Are you one of those “lucky” parents who are afraid to go out with their kids, even just to the store? Do you worry that once again you will have to lift your previously always smiling child off the ground when they kick and scream and yell as loud as a jet on an airshow? If so, welcome to the stage of defiance. And no, don’t worry, you don’t have anything exceptional or permanent at home. Almost everyone who raises a little human being experiences this problem.

This period of childhood, which can hardly be called the most beautiful, can appear as early as 1.5 years of age, sometimes even earlier. It’s about the child starting to realize their own personality, their “I,” and wanting to express themselves, assert themselves and show their freedom in their environment. For some, this period is less pronounced, while for others it can be exacerbated to extreme situations where you start thinking about things that aren’t talked about. One of the main factors that influence what your child will be like is their temperament. If you have a phlegmatic child at home, their expressions won’t be anywhere near the reactions of a choleric type.

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Another factor that influences how a child will react to situations they are exposed to is upbringing. There are two types that are not recommended. The first is an upbringing where the parent behaves too protectively, almost spoiling the child, not allowing them to fully express their personality or show what they are capable of. Parents are often too anxious, solving problems for their offspring and when this is combined with the period of self-assertion of the child, it only leads to a struggle between the child and the parent. On the other hand, there is an upbringing that is almost without any guidance or boundaries. Everything is allowed and the child is almost allowed to make all decisions on their own. When a situation arises and the parent suddenly expects something from them, we are surprised that the pleasant offspring rebels and tests what will be tolerated and allowed, or reacts in a way that is completely opposite to what is asked of them. According to psychologists, this type of upbringing is one of the worst options to choose.

But let’s get to the point – how to react as appropriately as possible in situations when you would rather be one of those who just walk by and stare at what your child is doing? Honestly, there is no magic word or move that would immediately turn the screaming, writhing ball of energy into a little angel. However, you should avoid making mistakes that would make this behavior worse. The most common sight on the streets and especially in stores is an adult yelling at such a child and spanking them. Then, the parent either resigns and gives in to the little darling or drags them by the hand with their head down, so they don’t see all the looks that follow them. This is really not recommended. Ideally, you should try to divert the child’s attention to something else, something that interests them, and try to interrupt and end this resistance. Communication with such a child is demanding, but we must try to talk to them as an equal partner. Directing children in this state is not tolerated. If it is a case of refusal to comply with our orders, a suitable and effective solution is to give them a choice. The simplest example is when a child refuses to dress in what we have prepared for them in the morning. It is appropriate if they can decide for themselves between two chosen options. If it is a situation where there is simply no choice, but it is necessary to obey, and we are at home, we can let the resistance run out, fade away.

During this period of resistance, one must mainly arm oneself with great patience and consistency. However, I must disappoint you, there is not only one such period. In adolescence, another one will come. The positive thing is that if you manage to handle this first one, you have a chance that what you sowed in early childhood, you will reap in adolescence. Good luck with proper upbringing!