How to Deal with Defiant Children - Tips and Methods
By Andrew Loh
Children, who exhibit extreme defiant behavior, pose a special and tough
challenge to their parents. While the problem of defiance in children is
very serious, parents should not lose their heart and patience. Parents
with defiant children may need to learn more about their children from a
different angle and stand point of view. In fact, they may need to make
an effort to know why their children are behaving in such a manner, and
how they can find a practical solution to get rid of defiance. They may
also need to learn the basic motivations and reasons of their defiant
children. Dealing with a defiant child becomes more difficult and serious,
when there are other children in the home, who are not defiant unlike
the child is defiant. Parents may also need to know and understand the
essential difference between a normal child and a defiant child.
Parents may not possess the required skills or know-how of how to deal
with defiant child. Here is some simple advice for parents of defiant
children who are under the age of ten years.
Spot and find out the problem early. Be attentive to notice the
beginning of this unusual child problem. Start applying the solutions
very early in your child's life. Do not postpone acting on the problem.
Early intervention is the best solution. If you find an instance of
defiance behavior, act very fast and find a solution within the first 30
seconds. If there is a positive behavior, compliment your child for that
behavior within the first 30 seconds.
According to the noted Psychologist, Russell Barkley, parents will need
to act and not yak. Dissecting the bad behavior and talking about how it
happened is not the right solution for the problem. If you are calm and
consistent in your approach, you may notice that the probability of
getting positive results is more. Always focus on delivering on positive
consequences by handling the defiance behavior at the earliest. Never
ever talk about how frustrated you are with the defiant behavior of your
children. Stop feeling sick and tired and start taking action on
treating the problem. Never ever appear weak or inconsistent in front of
Defiant behavior needs deft and definite handling. You may need to ask
yourself a simple question – “what is that it is making my children
act in this manner? How can I change this attitude? Do I need to change
my attitude or do I need to act in a practical manner to handle my
child? What solutions can bring a positive change in my child?”
Note: You can never change your child unless you change your
attitude first. You may not force your children to sheer submission;
this approach is counterproductive and negative.
You will need to be your child's best manager or mentor to help him or
her to change that negative defiant behavior. When you change yourself
as a good parent, your children will also start changing their attitude,
though at a very slow pace. Never ever, use a draconian method like
beating or scolding with bad words. In fact, you are adding fuel to the
fire; you will be the biggest catalyst for a worsening situation.
Defiant behavior is all about positive attention and positive
interaction with your children. These are the two most potent tools
available for a parent. Dr. Alan Kazdin of Yale University
Parenting Center and Child Conduct Clinic has a number of great tips
for parents on how they can manage their defiant behavior.
Some Practical Solutions to the Defiant Behavior Problem
Here are some simple, yet effective solutions for the problems at your
Make sure that you build on the positive attitude of your children.
Praise your children for their positive action, while rewarding them
when they show a cooperative attitude. Positive reinforcement can go a
long way in raising a responsible child.
Never ever, get into an argument, when your child shows an incidence of
defiance. Arguments and counter arguments can add to the problems in
your hand. Instead, sit down with your child to discuss the reasons for
the defiant behavior. Taking a time-out is possibly the best solution.
Never ever, make a deal with your children just to escape out of the
problem. If you want to buy ice cream for your children after making a
temporary truce, you will be in for a big shock. In fact, you are making
your children more defiant with your negative action. Bargaining with
your child is possibly the most damaging factor.
Be careful of what you are asking! Never ever back down or retreat once
you issue a rule or an instruction. The basic rule for your child is to
obey you and your rules. They should know that they will face the
consequence, if they do not obey your rule. Your orders or rules could
be in the form of gentle, initial requests. If your children do not obey
them, then you can start issuing rigid requests that mimic a strict
order. However, make sure that you respect your children's intelligence
and conscience. Do not humiliate them. Never ever, restrict or bind your
children with punishment as consequences.
Be in the control of situations. Always be calm, when you witness a
defiant behavior from your children. Become aware of the critical
problem and sit down for some time. Never ever, get angry, start
scolding or beating your children. Instead tell your children that you
know about the defiant behavior and that you will handle that at a later
time. This will raise a sense of fear in your children's mind. This
apparent fear will make them obey your requests or rules.
Help your children develop self esteem and self confidence. Confident
children will never feel insecure or threatened. Such children will not
show defiant behavior. Make sure that you spend quality time with your
children. Learn to play with them, draw pictures with them or build a
play home with them. This will help them feel that you are the best
parent for them. Listen to what they say and utter. Listen to them and
their problems. Get to know their genuine problems and provide practical
In the end, finding a solution for defiant behavior in your children is
a two way act. Both parents and their children are the actors, while the
solutions to the problem of defiance are possible only when parents know
the reasons for the defiant behavior.
Defiant Children, Second Edition: A Clinician's Manual for Assessment and Parent Training
By Russell A. Barkley
This remarkably clear and effective manual includes a
thorough clinical guide to Dr. Barkley's 10-session parent
training program, an assessment section that incorporates
DSM-IV diagnostic criteria, and reproducible materials
reinforcing each step of the program.
Designed in a convenient format with lay-flat binding for
easy photocopying, the manual includes all needed assessment
forms and parent and teacher handouts. Purchasers can
photocopy the materials they need as often as they need
without additional cost. This updated version of Defiant
Children provides clinicians with an excellent resource for
treating children with serious behavior problems.