When Oppositional Children Hate all Authority Figures

Oppositional children take two completely different forms. The typical child who is confrontational in the face of conflict or as a means to draw attention is the classic oppositional child. The atypical oppositional child will maliciously deny all attempts at authority.

General good parenting will take care of the typical oppositional child. Open communication between parent and child is the first discourse. When needs arise, the intervention of a counselor may be necessary. Sound reasoning, definite well-explained boundaries and consistent discipline will win over this oppositional child in due course.

The opposite is true of the atypical oppositional child. This child will argue for argument’s sake and will oppose all forms of authority. There are a few deeply seated reasons for this opposition.

Perceived abuse is the most prevalent reason. The child sees authority as arbitrary. Parents must investigate the situations in school, social circles and home. The authority exercised over this child may not be capricious, but the perception that it is appears real to the child. An exploration of the exercise, responsibility and necessity of authority is paramount. In its absence, oppositional behavior can become dangerous behavior.

Inadequate social adaptation is another source. Children introduced into new social circles may not have the capability to adapt to a new social order. At a time when children see their world changing, without considering the effects of said change, oppositional behavior is to be expected. Finding the wellspring of the conflict is necessary to address this oppositional behavior.

Grieving in children normally leads to oppositional behavior. When a child experiences loss, he feels that authority meant to protect him has failed in its obligation. This child will need specific counseling on grief before the oppositional behavior can be addressed. It is of note that loss is defined by children more often as social or academic standing demotion than death.

Through each of these three explanations runs a common thread. The perception of the child is unknown to the parent. Parents will always react to oppositional behavior, even if they refuse to see the emotions that are prevalent in their child.

First, begin to examine with your child the intimate details of each day. Parents must find the source of their child’s unhappiness. Most children will not be able to answer the simple question, “What’s wrong?” and will consider it an attack. If a firm disciplinary system is not in place in the home prior to the onset oppositional behavior, the child will assume that this is a finding of fault and an additional disappointment in authority.

Second, investigate the factors outside the home. Speak with school authorities. other parents and the children with whom the child associates. Parents who are proactive in the identification of the causation will lay the foundation for restoration of authority.

Lastly, engage in the appropriate counseling necessary to combat the source of the child’s oppositional behavior. It is insufficient to address the opposition without mitigating the cause.

Stricter discipline in the oppositional child will lead to complete alienation. This destructive foundation can lead to dangerous and/or criminal adult behavior. Without expelling the source of the oppositional behavior, the child will never regain trust in any authority figure.