Kids who exhibit behaviors of oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) are not your typical kids. They behave in ways that scream “I don’t care what you want me to do” and truly have little or no regard for what their parents or society expect of them.

Finding effective consequences for these kids is difficult. Unlike typical kids, ODD kids often act as if nothing matters to them, which can make it hard for you to know how to respond to their behavior and what consequences to give.

So, how can you possibly make consequences effective for kids who don’t care about consequences?

The good news is that you can make consequences work with an ODD child. But, you have to know what kind of consequences to use. And you need to know that consequences that work with a typical child just won’t work with an ODD child.

Read on to better understand how your ODD child thinks and the types of consequences that are effective with them.

ODD Kids Thrive on Conflict

Typical kids (who are not ODD) know there’s a line you just don’t cross and, except for testing limits sometimes, they generally follow your rules and respond to consequences.

In contrast, ODD kids cross the line all the time. They don’t respect limits. They break the rules daily. It can wear a parent down to the point of feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.

ODD kids also thrive on the chaos that comes from the battles you have over control. Sometimes they’ll even create those situations out of the blue. Maybe they’re bored, irritable, or having a bad day. Pushing a parent’s emotional buttons can be entertaining and gives the child a sense of power and control.

When you experience this regularly, you start to question yourself: “Am I doing something wrong? Is this my fault?” It leaves you feeling vulnerable, guilty, embarrassed, and ashamed. It feels like you’re being judged by others—and, indeed, parents of ODD kids are often judged harshly by society. It feels very lonely.

ODD Kids Resist Any Type of Control

Typical kids will allow you, as a parent, to have some type of control over their behavior. If you ground them, they’ll stay home. ODD kids will climb out the bedroom window five minutes after you’ve grounded them.

Typical kids will change their behavior because they are uncomfortable with a consequence and don’t want to experience it again. ODD kids may indeed feel uncomfortable by a consequence but are committed to resisting it. They will always look for ways to get around the consequence.

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And ODD kids are often very bright and creative when it comes to resisting consequences. One mom we know told us, “You know, my daughter would make an excellent lawyer someday—she can and will argue about anything!”

Typical Consequences Don’t Work With ODD Kids

Why does it seem like consequences aren’t working with your ODD child? Probably because you’re using consequences you would give a typical child.

We usually expect a child will respond to consequences—loss of privileges or losing a parent’s trust—in a way that makes him uncomfortable, which will lead the child to change his behavior.

The problem is, ODD kids will stand there while parents are addressing an issue or concern, and the look on the child’s face says it all: “I don’t care.” And often they’ll come right out and tell you they don’t care.

Reactions like that can leave you feeling frustrated, furious, and desperate to influence your child in some way. Unfortunately, when emotions come into play, your logical approach to consequences goes right out the window. You end up in a power struggle, and ODD kids are masters at the game of control.

Fail-Proof Consequences for ODD Kids

In our work with ODD kids and their parents, we use something called fail-proof consequences. Fail-proof consequences are effective with oppositional defiant kids because full control over the consequence rests with you, the parent. Much of our work involves showing parents exactly how to create and use this type of consequence.

Fail-Proof Consequences Put the Parent in Control

If your child has any control over the potential consequence at all, it’s not fail-proof. For example, if you tell your child he can’t use the internet, do you have complete control over that? Not really. Your child can always surf the web while you’re asleep or at work or even in the same room. ODD kids are bold and think nothing of flaunting your consequence in your face, something a typical kid isn’t likely to do.

Now, if you suspend the internet service for a few days or weeks, do you have complete control over that? Yes. You pay the bill and your child can’t get it turned back on without your permission. It may mean you can’t use wifi at home, but you still have ultimate control over that consequence.

Alternatively, you could change your wifi password or unplug your router. You could even take the router with you when leaving the house so that he can’t use wifi when you are away. This may seem extreme, but it’s a way to make the consequence fail-proof and you have to think creatively at times to make a consequence fail-proof.

Your child may try to get around the consequence by going online at a friend’s house or somewhere else, but your consequence—that he isn’t allowed to use the internet at home—stands firm. Ultimately, you can only control what you control.

Another consequence parents often use is restricting their child’s phone use. Is it fail-proof? Again, not really. Your child can always sneak and use it when you’re not looking.

But, if your child has a phone and you suspend his service, is that fail-proof? Yes. You pay the bill and have complete control over the service. Your child may still have a phone, but its functionality is severely limited. It’s true that he could he use wifi-only apps, but it is very inconvenient compared with having a normal phone plan with voice and data.

In the end, you have complete control over whether or not you’re paying for his voice and data service. Therefore, in that respect, the consequence of suspending his phone service is fail-proof.

The Fail-Proof Consequence Test

To test the effectiveness of the fail-proof consequence, ask yourself, “Will I be able to follow through with this in the face of my child’s potential out-right defiance and refusal to comply?” If the answer is “yes,” then you have complete control over the consequence.

Understand, though, that if you are unwilling to follow through on the consequence, then it isn’t fail-proof.

A Different Way to Think About Consequences

We tend to think of consequences as something that changes behavior. But that’s not always the case. Just because someone experiences a consequence doesn’t necessarily mean they will change their behavior. If that were true, everyone would drive the speed limit once they received one ticket. But we all know there are repeat offenders.

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And your ODD child is likely a repeat offender. But know this: even though he acts like he doesn’t care about consequences, he probably does care. He’s not likely to thank you for giving him a consequence and he may not change his behavior right away. But by consistently giving and sticking to fail-proof consequences, you’ve done what you can as a parent. You’re teaching your child that when he or she does A then B will always follow. And that alone is important.

Look, our job as parents is to prepare our kids for the real world. In the real world, there are consequences. You, as the parent, are responsible for the consequence, not the behavior.

Is It ODD or Conduct Disorder?

You may be reading this and thinking, “Yeah, but even fail-proof consequences won’t work with my kid. My child is aggressive and destroys my property. He steals from me and uses drugs.”

In those cases, you probably have a teen who has moved beyond ODD and into what is known as conduct disorder. In these cases, kids violate the rights of others and your fail-proof consequences will likely need to involve the police or the legal system. Parents often become frustrated dealing with those systems but it may be necessary to do so.

Related content: Intimidating Teen Behavior: Is It ODD or Conduct Disorder?

The Strengths of an ODD Child

Each of us has a journey in this life—to decide who we are and what we want to be. ODD kids have existed since the beginning of time–they’re our rebels. They bring about changes in society because they simply will not accept the status quo.

We need our rebels. They often challenge us in uncomfortable, but useful ways. They possess strengths like determination, a strong will, and the courage to be different.

Many of our entertainers, inventors, and successful citizens were oppositional growing up. Steve Jobs of Apple Inc. and our own James Lehman, creator of The Total Transformation® child behavior program, were both ODD kids who went on to positively impact the lives of others. If everyone was the same—what a boring world this would be.


When you’re the parent of an ODD child, it’s not easy. ODD kids challenge you and they don’t respond to the same kinds of parenting techniques that work with other kids. We’re here to offer you some new techniques that work, so you can hold your child accountable for his behavior and prepare him for the real world. Please keep reading—and don’t give up hope. We know what you’re going through and we can help you survive!

Related content:
When to Call the Police on Your Child
Why the Word “No” Sets off an Oppositional, Defiant Child

Empowering Parents Podcast:
Apple, Spotify

Notes and References

About and

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.

Comments (123)
  • Mhamha

    We discovered a fail proof consequence without even realising it was a fail proof consequence . We didn’t even realise what we were doing had a name : uninvolved parenting. Now hear me out before you gasp.

    My 16YO son was aggressive, assaulting his siblings, not following rules and there was so much conflict in the house between us his parents.

    Because he thrived on the conflict, we decided to not engage him at all. We do not speak to him, he comes and goes as he pleases . He sleeps out when he wants .He uses our place like a hotel - eats, sleeps doesn’t do his chores . We never know where he is and we don’t ask. He smokes marijuana - he has dared smoke in the house once and not only did we threaten to call the police (he already has a caution) but we told him he would never see his younger siblings (5&7 he adores them - only hates his 15 yo bro he’s assaulted). That seemed to stop the smoking in the house .

    Long story short - we withdrew all communication . He does not get involved in family activities . That is something we as parents can control- whether or not he has a relationship with us. We are just waiting til he’s 18 for him to get out. It’s sad and this is not how I imagined it to be but think about what it takes for us to get here ? I’d rather live without conflict and risk traumatising the rest of my kids , and live under constant stress. We’ve spent thousands of dollars over the years in family therapy , access to good schools . We’ve done everything and it will never be enough. And yes I know the impact of uninvolved parenting . Believe me it is better than the alternative .

    The only positive here is since we’ve withdrawn, apart from basic rule violations he actually still attends school , doesn’t do law breaking stuff ,and gets good grades . We act unbothered by the daily disrespect . Over the years - this seems like the only thing that has created the most peace and harmony in our life . We’ve taken away the one thing he used to thrive on - conflict . And we actually have peace .

    • Kay
      Awwwww I hear you. Our guy is so combative sometimes I just stop talking, withdraw and move onto something else and pretend he’s not there. I’m overwhelmed at the moment and don’t want to get lost in his cyclone. At least the potential of a long pointless arguement stops.More I wonder if you do, or somehow can let him know you love him still just so he can feel closeness/attachement in a way.
  • Pennylane

    This has been a eureka article for us.

    Fail proof is hard and requires us to feel the possible heartache if our daughter fails… but maybe the things that are truly important to her will become more apparent through this process.

    I have refused to drive her anywhere but school and home if she violates our (most sacred) rules. We’ve decided that some battles aren’t worth it.

  • SingleMomInAZ
    Thank you all for sharing your stories, I don't feel quite so alone in my battle. Maybe even a little less crazy! I have a 10 year old son who is ADHD/ODD, since kindergarten we have been having trouble. He was moved to a different class with the most wonderfulMore teacher but after that, it's been an uphill battle. Nonstop phone calls from the school, detention, suspensions. He does really well at home but hates school. We've had the most difficult week with teachers, disruptions in the class and refusing to do work. It's been a long while since he's had any negative self talk but the principal called today and said that when he was in trouble in the class again that he said he wished he was dead. This absolutely kills me!! He isn't this way at home, sometimes he calls me from school and I give him a pep talk and some encouragement but this week it isn't making a difference. I'm so lost, I don't know what to do. Nothing seems to be working.
  • At end of our rope
    My husband and I are at the end of our rope we have an 10 yr old boy with ADHD and odd we have tried so many things to get him to listen and we have tried the fail free consequence on him its still not working much can youMore give us any advice
  • LS
    Oh Boy, I have a 17 year old son that is a senior in high school. He was diagnosed with ADD and ODD in the 2nd grade. He is such a sweet kid. However, he has never respected our rules and we are pretty laid back. Our most recentMore is the restrictions I put on his phone. I shut it off at 10 pm and he can use it at 6:30 am. This has only been for a week and he is losing his mind. Why do these things have to happen when my husband is out of town and I am the only parent. Tonight... i got a notification that he had erased his phone. I called him to the family room. Mind you it was 11:00 pm. He said he did it because he doesnt want the restrictions. Long story short, our calm conversation had me asking what his punishment should be and his response was “ I guess I have restrictions”. My response was “No son, you no longer have a phone” Completely broke my heart. What else can I do. These kids are so connected and this is the only power I have over my child. I feel so lost. He respects everyone else. He is such a respectful young adult with everyone else but is such an ass to me and his dad.
    • vwash


      I’m a mom of a 16 year old with ADHD and ODD. As I was reading your comment, I can definitely relate to what your family are going through. I have a very hard time disciplining him, he always questions me like, He’s my parent. He gets angry if I try to talk to him about right n wrong. He listens to my husband but not to me. We are very laid back too and I always tell him that if he only list to my advice we wouldn’t be having this problem, it works for a minute but here we go again. Also too, he is a sweetie to everyone else but really me.

      Not sure what year you commented but how is everything going now? Do you have any advice?

      Thinking about treatment but I feel he will only shutdown.

      • Amiller
        I to have a son who is ADHD and ODD, he only will listen to my husband, is very disrespectful to me verbally , he’s a sweet kid and we have our good days, but the bad ones win . . He’s argumentative always I’m tired I don’t know whatMore to do anymore, my husband has helped some but their relationship is much more than ours, any advice?
  • Mother of two with ODD and ill never give up
    As soon as your child is told they have ODD you need as the parent need to find every resource you can on how to handle a child with this. It’s your responsibility! Your kids need you not the court system not the police and not the jails! Our kidsMore have triggers find them out, education on what makes them fly off. Be a parent and take the extra steps just as you would if you child were born with any other learning disability. My goodness stop pushing these issues off on other people. Your child doesn’t understand why they act this way either.
  • Minute to minute

    This article has given me some ideas on how to deal with the 10 year old son and the comments from previous posters have loosened a knot in my stomach. Just knowing that other people are surviving and thriving in situations like ours gives me hope.

