Do you often feel overwhelmed as the parent of an ODD child? Kimberly Abraham and Marney Studaker-Cordner have worked with parents of kids with Oppositional Defiant Disorder for 20 years—and Kim is the parent of an adult child with ODD. Read on to find out the 5 things you need to know to be a more effective parent.
Raising an ODD child is like belonging to a special kind of club: it’s the “Special Forces Unit” of parenting. When you have an ODD kid, you encounter situations parents of “typical kids” would never dream of. What’s worse, you didn’t volunteer for this duty—it’s much more akin to being drafted. And while you’re trying your best to parent a very difficult child, you’re often misunderstood by professionals and other parents who are raising typical kids.
It helps to remember what’s driving your child’s behavior: the need to be in control.
The bottom line is that a child with ODD is not your typical kid. The primary difference? Typical kids will allow others to exert some degree of control over them. They may argue, but they’ll eventually give in. They may break rules, but they allow themselves to be grounded. Ultimately, they will give over to parental (or adult) authority. What’s the biggest fear an ODD kid has? Loss of control to a parent, or any adult authority figure. In an argument, your ODD child will dig his heels in rather than yield. As soon as he feels threatened, it’s on! Grounded? Please! Parents often feel more miserable during grounding than their ODD child. In the words of 15-year-old Jack, “I know how to get ungrounded. I’ll just turn my stereo up so loud all my mom’s knick knacks fall off the shelves. She’ll beg me to get out of the house!”
Here are some tips if you’re living with a “Jack” in your home:
Nobody Wins the Blame Game. When your home is in turmoil because of constant arguing with your child, it can be easy to fall into the trap of blame. Kim is the parent of an ODD child, and as she was raising him, she often found herself saying things like, “My son is ruining my life. I spend all my time dealing with him. I don’t even have any time for myself anymore.” And she didn’t just blame him for how she was feeling and the constant chaos in their home, she often blamed herself. “I’d beat myself up by saying, ‘If I was a better parent, he wouldn’t be this way,’” she explains. “After I realized what I was doing, whenever I found myself caught up in the Blame Game, I tried to take a step back and identify what I was feeling. Usually it was hurt or disappointment in my son or myself: I was taking my child’s behavior or choices personally. I had to realize that my son was not responsible for my emotional well-being—I was.”
Blaming yourself or your child won’t help the situation and can leave you feeling angry and resentful toward him. To make matters worse, you’ll come away feeling guilty on top of it. It’s good to hold your child accountable for his actions, but when it turns to blame, it will only worsen feelings of resentment. Besides, kids are quick to blame others for their own behavior. Instead, you want to be a role model for them by taking responsibility for your own feelings and actions.
Keeping A Tab Just Leaves You with a Huge Bill. With Kim’s son, she says that it was never that he’d done “just one thing—it was that he’d done twenty things over the course of a day (or sometimes an hour).” So it wasn’t just that he’d refused to take care of his dishes, it was that an hour before that he’d kicked a hole in the wall, and an hour before that, he’d gotten in a fight with his brother. She kept a running tab in her mind of everything he’d done wrong. It left her feeling overwhelmed and hopeless. By the time he refused to take care of the dishes, she’d had enough. She could give you a tab of offenses he’d committed back to the time he was six and threw mashed potatoes on the wall just because he was bored! But there’s another side to that coin: her son would also give her a running tab of the mistakes she’d made as a parent, back to the time he believed she sold his toys at a garage sale. It was a recipe for arguments and power struggles.
Just as parents want the chance to learn from our mistakes and start each day fresh, our children deserve the same. Though sometimes it’s difficult to separate these actions out, try to make your responses fit the specific behavior, instead of the running list you have going in your head. In other words, don’t let your child’s bad behavior compound until there’s no punishment or consequence big enough for them.
Tug of War Will Give You Rope Burn. It helps to remember what’s driving your child’s behavior: the need to be in control. When faced with loss of control, ODD kids will often go to extremes to fight against authority. Suddenly, you’re no longer focused on the behavior or issue at hand; you’re in a power struggle. Rather than your child learning from consequences, things quickly get way off topic. You might start out trying to address your son’s grades in school, and end up arguing about whether or not you threw away his Matchbox cars when he was four years old. But engaging in power struggles will leave you exhausted, frustrated and often confused as to what the heck just happened! Our advice is this: When you find yourself in a tug-of-war over control, try letting go of the rope. And ask yourself, “What is my intention in this discussion?” If you’re simply arguing with no clear direction or purpose, it’s probably not a discussion that needs to occur. The best thing to do is walk away. Remember, it takes two to tug on that rope. If you keep pulling on your end, you’re likely to end up in the mud.
