The hopes and fantasies of that ever elusive New England Christmas—the huge snow flakes coming down, chestnuts roasting by the fire, and abundant family harmony can quickly be shattered when children and teens become defiant. If your child or teen is defiant over the holidays, here are five powerful strategies to lower his or her defiant behavior:

1. Avoid yelling at your child. Yelling only fans the flames of defiance.

2. Realize that understanding your defiant child is just as important as loving him. Think about it—no adult, looking back, complains about being understood too much as a child.

3. Resist engaging in those power struggles. Defiant children believe they are equal in authority to adults. This makes it futile to try to win in the power struggle game.

4. Learn the art of being calm, firm, and non-controlling.

5. Reinforce your child's compliant behaviors. The more positive attention he gets for being compliant, the less negative attention he'll look for by being defiant.


These are just a few of the many tips and strategies that can be found in Dr Jeffrey Bernstein's book, 10 Days To A Less Defiant Child, Perseus Books, 2006. Click here to follow Dr. Jeff on Twitter .

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