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Am I expecting too much from a 4 year old? *kind of long story*
October 8, 2012 at 9:22 PM

Sorry its so long. But I want you to have the details and tell me what you think.....

I have a 4 year old girl. She hates being in the room alone, she refuses to do things upstairs unless someone is up there watching her. Her father tends to cater to that to avoid her throwing a fit and will stand right there while she pees or while she changes clothes. I think that is silly and when he is at work I pretty much try to make her do things herself when she is capable of them.

At 8:30pm she was in the middle of a movie. I told her that if she went upstairs and changed into her pajamas she could stay up past her bedtime and finish it. We both went upstairs. Her closet is in the hallway right at the top of the stairs and I helped her pick out a pair of pjs to wear. I told her I had to grab some pillows and towels and couch covers from downstairs to put in the washing machine (upstairs next to her closet) and for her to stay upstairs and change so I would let her finish the movie. She followed me down crying and whining that she can't be up there alone...right at the top of the stairs with the lights on. I told her that if she can't change into her pajamas as I asked her to then she could just go to bed instead of getting to stay up. She starts screaming at the top of her lungs and yelling "I don't want to go to bed." but still refuses to go put the pjs on. I put them on her and put her in bed.

When she is in her bed I leave the door open and leave the hallway light on for her (trying to make her less afraid). I make sure she understands that she had to go to bed instead of stay up beause she wont listen to me. And she still screams at the top of her lungs for at least half and hour and keeps trying to get up. It is now 9:10 and she just got up and used the potty, said she wished her dad was here instead of working, and then laid down without any more screaming. I feel like this is all an act to get attention and try to get her way and I really don't feel bad for her. My husband thinks she is genuinely afraid and I am being cruel.

It is driving me crazy because she is so clingy and whiney all day, even when we spend time with her and do nice things for her. She seems to never be happy. I end up screaming at her and furious with her behavior. And he ends up thinking I am a huge bully.

What do you think? How does/did your 4 year old respond if you expected them to do something alone?

Should a 4 year old be able to do things (like dressing, playing, picking up their books, using the potty) with a parent just in the next room keeping an eye/ear on them?
  • Only group members can vote in this poll.
  1. 5% - No. They need someone in the room watching what they are doing.
  2. 8% - No. They need someone in the room actively helping them do those things.
  3. 80% - Yes, if they are capable of doing something it is fine to expect them to do it alone.
  4. 5% - Other (please comment)


  • Bmat
    by Bmat
    October 9, 2012 at 7:06 AM

    She wants (or needs) attention. Try giving her extra attention generally and less when it is one of the tasks that she should be doing alone.

  • Sunshine257
    October 9, 2012 at 8:12 AM
    I really need
    To work with my son. He is 3 1/2 and still doesn't dress himself : /
    Everytime I tell him to he cries for me to help him.. So I guess my vote doesn't help.
  • spotsmom
    October 10, 2012 at 12:58 AM

    When my son was four he went through the same thing. It was a phase. Basically, I think his imagination was getting the better of him (like it does a lot of four year olds) and he was afraid to be alone. So we did cater to him in this, based on the way he acted, I could tell he was genuinely afraid. 

  • annismom10
    October 10, 2012 at 1:13 AM
    I would ask why she thinks a clown is scary, why a stranger would be in the house, etc to get down to the bottom of it if it's a actual fear. It sounds like you've done all the safe feeling things you can do... : / so yes, to me it sounds like a attention thing

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