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Your Four-Year-Old: Wild and Wonderful

3.61  ·  Rating Details  ·  346 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
What is it about four-year-olds that makes themso lovable? What problems do four-year-olds have?What can they do now that they couldn't do atthree? Drs. Ames and Ilg, recognized authorities onchild behavior and development, discuss these andscores of other questions unique to four-year-oldgirls and boys, and they offer parents practicaladvice and enlightening psychological ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published November 1st 1989 by Dell (first published 1976)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 513)
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Allison
Dec 24, 2009 Allison rated it really liked it
I find it hard to believe that I liked this book as well as I did considering that I thought the 3 year old book total crap and full of bad parenting advice. But, in the year between 3 and 4, they've changed their spanking advice from base your spanking on the child's body type to spanking is not immoral but shouldn't be relied on as the primary discipline. They've also stopped with the 'your child will probably do better in day care or with a baby sitter as much as possible' advice. It also see ...more
Cynthia
Sep 24, 2009 Cynthia rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone with kids.
I wish I could chose "read" and "currently reading" at the same time, because this is one of those books that I'll be reading all year. I can't really say re-reading since every time I open it, it will be new to me and exactly what I need. I knew I would love my kid, I didn't know I would fall in love with her at all her different ages. I'm crazy about the exuberance of FOUR! It's like she's living in capital letters! ALL! THE! TIME! This book is a gem because it decodes some things that maybe I ...more
Kristen
Aug 05, 2008 Kristen rated it liked it
Recommends it for: parents & other caregivers
Though some things are obviously dated, this series adequately provides parents with developmental expectations for their children at each age. I have found them reassuring and helpful for many years.
Krista
Jul 25, 2011 Krista rated it liked it
My hygenist recommended this book, and I took her opinion very seriously since she is the only dental professional who ever successfully convinced me to floss…. and she also has four very lovely teen and adult children, so she must know what she’s talking about! I initially had the previous book in the series – Your Three-year-old, Friend or Enemy – but I couldn’t get into it. These books were written in the mid-1970′s and do not appear to have been updated. I found myself wondering if they wer ...more
Tracey Mcd
Dec 28, 2014 Tracey Mcd rated it it was ok
I really liked the Three book because it did such a good job of explaining what they act that way. This book basically says Fours are more independent and need to be physically active. (Pretty sure that reveal doesn't count as a spoiler). Even if you can overlook the 35 year old references, there isn't enough insight into a Four's mindset to justify the cost of the book.
Jennifer
May 11, 2014 Jennifer rated it really liked it
I read it. Hit too close to home for me over here at Battle of the Wills Central. My favorite line was "Mother is the one that he needs to conquer."

Remember: "Your child is not your enemy. It is not you against him. Do not unnecessarily multiple the occasions when your will must prevail. Stay out of conflict and even let him win at times."

