Freakin’ 4’s

approx. 90 second read to the end


When I became a mother, I heard all about the terrible 2’s. I knew it was going to rough. My daughter lived up to everything I knew 2 could be. We survived. Barely.

Time flew by and…

Then my daughter turned 4.

I didn’t find out until then that there seemed to be a secret club of mother’s of 4 year olds and only when your oldest turns 4 do you find out was it’s the freaking 4’s!!!!!!

Where was my terrible 2 year old?? I wanted her back!!!

My research led me to understand that 4 is the predictor of teenage years.

4 year olds are: impulsive, assertive, independent, needy, moody, out of control, never have any sense of consequences nor do they think into the future. They complain constantly and they leave wreckage behind them wherever they go. They talk a lot and ask a lot of questions about people, relationships and the meaning of life.

They are also getting ready for the biggest step of their young lives: kindergarten. Not unlike high schoolers getting ready to go to college, your 4 year old is getting ready to start his/her academic career.

Not unlike the teen years — you are now very much in control, less so in a few more years — yet you’ve got this person that is developmentally ready to move onto their next stage.

In other words: mini-teens.

Thank goodness they cannot get their driver’s license.

What I learned was that if I could understand how to handle how I wanted to parent my daughter, especially when she was her most difficult, when she was 4, maybe, just maybe, the teen years wouldn’t be so awful.

So I began at the beginning: Breathe in. Breathe out. When she was being MiniTeen, I breathed a lot. I gave myself time outs, not her. We went outside a lot to every playground and I wrote an article rating playgrounds with 30 miles of downtown Boston.

I am here to tell you that it is working. My daughter is now a junior in high school. She is happy, healthy, engaged in life and growing up beautifully. She is also very much a teen and let me tell you, it’s just like she was when she was four. Except she is getting her license!

She gets to learn how to be 16 going on 17 and I get to be the one who helps her learn how to handle being 16 years old going on 17.   Since we have been doing this for 12 years, she — and I — are doing pretty good.


Note:  This above was written two years ago.  She is now in college and our relationship continues to move forward in a really healthy way.   For me what we have achieved up to this point is outrageous authentic success since I came from a dysfunctional family and had a confusing relationship with my mother.   All of my experience I share with parents who are seeking how to parent from a perspective of love, caring, support and healthy communication so that they raise their children in an emotionally stable environment.

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