I won’t go into the psychology of submission here (that’s a memo for another day) but bottoms crave the sensation of being dominated, of having someone else be responsible for their actions. In the case of rules/boundaries, there is no direct order to obeyed, no immediate feedback. Therefore if a Dominant does not reinforce the feeling of control (e.g. by checking up on a submissive’s obedience and praising good behavior) she may be tempted to provoke a more direct response by breaking the same rules that have been laid down.
This ‘bratting’ behavior is a testing of the boundaries. Rules will be bent, ignored, argued about, misinterpreted and otherwise broken. A submissive WANTS those walls, but she has to check to make sure they are around. If she doesn’t find them, she’ll keep looking and probing until the negligent Dominant is driven crazy by unacceptable actions.
Not that this EXCUSES that behavior–far from it!–but it IS understandable within the context of being a submissive. Without constant reminders of dominance, she will attempt to provoke them. And no matter how much she whines, pouts or sulks afterwards, any sub that has indulged in bratting is grateful for the resulting attention even if it means a sore bottom afterwards.
For Dominants that wish to eliminate bratting (or at least keep it to a comfortable level), the only answer is to provide more attention, more frequently and to pay stricter attention to the rules laid down. Note, I did not say harsher punishments. Stronger discipline will quell the symptoms for awhile, but doesn’t strike at the root cause of the behavior.
Once it is understood that all bratting (consciously or not) is attention-craving behavior, it becomes much easier to comprehend and control. With a firm hand and more frequent control, both the Dominant and submissive will happier and more content.