How to Correct Rebellious Behavior in a Child

Rebellious behavior can drive a wedge in between your relationship with your child. You may think that a heavy, strict hand is the best way to stop rebellious behavior in its tracks, but it might just serve to cause your child to rebel even harder against stringent rules and regulations. Cultivating an open relationship with your child in which he feels secure enough to share his feelings with you and respect your position as a parent is the best way to correct rebellious behavior from a child.

Understand why your child is rebelling and what type of rebellion it is. Some rebellion is merely childish and is often used by younger children. In childish rebellion, your small child is only testing her boundaries. Intentional rebellion is more often practiced by older children and teens who make it a point to rebel against you. The latter should be taken more seriously, as the former is more of a character and developmental issue.

Avoid taking the behavior personally. Remember that when your child rebels, he is often looking for a reaction. Yelling, giving the silent treatment, becoming irate or losing your cool only shows your child that it is okay to express himself in an aggressive manner, notes Keep your cool and view the situation as an outside party would; otherwise you risk turning the situation into a power struggle.

Allow the natural consequences to occur for your child's rebellious behavior. If she is talking back to teachers at school or skipping class, instead of trying to smooth it over for her, allow her to endure detention or risk suspension. It's a good opportunity to learn about the consequences of disrespect, and your child can learn organically what will happen if she continues her rebellious behavior.

Offer positive reinforcement when you can. It is far too easy to look for the negative in your child when he is being rebellious, and what's more, that is the reaction he is expecting. Instead, focus on the positive and offer encouragement when he does something desirable, no matter how small the action may be. Thank him for being nice to his sister or for getting home before curfew. When you focus more on the positive than you do the negative, he'll slowly reform his behavior to garner even more encouragement.

Be reasonable, urges The punishment should fit the crime, and expectations should be fully laid out before you try to reform your child. If your child doesn't understand your expectations, she can hardly be held responsible for rebelling. Choose natural rules that are followed by reasonable consequences for actions and be consistent in your issuing of discipline and consequences so there is never any question as to what is expected of your child.