Education: children in the defiance phase – psychologist gives tips

If children are in the so-called defiance phase, these parents usually come to the brink of despair. How they react to tantrums and emotional outbursts.

If even the smallest trigger leads to howling convulsions and screams in young children, many parents quickly feel overwhelmed. When little ones react to conflict and set boundaries with tantrums and drama, most don’t know what to do. But to become independent, children need this “phase of defiance”. It is the only way they learn to deal with limitations and difficulties. But those who have to deal with the tantrums often come to the brink of despair. How parents can best deal with emotional outbursts and how children can benefit from them.

Children in the defiance phase: child psychologist gives tips

Between the ages of two and six, children go through several learning and developmental stages. They become more independent and with time more and more autonomous. But if little ones reach their limits or if something doesn’t go their way, young children lack the appropriate coping skills to deal with these obstacles. Even simple situations can trigger strong emotions. The offspring often reacts to restrictions and criticism with emotional outbursts, contradiction and rejection.

The defiance phase is one of the most important developmental stages in infancy (symbol image).

© Westend61 / Imago

For parents, however, this phase is often a nerve-wracking test. Because if the little ones don’t want something, they usually say it clearly. Although the autonomy phase only reaches its peak at a later age, according to educator and author Susanne Mierau, defiance begins in infancy. While you can distract young children with tricks, this works less and less after the age of 2. Not only does motor skills help the little ones get their will, with language development, defiance can no longer be overheard.

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Children in the defiance phase:

The defiance phase is an important step in a child’s emotional development. Being able to express one’s will is essential to being able to go through life with confidence and to test one’s own assertiveness. But especially at a young age, children are not yet able to control these emotions. Outbursts of anger are often the result. Parents should respond with empathy and affection at this stage.

With these tips, parents can respond correctly to spite and find solutions together with their offspring:

  • Allow mistakes: If your child wants to try something, don’t always say no. Age-appropriate experimentation is important to deal with mistakes and frustration.
  • Empathy and Empathy: Put yourself in your child’s shoes. If you try to understand the feelings, you may find it easier to deal with your offspring’s outbursts of anger, even in difficult situations.
  • Expressing feelings: Naming feelings and expressing them clearly promotes children’s emotional development. Also help your child name the underlying feelings of the defiant reaction,
  • Avoid anger and verbal abuse: Under no circumstances should parents respond to their children’s anger and sadness with similar feelings or verbal abuse. Getting carried away only makes the emotional chaos worse.
  • Distraction helps: If your child is already in the middle of the emotions, the only thing that usually helps is to wait and see. Crying and screaming children can often only be calmed with a distraction. A quick change of scene or a surprising development can throw the child off course.
  • Follow the rules: Although many parents find this stage difficult, it is important that children learn to manage boundaries. It is therefore important to have certain rules – and to comply with them. If the offspring reacts with tantrums, keep your cool and explain your behavior when the child has calmed down.

This article contains only general information about the respective health topic and is therefore not intended for self-diagnosis, treatment or medicine. It in no way replaces a visit to the doctor. Unfortunately, our editors are not allowed to answer individual questions about clinical images.

List of rubrics: © Westend61 / Imago

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