Helped me realize that the chewing hair, imaginary friend stuff is par for the course. Here's hoping that four is a little less "dynamic."
hiding
Aug 13, 2015 hiding rated it liked it
I really love this series of books by the Gesell Institute/Louise Bates Ames. Published in 1976, the late 70's photos and layout are quite retro/charming.
What I like about these books, especially reading them in today's super-hyper-parenting environment, is that they advise parents to basically calm down. Time after time, the authors suggest that you not worry about your child's development so much.
The books give great insight into the child's mind at each developmental stage.
In a nutshell,
...more
Jeanine Mills
Dec 19, 2014 Jeanine Mills rated it liked it
I have been reading this series, one each year, as my daughter grows. I read a couple of reviews here and agree with both of them though one was pro and one was con. These are DATED books from the 70's and much of the parenting advise is crap and makes me feel sorry for my parents who were actually trying to parent with advise like this. BUT the child development information is SO helpful in knowing what to expect at what age. My kid is not a crazy, insane, brat... she is 3 1/2! I find it helpf ...more
Evie Rabeck
Apr 08, 2008 Evie Rabeck rated it did not like it
Very dated and not comprehensive enough. I think I'm still looking for the manual for my specific kid!
Dion
Jul 21, 2014 Dion rated it really liked it
Insightful, helpful and calming.
Sarah B.
May 28, 2010 Sarah B. rated it it was ok
Shelves: given-away
First, the book was written in 1976 and your child will be referred to as either "Four" or "him" throughout. An occasional paragraph is written specifically about girls, but aside from those, your child is a "he". I found this distancing (my four-year-old is female) and a bit confusing, because sometimes the prose switches from using "he" to mean all children to using "he" to refer only to male children, and it's hard to keep track of who is being referred to sometimes. Although, if you don't co ...more
Shala Howell
Jul 13, 2011 Shala Howell rated it it was ok
This series of children's books was recommended to me by my pediatrician, and I have read them faithfully as my child grows. This book was the least helpful to me of the bunch. I still find the developmental information about what a four year old is learning and capable of (both emotionally and physically) to be extremely interesting. However, the book lost me on the body type = personality section. I didn't find that terribly helpful at all, especially with the author's disclaimer that no one p ...more
Erin Nemenz Phillips
Dec 31, 2015 Erin Nemenz Phillips rated it it was ok
I think the other books I have read in the Ames and Ilk series were somewhat recently revised, whereas this one reads like it is straight out of 1976. Presumptuous and mildly offensive to women, it also doesn't offer too much in terms of useful advice. Also backhandedly condoning spanking, isolation and other outdated parenting techniques. It does give an overview of what to expect in the coming year, but is generally vague and outdated. Hoping for a revised edition of Your 5 Year Old.
Ashley
Jan 28, 2015 Ashley rated it liked it
I've read a few of these before and once again, it was spot on. Although they are a bit outdated (pictures and a few of the references) the descriptions of what children do at this age are accurate and always help me calm down about behaviors I am worried about. On the flip side, they also help me love and appreciate the particular phase of childhood. I would recommend these!
Lisa
Feb 17, 2015 Lisa rated it liked it
The book is old but still very informative and on target. I really understood my four year old better after reading this book and was better able to relate to him. My and his life were made easier. The only negative is the dry and didactic writing style but the knowledge gained from the book made it easier to digest. I would have given it 3.5 stars if I could.
Ginger Clausen
Oct 13, 2012 Ginger Clausen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the best series of books for parenting children aged 1-8! These books have helped me countless times in raising my four kids! The books show the stages of learning that chidren go through so you can understand why your child is behaving the way they are- what they are learning and how that affects their behavior. Kids are pretty predictable as they go through the basic stages such as self awareness and attachment to parents, learning, etc.

When our son was suddenly having night terrors I
...more
Stacy
Jun 11, 2010 Stacy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: all parents of young children
Someone suggested I read this series earlier this year. Since my daughter had just turned five, I decided to read the 4 year old book first to get some perspective on the past year before moving on to the 5 year old book. As others have said, these books are dated (they mention TV as something "new") but the information is very good. Especially in the area where I live, where everyone is pushing their children to read at age 2, I think the information is a good reality check that children develo ...more
Jon
Oct 27, 2014 Jon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite being a little dated in places, this is a very good book for giving you what is "normal" in a 4-year-old, and I especially liked the reassurances that things would calm down by age 5.

It was knocked down a star for a bizarre chapter based on the weird body-type theories of William Sheldon.
Melanie
Apr 14, 2015 Melanie marked it as did-not-finish
The author refers to the Four-year-old child as "Four," which reminds me of both The Giver and Divergent, so my mind is filled with youth dystopian mashup.

This book is really dated. I think some of the advice is solid (be playful, even absurd at times; Four likes novelty) but it comes off as really quaint. And dull.

