Dealing with challenging behavior: Part 2
Tips to help you and your child when they have challenging behavior.
Defiant behavior is a common challenging behavior. Preschoolers who are defiant are often bossy and controlling in their relationships with others. They typically want their own way all of the time and tend to be rigid and inflexible. Many defiant children are extra sensitive to their surroundings and can be easily irritated and overwhelmed. They will try to control their environment to cope with the negative feelings they experience and to avoid new challenging experiences. This is where power struggles between parent and child can become a huge problem. If you respond to your child’s defiance by becoming more controlling yourself, you may find yourself in frequent power struggles.
Michigan State University Extension says that the reason your child is using defiance is to feel secure in their environment. Pay attention to your child’s cues that they may be irritated and/or overwhelmed. Try to respect your child’s feelings. If you know your child is sensitive to something, be respectful of that and make accommodations to make your child more comfortable. Whenever possible, let your child be the “boss.” That doesn’t mean that you don’t have rules or you’re a push over. Limits make your child feel secure and enforcing them gently, gives your child choices and help when needed and helps teach your child to trust you.
Your goal is for your child to see you as someone they can turn to for support and help, not as the “enemy.” Whenever possible, try to handle your child’s defiant behavior with warmth, respect, flexibility and a lot of empathy. The traits you would like to see in your child is the way you should respond to his defiance. Set firm limits and enforce them gently!