It’s the same old conflict: Parent versus child. Throughout the ages, parents have always been at odds with their offspring at some point in the growing up process. You might even be getting a taste of some of that right now. Toddlers and adolescents are usually the biggest perpetrators of “boundary testing.” If you can survive those years, most children grow beyond those attitudes and adopt a more mature nature and ideas.
Unfortunately, for many parents, this “phase” is anything but a phase. They grapple with real-life destructive behaviour because they deal with a defiant child. If you are experiencing this right now, then keep reading. There is help for you and your child.
Defiance can go beyond the age-appropriate outbursts and behaviour of the toddler years, adolescence, and even teenage angst. In these situations, other conditions may be present that exacerbate overly strong-willed attitudes in your child. It could even stem from a chemical imbalance of some sort in the brain or a learning disability. The point is that there are solutions. Your child is not a “demon seed” but someone you love who is in need of assistance.
In this report, you will become acquainted with how your child views their life and their thought process. Discover the “thinking errors” that all of us struggle with, but kids don’t seem to be able to turn off. Finally learn some much-needed steps for resolving conflict for dealing with defiance head on. You love your child; that’s a given. Now, it’s time to understand your child.
The common myth is that children are little versions of us. In reality, they are young people who think in ways that are different from us. For one, they lack the extensive experience and knowledge that adults have developed over a lifetime. Second, they are “blank slates” – their brains lack the necessary connections. With each new experience, they learn things like sitting, standing, walking, talking, reasoning, sharing, and understanding and so on. So, if your child tells you that they don’t want to go outside or don’t feel like cleaning their room, it is coming from that self-centred place where they live, until they learn there is another way to act.
A defiant child, on the other hand, sees things in their own way. What you view as reasonable requests are just reasons to get an argument started for them, if they don’t get their way. Here are some snippets from a “Day in the Life of a Defiant Child”:
“I don’t want to get out of bed. School is dumb. I’ll just lay here.”
“I don’t have enough time to get ready before the bus comes. This sucks. Why do I have to go to school?”
“Why should I do my homework? I’ll never use any of this stuff. My teacher hates me anyway.”
“Can you take me to school? Otherwise I’ll be late since I missed the bus.”
“Stay off my back. I’m doing the best I can. Nothing I do is ever good enough for you guys.”
“There’s nothing wrong with watching this show. All my friends’ parents let them watch it. You just don’t want me to be cool.”
Read More :Steps to Deal With a Defiant Child
Does any of this sound familiar to you? You may have heard it so much that you just tune it out, roll your eyes, and keep moving. Or, your blood boils every time you hear it and the shouting commences. These statements are inflammatory and meant to “get your goat” so to speak. Kids hope that by making you incensed, you will give in to their demands and they can go on living as they always have been. The problem with that is these attitudes are not healthy and not productive. They can only lead to more trouble, as your child gets older.
A child who sees the world like this on a daily basis is not only defiant but most likely suffering from some sort of disorder on top of that. What could be driving your child to exhibit such behaviour?
- Peer pressure and/or rejection (bullying, teasing, drugs, sex, alcohol or other)
- Past traumatic experiences (physical or sexual abuse, for example, with or without the parent’s knowledge)
- Conflict with parents (parental expectations, separation, divorce, or remarriage)
- Body image issues (developing too fast or not as fast as their peers do)
- Sibling issues (dangerous sibling rivalry, bullying, etc.)
- Defiance is the thing that is “in” right now so it’s okay to do
This is by no means a comprehensive list. It does encompass many different kinds of situations to become aware of with your child. Children can place unrealistic expectations upon themselves and feel too embarrassed to tell you when something is going on with them. As a result, they try to handle it themselves and the defiant behaviour is a result.
Parents are not mind readers and thus don’t make the connection all the time. This can further infuriate your child into thinking that you don’t care enough to be able to tell when they are having problems.
Another part of defiant behaviour could be due to chemical imbalances in the brain or disabilities. Your child could suffer from:
- Anxiety disorders (ADD, ADHD, ODD, panic attacks or another)
- Depression (bipolar depression or clinical depression)
- Learning disabilities (dyslexia, autism spectrum disorder, or another)
Any of these issues can compound a problem with handling emotional situations. Whatever the reason, addressing the underlying issues is necessary to get to the heart of the matter. Did you know that as much as five percent of teenagers have clinical depression? That seems small but is a great concern when you are speaking of young people. Their reasons for depression could be hereditary but are displayed as more irritable than sad.
What is ODD?
Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is a medical condition that must be diagnosed by a professional clinician. As we said, all children go through a phase of defiance throughout their formative years. ODD is something different. It is not a phase but an ongoing set of behaviours that don’t resolve or get better, but progressively worse, especially if not treated through training and behaviour modification for both parents and children.
A child may be suffering from ODD if they exhibit one or more of these chronic symptoms almost daily for at least six months. Children with ODD are:
- Prone to using bad language
- Lose their temper easily and often
- Argue with adults including their parents (they believe that they are equal to adults)
- Refuse to comply with requests from their parents, teachers, and other adults as well
- Annoy others on purpose
- Talk back to adults
- Blame others for their problems and accept no responsibility for their actions
- Are annoyed easily by other people including friend and family members
- Show vindictive behaviour over perceived slights
- Angry all the time
- Resentful of other people
These children believe that it is their right to do as they please. If something displeases them, they rage against it until they get their way. For them, defiant behaviour is a norm instead of an exception to the rule. The danger here is that these patterns will carry over into adulthood where their behaviour could turn violent and lead to problems at work and with the law.