E-Book: 60 Ways to Reach a Difficult and Defiant Child


Ebook: 60Ways to Reach a Difficult and Defiant Child

108 pages, illustrations and index



Learn 60 Ways to Reach a Difficult

and Defiant Child

 A message from Dr. James Sutton, child and adolescent psychologist and author (an introduction to 60 Ways to Reach a Difficult and Defiant Child: a Guide for Counselors): Difficult and defiant youngsters can be tough on counselors and therapists. These youngsters have a knack for getting us upset enough to do EXACTLY what justifies their thoughts and actions. We quickly can come out losers in a battle of wills they know how to win.Experience being a great teacher, let me tell you about Joanie. At the ripe old age of 14, Joanie had her defiance strategy down pat. I presented her with a pencil and paper task, my “safest” opener for a psychological assessment. With a flourish, she wrote “I HATE SHRINKS! on the paper and passed it back to me with a sneer.Now there’s a pretty clear message, right? She was ready for me to become angry and upset with her and to intimidate and cajole her into cooperation. She had set a trap and was itching for me to step into it. EVERYTHING inside me wanted to accommodate, to plant my big foot squarely in the middle of it.

For reasons that are difficult for me to explain even today, I DIDN’T take the bait. I sensed (correctly, as it worked out) her behavior was more about hurt than hate.

“That’s okay, Joanie,” I said as I put my assessment materials back into my case. “As important as this assessment is, I’m not going to force it upon you or anyone else.” (Don’t get me wrong; my blood pressure was getting a workout.)

I pointed to the three words she had scribbled on the paper as I leaned forward in my chair. “Did you have a bad experience with a counselor or a psychologist?” I whispered.

She nodded.

“That must have upset you a LOT!”

Another nod. For the next 20 minutes, I gleaned a ton of information from Joanie, all communicated by her with nods and shakes. Eventually she spoke. When our session was over, she asked me a question that put a rainbow over the whole afternoon:

When are you coming back?

With Joanie, I was more lucky (and perhaps a bit intuitive) than smart. But I was smart enough to add a new intervention to my collection:

When working with difficult and defiant youngsters, do what they DON’T expect. The child will not be prepared for it, making their responses more genuine and less “prepared.”

Joanie’s gesture, her three-word bear trap, was bold and provocative. Other difficult and defiant youngsters can be exactly the opposite … warm, interactive, cordial and VERY verbal. (In fact, these kids can be so smooth and slick in the counselor’s or psychologist’s office it’s difficult to see ANY problems or concerns.) But, when they leave your office, NOTHING changes. Unfulfilled promises and responsibilities are blamed on faulty memory and a dozen other things, and they have wonderful, believable and plausible excuses for every issue. With these youngsters, you don’t worry about them talking to you; that’s ALL they do … TALK.

So what do you do with the Joanies and the others, especially when conventional approaches absolutely do not work? Good question, huh?

It’s been 35 years or so since I began collecting answers to that question. (In fact, the topic of successful strategies for teaching and counseling difficult and defiant youngsters was a big part of my doctoral dissertation.) I DON’T have all the answers to the question, but I DO have 60 of them: 60 Ways to Reach a Difficult and Defiant Child: a Guide for Counselors. (“Child” in this context refers to both young ones and adolescents.) This guide, compiled from in-the-trenches experiences of myself and others, is a best practices goldmine of ideas and strategies for working with tough-to-reach youngsters.

Here is a sampler of what is addressed by some of the interventions and strategies you’ll find in 60 Ways to Reach a Difficult and Defiant Child:

How to MINIMIZE a child’s apprehension, especially during the first visit

How to DEEPEN rapport and establish a working trust with the youngster

How to HANDLE denial and minimization

How to DEFLECT at least some of the defensive behaviors

How to ADDRESS delicate issues squarely without losing the child

How to ASSIST the child with the concepts of acceptance and forgiveness

How to TEACH a child a better way to manage anger when provoked

How to MANAGE a youngster who is “splitting” (using you against other adults; Joanie would have been good at this)

How to HELP youngsters interpret and evaluate their own progress

How to DISCERN insincerity, avoidance, manipulation and outright dishonesty

60 Ways to Reach a Difficult and Defiant Child has a bonus, a handy topical index that can immediately direct you to a needed intervention.

Will this guide solve ALL your problems with tough youngsters. Hardly. (For that you’d need a MIRACLE, not a book). It will, however, provide you with enough tools to make your work easier, significantly more effective, and a LOT more enjoyable.

Here’s the best part: You can have 60 Ways to Reach a Difficult and Defiant Child, all 108 pages of it, IMMEDIATELY  through the magic and convenience of electronic file download. The guide is being offered at a cost of $7.99, which can be paid through any major credit card.

I will personally assure your satisfaction with this guide. If you don’t receive enough value from 60 Ways to Reach a Difficult and Defiant Child to make it worth $7.99 to you, your investment will be refunded.


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P.S. I’m excited about the potential for the material in this guide to help a lot of young people. I would enjoy hearing from you as you implement the intervention strategies (suttonjd@docspeak.com). I’d also be interested in what you’re doing with difficult and defiant young people that’s working well for you.

I do wish you the best.