Defiant Behavior – Heart Therapy

There is nothing more frustrating for a parent to dish out a consequence, and their child or teen says, “I don’t care.”   It’s downright confusing for parents when consequences make other kids uncomfortable and it causes them to change, but not theirs.    Out of desperation, parents with no success keep adding consequences on top of the next in hope for behavior to change and it doesn’t.  Parents feel defeated when their child or teen literally doesn’t budge.   I have helpful tips and insight for you.   Plus, personal experience.  I understand.  It’s not easy, is it?   It’s going to be o.k.  There are solutions and strategies that will equip you, and empower you.  It’s called Heart Therapy.

When children or teens are defiant, parents don’t always know how to react, it’s exhausting, and in the heat of the moment it’s tempting for Moms or Dads to make threats, yell, argue, demand, or intimidate.   Even the most patient parent gets fed up, and they become harsh in their approach.   I’ve had moments of being harsh until I came up with an action plan.   I can help you with this.    I will give you Heart Therapy tips that you can start using today.

There are many reasons why kids struggle with defiant behavior.  Some kids are diagnosed with a defiant disorder (ODD) or a behavior problem.  Researches show probable causes for defiance as a functional brain delay, or it’s in the genes, or hormones.  Some Counselors, Teachers, and Doctors, conclude that it’s emotional or mental, diet problem, environmental, or they blame it on parenting.  The list of causes goes on and on.  The types of therapy, counseling, and treatment is endless.    I have a personal (Mom) and professional (BSW) opinion, but I’m not going to get into it now, however, I’m going to suggest that there is a problem that every parent must consider when working with their defiant child or teen.

Heart Therapy For Defiant Behavior

Children or teens who are defiant typically aren’t moved by a reward or punishment approach.  They may play along with the star charts, earning things, or having things taken away, but usually they will just reply – “I don’t care” or don’t do it,  or they just comply to get their way.  Behavior modification isn’t the only tool for parents to use.   There is something much more effective and I call it Heart Therapy.

Children and teens need Heart Therapy.  Heart Therapy is practicing healthy responses, doing the right thing with accountability, problem solving, understanding positive conclusions and visioning with purpose   Heart Therapy is a Biblical Approach to Parenting children and teens.  I believe Kid’s change when they have a healthy relationship with their parents, an understanding of God’s amazing grace and love.   These ideas are not my own.  I been receiving training through the National Center for Biblical Parenting.   Under Dr. Scott Turansky, I went through an eight-week intense training program to become a Parent Coach.  Dr. Scott Turansky along with Joanne Miller have published my favorite parenting books, I use them daily for Coaching and Parenting, Parenting Is Heart Work, Motivate Your Child, and Say Goodbye to Whining.    Please contact me if you would like more information about this.  I’d be very happy to share.   And Please contact me to let me know if you would be interested in Coaching.   I’d be happy to help you work your child.  Your are the best teacher and coach for your child.  You are the best counselor too.  Through The National Center for Biblical Parenting they offer an eight weeks of training and I would love to take you through it.  

Parenting is Heart Work BookParenting is Heart Work Training Manual  Motivate Your Child BookMotivate Your Child Action Plan  Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes, In You and Your Kids - Book

Strategies For Defiant Behavior

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Build a Strong Relationship with Child or Teen With Defiant Behavior-   Parents with defiant kids often are too stressed to enjoy good times with their child or teen.  Parents can develop a hard and hurt heart from all the stress, rejection, and failure that is involved with raising a defiant kid.  It’s difficult to like being around a kid that seems so selfish and sometimes abusive.  Parents may avoid contact with their child or teen just to stay away from conflict, so they get busy doing other things.

Parents find that when they do spend time with their kids they are inclined to complain about their behavior or lecture.    None of this is helpful or changes things.    Withdrawing from kids isn’t an option for parents.   I know how tempting it is to avoid the problem and I use to get so tired of it all that at the end of the day there was no energy left in me to parent affectionately.  I get it and I would never judge you.  I’ve felt very guilty for not wanting to be around my kids.  If this is you, just know it’s normal, and with God’s help and an action plan it doesn’t have to continue to be a lonely journey where you must figure it out all on your own.   God has helped me stand strong and work on my relationship with the kids.   Today we enjoy fun times together and things are going better.


