Additional Compliance Strategies for Defiant Children

mom applying compliance strategies for defiant children refusing to clean up

Learn the best compliant strategies for defiant children that refuse to comply with requests or that engage in undesirable behavior, such as temper tantrums after requests. In addition to my other compliance strategies for defiant children, I have found these techniques to also be very helpful in getting children to do undesirable activities.

These can be used with all children including those that may have Down Syndrome characteristics or that are diagnosed with autism symptoms. When all are used in combination with each other, your problems with defiance can be completely eliminated.

Give a 5-10 minute warning.

This compliance strategy for defiant children is one that also works as a transition strategy. If you let your child know that in 5-10 minutes you want a certain request completed, this allows him/her time to finish whatever he or she is currently doing and allows time to process the request.

Follow through on requests.

One of the more important compliance strategies that should be in place with the others mentioned is to make sure when a request is made that you follow through with your child. If you are always making requests that don't get completed, then your child learns that what you are asking must not be important or that it is not necessary to do what you ask.

This is especially important to start this example when your child is young, as it is much easier to ensure compliance from a 2 year old than it is from 14 year old. This may include facilitating the request or hand over hand prompting.

For example, you may facilitate the request for defiant children to pick up toys by handing them the toys and telling them where they need to go. Hand over hand prompting would include actually taking your child’s hand, helping them to pick up the object and put it where it belongs while giving lots of praise. Hand over hand prompting would not be something you would typically use with an older child, but may be possible.

Make the activity fun.

This compliance strategy for defiant children may involve some thought on your part, but if you can do this, then you will also achieve natural reinforcement for the behavior. Making a game out of the request or singing songs can make a less desirable request turn into lots of fun.

Singing the clean up song from Barney or racing to see who can clean up the most items turns a tedious request into a preferred activity. You may also make up a tooth brushing song, use bubbles in the bath or use bath crayons, or have special designated snacks only allowed during homework time.

Our tooth brushing song is to the tune of London bridges falling down and goes like this, “Brush your teeth until their clean, til their clean, til their clean. Brush your teeth until their clean, til their clean.”

It's amazing the difference it makes when you put the outlined compliance strategies in place for defiant children. When I make a conscious effort to apply the information above, and it does take a conscious effort for most of the strategies, my son almost becomes a completely different person.

His refusals of "No, no, no!" turn into "Okay!" and him running off to do what I have asked. I know it may take work at first, but the reward is far more valuable than the time spent.

Phrase requests differently towards a defiant child to achieve better compliance.

State the request as if you are already assuming they will complete it and if possible provide a choice that they can only make if they completes the request.

When you put away your clothes, did you want to hang them all up in your closet or put them in the drawers?

When you brush your teeth, did you want to use the electric tooth brush or a regular tooth brush?

After you take your shower, did you want to wear your black or blue shirt?

Instead of asking or telling him to do certain things, try making an obvious statement that leads to the desired behavior.

If you want your child to wipe his or her face at dinner, instead of telling him or her to use his napkin, say “You have some food on your face.”

If you want him to pick up his clothes, say “It looks like you have some dirty clothes on the floor that could go in the hamper.” or you may say "Where do the clothes on your floor go?"

What can you do when working with very defiant children?

Try asking the child to do three simple requests first. Requests can be things like asking what time it is, what day it is, to hand you an object he is sitting near, to tell you something fun he did that day, etc.

Then make your fourth request the more complicated one you were originally hoping to get them to do. People are more likely to comply with a more difficult request after already completing three simple requests first. (You can try this compliance strategy on your spouse too! It works!)

Break down tasks so that they are easier to understand.

When working with defiant children, instead of just asking a child to do something, such as clean his or her room, give 3-4 specific behaviors that would result in a cleaner room. Such as, putting away clothes in the hamper, making the bed, and putting papers in the trash.

Arrange the environment for defiant children so that it is easier to comply with requests.

This compliance strategy for defiant children encourages your child to do what is asked because the response effort is much less than usual. Such as, bundling an entire outfit with underwear, socks and everything, so that it is very easy for them to go to the closet and pick out what he or she should wear that day.

Make sure the room has a trash can and hamper where it can be easily used. Try using other organization products as well.

You can have helpful kids in your home and/or classroom! It's just a matter of putting some simple techniques into practice.

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Additional pages you may find helpful:

Behavior Charts
Chore Charts
Chores List by Age
Homework Charts
Feelings Charts
Free Child Behavior Help Book
Dealing with Temper Tantrums or Meltdowns
Dealing with Picky Eaters
Signs of ADHD
Oppositional Defiant Disorder
Auditory Processing Disorder
Listening Skills
Study and Homework tips
Tips for Improving Attention and Memory

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