How To Yield Better Results Disciplining Your Opposition and Strong Willed Child

Parenting Hack for Better Results Disciplining Your Oppositional and Strong-Willed Child


Imagine you just received a phone call from your child’s principal asking you to pick them up from school due to their behavior (for the umpteenth time this year). So, you drive over there to take them home. In the car when you try to talk about what happened, your child is rude and talks back, kicks the back of your seat and screams.

How do you discipline them?

Do you tell your kiddo that they have lost the privilege to use their tablet/video games/TV/toys (whichever it is) for the remainder of the day? Does some form of angry or upset outburst happen?

Will your child slam doors, yell, and continue not to listen?

For many parents, the rest of the day becomes a fight, or you’re on edge waiting for your child to blow.

Meanwhile, you’re probably wondering; why don’t they just behave so they can get their privileges back?  You may even take (or threaten to take) their privileges away longer, to discipline them further for their disrespectful behavior.

It’s chaotic. You’re dealing with a bored and upset child for the rest of the day. It probably feels like you’re the one being punished.

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The Parenting Hack that Yields Better Results With Oppositional and Strong Willed Children - ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder, etc. . 
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There Is A Better Way

You need to turn this situation around, so your child instead feels as though they’re being rewarded for good behavior, instead of being disciplined for bad behavior.

This will give you better control over the situation.

Don’t worry they won’t be getting away with everything with no consequences and only rewards.  You will still be disciplining them. But if you present the situation to your kiddo from a different perspective, you can make it appear more positive. It’s almost like reverse psychology.

This method tends to be more effective on oppositional or strong-willed children compared to traditional discipline methods which often trigger an outburst or aggression.


Related: The Ultimate Guide to Preventing Outbursts & Meltdowns


How To Change Your Child’s Perspective on Discipline

I will be using “tablet time” as an example because that is what my own son uses most often. You should substitute tablet time with whatever is your child’s favorite thing – video games, a favorite toy,  etc.

The important thing is that it’s motivating enough to your child to make them want that time.

1. Set a default amount of tablet time per day.

Decide on a short amount of tablet time for your child that they get every single day, no matter what.  I will explain why later.

In our house, it is 15 minutes on the tablet at bedtime. It’s best to keep their guaranteed time short and sweet.

2. Decide how they can earn additional tablet time.

How time is earned is up to you.

At our house, time is earned based on this Pokemon reward chart. Each Pokemon is worth 5 minutes of time, and there are many opportunities throughout the day to earn those pokemon. There’s even a chance to get a 30-minute bonus if all of the pokemon are collected.

3. Basically, let your child discipline himself.

Your child will learn that doing X, Y, Z is required to earn tablet time.

Not completing what is expected means they’ve lost the chance to earn the time, opposed to having you take their time away,

Less Arguing and Outbursts

You aren’t taking away anything anymore, so that is one less thing to argue with your child about. Instead, you’re the nice mom whose giving more time. Not earning time is all on them.

Why the guaranteed time?

The short amount of guaranteed time is for a reason and it doesn’t mean your child an get away with anything.

For children, especially those with behavioral challenges like ADHD or ODD, if they lose their privileges for the whole day, they are going to feel like there’s nothing to work for anymore.

Consequently, if your child feels like they have nothing to work for, they will have no motivation to do what is expected of them. The rest of the day “won’t matter” because they already lost their privledges anyway. This will cause both of you to have a tough day.

The guaranteed time, along with the multiple chances throughout the day to earn additional time will keep your child constantly motivated to do better. Your child will know that if they make a mistake at recess or first thing in the morning, they will still have chances to earn time throughout the day.

This way, your child isn’t losing it all for one mistake.

Using positive discipline, such as this technique helps to strength your parent-child relationship. There is less animosity and more opportunity for your child to be proud of themselves.

You’re removing the negativity from the situation and replacing it with positive behavior reinforcement instead.

Behavior That Must Be Dealt With Immediately

Some behaviors do need to be dealt with right away, such as verbal or physical aggression, destructive or dangerous behavior.

Check out these 5 logical timeout tactics that will completely change your child’s behavior, as well as this guide on how to be proactive and prevent outbursts.

You can use alternative consequences for these behaviors, while still maintaining that 15 minutes of guaranteed time, such as going to bed 30 minutes early. 

For an older child who thoroughly understands the point system you have in place, it may be acceptable that they will lose 5 minutes of time for specific behaviors that you’re targeting. 

Overall this will have more meaning for a strong-willed child because the revocation of all privilege triggers the oppositional behavior and then the message you are trying to get across to your child becomes lost and is meaningless to them.

Make sure that the set consequences for these behaviors are clearly explained to your child, and the same every time. For my kids – they go to bed early if there’s been any kind of physical behavior. We also use the timeout tactics discussed above to immediately intervene.

This has become so commonplace in our home that it’s never an issue or argument any more. My son always knows exactly home much time he’s earned and doesn’t argue or get upset when the time is up (at first he did but we remained consistent and it stopped) .

Keeping Track of Time

I use the parental control app Qustodio to keep track of my son’s tablet time and setting time limits. 

You can set both an exact time limit in minutes, and also a shut-off time. When either time is reached, access to all of their apps immediately shuts off.  You can have the Qustodio app monitor multiple devices at once and set a total time limit for of their device usage.

You can also set app restrictions, block websites, monitor social media and text messages etc. and receive a daily or weekly report or their usage. 

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