Continuing Education Provider Professional Development Resources Publishes New Online Course on Working with Defiant Children

Share Article

Professional Development Resources, a nationally recognized provider of accredited continuing education units for psychologists, social workers, counselors, marriage and family therapists, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and registered dietitians, has released a new online course on working with young clients who are defiant.

When Your Young Child is Defiant

Children frequently speak ‘in code,’ especially those who have underdeveloped verbal skills, such as children with language delays.

Past News Releases


Professional Development Resources has announced a new addition to its online continuing education (CE) curriculum for health and mental health professionals: When Your Young Client is Defiant. The course is designed to provide clinicians with effective and practical strategies to manage challenging and defiant behavior in their young clients.

Children who are defiant and challenging exhibit a number of behaviors that are very difficult for professionals and parents to manage. They frequently lose their tempers, have tantrums, argue and blame others, refuse to obey adults’ rules, are angry and resentful, get their feelings hurt easily, and are sometimes physically aggressive. When professionals see these children in their offices, it is nearly impossible to gain their cooperation without using some special behavior management techniques.

When Your Young Client is Defiant demonstrates specific techniques that professionals and parents can use to identify specific behaviors, understand the causes of defiance, identify triggers for explosive behavior, defuse power struggles, use problem-solving strategies, and free children from their defiant roles.

According to the author of the course, Adina Soclof, MS, CCC-SLP, a certified Speech-Language Pathologist, “children frequently speak ‘in code,’ especially those who have underdeveloped verbal skills, such as children with language delays.” Soclof gives the example a child who says “you’re so stupid,” or “you can’t make me do that!” The adult’s task is to (1) get over the anger that results when a child speaks disrespectfully and (2) de-code what the child is really saying. In this case, the child may be saying “I am so mad at you,” or “I don’t feel in control here.”

Of all the skills taught in this course, the most powerful may be the use of praise to encourage and motivate positive conduct. Defiant children rarely hear anything positive from adults. For them, life is full of demands, complaints and criticisms. They soon develop a damaged sense of self-esteem. Adults who can master the art of delivering an honest bit of praise will find a more cooperative child.

One of the most difficult situations presented by these children is the temper tantrum that can quickly spiral out of control. The following are some examples of helpful responses that can be used to defuse a conflict before it gets out of hand:

Don’t Engage:

  •     Can we take a break and start over?
  •     I get upset when you speak to me in that way, let’s take a break.
  •     I don’t want to argue with you.
  •     Let’s calm down and talk again a bit later.

Show Empathy:

  •     You sound mad.
  •     You sound frustrated.
  •     Please help me understand why you are so upset.
  •     You really don’t want to go to help the neighbors, but I told them you would.

Invite To Come Up With A Solution:

  •     Can we come up with a solution?
  •     I want to work together with you to find a solution.

Children who believe they are “bad kids” will act the part. Clinicians cannot emphasize enough to parents and teachers the importance of separating the behavior from the child. A combination of empathy, flexibility, patience and understanding of defiant behavior is crucial in gradually bringing about the desired change and channeling the negative behavior into a positive light.

Ms. Soclof is also the author of another continuing education course at Professional Development Resources: Improving Communication with Your Young Clients.

About Professional Development Resources, Inc.

Professional Development Resources is a Florida nonprofit educational corporation founded in 1992 by licensed marriage and family therapist Leo Christie, PhD. The company, which is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – as well as many other national and state boards – has focused its efforts on making accredited continuing education units more cost-effective and widely accessible to health professionals by offering online home study coursework. Its current expanded curriculum includes a wide variety of clinical topics intended to equip health professionals to offer state-of-the art services to their clients.

Leo Christie, PhD, CEO
Professional Development Resources, Inc.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Leo Christie, PhD
Visit website