Negativism refers to the tendency to resist direction from other people, and a refusal to comply with requests. Sometimes, a negativistic person will deliberately do the opposite of what is being asked, such as when a parent calls a child to come, and the child responds by running away.
Negativism is a normal part of a child's development. It usually appears at around the age of two and lasts a couple of years, and indicates a child's budding independence. Adolescents are also known to be negativistic, as they begin to assert their identity as individuals. Negativism that persists beyond these developmental stages may be an indicator of a personality disorder.