If you thought the Terrible Two's and Threenager phase was bad, you might want to brace yourself for the next stage of your child's life (not so) affectionately referred to as the "Effing Fours"!
Hold on tightly to your seats, hats, pearls, and Tiger balm, because it seems that experienced parents out there have conveniently forgotten (or have intentionally avoided) giving us poor saps the heads up about this harrowing stage of our child’s development known as the Effing Fours!
You’d think that now your little one is officially a preschooler, your days of tantrums and meltdowns are over — think again, because once your child turns four, she will also be referred to as:
- The Eff You Four
- Ferocious Four
So what else can you call your fiery little four-year-old based on her developmental milestones at this stage?
Here’s a painfully honest list most parents of this “blessed” age group can probably relate to!
1. The Incredible Sulk
Even though your four-year-old is no longer having temper tantrums or colossal meltdowns, you will notice that she can be extra sensitive and easily start to sulk at the drop of a hat.
Just because you told her she has to finish eating her dinner before she’s allowed to have dessert, she’s pouting like an angry little duck, crossing her arms firmly, talking back, or even quietly sobbing to herself as if her whole world is crumbling down.
According to Nathalie Brown, a Child Behavior Consultant from Easy Peasy Kids, your preschooler may have a more expansive vocabulary now, but she’s still unable to adequately express her feelings.
But just like when she was a tiny baby, you should tune in to your child’s feelings and help her work it through.
“It’s like a switch goes off in their head and they have no control over that switch; it just goes. The switch can be triggered by many things: if they’re slightly over-tired, hungry, over-stimulated, bored or not getting their own way,” says Brown.
2. Liar Liar Pants On Fire
You’ve reminded your four-year-old not to overfeed the pet goldfish, but when you catch her shaking half a bottle of the food flakes into the fish tank for the fifth time that day and confront her about it, she might look you straight in the eyes and tell you that the poor goldfish were hungry and she heard them “ask her for more food.”
Of course we know Goldie the fish is just a regular non-verbal pet, and you highly doubt your kid has been blessed with the ability to talk to animals (how cool would that be, though?) — so why did she tell you a bold-faced lie and expect you to believe it?
Or when telling a story to someone, you might even notice your child peppering in exaggerated details which never even happened.
According to some experts, children of this age are still unable to differentiate between fact and fiction, and that they sometimes get the truth mixed up with wishful thinking or fantasy:
“He’s not lying (at least by childhood standards), he’s thinking wishfully — imagining what he wishes had happened. Not only does wishful thinking allow the child the luxury of living in a dream, it impresses his friends and raises his social status,” they say.
3. Social Butterfly
Even though you and your partner were your child’s very first friends (we know, how cute, right?), as she grows older she will start to play alongside other kids and maybe even have a friend or two she regularly meets up with for play dates.
But once your little one turns four, this is when she will start wanting to be part of a bigger group in a social scene, be it in school, at the playground, or at a party.
Encourage your child to develop her social skills by mixing around with other kids and by making new friends.
You can also teach her how to introduce herself such as by saying: “Hello, my name is ____, can I play too?”
4. Dr Jekyll Junior and Mr Hyde
One minute your four-year-old is singing a song while painting a picture and happy as a clam, but then suddenly she shrieks and punches her easel then dumps all the paints on the floor before ranting about how she ran out of red paint and is now wailing at the top of her lungs.
She can’t possibly be having PMS at this age yet, right? So what’s with the mood swings and extreme temperaments?
Your little one is still learning how to express her emotions and sometimes she might be a little dramatic, but it’s a good moment for you to validate those feelings and teach her how to communicate in a better (and less destructive) way.
5. Stand-up Comedian
All parents of young children know how to force themselves to laugh at their kid’s (unfunny) jokes, because we don’t want to break their hearts or shatter their self-confidence so we just pull a face and play along.
You might actually really crack up just looking at how adorable your little one is as she’s trying so hard to contain her laughter when delivering the (not so punchy) punchline, that you forget how the knock-knock joke fell flat.
Four-year-olds enjoy spinning silly stories and since their language skills are improving, for them to intentionally jumble up words and make up nonsensical ones is enough to send them rolling around in stitches!
Having a sense of humor and being able to laugh at themselves when things go wrong is definitely better than having an outburst and lashing out at others!
What else are four-year-olds known to be? Go to the next page to find out!