If I could give you one gift it would be to see yourself through my eyes and then you would see how special you really are.

Sunday, 5 March 2017


"When a law is unjust, it is only right to disobey" Ghandi

Defiance in our children is seen as rude, disagreeable, irritating and frustrating and seems to trigger a quick and often over-reactive response from an adult, I wonder why?

One of our jobs as a parent is to educate our children in social niceties and acceptable behaviour, so when they are overtly resistance this, for me, can sometimes trigger something primal in my response. Perhaps because sometime back in the Stone Age a child saying NO, refusing to do something when asked, dragging their feet in protest or intentionally ignoring us could have potentially led to serious injury or death.

But defiance when it is Ghandi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parkes or Malala to name a few is bravery, inspiration and just. How many fictional characters who have a defiant streak become our heroes, Harry Potter, Katniss Everdeen, Alex Rider or even George in the Famous Five.  So how do we harness defiance for good? How do I teach my child to use his strength in a good way and how do I learn to respond to his  attitude in a way that encourages him to stand up for the right things.
I have no desire to quash the spark of defiance that runs through my son but I do need to help it flourish into something positive. He is defiant when he views a request as unfair, that may be because he just wants his own way and has not yet matured to be able to look at the bigger picture. Examples of this happen at school every day. He is in the middle of an exciting activity and is asked to do something else, not being compliant in nature his response of course is no and why shouldn't it be. He doesn't understand that learning his numbers or phonics is the basis of his whole education, he is perfectly content playing his dinosaur game.

As the grown ups we have to find a way of working him with, maybe the playing with dinosaurs happens after the phonics, not asking him to do something, just expecting him too interestingly has more success, immediate and appropriate consequences may lead to stomping and even a tantrum, but the message is loud and clear and next time there may not be an issue. But just as important it is understanding why, after all it may not be defiance that is playing out in front of us it could be preoccupation (playing with dinosaurs),fear , or anger. Communication is so important even if sometimes so difficult. Getting a 5 year old to explain how he feels is not easy, but by not assuming that he is in the wrong or that his behaviour is disagreeable is a way to teach trust and that in turn leads to him seeking an adult out to help him manage his feelings.

Obviously, I have failed at this on numerous occasions, hence why I write about it now, maybe writing and thinking about defiance will help me, help him and that is after all what it is all about.

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