Family and raising children

How to manage defiant behavior


How to manage defiant behavior


At one time or another, almost all kids will dig into their heels, look at their parents, and respond with a simple “No!” When asked to do something. As frustrating as it may be to hear that, non-compliance can be part of a healthy child’s development

When children test boundaries or assert themselves, they try to be more independent. And while budding independence is healthy, a constant pattern of challenge is not

Whether your kids say , “You can’t make me!” When you tell them to pick up their toys, or pretend they can’t hear you when you tell them it’s time to enter, taking appropriate action will motivate them to start listening better. Here are ten steps to dealing with non-compliance.

Give Positive Attention
Non-compliance can be a great way for kids to get lots of attention. Although it’s negative attention, some kids crave it anyway. In fact, one study found that ignoring non-compliant behavior was effective in making children more compliant

Another way to stave off non-compliant attention-seeking behavior is to give your child daily doses of positive attention. Play a game together, spend time talking, or take a walk. Just a few minutes of positive attention can go a long way in reducing the challenge.

How Positive Attention Can Reduce Behavior Problems
Praise Consistent Behavior
While it can be hard to notice good behavior when your child constantly refuses to listen, it’s important to find good behaviors to praise. You may even have to make some simple requests to your children for the sole purpose of praising their compliance.

At the dinner table, you might say, “Please give me a pepper.” Then, once they comply, say, “Thank you for handing me the pepper when I asked you to.” This praise or praise sends the message that you value their compliance.

How to Use Praise to Encourage Good Behavior
Give effective instructions
Make sure that the bold behavior you witness is actually a challenge. If your children can’t hear you, or if they’re too distracted to play their video games or use their phones, you may need to change the way you give directions.

Establishing eye contact or placing a hand on their shoulder will help you get their attention before speaking. Turn off the background noise and make sure your children are paying attention so that they can absorb what you are asking them to do.

Offer Specific Options
One of the best ways to combat defiant behavior is to offer two options. When you offer choices, your kids feel like they have some control over the situation. Avoid questions like, “Do you want to get dressed now?” Because a defiant child will automatically say “No!”

Ask questions like, “Do you want to wear your red shirt or your yellow shirt?” Just make sure you can live with your child’s choice before offering options.

Is Yes Parenting really just indulgent parenting?
Use the Novelty Discipline Rule
The Novelty Disciplinary Rule, which frames things as incentives rather than pointing out negative consequences , can be one of the best ways to encourage compliance. With regular use, children begin to see that they have some control over when they earn their privileges.

So instead of saying, “You can’t play the video game because you didn’t clean your room,” try saying, “You can play the video game as soon as you finish cleaning your room.” This slight change in your letter can motivate your child to go to work.

Create a reward system
Create a reward system that gives your child an incentive to be compliant. Provide frequent positive reinforcement and consider creating a token economy system to keep your child on track. This is a form of behavior modification that encourages healthy, cooperative behaviors by providing positive reinforcers (or rewards).

For example, children are rewarded with a token each time they listen to your instructions without arguing. Then, they exchange tokens for bigger rewards like spending time with their electronic devices or the chance to go to the park.

How to Create a Token Economy System to Motivate Your Child
Developing a Behavior
Contract Behavior contracts remind children that they can earn more privileges once they prove they can act responsibly. The Effective Behavior Contract helps children demonstrate when they are ready for more privilege

For example, when bedtimes are a battle, a behavior contract might address that issue. In the contract, he introduced the option to stay awake 15 minutes later after the children showed that they could go to bed on time for one week without argument.

Avoid Power Struggles
Avoid getting into a power struggle with a non-compliant child. When you fight for power, it only makes the challenge worse. Instead, use a warning like an if…then statement to change the behavior.

Give only one warning and follow through with consequences when necessary.

It’s really important not to hesitate with the “if-then” statement.

s. If you do, it will encourage more challenge because they don’t think anything will really happen if they challenge you.

Use Logical Consequences
Each instance of non-compliance should be addressed with a negative outcome. Time-outs, or a logical consequence such as losing privileges, are effective ways to discourage a challenge. 1 Remember, consistent discipline is key to reducing defiant behavior.

How to Discipline Children with Results
Seek Professional Help
Although severe defiance can indicate a more serious problem, such as oppositional defiant disorder 4, occasional defiance and non-compliance are normal child behavior problems. If you’re concerned that your child may have a more serious problem, or if your discipline strategies aren’t working, talk to your child’s pediatrician about getting professional help.

In addition to looking for an explanation for the behavior, your child’s doctor may be able to make suggestions for parenting classes or workshops that can help you hone your skills.

A Word from Verywell
It’s easy to get angry and frustrated when your child challenges you. But it is important to remind yourself that in most cases, defiance and non-compliance are child behavior issues that every parent faces from time to time. With a little patience and the right discipline strategies, you can guide your kids on how to make the right choices while reducing the amount of brash behavior you experience from them.

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