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Is Your Child's Oppositional Behavior Ruining Your Home Life?


Here are some tips you can start using TODAY to bring peace back to your home.

Are you struggling with your child’s oppositional behavior? Do they talk back, refuse to do chores, and “push your buttons?” Oppositional behavior can be frustrating to deal with as a parent. When it’s happening, you may feel like there’s nothing you can do to stop it.  However, there are many solutions within your control that you can start using today to improve the situation.

Avoid Excessive Criticism

The first step is to avoid excessively criticizing your child.  Instead of helping, heaping on the criticism only causes children to push back. If your go-to is criticism when your child does something wrong (such as not doing a chore), why not try something different? A gentle reminder is a lot more helpful than criticizing, which only makes it “personal” and leads to hurt feelings.

Look for the Positive

Another way to “extinguish the negative” is to compliment your child when they do something positive.  Believe it or not, this actually works!  Let’s say your child remembers to do their chores. Why not say “thank-you? This helps break up your child’s perception that you are:

  • “Mean.”
  • Don’t recognize their work.
  • Refuse to acknowledge when they do something right.

Compliments and positivity allow your child to see you more as a person and less as an authoritarian figure.

Use Appropriate Consequences

Consequences are necessary and useful for putting limits on problem behaviors. However, many parents make the mistake of going “over-the-top” with consequences.  In the moment, emotions can get heated on both sides, and you might not make the best disciplinary decision. For instance, you may say that your child is grounded for three months. An excessive consequence like this only

  • Reinforces to your child that you are unreasonable.
  • That you shouldn’t be taken seriously.
  • That you don’t really understand them.

When you create a consequence, make sure you are in the right frame of mind. If you need time to cool down, let him or her know you need a time-out, then come back to the issue as soon as you can.  And remember, a consequence that lasts 1-3 days is sufficient and has the most impact for any offense!

Be Consistent with Consequences

Consistency is another important factor when giving and enforcing consequences. If your child breaks curfew and you don’t give them a consequence, but then come down heavy with a consequence the next time it happens, you send a confusing message.  Kids want fair, consistent messages and reliable parenting. When they perceive parents as being inconsistent it inspires oppositional behavior.

Don’t Let them Push Your Buttons

Children, especially teenagers, are very good at knowing your buttons and how to push them. Why do they do this?  To see how you will react.  In fact, if they have seen you react before, they know that they can get you to and will do it again. Why let them do this. Instead, try to keep a positive attitude and not allow it to get to you. 

In-Home Behavior Therapy Can Quickly STOP Oppositional Behavior

Have you tried the above suggestions but continue running into roadblocks?

Consider signing up for in-home behavior coaching with The Body Image Counseling Center! Our in-home therapists can work with you and your child using Applied Behavior Analysis techniques.  This method can quickly help you and your child overcome oppositional behaviors by:

  • Learning about your child’s specific situation and what needs to change.
  • Designing specific instructions about how to stop the problem behaviors rapidly.
  • Coaching and supporting you as caregivers so you don’t back down and helps you stay consistent with your child.

Don’t let your child’s oppositional behavior ruin your relationship or home life.  It’s OK to get professional help to become closer as a family and bring peace back to your home.

By using positive reinforcement, creating consequences that make sense, and not allowing your buttons to get pushed, you can make headway against negative behaviors. Moreover, employing Applied Behavior Analysis can add the extra level of support both you and your child may need to have a healthier relationship.


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