Most Advice About Parenting a Defiant Child Is Total Bullshit – Here’s What It’s Really Like

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If your child sucks every ounce of life from you daily, if no matter what you do, they just don’t listen. If the pot on the stove routinely boils over and the grilled cheese sandwiches burn because every time you leave the room, chaos ensues.

If your very last nerve is frayed beyond recognition.

If you want to curl up in a ball in the back of a closet and cry multiple times a day, you are unlucky to be a parent of a defiant child.

You know the kid I’m talking about.

The one who hugs you tight, then in a millisecond, he’s a raging tornado destroying everything in his path.

They hit, kick, throw whatever is handy.

Even push over the heavy coffee table and everything on it. The ones who when you put them in a room for a time out, they destroy the room, throw objects at the door.

The ones if you use a time out chair, even if you duct-tape them, they gain Hulk-like strength and rip the tape as they scream.

Every day you have to restrain from picking up this child and throwing them out a window, or trying to find a way to pay for military school, and wonder do they take 5 yr olds?

Now if you’re thinking wow, what kind of mother would ever feel that way, you don’t have a defiant child.

There are hundreds of articles with almost the exact title as this. And I’ve read a lot of them. They all pretty much say the same things, which after trying them all, I find them purely bullshit.

This isn’t my first rodeo.

My difficult child is the last of five.

I know what is normal for all the ages and stages.

I know they go through defiant periods, times when they’re more difficult than normal (and I’m not talking about the dreaded teenage years that seem to last until they move out).

You know, the terrible twos, the petrifying threes- cause we all know the threes are way worse than the twos.

Even though he is completely potty trained, never has accidents anywhere else, at home he will jump around, doing the potty dance for an hour.

But every time you ask him if he has to go, he says no. You tell him to go, you bribe him to go. All pointless, since in the end, he will just pee his pants.

And the potty mouth! The kid swears more than any millrat I’ve ever known all because he knows it’s wrong. He lives to defy.

Everything is a battle.

Time to eat, he will fight to come to the table. Then refuse to eat what’s in front of him, even the times we let him choose.

Need to leave? Good luck getting him to keep his shoes on. They will be thrown across the room multiple times before I will just grab him and carry him to the van.

And lest we forget bedtime. The kid will jump around on the bed like a kangaroo jacked up on coke. When we finally get him settled down, he decides he needs to poop.

We know our difficult child does not have Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

While he’s a hellion at home, he is completely the opposite at school. One day I had a paraprofessional come up to me to say what a sweet angel he was. I stopped in my tracks, wondering if she had gotten me mixed up with another kid’s mom.

We’ve tried everything.

The sticker chart, rewards, taking things away. When these children are in rampage mode, they do not care about anything.

They don’t care about a stupid sticker or even that cool new toy they’ve been begging you for. They are focused on one thing and one thing only and that is to hurt and destroy as much as possible.

Sure, you could hug them tight, trying to stop the destruction, but I’m betting you’d get a black eye or a nose bleed from them head butting you.

We have even tried going the route of counseling.

As we sat listening to her, I had to refrain from rolling my eyes multiple times. She didn’t have much to add to the hundreds of articles that are out there.

Stay calm, don’t react, and as you put them in their time out, say in such a calm manner, I was hoping you would have made a good choice or I wish you would have listened so we could have done (insert what here).

And always the key point- stay calm.

I would love to see these people stay calm after their child has been a total shit constantly throughout the day.

And I mean non-stop, from the time the kid wakes up until they finally fall asleep. And as soon as they leave their time out, they’re back at it. Now I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t lose their ever-loving mind.

So how do you deal with a defiant child? If I ever figure it out, I’ll let you know. Until then, I’ll be in the closet with a stiff drink praying for him to grow out of it.

32 COMMENTS

  1. Wow. As I read this, I felt every word of what you said. Especially when you said they throw stuff at the door during time out, and get right back to being a defiant little terror as soon as they’re out. I am dealing with this right now, and have never felt so “seen” until reading this. Thank you for sharing.

  2. OMG, I really need to be in this group !! We are raising our 2 grandchildren and this article is so much our 5yr old. I laughed so hard thinking OMG someone else has a hell raiser and it’s not just me. As 60yr old grandparents we will meet you in that closet with a bottle. Thank You this is so true and I needed the laugh !!!

