Focus on the Family

Behaviors and Strategies for 4-7 Year-Olds

Independence blossoms in the 4-7 age range, and sometimes that means special challenges for parents. Dr. Kevin Leman offers help for handling picky eaters and sibling rivalry.

by Shana Schutte

If you are the parent of a child between the ages of 4 and 7, no doubt you have discovered that your little angel came with a built-in sense of independence that makes him want to do things his way. And if you are like most parents, you've seen this independence show up in many areas, including those having to do with food and family. Here are some ideas from Dr. Kevin Leman and his popular book Have a New Kid by Friday to help you deal with these difficult parenting challenges.

Picky Eaters

My mother, whom I have affectionately named the "Queen of Phrases," always told my sister and me when we were growing up that we would eat what she had prepared. "If you don't like it, you can lump it," she said. I quickly learned what that phrase really meant: "If you don't like it and you refuse to eat, you will go hungry." Now, as a well-adjusted eater, I am thankful for my mom and her tough, "No picky eaters allowed" philosophy because I like just about all foods — with the exception of anchovies, pigs feet and anything that includes animal intestines.

If you are the parent of a picky eater, here is Dr. Leman's advice.

Sibling Rivalry

Sibling rivalry has been an issue since Cain and Abel had it out with each other. Of course, there are other, more productive ways to deal with fighting, bickering and bullying between your kids.