With over twenty-two years of practice as a child, teen, and family psychologist behind me, I continue to be humbled by how complex we all are as human beings. Yet, when it comes to parenting difficult and defiant children and teens, I think we make it more complex than it needs to be. 

To help any defiant child or teen, keep the following points in mind and take positive action. I have seen over and over how defiant behavior can be significantly lowered in children and teens—usually in week or even less than a few days:

  • Stop nagging.
  • Listen, and I mean really listen, more to your child or teen than you talk to her.
  • Remember that understanding your child is just as important, if not more important, than loving him.
  • Check your ego at the door and stop taking your child's or teen's challenges so personally.
  • Catch him doing more things right than wrong.
  • Stop trying to be perfect as a parent. Remember the only perfect people are in the cemetery.

Be mindful that growing up IS different today, and the world is more complex and faster moving than when you were a kid. Give yourself some grace and cut yourself a break. 

Laugh, laugh, laugh. A comedian friend of mine, David Naster says it best, "You just have to laugh!"

For persistent problems, please see a qualified mental health professional. 

 Dr. Jeff is the author of 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child

You are reading

Liking the Child You Love

Do These Two Things to Feel Much Happier

Enjoying life by doing what really works

Fall Back in Love by Doing This!

Making your love stronger by overcoming those toxic thoughts

Is Blame Shutting Down Your Sex Lilfe?

Get past blame for stronger, healthier love.