Tag Archives: defiant child

Willful Defiance: A Lesson for Parents and Teachers
Defiant Child

We live in a school culture within a parenting culture that expects its children to fit in and embrace that culture.

For many children acculturation happens seamlessly. But for at least 1 in 5 children*, it requires giving up oneself, shifting off base, and surrendering to a non-nurturing authority. In other words, understanding that you are wrong and the other is right. Parents are expected to take on the role of enforcer using consequences, threats, punishment, withdrawal of what is most cherished—coercive tactics to manipulate children into being who they are expected to be. 

These are the children we see as defiant and oppositional. The square pegs society tries to fit into its round holes. And if they don’t adjust enough, they become the troublemakers, the problems, the ones we fear our children will grow up to be. These are the children who are tough to raise and who cause problems in classrooms. 

At home, they fight the rules and argue every direction given. Parents complain they never listen, won’t do as they’re told and refuse to comply. At school they are considered disruptive, attention-seekers. The problem worsens with reprimands, isolation, and punishment. Counselors are brought in but counseling that typically focuses on training the child to self-control, keep emotions in the “green zone”—messages that unintentionally say You’re not right the way you are. This “help” further identifies the child as the troublemaker, the one who can’t get along, the one who isn’t like the others who don’t need a counselor’s help. 

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9 Signs Your Defiant Kid is Actually an Integrity Child
Family Fighting

Are you exhausted and overwhelmed by your clever little manipulator who fights you every step of the way, won’t take no for an answer and will not be told what to do? Do the words stubborn, demanding, disrespectful, disobedient, and argumentative come to mind? My guess is you have an Integrity Child* as opposed to that delightfully easy Harmony Child* who makes you feel like the best parent in the world.

In my humble opinion, understanding your Integrity child could be the most important job you will ever do. Orchids* (1 in 5 children)—my term is Integrity to incorporate a broader range—have the potential of becoming the brilliant revolutionaries of the world when given the nurturing their extremely sensitive natures require. When misunderstood and pressured to be different, they can become burdens on society as the very troubled and often addicted young people we fear raising.

As I see it, your Integrity child is born with an internal core of a sense of rightness and justice that drives his every mood and behavior. These kids try our very souls. And while we think they will never learn and we fear for their futures, what they are doing is demanding our personal responsibility and integrity. But it’s hard to see that from the trenches of daily battles.

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Do You Have a Monster Living in Your House?

I had a perfectly lovely, sweet little girl living with us until she started to walk.

Then she turned into a monster.

For four and a half years before that, I had what I had longed for, what all mother’s-to-be hope for—an easy, happy, cooperative, snuggly little boy—and I felt like the best mother in the world. Then Molly was born.

I felt like sweet baby Molly had been abducted and in her place dropped in this alien child I had no idea how to handle. She suddenly screamed and fought. She didn’t want to do anything, and she certainly didn’t want to do what I wanted her to do. Everything I tried was wrong. I felt like my best-parent-in-the-world medal had been ripped from around my neck.

Molly and I screamed at each other, sometimes from opposite sides of a door I was holding closed. We were in power struggles daily. (Confession: I was a parent educator and recent Masters degree recipient in Early Childhood Development.) What was wrong with this picture?

We all know how much easier it is to see what others need to learn when we can’t see beyond our noses in our own backyard. But I knew that what I was doing felt wrong, so I went on a quest to find what was right—at least most of the time.

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