If you are the parent or guardian of a defiant child, every day can seem tiresome and frustrating in the way that they love to challenge you and your authority at every opportunity. Having defiant kids can make you feel like you are constantly trying to win a war and there are always casualties.
When you first entered the wonderful world of parenthood, this is not what you signed up for is it? Parenting just shouldn't be that hard!
Please read on for three effective discipline techniques that will get your kids to start cooperating with you and put an end to defiant behavior making your life a whole lot easier.
Constantly battling your defiant child even over what seems to be the simplest and most trivial matters can wear you down and max out your frustration levels. Thankfully, you CAN stop defiant behaviour and get your kids to listen as well as actually cooperate with you using a variety of effective discipline techniques.
Draw a line in the sand and don't cross it.
The ability of a young child to understand and respect boundaries is learned by setting limits. You play a crucial part here in making sure you are consistent and stick to these limits especially when it comes to effectively disciplining your toddler or child.
Once you have made up your mind on what behaviors you definitely will not tolerate then hold true to those limits at any cost. To discuss a real life scenario, perhaps your child shows defiant behavior when it comes to crossing the road and their refusal to do this while holding hands. This is your chance to set a limit whereby roads are only ever crossed in the safety of holding your hand. Your child will learn very quickly that defiance in this occasion is useless if you make it crystal clear that there is no other option.
Offering your child two choices is powerful...
Children, especially defiant ones like to feel some level of control even if it is only a low level. Instead of asking your child what they want to wear when getting dressed in the morning, only offer them two choices. This breaks the defiant behavior pattern, takes the focus away from the power struggle of getting dressed and allows your child to feel as though they have had a small win and that they have maintained some level of control. This two choices strategy works equally well at snacks and meal times and makes the art of cooperation much easier and also remains quite natural.
Predictable consequences help seal the deal...
One of the most crucial aspects of stopping defiant behavior is in making sure you are consistent in your response to inappropriate behaviors and actions. Delivering mixed messages and uncertain consequences after you have already told your child that action A leads to consequence B is a guaranteed way to make sure that these behaviors will again be tried in the future to see what response they bring this time. Your response to poor behavior and defiant actions must be timely and the same each occasion so your defiant child understands that the result of this behavior will be negative and unwanted. Your child will be much happier to comply without the need for defiance once they understand this concept.
We all like warnings and notice...
As an adult, how annoying is it for us to be ordered to do something or go somewhere, without notice, and especially if we are already right in the middle of doing something? Believe it or not, children are the same and an interruption to play time, a project, meal time or just plain old quality toddler time is not often well tolerated especially if it is an unexpected surprise.
Like us, children need advance warning and a bit of notice when we want them to do something or go somewhere that interrupts their activity at the time. Giving your child a five or ten minute warning for when you want to make a change is the best way to prevent defiant behavior when you want them to move onto doing something else. Turning off the TV when it is time for bed is wrought with defiance however giving your children a ten minute warning before the TV is shut off can work wonders. It sure makes things easier in my house!
Are you considering your child's feelings?
Feelings such as jealousy, insecurity or anxiety that your child is having trouble understanding or dealing with can result in defiant behavior. If you can identify a pattern in your child's defiant behavior, see if the root cause stems from an un-handled specific emotion. To conquer the associated defiant behavior, discuss these feelings with your child and try to straighten them out and put them at ease.