Do you have an ODD child or teen who constantly argues and fights your authority, refusing to follow the rules of your home? When the number for their school shows up on your caller ID, do you cringe in fear of what trouble they’re in now?
When you have an oppositional, defiant child, it’s painful to read the seemingly endless social media statuses of proud parents beaming about how wonderful their child is.
One mom recently shared with us, “I’m happy for my friends that they seem to have such great family lives. But it’s hard to see posts about their kids getting straight A’s when my son swears at me every night about his homework.”
We understand it’s hard to stay hopeful when you’re raising a child with ODD. Let’s be honest, every time they challenge us, they push our emotional buttons and bring to the surface our feelings of hurt, anger, frustration, embarrassment, and fear.
But believe it or not, some definite strengths go hand-in-hand with that challenging ODD personality. We will show you how to see your child through a different lens, including stories of ODD kids with whom we’ve worked.
If you can stop for a moment and see the positive aspects of your ODD child’s personality, it can strengthen you. Your child can be a good teacher—if you are open and willing to learn.
ODD kids can be extremely creative when it comes to getting what they want. The same adolescent girl who can’t solve the problem of how to deal with a sibling can design a plan to get out of a locked house when grounded that would impress Houdini.
13-year-old Jack was mechanically gifted. He fought with his parents about everything from going to school to his choice of friends. But put him in front of a car, and he could fix even the toughest problem.
Wanting to build on that strength, his parents finally gave in and purchased the old, rundown car he begged for. “He’ll never get it running,” said his father. Six months later, Jack was tooling around town in his “beater.”
His law-abiding parents set the rule: no driving until you have a license. Jack, of course, drove it anyway. His parents came up with the idea of putting an anti-theft “club” on the steering wheel to lock it in place.
They were quite proud of their creativity until, a few months later, the car was parked just a little bit off-center in the driveway. Jack had cleverly purchased a separate steering wheel, which he stashed in the woods. When mom and dad left, he simply removed the original steering wheel—club and all—replacing it with his spare, and he was off and running.
Was this dangerous and defiant behavior? Absolutely. Were his parents frustrated at his level of defiance? Sure. But they learned to appreciate their son’s resourcefulness. Ten years later, Jack never has to pay a mechanic to fix his vehicles.
Kids with oppositional and defiant personalities are the most determined individuals you’ll ever meet. Some kids follow rather than lead, quickly complying with rules and traditions. Others “go with the flow,” rarely making waves for fear of disappointing others or possibly failing.
ODD kids have none of these traits. Their motto: while you’re all paddling downstream, I prefer to swim upstream – it’s more challenging and interesting! And the more you oppose me on it, the more determined I’ll be to swim upstream.
Related content: ODD Kids and Behavior: 5 Things You Need to Know as a Parent
15-year-old Lindsay argued daily with her parents, skipped school, and stayed out past curfew. She also had an unflinching love for animals. It became her mission to save as many lost, abandoned, or abused animals that she possibly could. Her mother warned her constantly, “One of these days you’re going to get hurt. Stop picking up all these strays!” Friends and family were critical, saying her efforts were pointless.
Since she couldn’t keep all the animals who needed her—it was against her mother’s rules and simply wasn’t possible as there were hundreds of them—she used her strengths of creativity and determination. She educated herself on how to safely rescue animals while minimizing the risks to herself. She became connected to local animal rescues that would care for the animals she found. When she couldn’t link with such resources immediately, she broke her mother’s rules and kept an animal in the garage for a day or two.
Lindsay’s determination was an endless frustration for her mom. But it led to hundreds of animals finding a safe haven over the years. Today, as an adult, she is a noted animal advocate and has earned the admiration of those around her, including her mother.
Many of us are determined, but not all of us have the strength and courage that many OOD kids have to pursue our goals in the face of opposition from others.