    My eldest was never typical. He gave me trouble in the womb. Literally started fighting me before he was born. He was advance even as in infant. He waa fully capable of getting himself around the living room at 3mos. He progress was off the charts for every milestone, includimg walking at 7mos. I knew he waa different. The defiance started manifesting before he was 1yo. He would look straight at me and repeatedly do what he was told not to. I noticed a lack of empathy in him after his little brother was born, but my oldest was also able to be kind and gentle. He was unpredictible and still is. As he got older, the flat refusals escalated, temper tantrums were fullblown defcon situations. The first time i told him to do something and he said "ok, mama." I CRIED. He was 5 atthat point. School became a constant battle with his teachers and peers. While he could make friends, it was solely on his terms and he worked to antagonize everyone. By 3rd grade, after countless iep meetings and meetings with counselors and whole teams of "experts" he was still apending 90% of his time out of the classroom. He is diagnosed with ADD and ODD and is on meds for the ADD now. He has also been displayinb tourettes-like syptoms. Home life with him was and is minute to minute. He's fine if he is left alone, but any expectation put upon him is met with explosive defiance and rudeness. I strive to work with him and model kindness, respect and communication and give him as many options as i can before resorting to consequences. I have learned that physical reassurance works in most situations to calm him, but i cant sit beside him and massage and stroke his back and hug him all day. He tries to control everyone with intimidation, which isnt hard because he is 4'11 and weighs 110 pounds. He's nearly as big as me. He has pushed and at hit me. I refuse to engage him when he behaves that way, calmly sending him to his room. He laughs at my consequences and will calls me names and throws things. I make him stay in his room until he is calm, checking in with him occasionally, asking if he is ready to be calm. That usually works, but his defiance and behaviors take so much time out of the day, I am often on time constraints and lose my temper and end up yelling at him after i have been calm and patient for hours at a time. He is often cruel and provoking to his younger, smaller brother and I have to work to protect him.

    I am homeschooling him now and he is getting good grades, but it is a daily fight to accomplish the work that does get done because i refuse to give in, but it is exhausting. His currency changes rapidly and is hard to keep up with. He is forgetful, sloppy and unhelpful. If I get him to pick up one or two small things, I feel accomplished and it's frustrating and i am burnt out. His father and i are in early stages of divorve and his father, while living with us is mostly absent and i have no family near to help. He escalates his behaviors onthe one evening a week when his dad is around,which makes it more challenging because they fight and it provides me with a healty dose of anxiety. I worry about my son when he is not with me and i worry about him when he is. There seems to be little peace and i know every single day when i wake up that the battles will start when his feet hit the floor. I know i will be verbally abused, being called a "penis" or a "jerk" simply for aaking him to eat breakfast or get dressed. When i refuse to be treated that way and walk away, he screams and cries for me not to leave him. I ask him to tell me what he wants me to do. Usually, he wants me to wait on him hand and foot, which i refuse to do if he can do it for himself, for which, i am again called a "jerk". He demands so much from me, i get to the point where i feel brittle and like i will break if one more demand is made. That makes it difficult too, when my younger son needs something and my older one seesel me doing what the little one needs. I get screamed at "why do you do thay for him, when you wont even get me milk?" Balancing them by myself is mentally, physically, and emotionally soul sucking. I am looking for a lightswitch to help me see hope.

    Articles and this do give me a glimmer of that hope that i can find a way to manage all of this and help him become a happy, healty, functioning adult.

  • CharM
    My son is 8 years old, almost 9. He has been diagnosed with ADHD, combined type and he is currently on meds and seeing both his primary doctor and a psychiatrist. I have had a psych evaluation done on him and am doing everything in my power to intervene withMore his behavior. Since he has started school he has had constant issues. He has been suspended from both school and daycare for his outburst and interruptions. I have switched his school and daycare and there are still issues. His primary doctor now suspects that he also has ODD. He has been suspended again from daycare this week. It is hard enough that I am a single parent and always having to leave early and take off due to his behavior. It is all a bit much to handle.
  • claw difiv
    These articles are very helpful. I'm the mother of a very, very difficult teen who I believe has ODD but has never been officially diagnosed with this condition. The techniques you offer have been very empowering to me, particularly since I have lately felt that I have absolutelyMore no power or control over the situation with my teen. Thank you so much for all that you do to help parents like me.
    • Leslie
      My 17 year old was diagnosed in the 2nd grade with ODD and ADD. He is a great kid but not to us. He does not respect our rules at all.
  • Janine
    I'm struggling to think of effective 'fail proof' consequences for my son. I really like the idea of suspending his phone account however I do not have control of his account. My ex does and he refuses to assist me in doing this. My son is 14 years old andMore he truely believes that he is more powerful and clever than I am.
  • Toni
    I no longer feel so alone.
    • vwash
      I said the same thing❤️
  • MommaLove
    Wow! Reading this is almost a sense of relief knowing I am not alone in what I go through with my ODD child. Grateful to connect with more support. My daughter is almost 14... been a long journey.
  • Suzan
    Hoping this helps us.
  • Ashley
    I have a 11 year old niece who I had to take care of because my mother passed away her grandmother and I am now responsible for her, her mother is away in Treatment Rehab. she is very defiant and very disrespectful towards me and my partner. Nothing atMore all works we take away her phone her T.V her friends. It's been about a month now and it's nothing but a bad attitude every single day and the moment I open my eyes. It's very frustrating and difficult I'm just not sure what to do anymore, she also calls us very nasty names and will most of the time go without eating also. We encourage her when she does right and displine her when she does wrong and always stay calm when she is in her tantrum stage. Just not sure what to do anymore but I am staying strong....
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I’m so sorry to hear about the behavior you are experiencing with your niece right now. She is fortunate to have you and your partner as a stable, loving presence in her life, and I hear how much you want to help her. Overall, it tends to beMore more effective to focus on her behavior, and do your best to ignore her attitude. After all, she is responsible for following the rules, regardless of how she might feel about them. You might find some additional helpful tips in Disrespectful Child Behavior? Don’t Take It Personally. Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family. Take care.
  • jgenslak5

    I am the mom of a 15 year old son who was diagnosed, over a year ago, with ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. It has been quite the year.

    I am struggling to get him to pass his first year of high school. He does not want to do homework, study for tests or complete projects. He needs to attened summer school for one class, so far. Then we have the swearing, inappropriate talk, outburts, lying or exaggerating and tantrums. If he is told no, he can't, mention school or homework he will slam his door, throw things, swear, yell, pound on the walls and will argue or try to argue with anyone that is within his eyesight.

    He has had a few incidences at school with an inappropriate comment and a form of bullying.

    My 17 year old daughter tells him she is so tired of listening to him and my 6 year old is and has picked up on all of this.

    I am trying my hardest to keep calm and not engage in arguments with him. I constantly try to build him up, tell him how smart he is but explain if he cannot be responsible for himself and school then he is not going to have things he wants. He has not had a phone or ipad for about 8 months. He can only use the computer for school work, which doesn't happen that often. The PlayStation he gets as a reward but this creates issues because he thinks he should get to play all the time, just another tantrum.

    I have told him more times then I can count what will happen if he doesn't pass his classes but it's like he either doesn't really get it or he just doesn't care. I just don't know what it is, but I know it's frustrating.

    His dad and I share custody, we alternate weeks. I don't think his dad understands or recognizes he has a type of mental illness, he thinks he is just being a "jerk". I don't think any of this helps the situation.

    I'm putting in so much effort, mentally and physically but I feel like I am failing him. I'm not sure how to help him.

  • Singlemotherofone
    I am a single mother of a 6 year old boy with ADHD his father hasn't been in his life since he was 2 he calls him maybe once every few months. Reading these articles really made me relate to my sons behavior. He's very defiant, throws tantrums, has outburst,More you basically can't say no to him or it's the end of the world he will cry and scream and kick to try to get his way. If I correct him, I'm the mean one. There are times I have to put him in his room and hold the door shut so he can calm himself down but he will sit in there and throw whatever he can find! I've had it where I was driving and he got mad for no reason and threw anything near him in the vehicle at me. I try so hard not to give in. But I get so stressed and want to throw a tantrum myself! He has his good days and then there's his bad ones. I try to talk to him in a calm voice and give him time limits on things but seems like he doesn't want to hear me. He always just says I don't care I'm going to do what I want to do. I just don't know what to do anymore!!!
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I hear you. It can be so frustrating when you have a child who refuses to comply with directions, and chooses instead to have tantrums. I’m glad to see that you try your best to remain calm, and not give in when he is having an outburst. More Your reaction is something that you can control, and I encourage you to continue to stay calm when your son is being defiant. You might find some additional tips on how to address this type of behavior in Defiant Young Children and Toddlers: 5 Things Not to Do. Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going. Take care.
  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
    Liamactor I understand your concern about your stepson’s behavior, and I’m glad that you are reaching out for support.  I can only imagine how scary it must be when he is making threats against you and his sister.  I encourage you to work with local supports, such as his doctor,More or another therapist, to help you develop a https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-lost-children-when-behavior-problems-traumatize-siblingsfor your family at this point.  You might also find additional techniques in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/when-kids-get-ugly-how-to-stop-threats-and-verbal-abuse-part-2/.  I recognize what a difficult situation this must be for all of you, and I wish you all the best moving forward.  Take care.
  • Any suggestions
    My step daughter is 15 years old, she has been diagnosed with ADHD and ODD, she will not listen to her mother or I and we can not get her to follow any rules or comply with anything. She is aggressive with me and my wife as well as ourMore other children she has bursts of rage and puts holes in wall and kicks in door frames. She steals, lies and takes things simply so others can not have it as well. She is a classic narcissist and brags constantly about how great and good she is at everything even if she isn't and puts the other children down or people in general including my wife and I. She yells and screams and debates anything and everything. She will not eat unless it is specifically what she has requested otherwise it is a night of terror which is frequent. Here is my dilemma, I am a former US Marine, although I am a patient and gentle person I believe in order and respect and I impose this on our other three children but with this child my wife can not handle the stress and utter chaos that ensues when this kid does not get her way, therefor frequently she is allowed to get away with quite a lot while the other children are not. My wife and I agree that she needs guidance and this type of behavior will get her into a lot of trouble in the real world we feel like we have failed to prepare her for life and friendships for which she has none, no one likes her not at school not at home. But unfortunately my wife is not strong enough to follow through with her discipline due to the reaction and stress caused in the house when this kid is punished everyone pays for it. We have 0 support from her father who sees her every other weekend and he sees this kid as the greatest thing on earth as she is just like him. Anyway my goal is to reform this relationship and tension in my home and take this kids power away from her where currently she runs our home any help guidance suggestions would be appreciated.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      Any suggestions I hear how challenging this living situation must be with your stepdaughter, and I’m glad that you are here reaching out for support.  Parenting a child with ODD can be quite challenging, especially if you value respect and compliance.  As outlined in the article above, when you areMore parenting a child with ODD, it’s going to be most effective to focus on your own actions and responses, because this is where you have the most control.  Rather than trying to “make” your stepdaughter comply or respect others in the house, it’s going to be more useful to plan out how you can respond if she is defiant or disrespectful.  You might find some of our other articles useful as you move forward, such as https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/my-odd-child-is-physically-abusive-to-siblings-and-parents-help/ andhttps://www.empoweringparents.com/article/is-your-defiant-child-damaging-or-destroying-property/  Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family.  Take care.
  • OpenToAdvice
    My son (15) has ADHD. I hadn't heard of ODD but he seems to have related characteristics. Lots of refusing currently - refusing homework, refusing to go to bed at a reasonable time, refusing his usual dose of medication, refusing to wear smart clothes at family events, refusing to doMore sport (he used to do triathlon training 3 times per week), refusing to go to his tutor....and more. Just plain refusing. We take his phone and lap top off him at 10.30pm as we've caught him on several occasions chatting/gaming online to mates at 2am. He even went right through one night. When we try to impose reasonable limits on his chatting/gaming activities, he gets foul. Very. He makes threats about what he will do if we limit him. He 'ups' these threats if we talk of consequences. He's never specific, but he's very extreme in how he conveys these threats. Never violent though. I'm worried sick that he will run away or put himself in danger in some way (ADHD = low risk/danger awareness). Sometimes consequences work. I've read your 'fail-proof consequences' feature. We do as this article promotes and that works, sometimes. The issue is... we all get ridiculously stressed in the build up to talking of consequences and during the period after. How do we de-stress the situation and get my son to work with us to create boundaries that are reasonable for him?
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      OpenToAdvice We hear from many parents who describe similar power struggles with their teen with ADHD and/or ODD, so you are not alone.  Finding effective consequences, and trying to keep things calm, can be a big struggle for many families.  Something to keep in mind is that consequences by themselvesMore do not change behavior, because taking something away from your son doesn’t teach him how to follow the rules, or what to do differently the next time he finds himself in similar situation.  For this to happen, it’s typically most effective to have https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/ with your son during a calm time about the rules, and appropriate alternative actions he can take.  During this conversation, you can also plan ahead and let him know what he can expect for consequences if he breaks the rules, so you can avoid further escalation and https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-discipline-your-child-effective-consequences-for-children-who-dont-listen/ when you are headed toward a power struggle with him.  Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family.  Take care.
  • Adoptive Dad
    Thank you for your site, advice and others' comments.  We adopted my daughter and son 12 years ago, when they were 6 and 2, respectively.  We are a biracial family (a not insignificant issue for our 14 year old son trying to find himself).  Our daughter was diagnosed ADHD earlyMore on.   Our son was more recently diagnosed ODD, though we suspected ADHD previously.  I did the research and found some help in the Mayo Clinic site.  In reading others' comments here, I see many similarities.  We had, what I call, an 'ODD day' yesterday.  These are more intense than a typical days' challenges.  Typically, we see these every week to ten days, some more severe than others.  There is some clinical basis for this being genetic and that some grow out of it (hang onto that one), and it would appear to me that the birth parents probably struggled with similar disorders, only without perhaps the love and understanding.  Our children share the same birth mother, different birth fathers (one unknown, the other dead).  I have sensed our son, who is now 14 and 6' 4" and still growing (a challenge in itself), would be on the streets without the blessing of a loving family support.  Yes, we have seen the same destruction of property, vile verbal assaults, a couple physical attacks, broken windows and screens (sneaking out at night), stabbing window sills, holes in walls, police calls, etc.  How do we do this parenting thing?  I don't think you can underestimate practicing the basics of avoiding escalation, picking battles, consistency, consequences that can be enforced, patience and love.  I watch for teachable opportunities when there is a softness and openness...these can be quickly tuned out, but doesn't hurt to try.  Keep those brief and not attacks.  I catch him in good behavior and readily reward and reinforce it.  As Christians, we rely a lot on prayer and our relationship with God to practice loving without conditions, being non-judgmental, and forgiving without limit.  Daily I ask for just a little bit of Solomon's wisdom for this particular day.  Our son is amazing, smart, talented, athletic and a challenge most every day.  But he is our son, we love him, we live in hope.  We can't do this alone.  Thank you for your site.
    • vwash


      Me and my husband are adopted parents too. Our youngest son 16 has ODD, it is a challenge day to day, mood swings, gets angry over nothing, he tries to be our parent, always questions us when we try to discipline him.

