How to Discipline a Disobedient Child

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One of the hardest challenges for parents is raising a well-mannered child. Getting them to listen is already a headache for most parents, much more disciplining a disobedient child. From time immemorial, children disobey the desires of their parents. Studies reveal that this is a part of growing up, learning and discovering their own selves and expressing their independence. As they try to explore more independent knowledge and come in conflict with their parents, they realize the limitations of their parents' rules and their own self-will. Disobedience can have an array of causes. Sometimes, it is because of too much expectation of the part of the parents. Or it may also be due to pressure from peers, school problems, or in relation to the child's personality.

Evaluate your family. If you have a disobedient child, try to check the likely sources of his defiance. If this continues into middle childhood, a deeper evaluation on your family might be needed. There may be problems in the family, conflicts with siblings or even simple disagreements that may have caused his shift of actions. Another way is to let him know that you noticed a change in his behavior and you are willing to listen and talk about this. This may encourage him to open up his frustrations to you and may be a big help in changing his behavior.

Show a positive response when the child opens up. Most parents will just throw their hands up and say that they have a disobedient child. Others will try to use a more familiar approach, punishing their children on every rebellious act and refusal to listen, hoping this might get their attention. Losing your temper on your child's talking back will only impart fear in him but not gain his obedience and respect. In contrast, your child will become more submissive when you keep cool and consistent. He will give you the respect you deserve if you make him feel that you are also respectful toward him. Compliment him on every good behavior he shows and reward him if you get what you want from him. These optimistic efforts will always be much more appreciated than punishment.

Seek professional help when needed. Getting professional mental health treatment for some disobedient children might be needed especially when a child's disobedience comes with violence and destructive behavior. When a child shows suicidal tendencies or when his being disrespectful of authority both in school and at home becomes habitual, seeking professional help is not only recommended but very essential.

By coping with and providing solutions to these problems at a tender age, you can minimize and even avoid more serious struggles that may emerge as your children grow older. Remember that no one knows your child better than you do. The idea here is early detection and treatment.


Do you need help making your children mind without losing yours? Get resources, articles, and advice on child-rearing and discipline for toddlers through teens at How to Discipline.

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