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.

    AUTHOR

    Graham Shannonhouse

    A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Graham Shannonhouse has been actively involved in the wilderness therapy field for nearly three decades. After receiving her degree in 1991, Shannonhouse spent 10 years working with a premiere wilderness-based therapeutic program in south-central Idaho. During her tenure, she served three years as a hands-on Field Instructor, three years as Field Supervisor, and the remaining time as Wilderness Program Director. During this period she developed, managed, and served as counselor for the country’s first wilderness program specifically focused on pre- teens ages 10 to 13 Graham returned to the east in 2002 to serve as Executive Director for a therapeutic wilderness program based in North Carolina, successfully growing it to one of the most respected companies in the industry. In 2008, she resigned her position to open Trails Carolina. Having an intimate working knowledge of the roots of wilderness therapy, Graham has brought her experience and wisdom to her position as Partner and Executive Director with the goal of integrating the true family work that must be done to insure lasting success.

    All stories by: Graham Shannonhouse