Sometimes an Answer Isn’t Required. Sometimes kids just need to vent. Ever find yourself needing to get something off your chest, but you’re not really looking for an answer? As parents, we tend to jump in and try to solve what we view as our kids’ problems. Sometimes when they’re complaining or upset it doesn’t really require a response from us beyond, “I hear what you’re saying.” Kim used to go into “fix-it” mode with her son, offering solutions to problems despite the fact that he hadn’t even asked for guidance. Not surprisingly, he would shoot down every one of her suggestions and then get angry at her. Why? Because he didn’t really want her to solve anything.
If your child is looking for an answer or response, they’ll ask you. Otherwise, try just listening without jumping in to help. Allow your child to have his feelings, and know he’s been heard.
Change Your Thoughts. The way you think about things determines how you feel and act toward your child. If your thoughts are negative, it will affect the way you interact and respond to his behavior—and to him as a person. See if you can catch hold of things that are popping into your mind and replace them with more positive thoughts. For example, when “Jack” digs his heels in on something, instead of thinking, “He’s so stubborn; everything’s an argument,” try to change that thought to, “He’s certainly determined.” Changing your thoughts can help you change how you’re feeling toward your child.
When someone pushes against you, the natural instinct is to push back. When Kim’s son pushed against her in defiance, she said she “often found herself pushing back in reaction, without even thinking about it.” Your child may have the type of personality that will continue to push against others and fight against being controlled in any way. Make no mistake, raising an ODD child is an emotional and challenging experience. It’s a process of trying to be creative, because you have to constantly look for “things that work” with a child whose very essence is to fight against being controlled.
The truth is, your child’s personality isn’t likely to change, but if you use these tips we offer, you’ll find yourself engaging in that conflict less frequently and less intensely. As Kim says, “I found that it was hard for my child to argue without a partner in the process. By changing how I responded to him, over time our relationship changed.” If you’re able to alter the way you respond to your child, the result will be less conflict and more peace in your home. And by modeling the techniques we’ve given you, you’ll be teaching your child conflict-resolution skills, de-escalating techniques, healthy relationship skills and coping skills. The best part? You’ll be able to end the day feeling good about yourself and knowing that you gave it your best.
Parenting ODD Children and Teens: How to Make Consequences Work
Oppositional Defiant Disorder: The War at Home
Kimberly Abraham and Marney Studaker-Cordner are the co-creators of The ODD Lifeline® for parents of Oppositional, Defiant kids, and Life Over the Influence™, a program that helps families struggling with substance abuse issues (both programs are included in The Total Transformation® Online Package). Kimberly Abraham, LMSW, has worked with children and families for more than 25 years. She specializes in working with teens with behavioral disorders, and has also raised a child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Marney Studaker-Cordner, LMSW, is the mother of four and has been a therapist for 15 years. She works with children and families and has in-depth training in the area of substance abuse. Kim and Marney are also the co-creators of their first children's book, Daisy: The True Story of an Amazing 3-Legged Chinchilla, which teaches the value of embracing differences and was the winner of the 2014 National Indie Excellence Children's Storybook Cover Design Award.
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Thank you for sharing your story. You bring up a situation shared by many parents. We have an article you find helpful: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/angel-child-or-devil-child-when-kids-save-their-bad-behavior-for-you/.
We appreciate you being part of our Empowering Parents community. Be sure to check back and let us know how things are going. Take care.
I am almost in tears today :(
I feel defeated , I feel at loss and I feel like giving up on my 11 year old.
He has issues with authority , he argues , he wants to show off and wants constant attention from his classmates and gets it by doing something negative. This is the third call in 2 weeks from schools, he interrupts, he bends the rules, he hates authority. Grades and study is A +, but behavior is zero.
I though of some BOOT camp type or some residential facility or some military school but feels so bad when I think like those things for my otherwise kind hearted kid.
I dont know what should I do now?
Reading all of these posts makes me feel as though I'm not alone. Thank you everyone for posting.
My 9yo, much like the stories I'm reading here, is ODD. I find myself yet again at 4am Googling " How do I keep my sanity with an ODD child". I've done this more times than I can count...it's the only way I know to bring my emotions back in check.
My son, since maybe 6mths old, has been...a nightmare. Therapy, positive/negative reinforcement, oils, prayer, time out, spanking, and eventually medication - nothing is the "cure". I'm terrified to date and many days even to go anywhere. He ruins most outings regardless of their nature (mall, party, ice cream, grocery shopping). My life is built around his behavior.