      I am so glad to find this site, hopefully to gain insight and advice. Trying our best to raise him up right.

  • Loving mother
    As I read this it is absolutely clear that as society we have the responsibility to create awareness, I myself am going through all of this with one of my daughters and I understand each and every one in each of these many citations. I have understood that to manyMore law enforcement and state officials you are probably the cause, you're not using all your resources or trying as hard, that you didn't seek help sooner or that maybe instead of being the victim of a defiant,abusive and disrespectful teen you are the cause or the abuser. Well it's not that way... I feel that the system sometimes makes it harder for all of us parents trying to make things better, for everyone in our family, our relationships and our children more specific. I read and read... I hear professionals say over and over "seek therapy" or "change parenting styles" and so on but actually sometimes nothing works. I was recently advised by a professional that maybe I should consider giving my daughter to the foster system to keep everyone safe in the home and is that really the only option that we have come to... that makes you wonder if the professionals have really exhausted all their resources for you... let's all really come up with great ideas, maybe even create a real resources and funding for a real big issue that we are all dealing with in one form or another, drug, pedophiles and convics have free camps, counseling and so forth, we'll why not our children, the future to their generation... my prayers and thoughts to everyone dealing with this as I am going through this feeling like most of you alone in it.
  • courtellis
    There is a fictional theory and it goes like this: Your child has ODD and there is nothing you can do about it, even when they are on medication.  The truth is that medication is not the only answer, counseling should be done as a family thing and a doseMore of reality on all side may "give you an idea of what to do".  I worked at an alternative program for a couple of years and ADHD was fairly common among the demographic, but so was lack of parenting.  I have heard parents say they walk on egg shells, they make special provisions, and the list goes on and on; however what I have not heard and this is very important:  The level and involvement of parenting.  "His father does not discipline him daily he picks and chooses when he disciplines"; is a common statement among mothers that I hear all the time and it is in fact a very correct statement.  You cannot pick and choose when to discipline, as it is important to teach your child' especially if they have such an issue that there constant break in normal home life.  Some parents are literally terrified of their children and to be honest that is a shame.  I once had a father tell me his son disrespects him at every opportunity, to the point of telling his mother to leave him and find a real man.  This is a serious problem, and it is time for parents to not only get the help your children need, but be sure to be a major part of that child's life and make them understand that for every bad action they have in the world there is in fact a consequence. A prime example of this was my own nephew, he went without proper discipline for year "because of his condition" as my sister would explain, and it landed him in a juvenile facility; where he was told if you act like an animal you'll be treated like one.  This broke her heart, and we (my wife and I ) stepped in and offered him a better way of doing things, we became involved.  This is not always the case but total involvement can mean a variety of things and not just medication, but most of all being solid parents helps.
  • livefree316
    I am engaged to my fiancé. His 9 year old son was recently diagnosed with ADHD and ODD. He is ion meds for ADHD but seems to be more violent and worse on them. He is very abusive both physically and verbally to my 10 year oldMore son. His father does not discipline him daily he picks and chooses when he disciplines. The interesting thing with the ODD child is he is not agressive or abusive in any way at school, church and other social settings. He also does not show violence or abuse while his father is away from the home. I am at the point of leaving and need help. We tried counseling but failed since the counselor told me "sibling fighting is normal" so basically saying this is normal for my son to be bit, hit, kicked punched by a 9 year old. My son has never been spanked, has never witnessed abuse. There is something every day all day and night. We walk on eggshells and he runs the home. I don't enjoy life living here. He use to attack and hit his sister but since we moved in he now has taken all of his aggression out on my son. I don't know how to talk to my fiancé about this because he gets defensive and says I'm giving him an ultimatum. My fiancé talks so kind and sweet to his son especially after his violent outbursts. Yet to myself and the two other kids he is harsh and seems uninterested. There is no real consequence when his son gets physically and verbally abusive to anyone in the home. PLEASE HELP!
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      livefree316 I’m so sorry to hear about all that you are going through right now.  It’s hard enough when a child is acting out aggressively toward another member of the family, and it’s even more so when the adults do not agree on how this behavior should be addressed.  Ultimately,More it’s going to be up to you to decide if you remain in the home, or if you leave with your son.  If you decide to stay, I strongly encourage you and your fiancee to https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/my-blended-family-wont-blend-help-part-i-how-you-and-your-spouse-can-get-on-the-same-page/ on a consistent response to the aggression from his son.  If you are having difficulty finding common ground, it can be useful to involve a neutral third party, such as a marriage/family therapist with experience in blended families and ODD.  Although I hear you that counseling has not been helpful for you previously, it often takes some time to find a counselor who is the right fit for you and your situation.  For information on others who might be available in your area, try contacting the http://www.211.org at 1-800-273-6222.  211 is a referral service which offers information on local resources available in your community.  I also recommend https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-lost-children-when-behavior-problems-traumatize-siblings/ for your son if you decide to stay, so he is not subjected to this aggression.  I recognize how difficult this must be for you right now, and I wish you all the best moving forward.  Take care.
  • Defeated step mom
    I am a step mom to a 10yo who has just been diagnosed with ODD. Her birth mother is not in the picture. Her father works 12 hour days and I am left dealing with everything. I am at a complete loss as her counselor has givenMore me zero guidance. We have started a 30 minute daily"reward time" if she is respectful to everyone and completes the very few chores she has. Today I got an email from her teacher that she stole milk and possibly another students boots (they are still investigating). Do i give her any reward time for this behavior? We litterally just started this and I am drowning in confusion.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      Defeated step mom I hear you.  It can be very challenging to parent a child with ODD, and I’m glad that you are here reaching out for support.  In general, if a child is acting out at school, we recommend leaving the consequences at school, and not giving additional consequencesMore at home as described in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/problems-at-school-how-to-handle-the-top-4-issues/.  In addition, if it is not 100% certain that a child has stolen something, we also do not recommend giving consequences.  I recognize how confusing it can feel when you have a child with ODD, and I hope that you will check out our articles, blogs and other resources on this diagnosis.  You can find those https://www.empoweringparents.com/article-categories/conditions-diagnoses/oppositional-defiant-disorder/.  Please be sure to let us know if you have any additional questions.  Take care.
  • Ann24
    My 6 year old daughter has been acting out since she was 2. Finally got her into see a therapist and I don't see a change really. She tantrums last anywhere from an hour to 3 hours, she just got in trouble for the first time at school the otherMore day, and just recently missed school because she is very over powering physically. My two older children have stress Issues which they have been okay with lately, but my youngest is always starting fights with them. Their father is incarcerated but their step father tries to do the best he can. I am on the verge of quitting my job because I need to help my youngest with her problems. Only thing is, I quit, we loose money needed to pay bills and rent. What should I do???
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      I hear you.  I

      speak with families every day about the challenges they face as a result of

      their child’s behavioral problems, so you are not alone in facing this

      dilemma.  Ultimately, the choice of whether to quit your job is one that

      you have to make for yourself.  In the meantime, I encourage you to

      continue working your daughter and her therapist to help her learn more

      effective coping and communication skills.  You might find some useful

      tips in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/anger-rage-and-explosive-outbursts-how-to-respond-to-your-child-or-teens-anger/. 

      I wish you and your family all the best as you continue to move forward. 

      Take care.

  • At A Loss
    Today My Daughter had her first appointment. The doctor has yet to speak to me about anything but I literally just broke down reading all of these. You all said what I was thinking but have never been able to say out loud due to the shame I felt forMore feeling that way towards my child.
  • broken hearted74
    I have been dealing with my son's behavior since he was 3 years old and he is now 16. Everyday for the last 13years has been a constant battle. I am to the point where I am counting down to his 18th birthday and I can legally have him outMore of my home. I feel so ashamed as I type this. I have tried everything from punishments, rewarding good behavior, talking, therapist, psychologist, hospitals, meds, etc. Nothing has been effective. He was diagnosed with ADHD and questionable ODD at 5. ODD became a definite diagnosis a few years back. He now refuses to take his meds. School has always been a nightmare. Whenever the school's number comes across my phone I get instant knots in my stomach. I have literally gone to a hundred IEP's with the outcome always being him being placed in an alternative setting. His sophomore year of high school they put him on homebound status. I was a wreck!!! He is now in an alternative high school.  My friends and family have been really supportive but only can deal with him in small doses. His father has been incarcerated most of his life and just recently came home and married. He has no time for him I've reached out and asked for his help but he wants no parts of dealing with his behaviors,  instead he blames me saying I spoiled him. I worry about my son because he is getting older and I am so afraid for his future. I love him so much he just doesn't understand.  I've tried having him tested for a learning disability but he was never compliant with testing so it's hard to distinguish if he has a disability or if he just doesn't want to do the work. He is argumentative mostly everyday, everything with him is a constant battle. I have grown tired of dealing with him, he sucks the energy out of me and my parenting has become less effective because I just can't deal anymore, it's too much for one parent to bare alone. He and my fiancé do not get along at all, my son is constantly disrespectful to him and often challenges him, he destroys his personal belongings and it just breaks my heart. I did not raise my child that way. Me and my fiancé's relationship is strained because of this and we've explored the option of living separately until my son becomes 18. My household is miserable. When my son isn't home the atmosphere is calm and relaxing the moment he returns home it's a living hell. I don't know what to do, I don't want to turn my back on him but he makes it hard for me to want o spend anytime with him. I love him but I don't like him, something else I feel really terrible about. The feelings I have toward my only child is that of a woman in an abusive relationship, I hate feeling that way. I feel so hopeless.
    • Christy8221

      I feel your pain...really I do. I had such dreams for my 14 yr old son and having to throw those dreams away and rethink my approach to parenting has been VERY hard. We have dealt with many of the same intense battles and, as a mom, we tend to see this as OUR failure. It's not. Our sons and daughters are their own people. We can be the best parent in the world but it comes down their own choice in how to live.

      I told my son that either he go to counseling and get some tools to deal with HIS issues (because they are his, not mine) or he would be moving out of state to live with his grandparents for at least a couple months so I could heal.

      I made a "3 strikes you're out" sheet and put it on the fridge. He didn't take me seriously...thought it was merely a threat, and now as of December 26 he will be temporarily living with my parents. The feelings of failure have been intense but after getting some good counsel myself, I realize that this is a new beginning. I will not let my son control me or my emotions. And, honestly, now his eyes are open. (I heard him brainstorming with my husband a REAL plan to change his behavior and walk it out. )

      I'm so sorry you are going through this.

    • cljonesy2009

      broken hearted74

      Everything you have posted is exactly how I feel about my 15 year old with ODD.  I'm so sorry you are going through this.  I'm fortunate to have my husband of 20+ years for support, so I honestly don't know how you do it.  We adopted our 15 year old from foster care when he was 7-1/2 and I really wish I knew then what I know now.  When you say your household is miserable, I feel the same way!  It seems that no matter what we do or don't do, it doesn't work for long if at all.  He can be so ugly with his words and actions and it's WAY too often!  He has been in and out of our home for the past 3 years and when he is gone, it is so peaceful and relaxed.  He's in our home and everything revolves around him.  You can't take a breath.  We too cannot wait until he's 18 and we can legally have him out of our home.  It's sad to say that about your own child, but it's so stressful living like this!!!

    • Frogmyster

      Being that your here, on this site, making a comment means that your looking for help and solutions to your sons issues. A definite step in the right direction. It tells me that there is still strength in you to combat this family debilitating mental disorder that you are ALL going through.

      A brief history of my circumstances I have a husband with ADHD, my eldest a daughter who has ODD, my middle son has ADHD and my youngest son, other than some anxiety issues (totally understandable considering his living conditions) is your typical average kid. Me, I have been wrangling this circus for over 15 years. I'm tired, I'm frustrated, I'm confused, I'm angry, I'm fatigued. That being said, I'm also a fighter and I don't quit easily, who hoo for me.

      For me it's like I'm being dragged into the Twighlight Zone daily with bouts of Alice in Wonderland thrown in just in case I think I'm getting the hang of things. One of the things my therapist gave me advice on is 'to take time out for myself', purely so that I can regroup my obliviated brain cells so that I can go back in and fight the good fight. Your right, it's draining. Hands down the ODD candidate in my family has been my biggest struggle to deal with. I constantly deal with feelings of inadequacy around her and just when I think we have turned a corner, boom, it starts all over again but from a different angle. I also noticed I get easily dragged, or goaded into her aggressions and arguments, something I still need to work on.

