Though your child refuses to follow the rules or your family’s schedule, such as grabbing their iPad even when it’s not the iPad time or playing baseball in the living room, it’s easy to conclude that they’re being disrespectful. 

It’s easy to assume that they don’t care what you think or aren’t aware that the ball could hit the light. I advise parents to evaluate the Most Generous Interpretation (MGI) of their child’s behavior. This necessitates putting yourself in your child’s shoes.

The kindest way to describe your child’s actions is “defiance.” You’ll be in enemy mode as soon as you designate your child as defiant—for example, if they sneak the iPad out of your bedroom. Defiance can be reframed by thinking with your MGI, “Because of their tremendous desire, my child could not control themselves.”

Cooperatively tackle problems.

Even if you’ve created guidelines, you still need to connect with your child in order to inspire them. Instead of stating, “Hey, I notice your bed’s not made. If you don’t make your bed, you won’t receive screen time.” 

If your child claims to have forgotten anything, you could respond by saying, “Let’s come up with an idea for how you might remember something. A note in your room might help.”

It’s possible you may say this if your child thinks that making their bed is a waste of time. “As a demonstration of respect for your possessions, you should do this. However, this is what I’m hearing. Making your bed is a pain. We’d appreciate any ideas you have for improving the experience. Maybe not as much fun as basketball, but it’d still be great. There might be an amusing tune about making your bed that we can come up with.”

When you lighten the tone and empathize with your child, you’ll be amazed at the ideas they’ll come up with.

Expand your options.

There are few opportunities for your youngster to feel powerful and in control, so they may break the rules. What they’re saying: “Hey, I’m human!” If you tighten the restrictions even further, you run the risk of creating a vicious cycle. 

It’s imperative that you find methods to let your 5-year-old make decisions, even if they’ve broken the rules.

Ensure that you are bending the rules in the correct manner.

There are times when you need to be a little more flexible with your kids’ schedules. Before supper, if your child had a bad lunch, you might allow them to have a snack if you generally don’t do so. 

Telling your child ahead of time will allow you to reassert the normal ground rules.

On the other hand, if you decide to ignore a rule because you’re afraid of your child throwing a fit, you’re acting out of fear. When your child has a meltdown, they’ll understand this and learn that you’re afraid of their feelings. 

Your child may have a harder difficulty dealing with those feelings the next time around.

Take the time to talk to a child who refuses to adhere to any regulations.

It’s usually a sign that something’s wrong in your relationship if they keep pushing and saying things like, “This is a dumb rule.” Even though your kid isn’t at fault for being in that situation, it’s up to you to initiate change as an adult. You must first calmly say, “You know, it seems that you always say no, no matter what I ask of you. That tells me something, don’t you? Firstly, it does not reveal anything about you to me. You aren’t a bad kid. It’s a sign to me that things aren’t going well between us. I’m also determined to find a solution to this issue.”

Consider the possibility that your child will say something like, “I loathe you. You see, my life is a living hell because of what you’ve pushed me to do. When it comes to me, you’re not interested. The way you treat me is reprehensible.” 

Instead of defending yourself, show them that you are empathetic. “Wow, you’ve convinced me. I think it’s bad that I’m always telling you what to do, and I’m sure it’s frustrating. It’s great that you thought to let me know.” The first step toward lasting transformation is connecting with and validating a child’s resistance.