I imagine what it would be like had I only had his brother and then I feel guilty for those thoughts. It all just feels hopeless.
Someone please tell me he'll grow out of this... His specialists and psychiatrist say he very likely will but I'm not sure I believe it and honestly, by then, I'll be a shell of a person - defeated, depressed and alone. Please someone say it gets better.
Hi, im new to empowering parents as i struggle with my 6yo son's defiant behaviour. It started off as a aggressive behaviour once when we went on holidays and through the airport refused to hold my hand and when i tried to tell him started punching into me. I felt embarassed, ashamed, hurt and helpless.
His behaviour continued to escalate regurlarly with tantrums in front of people, anger outbursts and constant arguing back with me. I blamed myself and started resenting him, id lay and cry myself to sleep at night feeling isolated and helpless. I have tried taking hik to drs a few times to get a referral of possible adhd as his quite hyperactive and does 8 somersaults from the couch to the floor 600 times a night and cant sit still long enough to watch a movie. Theres been so many occasions where i'd leave the movies, football games, his sporting just because of the shame and embarassment id endue arguing with him. I never heard anything back fr the referral. So for another year me being at my wits end and blaming myself as a single parent that i just wasnt foing a good job. It has taken its toll over the last few months to the point where i loathe being a parent most days, i dont enjoy doing fun things as too much effort goes into trying to discipline him. I love him dearly but the defiance and arguing has even started occuring with friends of mine that try to step in at times because they see what it does to me amd he screams in thier face and gets angry and aggressive with me. I feel so isolated and feel i never have time for me. To try to have a relationship with guy is near impossible because im embarassed and lost all confidence to date as i feel on edge about the way my son would behave on front of them. Ive gone and gotten another referral to see a behavior specialist just waotong on getting an appointment as im at wits end. I just want to knkw how to cope better for him and me.
Just want to be a happy mama again.
Thanks for reading as ive been doing a lot of research on ODD and it helps to feel im not alone.
So I have a 17 year old daughter I raised her on my own other then her seeing her father twice a month. When she was 10 years old Dr said she was odd and add. I have a long story but, I'll try to break it down.
About 2 months ago. The most recent thing that has happened my daughter lied about being at work and going somewhere else. So I took her phone, keys and license away. So the fighting began. Very disrespectful. Everyday she would yell at me or my mom . So after a week she still wanted to lie more and more and just kept on. Fighting with me by kicking me so I smacked her butt. All I was then was a worthless mother to her. So I sent her to go live with her father.
When she left she said she wanted nothing to do with me at all. I gave her a hug and still told her I loved her and I would wait to hear from her. I have heard from her a few times. And today she calls cause she wants some of her things and turned into more fighting and that everything was my fault and calling me crazy. I am so lost I just feel I lost my little girl forever .
I have a 15 yo daughter who I don't particularly like at the moment. The current batttle is she has ended a friendship of 11 years with 2 best mates which has isolated her in the town where we live so she has taken to not coming home so she can be in the town 45 minutes away where the new friends and her social life is. She also changed whwere she works to this town and plans to just spend every weekend there. When I advised if she chose to work there then the bus was part of the deal I was basically told I can't stop her which is true.
So while this article is accurate what does it actually look like to do the things suggested?
How do I change how i think about my 15 year old putting herself at risk being on the verge of being kicked out of school or not feeling I can trust her in my home alone? How should I respond when she sends me 81 msgs in 2 hkurs to get her own way or screams at me for 30 minutes or puts a teacher on the edge of breaking. I try to ignore not respond or walk away and it fuels her.
How do I take responsibility for my own emotional well being in what is an abusive relationship that I can't walk away from? I see a psychologist but that doesn't help when I am scared of what mood my daughter is in or when the school phones (the school that I also work in) calls every day on the slope to a major explosion.
I have this beautiful intelligent articulate young lady who I love and I am watching a train wreck. Paullette
(I'm not very familiar or experienced at blogging, so please bear with my learning curve)
I'm a single parent of 10 year old boy, adopted (virtually since newborn), born healthy (not drug exposed), tests gifted (not usually a gift for the parent, I've learned), has ADHD, ODD, with infrequent episodes of CD. He's on multiple meds per psychiatrist, including mood stabilizer and antidepressant. Last night was 4th time I've called the police in ~14 months (as advised) when his melt-downs go too far and I don't know how or when they will stop. Last night was in our car in store parking lot. I didn't want to drive home only so that he could continue in the privacy of our home and damage something in our home, etc.
My question: What, when, and/or how do I talk to him about his having ODD? Or do I not talk about it with him at this age?
