When Kids Get Defiant: Weekly Tip from the Love and Logic® Experts

November 9th, 2011

by Katrina Brooke

I’m not doing that! You can’t make me!”
Have you ever heard this from a student…or your child at home?
Success in this situation rests entirely on resisting the urge to rely on power and coercion to force kids to do what we want. Listed below are some tips:
  • Sidestep the power-struggle by delaying the consequence. It’s okay to let children think they’ve gotten away with something in the short-term…if that’ll buy you time to handle it well in the long-term.
  • Calmly say, “No problem. I love you (or respect you) too much to fight with you about this. I’ll take care of it.”
  • Put together a workable plan. Get some help from other adults if you need their ideas or support.
  • Allow empathy and logical consequences to do the teaching.
One mother commented:
My teenager refused to do the simple housework chores I asked her to do. Instead of fighting with her, I simply told her that I loved her too much to fight with her and that I would take care of them. I hired a professional housekeeping service to do it for her. Then I taped the bill to her bedroom door. She refused to pay the bill, so I had another chance to say, “I love you too much to fight with you about this. I’ll take care of it.” Later that week I calmly said to her, “This is so sad. Do you remember that new outfit you wanted? I had to use that money to pay the housekeeping service.”
This mother understood that sometimes we have to allow kids to be upset in the short-term…so they can learn to lead happy and responsible lives in the long-term.
Join us for our new webinar. We’ll share plenty of additional skills for helping parents and educators stay out of un-winnable power-struggles.
Thanks for reading! Our goal is to help as many families as possible. If this is a benefit, forward it to a friend.
Dr. Charles Fay
©2011 Love and Logic Institute, Inc. All copyright infringement laws apply. Permission granted for forwarding and/or for a single photocopy or electronic reproduction of one email tip only. Please do not alter or modify. For more information, call the Love and Logic Institute, Inc. at 800-338-4065.
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