The behavior of the typical four-year-old reveals a swing back towards independence. Parents will see a new kind of out-of-bounds behavior aimed at testing the limits. Your child may resist most suggestions, rules and other forms of teaching.
You may find that she likes to call-names, to brag and quarrel, and perhaps she also savors offensive words. This is all a part of the four year olds self-confidence. In her relationships with others, the child at this age may show a combination of assertiveness and sociability and it may also press you with endless questions.
Highly talkative now, your youngster may voice her growing awareness of moral issue. On the other hand, her moral reasoning at this point is likely to be self-centered. The challenge for the parents is to stretch the child’s moral judgment to include other point of view. This is easier to do when the child is calm rather than when she is in conflicts.
Reasoning with the child at this age requires knowing when to reason and when simply to take action. Lying at this age and earlier, however, is morally innocent behavior-the child’s attempt to make reality conform to the way she wants it to be.
Keep in mind that it is harder for children to understand why lying is wrong than to grasp why a visible action such as hitting or stealing is wrong. Your child does not yet understand either the invisible moral quality of trust or the fact that lying is wrong because it destroys trust. But it is now time for you to begin developing the idea.
Four-year-old likes attention, and they come up with all sorts of ways to get it. In play with peers, as with adults, your youngster at this age will sometimes be bossy, and she may do things wrong on purpose to get a playmate or parent to react.
Even more than younger children, four year olds are capable of altruistic actions and attitudes when their desires do not conflict someone else’s.
Preschool teachers often note genuine acts of compassion at this age. It is important for parents to nurture these empathic tendencies even as they are dealing with the new wave of testing behavior.