public, where you may be mortified by your child’s behavior, don’t let your embarrassment cause you to lash out at him. Other parents have been there too — if people stare, simply toss off a comment like “It’s hard to have a 2-year-old,” and then discipline your child in the usual fashion.

Teach alternatives. Wait until your toddler has settled down, then calmly and gently review what happened. Ask him if he can explain what triggered his outburst. Emphasize (briefly!) that it’s perfectly natural to have angry feelings but it’s not okay to show them by hitting, kicking, or biting. Encourage him to find a more effective way of responding — by “talking it out” (“Tommy, you’re making me mad!”) or asking an adult to help.

Make sure your child understands that he needs to say he’s sorry after he lashes out at someone. His apology may be insincere at first, but the lesson will sink in. The passions of toddlerhood can overtake a child’s natural compassion sometimes. Eventually he’ll acquire the habit of apologizing when he’s hurt someone.

Reward good behavior. Rather than giving your child attention only when he’s misbehaving, try to catch him being good — for example, when he asks to have a turn on the swing instead of pushing another child out of the way. Praise him lavishly when he verbalizes his desires (“That’s so great that you asked to have a turn!”) and, in time, he’ll realize how powerful words are.

Limit TV time. Cartoons and other shows designed for young children can be filled with shouting, threats, even shoving and hitting. Try to monitor which programs he watches, particularly if he seems prone to aggressive behavior. When you do let your child watch TV, watch it with him and talk to him about situations that arise: “That wasn’t a very good way for him to get what he wanted, was it?” (The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of 2 watch no TV at all.)

Provide physical outlets. You might find that unless your toddler gets a chance to burn off his abundant energy, he’s a terror at home. If your child is high-spirited, give him plenty of unstructured time, preferably outdoors, to let off steam.

Don’t be afraid to seek help. Sometimes a child’s aggression requires more intervention than a parent can provide. If your child seems to behave aggressively more often than not, if he seems to frighten or upset other children, or if your efforts to curb his behavior have little effect, talk to your child’s doctor, who may in turn recommend a counselor or child psychologist. Together you can determine the source of the behavior and help your child through it. Remember, your child is still very young. If you work with him patiently and creatively, chances are that his pugnacious tendencies will soon be a thing of the past.

Smack him. Forget the PC brigade. Don’t forget there ie a difference from a smack and a beating, before anyone comments.

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