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Parenting the Angry, Defiant Child

The majority of the population does not understand the dynamics of parenting a defiant child. Small expectations on the parent's part can set the defiant child off in ways that are not only indescribable, but also often unbelievable.

Family and friends may think that you - the parent - are the one with the problem. Support is non-existent, because outsiders can't even begin to imagine that children can be so destructive. Where does that leave a parent?

Without strong support and understanding, the parent will become isolated, hurt, demoralized and confused. You begin to question your parenting abilities - and your own sanity.

The ongoing stress can result in disastrous effects on our well-being, literally causing our emotional and physical health to deteriorate - as well as causing us to rage at our child, thus making a bad problem worse.

In parenting a defiant child, you will not escape adverse effects. It is essential to recognize that your feelings are typical under stressful conditions. It is just as essential to accept the fact that extensive stress is unhealthy. By recognizing the symptoms and seeking support, you will strengthen your abilities to cope.

The strains a defiant child puts on your family can be enormous.

Effects on the family:

• A defiant child will play one parent off the other, which could result in a rift between parents.
• Due to the child’s disruptive behavior, parents often withdraw from social functions.
• Parents appear to be unfair, strict and sometimes hostile, as parenting skills used with healthy children do not work with defiant children.
• Siblings and pets can often be targeted and threatened.
• Siblings often feel ignored or overlooked as the defiant child takes up so much of the parent’s time.

Defiant children are not bad - but they are very intense. And they seek intensity from others as well - especially their parents! Unfortunately, they have discovered that their parents are the most intense and exciting when things are going wrong. What parents may have viewed as punishment for their defiant child was actually a reward (i.e., he/she received a bigger payoff for misbehavior).

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Parenting Rebellious Teens

One day you wake up and find that life has changed forever. Instead of greeting you with a hug, your little boy rolls his eyes when you say "good morning" and shouts, "You're ruining my life!" You may think you've stepped into the Twilight Zone, but you've actually been thrust into your son's teen years.

During adolescence, teens start to break away from parents and become "their own person." Some talk back, ignore rules and slack off at school. Others may sneak out or break curfew. Still others experiment with alcohol, tobacco or drugs. So how can you tell the difference between normal teen rebellion versus dangerous behavior? And what's the best way for a parent to respond?

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Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

Many families of defiant children live in a home that has become a battleground. In the beginning, the daily struggles can be expected. After all, we knew that problems would occur. Initially, stress can be so subtle that we lose sight of a war, which others do not realize is occurring. We honestly believe that we can work through the problems.

Outbursts, rages, and strife become a way of life (an emotionally unhealthy way of life). We set aside our own needs and focus on the needs of our children. But what does it cost us?

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The Strong-Willed Out-of-Control Teen

The standard disciplinary techniques that are recommended for “typical” teenagers do not take into account the many issues facing teens with serious behavioral problems. Disrespect, anger, violent rages, self-injury, running away from home, school failure, hanging-out with the wrong crowd, drug abuse, theft, and legal problems are just some of the behaviors that parents of defiant teens will have to learn to control.

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