How to Respond to Oppositional and Defiant Behavior in Children


Is your kid consistently angry or violent? Does he/she frequently show disruptive behaviors towards elders/parents? If you notice your child acting aggressively and being whimsical and irritable, it is high time you figure out the underlying cause and sort ways to rectify it. We, at Gurukul The School, being the mentors and guides of young minds, have seen that oppositional and defiant behavior in children is mostly an outcome of some unsaid and suppressed feelings. It is hence extremely important to keep an eye on your child’s behavior changes before it turns out into serious behavioral disorders.

At Gurukul The School, we understand that it can be too exhausting and even confusing for parents to respond to children’s oppositional and defiant behaviors. What generally happens is that most parents are pushed to the extreme of going either too easy or too hard on children just to gain control over them, but we would have to tell you that, unfortunately, neither will help improve the behavior.

But don’t lose hope! There are a few ways you can try to turnaround the situation and help children outgrow the problem. Read on to know more.

Set and enforce rules

In order to deal with defiant-behaving children, you can set a few non-negotiable rules and enforce them strictly. Defiant kids are generally anxious and impulsive towards being controlled by others. So train them with simple and limited rules like ‘do not raise your voice,’ ‘do not hurt others,’ or ‘do not break household items,’ etc.  This way, they will not feel overwhelmed or stifled.

Also, tell them the consequences of breaking the rules so that they know what to expect when they defy. Even if they cross the line once in a while, let them face the consequence and tell them not to choose to do it again. This is important because it shows the child that mistakes do happen, but still each day is a chance to make better choices.

Talk in a calm tone

It is common for parents to raise their voice when their kid shows opposition. But when responding to oppositional and defiant behavior in children, always hold your patience and explain the issue in a calm tone so that they feel like they have conquered the situation. It might be challenging, but train yourself to stay calm in the moments of frustration so that you are composed enough to handle your child’s behavior with an appropriate positive response. This way, you will also pose an example to show your child how to react to impulsive situations.

Celebrate your child’s good behavior

Kids with oppositional and defiant behavior often have trouble regulating their feelings and emotions, as a result of which, they constantly show up tantrums and outbursts. It is important for parents to shape their behavior using both carrots and sticks, which means giving rewards and praise for positive behaviors and consequences for misbehavior. This will certainly reinforce positive behaviors as they will start to understand that you notice and truly appreciate their good behaviors. 

At Gurukul The School, we believe that every child’s behavior has a real impact on their path to success. As such, making them aware of the coping strategies and consciously working towards their successful behavior changes is what brings the desired outcome. Try building an environment that lessens provoking oppositional behavior and instead makes the children indulge in positive activities that have a powerful effect on their overall behavior.

The key, we believe, is to understand the child’s behavior keenly and know where it is coming from. This way, you will be prepared to handle any negative or defiant actions. Besides, it’s no secret that children who are well-rested and physically fit with sufficient nutrition are able to regulate their emotions in a better way. So, make efforts to create a structured, healthy lifestyle and happy environment at home where they can connect with you emotionally and refrain from defiant behaviors. 

With lots of patience and understanding from the part of parents and teachers, kids can learn to improve upon their behaviors in a positive way. And at Gurukul The School, we put in all efforts to empower the young minds with a positive mindset and carve them into better individuals of tomorrow.

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