The Defiant Child



Dig Deeper

About This Episode

Children have different temperaments. And their temperaments influence how their parents respond to them. A child with an easy temperament who is complacent by nature will receive more praise from their parents, teachers and caregivers. A child who has difficult temperament and who needs repeated redirection and discipline can wear down those who take care of them.

Provide a bigger picture of why you’re asking your children to behave a specific way. The because “I said so” framework for defiant children frequently leads to more defiance. Seek to appeal to their internal motivation (see the hamburger podcast and app program) for tips on how to appeal to children’s motivation. Resist trying to change your child into someone he or she is not. Resist comparing your children to others. Make sure you have some self-care as a parent so you can have the energy required to address the problems that come your way.

People On This Episode

Alicia La Hoz

Dr. Alicia La Hoz
Resident Expert

Omar Ramos

Omar Ramos

Family Bridges

Veronica Avila

Jeff Wright

Jeff Wright
Special Guest

This Week's Action

Set up healthy boundaries at home and consistently apply them. Children (and adults) are creatures of habit. If you repeatedly have a rhythm of activities in your home that include chores, personal hygiene and house rules, it becomes a routine and is less taxing for a parent to enforce them.

  • Start with one routine you can work on boundaries around (i.e., morning, afternoon, evening). Identify one repeated problem behavior you’d like to work on as a family.
  • Explain what you would like to see different (be as specific as possible) and why. Example: “I am concerned how grouchy you are in the morning, and I suspect it’s because how late you are going to bed. A good night sleep is really important for your well-being and our family’s well-being because as you are less grouchy – we are all happier.”
  • Invite them/your children to consider a solution to the problem. Example: “What do you think of starting by working on going to bed an hour earlier?”
  • Explore what barriers or obstacles can prevent them from this strategy working. Example: “What do you think makes it a challenge to go to bed at X hour?”
  • Brainstorm solutions together to address the barriers. Example: “What are some things that you can do be ready on time for bed? How can we(I) support you?”
  • Celebrate the success. Example: “I noticed how much more relaxed and more content you look this morning than previous mornings. I appreciate that you are working on going to bed on time – it makes a real difference.” Make adjustments as is needed.

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