"Reasoning With" Defiant Children and Teens: A BAD Parenting Strategy

Children and teens with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) can't be controlled, thus parents should spend their time controlling children's activities and material items rather than behavior.

Parents should neither discuss parenting matters nor attempt to "reason with" their defiant children. To appeal to defiant children's logical mind is an exercise in futility due to the fact that most simply want things to go their way - they are not interested in comprise, negotiation or discussion.

Things are "nipped in the bud" [so to speak] by (a) stating parental expectations, (b) stating the consequence for violating expectations, and (c) following through with the consequence in the event expectations are not met. 

All this must be done with no expression of emotion on the parent's part, because children will continue to "misbehave" when they receive a bigger payoff for misbehavior than they do for desired behavior.

When the parent reacts strongly to "misbehavior" (e.g., arguing, lecturing, threatening, rage, emotional discussions, etc.), the defiant child - who is a very "intensity-seeking" child - receives a highly satiating dose of intensity (i.e., negative attention, which is infinitely better than no attention) from the parent. Thus, misbehavior is once again reinforced.

==> My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents

Defiant children do not seek counsel from parents. Instead, they have fired their parents as managers. Parents can, however, be re-hired as "child-protectors" (i.e., parent's willingness to shift from trying to be the child's 'buddy' to doing whatever is in the best interest of the child)...

...but only by controlling what is controllable and leaving the 'uncontrollable' up to the children (i.e., children get to decide whether or not they lose freedom to engage in activities and/or access to their material items such as toys, games, media, cell phones, etc.).

Mark Hutten, M.A.


==> My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents

RE: “I have a 16 year old who is failing school and has absolutely no motivation.”

In this article, we will be discussing an important issue that many parents face - when their teenager is failing at school and has no motiv...