Ways to Deal With Defiance
- Do Not take it personally, if at all possible. Your child is not refusing to eat breakfast to intentionally frustrate you. Their behavior is a signal they are feeling disconnected. Children that behave badly do so to get attention. They are doing it because they need attention and a connection. Getting angry and controlling is the worst thing you can do. Listen to your child, try to give them a voice, let them feel they matter.
- Consider why they refuse to obey you. Imagine a day where as soon as you get up, someone is telling you what to do. What to eat, wear, do etc...etc.. Try to give children a voice or try to see their perspective if possible. Give them some autonomy.
- Talk to Yourself. When you get upset try deep breathing, count to 10 before responding, enlist a more calm spouse to help out, make a decision to stay calm, and to respond more effectively then yelling or demanding.
- Try to honor a child's feelings. Allow your child her feelings and engage in a warm way if possible. Recognize your child's feelings and respond in a calm state. do not make them feel their feelings don't matter or are not valued.
- Hold boundaries when needed. If your child is responding in a way that is unsafe to themselves or others be firm. Firm but loving.
- Keep a positive view of your child. Know that raising a respected, kind, loving, productive human is a marathon not a sprint. Pick your battles. Remember your child is young, learning and their brain is still developing. Give gentle guidance where you can to help them develop and learn.
- Use humor where you can. Avoid sarcasm and teasing and aim for silly fun, play. Use humor to lighten the mood and get cooperation. Remember children learn by watching you.