      I do find that workable consequences have helped me navigate this alien landscape with her, not all the time, but admittedly most of the time. The hardest thing was finding what her currency was. At the moment it's her social life (she's almost 15 years old) and the internet also has some impact as well. My husband, as well meaning as he tries to be is not very consistent, ADHD a real bummer when it comes to consistent parenting, but what has also helped is that when he's around, the consequence is said to her with both of us present so that it stops her from manipulating us by saying 'mum said I could' or 'dad said I could' (she is a master at manipulation, she could sell ice to an Eskimo in the middle of winter while there's a blizzard). They say it takes a village to raise a child but in these cases it takes a city, with all concerned reading from the same hand book.

      There is no easy solution (I wish), but I have found that with consistency, workable consequences (have to be workable otherwise your wasting your time and your sanity) and determination, it can alleviate some of the nightmare that is navigating this condition. I was also taught to pick my battles and if I did, never lose, also never give them an inch because they will take a mile, every time, and to keep the dialogue black and white, no grey areas otherwise it leaves them space to manipulate in to then argue about the consequences (more drain on the brain having to outthink them).

      Is it just me, but do you feel like screaming when you see one of those happy, everybody getting on fine, family scenarios on TV, like that's normal. To me that's akin to winning the lottery, it just ain't going to happen in my lifetime.

      Chin up, regroup and take care of yourself.

      Your son needs you (even though he may not admit it).

    • courtellis
      broken hearted74  We constantly say what we have been doing to help our child with not one mention of teaching them that there are still consequences for their actions. When I first met my wife the youngest (who is very functional on the Autism Spectrum) would kick and scream everyMore time she did not buy him McDonalds or what he wanted to the point where she's eventually needed counseling.  The truth is that you life doesn't 't evolve around him. because as he grows older he will learn that the world will not stop for him. However; having said that you must understand that "trying" everything and not teaching consequences is not enough.  The alternative school will only push him into the system and that will make things worse.  I could 100% concur with your fiancée, because he is actually supposed to step in and help you by taking charge where dad left off.  I had to do this and I simply let my youngest know that for his actions in the world their are and regardless of his issue, will always be consequences for his actions.  ADHD and ODD can be a seriously hard to deal with diagnosis for the care giver but you can overcome by setting guidelines and be all means sticking to those guidelines.  You son is very redeemable and you have to find your inner tough guy mom, I have faith in you and I really want you to keep this dialogue with me both you and your fiancée.  Let's do this together and see where we go.  My youngest is now in the school of Science and Technology and he knows if he messes up  there will be consequences for  his actions as well as understanding how to control and focus.
    • kincsem

      Yes. Me too. Don't crave the time when he leaves home though. My daughter's defiance takes the forms of smashing crockery, furniture, damaging walls, cutting up my clothes, school refusal for two years and going missing over 80times in two years.

      Every time she's missing it's agony, hell. At least he's alive and kicking! Pun intended. I never know where she is and all those consequences that make home less attractive merely result in her going off again.

      Still no diagnosis and no support- in the UK the coalition government cut funding for children's mental health services by 50% in 2010, and after two years my daughter is still waiting to see a psychologist.

      I really feel for you. I'm going to buy the books on conduct disorder and see if they help. If we get through this we will have the negotiation skills to bring peace to the Middle East!!!! Good luck



      • courtellis
        kincsem  read what I wrote below sometimes regardless of the distance we just need a strong support chain!!
  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

    @Mom of three 

    I can hear how much

    you care about your son, and want to help him.  Although it’s natural to

    want to address all of the inappropriate behaviors he is displaying, it’s

    probably going to be more effective to pick one or two to focus on first. 

    Based on what you have described, I recommend focusing on his behavior toward

    his siblings, and the property destruction.  If you haven’t done so

    already, I also encourage you to check in with his doctor to rule out any

    underlying physical or medical issues which might be contributing to his

    toileting accidents.  We have some additional articles you might find

    useful in developing your plan moving forward, such as https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/my-odd-child-is-physically-abusive-to-siblings-and-parents-help/ and https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/is-your-defiant-child-damaging-or-destroying-property/  I recognize how

    difficult this must be for you and your family, and I wish you all the best as

    you continue to move forward.  Take care.

  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


    Thank you for your

    question.  While some people diagnosed with ODD can become violent or

    otherwise engage in behavior which poses a safety risk to others, this does not

    mean that everyone with this diagnosis is violent.  You can find more

    information about ODD in our article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/understanding-oppositional-defiant-disorder/.  Take care.

  • holly11
    I have a son who recently turned 15. I just need to know if it's possible for things to change? or is it too far gone? He's been defiant for years and it's getting worse. His dad abandoned him when he was an infant and metMore up with him once in 5th grade - only to never speak to my son again. My son became EXTREMELY worse after that!!! He calls me terrible names and often tells me to kill myself. he does all the typical ODD stuff; won't do ANY chores, won't stay grounded, won't accept any consequence. And if I do try to stand my ground (taking his Xbox way when he steals my credit card to buy games) he threatens to smash everything in the house or threatens to call the police on ME. The problem is I know it's not an empty threat because he HAS called the police on me twice! He cries and makes things up but when they show up they know he called because his games were taken. but my son knows that I will do everything to avoid the police because it embarrasses me in front of my neighbors. I don't think my son loves me or cares about me at all. He won't ever do anything with me and usually doesn't even talk to me. I know he's depressed too. It's like we're on this roller coaster and neither one of us knows how to get off of it!!! I tried going to a therapist but I can't afford the payments.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      You ask a common question which we often hear from parents:

      is it too late?  From our perspective, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/its-never-too-late-7-ways-to-start-parenting-more-effectively/ to change.  While change can be more difficult when

      patterns have been ongoing for a long time, it is not impossible.  I am

      sorry to hear about the behaviors you are experiencing with your son, from

      verbal abuse to property destruction to police involvement.  We have many

      articles and other resources here on our site which address these, and other,

      topics.  It’s also normal to feel upset and overwhelmed when you have been

      dealing with this type of defiant behavior for a while, and I hope that you are

      also taking care of yourself during this time.  Self-care is an often

      overlooked, yet important part of being an effective parent.  Your

      self-care plan can be anything you wish, from engaging in an activity you enjoy

      to using more structured supports such as counseling or support groups. 

      For information about this type of support in your area, try contacting the http://www.211.org/ at 1-800-273-6222.  It can get

      better with your son, and I’m glad that you’re here.  Take care.

  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


    Thank you for sharing your experiences, and I recognize how

    exhausted and overwhelmed you must feel in the face of your stepson’s

    behavior.  The fact that your stepson is abusive toward his brother, and

    talks about hurting and killing animals is quite concerning, and I strongly

    encourage you to take these statements and actions seriously.  If you

    haven’t already done so, I encourage you to develop a https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-lost-children-when-behavior-problems-traumatize-siblings/ for your family which will keep all members (including animals) safe

    from harm.  Sometimes, using local supports, such as a family counselor,

    crisis services, and/or law enforcement, can be important resources to include

    when developing such a plan.  For assistance locating these and other

    services in your community, try contacting the http://www.211.org/ at 1-800-273-6222.  I can only imagine how difficult this

    must be for you, and I wish you and your family all the best as you continue to

    move forward.  Take care.

  • hopeless
    i have a 13 year old son that has been diagnosed with ADHD and ODD.  He defies any and all rules and could care less about any consequences.  He screams and yells at me and my wife and tells us that he hates us and wishes we were not hisMore parents. He mocks me and my wife to our faces, despite having everything he values (phone,playstation,freinds) being taken away for weeks.   He is mean and sometimes very hateful to his 7 yr old brother.  He is a very angry and spiteful child.  He makes life in our house unbearable and blames us for the way he acts.  He never sees his actions as being wrong.  He has been seen by several doctors over the years and currently is seeing a behavior therapist.  He is on several types of medicine that are for ADHD and behavior issues.  Things seem to be getting worse; even when the consequences for a bad behavior(like hitting his brother) are clearly explained to him, he will still do them.  As bad as this sounds, i can't wait for him to turn 18 and leave!  When he was  younger, we were the best of buddies.  We did every thing together.  But after years of getting no respect, yelled at, blamed for his behavior, lied to and now caught him stealing money from us I feel almost no connection.  I have given up hope that this child will improve his behavior and just coexist with the rest of his family.  At the rate he is going i don't see how he will function in society.  I can't see a child like this being able to hold down a job where there are rules and a certain amount of respect expected.  The doctors and therapists we have seen have not helped.  He really doesn't  engage with them and wont listen to their advice.  My only question is, do any kids with ODD like my son, ever realize their behavior is tearing the family apart and making everyone's life, including theirs, a living hell and even just "try" to act better?
    • Frogmyster
      Does your son do any exercise or sport?
  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


    I hear you.  I understand how overwhelmed you might be

    feeling right now with everything that has happened within the past year. 

    It is concerning that when you make a request of your son, he is now responding

    with threats to harm himself, run away, or otherwise put himself at risk. 

    I encourage you to take these statements seriously, and to work with local

    supports to develop a safety plan you can implement if he continues to say

    things like this, or escalates in some way.  For example, you might

    consult with his doctor, or call the police during a calm time, to see what

    actions they would recommend.  If you are not already doing so, you might

    also consider working with a counselor or therapist who has experience with

    divorce, blended families, and/or an incarcerated parent.  For assistance

    locating resources in your area, try contacting the http://www.211.org/ at 1-800-273-6222.  I

    recognize how challenging this must be for you and your family right now, and I

    wish you all the best as you continue to move forward.  Take care.

  • Aluisa
    Hi, I'm Luis and I'm struggling as a single parent starting with going through a custody battle for my two daughters Nevaeh 10 yrs and Isabella 8yrs of age. My odd child is nevaeh at the age of three she was diagnosed with cancer (luekemia ).since then it's fourMore years in remission. Nevaeh also diagnosed with ADHD. She has her episodes at home, she won't lift her finger too clean her room, with that comes the yelling threats, I don't cares......etc
  • sparz

    at the end of my rope

    Dr. Lehman suggests that you say something like this (this is not verbatim): "I understand that you are angry because you cannot find your books, but screaming and raising your voice is not going to get you what you want.   When you can ask me without screaming, I will be able to help you."   And then you turn around and walk away.   Easier said than done, but I am confident that it should work if you stick to it.

  • sparz

    After reading this, I wonder if my daughter is ODD.    She has been exhibiting pubescent attitudes toward us since 11 or 12 years old, but this year has reached an all time high.    In fact, she has said that for 14 years she obeyed everything we said (I wish I could agree with her) but now she is going to do what SHE wants to do.    I  started controlling internet access from the router recently.    I only recently learned that it was possible to schedule internet use for each device that uses it.     Now she really cannot use the internet during the times we said it was not allowed.    Now, I see that I can use this to further restrict use as a consequence for bad behavior.

    I wonder how much disrespect I should take.   One day I broke into tears for the disrespect she was showing me.(Not while she was at home)     My children are homeschooled and this daughter claims that I NEVER teach her anything.   This is blatantly untrue of course.    She also says that I NEVER have time for her when she needs a question answered so I gave her my "office hours" so that she does not come to me at 9:00 at night when my brain is tired and I cannot think anymore.   Yet, she still claims this.    One day she told me that I was so annoying, the most annoying person in the world and that any disrespect from her end was justified as a result.  I responded (calmly) that it is o.k. if she finds me annoying because she will meet many more annoying people in her life and some even more annoying than me and learning how to deal with annoying people in a polite and calm way is an important skill to learn early on.   Of course, my answer was annoying and unreasonable because she stormed out of the room saying that she will just avoid all annoying people in her life.

    Today when I told her that she was supposed to be doing her homework and not shopping for eyeglasses, she said that she was practically finished with all of her work.   I suggested she use the extra time to study how to use her new graphing calculator at which time she complained that she needed new eyeglasses and if I wasn't going to buy them for her, then she needed to do it herself.    I reminded her that she has glasses that are fully functional and that her only complaint to me was that she didn't feel a need to wear them.  Therefore, it wasn't a need, but a want.   Then she said that because I had two pairs of glasses, she should have 2 pair as well.    I asked her if she could please show me where my second pair was since I was unaware of owning more than one pair of glasses. 

    This degraded into my daughter telling me that I should go back and do whatever I'm supposed to be doing and stop bothering her.    Yesterday she told me that I was supposed to give her money for doing nothing.   Giving money for doing chores is not acceptable to her because, supposedly, all of the other mothers in the world give their kids money for doing nothing.    I told her that nobody gives me money for doing nothing and that I have to work for all of the money I am given.    This did not illicit any kind of positive response.   Only that I owed her something.  

    Some time ago I sat the children down and showed them how much money we made, showed them how much we pay for rent, utilities, food, and other basic living expenses.   There was very little left over.   I also told them that we would not be able to pay for their college education but that we would help them find ways to fund it in other ways. (Scholarships, loans, etc)    Last night she complained to my husband that I wasn't going to pay for her college education.   I also do not understand why all of this ire is directed toward me?    Why doesn't she have the same expectations for my husband?  And where did this sense of entitlement come from?    My other daughter who is 13.5 does not think in any way the same.   She is grateful for every job opportunity we give her.   She volunteers to help me in the kitchen even when it is not her turn.    She doesn't expect anything from us at all.    And she doesn't criticize me.

    She also lies.   Constantly.     Even when she is caught red-handed, she still claims that what we are seeing is not true.    OR, she will claim that I had given her permission in the past for doing this unapproved of activity.  (Don't you remember?)    It is very difficult to love this child with the motherly love I had toward her when she was even 14 years old.  

    I have adopted the "Catch them doing good" motto.   Although, I recognize that I need to do this more for positive behaviours, I do see the positive feeling that she gets in herself.    But  her outbursts are so sudden and unpredictable.

