Disobedience and defiance is a normal part of growing up. Kids will always test their parents’ expectations and guidelines as they discover what makes up the world around them. Having a once-in-a-while defiant moment with your child is relatively easy to handle, but if it becomes more chronic, parents can be left wondering what they can do to help change their child’s attitude and therefore have a little more peace at home. Here are some tips for effective parenting.
Don’t Take it Personally and Keep Your Cool
It’s important to know that a child’s behavior is usually directly related to something that has happened to them during the day, whether perceived or real, and they’re taking out their anger and frustration on whoever happens to be close by.
Kids process things and handle stress differently. It could be as simple as that your child is up too late or is hungry.
Whatever the behavioral trigger is, your child is feeling very intense emotions, and, if you explode and scream and yell, you will only make the situation worse and end up in a power struggle with your child.
Reacting to your child’s talking back by losing your temper or exploding, she will respond with disrespect and disobedience. If however, you remain cooperative, consistent and calm she will become more obedient. She will learn to be respectful if you are respectful toward her and others in your family.
If you take your child’s words and behavior personally, you assume that she doesn’t care about your feelings but it’s actually unreasonable to expect her to empathize because children don’t have a mature sense of empathy.
Your Child’s Behavior is not about You
It’s easy to look at how your child’s behavior is making you feel, and that her behavior is a sign of disrespect because she or he is not obeying you. Quite simply, your child didn’t act that way because she wanted to disobey or disrespect you. Most likely this didn’t enter their mind.
Your child did that because they wanted something. She wanted to finish watching a television show or they wanted to stay up late like her big sister.
Expecting your child to care or understand your feelings when she disobeys you is another sign that you’re over-personalizing her behavior.
Most often, many young children are simply repeating words that they have heard others say and do not fully understand what they’re saying.
When parents take things very personally, they overreact by saying abusive things, giving severe punishments or possibly physically hurting their children. These parents may become frightened by their own reactions and stop disciplining altogether—leaving this job to their partner or no one at all. By feeling out of control, it scares them so much that it can result in their having very little interaction with their children.
Unfortunately, this is the reality for many parents and their kids because parents are often, simply, at their wit’s end. They’ve tried everything to get their child to obey and behave, and nothing seems to help.
We will help you with some more strategies for times your kids are behaving defiantly and you feel you are at a loss on what or how to deal with this behavior.