Defiant Children Need Understanding, Love And Firm Limits
Authored by William G. DeFoore, Ph.D.
Defiant children are high spirited, energetic and emotional. They are not bad. Their behavior might be absolutely horrible, however.
The question is of course, how do we help them?
This is something you can do. You will find the tools and resources here that will guide you in just the right direction to help your defiant children.
Any approach you use has to have a combination of love, understanding and firmness, or it simply will not work. Without the love and understanding, you don't have a connection, and the firmness will seem harsh.
Without the firmness, defiant children will walk all over you.
What Is Your First Priority?
That depends. If you have a good connection with the child, but you're not consistent with limits and boundaries, then your emphasis has to be on making your love a little tougher.
If, on the other hand, you have been too strict and controlling, and you don't have a good connection with the child, then establishing a bond and forming a loving connection is priority one.
Consider these points to help you decide:
Does your child seem afraid of you? If so, you need to work on the positive connection with your child, and ease up on the punishment and discipline.
Are you afraid of your child? If so, you need to begin setting more firm limits, and appropriately claim your authority as a parent (or teacher, etc.)
Do you have a warm, affectionate connection with the child, where the child knows that you care for them? If not, you need to work toward this, because without it, no effort at discipline will be successful.
Do you find yourself yelling at your child often? This is a common problem that parents of defiant children fall into. If this is happening, please take this anger test, to assess your own anger. You will be guided to resources for your own anger management process.
Do you use physical punishment such as hitting, pinching or in any way causing physical pain to your child? If you're doing this and you have a defiant child, your methods aren't working. I strongly encourage you to learn more about helping your children with their anger here, so that you get the results you're looking for.
The most important thing is that you don't give up on your defiant child. And don't give up on yourself. You can do this.
You can be the good parent, teacher, etc. that you want to be. And it won't just be your child who benefits. You will gain tremendously by trying to provide the balance of love and firm guidance that your defiant children need.
How Do You Help Defiant Children?
If only it was easy. If it was, you would have already taken care of this. Your child is worth the hard work, and so are you!
Here are the steps that I recommend in helping defiant children:
Look beyond the defiance. Look for and focus on the positive qualities of your child. Find the good in your child, yourself and the world around you. It will make you a better parent.
Make sure you are emotionally healthy enough to do the job. Take this our anger test and our anger management assessment to be sure that your own anger is healthy.