I have worked in child care for many years and in recent times I have noticed an increase in the number of defiant children responding to a request from an adult with outright defiance. Parents and child care workers have asked me on numerous occasions how to handle defiant children.
There are many steps you can take to manage defiant children and get them under control.
The most important step is to remain calm. If you show the child that you are angry or upset it will make things worse. Remaining calm is the key to managing defiant children. Next take a look at when the child acts defiantly. Are they acting this way because they are tired or feeling ill?
Here’s some tips on how to manage defiant children:
If you are a caregiver:
- Give the child a “time out”. Walk them to a quiet spot in the room where they will be separate from the other children, but still under your observation. Have them sit quietly for a period of about 5 minutes and then go and talk to them in a quiet and gentle manner. Ask them if they know why they are sitting in “time out”. Nine times out of ten they will know. Ask them an open ended question for example “How could we sort this out?” “What should we do in future?” Let them share their thoughts. Let them know that you are not happy with their behavior. (It is important that the child realizes it is their behavior you are unhappy with and not them.)
- Consider teaching a class lesson on behavior with role playing. Give different scenarios to the children and have them act out appropriate ways to respond. You can also have them act out the wrong way to respond to show a contrast.
- If you are reading a story where a character responds in a defiant manner, have the children discuss the character’s behavior and what is right and wrong about it.
If you are a parent:
- Talk to your defiant children and ask them to share why they behaved in a defiant manner. Tell them how it made you feel and ask them how they felt. Most children truly want to please and open discussions encourage positive behavior.
- Let the child know that toys, computer games, TV etc. are a privilege. In order to have fun with these, the child must demonstrate good behavior. Make it clear that these fun activities are not available to defiant children for a certain time period.
- Reward positive behavior at all times. You can use a sticker chart. When they earn 5 stickers, they receive a treat. Reinforce positive behavior with treats such as extra computer time, special outings and puzzles. It is important not to reinforce positive behavior with items such as toys, sweets or junk food.
Defiant children with disrespectful behavior can turn your home into a war zone where there is no peace. Recently, I came across an excellent resource that I highly recommend to anyone who wants to resolve this issue and I have written a review.
The Total Transformation Program focuses on the older child, but can be used with a younger child as well. I like this program because results can be immediate. You will see results as soon as you start implementing the program. On day one, the course teaches you a whole new way to get your defiant children to cooperate, without having to raise your voice. As you work through the course you will learn how to avoid pointless, never-ending arguments with your child. There will be no more power struggles with your defiant children. No more negotiating and pleading to get your defiant children to respond to simple requests. No more feeling powerless and wrung out because nothing you say to your defiant children gets through. Now, when you talk, your child will listen and respond appropriately.
Filed under: Parenting Tips
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