Parenting Tips for a Defiant Toddler

Every toddler demonstrates defiant behaviors, although the degree of defiance varies. The defiance behavior is as a result of your child’s development as they start to understand that they are independent and can control the world.

The problem is that while they want to have control over their world, while they are yet to master self-
control, which makes them behave without reasoning and logic. And it is your role as a parent to tame them
and teach them self-control. You need to teach them that they cannot always get what they want, and they must behave in a certain way to peacefully co-exist with others.

However, sometimes, it can feel overwhelming, especially if your kid has intense emotional reactions and is
resistance to change. To help you cope with their behavior and tame them without draining all your energy,
here are four strategies that can help;

  • Pick Your Battles
    A 2- or 3-year-old kid will be on the opposite side of things virtually all the time. And if you pick up all the battles with them, you will end up being at war all day. To avoid this, pick a few behaviors that really irks you and have logical consequences for these behaviors- it might be because they are annoying, dangerous, or forbidden. These can be riding their tricycle in the street, creating a mess with staining’ items, leaving the house without an adult, etc.
    Keep in mind that you should be consistent with your punishments. Therefore, always follow on the type of discipline you decide to use as a lack of consistency confuses kids.
    Also, be flexible with the punishment but have an overall policy. For instance, you can lessen the punishment if the child is feeling sick or hungry. It all boils down to your analysis of situations.
  • Maintain Your Cool
    If your kid is the annoying-type who cannot stay without doing something that irks you, you need to learn to stay calm. Try to use an unruffled tone and kind words that are positive and affirmative. And keep in mind that suggestions work well. For example, instead of yelling at your kids like “Go wash your hands, don’t you see I am serving you food” use suggestions like “why don’t you wash your hands now as I serve you
    Also, learn to turn you’ messages into I’ statements. For example. Instead of ridiculing your kid with a statement like “You are selfish that you cannot share your snacks with your brother,” use “I like it when I see kids sharing their snacks.” This will not only encourage your kid to rectify their behavior, but also reduce
    conflicts and arguments with them.
  • Listen to Them and Answer Them Convincingly
    Although they may sound annoying and unreasonable, kids feel better when their concerns or requests are heard. Therefore, repeat your child’s concerns or requests whenever possible.

For example, if they are mad at you in the supermarket because you did not let them open the cookies, convince them with a statement like, “it seems like you are mad at me because I didn’t allow you to open the cookies until we get to the car. I am sorry you feel this way towards me, but the store will not let us open items until we pay for them. That’s their policy.”
Of course, this will not satisfy their urge to eat the snack earlier, but it will calm down their anger and teach
them to follow the rules.

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  • Offer Choices
    If your child is extremely defiant or refuses to do something, most of the time, it is because they want to
    have control over their life. Therefore, give them what they want. You can give them control over how they want to do their chores.
    Rather than commanding her to collect the toys she has scattered and put them in a basket, ask them, “Would you like to pick up the toys first or your drawing items?”
    Ensure the choices are only limited to what you want them to do. “Where do you want to start?” might be overwhelming for them because it lacks a clear answer.
  • Bottom Line
    As a parent, it is your role to tame your kids’ behavior and mold them in the way you want them to grow.
    Therefore, avoid conflicts with them as this will make you lose your cool, and also don’t give in to their tantrums.

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