He may rebel as a form of self-expression -- or maybe he is just feeling silly.

Why Do Children Rebel?

by Melissa Willets

Little ones love pushing boundaries, mainly to see how far they can go until you reel them back in. Kids who rebel are doing so because they are feeling overwhelmed, curious or angry. While dealing with your little rogue is certainly challenging, take comfort in the knowledge that you aren't alone. Plenty of kids act out in rebellion during the toddler and preschool years. Just think of it as preparation for when your tyke is a teenager.

Seeking Independence

Toddlers are exploring their independence, which is one reason you may witness rebellious behavior. Your once sweet-as-pie princess may suddenly scream "no!" at the top of her lungs and writhe around like a fish on a dock when you attempt to get her dressed. You see, getting dressed isn't what your little darling wanted to do right now. How dare you take her away from her building block masterpiece? Don't worry; this rebellious behavior is a normal part of a toddler's development.

Getting Attention

Some little ones act out to get attention. In this case, it is important not to reward this type of behavior. For instance, if your tot throws herself on the floor, screaming and refusing to put her shoes on, calmly get down her level. "Mommy will listen to you when you stop yelling." You may need to repeat this mantra a few times. Once your cutie has calmed down, ask her why she is upset. Perhaps she wants you to play dolls with her. Tell her you will be happy to do so if she puts her shoes on first.

Expressing Frustration

A child may seemingly rebel against you when he is frustrated. In toddlers, this frustration often takes the form of temper tantrums. Perhaps your little pumpkin doesn't want to brush his teeth. Since he doesn't have the self-control or know-how to simply tell you so, he might throw the toothbrush onto the floor and cry and wail. A preschool-aged child may have outgrown temper tantrums, but that doesn't mean he doesn't get frustrated. He'll argue with you, logically presenting his reasons for not wanting to listen to you. If this happens all the time, you may feel frustrated yourself. But as the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests, you needn't explain your rules to your tyke in great detail; it's enough for him to know that he must listen to you.

A Response to Change

Kids rebel in response to change, according to the AAP. Some examples of major change for your little one are a move, the addition of a sibling or a family illness. Your mini rebel may feel overwhelmed and act out in response. Try talking to him about how he feels to give him a better way to express his emotions. Also, when your child is facing developmental milestones like transitioning from a crib to a big-kid bed, she may exhibit rebellious behavior. After all, her world is changing, which is a pretty heavy concept for someone who still drinks from a sippy cup.

About the Author

Melissa Willets has been writing about parenting, pregnancy and "all things mom" since 2009. She has contributed to many websites, including Pampers.com and WhatToExpect.com.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images