ODD kids seem to live by the slogan, “I take the road less traveled.” Without them, think of what we’d be missing in the entertainment and business world. Many actors, musicians, and business leaders are oppositional defiant and had childhoods that include skipping or dropping out of school, arguing with authority figures, stubbornness, and even jail time.
We love the Robert Downey Juniors, Steve Jobs, and Elon Musks of the world for the cultural icons they’ve become. The road they took was rough, but they didn’t get to icon status by being afraid to challenge norms.
In her autobiography, environmental rights activist Erin Brockovich describes her “inner strength” as often the only thing she had going for her. The same strengths that got her through a wild and defiant adolescence empowered her to fight for the rights of others when most would have kept quiet.
Just because your teen isn’t well-known or famous doesn’t mean they aren’t a trailblazer. Indeed, oppositional and defiant kids are trailblazers, taking the path less traveled with a willingness to go against societal norms.
12-year-old Candace’s mom was a teacher in a prestigious school district. She was horrified when Candace began wearing clothes to school that she had literally picked up off her floor from the dirty laundry pile. One day Mom groaned in frustration, “The dog slept on her jeans the night before, and she wore them anyway!” If mom put a basket of neatly folded, clean clothes on the bed, Candace would still wear the clothes she had on the day before, stains and all.
Mom tried bribing Candace with expensive name-brand clothes. She begged her daughter, “Please wear clean clothes. You have no idea how embarrassing this is to me. People will think I’m a terrible mother. I teach in that school!”
But Candace still rebelled. After months of daily arguing and shamefully avoiding the teacher’s lounge, mom finally gave up. “I just decided there was nothing I could do and that Candace’s choices were not a reflection of me. I can only dress myself in the morning.”
Miraculously, the next week Candace began wearing clean clothes. Mom was astonished by her reply: “You always told me it doesn’t matter what people think of you and that your true friends will love you for who you are. You’re always saying that I shouldn’t judge others. I wanted to show you what a hypocrite you are.”
Years later, Candace’s mom remembers how her daughter’s behavior really did lead her to personal growth. “She was right. I cared a lot—too much—about what others thought of us, and I did judge others. It’s a lesson I never forgot.”
Why are we telling you these stories and asking you to see the strengths in your child’s challenging personality? It’s because the bottom line is that living with an ODD child is living with fear. It may be the fear of what others will think of them (or us) or the fear for our child’s safety or well-being. Either way, the fear often compels us to try to change their personality.
During a therapy session with his parents and counselors, 15-year-old Billy shared, “I feel like you’re trying to change me. Not just my behavior, but me. Can’t you just accept me for who I am?”
Indeed, for parents of ODD kids, one of the hardest tasks we face is accepting our children for who they are. It’s a daily challenge to let go of trying to control someone we would give our lives to protect.
Parenting ODD Children and Teens: How to Make Consequences Work
ODD Kids: Consequences That Work for Oppositional Defiant Children
Kimberly Abraham and Marney Studaker-Cordner are the co-creators of The ODD Lifeline® for parents of Oppositional, Defiant kids, and Life Over the Influence™, a program that helps families struggling with substance abuse issues (both programs are included in The Total Transformation® Online Package). Kimberly Abraham, LMSW, has worked with children and families for more than 25 years. She specializes in working with teens with behavioral disorders, and has also raised a child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Marney Studaker-Cordner, LMSW, is the mother of four and has been a therapist for 15 years. She works with children and families and has in-depth training in the area of substance abuse. Kim and Marney are also the co-creators of their first children's book, Daisy: The True Story of an Amazing 3-Legged Chinchilla, which teaches the value of embracing differences and was the winner of the 2014 National Indie Excellence Children's Storybook Cover Design Award.
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I am new to empowering parents.com
My son, o.d.d. and adhd, will be 8 this month and we had seriously thinking about putting him in a residential home. the final straw that made us come to the conclusion is he threatened my life and proceded to gather weapons. I thought then it was time for him to go. My husband thought otherwise until my son hit him. MIND YOU he is 7. Since my husband agreed that residential care might be necessary, I stopped thinking about putting him away.
