Rebel with a Cause: Focusing on the Problem, Not the Person

It is quite common for children to play the role of rebel while growing up.

You’ve heard of the “Terrible Two’s” and may have experienced strong opposition from a teen on any and every issue that happened to come up.

Now imagine a defiant special needs child acting out in this manner who may not fully comprehend the consequences of their attitude or actions. Given the fact that some special needs children are mentally disabled, to one degree or another, you have a compounded problem on your hands.

Strong defiance is what comes to mind when I think of my youngest son, especially when he was younger (under 18). At 19, he’s finally turning a corner and becoming more thoughtful in his thoughts and actions.

Nonetheless, it’s been a long tedious battle.

Despite what one may think, defiance isn’t always about you as a person.

Very often I witnessed my own two special needs children unwittingly challenging a situation (not a person) that only lead to frustration.

For instance, one time when he was younger Alex didn’t want to hold on to my arm in the pool and soon discovered the pool was much deeper than he thought which lead to him struggling to jump up for air.

That memory scares him to this day.

Another time Alex decided to go his own way in the mall when the rest of our family was headed in the opposite direction.

He got lost for several minutes and learned that he better stay close to us rather than wondering off. Yes, I was watching him keeping tabs on all 6 kids with only one set of eyes proved too difficult at that particular moment when they were are darting around.

Yet another episode of “now you see them now you don’t” took place when all 6 kids and I were on an outing on our local (LRT) short for Light Rapid Transit across the city.  When running to get on the train two kids were stranded since the doors shut quickly. Fortunately, they had phones in the cars to call the station headquarters.  Station personnel found and kept the other two kids safe until we could come back on the return train.

So you see, these enlightening events provided opportunity in the midst of aggravation.

Clearly, my youngest child truly has a mind and direction of his own and he is just beginning to understand what has made him the character he is.

Up to a point, as a Mom, I’ve had to “roll with it” while keeping order at the same time.

What it comes down to is loving your children despite some of their errant behavior knowing that you are helping them overcome their shortcomings.

What peculiar circumstances have your special needs loved ones found themselves in?

How did you make the best of the situation?

Share your story with me now below in the comments section.

I’d love to hear from you!

Karen Simmons
Mother, Wife, Author, Founder & CEO of


P.S. Get tips, strategies, and tools you’ll need to help understand and cope with a defiant special needs person.

To download a video presentation that will help you understand the nature of and ways to cope with defiant special needs persons, click this link:


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