When my sweet innocent little boy started to push the boundaries I thought he’d inherited my stubbornness. Then I realised he wasn’t just stubborn, he was strong-willed and defiant too. Raising a strong-willed defiant child like Theo requires patience and a truck load of willpower. Theo is a wonderful child with a kind heart and the sweetest giggle you’ll ever hear. He’s funny, thoughtful and well-mannered but his uncooperative behaviour is incredibly challenging at times.
I think it’s important to look at the possible reasons why children behave in this way. I have often wondered whether my quest to find the balance as a stay at home working mum has failed, sometimes I wonder whether he feels frustrated and can’t vocalise it or perhaps he feels the need to compete for my attention against Mia. After all, there’s two of them and one of me…
Mia is a hugely compliant child and I naively thought Theo would be the same. Oh how wrong I was, I have one compliant easy-going child and one challenging defiant child. Their personalities couldn’t be more different.
I allow both children plenty of time to unwind, we very rarely have big busy days out or a house full of guests. It’s usually just us three. He knows the behaviours that will most definitely not be tolerated. There are clear boundaries and both children are showered with affection on a daily basis. We have so much fun together, so why does he feel the need to behave in this way?
To be honest I’m not sure I’ll ever know why he is such a defiant child. Thankfully the good always outweighs the bad. His squishy cuddles and kisses never fail to make my heart melt. I know that deep down he’s the amazing child I always knew he would be and that’s what makes it all worth while.
The thing is, everyone warns soon-to-be parents about the terrible twos and threenagers, but where was the warning about the ferocious fives?
One thing I’ve learnt recently is that trying to win the battle only causes more tension. Instead, I try to compromise with Theo, we make deals which both of us are happy with. For example, when he refuses to back down on having crisps for a snack, but he’s already had a bag, I allow him half a bag as long as he eats a piece of fruit with it.
Another thing I have found works well is being a little OTT when it comes to rewarding good behaviour. He often gets stickers for helping me with jobs or saying/doing something kind for others. He also gets cuddles and kisses and I make sure he knows just how proud he makes me. Theo relishes the praise and therefore strives to gain more.
Take a look at this post from Sarah at Run Jump Scrap on dealing with an ungrateful child. She discusses her experiences with her eldest child taking their lifestyle for granted… perhaps you can offer some words of advice?
If you are also raising a defiant child, please let me know what works for you in the comments below. It’s always interesting to see what techniques other parents use.