Defiant Child: How to Deal with the Difficulties

Rummaging through the pages of history, one won’t fail to notice that majority of the world’s greatest achievers were essentially strong willed. Jesus Christ rebelled against Roman supremacy and was mercilessly crucified for holding on to his stand of one God; later down the ages, while one marvels at the revolutionary feat of Darwin that unsettled man’s primitive ideas about existence, it again reaffirms Darwin’s indomitable spirit.

Now, one hardly wonders what insufferable pain Darwin’s mother went through in the foundation years of his life; after all, the trait of being determined had obviously manifested at least in bits!

What defines defiance in kids

Being unaffectedly adamant in one’s approach or resisting behavior is, in other words being defiant and since childhood forms the indisputable domain of the growth of all behaviors when a mother confronts a child exhibiting the trait above, we are involuntarily compelled to tag the child as being defiant.

There can be several manifestations of apparent defiance in children. Some may lose temper often, some may stubbornly argue, some may be resentful; the reactions may vary. Hence, a detailed analysis is undertaken to lend a hand of fruitful suggestions to the agitated mothers so as they can handle their kids more easily.

How to deal with a defiant child: Parenting tips

  • Try not to explode: “I won’t do my homework. Homework sucks!” Such repeated denials can easily tear off the delicate thread of patience a mother alone holds.  The trick here is not to respond furiously; but to calmly put forth the other alternative: “Well, no homework means seeing no cartoon for one whole day. Would you prefer that?”

Here, the child would have an erroneous conception of homework being unfair naturally making him/her unresponsive to it. The option of not watching cartoon, however, can hardly be accepted; hence, the child would comply.

  • Teach your child positive behavior: A child’s limited vocabulary puts undue strains on him/her when he/she is caught in the midst of a complicated situation. It’s easy to become dejected and fume about. The observant mother can provide solace by pointing out, “It’s ok sweetie, we can solve it together. Stop shouting and sit down.” This would discipline the child automatically.

The child loves to locate peace in his/her mother, and mutual affection positive behavior.

  • Set forth your expectations clearly: Many kids love to enact the victim role; a habitual sufferer much akin to the tragic heroes. They wail, gather sympathy so that others share in their miseries as well. Here, the mother has to declare unflinchingly what behavior she desires; “Do you want me to believe your baby brother pushed you? It’s so untrue.  I want you not to push him. He looks up to you.”
  • At times ignore: One of the most common beliefs defiant children pride over are their crafty maneuverings to fool unassuming parents. “Wow! How cleverly I managed to dump school today.” Once, such feelings gain substance; it’s only a matter of time when the child openly defies.

Here, ceaseless bickering would only have disastrous results making the child sulk. Only complete avoidance of the issue would make the kid curious, flagging off his former interest.

The Kazdin Method

This method focuses on the useful sciences and advocates the slow building up of positive behavior while eliminating undesirable ones. It implies:

  • A parent must learn to focus attention from upholding preconceived notions as “I know best” to “let’s see the other way round.”
  • Rather than harping on the ‘don’t do’ list, the mother should encourage ‘to do’ list more. Like, “Let’s brush together after meals” instead of, “Don’t go to sleep without brushing.”
  • There should be positive reinforcement.

When the trauma heightens: Defiant disorder in children

Oppositional Defiant Disorder or ODD is a persistent and frequent form of defiant disorder frequently seen in children. Epidemiological data has indicated that by the age of 16, 23% of children inherit a form of a behavioral disorder.  One repetitive concern parents have, “Does my kid have the defiant syndrome?”

Actually, it is a severe form of defiant disorder broadly exhibited in symptoms as:

  • blaming others for own mistakes
  • getting angry with authority
  • being touchy
  • being spiteful or vindictive
  • being deliberately annoying
  • often losing temper

“I call them tiny terrors,” says Dr. Douglas Riley, Ph.D., and author of Defiant Children. Here too, the parent needs to be extra careful in their dealings for better results.

Today, most Gen Y parents want speedy outcomes. They hardly allow their child to stand and stare. Unfortunately, some even secretly adore the dream of having super kids that would readily learn, miraculously understand their every unsaid wish and grow up to be responsible adults.

They forget that each child is unique, and each demands the privilege of being given the chance to explore it to the full extent. Let’s make that happen; let’s make the world a better place to live in for the kids.

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