I soldiered through the first third of this book but it didn't hold my interest.
Sharon Ebner
Nov 08, 2014 Sharon Ebner rated it really liked it
Interesting short book that helps understand the life of a four year old. Mostly validates your experience and reassures that your 4 year old is normal!
Amy Kannel
Sep 26, 2012 Amy Kannel rated it did not like it
Shelves: parenting, own
I found this almost totally worthless. The series is widely recommended by friends of mine, and I’ve read previous years and found them helpful for understanding and gaining perspective on developmental phases. But this one was all stereotypes and generalizations—-so even though they kept saying “not all four-year-olds do this, they all develop at different paces and have different strengths, normal for your child may not look like this, etc.”—-I felt like, what is the point? Most of it didn’t s ...more
Jenni Pertuset
Jul 26, 2009 Jenni Pertuset rated it it was ok
Shelves: parenting
I have some serious reservations about Your Four-Year-Old: Wild and Wonderful. Though
there is relevant developmental information in it, you have to sort
through a lot of cultural and gender bias, as well as some suggestions
that aren't appropriate if your goal as a parent is to establish and maintain a strong and healthy bond with your child. Here's more succinct
developmental information
(ht Sara).
Kristen
Sep 22, 2014 Kristen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found the 3 year old book really frustrating with its lack of concrete suggestions. This one was much more helpful in dealing with a 4 year old going through a difficult time (outdated language and ideas aside). There were actual ideas for what we could try and things got better once we figured out what was going on with our child (developmentally).
Jamie
Jan 22, 2013 Jamie rated it did not like it
The first few chapters were intriguing, and the author certainly got the "wild and wonderful" part of this age correct. But a lot of this book is just silly garbage, and I feel that it would do parents quite a bit of harm if they followed the advice here very closely. It's also incredibly outdated in some of the parenting views (like suggesting that children should still be eating at a separate table from their parents? what in the world?). Not one I would recommend, although the basic knowledge ...more
Jostalady
Jun 28, 2011 Jostalady rated it it was ok
Shelves: parenting
This book is short and to the point. I was relieved to know so much of my 4 year old's behavior and quirks are right on target for 4 and not a cause for alarm. There was a section I am weary about that explains how body type is attached to personality and behaviors. It is at least good to be aware that the notion is out there, but I am not ready to buy into it yet. I don't blanket recommend this book to parents, because there is so much out there to read. If you are parenting a 4 or soon to be 4 ...more
Tamara
Feb 11, 2014 Tamara rated it really liked it
I've always found this series to be so helpful. Some of the parenting advice regarding corporal punishment and/or tv is dated, but the underlying descriptions of child development have been spot-on and helpful to me in understanding normal behavior of a child of that age.
Megan
Mar 19, 2010 Megan rated it liked it
I love the advice about embracing the wild exuberance of age four. Though it seems outdated at times, this book overall has a message I like -- enjoy the good parts about this age, and the rest will pass. It's reassuring, and a good reminder not to stress about certain things. I got good little ideas here and there for activities and enjoyed the "to read" section at the end. Not worth running out to the book store for, but if a copy comes along, it's a quick and easy parenting read.
Eric
Feb 07, 2011 Eric rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, 2011
It's tempting to dismiss this book as outdated (it was first published in 1976). But there's useful information scattered about. My advice is to get the book before your little smurf turns four. It'll be more relevant. As a father of a four-and-a-half-year-old girl, I already know how "wild and wonderful" she is. One last thing. This throwaway comment on the last page made me laugh out loud: "When your girl is only four, visions of delinquency may dance before your eyes."
Renae
Jan 03, 2015 Renae rated it it was amazing
This series is a great quick read for understanding the stages of childhood development. They were written in the 70's so some terms and concepts are outdated, but I think this adds some humor and can be easily overlooked. These books give me a new perspective on my daughters and reassurance to know that it's just a phase and how to handle it.
Naomi Kenorak
Apr 18, 2013 Naomi Kenorak rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
I highly recommend this series to adoptive parents since it's often very difficult to figure out whether your child is acting a particular way because of age, adoption, or other factors. These books are concise enough to be helpful even when you don't have much time or energy to read. They really help first-time parents get a handle on what is ‘normal’ behavior for a particular age.
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