He's tried to take advantage of having ADHD at school, by once announcing it in class, using it as excuse, etc. But, he commented once to his therapist that he feels like he has more anger than a kid should have. I want to increase his understanding, hoping that will help his self-esteem and then behavior. He can be such a great, polite, fun, generous kid, sometimes. I can imagine he is scared by his own behavior sometimes and knowing more might help. Or it might be too much information, scare him more, and/or he use it as an excuse to not take responsibility for his actions, which he does already.
Thoughts from professionals? Similar questions/concerns from other parents?
Grasping at straws here for what will help.
Using the label can be good with some - for example, someone with an analytical mind who finds value in categorization - but more detrimental to others - for example, someone who feels above average and would be offended to be lumped into a group.
Just like with NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder), it's recommended to address the behaviors with the person, regardless of the label.
For me, the analytical mind, it is tempting to bring up the label and how the behaviors fit so well, but it makes more sense not to bring it up unless it will specifically help with that person's behaviors.
My background and current situation:
I am probably Borderline Personality Disordered (I have 8 of 9 traits); I was in a 3-yr relationship with someone I believe to be Narcissistic Personality Disordered (also 8 of 9 traits); my son's behaviors have fit well into ODD, since a very young age (he's now 15).
I've done reading and research informally, have been in therapy for 30 yrs on and off.
Good Luck. Thank you for writing. I've never been able to find a group, so this is the closest to it.
Our 9 year old daughter has ODD. We have some periods of almost normal family life and long periods of hell and misery dealing with the volatility of her moods, the violent outbursts, the cruel insults, the damage to our home environment and the continual fights with her sibling.
In utter desperation, we have recently approached a child psychologist and are paying privately for counselling sessions with her. She will meet my daughter for the first time later today. We have had the best week I can remember in a long time, no violent behaviour just a few 'simmers' which we've managed to diffuse. What have we done differently? We have absolutely stuck to our guns with consequences for bad behaviour - she spent five hours in her bedroom a week ago and we took away some things which she really loves. She can control this behaviour at school and I've used this to really bring home to her that she has choices in life and it is her decision to take the 'wrong' route. I also bought and am reading 10 days to a less defiant child and have found some of the advice helpful.
I've had a good week and am feeling there is hope but am all too aware that should this slip back into the hell we have been living, that my hope and optimism will be eroded immediately. I feel quite strongly that there needs to be forums like this to offer support to other parents living their lives in continual angst and fear of how the mood will turn. We are all doing our best in times of desperation for our children and we should not beat ourselves up or feel blame for the way things are with our children. Please know you are not alone. Good luck everyone.
Mom to Blaise
I’m so sorry
to hear about the struggles you are experiencing with your son, and I’m glad
that you have found our site as well.The threats your son is making about killing himself are quite
concerning, and I encourage you to take them seriously.I recommend working with your son’s case
manager, and other members of his treatment team, to develop a plan you can
implement when he is making these statements.I also hear how scared you are for your daughter’s safety as well as
your own, especially when your husband is not home.Thus, I encourage you to also make a plan for
you and your daughter to stay safe from harm when your son is attempting to
attack you.You might find some useful
information in our article, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/signs-of-parental-abuse-what-to-do-when-your-child-or-teen-hits-you/.I can only imagine how difficult your current
situation must be for you, and I wish you and your family all the best moving
Thank you for your question.If you have concerns about your child’s diet, and whether s/he is
getting enough nutrition, it can be useful to check in with your child’s
doctor.S/he would be able to assess
your child’s nutritional requirements, as well as provide any necessary resources
or referrals for follow-up. Take care.
RebeccaW_ParentalSupport concerned adult
The doctor is the one who told us he was under weight, I was trying to get responses how other parents handled these eating issues. Do you offer your child food at meal time and if they refuse to eat you put it up and when they come to you later you give them the same plate or do you just let them pick and choose what they want to eat and not fight the battle???
I am also in this same situation. My son, now aged five has been the same since he reached 1/2 and just got worse and worse over time. He too is only like this out of school. I have been told that diagnosis of ODD OR ADHD is only when the behaviour occurs in more than one setting. I am struggling so much and every single day is a battle.
The disobedience, the shouts, the screams, the verbal abuse, physical abuse, the tantrums, harming property and myself and his sister then the meltdowns of the sorrys that last a minute then he creates again. Never ending.
At school he is above average in everything and is exceeding. He obviously recieves lots of praise for this and exaggerated praise too because of the age. This is why I believe it doesn't happen at school.
I recieved help which didn't help from a support worker...it wasn't for long and hasnt changed anything at all.