    • another mother

      @sparz Hello,  Your story is one I could have written.  My husband and I have a daughter who is now 23.  She was a handful to raise.  Now she is on her own.  She was formally diagnosed with ADHD when she was 10 and with ODD when she was 13.  The lying was constant and I couldn't understand it as we did not lie to her.  We modeled truth telling to her and to others in front of her.  I had a father who lied to me and so I knew from first-hand experience that lying is no way to run a relationship.  I have, until now, rejected the idea that she was ODD.  It was just not possible my beautiful daughter was purposely and pathologically oppositional.  However, I also know the reason the Doc gave her that diagnosis is she went into those bi-weekly sessions and spent much of the time telling the fellow what a horrible mother I was.  

      As my daughter is older I can tell you that it gets better.  She now thinks we are good parents and claims she tells all her friends this.  She also tells the truth a great deal more often.  It is difficult for us to check all she says, but we have not caught her in a lie in sometime, and she has admitted things which previously she would have absolutely lied about.

      Still I can tell you it remains difficult.  She just finished giving me quite a dressing down about all the things I do wrong.  Principally the two most disturbing things I did that drew her indignation and wrath were, ignore and walk past a street vendor here in Greece (where we are visiting at the moment) who had called out to me, and show annoyance with the cloak room girl at a museum who would not take my coat but insisted they only took bags when I could see the coat rack right there.  I did not raise my voice but simply asked about three times for her to take my coat, and each time my voice was not louder but certainly more annoyed.  These are the sins for which my daughter gave me about 3 hours of lecture a few nights ago.  I sat there just wondering how I could make it better, certainly for her, and recalling how this judgement of everything I do is nothing new.  I had hoped it had disappeared, but it is still alive in her.  I am not sure where ti comes from.  I was not a perfect "mom", but I was a pretty good one.  Just being able to sit and listen to her criticize and berate me for 3 hours and then hug her tell her to not "worry, it's all good, and I heard everything she said" makes me a pretty mom I think.  

      So you have some tough times ahead I am sorry to say.  For me, I try to keep the goal firmly in my mind.  The goal as I see being to raise a person who is able to make their way in the world, have friends, make a living, marry, and know something of the pleasures and fulfillment life can bring.  Good luck.  It gets pretty lonely.  Since my daughter doesn't focus on my husband, he doesn't notice or feel it like I do.  Hang in there and know you are not alone.

      • Frogmyster
        I think it's easier for them to lay blame at someone else's doorstep so that they don't have to deal with their own issues. My daughter tries to belittle or demean me so she can justify or deflect her own bad behaviours. Its not easy resisting being dragged into theirMore drama but it's a necessary survival skill (wish I could master it).
  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

    at the end of my rope

    I hear your concern. We have an article series by James

    Lehman that addresses this very topic. You can find links to Part I and Part 2

    here: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/running-away-part-i-why-kids-do-it-and-how-to-stop-them/ & https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/running-away-part-ii-mom-i-want-to-come-home-when-your-child-is-on-the-streets/.

    Something to keep in mind – your daughter is still quite young and, while I can

    understand being worried she might run away when she gets older, it may be more

    effective to focus on what you can do now to help her develop better problem solving

    and coping skills. Sara Bean has a great article that reviews how to help your

    child develop these important skills in her article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/. I hope

    you find this information useful. Be sure to check back if you have any further

    questions. Take care.

  • selenavill
    I have a 12 year old son who defies any and all consequences. He screams and yells at us and that starts me yelling. He tells me he hates me and wishes I were not his Mom. He says he would rather be in Juvenile Detention rather that be aroundMore us. He feels picked on and singled out. We have tried explaining that his choices are what makes him singled out or have to be in his room alone while the rest of us are doing things together. Sometimes I do think it would be better if he lived somewhere else, so the rest of us can have peace, that is the worst thing a Mother can think of her own child. I feel so lost and feel like no improvements are being made despite my ongoing efforts.
    • Jessie3
      My 10 year old son does the same he says he is ready to go and packs a bag screaming" i hate you, screw you, i wish you would die" and he constantly calls me a child abuser and will actually open his bedroom window screaming it, i have spankedMore him in the past but i havent for a couple of years for fear of being legally labeled a child abuser. I am at a loss for what to do, he has no more bedroom door because he beat the other one so bad it broke in many pieces, he has marked on his walls put holes in his walls broke his tv, his desk, pieces of his bed..... the only thing i can think of doing is going to the juvenile detention center and telling thwm that i cant handle him any more, that he desperately needs in house psychological help and i dobt know where else to go. He never has done anything like that at school though, its always at home.
      • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
        Jessie3 I’m so sorry to hear about the difficulties you are facing with your son right now, and I’m glad that you are reaching out.  I recognize how hopeless and frustrating it can feel to constantly experience this type of behavior from your child.  If you are interested in workingMore with local supports, you might consider contacting the http://www.211.org at 1-800-273-6222.  211 is a service which connects people with resources available in their community.  You might also find some useful information on how to address this type of behavior in the articles, blogs and other resources here on our site.  Here are a few you might find helpful: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/is-your-defiant-child-damaging-or-destroying-property/ and https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/angel-child-or-devil-child-when-kids-save-their-bad-behavior-for-you/.  Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family.  Take care.
  • tonya
    I have an 11 year old boy with adhd have been struggling with his behavior finally ask Dr they want to put him on anti psychotic med he is already on meds fir adhd has anyone tryed meds & have they work
  • moninja712
    After dealing with my almost 16 year old's daughter behavior for the last few years, I'm on the verge of giving up. I suffer from major depressive disorder, severe anxiety and everything she does and says brings me to my lowest. I'm making an appointment for her to see aMore psych bc she was diagnosed with ODD and possibly ADHD by two prior therapists. This past week was horrible. I'm thinking of asking her father to stay with her for a while until she becomes more stable, maybe after being on a medication for a bit. I feel like a horrible mom doing so but if I don't I'm scared I'll end up hospitalized ?
  • Witsendinohio

    I have a 16 year old daughter who over the past 2 1/2 years has ran away from us 8 times. This last stretch of 7 months have been great. She has followed the rules and gone to class as expected. We finally thought we were past the hump of all the chaos that made no since. Then on New Year's Eve she tried to run away and was caught at the airport this time. She continues to put herself in danger by talking with and meeting complete strangers from the Internet. We have had her on pretty strict restrictions and had been giving her some trust that we believed that she earned. Now with the recent runaway attempt I don't know what to do to stop this behavior. I feel help captive. Everything was going fine and then BAM! right back to where I can't sleep at night and my 16 year old needs a babysitter if I need to run to an appointment. I had her looked at be several specialist whom all told me she has no mental defect or disorder. The only thing we have been told is abs has ODD which there is no cure and no real guideance. If anyone has any suggestions I am all ears. I feel like I am failing her and don't know what else I can do to help her see how dangerous her behavior is.

    Thank you in advance for any advice.

    • kincsem

      Witsendinohio My daughter is the same. The past year, she has been missing 60 times, once was for four days.  I do not really know how I've coped. Stealing, aggressive, lying continually, lazy, hasn't attended school for two years, now in trouble with the police... 

      One thing that has helped me is the Take3 parenting course.  It's about communicating- some of it addresses consequences.  I wouldn't say I've succeeded, but I certainly feel calmer and happier and am more certain of my ground these days.  I think my daughter has ODD and am waiting endlessly for help from CAMHS (mental health services in the UK), but the current government has cut funding for this, and continues to cut more.

      I wish you the very best of luck, and moninja712 above- I really feel for you.  You're not alone, and maybe these kids will one day be world-changers, if we can somehow get them through their teens without parent or child expiring!

      • NMax

        CAMHS are hopeless. Not their fault, I guess. They just don’t have the money or resources. We have had problems with our son for the past decade. No official diagnosis but clearly ADHD and ODD. Also has problems with eating. We have asked several times for help but each time are essentially told that his problems are not serious enough to warrant intervention. I don’t know what it would take to get help - I dread to think what the kids who are entitled to receive help are doing. It must be extremely violent or dangerous. I wonder if CAMHS see us and think because we are well spoken and not poor we should fund therapy ourselves. However we don’t have much disposable income. Counselling is £100 per session and from what I’ve read on websites like this it doesn’t necessarily change much.

        The advice on this site is excellent though, and is having some effect.

        It’s just such hard work. Every day is spent dealing with my eldest, to the detriment of everyone else in the family.

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      I’m sorry to hear your daughter is using running away as a

      way to manage and cope with situations she finds difficult. As James Lehman

      explains in the article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/running-away-part-i-why-kids-do-it-and-how-to-stop-them/, some kids do resort to

      running away when they lack the skills to deal with challenges they may face at

      home or at school. I can understand your concern. This behavior can put your daughter

      in harms way. It may be helpful to contact the National Runaway Safeline to

      talk with a specially trained counselor about possible steps you can take to

      help you daughter and your family. You can reach the Safeline 24 hours a day by

      calling 1-800- 786-2929. You can also find

      them online at http://www.1800runaway.org .

      Good luck to you and your family moving forward. Take care.

    • Heavy heart
      I'm sorry that you and your family are going through this. ODD is a really difficult thing to go through for everyone in the family. I know there Is no medication for it. However, maybe a professional could help her . Getting therapy could help everyone at home.More A therapist could find out through sessions the reason why your daughter needs to continue to flee from your home. I hope this helps and I send you and your family my prayers that things start to get better.
  • JasonGrey
    I just want my sweet kid back. He's still in there. I can see him sometimes, but only for a few, fleeting moments. Then, the negative and defiant pall returns, and he sucks all of the oxygen out of the room. Other parents do not understand what it is likeMore to face this challenge on a daily basis. It wears away at every aspect of your life. It poisons you, and the weaker you get, the less effective you are at parenting. I am living in a spiral.
    • nolight
      I understand this so much. I am a step mother of a 19 year old who just was diagnosed with this. For years I've been telling my husband that there is something wrong. Every time his son is on the same floor in the house as me, I feel soMore uncomfortable, i can't describe it. It's like the air becomes thicker and heavier. I am a very sensitive person to others and how they carry themselves and this kid makes me hate our house which doesn't feel like home. We've been battling this for years and didn't know what it is. Husband has always had pink parental glasses on, smudged with guilt from divorce and anything i mentioned which caused me depression and huge anxiety was blamed on me and that i was making things up. I truly don't know how we will cope with this, so late in the game.
    • mlecours
      JasonGrey I know the feeling. Everything is a constant battle. You get so worn out and have no fight left and it is just easier to give in. The more you try, the worse it gets. We tried different punishments, different reward systems, counseling, and in home behavioral support. NothingMore was working. Home life was miserable. My daughters grades were getting really bad. She was very impulsive and unsafe. We finally got her in for an evaluation. She was diagnosed with ADHD, ODD, and a learning disorder. I honestly think that her behavior and grades were due to her ADHD. If she can't pay attention and understand things, she is going to get frustrated and act out. We have put her on medication (it was a last resort). Her behavior has improved so much, she is much more happier, her grades are improving, she likes school again. She is back to being my sweet little girl. A part of me is glad we tried different alternatives before medication, but a part of me wishes we did it sooner because of the huge change. And the medication does not make her tired and not want to do things. She is still very active, its just that her mind is not as active and all over the place. She is able to process things that are going on, what she is learning and reading, and her feelings. She was always one to not talk about her feelings. Now she is telling me things that made her feel mad/sad/happy/scared from a while ago.
      • Frustrating Mom
        Where do you take a child with similar symptoms for evaluation? I'm going to the exact same situation with my 13 years old daughter. I had to let her go live with her grandmother and she is driving her grandmother crazy too now. Her appointment for psychiatrist is coming upMore but where else do I need to take her? I need my little girl back. Please advise.
        • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

          Frustrating Mom

          You ask a great question. Considering that your daughter is

          already scheduled to see a psychiatrist, that may be the best place to start.

          The psychiatrist would be able to determine what, if any, evaluations and

          assessments would be needed and would also be able to refer you to someone who

          is certified to conduct those assessments in your local area. Good luck to you

          and your family moving forward. Take care.

  • autism mom1
    My child is 9 yrs old h/F autism, odd, spd and a few other things. All I seem to hear is have you tried medicine. I am to my wits end and all I hear is negative from school. I just want to cry all the time.
  • JCRuiz1
    "Normal" parents just don't get it. When "traditional" disciplining methods do not work, they look at you as though you do not try. They say things like, "those kids need A** Whoopings", "med that kid", "Must be bad parenting", "Get them away from the normal kids"... All of these thingsMore HURT. Not just the parents, but the kids. Sometimes I feel like I am at my Wits end... Then I remember why I get so passionate about this... He makes my life worth living, and I want to make his the same!
  • Nilda3720
    Hi i bump in to your web site and when i started riding i felt like God guide me to you i have a 16 year old wao and ges driving me to my last breath he is completely out of control and i have try my bestMore to help him even reguest for gelp i school with no luck i once yry the court system but i didn't have it tgere nether i have a 7 yearl old with celebral palsy and a 2 yearl old some time ge be out take my car go thru the window when i sleep and i feel like my life is falling to pieces dont know what to do i wouldn't want to just let him be cause be side deep down i know that with help he can do better hes smart bride teenage boy but its sad to help i don't know how to help him were to look for help and if my prayer guide me to your page i ask you pleases help me find help for him cause am afraid he gonna end up in jail or whom knows what can happen
    • jcgodwillprovide
      i know exactly what you are going through i also have a 16 boy hold on to God get on your knees and pray there is nothing greater than prayer. i put a PINS motion in place where my son has to comply or be placed in detention center. havingMore therapy 5x a week has been very helpful for him i love him and won't give up
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      I am so sorry to hear you are facing these challenges with

      your teen son. I’m glad you have found Empowering Parents and hope you will

      continue to find help and support through our community. We don’t have

      recommendations for specific programs or other professional services. You may

      find it helpful to contact the 211 Helpline, a nationwide referral services.