We are finally getting the help we need. son is in special ed in the main classroom, sitting closer to the teacher etc. at this point, son doesn't even focus to 1 math problem done. so easily distracted. skills specialist meets him 2 times a week (teaching him methods to control his anger), congnitive therapist once a week. I have a one on one support for myself once a week.
IT TOOK A CRISIS
My husband and I have been begging for help for so long. No one took us seriously until I took him to the crisis center when he threatened my life.saying" it won't be so funny if I kill you". After that I found him in the kids room holding homemade weapons. Thank God we don't have guns in the house.
1st RECOGNIZED WE NEEDED HELP
He would get up in the morning just irritable at age 2. we shrugged it off as not being a morning person. when my daughter was adopted, our son was 2.5 years of age. he made so much noise outside the courtroom that the guard told us to move. at age 3 he got kicked out of daycare for going outside unattended and just not following directions. at age 4, we finally got him therapy. at age 5.5 he was kicked out of karate for stomping on a girls foot on 2 separate occasions
IT IS HARD FINDING PROFESSIONALS THAT WILL TREAT KIDS.
We kept asking the therapist for an accessment. YOU WOULD HAVE THOUGH I WAS SPEAKING A FOREIGN LANGUAGE. After 1.5 years we starting telling her some concrete things we had observed. "ANGER". she said she had never seen him angry. WHAT THE HECK. she did play therapy. well of course my son is great when he gets to play. it is when a person tells him to do something he doesn't want or say something he doesn't like, then he is Mr. Hyde. So we moved to another part of the state because of my husband's work. We took him to a professional to get diagnosis. took 3 to 6 months to see her. adhd was the result and he is extremely smart. took another 6 months to find therapist to take him. then the crisis happened (death threats and hitting hubby). WE ARE FINALLY GETTING SOME REAL HELP.
TONIGHT WE HAVE A TOTAL OF 2 GOOD DAYS UNDER OUR BELT.
We learned another tool... when he gets angry we tell him to shut his mouth otherwise he will get in more trouble. I COULDN'T BELIEVE IT, IT WORKED. of course he wasn't in his full blown temper tantrum.
We also tried the 1, 2, 3 method. IT WORKED AT LEAST ONCE. 1. tell him the 1st time ... if no response in about 2 minutes 2. ask him what he is suppose to do and what are the consequences. 3. if no result, carry out the consequence. SON ACTUALLY RESPONDED ON STEP 2. I am not sure what website I used to get the 1, 2, 3 step.
Both kids finally went back to school Monday last week. we were waiting to get them vaccinated.
I AM SO THANKFUL FOR THIS SUPPORT ON THIS WEBSITE. I had felt like a terrible mother because the stress of his misconduct has been for so long and so extreme, I would hate to go home. I felt as though my son is a step son that I have to tolerate to get the good husband.
THE COMMENTS FOR OTHERS HELP ME FEEL THAT I AM HUMAN AND THE STRUGGLE IS REAL.
sorry for this massively long post !!!!
