When a child has a definite defiant streak, it's important not to "lock horns" with him. The parent needs to model flexibility, patience and respect - as well as TEACH those qualities. It helps to keep "absolutes" to a minimum; give choices and leeway freely. Keep rules and regulations to a minimum. However, for those few issues that are simply not negotiable, quiet, unwavering firmness will help. Show understanding by naming feelings ("I understand that you think it's not fair.") and offer short explanations as to why a behavior is unacceptable ("Throwing things can be dangerous....."); avoid lengthy debates and argument. Use a clear rule ("No throwing") and when necessary, a consequence ("When you throw things, you have to leave the room to play somewhere else for awhile."). Enforce rules quietly, respectfully and consistently, to give the child a chance to learn. Understand that a defiant child doesn't choose to be that way; he is tormented within himself with a nature he doesn't understand. Never ask him "why" he does what he does, as he doesn't know the answer. Have compassion for yourself and for him, because life is hard for both of you. And for those who don't have such a child, never judge parents who do. Defiant tendencies are not caused by parenting; they are caused by genes.
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