How To Discipline A Rebellious Child

How to discipline a rebellious child is a struggle that almost all parents must contend with from time to time. Rebelliousness is a normal thing within the development of a child and can occur at several different ages.

Small amounts of rebellious behavior are completely normal and can often be managed without much stress or difficulty. Your child is bound to push boundaries – this is just a natural part of growing up.

However, there are times when their behavior will cross the line, or when it will become so common that you will have to do something to discipline them.

Discipline is not a bad thing, it is a way for you to correct your child’s behavior, to give them the right guidelines so that they will be able to be functional members of society once they are older.

How To Discipline A Rebellious Child

It also allows your child to reflect on their own behavior and realize that their actions have consequences, both in your home and in the outside world. 

If you find yourself struggling to work out the best ways on how to discipline your rebellious child – don’t panic! We are here to help you.

This article will act as a guide to help you through them any options you have when trying to deal with rebellious behavior.

We’ll take you through what this will look like at different ages, setting boundaries and expectations, as well as how to compromise and better understand your child.

There is also a short FAQ section included at the end of the article to answer any questions you might have. 

What Does A Rebellious Child Look Like?

Rebellious behavior can be defined as when your child is actively opposing the rules or conventions of your household.

This can include refusing to cooperate with you, refusing to do chores, or ignoring their responsibilities.

It can also include temper tantrums, yelling, violence, anger, arguing, or disrespecting you. All of this behavior is for the most part not okay – and should be corrected.

How To Discipline A Rebellious Child

So now that we’ve highlighted some of the behavior that you might want to look out for, next up is dealing with it. But dealing with bad behavior is a much more difficult task than it seems.

How can you make sure the way in which you discipline a rebellious child is fair and effective?

How can you be sure that you are doing the right thing, that will cause them to reflect upon their actions and prevent them from making the same mistakes? Here’s what you need to consider when looking at how to discipline a rebellious child:

Consider Age

The first thing to do when setting proper discipline for your child is to consider their age. The age of your child will vastly change what behavior is and is not okay, as well as what you can do to change it. 

For example, if your child is below the age of three, it is much more difficult to correct their behavior.

Because of their limited understanding of speech and language, you will be unable to reason with them and make them understand why their behavior is negative or positive.

The most important thing for children of this age is patience and understanding.

As your child gets older, your expectations surrounding their behavior will begin to change.

The more you can communicate to your child about the negative effects of behavior, the more they will have clear boundaries to follow. If these boundaries get crossed – then this is the time for clear discipline. 

Set Boundaries For A Rebellious Child

Boundaries are the real way in which you can temper your child’s behavior. Without boundaries, they will have no understanding of whether or not they are stepping out of line.

When setting boundaries and expectations for your child, you will first want to consider their age. Boundaries are paramount in learning how to discipline a rebellious child effectively.

For example, if your child is eight years old and their bedtime is eight o’clock, the two of you have a shared understanding that each night at 8 o’clock they will have to go to bed and sleep.

You would need to ensure that they know why it is set for that time – because they need to rest so they have energy for the next day – and that they must stick to it each night.

So next, let’s assume your child is getting out of bed or refusing to go to bed at 8 o’clock. This is where you remind them of the rule, and let them know that they are stepping out of line.

You must always be clear to your child so that they know why they are behaving badly, as well as what might happen if they continue to.

If they do continue, then you have to show them that their actions have consequences. It’s generally a good idea to have your consequences set before, just as with your boundaries.

For example, you could say “If you don’t go back to bed and go to sleep now, then you won’t be allowed to go to your friend’s house tomorrow.”

Clear boundaries and then consequences are the best way for your child to understand the rules of your household and future life.

This is a way of preparing them for the boundaries of society. Through this process you must make sure to communicate with them and to stay strong and respectful.

As a parent, at no point should you lose your cool and drop down to their level. For example, if your child is shouting, you should not respond with a loud voice.

Instead, respond with a calm, firm voice and inform them: why their actions are bad, the rules you have set around these actions and the consequences of continuing.

It’s often good to give your child a last chance – depending on the behavior. Learning how effectively have boundaries is key to knowing how to discipline a rebellious child in a positive way.

If your child is a teenager, then you may need to have more complex conversations with them regarding their behavior.

Teenagers, though not the same as adults have most of the same cognitive skills so it is important to listen to them and respect their opinion. It is still important to have set rules for kids of this age, even if they begin to change the older they get. 


How To Discipline A Rebellious Child

On the other hand, you need to make sure that you are properly praising your child. When your child is behaving well, make sure they know that they’re doing great!

Depending on their age, you can also set positive consequences for their actions as well as punishments. For example, you can set an allowance for your child that they will get providing they behave in a positive way. 

Further Problems (Disorders)

There are rare occasions in which the rebellious behavior of your child could be to do with much deeper problems. In this instance it will not just be a case of questioning how to discipline a rebellious child, but looking to the root cause of the problem.

This is something that should be looked at with proper evidence and not just assumed. There are several kinds of mental disorders that can be the root of behavioral problems.

These can only be diagnosed by a professional, so if you find yourself struggling over long periods of time with specific bad behavior, you may need to seek help to try and fix the root cause of your child’s problems.

Final Thoughts

We hope that this article has given you some guidance on how to discipline a rebellious child.

We would like to close by reminding you that the most important thing when it comes to dealing with rebellious behavior is patience and an open mind.

You should attempt to put yourself in their shoes, this will help you better understand their behavior and why they do the things they do.

 Your child does not have the same moral compass as you do, and sometimes it can take a long time for them to understand the proper way to act in the world.

By taking your time and being understanding with them, you will be able to be the role model that they will no doubt long to copy in time!

If you found this article helpful, you may also enjoy reading about alternatives to timeouts.

Frequently Asked Question

Why Does My Child Only Listen When I Shout?

This could be for a lot of reasons, but more than anything it is probably because it is what they have learned to do.

If you would like your child to listen to you without shouting, then you should probably begin to change the way you communicate with them surrounding their behavior. 

Can Yelling At A Child Be Harmful?

In recent years there has been some new research suggesting that shouting at a child could be harmful.

By yelling at a child, you are showing them that this is an appropriate way to respond to bad behavior and they may mimic this and adopt it into their own life.

Respectful communication is a far better way to teach your child as they learn and grow. 

Joyce Bailey
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