Secrets To Parenting The Strong-Willed, Defiant Child Part 1
First, let’s be clear that we are talking about a particular child temperament child; the defiant, challenging, difficult, strong-willed child.
This is not your neighbor’s child (usually). It’s not the child most books are written about. This particular child is not an easy child and is the focus of this article.
The Defiant Child: Essentials For Finding Sanity!
Lesson 1: Words Are Almost Useless With The Defiant Child
So what does this mean? In part, you already know what this means… your words don’t work well to manage their behavior. If your words did work, you wouldn’t likely need to read this article. Am I right?
So, then we must start with accepting reality. We must start by eliminating WHAT IS NOT WORKING—YOUR WORDS!
Stop talking so much. Stop negotiating so much. Stop re-directing so much. Stop trying to prepare them for every little change. Stop talking to neighbors, friends and relatives about their behavior.
More words will not be the answer. Stop now.
Lesson 2: Stop Trying To Control The Un-Controllable Child.
Why? It doesn’t work!
Now, let’s be clear. It sounds like I may have given up on your defiant or difficult child. This is not true.
It’s just that I am a big believer in reality. And…reality says… the defiant, oppositional, strong-willed child is simply not controlled easily. If they were (once again) you would not be reading this. You would be somewhere else, enjoying your life rather than worrying about your son or daughter.
Instead, they control themselves. They do what they want to do. This is reality and the STARTING POINT where we begin our change. (It’s not where we end up!)
Our way of thinking must therefore change. Rather than being focused on control, we must begin to think about how to teach…rather than control.
Remember this: If we can’t control them, we must focus on teaching them instead!
YES, WE CAN TEACH YOUR DEFIANT CHILD to listen when you ask. We can TEACH them to accept change and transition. We can TEACH them to honor the limits we set. We can TEACH them to cooperate and honor our requests. This is all real.
We can do that ONLY IF we stop trying to control them. They are simply not controllable.
They are teachable. So let’s teach…
Lesson 3: Stop Feeding The Defiance, The Resistance The Negativity With All That Energy!
How do you feed this? With your attention! With your energy! With your arguments and fighting! With the countless battles that NO ONE would believe unless they live in your home.
So it is essential that we stop feeding these moments with your attention!
Okay, now we are starting to get very real. Very fast.
Notice how things have worked so far. When your defiant child resists, you react. You argue. You insist. You yell if necessary…to TRY to GET THEM TO
LISTEN, or to stop, or to calm down.
What has this accomplished? Well, mainly…your defiant, difficult child has LEARNED that these negative behaviors will CERTAINLY get Mom’s or Dad’s attention. And the more they resist, the more attention they get! The more they argue, the more mom argues! The more they fight, the more mom fights back! The more they tantrum, the harder you work to get rid of the tantrum!
So, here’s what has really happened. They have NOT learned to listen. Instead, they have LEARNED that when they resist… you will engage them with your attention. Repeatedly… Over and over… Again and again…Often until you lose it due to your frustration!
In the next article, I will expand upon what to do next, to get your strong-willed child to listen. These are the essential starting lessons, however, to bring sanity into your home.
I hope, that there is nothing here to suggest that this is easy.
It is not.
This is quite challenging. Why? Because you have a very challenging child that you are struggling with…and this will not be an easy process.
But we can make progress! HUGE PROGRESS… if you stay on track. More to come…
Part 2 of Parenting the Strong-Willed Child: The Role of Rules and Structure