I have a 12 year old son who has struggled with his behaviour since year 1 in his first school. I was called in to his first school on endless occasions to discuss things he had done. being disruptive not listening to instructions arguing with teachers annoying other children.....this went on right through to year 6 ..... he is 1 of 5 children and is the fourth born..... in yr 6 the issues seemed to get worse with him being excluded from school for days here and there . I had had numerous meetings with the school where I voiced my concerns in that I was unsure if this behaviour was chosen or if it was something that he couldn't help. he was consistently disruptive and was so different to the other children ..I was told by the special needs co ordinator that she believed his behaviour was chosen and she had performed some tests and nothing had raised any concern with her.... in yr 6 she seemed to change her mind on this and I was asked to see my gp...I told the gp that there were concerns regarding his behaviour and he advised me to contact or local camhs service. I met with a lady there and after a discussion she seemed to think that there was nothing that they could help with and advised me to ask the school to get an educational phycologist to observe him..... this was done but the ed pysch lady came to the conclusion when she visited that he wasn't displaying any of the behaviours which had been described...so it was again decided that his behaviour was chosen. he was then moved to another class in the last part of the year prior to the summer holidays.. he settled in this class and the teacher seemed to think it was a personality clash between him and the other teacher.....I had thought this myself but didn't want to raise it as an issue given his history.... so he left yr 6 and then in September of 2015 he started secondary school. Once he started I called them and had a chat with the head of year regarding his behaviour and asked them to let me know of any issues I was assured by his primary teacher that all his information would be transferred to his new school ! including all his iep's ( individual education plans) so a few weeks passed maybe even a month or so and the calls started to come that he had been disruptive calling out annoying other children etc etc,.... we came to around feb 2016 and a meeting was arranged for me to go in to the school to discuss this... unfortunately I had an operation so the meeting was delayed and then my father in law ( my sons granddad ) was diagnosed with cancer and after a vey short period of illness he passed away in march. again due to this the meeting for my son wa sdelayed .....however a few weeks after his grandaad passing he was walking to school and said that a child form one of the local pupil referral units had punched him on the way to school .... the school nurse had called me and advised me to inform the police....I did this but despite enquiries nothing came of them. so we got to the day before good Friday when the meeting had ben rescheduled and I was s met by a mob of teachers to say that the meeting had took a more sinister turn...... my son had took a pocket knife to school an old school flip knife with a blade no longer than 63 inches which folded back on itself but he had took it out of his pocket and showed it to the other children and told them it was for protection.......he was immediately excluded and I was advised that it would probably be a permanent exclusion..... the Easter holidays came and went meetings were held with myself the head teacher and then finally the school governors to appeal the decision in that in my view he had felt threatened and that while I believed he knew it was wrong to take the knife to school I don't believe that he realised the consequences of it. he had also suffered the bereavement of two people he was close to in the space of 8 months and sending him to a pupil referral unit would only serve to make him worse. despite my appeal the decision was made to permanently exclude him .. they came to the meeting of governors with a report that contained every single negative point he had gained.... from disrupting the learning of others to calling out in class the most serious incidents were two...one was listed as a health and safety incident - he painted the sleeve of another student and the other was that he sprayed so much deodorant in class that a child had to be removed from the class - the police were called and they visited the house and he was given an order....he has been at the pupil referral unit since may and his 'bad' behaviour has escalated ...from throwing chairs to telling teachers to f off and other names disrupting lessons annoying other kids etc....im at a loss and to the point of pulling him out of the education system completely and home schooling him......then last night I watched a programme on channel 4 and there was a child on there that had ODD - I have never heard of this term before so I goggled it and I was astounded thinking omg my son has this it described him to a t ..........now what do I do...where do I go how do I finally try and get the help that this little boy has needed for so very long and how can I make things easier for him ???? please help me x
I am writing as a concerned sibling, not parent, and this article and all of your comments have helped me look at our situation differently.
My younger brother is 15 and although not being diagnosed ODD, it does seam to fit his personality to a T.
I am 20 and it is just my 2 brother's, myself and my dad at this point. My mother passed extremely suddenly when I was 11, my older brother was 14 and my younger was only 7. My older brother and I have done quite well for ourselves, he is a qualified engineer and I'm partway through a University degree. My dad is at a loss with my younger brother. After mum passed he was not a strict parent at all, not that he needed to be, we were all good kids. Often he would give in to anything we asked for, but we weren't spoilt because we knew that even with all the material possessions in the world, we would rather have our mum back.
