Why Do You get Pushback Behavior from Your Child?

Why Do You get Pushback Behavior from Your Child

What causes your child give pushback when you ask something of them? Children of all ages with different brain wiring (ADHD, NVLD, social-emotional difficulties, often struggle with problem solving and changes. Does your child ‘dig in his heels’ to resist new changes? Poor executive functioning skills cause difficulties understanding and comprehending new incoming information.

For these kids, unexpected changes often cause resistance and can lead to  meltdowns. Looking at something from a different point of view, coming up with new  solutions to cope with novel situations, and taking feedback from others are part of problem-solving. Getting stuck on one way of doing something can look like stubbornness and defiance when it’s really about the inability to cope with the unexpected ‘curve balls’ of daily life. Calvin, one of my students only wanted to eat Lucky Charms for breakfast, but when his mom (one of my parents coaching clients) attempted to switch to a healthier brand it was if his entire world fell apart.

Despite the intensity of ‘pushback’ it’s important to remain empatheticHe kept saying over and over again, ‘I want Lucky Charms!’ It’s important to note here Calvin doesn’t  have any sensory issues related to food. For the average person this seems quite unreasonable and willful. When encountering ‘pushback’ from your child, as hard as it is, it’s really important to stay in control of your emotions.

Despite the intensity of ‘pushback’ it’s important to remain empathetic and reinforce that you know  how difficult this can be for your child. Ideally changes need to be prepared for in advance  before the change actually happens. For instance, when Calvin’s mom introduced the new cereal by having him try a small portion, dry from the box this helped him to eventually make the change.

Building on strengths is another helpful tactic. Calvin and his mom used a special  timer that he used to help him prepare for transitions. When his mom set the timer (giving him a visual cue) to let him know in 15 minutes, he would be trying the new cereal, he was better able to self-regulate his emotions.

Cognitive Inflexibility, Rigid Thinking and Executive Function

Pushback is Not Always a Behavior Problem however, these strategies are good, but they are not enough to actually make  changes in the cognitive processing skills system. Efficient cognitive processing skills (foundational skills of executive functioning) enable one to not only manage and adjust to changes, but are necessary for fast and frustration free learning. See what parents are saying of how their children have been helped here.

I’ve Struggled with ADHD too!

I know firsthand what’s it’s like to struggle with ADHD. All of the programs I use have  helped me to not only exceed my goals, but to create new ones! Take my Brain Quiz and receive a complimentary 30 -minute session to go over the results to see if  you or your child could benefit from my assistance towards developing these skills. There is hope and help!


Linda Karanzalis, MS

Linda Karanzalis, MS, is a former special education classroom teacher with over 25 years of experience in the areas of learning disabilities, ADHD, social-emotional learning, social skills training, and behavior management

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