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How Do You Deal With a Rebellious Child? Do's and Dont's

Medically reviewed by Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Elaine Felicitas · Updated Jul 14, 2022

How Do You Deal With a Rebellious Child? Do's and Dont's

Your child is growing up every day. He or she will eventually grow up to become his or her own person. It may not be all rosy every day, but how do you deal with a rebellious child? What are the things that you need to know to help your child as parents?

Why Do Children Become Difficult?

Everyone will go through or has gone through this phase as part of growing up. What may be different is how someone responds to what is going on and how much support he or she is getting. There are many reasons why children become difficult to deal with. Knowing these reasons will make it easier to answer the question of how do you deal with a rebellious child.


Being difficult can be a sign of your child wanting attention. Not responding to your call or answering back is a way to draw more attention to them even if it is with the wrong means. This can be obvious especially if you have children with different age ranges and if work eats up too much of your time.

Dealing With Changes

Changes in how you live or in your day-to-day experiences can also result in children showing negative emotions towards their parents and others. Introducing new things to them like having another baby or moving to another school may be difficult for them. They may also be showing signs of unknown abuse which needs to be addressed properly.

Brain Development

As the body changes, a child can become oversensitive, which can manifest as being rebellious or difficult to understand. Mood swings can occur as the brain develops and prepares the child for adulthood.

Independence and Privacy

As children grow up, they learn to be more independent. They might not fully understand what it means to be independent yet, and may end up clashing with their parents. There will be times that the child experiments with the boundaries of his or her independence, which may look like being reckless on the part of the parents.

Aside from independence, they learn the idea of privacy. Some kids get their own rooms during this time and get to do things on their own. While it is still the parents’ job to oversee what is happening to their child, this might be misunderstood by the child as overstepping into their private space.

How Do You Deal With a Rebellious Child? What To Do

How do you deal with a rebellious child? There are many things that can be done to help you and your child to cope with this kind of behavior. Here are some tips that can help:

  • Have a listening ear and a compassionate tone when talking to your child. This is to keep positive and open communication with them
  • Help them express their feelings clearly. Their grumpiness may be due to a misinterpretation of the message that they are sending to you
  • Create a clear and specific set of ground rules. This is so that he or she can start to differentiate what is bad from good
  • Be consistent with your response when teaching a lesson.
  • Give recognition to your child when he or she has done a good job so that they will know the things that he or she needs to continue
  • Set boundaries as parent and child so that they will know you are a person to look up to for support, and not at the same level as them

How Do You Deal With a Rebellious Child? What Not To Do

Being positive helps a lot especially with dealing with children. Here are some of the things that need to be avoided.

  • Talking sarcastically to children, which they may not understand
  • Using discipline as a form of punishment for misbehaving
  • Using force or violence to stop children from being difficult
  • Arguing to finishing the conversation with your child and not responding to the root of the problem
  • Making use of anger when talking to your child which he or she may copy from you the next time an argument arises
  • Nagging to emphasize your point and not listening to them when they want to let you know what they feel

Key Takeaways

So how do you deal with a rebellious child? By understanding why rebellious behavior occurs, so you know what to do next. It is a matter of communicating properly with your child and being positive about the experience. Knowing what the child feels and how to respond to them helps in bringing out the best in them.

Learn more about Adolescents’ Mental Health here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Elaine Felicitas · Updated Jul 14, 2022

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