My younger brother was at the catholic primary school we all went to when he started acting out, having an attitude with teachers and being downright defiant. Not catching a break dad changed schools (to a more expensive private school), which my brother was pleased about, but it didn't t take long for them to categorise him as a delinquent which worsened his attitude. The most frustrating thing is he is so smart, he will go from getting 98% on a math test and fail one the next week because he couldn't be bothered. now is high school he has changed over to the public school, which seams to be a much better fit for him, but he still lacks motivation and had a bad attitude and antisocial behaviours.
He has missed more school days over the years that I could count, being 'too sick' but in reality its because he stayed up all night playing video games. He has an extremely expensive computer in his room with all the high tech appliances to go with it, and because my dad finds it hard to discipline him, he is allowed to stay in his room all day and play games. As a result he is extremely antisocial, his immune system is terrible and he is pale and pasty from lack of vitamin D. Nothing we say will get him outside. All he eats is junk food and highly caffeinated drinks not appropriate for a 15 year old but dad buys them anyway.
We did have a stepmother for the last 7 years but she recently separated from my father and has severed all contact with us kids. My younger brother is not phased by this, as she was quite unfair and did not connect with him at all. Even though my older brother and I are concerned about dad being alone and having to work very long days to support my younger brother, he remains unchanged. This morning I got up early to cook him breakfast and drive him to school, I stood in his room telling him to get up for about 20 minutes but he claimed he was too tired and eventually swore at me when I said he shouldn't have stayed up playing videogames so late. I am an extremely resilient person but that tipped me over the edge. My university is 5 hours away and I don't see him very often, then when I do come home I get sworn at.
Dad and my stepmother had taken him to a few counsellors over the years worried that he may have had ADHD, but he always knew the right thing to say and the counsellors claimed there was nothing wrong with him, he just missed his mum. Reading this I do feel a lot better that there are many families out there struggling with the same thing, and we all have accepted him fro who he is, I would just really like to make my dads live easier by getting my brother to have some drive or motivation and most of all appreciation and respect for dad. We just don't know what else to do.
aus22 I am a mom with an 18 year old son who has ADD and a 21 year old daughter who suffered along with our family as we dealt with his defiant behavior. I am so sorry that at such a young age you have to carry this burden along with the loss of your mom and the stressful family situation you find yourself in. This is ultimately your Dad's responsibility, but helping him find resources to support you and your siblings is important. I would like to briefly share our experience.
Our family went through some life challenges when our son was between the ages of 4 and 9, challenges that certainly made an impact on him. His response was to shut down and deal with things on his own in an effort to not cause any more strife for the family. What we saw, however, was anti-social behavior and defiance. The school was not particularly supportive and just said, "He isn't motivated" or "He doesn't apply himself." The ADD tests the therapist gave him was useless (they are typically given to two teachers, two parents, and the child and they are designed to assess ADD/ADHD in much younger children). Our son refused to fill it out (he would have lied anyways) and the teachers didn't even know him in the 200 kids they taught each day. We finally took him to a psychologist who specialized in ADD/ADHD when he was 15. It took two months of assessments and dialogue to finally discover he had ADD. What we found was that he was very intelligent, but his mind raced 24 hours a day and he couldn't manage his racing thoughts. Video games were his salvation -- they helped him to focus and gave him a place to be successful and understood. Unfortunately, they became his escape, too. On top of the ADD, he also suffered from anxiety which came out as angry outbursts of screaming, swearing, and physical altercations. In our case, medication helped manage the ADD "racing brain" so he could start to focus better. And therapy helped him to express his anxiety in healthy ways. At 18, he is now a completely different person. He still has moments of anger and defiance, but both he and our family recognize they are a response to his ADD and anxiety and we have healthy ways to respond to them.
I encourage you to recommend to your dad the resources suggested by the moderator. It is important to find someone who specializes in ADD/ADHD in adults as well as children because it shows up very differently in a child, a teenager, and an adult. A good psychologist will not be "talked out of" the diagnosis (our son was also very charming when he needed to be).
Please take good care of yourself in the meantime!