It is draining, I also feel that he needs to be elsewhere because we have no relationship, he makes me me feel like he would rather be elsewhere so that he can be happy.
I have a daughter also, aged 9 and she has never been anything like this and as a family it is chaos built around the behaviour from my son!
I don't know what to do for help now??
@Heart breaking & Warrior
I am right here with you. Except - my son's behavior went through some flip - flopping. When he was 6, school called almost every day telling me he was overturning desks and chairs - please come get your terror and at home, he wasn't perfect, but nothing like that.
I finally consented to special services in school, and this helped greatly. He was able to get back to mainstream without these issues when he hit fifth grade.
But, at home now, everything turned on me.
Now he's 15. He doesn't care about much: grades, social activities, chores. I imagine depression plays a part as well.
So, I would say to you - I very much understand what a nightmare a "TDT" can be, at least there is hope for each of yours - maybe they will find a niche through career.
@Everyday warrior We have an 8 year old daughter with ODD and a 14 year old "normal" son. Since literally before birth our daughter has been the focus of 90% of our attention and I feel like our son has lost his childhood to his sister. She is abusive (every way but physically), AND she has been in therapy / receiving outside help since the age of 3. She's gone to therapy every week for five and a half years. We've had in-home help. She's in special education at school under "emotional disorder" (not for any cognitive reasons - just because she's unpredictable and abusive to the other kids).
I am the only person who can keep her under control, and it's a subtle thing - if I am gone, if she is out of the house for more than a day or two (split custody with her biological father), her behavior rapidly deteriorates. When she is with him, the rest of us practically sigh with relief because we can have a day or two without conflict - a day or two where we can actually do fun things, or be productive. I, too, have wondered about what it would be like to give up custody to her father... maybe it would be a better life for me and my husband and my son... but it wouldn't be a better choice for the rest of the planet.
I've put one foot in front of the other for years and years with her, and we've known since she was an infant that something was ... not quite right with her ... But now I'm starting to be afraid for what comes up ahead. What will high school look like for her? Is my commitment to her one that will be this intense for the rest of my life? What is going to happen to her when she's not living with mommy any more?? I can handle the day-to-day... but what about a few years from now? Her future is my fear...
Everyday warrior, secret squirrel, and all the others... I think we all know we're not alone, but being a parent of and ODD kid is still isolating. It's not like there's a "ODD Kids Tuesday Afternoon Playgroup" - at least not in my neighborhood. It's good to share stories and strategies...
I feel you on that
I go through all kinds of guilt because there are many moments when l think how much I hate this child and I want to just send him away. (But where, anyway? Lol)
I've gotten to the point where I can say to myself - I do not hate him. I hate the way I feel right now, which is a failure, depressed, angry, insignificant, weak.
And then I recognize that it's not my son's fault I feel that way.
So I try to go back to him with compassion.
But it is
I feel for you guys.
My son is now just about fifteen and it's been a rocky road that is currently one of the rockier moments.
But I have been on and off of boards like this one for most of his life, and sad to say...
There are no answers. That's why we don't find them.
I can see that you
are experiencing a lot of challenging behaviors from your son right now, and
I’m glad that you are here, asking questions and reaching out for
support. I’d like to clarify one point, which is that Kim and Marney are
not advising that parents back away from all conflict or allow a child to get
away with all inappropriate behavior. Rather, they point out that
parenting a child with ODD, or ODD-like tendencies, tends to lead to numerous
power struggles. Thus, parents in this type of situation tend to be more
effective when they are aware of this potential for frequent conflict, and are
carefully choosing their battles with their child. If your son is
becoming violent with you and his brother, I encourage you to set very clear
limits around this type of behavior. You might find some helpful
information about how to do this in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/stop-aggressive-behavior-in-kids-and-tweens-is-your-child-screaming-pushing-and-hitting/ and https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/when-kids-get-violent-theres-no-excuse-for-abuse/. Please be sure to
check back and let us know how things are going for you and your family.
We appreciate you writing in to Empowering Parents and
sharing your story. I hear how concerned you are about your niece and her
behavior, and I’m glad that you are reaching out for support. Because we are a
website aimed at helping people become more effective parents, we are limited
in the advice and suggestions we can give to those outside of a direct
parenting role. It may be helpful to look into local resources to help you
develop a plan for how you might be able to help in this situation. The 211
National Helpline is a referral service available 24 hours a day, nationwide.
They can give you information on the types of support services available in
your area such as counselors, support groups as well as various other
resources. You can reach the Helpline by calling 1-800-273-6222 or by logging
onto http://www.211.org/. We wish you the best going
forward. Take care.