      You can reach the Helpline 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-273-6222. You can

      also find them online at http://www.211.org/. We

      appreciate you writing in and wish you the best of luck moving forward. Take care.

  • Heavy heart
    My 15yr old tells me that he hates me & as soon as he turns 18 he's moving away and never coming back & never talking to me again. He says these things to me when he's in a good mood. When he's in a bad mood, he chooses notMore to talk to me at all. When I tell him, it hurts to hear those things, he laughs. He choked his sister, and I went to hit him, and he shoved me and smacked my hand. I took his power chord to his Xbox one, and now he's not speaking to me. There are a bunch of situations that I can explain, but I'm sure you don't have time to hear them all. Lol. I need help. I try my best to 'talk' and 'hear' them out. Please help
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      Heavy heart  

      It’s normal to feel hurt when http://www.empoweringparents.com/i-hate-you-mom-i-wish-you-were-dead-when-kids-say-hurtful-things.php, or gives you the http://www.empoweringparents.com/Child-Giving-You-the-Silent-Treatment-Getting-Kids-To-Talk.php.  After all, this is your own child, and those words and

      actions wound a parent deep to the core.  As hard as it is, though, I

      encourage parents to do their best not to take this personally.  Even

      though it feels very much like a personal attack, it is usually more about your

      son’s ineffective methods of solving problems rather than his feelings toward

      you.  In the moment, I recommend giving this as little attention as

      possible so as not to give it more power.  It is concerning that your son

      is becoming physically abusive toward his sister, and I strongly encourage you

      to develop a safety plan that you can use to keep everyone in the house

      safe.  I do not recommend becoming physical in response to his actions

      because that often tends to escalate a situation.  Instead, it might be

      more effective to use local supports, such as a crisis response team or law

      enforcement, to help you maintain a safe environment in your home.  You

      can get information on available resources in your community by contacting the http://www.211.org/ at 1-800-273-6222.  I recognize

      what a difficult situation this must be for you, and I wish you and your family

      all the best moving forward.  Take care.

  • SJV
    Hello, I am looking for some insight and recommendations. In the past 2 years my 16 year old son's behaviors have become progressively worse despite consequences. Expectations in our household have always been very clear. He now tells me to "shut up", refers to me as a "retard" and completelyMore disregards requests to help around the house. Our family see's a Psychologist weekly for family/individual counseling. My son informed us last week that he was not going to stop using drugs/alcohol. My marriage is in trouble and we are no longer a united front due to my husband having the attitude of "of just giving him a another chance and maybe that will help change his behaviors". I am the parent that is holding the line and therefore always the bad guy. My next step is to meet with the courts/legal system alone if necessary to discuss options. Any feedback would be appreciated.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      It can be so difficult when parents aren’t on the same page

      when it comes to expectations and discipline. I’ve spoken with many parents in

      similar situations so you’re not alone. It’s not uncommon for parents to see

      and handle things differently. It’s probably going to be most productive to

      focus on where you have the most control – namely how you respond to your son’s

      behavior. For example, when your son is being verbally abusive to you, you

      could start disconnecting and walking away instead of responding to his

      behavior. You could say something like “Don’t talk to me that way. I don’t like

      it” and then turn around and walk away. You can find out more about this

      technique in Carole Banks article http://www.empoweringparents.com/do-you-personalize-your-childs-behavior-when-he-disobeys-you.php. From what you have written, it

      sounds like the biggest issues revolve around your son’s drug and alcohol use.

      That’s a tough one for sure because you’re not going to be able to control the

      choices he makes concerning those substances. Granted, you can have clear

      limits and boundaries within your home regarding substance use and can also

      hold him accountable when you discover he’s used substances outside of your

      home. You can’t make him stop using however. I would encourage you to continue

      utilizing the outside supports you now have in place, You might also consider

      looking into supports groups in your area, such as http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/ and http://www.nar-anon.org/. Many families have found this

      type of support to be very helpful. Good luck to you and your family as you

      work through these challenges. Be sure to check back to let us know how things

      are going. Take care.

  • JML

    As I was reading the articles from various parents I can

    relate to each one and their struggles, fears, and the feeling, they are the

    one losing control with their ADHD/ODD child. At this time, we do not know who

    is going to win when it comes, our grandson (we are his legal guardian) who is

    ODD, ADHA, mood disorders, in addition to three or four more disabilities. We

    have him on medications, anger management sessions, he see a psychologist every

    other week and goes to Pecan Valley for help. He was in three mental hospitals

    within six months and the staff on the metal floor gave us the impression we

    were crazy because he was a prefect child while he was at their faculty, so

    each time we went home with no help until we called the police. The police took

    him a state funds metal faculty and he was not a happy child while he was in

    their care. Every day is a new days for us because we do not know if he will

    decide to be good or bad. I have had several physical fights with him. My

    husband had to make him leave the swimming pool and walk home because he would

    not do as he told. He will not leave his brother along on Wednesday nights at

    church, so we told him he could not go to Wednesday church. It has been a

    living HELL at our house since we took in our three grandchildren. As of now we

    are back to where we started with him three ago. How sad for our grandson, as

    well as us. Our grandson, his brother, and sister came from a very unstable

    home environment. God gives us these children with problems such as our

    grandson because God knows we will not give on them even when there times we would

    like send them somewhere else to live just as long as they are out of our sight . We all need to remember they were given

    to us from God for a reason.

  • MomIsFadingAway

    I am at my wits end. My boyfriend is moving out soon because he cannot tolerate the chaos at home. I am glad to have stumbled across this article, it is validating to read that others are experiencing the same sort of parenting WAR I am. I constantly worry over my 7-year old ADHD, ODD son's future - will he be that conduct disorder teenager? Will he run away and do drugs, or get put in jail? The adult version of the way my son behaves at 7 years old is NOT a pretty picture. It is that of a criminal! I see him in college, leading people and accomplishing great things. He has a great mind that should not be wasted with this behavior nonsense!

    One minute he is loving, peaceful, insightful, brilliant, affectionate - the next he is a terrifying, apathetic little monster.

    At his IEP, it was said by his principal, "He will either be the CEO of a company, or a criminal mastermind." We have home based therapy starting in 2 weeks and it can't come soon enough. He is also in a special behavioral school during the year, and sees a psychiatrist for medication (which has helped tremendously with the impulsivity.)

    He does NOT respond to ANY form of punishment; while being punished, he finds ways to be MORE punished, and I've run out of things to take away. My bag of tricks is seriously empty. I just cry about it. He doesn't care, and he tells me so. Right now, he has been grounded for over a MONTH - meaning, after camp he comes home, sits on his bed with no toys and no activity until dinner, eats dinner and goes to bed. I've removed all the toys from his room, he watches as his friends come to the door and ask if he can come out to play and I tell them, "I'm sorry, he's grounded" this has NO effect on him. You'd think he would feel sad about it. Nope! He wanders out of his room, makes a mess in the bathroom sink, finds something in his room to play with - wood pieces he peeled from his bookshelf, a piece of lint, whatever. This week we were supposed to go to Vacation Bible School, I gave him a zillion chances, and it was my last resort - I took it away. Bible school! He didn't even care!

    He continues to defecate himself as well. I almost think he enjoys getting in trouble, enjoys seeing me stressed out. I am a single mom, all our family lives in another state, I work full time and attend college part time. Everything I have been working for, for US to live a good and decent life - it's all going to fall apart if something doesn't change SOON.

    I need some insight and fresh ideas, or else it will be ME who needs committed!

    • mlecours


      After reading your response, I feel like I wrote it. My daughter is 10 and was just recently diagnosed with ODD, ADHD, and a learning disability. It has been a constant struggle for the last couple years with her. I feel like we have tried everything with her and nothing has worked, it has just gotten worse. She just started the 5th grade and is at a 3rd grade academic level. I am frustrated with myself for not fighting harder for her with getting this diagnosis. I am frustrated with the school for not doing more with her. It is like she never went to 4th grade. I am now fighting with the school to get her into special ed so she can get caught back up. We have had behavioral health specialists, and counselors. As a last resort we are going to try medication for her. If this does not work, I do not know what to do next.

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      I hear you. It can be extremely frustrating when it seems as

      though no amount of consequencing has an impact on behavior. I think it can be

      helpful to know that consequences are only part of helping a child towards

      better behavior. Truth of the matter is, you can’t actually punish a child into

      better behavior. True behavior changes comes about when the child learns better

      coping or problem solving skills, as James Lehman explains in the article The 3 Skills Every Child Needs for Good Behavior. It also usually isn’t effective to take away all privileges

      as a child who has lost everything literally has nothing left to lose. As

      parents, we think it would motivate our child to turn his behavior around in

      order to earn back at least one privilege. It is often more demotivating and

      causes the child to give up entirely. What may be more effective is picking one

      behavior to focus on at a time and linking one privilege to that behavior, as

      suggested in the article “My Child’s Behavior Is So Bad, Where Do I Begin?” How to Coach Your Child Forward. This does mean you are going to have to pick your battles and

      allow some of his acting out behavior go.  We also wouldn’t recommend using any

      of the tools or techniques discussed on Empowering Parents to address any type

      of toileting issue. It would be better to work closely with your son’s

      pediatrician on addressing that behavior. I hope this information is useful for

      your situation. Be sure to check back if you have any further questions. Take


  • Trying2Cope

    This last few days has gotten worse! Now my fiancé is in the hospital for probably a week or more due to staph infection. The boy is still treating me like garbage! Which his younger brother retorted; "He treats garbage better than you!" This broke my heart! So I asked him if his brother treats their mother like this and he said excitedly; "Yes! That's why he wanted to come live here!"

    So, had another fight with the 14 yr old! I took his phone away cause every time we have a fight he goes and tells this drawn out lie to his dad that I started it when he always ALWAYS starts these fights! I'm done with him and his attitude! I wish I could take all the things I've given him back that I didn't spend joint account money on, but my very own money, for his clothes, games, toys etc. but he used stuff once and trashes his room and tears the sheets off his bed and leaves his rats cage nasty and doesn't vacuum the rat poop off the floor sometimes leaves the trash bag of rat poop sitting in a corner of his room! I've addressed this and many other things with my fiancé and he doesn't believe me. He thinks I've been over reacting. Well my fiancé under reacts and doesn't discipline him in front of me or not at all! I FINALLY got my fiancé to take him to therapy. Then today he said he won't call the therapist! The thing that bothers me the most is I've confronted the mother today and she's basically blaming me for his attitude! Unacceptable! I told her that she & my fiancé need to fix it not me! I'm not his parent (after she said I need to parent him) makes no sense to me when my fiancé & pastor said I cannot parent him only my fiancé can. My fiancé never truly set ground rules when the kids first moved in with us. We have a chore chart which kinda works but it's still not followed by the 14yr old as he just does half and when I tell my fiancé that it wasn't done or not done properly the kid throws a hissy fit like a 2yr old. He also doesn't say please, thank you and never answers with anything nice to say. He still throws things and slams doors, stomps off like that's going to give him any sympathy! No! I have tried and tried being nice, being mean, being calm, being crazy like him. NOTHING WORKS! My fiancé still won't take him to the regular dr to get the ODD test!! He started running away outside I told him to get his but back in this house! He treats me like crap every day and worse and worse! Even more so when my fiancé isn't there! And now his older sister is saying I start the fights which is NOT TRUE AT ALL!! He starts by yelling, complaining or commenting instead of doing minor things I discuss or ask him help with or ask a simple question calmly & collectively. He flies off the handle EVERY TIME!

    If things aren't over for my fiancé and I, I may set up a nanny cam to get the brat on tape/video to prove to my fiancé his behavior and attitude towards me and his siblings.

    He's also the most selfish kid I know! He only ever does things to benefit himself and inconvenience others. Then come to find out he hurts himself, gets the first aid kit out and bleeds and doesn't clean up properly, there's still blood on my bathroom wall! And doesn't put things back where they belong or trashes my living area. His sister is notorious for that too!

    Luckily I'll have a small break from him for two weeks while he's visiting his mother, however I think the mom & dad need to teach him in another way, even though I think they have tried a lot too, they need to teach him a lesson he'll never forget. Anyone got any suggestions? Thanks!

    • Darlene EP


      It sounds like you have been

      facing some challenging situations with your fiancé’s son and it has created

      quite a bit of stress in your life. We hear from families everyday who are in

      similar situations and we know it is not easy. Our suggestion would be to focus

      on what you can control and not what you can’t. You can control how you respond

      to your future stepson and you can make sure you are taking care of yourself

      when things get frustrating. You can’t control how your fiancé chooses to

      discipline his children or how your stepson behaves.  James Lehman

      discusses the difficulties of blending families and what you can do about it in

      his 2 part series of articles http://www.empoweringparents.com/My-Blended-Family-Wont-Blend-Help-Part1-How-to-get-on-the-same-page-with-your-spouse.php and http://www.empoweringparents.com/My-Blended-Family-Wont-Blend-Help-PartII-What-to-Do-When-Your-Stepkids-Dont-Respect-You.php. James talks about the primary parent, your fiancé, taking to

      lead role with it comes to behavior expectations and giving consequences. This

      allows you to work on establishing a relationship with your future stepchildren

      without having to be seen as the bad guy all the time. It also sets up a more

      effective family dynamic when the biological parent is the one taking the lead

      parenting role for his children. You would be best to focus on staying out of http://www.empoweringparents.com/Power-Struggles-with-a-Defiant-Child.php and not reacting to the kids disrespect or not doing their chores

      to your satisfaction. When the kids are doing something that is frustrating, do

      something that is calming for you, like taking a walk or calling a friend.

