Dealing with Defiance: Six Tips for Decreasing Defiant Behavior

Most parents know what is like to live with a defiant teenager. Teens often feel inclined to push buttons and test the limits enforced upon them. This can be extremely frustrating for parents and create a constant power struggle within the home. The teenage years are when one is trying to figure out where they fit in the world and who they want to be. Peer pressure becomes increasingly apparent and teens feel the need to assert their independence. It is a lot happening at one time. This can be overwhelming and exhausting for all parties involved. If your teen is exhibiting defiant behaviors you should begin to take steps to combat these behaviors.

Six Tips for Decreasing Defiant Behavior

Here are six easy methods you can practice in your home to help your teen overcome their urge to be defiant:

  1. Pair Privileges with Positive Behavior

Electronics, money, driving, and time with friends are all things that your teen may be perceived as necessities. In reality, these things are privileges and rewards. If your teen cannot show control over their own behavior, this justifies you in revoking some of these rewards. Challenge them to behave appropriately to earn or keep their beloved privileges.

  1. Create Consequences

With every action comes a consequence. Once you establish the things that will and will not be tolerated at home, you should create consequences to follow the breaking of these rules. If you don’t follow through, you will lose your authority, and your teen will learn to manipulate you.
It is also important that you refrain from saving your child from the consequences of their behavior. This will only encourage further defiance.

  1. Plan Ahead

When your teen acts defiant, this can cause an uproar. Your teen may be angry and their behavior can, in turn, make you angry. Emotional and angry responses will not calm the storm. Plan out what you’re going to say to your child ahead of time before she acts out again. Deliver your message in a calm, stern, and understandable manner.

  1. Be Selective with your battles

Some arguments are not worth your time and energy. Be selective when determining which battles are worth fighting and which are best to let go. Avoid minor disagreements and you will slowly create a more peaceful environment for your family.

  1. Stay Respectful.

Youth often come across as rude and disrespectful to their parents, teachers or other authority figures. It is your job to model the behavior you want your child to practice. It is counter-productive to lash out on them the way they have done others. Set the standard and stick by it.

  1. Seek Support

When our teens act inappropriately, it is easy to blame yourself and feel like you have failed in the parenting department. Don’t let your negative thoughts rule you. Instead, find someone to talk to, whether it’s a therapist, support group, friend, or a trusted family member. Simply talking things through can bring you so much relief and comfort.

Trails Carolina can help

Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program that helps teens ages 10-17 who are struggling with behavioral and emotional issues. This program uses adventure-based therapy to help students gain a new sense of self-awareness, confidence, and independence. The skills they learn throughout the wilderness program offer long-term benefits towards their ability to successfully self-navigate in the real world. By removing teens from their fast-paced environment into a safe, nurturing, and peaceful environment, they are able to focus on improving and reflecting on their behavior. Trails Carolina gives students the tools they need to lead happy and healthy lives. 
Contact us at 800-975-7303.

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Trails saved my daughter’s life. Amanda is an amazing human and a brilliant therapist. I am so grateful to her, Science Steve, and the other wonderful people who could reach my daughter at a time when I could not.

Margot Lowman August 2022

Great life changing experience for our son. After becoming addicted to gaming during covid he was very depressed. At Trails he experienced the wilderness, Science Steve, learning survival skills and top notch therapy and support etc… I highly recommend! This gave our son and our family a renewed family bond full of love and excitement about his bright future.

Winnifred Wilson July 2022


Outstanding clinical work and superb staff! There’s a great culture at this company and it shows with how they engage with families/clients.

Kristin Brace June 2022


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