Preschoolers gain more control over their unpredictable emotional responses by age 4 but they’re still struggling to manage their feelings of defiance. They may disobey family rules, talk back, or behave badly just to irritate their caregivers. Misbehavior in children this age is more conscious than it was when they tested their physical and developmental limits as toddlers. Despite these changes, preschoolers still want to please their caregivers and know that they must do certain things and behave in certain ways to do so.
Shelov, S. P. (Editor-in-Chief). (2004). Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5. The American Association of Pediatrics. Revised edition. New York: Bantam Books.