      Doing that will help you to respond effectively and takes you away from being

      an audience to the behavior. It certainly is not easy to blend a family and to

      be successful at it requires a lot of patience, compromise and self care. Thank

      you for writing in. We hope this helps to answer your questions. Take care.

  • Trying2Cope

    I'm super annoyed by the fact that my fiancé's son, who is 14, has ADHD but not diagnosed with odd. My fiancé won't take him to therapy. My fiancé didn't back me up at first but has now been seeing how his son treats me and talks to me. It's EVERY DAY we have conflicts and disarray in our family environment. I have been seeing a counselor. My fiancé & I are seeing our pastor. My fiancé's daughter is in therapy as well, but she's older and much more responsible than the 14yr old boy.

    I've been reading these articles and posts and showing the millions of examples to my fiancé and he seems to deny that his son has odd.

    The 14yr old boy has empathy, however not so much with family, but more with his friends, and treats them and church people and strangers better than myself, and his siblings. I know there's a lot of psychological factors from his parents divorcing, moving several times, but the control he wants his unbearable. I have to constantly tell him how inappropriate his words are and how badly he treats us and he won't budge to apologize or take our consequences seriously. We have to basically have a shouting match back & forth cause he starts yelling at us first.

    There were a couple times I had to pull him aside to tell him about his inappropriate behavior, such as throwing tantrums like a 2yr old, throwing things across the room that aren't his, not doing his chores or doing them correctly, or says inappropriate things to me and or someone else. He doesn't grasp the concept of respect and never seems to understand the concept.

    How can I convince my fiancé that this is a serious thing and that his son needs therapy more than ANYTHING?

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport



      can be very frustrating when it feels like you are not on the same page as your

      fiancee when you are co-parenting his kids.  One of the things we

      frequently discuss with parents is the importance of http://www.empoweringparents.com/My-Blended-Family-Wont-Blend-Help-Part1-How-to-get-on-the-same-page-with-your-spouse.php with all of the adults in the household.  This is

      important for most kids, and if there is a diagnosis or other factors involved,

      it becomes even more so.  A good place to start might be by creating a

      definition of what respect means or looks like in your household.  We

      recommend making this definition as specific and concrete as possible, mainly

      because “respect” can mean different things to different people.  For

      example, you might include as part of your definition things like “No

      name-calling”, “No throwing things”, “Do things the first time you are told”,

      and so on.  If you are having trouble finding that common ground, it could

      be useful to discuss this with a neutral third-party, such as the pastor you

      are seeing together.  Once you have developed this definition, we tend to

      find that it is more effective for the biological parent to take the lead on

      presenting and enforcing the rules to their child, while the step-parent takes

      on more of a supportive role.  I recognize how challenging this must be

      for you, and I hope that you will continue to check in and let us know how

      things are going for all of you.  Take care.

      • sparz

        RebeccaW_ParentalSupport Trying2Cope

        I wanted to define "respect" in our family, but my husband refused.   As a result, rules of respect are meaningless because of lack of definition.    Moreover, he doesn't believe anyone else could possibly be right.   Especially, if they happen to agree with anything I might say.      What can I do?

        • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

          @sparz RebeccaW_ParentalSupport Trying2Cope 

          You make a great

          point that it can be difficult to create house rules when parents cannot agree

          on definitions of appropriate or inappropriate behavior.  Although

          parenting differences are common, what can sometimes happen is that kids will

          recognize these disagreements, and try to use those to their advantage as James

          Lehman discusses in his article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/differences-in-parenting-how-your-child-may-be-using-it-against-you/.  As I

          mentioned in my earlier comment, I often encourage parents to try to https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/when-parents-disagree-10-ways-to-parent-as-a-team/.  One place to start might be to find areas where you agree,

          however small it may be, such as both of you agreeing that name-calling is

          disrespectful.  Please let us know if you have any additional questions;

          take care.

  • GigiTheGreat
    My husband and I are having a very hard time with our oldest son, who is 10 years old. I said this article might as well be titled "Travis"! It is especially frustrating for us because both my husband and I have worked in the mental health industry, specifically withMore children and teens, for many years. I even taught classes for The Parent Project, which is specifically for parenting out of control teens. I am a stay at home mom and I homeschool the kids, so I feel like I am never out of this situation for any longer than it takes to run errands in town. Nothing works! I have tried everything I know to do, which is a lot of stuff! We are having him tested this week, but I don't know if a diagnosis will actually be any help. I feel like I am stuck in The Travis Show and my other children are suffering from a mostly absentee mom who is right there with them.
  • freckamac

    Oh boy - this is hard isn't it? 

    I have read all of the posts & connect with the experiences of many. I have an 11 year old boy. He is diagnosed ODD for the last 6 years or so. Before that we worked with his sensory integration disorder and a speech delay.  That was the easy part. My full time job  (fully supported by my husband) was creating a sensory rich environment he could grow in. The work paid off - he is now a star athlete and an honor roll school student at a very high achieving school. He is categorized at being 99.9% intellectually. But his intellect is a huge part of the issues we deal with every day. First consultation with a psychologist - "What do you want most?" "To be boss of the  world."  So that is what we are dealing with. He thinks he is smarter than any one else in the family & is better equipped to make all decisions.  I cannot have my 11 year old be my boss! 

    We have visited 3 psychologists, 1 neurologist &  2 psychiatrists in the past 3 years. They all think he is a fascinating case - but that doesn't help me. The neurologist said "He will make certain that he is fine - I am concerned about you," The general consensus is that he perfectly understands all the emotional coping mechanisms he is taught, but has no interest in following them - deep breaths, imagining peaceful places, breathing into a bag etc, because he is 100% happy with who and where he is.  I truly fear his emotional disconnect .

    I recently did a face plant in our garden, smashed my face - lots of blood, drama etc - he was fascinated with the logistics - which hospital I would go to etc,  never asked how I was. 

    When his litlle brother ended up in urgent care on Christmas Eve for an MRI  - he was fascinated with the procedures - never asked "Is he ok?" 

    Sandy Hook - we told both boys what happened & said it would be insensitive to play outside with nerf guns etc. Younger son cried & cried for the kids & families - older son - what guns did he use, how did he get them?

    Full disclosure - It is an increasing battle to like him as a person,  and I worry I may not be able to continue to love him as he destroys an otherwise very happy family.

    Where do I go from here?

    • Concerned mother
      I'm glad you posted your story . My son too is emotional disconnected. Compared to everyone I know their children not a one is like this . It's a relief to hear I'm not the only one going through this . My oldest child had a baby and I tookMore my son to meet his nephew . Refused to get out of the car . Once I did get him up to her room he walked passed her and sat in the corner on a chair . Didn't care to see or hold his nephew . Didn't even say hello to his sister . At family functions he will sit alone in a room away from the family , once even hide behind a tree while we had a bbq. He tells me he doesn't care about any of us . My whole family is very family oriented, so I don't understand why he's emotionless and cold . It's scary . I'm not a export just a parent , but like my son your son needs therapy. I read everything I can find or see whoever someone suggests trying to save my son . It seems cognitive behavioural therapy is the answer . Maybe something just to look into .
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      You have been dealing with some very challenging behaviors.

      It’s normal for any parent to have times when they don’t especially like their

      child. This can be especially true when you have a child who is defiant or acts

      out in unusual ways. Feelings such as you describe can be a sign that our

      boundaries are being crossed. It can also be a indication of personality differences.

      Parents are human, too, and our feelings for our kids can be influenced by

      their actions and choices. Debbie Pincus addresses this topic in her article http://www.empoweringparents.com/Sometimes-I-Dont-Like-My-Child.php. It can be helpful to develop some ways of

      taking care of yourself when these feelings begin to have a negative impact on

      your interactions with your child. Self care is an important, though often

      overlooked, part of being an effective parent. Finding time to incorporate

      activities you enjoy, like spending time with friends or doing a hobby you

      like, can do much toward helping one cope with the ordeals that are part of raising a child who

      has difficult behaviors. Keep in mind - it may take longer for some kids to

      develop empathy.  Social-emotional development occurs over time and even

      though your son may be focused on the mechanics of things at age 11, this

      doesn’t mean this is how he will always relate to the world. We appreciate you

      writing in and wish you and your family the best of luck moving forward. Be

      sure to check back and let us know how things are going. Take care.

      • udavi
        I don't think you addressed this mother's serious concerns about her son. I feel for her plight and see red flags. To just recommend a book, 'Sometimes I Don't Like My Child' and to say just say good luck, tske care, is a poor unprofessional response. Parents are reaching outMore for help and sadly don't seem to get the help they really need.
  • gringo6305
    TLivingston  This sounds exactly like my daughter-she feels the rules apply to others and not her. She won't brush her teeth, wear undergarments or deodorant. She likes to offend people with her horrendous body odors. She is ten years old and gets worse with every year that goes by. IMore long to have a normal child like how her adorable friends are. I am jealous and envious that my daughter can't be like them. I am worn out and feel like running away myself. I have asked for assistance from her school and having her evaluated for a mental disorder. She is only nice when she is getting her way and does not have do to homework or chores of any kind. She is mean to her friends as well, and she has a new friend each week (probably b/c no one can stand her for too long) She does not care about consequences and does whatever she wants each day. When I take something away from her she stomps her feet like a toddler and screams bloody murder.
  • scoobie2412
    my daughter is diagnosed odd . as parents we have been to hell and back with her time and time again but we have never given up on her . she is an a star student and has a very high iq . sadly as she has got older inMore some ways improved but has also become more challenging . If i give her a consequence for being disrespectful or not tidying up she then gives everyone in our house hold a consequence  we are frustrated and tired and she is in control not me and her dad . life is just frustrating and upsetting. she even controlling school  she has not attended and has controlled where she will sit her exam . We are stuck , and she is becoming violent and agressive when challenged. so have no alternative but to back down or walk away because i get hit or my house gets smashed up . she is 15 years old 16 in august.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      Many parents of children with ODD relate similar feelings of

      being exhausted and overwhelmed, so, you’re not alone. It can be tough to

      parent a child who seems to fight back against any type of “control” or

      accountability. Sometimes, it does become a matter of picking your battles,

      especially when there is aggression or violence involved, as Kim and Marney

      explain in their article Intimidating Teen Behavior: Is It ODD or Conduct Disorder?. When it’s a matter of

      keeping everyone safe, then walking away may be your best option. In situations

      where you feel intimidated or afraid of your daughter, letting the behavior go

      is probably going to be a key factor in not escalating the situation further. I

      understand it may feel like you’re not being a “responsible” parent when you

      walk away from an argument or conflict. However, the safety and security of all

      family members is a parents first responsibility. If walking away

      achieves that result, then you are doing what you can given the circumstances.

       We do have another article you may find useful for the situation you

      describe. In the article Parental Abuse: What to Do When Your Child or Teen Hits You, Kim and

      Marney offer some suggestions for what you can do when your daughter

      becomes physically aggressive towards you or another family member. I hope you

      find the information on Empowering Parents helpful. Be sure to check back if

      you have any questions. Good luck to you and your family moving forward.

  • Migg desperate mother
    I adopted a boy at the age of 2.   he is going to be 6 years old.  He was diagnosed with ADHD and ODD at the age of 4 1/2. He is on medication and he sees a behavior therapy every month to monitor his meds and his behavior.More  Lately he has been getting to aggressive at school. like hitting other kids and not listening to the teacher.  he does listen to me because he knows better not to disobey me.  Tell me what else i can do when he is in school so he can calm down and follow directions.  I am desperate right now.  i want the best for him and for my family.  Tell me some suggestions of how to help this child.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      Migg desperate mother  

      Many parents are

      troubled when their child has behavior problems at school.  It can also be

      difficult to address because you are not there to witness what is

      happening.  Something that can be useful is to http://www.empoweringparents.com/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior.php

      with your son about his classroom behavior when he is home.  For example,

      you could ask him what his goal was in hitting his classmate, and then talk

      about how he could have handled that differently.  You might also consider

      talking with his teacher and his therapist about his classroom behavior in

      order to develop a plan moving forward to address it.  We have more tips

      about how to address inappropriate behavior at school in our article http://www.empoweringparents.com/Young-kids-acting-out-in-school.php. 

      I understand how difficult this situation must be for you, and I hope that you

      will continue to let us know how things are going for you and your family. 

      Take care.

  • Linkin

    My friend's son, age 6, has been diagnosed with ADHD and is receiving stimulant treatment, though no behaviour management education. Her son is utterly defiant, angry and deliberately oppositional to authority figures. He also bosses his friends around to the point where they cry: he either pushes them physically or demeans them or their ideas the whole time and accuses them of being responsible for his mistakes and says they cannot be certain characters during games etc (he assumes control of all the games). He also disrupts other childrens' learning as he constantly distracts them during class. He is not a pleasure to have around at all. When he is asked to do something he looks the adult in the eye and says 'I definitely will not do that' with a knowing smile on his face. Or he says 'I can do what ever I want', or 'you cannot control me'. If he gets given a treat, he flaunts it in front of his friends and taunts them that they don't have a treat. 

    His Mom seems to want a quiet life and gives in to his demands for treats that other children haven't got, thus feeding in to his control behaviour. He kicks and punches his mother as well.