It can be so
overwhelming when you have a child who appears to be so out of control at such
a young age, and I’m glad that you are reaching out for support. You know
your child best, and I encourage you to continue working with local supports,
such as his doctor, to see if there are any underlying issues which might be
contributing to your son’s behavior. In the meantime, you can also work
with him to help him develop more appropriate strategies for managing his
actions. We have a few articles which you might find useful in creating
this plan, such as https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/stop-aggressive-behavior-in-kids-and-tweens-is-your-child-screaming-pushing-and-hitting/ and https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/8-steps-to-anger-management-for-kids/. I recognize how challenging this
behavior can be, and I wish you and your family all the best moving
forward. Take care.
Thank you for writing in and sharing your experiences.
We hear from many parents who describe similar experiences regarding the
challenges of having a child with mental health issues and behavioral problems,
coupled with a parent’s own difficulties, and how all of this can impact other
relationships within the family. You are not alone. For help
locating resources in the UK, you might consider checking out http://www.familylives.org.uk/. They offer
information, advice, support and assistance to parents and families, and you
can reach them by calling 0808 800 2222. They also have options for
receiving support via live chat and email, and you can find more information on
these on their website. I hear how difficult this is for you right now,
and I wish you and your family all the best moving forward. Take care.
I have an 8 yr old,daughter and im struggling with day to day life, she won't listen,argues,falls out with friends,hides things and I feel like she hates me.
She doesn't and won't listen I can tel her numerous times not to do things and its like I'm wasting my time , I feel like no one understands and thinks she this pretty little girl .
She's caused major arguments betweenn myself and her dad and plays on everything , apolagizes for some wrongs then does exactly the same again with no emotion ,having an older,sister I know she's different in her behaviour but I feel like im in a fish bowl going round in circles and I'm really struggling
My son is 17 almost 18, he is in the welding vocational program at his High School. He got a job over the summer doing welding and was fine for the first month. He is paid well but it is hard work. He is now getting bored and wants to quit. He has saved some money from his pay checks thanks to me as I had him give me 1/2 as he would have blown all his money on nothing. He loved the job up until now where he wants to quit. We told him he cannot quit. Now he is saying everyone is picking on him and he does not know what he is doing and his welds are terrible. He is looking for us to tell him if is okay to quit.
How do we explain to him that he has to work and that he can not quit jobs as soon as he has some money saved and then when he runs out of that money find another job and just keep repeating the same cycle over again.
He finds ever excuse to quit the job and just beats you down constantly about it.
Please suggest some books/articles for me to read to help with this cycle as I do not want this to go on or be his way of life.
hear the concern you have for your son and his future employment. It sounds like he has
expressed some concerns he has at his current job about people picking on him and his quality of
work. It can be easy for kids to fall into “the grass is greener on the other
side” mentality, rather than trying to work through the issue. Instead of
trying to explain all of your concerns to your son, it can be more effective to
help him with some problem solving around the issues he has expressed. He may
need help figuring out an acceptable way to respond to those who are picking on
him, or maybe help him identify a superior he could talk to about it. By doing
this, you are helping him gain skills now that can help him make better
decisions going forward. Wishing you and your son the best of luck as you
continue to work on this with him.
that you might be feeling anxious and frustrated with your son’s behavior, and
the dangerous choices he is making. Although your son refuses to go, it
could still be helpful for you to voice your concerns to his doctor. His
doctor, and other local resources such as law enforcement or crisis services,
can help you to make a https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-lost-children-when-behavior-problems-traumatize-siblings/ to follow when your son’s behavior escalates or he becomes dangerous
to himself or others in the house. In addition, Kim and Marney have
another article which you might find useful: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/my-odd-child-is-physically-abusive-to-siblings-and-parents-help/ I
recognize how difficult this must be for you, and I wish you and your family
all the best moving forward. Take care.
I am sorry you are facing these struggles. Dealing with
acting out behaviors day in and day out can take a heavy toll on a marriage and
a family. I’m sorry you have not been able to find the help you have been
looking for. While I’m not able to recommend a specific mental health
professional in your area, there is a service that may be able to help you. The
211 Helpline is a nationwide referral service for health and human services.
You can reach them 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-273-6222. You can also find
them online at 211.org. Another resource that may be useful is the http://www.nimh.nih.gov/. You
can find a link to their website on our https://www.empoweringparents.com/resources/. Best of
luck to you and your family moving forward. Take care.
I'm curious to know if you've actually read ODD in the DSM 5 or have read published articles about this topic. It is noted that the disturbance in the child's behavior is associated with
distress in the individual or in their social contexts, such as school and
friends.It is not simply their individual problem or "need for control".
