10 Days to a Less Defiant Child – Part Two

10 days to a less defiant child

Those who read part one of this two part piece will know that the holidays were anything but happy happy joy joy in my house. By Christmas Eve our eldest daughter’s behaviour was at an all time low, and not in the cutesy way that most kids act when they’re over excited about Santa’s imminent visit. Her sheer cruelty towards her younger sister was having an awful knock on effect and hubby and I were properly in the doldrums. Feeding baby boy and feeling useless as a bedtime meltdown was playing out in the room next door, I downloaded a book that looked like it might just save my little family. You can buy it here. 

Hubby and I committed ourselves fully to following the ten day program in 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child, and started Day One on Christmas Day. We saw great results during days one to five, and I promised a follow up post with details of how we got on during days six to ten, so here it is. The chapters of the book itself are broken up by the days you are following, which makes it an easy to digest read. The author advises reading the day/chapter you are going to follow first thing in the morning, or last thing the night before so the information is fresh in your head when you need it most.

Full breakdown of the self-explanatory chapter names

Day One: Grasping Why Your Child Acts Defiant
Day Two: Understanding Your Defiant Child
Day Three: Sidestepping the Yelling Trap
Day Four: Avoiding Power Struggles
Day Five: Reinforcing the Positive Changes in Your Child
Day Six: Dependable Discipline 
Day Seven: Rallying Family Support
Day Eight: Lessening Defiance at School
Day Nine: Overcoming Stubborn Obstacles
Day Ten: Reducing Defiance for the Long Run 

How we fared up on Day Six

It quickly became apparent to us that day six is where it all went to pot a little. It was too early for us to try and factor in discipline, but we wanted to follow the book to the letter so gave it a go. Whereas on days one to five we had been trying to avert her lashing out, or just taking the little ones away from her if she was doing so, on day six we tried to implement a consequence for behaving that way. We agreed with her that she would have a one minute time out every time she was violent, but unfortunately she didn’t seem to care much for the new rule, or go about changing her behviour. Perhaps worst of all is that she didn’t appear in the least bit remorseful for hurting her brother (11m) or sister (2y11m), and didn’t want to stop doing it. By the end of the day our positive resolve had started to wane big time, and we realised that we were doing much better without trying to add discipline to the equation. 

Day Seven

The premise of Day Seven was a bit moot for us, because my family are not in our lives at all, and hubby’s family are only very sporadic caregivers. The author also talks about getting your other kids involved to help your defiant child, but again our other two kids are under three so this isn’t applicable. He does highlight a few things about making sure you and your partner are working as a team and not against each other, which we already do (unless super sleep deprived and snappy, hey we’re only human). He also talks about the importance of one on one time with the kids, which we already go out of our way to orchestrate wherever we can. This day fell on New Years Eve, and we had a day out in London at the museums. Although very fraught at points I think over time I’ll remember it being a lovely day, because there were also some really fab bits. Unfortunately bed time that night was absolutely horrendous, as bad as it gets, and tempers were lost for the first time in a whole week. It wasn’t pretty, but as I said above, we’re only human! 

2014-12-03 13.19.23Days Eight to Ten 

Again Day Eight was moot, because 5yo is the perfect child at school. It’s when she comes home that it all goes to pieces. Days Nine and Ten are more long term strategies once you’ve got to the point where you feel you’ve made significant progress, and neither hubby or I have even read these chapters yet. 

We have jointly came to the conclusion that we were doing really well on days one to five, so have decided to continue on with what was working. We’re best off concentrating our efforts on trying to understand why she behaves the way she does, and eradicating our own negative parenting behaviours for good. I believe that over time these things will have the most positive effect. Above all else we must stay calm, and not shouting has to be our top priority. We aren’t saints, and I’d be lying if I said the first week of the new year was perfect, that we’ve not displayed a single negative parenting behviour between us or raised our voices at all. But we have done our best. Bearing in mind that our 11mo baby doesn’t sleep for more than an hour at a time at night, and our toddler has become a threenager among all this happening. We’re up against it but we are trying. 

Unfortunately going back to school has not helped at all, and it feels like a lot of our hard work started to unravel in the latter part of this week. Our daughter is a complex little creature. She’s smart and beautiful and sassy, but boy is she defiant. She is also highly sensitive, and feels the injustices of the world around her so much more acutely than her peers seem to. The small things that cause her such heartache just pass others by without a second thought.  