Take time to just do something that you and your kiddo will enjoy doing.  Make it a time where there are no serious discussions, keep it light, and stay engaged.    Kids do better when they feel better and feel connected.      Be intentional about making this happen regardless of your child or teens behavior.  They need to know they are loved and accepted even though they are struggling with defiance.   This is Heart Therapy!


Daily Devotional, Prayer, and Scripture Memorization is crucial – When kids spend time in the word and pray they discover a mighty God who loves them.  God is the one who changes our hearts, it is He who brings conviction, and it’s through the Holy Spirit that we all learn right from wrong.    My children rely on the teaching of God for direction!!!  Their acceptance of God’s love has transformed them from the inside out.   It’s very important for parents to pay attention to what kids are watching and who they are hanging out with.  Bad influence is a set up to destroy our kids.   Parents must limit the amount of screen time they allow their kids to do.  It only leads to laziness and an escape from reality.   It’s easier for defiant kids to go hide behind a character then to face the fact that they themselves need an adjustment with their attitudes and beliefs.

Avoid Being Pulled into Their Anger and Defiance – The best thing parents can do is control their own anger.   Shouting and lecturing is going to go in one ear and out the other, your actions will speak louder.    When a son or daughter refuses to do something, you have asked them to do, don’t do anything for them until they comply.   Take away things that they use the most and enjoy until they do what you requested them to do.  When they say, “I don’t care”, you can walk away from them and refuse to respond to them when they ask you for something.    You can tell them, “Life for you doesn’t move on until you do what your told to do regardless if you care or not.”    Parents need for their defiant kid to take ownership and responsibility for their crappy behavior.  Parents don’t have to carry the weight of their child or teens attitude, eventually defiant kids will see that they do need to care if they ever want to receive benefits and privileges.

Kids need to Earn Responsibility – For the kid who says, “I don’t care” is the kid who shouldn’t be allowed to have keys to drive a car, or go to a friend’s house, and so forth until they do what is right and with a good attitude.   Bottom line kids need to know that they can’t act like this when they are adults.  They will get fired.    I know, they don’t care, right?   They will start caring as soon as parents request a certain action and behavior before allowing them to take part in something that they want to do or care about.    Kids need to be given tasks daily that require them to work hard.   This helps them learn the value of team work, knowledge on what it takes to grow up and helps them be responsible.   If they just play, text, or hang out being lazy, they will not develop skills or understanding.


There is so much to all of this and every situation is different.  I’m available to help you with strategies and an action plan.  During the months September – October I’m offering free coaching.   Please feel free to shoot me an email and I will contact you with appointment options. 

Coaching Information 

Check out the eight week program and then send me an email.  National Center For Biblical Parenting    When you visit this sight you can download a free parenting eBook.

For Eight Week of Parent Coaching With Lisa Brown –  Sign Up


Sometimes parents just need to talk about their situation and I’m confident that I will point you in the right direction.    I know what it is like to not know what to do next.   I’ve had to make that first step and call for help.    It’s nothing to be ashamed of.  You would be surprise how just a few new parenting strategies can change your life and help your son or daughter bloom. 

Please visit the following blog post to receive more information about  National Center for Biblical Parenting and my eight week Parent Coaching –

Is Your Heart Troubled by Your Child’s Behavior?


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Lisa Brown

Lisa is an aspiring writer with a mother's passion for Homeschool Education and is also a Parent Coach. She has an 9 yr. old son, a 7 yr. old daughter, and has been married to her husband for 10+ yrs.Prior to marriage, she worked over 20 yrs. enriching the lives of hundreds of children and families. Lisa has a Bachelors in Social Work and Early Childhood Education.
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  • I love this post! As a teenager, people often paired me with the “difficult” children at summer camps or in children’s ministry. I often found that just respecting the children and listening to them did wonders for their overall behavior. I’m going to add the Heart Therapy book to my to-read list.

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