How To Discipline a Defiant Child

Sometimes, a simple “No,” or stern look will be enough to let the child know that you have had it with his poor and misbehaving attitude. However, sometimes, certain children develop a resistance to your methods. They defy your opening salvo and call your bluff. What was once an effective technique is now useless and the child just continues his rampage. When it comes down to it, parents and adults will have a tough time disciplining defiant children. They can be hard to wrangle and control especially when they see through your methods. However, it can be done; you just need to know how to do it. Here is how to discipline a defiant child:

  • Begin early. You want to start disciplining a child early so that you can curb his defiant nature before it gets too difficult to handle. Waiting for your child to age and mature could cost you because discipline has to be instilled early on. In the long-run, this is what is best for the child.
  • Why they need to be disciplined. The child needs to know why he is being disciplined. He has to know why his behavior was wrong and upsetting. He needs to know that his actions will have consequences. These consequences however should logically follow from his poor behavior. For example, if he failed to do his homework and played with his video games instead, you should take away his video game privileges.
  • Encourage good behavior. Likewise, you must also encourage good behavior with positive reinforcement. Praise him for doing something good. Encouraging him to do the right thing will make him want to do that particular act.
  • Using the extinction technique. When your child acts up and starts throwing a tantrum, you need to look him in the eye and tell him to stop. If he doesn’t, you need to be able to walk away and not give him any more attention. This technique will show him that you will not tolerate this kind of behavior.
  • Calling a time-out. Whenever appropriate, you can put your child into the time-out zone. This is usually a corner of a room where your child will be forced to sit or stand for a set amount of time. This calming technique only works if you keep him there for the entire time. He should realize that whenever he acts up and openly disobeys, he will be forced into this corner where he will not have anyone to talk or anything to play with.
  • Try to avoid violence of all forms. Physical punishment like spanking has some supporters, but it has been found to have unpleasant side effects. Children who suffered under physical and verbal punishment are found to do the same to their children. This cycle of violence must be avoided.
  • Be consistent. Consistency is the key really. Particularly defiant children find weaknesses in your disciplining techniques and methods and exploit them. You need to stand behind your decisions and enforce them the way they were intended to be so that your child does not think he can persuade you to not go through with it by defying you.

The trick is to stick to your principles and methods even in the face of a belligerent, screaming child. The more they try to defy you, the more you should stand firm. It will take a lot of time and effort but any adult committed to effectively disciplining a defiant child will eventually get the hang of it.


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