4 Tough Questions About Defiant Children

Mighty Mommy answers your tough questions about defiance based off her experience with her eight children.

Cheryl Butler
8-minute read
Episode #341

Question 4

Hey Mighty Mommy.  What are one or two strategies I can put into place that will make a difference down the road when it comes sending the message to my kids that I won’t tolerate rude and defiant behavior in our family?  Matt

Hi Matt,

Great question.  I really believe that a large factor in helping our kids live respectful, compliant lives is by giving them consistent, clear expectations right from the get go. Consistency is key if you don’t want to reinforce bad habits. Once your child is old enough to understand that behaviors have consequences, don’t give him repeat chances. This just teaches him that you aren’t serious and he can get away with this behavior a few more times because he knows you won’t take your own rules seriously.

If your son calls his friend’s mother a “fat butt” when you arrive for a play date, you firmly say, “You know we don’t talk like that. We’re going home now so you can spend some time thinking about what you said,” and leave immediately after he apologizes. Do not bargain with your child, don’t offer ice cream or money in return for better behavior. This is possibly the most damaging thing a parent or caregiver can do. You are only enabling the poor behavior and can count on much worse in the future because they’re going to see how far they can push you before you strike another bargain.

I ‘m also big on always building on the positive.

Make sure that you build on the positive attitudes and actions of your children. Praise your children for their positive behaviors, while rewarding them when they show a cooperative attitude. Positive reinforcement can go a long way in raising a responsible child.

Do you have a defiant child? How are you handling his/her behavior? Let me know in Comments or post it on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page. You can also connect with me on Twitter @MightyMommy or e-mail me at mommy@quickanddirtytips.com.

Check back next week for more Mighty Mommy tips. Also, visit my family-friendly boards at Pinterest.com/MightyMommyQDT.

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Image courtesy of Shutterstock.


About the Author

Cheryl Butler

Cheryl L. Butler is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. Call the Mighty Mommy listener line at 401-284-7575 to ask a parenting question. Your call could be featured on the show!

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