We appreciate you writing in to Empowering Parents and
sharing your story. I hear how much you care about your family, and want
to help your dad by addressing your brother’s choices and behavior. As
you noted, you are not alone in dealing with these issues in your family.
Because we are a website aimed at helping people become more effective parents,
we are limited in the advice and suggestions we can give to siblings, and those
outside of a direct parenting role. It may be helpful to look into local resources
to help you develop a plan for addressing your particular issues. One resource
which might be helpful to you is https://www.mycommunitydirectory.com.au/.
They can give you information on the types of support services available in
your area such as counselors and support groups as well as various other
resources. We wish you the best going forward. Take care.
My youngest son is now 14 and was diagnosed with ODD and ADHD. His temper can be outrageous at times and 5 minutes later he will be loveable and calm. He will argue about ANYTHING and has to get the last word in. Ive had friends question his behavior and i dont feel that i have ever made them understand his condition because while theyre all fairly familliar with ADHD i dont think they hear the ODD part.
He is failing every subject in school and ive had too many meetings with them to count. Nothing seems to make any difference and when he's asked about his school work he says "when i do try i still fail so why should i try"
Im truely at a loss at this point, ive tried so many times to help him with his school work and have set at the table from the time he gets home until its time to shower and go to bed without getting anything done.
Showering is another fight all the time. It usually takes me at least an hour to convince him to shower and when he comes out the bathroom floor looks like a pool and he rarely gets clean, sometimes he will put dirty clothes back on too.
I have soo much love for him and want soo much more for him but i have very limited resorces where i live. I dont have the option of moving or even a private school. The public schools here just pass him along so they dont have to deal with him instead of trying to help him.
Going back to his temper, theres not a wall on my house that doesnt have a hole in it somewhere. My house is 8 years old but looks 20 years old from damage. He breaks things faster than i can repair them. Im scared he is going to hurt himself at some point because when his temper flares he doesnt seem to feel pain and rarely ever shows any kind of remorse which also scares me as he becomes an adult.
His mother became addicted to drugs and wouldnt get help so i divorced her getting full custody of my boys. My girlfriend helps a lot but he fights with her more than me and curses her etc. Im really very surprised we're still together because of the way he treats her and as we all know trying to punish a child with ODD is like playing with dynomite.
Theres been a few times that he will go a period of time that all seems well and i start to think he's growing out of some of it and then suddenly all is lost and seems to start over.
I feel like i could write a book about this but just when i think ive learned something he turns the tables on me and i realize im still ignorant because as i change my tactics so does he.
debbie f EVERY time I say 'no' to my daughter she throws a fit. She is 18 now and has a part time job and today asked me to go buy her cigarettes, I said 'no', wait for your paycheck (coming in a few days). She was so enraged she screamed and yelled and had a major blow out. five minutes later she was on the floor beating her fists and feet on the floor in our hallway. It struck me how similar her behavior related to the 'two year old' tantrums she used to have. I honestly don't have an alternative to 'no, I'm sorry, but that doesn't work for me.'
It's explosive, she hurls accusation at me, tells me I never cared about her, etc. I've given up trying to introduce reason into the discussion because when she is in that state, reason is the last thing she wants to hear. So I just shake my head, tell her she knows my position and stop talking. I feel for you, I understand much of what you are going through and it's a real challenge for both parents a kids to navigate our way through all of this. She is such a gifted kid and has so much potential that is being wasted, but focusing on her strengths helps a little. She also messed with marijuana and I think dabbled with meth, but is clean now except for regular cigarettes. I'm hoping her court date in November Ishe assaulted a police officer) will drill some common sense in her and bring her up short so she knows she can't do 'anything I want' just because is now 18. My daughter has been kicked out of a very good small school that focused on the Arts and Humanities which is her strength. She still has no HS diploma. It's so challenging for parents and i worry all the time. I will pray for you and your son, lately prayer is the best thing I have to calm my nerves and steel me for the future.