There are tremendous correlations between family dysfunction and child
conduct problems. More specifically the
strongest correlations were poor parental supervision and lack of parent
involvement in their child’s activities. Not to put the blame solely on the parents, but most treatments require parent management strategies; changing the ways
parents react to their child’s behavior.
Did you read the content here? The title? I'm going to take a wild guess that you do not have a child with ODD. I do. My oldest child. My four younger children do not have ODD and do not behave in the same ways. The authors shared ideas here about what parents need to know and how to react and think differently about their child and their approach to parenting that child. So I fail to see what you believe should be included here that is not.
I can tell you that my own oppositional child is not lacking for parental involvement and constant supervision is non-negotiable since I cannot trust her to treat the other kids with respect or kindness. She is 14 now and I have to supervise her much like a 2 year old around a hot fire. She knows how to behave, she just doesn't like the rules. She will break them for the sake of breaking them and then attempt to justify her actions. The thing that makes parenting my daughter so difficult is that I have to protect the other children in the house from her wrath. This is a tight rope walk. Despite family and individual therapy, she is a master at manipulating, and does not care about the consequences until she receives them. Then she is all apologies.
I make mistakes as a parent. It comes with the job, but defiance for the sake of control is absolutely what my daughter does. She may have distress over school or home, but she creates it. Blaming parents isn't evil. It IS our responsibility to parent our children, but children need to be held accountable for their actions too. I have employed every "best practice" approach to parenting my daughter and many of them fail because she finds a way to escalate her behavior to the point if necessary intervention.... i. e.... hitting siblings, this became such an issue that we had to take her to the emergency room to have her evaluated. That is what stopped that behavior. Nothing else worked. There is no rule book for ODD kids and changing parenting approaches only does your part of the changing. ODD kids don't care about changing themselves. They want everyone else to change for them. There is a fine line between changing your approach and actually accommodating poor behavior. I would challenge anyone to live a week with her and try to get a better response to rules, homework, chores, sharing..... And by all means, if they could do it better, I would alter every bit of how I approach parenting my daughter. But, her response is the thing that needs to change in the end. I can change everything about how I parent, if it doesn't change the negative responses or behaviors, then what? I try again, differently. But eventually, the ideas get harder to come up with and suddenly your 6 year old with ODD is now 14 and for all of the progress you've made, twice as many problems have risen to be battled. Each new behavior is a new battle, a new argument, a new stress, and a new way for her to attempt to control something else. It's all about the control. Say what you like, but control is what ODD kids covet the most and they will fight for it like their very life depends on it.
I am living the same life with my 16yr old son. No professional seems to understand. Some days i think of placing him in assisted living as i feel he killing me inside & just ruining life. He bn threatened of bn kicked out of school as well due to ODD behaviour displayed towards all teachers. How do u or r u coping?
It was wonderful to read ur post. Finally someone living the same nightmare.
I wouldn't call it "coping" so much as "barely keeping it together." This article is well-written and it may be helpful if I read it every day, but as of right now, I'm stuck in the "blame game." My entire day is spent fluctuating between being resentful of my daughter's actions and/or feeling guilty for my reactions. This is only amplified because I'm a middle school teacher with a great relationship with my students, but I come home to a middle schooler who considers manipulation to be her superpower. (No,, really. She told her therapist that she views it as a strength.)
I can't be the mother I want to be and it's tearing me up inside. Then I feel guilty for the pity Pau I have thrown for myself and realize that I should be spending that energy helping her cope with the difficulty of having limited social skills and her constant anger/frustration.
It is devastating to admit that I need frequent breaks from my daughter. A previous poster said that she had to sipervise her 14 year old as if she were a 2 year old. I've said this often and twice today! It is the most exhausting predicament in the world. She sabotagesaid happy moments as if she's addicted to conflict. And I'm afraud she is.
Like everyone else had mentioned, it takesden its toll on a marriage, too. It is very difficult. I wish everyone a peaceful day. Breathe. It has to get better.
We are so glad that you are here. You are definitely
not alone in wanting a more peaceful household and trying to find strategies
that will work with your kids. We have numerous articles on parenting
kids with ADHD (which you can find by clicking https://www.empoweringparents.com/article-categories/conditions-diagnoses/adhd-add/),
as well as ODD (which you can find by clicking https://www.empoweringparents.com/article-categories/conditions-diagnoses/oppositional-defiant-disorder/).
