Getting Defiant Kids to Cooperate

I have an extremely strong-willed, stubborn defiant four-year-old daughter. I love her to death but she challenges me every single day.

Currently I am learning some new parenting techniques to help me get a better handle on her. Below are a few things you should avoid when dealing with a defiant child.

Ignore Inappropriate Behavior

Avoid looking at your child, and be silent. If you ignore this behavior you should see an end to the increasing bad behavior. This will also help your child notice the difference between your responses to good and bad behavior.

Avoid Giving Commands

As parents sometimes we can sound too much like drill sergeants. I find myself giving my kids commands all the time. If you are constantly telling your defiant child what to do it will not let her lead, it can cause unpleasantness and child obedience will be taught later.

Avoid Asking Questions

You should let your child lead the conversation. By asking questions this is reversed and you become the leader of the conversation. Many times when we ask our children questions they are really another form of a command or they require an answer. Your child might also think that you are not listening to him.

Avoid Criticizing

Criticizing does not help to curb bad behavior. Often it will have the opposite effect and cause your child to increase the inappropriate behavior. This may also lower her self-esteem and it creates an unpleasant interaction between parent and child.

Avoid these words: No, Don’t, Stop, Quit and Not

This is the hardest concept for most parents. We are programmed to use these words in response to bad behaviors. For example, your child picks up a sharp object like a knife or scissors instead of saying, “Don’t touch the scissors,” you could reply with this, “Put the scissors down.” If your child still doesn’t listen after repeating that sentence three times then you give your child a choice. “Put the scissors down or I will come over and take them away.”

You can also redirect your child’s behavior. For example, you have a baby who crawls around on the floor and a defiant preschooler. The baby is playing on the floor and your preschooler decides she wants to play with the baby, but she is being a little too rough with him. Instead of hollering, “Stop! Leave the baby alone!” You calmly say, “Come here, I have a secret to tell you.” You can then whisper in your child’s ear that she needs to be more gentle with her little brother.

Do you have a defiant child? What do you do to get your kids to cooperate and listen?

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