What to do with a willful & spirited 4 year old!

Tara (or 4 as I call her in the land of the internet) is willful, headstrong, highly intelligent, beautiful and bloody hard work !!!


She is certainly a wolf in sheeps clothing, never turn your back on this one for a second. The things she has gotten up to, and the things that she says, she defnitley has a mind of her own.

When she was just 2, we had to tie all the stair gates shut, she had a younger sibling at the time and Holly (number 3) is special needs so wasnt able to do stairs safely. So anyway, we tied the stair gates closed because she could open them and kept letting the 2 other little ones through, one day she walked into the livingroom and asks “Do you like my Beeee-autiful scarf?” proud as punch and the sweetest smile you have ever seen…  until you realise its the belt you actually tied the gate shut with.

My Princess one month after her 2nd Birthday

Same age in the middle of the night, she was never a great sleeper, and would quite often be awake for large chunks of the night, sleeping with one ear WIDE open was a necessity, especially this one particular night she decided she wanted to wash her hair at 2am. Waking up to the sound of the bath filling up was not fun, nor was the eldests face when every single one of his lego creations lay in little pieces across the floor when she had escaped one night and no one heard her.

These are just a few examples of our wonderful angel Tara.


People say special needs is hard work, try a Tara I reply, Holly is a bloody doddle compared to Tara. Holly does as she is told, most of the time, Tara NEVER does. The poor girl has a groove of her bum on the naughty step in our house. The girl just can not resist messing and ‘experimenting’, but is that a bad thing? She has a curious mind, and it works a million miles an hour, but she needs to think a step ahead and learn that actions have consequences.

“Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression”
Dr Haim Ginott

This sweet ‘butter wouldn’t melt’ blue eyed beauty certainly rules our roost. She can scream, stamp and strop like a true Diva, but we cant give in. There are times when you have to pick your battle, if she is stamping because she wants the blue coat on and not the red one, then by sanitys sake let her have the blue one. We dont give in, not with the things that really matter, like social behaviours, common decency to other people and respect for people and their property, we dont take any prisoners with ANY of our children when it comes to that. They must behave in that respect.

But how to curb the dangerous curiosity, the unthinking inquisitiveness, without destroying that thirst to learn? now that’s the tough part of parenting an intelligent, willful, spirited child. How do you punish them for thinking, by telling them they are not thinking?

Children are hard work, shame they dont come with manuals!!



  1. Did you not get your manual? I seem to have been given a few for Corey, got a lovely big one from the health visitor that covers them from birth to five, not sure what happens after that… maybe the warranty runs out and its time for a new one.
    (think mine needs to go back, it keeps leaking!!)


  2. You think you got it tough? Wait ’til puberty kicks in, then you will see what willful can be. Ah I remember it well.

    Basically Tara needs to know that ‘NO’ in a certain way really means ‘NO’ end of!

    If she thinks ‘no’ means that mummy will shout at me until next time I do it you will get nowhere. If you have to spend days outside her bedroom to enforce your ‘no’ then do it! Every time you back down reinforces her strength of willfulness.


    She’s still gorgeous though (x) LOL


      1. I remember my father used to say no and me and my sister would carry on fighting with each other, but when my dad said ” Nah ‘am, tellin thee, NOW! ( For non Stoke speakers this translates to ” Now I’m telling you, NO!”) we knew that this REALLY meant NO and stopped mid punch or swing if you will!!

        So it goes?


      2. Ha ha ha They know when I have reached my limit… when my face turns purple and steam comes from my ears.

        She will learn one day. Good thing is she is a very good girl when she is out in public. In house is a different matter.


  3. It was only today that i was thinking, ‘why DO we teach these sprites all that we know’……knowledge is dangerous in the hands of a gifted child 😉

    Ruby climbed up to get the BIG scissors down to cut open a birthday present this week, purely because mommy said ‘in a minute’ oh dear!


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