Overall progress is being made, but for us it’ll be a lot slower to see real results than the title of this book suggests it might.

UPDATE: We made the decision in October 2015 to start home educating. You can follow our journey here on the blog. 

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10 thoughts on “10 Days to a Less Defiant Child – Part Two

  1. It’s funny how you have all these little rules when you first have your first, and over time one by one they all get thrown out with the bath water. As you said you have to find what works for your family – sod the rules or anyone elses opinions!!

  2. What an amazing post. Before I had my child I was full of ‘I will never do this, I will never do that’.
    In reality I don’t think this helped me at all.
    I am now a firm believer in doing what is best for my family and it looks like you are doing the same.
    I am urge it will work out ok for you. #MaternityMondays

  3. Thanks so much Caroline! Nothing is easy but being aware and mindful of our own behaviour certainly puts things into perspective. I’m going to do a detailed post about the 12 negative behaviours he talks about in the book as I think it might be useful for some. Will link it up next Monday if I get it written xx

  4. I have to say I think you are doing so well for sticking at it, it sounds like such hard work, but then life was already hard work beforehand and with the promise of better things to come it has got to be worth it. I love how you talk about your own parenting behaviours, none of us are perfect and we will always slip up sometimes, but I do think it helps to at least be aware of the things we do (like shouting, which I do too, even though I hate it and feel guilty about it afterwards) and to try and avoid them. It sounds like you are doing really well, and even if you aren’t ready for steps 6 onwards yet, I am sure in time you will get there! Good luck lovely and I look forward to reading your progress as time goes on! Thanks so much for linking up with #maternitymondays xx

  5. I don’t think a bit of defiance is a bad thing hon, and I’d never want to completely change my girls personality, but the violence *has* to stop…and myself and hubby clearly needed to make changes to what we were doing. I’m going to write another post about the twelve negative parenting behaviours as I think most mums and dads will find it really useful xx

  6. Definitely not an easy ride Rachael, which is why I’m trying so hard to understand my little ones complexities. At five I think a lot of most kids’ behaviour can be written off as ‘normal development’ but with HSC it’s important for the kids to feel like you’re taking it seriously… Very challenging with a baby and toddler to also contend with. We’ll get there though!

  7. It’s the not yelling that’s the hardest isn’t it? Well, for me anyway! It sounds like you’ve been doing really well – there are many positives with sensitive children but it’s not an easy ride is it? Good luck!

  8. It sounds to me like you are doing absolutely everything you can to make things improve. Beanie is incredibly defiant, too. She is a determined little soul and I sometimes worry that as she gets older, it might get worse. On the other hand, I don’t want to change her personality either and tame her so much that she doesn’t become the leader she might become. Raising children is tough, isn’t it?

  9. It’s incredible how similar our firstborns are Denise. Do your girls get on better now they’re older? I don’t think you are a terrible parent whatsoever, you’ve always put the girls first which makes you an amazing parent in my books. I agree that their good intentions should come within them. I remember when 5yo was two and I’d make her apologise if she snatched a toy or something. Then after she said “sorry” I’d ask her if she meant it and she’d almost always say “no”. Used to make us adults giggle, but I quickly realised it was pointless forcing her to say sorry unless she actually meant it.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t believe that our kids should all be treated the same. People (including children) are different and should to be treated according to their personalities. Also you will never parent two kids exactly the same, because your circumstances and the environment they grow up in will never be exactly the same (unless they are twins, etc and even then I’m sure certain elements of their childhood would not be identical to their siblings). The phrase ‘we treat you all the same’ riles me up if I’m honest.

  10. It’s key that you pick up on the fact that she is defiant but also sensitive. I think some children perceive things so much more deeply that it *makes* them dig their heels in for the things they really believe. Interesting about getting the other kids on board – I know that my #2 really resented it for a while (when they were 11/13) because #1 seemed to be allowed to get away with anything, including things that hurt her, because I was powerless to stop it. That was a difficult point. I kept explaining that because she (#2) was more amenable, the pay off was that she had more friends and was happier. However, it didn’t sit easy with me and it’s a brave thing to recommend – I tend to see experts talk about treating all your kids the same.
    I also think maybe 10 days is a bit optimistic, but that it’s a great sign that the first 5 days of the programme went so well.
    Myself – maybe I am a weird terrible parent, but I was never one for sanctions anyway. I was always of the opinion that their good intentions and ambitions had to come from inside them.
    Good luck – you’ve come a long way.

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