My daughter has been diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant disorder. She was diagnosed about two years ago and is very difficult to live with. Her rage is explosive and venomous and is always directed at me. she has hurled a dining room chair across the living room and nearly broke several windows. Now 18, and after 8 months in residentiall treatment facility, she is actually worse because she's of legal age. I don't know how to manage this anymore. I can't seem to explain to her how her own feelings,when expressed with this rage and defiance, sabotages her own wellbeing and that of our family. When I put limits in place, she goes out of her way to violate them. She was supposed to be in school today, but slept through the alarm. She told me 'I'm 18 and I can deal with my own school issues now' so I didn't wake her up, feeling that natural consequences at school might motivate her to try harder next time. While in residential treatment she went AWOL four days prior to her 18th birthday. Their protocol is to notify the police and when the officer attempted to restrain her, she hit him and was charged with Battery on a peace officer. Now we have a court date that I am mandated to attend in early November.
I am fearful that they will go too lightly on her, as it is her first offense, but also terrified she will be sent to a Youth Authority facility where she may be hurt or attacked (they have a history of violence at this facility). I don't want to 'kick her out' suggested by our local law enforcement, but I'm at my wits end as to how to help her. I dearly love my daughter and I want the sweet kid that she used to be to come back to our family. She's incredibly talented, very creative and doggedly loyal to her friends, even those who may not deserve that loyalty. I have had to bann one of her girlfriends from our home for incredibly negative behaviors (shouting obscenities at me on our driveway in front of our neighbors, writing obscenities on my daughters bedroom wall in permanent marker, smashing my dishes in the street, giving my daughter step-by-step suggestions on how to best hurt me.among many others. I finally gave up and wrote a letter to her mother asking her to instruct her daughter not to come to our home as well as a few of my reasons for this decision, and was verbally abused by the mother via telephone. I feel so alone in this. I am a single parent, my husband is deceased and I simply don't know how to provide help for her and healing for our family.
I like this post but then again it's misleading. I understand the the need to place a positive spin on this. However, living with it is overwhelming and exhausting. Parents should not feel ashamed or guilty for how they feel because society places a lot of pressure on them to control their children. Every child is different. These children can turn out great but in the meantime when your child is constantly misbehaving in school, it is not appreciated. This is not as simple as let it be and it will all turn out great. My daughter is constantly misbehaving because she does not make good choices or problem solve well. She is bright, innovative and more than capable. She rejects the guidance as well. She simply wants things her way and believes she has all of the answers. She is 11 years old and has always behaved this way.
Children who follow the rules or go with the flow are no less innovative or bright. They have different personalities and temperaments. They learn how to solve problems and find ways to achieve the most positive outcomes. Personality and temperament are huge factors that should not to be ignored. While my daughter is bright and innovative she is extremely fearful and fears failing to the point that she does nothing. She gets upset with herself for not doing well at times but it's her choice. It's extremely frustrating and painful to watch your child struggle. Ultimately they have to learn to problem solve and work through their own personal obstacles but in the meantime as they grow and have difficult social interactions with children as well as adults, a parent's job remains frustrating. We are by no means strict or permissive parents. We are fair. And if we find that we haven't been we adjust. Nothing works. I laughed at the steering wheel story because I could totally see my child doing that.
Also, the school gives up after a while. Then there are people who believe they know what's best for your child when you know your child is manipulating them. When they realize they've been duped then we have to deal with their upset because they didn't listen to us. If schools maybe relaxed their expectations to accommodate children like this and not breath life into everything they do and allow them to deal with the consequences ... That would be a start. They become reluctant because my daughter is sweet or she's given them some story or she cries.
The only advice I can offer is state the rules, makes the consequences clear and keep on moving. Take emotion out of it because it fuels them to keep up the negative behavior. When you request something or give consequences your expression and attitude should remain neutral. Don't expect the behavior to change necessarily but remain consistent without negotiating, arguing and the like. Also, communicate this to the school. The moment you waiver these children will steamroll right over you.