Many families have been helped by using our parenting programs as well, such as
the https://www.empoweringparents.com/product/total-transformation-program/ and the https://www.empoweringparents.com/product/the-oppositional-defiant-disorder-lifeline/. Please let us know if you have any additional questions;
Aee77 I want to thank everyone on this page for being honest. My son is 7 and has ODD. Control IS the issue, I don't care what anyone says and managing his behaviour on a daily basis is exhausting. On a 1-1, we cope fine, but when there are more people around with their own expectations of how one'ought' to deal with a difficult child, the fuse is lit. Plus my son does not cope well with relationships. He is a wonderfully loving child half of the time, although even that is over the top and he needs to control me. However, when his anger kicks in - which is very frequent, black is white, white is black and there is literally no point of reason to change his mind. He will dig at family members constantly when the mood takes him and we are all pretty good at keeping calm around him, despite the abuse he throws at us. Experience tells me that losing it with him just makes him rise to the challenge to win and control the argument. The original cause is lost and it ends up being about him coming out on top plain and simple. I shout, he shouts louder, then the threats come. Yesterday he told me he would kick me in the brains and cut his step dad's head off.
I don't rise to this any longer. I don't take it personally. I know this isn't him talking, it's the ODD. When he's in his calm, neutral state, he's incredibly mature, can reason it out [usually it's because I changed a plan, or enforced a plan, or changed a rule] and will always apologise sincerely, But it doesnt change the behaviour and it will happen again. I too have gone through the 'I'm a bad parent' phase - but I have raised his 2 wonderfully placid, polite and considerate brothers who are 20 and 15 and so I can't have got it that wrong. My two eldest sailed through school, never got into trouble - my youngest struggles with it, doesnt see the point in it, and falls out with friends on a daily basis. I'm regularly told by his teacher that his anger emerged at school. They don't understand him because he blows hot and cold so much. But that's who he is.
I have tried everything to manage my son the best I can. I give him choices now, stacked in my favour, for pretty much everything - dinner, outings, behaviour management. It works well most of the time - he ends up doing what I wanted but he feels he has been in control of the situation. Ive learned not to be too heavy handed because that will cause a major eruption. Ive learned that he needs more love than is almost humanly possible to give. And like this article says, Ive learned to let go of the rope. It's hard. You need the patience of a saint quite honestly. And there seems no end. As the article says, we didn't choose this. All I can hope for is that with consistent management and enough love, my son will emerge a functioning adult. His father is the same, which is why we are not together any longer. He has been sacked from every job he's had because he can't maintain positive relationships. I fear the same may happen for my son. I'll do anything to ensure that is not the case.
To all the parents of ODD children and adults - keep going, because there is no choice and we love our sons and daughters. Stop blaming yourself because it's not your fault, stay calm and show them love even when they are being unloveable.
Hi I have the same problem. He shows little things infront of people but it is considered usually behaviour for young kids trying to push boundaries. Which I understand their opinion but this is not really how he wants to react, he just try to keep it in and his behaviour at home is absolutely herendous.
School also do not see the same boy we see at home. So sad. To love your child and have little positive communication because he chooses to battle everything out and control everything....it's so upsetting.
I cannot thank you enough for sharing your experience. We have 2 boys-8 and 10.5-and while we will be meeting with the pediatrician today about the younger child (possible ADHD diagnosis), it was my eldest that came to the forefront of my mind when reading through the Vanderbilt Survey, seeing many similarities between his behavior and the behaviors associated with ODD. It's not the first time I've given pause to the possibility; only now at his present age and type of behavior, it's seems far more viable.
I have struggled the past few years as the stresses of trying to parent two significantly different children (as their issues have emerged), and it's been difficult. It is extremely challenging to stay the course of being fair but firm and consistent in the face of such daily (moment to moment?!) challenges, especially in light of people who place a disproportionate amount of responsibility on the parents shoulders. As you rightly pointed out, our children are autonomous beings and that said, can make choices to go with or against our parenting. Our responsibility to to diligently pursue relevant ways to positively direct their behavior to the best of our ability-what they choose to do becomes their responsibility as well as consequences. It's painful to see them make some of the decisions they do, but they won't learn if not given the chance to fail in a safe environment. The double sided sword to that is, as you pointed out, finding the balance between caring for the one while protecting the others. Never easy.
I constantly battle feeling guilty, worn out, frustrated, a parenting failure, etc. Your experience with your daughter hit so close to home, I nearly cried out of relief that my experience is not singular and that there's room to hope progress can be made. So my humble gratitude for sharing-I feel encouraged that while there will continue to be difficulties, I can rest confidently knowing I'm doing all I can to parent ALL of my kids to the best of my ability. Thanks.