A defiant child often tests their parents’ patience and nerves. A child will start expressing own will in accordance with his or her temperament. Strong reactions typical of negative age may be a little more understandable, if you remember how totally dependent a young child is of his or her caregivers. A child needs to find a way out of this dependency to the world and needs your support to do so.


  • Emotional reactions and learning to express them is important to the child and he or she should be allowed to express all emotions freely.
  • Your child should have a right and an opportunity to express their emotions directly, also the ones that may hurt the parents, without a threat of being punished. A child should be convinced that adults are strong and can handle also aggression when a child is unable to control him- or herself and emotional reactions.
  • After the baby and toddler years, a parent can – and should – expect a child to learn to control his or her emotions better and not to allow or accept the child’s behaviour to damage the child him- or herself or any other person.
  • The parent is the one making everyday decisions, a child’s defiance should not control it. The responsibility for any decision or consequences lies always with the parent.

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