PWS Awareness Month Week 2 Mini Blog – Oppositional Behavior

Individuals with Prader-Willi syndrome often demonstrate oppositional behavior, another challenge for parents and caregivers.
Tips for managing oppositional behavior include:

  • Avoid yes and no questions. Instead, offer limited choices. Rather than asking, “Do you want to wear your red coat,” try offering two choices: “Do you want to wear your red or blue coat?” It is important to allow your loved one time to process before answering.
  • Individuals with PWS have a delay in processing information and will need between 3-5 seconds to understand what you say. Similarly, too many instructions given at once or that are too generalized can cause an individual with PWS to miss the middle part of what is said. Therefore, it is important to allow time for processing and to keep directions simple. You might need to break tasks down into smaller steps. Instead of saying “Get ready for bed,” give specific directions, such as “It’s time to brush your teeth.” Wait 3-5 seconds before repeating the request. If after the second request your loved one doesn’t comply, complete the task with them. Once that task is complete, he or she can be asked to complete the next task.


Speaking calmly, in concrete statements, breaking tasks down, and allowing individuals with PWS extra processing time can help decrease anxiety and frustration which in turn can help decrease oppositional behavior.

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