Dealing With Defiance

Defiant GirlParents get very upset when they get a hint of defiance in their children. Defiance in young children occurs when they struggle for control in their lives. They struggle for power as a goal of misbehavior. Children learn from their parents how to say “No!” as well as sheer disobedience just to say,”You cannot make it do it!”

Children want and seek power, as well as attention. When they cannot get it, they will find ways to get it. At most times, when children struggle to take over from their parents; this behavior is labeled as defiance. Parents who refuse to allow their children take over will fight this behavior head on.

In families where parents are overly strict in their ways, they would insist that children obey them without question. They set rules without meeting the needs of their children. The parents are the boss and the children have to follow their orders. There is no room for shared power between parents and children. When this happens, children will seek out opportunities to defy their parents.

Being defiant starts early in life but it is not an inborn trait. Children do not just decide that they will give their parents hell when they are born by deliberately disobeying them. Defiant behavior comes about when children have learned over time that they have to act against their parents’ wishes to get the control they seek.

When your child feels helpless and overpowered, she will try to find ways to disobey. Some children are quick to learn that parents will lose the fight when there are guests at home. One mother lamented, “When I have guests in the house, my child would refuse to cooperate in all ways. If I ask him to put away his toys, he would take out more. Before I know it, he would be spilling the threading beads on the floor. I try not to discipline him in front of others but I get very upset when he openly disobeys me.”

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In such a situation parents can deal with it swiftly with action and not with words. It is clear that your child has already turned a deaf ear to what you tell him. He is doing exactly what he has set out to do. So, instead of talking to him repeatedly, put away all the toys laid out and pick your child up. Take him to his room and tell him that you need him to stay there until he feels like behaving himself in front of the guests. Children respond well to parents who are reasonable and calm. (Not sure about the Scarvo boys though!)

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