Disobedience in children is one of the common complaints brought up by parents and caregivers in general, and can get really frustrating for all parties involved. More often than not, children disobey the wishes of their parents. It is normally a part of growing up and i’m sure a lot of us adults did just the same to our parents (just saying!). Some level of disobedience in children is a way for them to learn and discover the boundaries of their parents’ rules and of their own self control. As they stretch their independent wings, they tend to step on adult toes (because of course, they are children) and sometimes engage in minor conflicts with their parents.
For some children, they get disobedient when they are really stressed out, not enjoying what they are doing, sad about personal stuff happening between their parents, having school problems or even unreasonable parental expectations.
Sometimes, however, these conflicts are more than occasional disturbances or conflicts and become more of a pattern of behaviour that shows in how they interact with their parents or anyone in authority.
How to handle a disobedient child
There isn’t (or shouldn’t be) a handout on how to train your disobedient child, but there are tips and ways to work around the situation and come out of the conflict as friends rather than enemies. When you discover that your child has become chronically disobedient, the first thing to do isn’t to literally pull his or her ears or buy a cane, (we are not saying spare the rod totally) but to closely examine the possible sources of his or her rebelliousness, especially if this behaviour has continued into middle childhood. Settle down and answer some questions, such as:
- How much respect do your family members show for one another?
- How does your family work out its conflicts?
- How much spanking and yelling is there in your household?
- What is your usual style of relating to your child and what forms of discipline do you take?
- Are disagreements resolved through discussions or do people in your family argue or resort to violence?
- Is your child having a hard time making friends or having issues with schoolwork?
….become a detective
Children want to please their parents. They want love and affection and attention from parents. If your child is consistently acting in a way that is causing friction between you two then there’s something deeper going on. Get on your child’s side and find out what the problem is. Make your child know that you are not against him or her but against the behaviour. Do not look for reasons to show that you are right in saying he has a bad character.
…set a special play-date
Make yourself available for your child to talk to and play with. Most times, what the child is trying to say is that he or she just wants some alone time with mummy or daddy. Your child may even communicate what the problem is through playing. If your child likes to draw, you can ask him or her to draw how they feel and what is making them feel that way.
…deal with yourself
Figure out why you think your child has a character flaw and deal with it. Be open to the fact that it might just be a phase that with a little help could become history. Do not let your fears hinder you from having a great relationship with your child.
If you only react to your child’s talking back by losing your temper, he or she will respond with disrespect (most of the time).
If you are a parent who has values and shows love and attention to your child, and yet they seem disobedient most of the time, your relationship should be the first place to look.
When your child is obedient and respectful, compliment him or her for that.
Create and impose a punishment that suits the behaviour until he or she calms down and regains self control.
Remember that sometimes children are discouraged because of constant correction, and they just need you to love them!
Always seek professional help if you’ve tried all you can and nothing seems to be working.
Always seek professional help if you've tried all you can and nothing seems to be working.