I have found that helping defiant children is equally based on a mindset as well as a set of techniques. Looking for the following helps to find an effective counselor for your defiant child or teen:
• Maintains a calm, firm, and non-controlling demeanor to avoid being sucked into power struggles. This stance also bypasses the child/teens’ emotional reactivity.
• Reinforces the child when he or she participates and shares information.
• Collaborates with all school personnel and other treatment professionals.
• Keeps in mind that the best discipline for a defiant child is for the parents to have the self-discipline to remain calm, firm, and non-controlling.
• Encourages teachers and parents to move from a “consequence hungry” mentality to leading with understanding. Try to avoid battles and pick them wisely.
• Educates the parents that understanding defiant children is just as important, if not more important than loving them.
• Reinforces that progress will include setbacks.
• Leads with empathy for both the child and his or her parents.
• When working with the child alone be engaged and active. Sincere probing questions about the child’s interests help to build rapport.