    He is becoming an actual bully in school, and other children are either compliant with him out of fear or starting to avoid him. Nothing is being done as I don't think his Mom wants to admit the problem. ADHD is perhaps an easier diagnosis to accept for you child than ODD.

    Any tips for helping this Mom parent her child more effectively before he seriously hurts her?

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      We appreciate you reaching out to Empowering Parents to help

      your friend deal with the challenging behaviors she is experiencing with her

      son. I imagine it must be really tough to watch her struggle with her son’s

      defiance and anger. Because we are a website aimed at helping people who are in

      a direct parenting role develop more effective strategies for managing

      behavior, we are limited in the specific coaching we are able to do with

      someone outside of that direct parenting role. We do have several articles that

      focus on acting out behaviors such as you describe. You might consider sharing

      some of these articles with your friend. Two in particular she may find useful

      are Challenging Parenting Issues: 5 of the Hardest Things Parents Face & How to Respond to Disrespectful Children and Teens. You might also encourage

      her to seek out some support for herself as well. Dealing with extreme behavior

      day in and day out can be overwhelming and exhausting. There may be a support

      group in her area; many parents find it beneficial to talk with others who are

      facing the same struggles they are. The 211 Helpline, a nationwide referral

      surface, would be able to help her find information on resources in her

      community. The Helpline can be reached 24 hours a day by calling

      1-800-273-6222. They can also be found online at http://www.211.org/.

       I hope she finds this information helpful. Take care.

  • anf092813
    This sounds EXACTLY like my 9 year old son. However, the examples of consequences you have posted are for teens. My son doesn't have a phone, and doesn't use the internet. I take away his xbox and TV for weeks at a time. He is almost failing the 3rd gradeMore because he doesn't take his time on his work. He is a very smart boy, when he wants to be. My husband and I are at our wits end. Could my child be an ODD child? I believe so. I just don't know what to do anymore. Please help me.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      It would be difficult for anyone to determine if your son has

      ODD without a formal evaluation. You might consider having him seen by his

      doctor or primary care provider to rule out any possible underlying issues that

      may be having an effect on his attention or behavior. S/he would also be able

      to refer your son for further evaluation if that were deemed necessary. In the

      meantime, it may be helpful to determine what specific issues your son is

      having in school. Perhaps he has a hard time focusing in class, or maybe finds

      it difficult to stay on task while doing homework. It would be beneficial to

      touch base with his teacher to see if she can add any information as well. Once

      you have an idea of what the issue is, you can then develop an action plan for

      working through it. For example, if homework is the issue, you could set up a

      structured homework time and link him completing his homework to one of his

      privileges. If the issue is not staying on task in school, then you might work

      with him to strengthen his focus coupled with an incentive chart. We have a

      couple articles you may find useful for your situation: Child Losing Steam? How to Keep Kids and Teens Motivated at School & “My Child Refuses to Do Homework” — How to Stop the Nightly Struggle Over School Work. On a side note, taking privileges away for extended periods of

      time usually isn’t an effective way of motivating behavior change. Shorter time

      frames, with a specific plan for

      what needs to happen to earn the privilege back, is usually more effective at

      encouraging your child to make more positive choices. I hope this information

      is helpful. I hope you will continue to check in and let us know how things are

      going. Take care.

  • BritKids

    With three lovely children 8 to 13 we have managed to go past consequences style parenting to no consequences, no punishment and all is remarkably  well.

    Most important is to include the whole family in setting the limitations. When the children know that they can be included in discussion and are listened to is setting the rules, it is amazing how they just seem to abide by what was set.

    Well it does make sense though!

    As parents we are not here to control our children. Rewards and punishment style parenting is about control. 

    This sets up a cycle of push back by child and punish, more push back by child and punish, etc.

    Even rewards are about control. 

    We are here to guide the, not control them.

    • BeenThereDoingThat


      So happy for you. 

      We too have three lovely children whom it is a joy to parent and guide. We also have a fourth child does not know he is lovely. He turns what could be a lovely, civilized family life into a war zone beyond your imagination. 

      I am sure you mean well, and what you speak has truth, but please be aware that your cloistered pronouncements to those of us in the trenches has a disconnect akin to "Let them eat cake!" 

      The game becomes very different when you are dealt a joker. Most card games do not include rules to even play with jokers.

      • Nmax
        Well said. It is irritating when other parents tell you what worked for their child as if it will work for yours. Human beings have different personality types and some are simply less agreeable than others!
  • KatiePowellHannah

    Is it possible for kid to be a passive ODD? Consequences definitely don't work for my 17yo, and he doesn't seem to much care what I think, but he's a very sweet kid, and although we do sometimes get to shouting, it's not a daily thing. It's just that nothingMore I have ever tried as far as helping him to get schoolwork done, get up on time, and so on, seems to work. He doesn't yell (or not to an unusual degree) or act aggressive, but he doesn't learn from any consequences either, and he doesn't seem to want to do well in school or please his parents--or do much of anything but hang out!

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      You bring up a great point. Many times, parents believe a

      consequence isn’t working because it doesn’t appear as though their child is

      learning from the consequence. Truth be told, the purpose of a consequence

      isn’t necessarily to teach a child anything. While it is helpful if the

      consequence makes the child uncomfortable so he thinks twice before doing the

      behavior again, the main purpose of a consequence is to hold a child

      accountable for his choices. Does this mean that a child can’t learn from a

      consequence? Absolutely not. If a child touches a hot stove and suffers the

      natural consequence of burning his hand, odds are he isn’t going to touch the

      stove again. For things such as losing cell phone or computer privileges if he doesn’t do his school work, a child

      may decide not doing the school work is worth the consequence. And, while it

      may seem counter-intuitive, taking a privilege away for a longer period of time

      doesn’t make the consequence more effective because true behavior change

      happens when the child learns better problem solving skills. It sounds like

      your son may be dealing with the problem of not wanting to do his homework by

      avoiding it. One thing we find to be helpful is making consequences task

      specific. Using the example of the cell phone, your son would earn his cell

      phone privilege for the day by completing his homework. If he doesn’t complete his homework, he wouldn’t earn his cell for

      that day. He would have another chance to earn the cell phone tomorrow by

      completing his homework. For more information on task oriented consequences,

      you may find this article useful: How to Give Kids Consequences That Work.

       Another important function of a task oriented consequence is it allows

      your child to practice the appropriate problem solving skills that are

      determined through conversations you have with him about the choices he is

      currently making. You could problem solve the difficulties he faces getting up in the morning during a calm time. For

      example, is the issue that he stays up too late or maybe he has a hard time

      hearing his alarm? What steps could he take to deal with these challenges

      effectively? Sara Bean gives more tips for having a problem solving

      conversation in her article The Surprising Reason for Bad Child Behavior: “I Can’t Solve Problems”. Remember, your job as a parent is to give your son

      the tools and opportunities to develop the skills to be successful. What he

      does with them is really up to him. We appreciate you writing in and wish your

      family the best of luck moving forward. Be sure to check back and let us know

      how things are going. Take care.

      • courtellis
        DeniseR_ParentalSupport KatiePowellHannah  Hey DeniseR what about Emotional Parental Coaching?  Can work in some cases but not all I'm sure LOL!
  • Crazymom524

    My soon to be 18 year old daughter is ODD, and yes she is indeed a rebel. We took away her phone and she used her iPod on WiFYI. She has been meeting sstrange guys on Meet Me and getting in cars cars with them. We aren't able to controlMore her anymore.

  • motherof13yrgirl

    Oh am I glad a came across this site. I have a 13 year old daughter, I have been struggling with for years. We have tried every parenting situation we can think of from rewards charts, taking things away, grounding, taking doors off hinges.. you name it we have tried it.  For years I felt bad because I've always sensed something wasn't quite right, and something was different. 

    She had gotten to the point where she shut down completely stopped trying in school, stopped listening to us, her friendships would suffer, she would put herself in risky situations, getting in trouble at school, and getting in risky situations with boys. We have had to call the cops several times, for running away, not coming home, or just down right refusal of listening and anger and aggression.  The lies and manipulations were so bad we were getting investigated by DCS just because she didn't want me to have a boyfriend (of 6 years mind you) and was trying to run him off, because she wanted it to be just me and her again.

    To make a long story short. We have done individual therapy for her, in home therapy, group therapy, and none of that worked. She began cutting herself and that escalated her into a Residential treatment program. She has been there for over a month now, and we are seeing some dramatic changes. 

    The program helps her get into a structured environment, makes her realize that she has to listen to authority or she won't get to come home. It may sound drastic, but after all the therapy and nothing working, that was our final step.

    We are hoping when she is finally released we will see positive changes, we also will have to keep up that structure in our home, and they are teaching us ways to deal with our ADHD, ODD, BIPOLAR teenage girl. I'm so glad that I'm not alone in this. I used to feel like it was my fault raising her as a single mother, until I realized that I've done everything in my power to teach her the ways of life, its just that she was either unable to obtain them, or not willing. I too have been blamed as a parent of not parenting correctly and that burden has weighed on me heavily. I'm so glad to know that their are others out there who know what a struggle this is. Hang in there, do all that you can for your child, and never shy away from treatment facilities that could offer the help that you cannot provide. 

    It's tough but you can do it!

    • Linda1201


      I have a 13 year old too and was interested to read your story.  She has ODD ADHD impulsive type.  We have had to call the police several times and tried all types of therapy.  Our last resort is a residential treatment facility but I am worried what she will learn from other children.  I would love to connect with you to hear how it is going.

    • courtellis


      motherof13yrgirl  you're not parenting wrong, there in fact is nothing wrong with your parenting.  Remember ODD doesn't respond to therapy well in all cases.  There are some changes you may have to make and remember at some point your daughter will eventually calm down as the brain tends to change in many cases.  Because you do realize that your child has quite a few things going on; you actually help her.  Have you tried direct coaching on your own?  If so stick with it and let me know how it goes.  It would look like this; "modeling your emotional skills and teaching her to use words to convey emotions rather than actions may (and notice I say may) help.  I know you're tougher than you think and your daughter will be fine.

  • We too use a TEASPOT approach which is take everything away for a short period of time, which in some aspects works and others does not.. My child has no problem being alone with his thoughts for a short period of time. I do however find that EARNING things heMore loves to do work as REWARDS... ie: video games, pc time, ipad, etc... We have worked on a point system as that has worked before... he has memorized Bible verse, done chores, read for x amt of minutes, done physical activities (Wii Fit, biking, swimming, etc) to earn points to get his time to play and do what he wants... it seems to work better than just giving him what he wants when he wants and since we are financially strapped we cannot afford to just hand over money as in an allowance. I do hear the words, I Don't Care ALOT when he is in trouble with lots of pouting, stomping, etc and he is 13 1/2.  Very disheartening. The latest is that he is not going to come home from his mothers after visits (he goes every other weekend and Weds after school). The threat scares his dad, but dad retains custody. The police have been called 3-5 times in the past 2 yrs since puberty began. He has been in counseling. At times I am at my wits end with both his parents and others.. I do understand the 15 yr old who states that some kids it just does not seem to matter... It is rough, he is highly intelligent and very creative, but a loner and only child so time alone is nothing for him.. :(
    Thanks for the ideas anyway..

  • Guest16

    I'm a 15 year old teen girl here. I have ODD and just want to let you guys know that these "fail safe" consequences don't work. You take away my internet? That's fine. I'll be just as happy reading a book. Ground me? I doubt I wanted to go anyways. Take away my books? That's okay, I'll write instead. Take all of these away? I'll survive, I can take a nice bath, have some tea and a tech/activity free night. Quarantine me to my room? You can't stop me from planning out a story in my head or pondering deep, ethical questions. (I do find that last activity entertaining, believe it or not.)

    Sorry if this is disheartening but I thought you should know that this might not work on all ODD children. I'm not trying to be rude, I'm trying to give you a realistic expectation of what might happen if you attempt to implement the "fail safe" consequences.

    • TJ127

      @Guest16 Thank you for your candor. Can you help me understand you (as well as my son)? What goes through your mind when you are grounded or given consequences?

      Do you rebel because you feel someone is trying to conform you, for spite or to get back at your parents? Do feel like no one has control or should have control over you or ....what? Do you even give any thought to the consequence or do you just move on to the next thing without any thought or feeling? What would you like from your parents or society? Are you happy in general? Do you think others are demanding, unrealistic, stupid? Do you feel like no one understands you? If so, tell me what would help. Thanks for taking the time to share...

    • @Guest16 Just curious if you have any advise as to what would work?

  • aprilalves32
    I'm a single mother of a 16 (almost 17) yr old boy who hasn't any real friends, has dyslexia, CAPD, is failing miserably in school (no homeschooled), only has tv and video games that he enjoys, and no motivation or determination for anything. He's not into drugs or drinking norMore does he have any opportunities to be with girls (thank God or I'd be a grandmother more than likely), loves animals, volunteers at an animal shelter, and often helps around the house but when it comes to important things like school and putting in effort in any type of work for his own benefit, he fights me tooth and nail. He insists that he doesn't care. I've talked/reasoned/emotionally expressed my own fears for him, etc. trying to get him to stop making his life so difficult which only cause our relationship to suffer. Nothing works. If it means effort he wants NOTHING to do with it. Since he doesn't (and I can't afford anything else anyway) have much that he enjoys doing I'm at a loss for any real consequences. I've taken the videos away many, many, many times. Nothing changes for long. I'm tired of fighting, I'm tired of being his memory, I'm tired of worrying, I'm tired of having a child that couldn't have come from me, I'm tired of a ODD personality in my home!!! I'm so close to kicking him out so that he'll experience the real life outside of my protection in order for him to WAKE UP!
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