Good luck to us all!
I am sorry you are facing such heartache. It can be so painful
when your child continues to make bad choices regardless of the help and
support you provide for him. From what you have written, it sounds like you
have done what you can to help your son through his struggles. Sometimes, that
really is all a parent can do, especially one your minor child becomes and adult. I know
that probably doesn’t offer much solace. Many parents in your situation have
found support groups, such as Al Anon, Nar Anon and others, to be helpful for
dealing with the stress and anxiety related to a loved one’s choices. http://www.211.ca/
would be able to give you information on these and other resources in your
area. You can reach the Helpline 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-836-3238. Bear
in mind, many people don’t change what they are doing until they becomes uncomfortable enough
with the way things are. Continue to hold strong and take care of yourself.
Hopefully, your son will come to a point where he is willing to start making
different choices. We appreciate you reaching out and sharing your story. Good
luck to you and your family going forward. Take care.
You bring up an interesting point. It’s not uncommon for
some children to use curse words when they are upset or angry. This is true
even for kids who don’t have an ODD diagnosis. For many kids, it’s related to
their lack of appropriate problem solving skills. In this instance, the problem
is feeling angry or upset. Without effective coping skills, a child may resort
to using bad language or other inappropriate behaviors as a way to deal with
these unpleasant emotions. Other kids curse for the reaction they might get or
as a way to seem more grown up. This is why you see an uptick in swearing among
kids in early adolescence. There are a couple of different approaches one can
take. First, if the swearing is due to poor problem solving skills, helping
your child develop better skills will also help to decrease the swearing, as
discussed in the article The Surprising Reason for Bad Child Behavior: “I Can’t Solve Problems”.
It’s also going to be important to hold your child accountable for the
swearing, regardless of what the underlying cause may be. We find using a task
oriented consequence, such as loss of a privilege until your daughter can go
for a couple hours without swearing. For more information on ways you can
address swearing and other disrespectful behaviors, you might want to check out
this article by Carole Banks: http://www.empoweringparents.com/do-you-personalize-your-childs-behavior-when-he-disobeys-you.php. We appreciate you writing in with
your question and hope you will continue to check back in with any concerns you
may have. Take care.
It's kind of encouraging that this seems to be a common trait among teens with ODD. My daughter, who never uttered a curse word through all of grammar school and junior high, started cursing like the flood gates had opened when she started in high school. Really vulgar profanity. I too have put the 'no profanity at home or around me' rule in place, to no avail. When she is challenged, triggered by any negative emotion, the profanity flies fast and furious, keeping pace with the other things she hurls around, pillows, dishes, lamps, even a dining room chair. Poor coping strategies in dealing with her anger, but scary for those of us who DO try to keep the lid on when challenged. What about apologizing. My daughter never apologizes for antagonizing me, baiting me, pushing my buttons or damaging household property. It's a constant mystery to me.
It is to your credit that you are able to acknowledge the
positive aspects of your son, especially at time when it sounds like things are
challenging. You have rightly observed that kids with ODD often do not respond
to being told what they have to do. This approach will usually bring about even
more opposition. Understanding what you can and cannot control when it comes to
guiding a defiant child is very useful. This article by Kim and Marney, http://www.empoweringparents.com/5-things-you-can-and-cant-control-as-a-parent.php, offers
parents a helpful perspective. The reality is, your child will make his own
choices right or wrong. The trick is to stay the course and remember the
importance of holding him accountable even though it may not be changing his
behavior right away. It is in this way he will learn the very important life
lesson that rules and limits exist regardless of whether he agrees with them or
not. It will serve him well as he grows. We at Empowering Parents understand
what a challenge raising a child with ODD can be. Thank you for reaching out
and please keep in touch. We are here to support you.