How to Correct Rebellious Behavior in a Child: 6 Steps
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Stop your child's rebellious behavior immediately, and show her a better way to express herself.

If taking toys from her younger sibling, throwing a tantrum in the mall and arguing about eating her veggies are reminiscent of your little one's behavior, you aren't the only mommy out there dealing with a rebellious child. You can't expect your preschooler or toddler to be perfectly behaved every single moment of the day, so you will need to correct her bad behavior on those rare occasions she isn't acting like the sweet little angel you know she is. Employ a few simple steps, and before you know it, everyone else will see your child just the way you do.


  1. 1
    Speak in a calm and quiet voice, as this will naturally calm down your child to a point she will be open to your behavior correction. If you yell at your child for his rebellious act, he is much less likely to listen to his mommy.
  2. 2
    Tell your child, "Honey, I don't appreciate you screaming in public and I need you to stop. You are not being fair to other people who want to grocery shop with their own families." It's important to explain to your little one that you don't like the specific behavior, then tell her why she needs to stop.
  3. 3
    Examine the reason behind your child's behavior. Ask yourself questions like: Is he seeking attention he isn't getting other places? Is he hungry or is he not feeling well? Don't assume your little one is simply out to make your day that much more frustrating because the rebellious behavior might his way of telling you something he otherwise doesn't know how to articulate.
  4. 4
    Structure your child's day so she has a predictable routine to follow. With a set routine, your youngster is less likely to exhibit rebellious behavior in the first place. If, however, a routine still doesn't solve the problem, correct the behavior by reminding your child of how he has to finish brushing his teeth before he can listen to his favorite bedtime story.
  5. 5
    Show your child how to replace the bad behavior with a more desirable one. You can't expect to correct the rebellious behavior overnight, but you can redirect him to better behaviors over time. If you see him taking toys from his little brother, show him how to ask for the toy nicely, rather than just stealing it out of his hands.
  6. 6
    Speak to your pediatrician for recommendations of a reputable organization or therapist that offers parenting classes in your area. According to Medline Plus, if your child shows rebellious behavior such as frequent tantrums for six months or longer, this may mean it's time to bring in the professionals. Even though your child is young, you don't want to let these behaviors turn into more serious issues as he grows older.


  • Never use force when correcting rebellious behavior, no matter how frustrated you may feel at the time.

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Categories: Education and Communications

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