Monday, November 12, 2012


Defiance is a word that strikes terror in any parents’ heart!
Defiance is scary because we conjure up terrible outcomes from defiant children.  We fear utter chaos in our homes, our own furious reactions or uncontrollable teenagers.
Many families, when learning John Rosemond parenting, tell me that handling defiance is impossible. They say that no matter what consequence they try to impose, the defiant child (especially those over age 9) simply fights back – even taking the fight to a physical level.
·         Send him to his room?  He stands there and screams even more. 
·         Tell him he can’t watch TV?  He goes to the TV, turns it on anyway and starts kicking if you come near him.
·         Send him to bed early?  He yells that “you can’t make me”.
·         Tell him he can’t go out and play with friends?  He runs out the door anyway.
Parents, the key here is to STOP playing the cat and mouse game. Take 3 steps backwards, think through what is going on in your home and come up with a plan that you KNOW you can control.
Here are 2 examples.
1.       In all of the above scenarios, you do not want to fight your child in any way.  Stay calm (I know this is hard in the face of utter defiance, but you are the teacher and your child is going to learn a lesson – sometimes teachers have a rough go!)  When you can quietly get a word in, say something like: “Well you can make your decisions, but then I will make mine”. 
Later when you have come up with a plan and he is calm, just quietly tell him “because you chose to not follow my directions earlier, you are losing your bike for 2 weeks”; or “I am not driving you to any social activity for 2 weeks”.  It must be a major consequence that absolutely gets the message across that you will not tolerate defiance.  You must carry it out completely, no changes, no backing down.  Remember, defiance is NOT EVER ok.

2.       You are using a ticket system, but when you take a ticket from your 9 year old, she continues to kick, yell, scream, and hang onto your shirt.  Instead of trying to get away from her, sit down calmly and let her tantrum continue until she calms down.  Then tell her that she is completely free to choose to have a tantrum after losing a ticket, but if she does, bedtime is right after supper (assuming that isn’t the consequence for losing all the tickets).
In both examples, you stay calm and most importantly, you stay in charge.  You act like the leader who knows what he wants and expects to get it.  You will need to be consistent and should expect to get tested several times.  Defiance is rarely created overnight and it is unlikely to go away overnight.  But in a fairly short time the words “You make your decision and I will make mine” should strike a chord in your child’s head that reminds him to rethink his choices!

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