Dealing With Defiance

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.

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