How Much Defiance Is Normal In Children?

There are no real norms when it comes to children, but there is a range that children will typically develop within. Defiance within children is a normal part of their development. Most often, they will explore their boundaries. 

It is essential to understand why these defiances happen and how you can handle them – and when it might be time to seek professional support for an odd diagnosis.

child crying and screaming


If you find that your child will often tell you no, or wait, or maybe even throw a tantrum and sit or lay on the floor so that you have limited options – many parents will approach this with anger. 

Using terms like “ don’t be silly, “ get up now, “ and other firm terms can delay them even further. Sometimes though, it is better to take a moment, take a breath and explain to them why you are asking, and be kind. Anger doesn’t usually get children to do what they want out of respect. Instead, it is fear. And this will lead to a more complex relationship. 

Good behavior 

Children will do what they can to seek attention, and that will happen whether it is good or bad. If you spend more time with your child when they are misbehaving, then they will do what they can to get your attention in this way. 

That is why it becomes more important to double down on the praise for doing what you have set as good behavior. Simple chores, helping out when they can, taking a moment, and trying to work through their emotions are all good things. 

Discipline in a healthy way doesn’t mean control; it helps them to understand boundaries. 


When people feel like they don’t have a choice, they approach most things with anger or upset. The same applies to children; instead, make time to allow them to choose what they want. 

Instead of making them wear what you have chosen, instead, ask them what they want to wear. It might take a little longer, but it will give them a sense of control over their lives. This tactic will also help them when it comes to making more significant decisions later in life too. 

Is it worth it?

An important question you need to ask yourself before you get into it with your child is – is it worth it? Do you need to have this argument? Will the outcome drastically change if you get your child to do what you have asked? What will happen if they get to wear wellington boots instead of the shoes you suggested? 

Sometimes you need to take a moment and consider feeling frustrated and upset with your child and them with you worth it. 

When it is more than just defiance once or twice a day, it’s not just words but actions too. If your child is quick to lose their temper, destroys things, has a defined pattern of irritable moods, and will not comply with any rules. 

It is essential that you have thought about the impact this has on you, too, and how you can handle it: Managing Stress Stemming From Family Life

2020 Kimberly Signature

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