Question: Are Children born naturally defiant?

If I had an answer to that question I’d, first, have to ask myself if I was born naturally defiant.  I don’t believe so.  As a daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother,I can say, over the years, I’ve had plenty of defiant moments. Was I born that way? Some words synonymous with defiant are ‘disobedient, insolent, insubordinate, rebellious’.  Was I naturally born with those also?   No.  I believe environmental and/or emotional events trigger defiance.

I prefer to live by my mom’s theory on almost every emotional issue that confronts our children today.  She was not a learned woman.  She emigrated to this country as a young woman with nothing more than a fourth grade education, the clothes on her back and a bible in her hand.. What she brought to her new-found country, her marriage and her 8 children was her wisdom and faith.  Naturally born.

You see, my mom believed that people go through a metamorphosis every seven years.Think about this for a minute, not as a defense against poor behavior, but rather to understand the natural changes that occur within us. She taught us to believe that God gives us the chance, every seven years, for a thorough emotional cleansing. i.e. Do overs-second chances.

e.g.  From 1-7 years. of age – major accomplishments, successes, failures, disappointments, adjustments, and feelings occur in our emotional and physical development. Same is true from 8-15 yrs. of age, 16 to 23 yrs. of age; 24-31 yrs. of age; 32-39 yrs. of age, and so on.  Interestingly, these stages seem to parallel life changes.

Within those 7 yr. stretches our kids ride the emotional roller coaster.  Personality traits and core temperaments are inherent.  Defiance is a behavior.  Behaviors are learned and emotionally need driven.  Our kids learn to be defiant against whatever is out of sync with their emotional growth pattern during these 7 year stretches.

As parents, as was with my mom, we can allow our children to be defiant, with consequences, to the point that we help our kids learn that defiance as a behavior is not an option for emotional success.

If we think of our kids as being naturally defiant-would we accept that as a reason to dismiss the behavior? Defiance is debilitating, hurtful, dangerous, sometimes requiring professional intervention.  But are our children born naturally defiant?  Not from my point of view.


P.S.  The question first appeared in my LinkedIn account. The answer is my own. Contact me @

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