  3. Do you think any part of him is doing to gain more attention at home? Especially if it’s not the same at school. Does he get more attention while throwing fits than he would with good behavior?
    – Coco

    • We always played with him and emphasized good behavior. Yes, part of it could be he’s an attention hog, there are 3 other children who need attention too.

  4. This is SO unbelievably true. My son is now 17. He is STILL stubborn and difficult— BUT it’s getting easier. He is still stubborn but hears me. Still determined, but flexible. Still impulsive and annoying, but makes me smile.

    This was THE MOST DIFFICULT thing I ever dealt with… my baby of 3. However, it will get better.

    Thank you for this—it was so perfect and so true. ??

  5. OH. My. God.

    I thought I was the only one. ?

    My daughter is exactly as you described. Except. She says she WANTS to behave.

    Thank you for showing me I’m not alone.

  6. So not sure if I should be offended that you wrote an article about my daughter, or if I should be disgusted in myself for feeling like this is about my daughter. ????? She happens to be the last of 5, as well. Hilariously, spot on! My husband and I are rolling with laughter and tears as we read each of these points completely recognizing each one so vividly! ????? you forgot one however, she doesn’t ever sleep! I swear.

  7. Look into the Positive Parenting Solutions. Your kids are reacting to your parenting and you’re locked in a power struggle with them. You can fix this but you have to change the way you parent. It works, I’ve been there. It takes time too.

  8. I am sitting here with my mouth gaping open because THIS IS MY CHILD. It is driving me slowly insane, and it feels like no one understands it, including my husband (he gets to be like one of those strangers who see how sweet she can be). I have felt so isolated in dealing with this because it makes me feel like a horrible mother. But I am BONE TIRED. I feel like my entire day is putting out fires and constantly arguing with someone who won’t be reasoned with.

  9. My oldest has ODD and it is absolute hell. My younger 2 are copying him because they look up to him. I’ve lost friends who have judged me a bad mom because my child is defiant. I have had perfect strangers approach me and tell me I am a bad mom. I envy mom’s who enjoy it. I really do.

  10. Mine is like this. Nursery helps a lot. First because being with others kids acting normal, rules and the whole environment is good for him. And second because it gives me a f*cking break. And he actually likes it. He is easier to manage at home after a whole morning at the nursery

  11. I have a 4 year old and a 7 year old. I’m constantly at wits end. Last week I told them by the time they wake up in the morning I’ll have their clothes pack and they can move to Daddy’s. Still didn’t work. And as for stay calm?!? Good luck

  12. Good luck. I had a defiant daughter, now I have custody of her two sons. She’s better but her 13 year old is dragging me to the grave. He is expected to be discharged from a psychiatric facility tomorrow with the threat that if he doesn’t get his Xbox ASAP he won’t be safe! ( they learn the lingo fast) I was asked if I could remove knives, ropes, and keep car keys away from him. Oh , and do we have a pool? All things he mentioned. I said the pools closed, 3ft deep and 30 degrees. If he thinks he he’ll drown himself, he’ll get hypothermia first. What ropes? How about shoe laces, lamp cords? How about his Xbox cord? Get rid of that too? AND could I have someone (me) keep an eye on him that he’s safe! Bullshit! That’s their job. The clinician ( no psychiatrists anymore) sounded like a hostage n negotiator.Even with therapy for 8 years and 2 inpatient hospitalizations. On paper he doesn’t look so bad. Good grief. You can’t get help anywhere. Good luck. I’ll be laying out ropes and knives and calling 211/911. Again

  13. Thank you for this! Just this morning my 5 yr old was in full on meltdown mode kicking and screaming in the closet for unknown reasons. After finally getting her out of the house and getting all 3 of my kids in the car we drove to school. she hopped out of the car said “bye mommy, love you!” And went into school like a little angel. She has never gotten in trouble at school EVER! She is perfect for others when she is being babysat. But for me she is throwing fits tearing her room to shreds when I put her in there because I need to breathe and will kick, throw, and scream at the drop of a hat.

    She is so smart, sweet, and funny. She has so many redeeming qualities and I know she will do great one day but for now she is a freaking handful! It’s not because I’m not consistent or I’m a pushover. I have 3 kids and shes the only one that does this still. It’s hard. On top of all of that I’m a full time nursing student so me going from being home and available to being at school 4 days a week and constantly studying has made it even harder on her.

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