Just about every day, Angela Estes, a New York mom, finds herself asking her 5-year-old son, “Why are you being so defiant?”

When she says it’s time to get dressed and head to school or when she gives the sign that playground time has come to an end, he has other ideas, said a frustrated Estes.
“He just wants to do what he wants to do, and I find it very hard to establish the authority that whether he wants to do it or not, it’s what we’re going to do,” she said.

The problem with labeling a child as ‘defiant’

Parents may be quick to label their children as “defiant,” but experts say that fails to recognize that what we do as parents can impact our child’s behavior.
“The problem with ‘defiance’ is that it puts something in the child,” said Alan Kazdin, professor of psychology and child psychiatry at Yale University and author of more than 40 books including “The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child.” “It’s not in the child. You can really make defiant children very compliant, actually, many of them, even most of them. It’s in what you do to get that compliance.”

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