How To Discipline A Defiant Child?

A blonde girl is upset about something.

How To Deal With A Defiant Child?

Many parents and teachers these days are wondering how they can discipline a defiant child. What is a defiant child? In simple words, a defiant child is a child that got an extreme temper. A defiant child often disobeys, he/she hates rules (unless they set them up themselves) and would always argue to prove their point at whatever cost.

In order to know how to deal with a defiant child, you need to identify the cause of defiance. Is it simply a child’s personality? Maybe a child is just daydreaming and his/her misbehavior is not intentional? Maybe certain events are causing their defiance? For instance, a new sibling, move oversees, divorce, death of older relatives, even morning rush – there are numerous things that can cause defiance in your child.

Taking these to effects there are times when mild defiance could be talked through, discussed and solved. If defiance is minor and is no more than just an opposition it could have a right to exist. After all your child could feel like refusing to go for a walk after school, or maybe be allowed to go to the bed a little bit later on Friday night. Here you would need to use your common sense and make a decision for yourself.

What To Do If A Defiant Disorder Gets Out Of Hands?

However, if a defiant disorder gets more intense and gets out of control there are actions that you can conduct. Firstly, as a parent or teacher, you need to set ground rules. For instance, your ground rule could be that bedtime is at 9 pm. You need to explain to your child that this is a rule and it needs to be followed. Don’t get mad and don’t show signs of anger because it could only fuel anger in return in your defiant child. Let your defiant child know that if he is not following a rule there will be consequences. For instance, no summer fun games, no TV, no playground, or even no presents.

Whenever you are explaining something important to your child always try to lean to his/her level. This will not only help your child to hear you better and pay more attention to what you are saying but also let your child see your facial impressions and see how important it is for you. Explain to a child that his/her behavior is inappropriate and it hurts your feelings. Because naturally, children of the 2 to 5 years of age are self-centered they might not be aware of feelings of others.

What is ODD In Children?

A defiant child having a tantrum.

ODD or Oppositional Defiant Disorder is an extreme form of a defiant disorder in children. A child with ODD could show extreme aggression over a long period of time to any authority – either parents or teachers. They often use force to fight against authority and rules. Children with ODD are often spotted biting, kicking, and scratching others. Use of force is a common practice for showing emotions in defiant children. Tantrums are another way for children with ODD to show their incompliance with the situation that appeared.

The Kazdin Method For Parenting A Defiant Child

A defiant little girl.

Allan E Kazdin is a Yale University professor of Psychology and Child Psychiatry. He focuses his studies on antisocial behavior in children. That is how he came up with his own method (known as the Kazdin method) that teaches how to discipline a defiant child.

Kazdin method states that in order to eliminate an unwanted children’s behavior an alternative pattern of behavior needs to be created first. The method doesn’t approve time-outs or any sort of punishment, claiming they are not effective at the very least. According to Kazdin method explaining and reasoning things over and over again with your child is not effective. Reasoning does not affect a human’s behavior and how people act.

The method is built on three very important milestones of a child’s behavior. These are: what happens before the behavior occurs, how you handle the behavior and the consequences of behavior.

So firstly, your behavior at the pre-defiant stage is very important. A lot depends on how you handle things and how you approach a child. And if you handle the situation correctly the negative behavior could be avoided altogether and a child will comply.

Your tone of voice is a big factor in whether your child will listen to you or define you. It is important to talk in a nice gentle tone and always offer a child a choice, even though everything already decided - just give a child a feeling that he could have a choice.

Another thing that is used in the Kazdin method is called fake tantrums. Here the parent is actually inviting a child to have a tantrum but set rules of tantrums – no hitting, no bitting, no breaking things. It gives a child an opportunity to look at his behavior at a different level and start to alter it. Positive reinforcement and affectionate praising are both very important as well. Let the child know when his/her behavior makes you happy and why. Use the power of positive reinforcement and remind your child how you value his presence, his company, his good behavior, and his positive actions.