After the terrible twos and threenager years, comes the “EFFING FOURS”!

Share this article with other mums

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"!

6. Deep Thinker

four-year-old deep thinker questions curious

“Do hamsters have dreams?”

“Why can’t Daddies grow babies in their tummies?”

“How do they make the pictures move inside the TV?”

These are questions a typical four-year-old might ask and you probably will be hearing a lot more throughout the day.

In fact, a study has shown that children generally ask about 300 questions a day and four-year-old girls can ask up to 380!

But this is just her way of understanding the world around her, for her to sharpen her mental abilities, and also use her ever-increasing vocabulary.

7. Mini Manipulator

four-year-old manipulating scheming cunning

If you find that your four-year-old is trying to weasel her way out of trouble by negotiating with you, telling lies, or even winning you over with flattery, she probably is just trying to avoid the consequences or is attempting to gain some power over you.

Even though it’s only human to test your luck, you shouldn’t let your little one get her own way all the time.

Stephanie Deslauriers, a Psychoeducator and Youth Author, explains, “If every time the parent makes a request the child ends up arguing and trying to negotiate and the parent starts walking on eggshells or altering the normal functioning of the daily routine to avoid upsetting him, the child will come to understand that he can manage his parents.”

8. Sore Loser

four-year-old sore loser spoil sport wet blanket

Now that your child is socialising with more friends and is able to grasp the concept of simple games such as Hide & Seek, Tag, etc, you might notice her competitive streak emerging at this age.

Suddenly she’s fixated on being the winner and will not gracefully accept the consolation prize.

She wants to be the best, numero uno, the top dog, and you can certainly expect tears of frustration if someone else beats her to it.

Although you may feel tempted to avoid letting your child participate in any competitive activities, it is actually better to teach her how to better manage failure and to understand that winning isn’t everything.

9. Control Freak

four-year-old control freak bossy

Since your preschooler’s fine and gross motor skills have developed, and her cognitive skills are also improving, she will become more self-sufficient and probably insist on doing it all by herself.

Everything becomes a power struggle and it’s usually her way or the highway!

To avoid butting heads with your angsty little fournado, try using the When-Then technique:

Instead of saying, “No, you cannot play with your new toy because you haven’t taken a bath yet“, you can say, “When you’ve had your bath, then you can play with your new toy“.

10. Tiny Thug

four-year-old aggressive violent fight rough play

Are you shocked by your four-year-old’s sudden brutish behaviour when she’s upset about something and shoves her friend or even kicks her sibling?

Before you worry whether your child is going to grow up to become a hooligan, fret not, because kids this age have yet to develop their impulse control, so she might be quick to act out before she thinks about it first.

She wants instant gratification, so to solve a conflict, such as getting her toy back from someone who took it away from her, she might instinctively yank it out of the other child’s hands while gritting her teeth and glaring murderously at them.

To avoid things from escalating, gently remind your child that her aggressive behaviour is inappropriate and let her cool down before she continues to interact with the other children once again.

Fantastic Fours!


Ok, honestly, is having an emo little four-year-old really as frightening as it sounds? Of course not.

Your Ferocious Four is also more independant now so she is able to go to the toilet on her own and wipe up afterwards (just remind her to always wash her hands), play quietly by herself for a long stretch of time, be more open to trying new things, and also have the verbal capacity to actually tell you what she wants or what is bugging her.

Bear in mind that although her vocabulary has improved and she is able to better communicate verbally now, she is still a young child after all so you shouldn’t expect her to be wiser than her years or behave more maturely just yet.

So call her what you will, at the end of the day even if your four-year-old is a pouty little ball of emotions, you still love her for who she is and embrace all her qualities — sulky, sullen attitude and all!

Are you a parent of a four-year-old? Do you agree with this list? What other names or traits do you think should be added? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Child Development milestone