Raising My ODD Grandson: Taking It Day by Day

Posted February 24, 2011 by

I am a grandmother/great grandmother raising my offspring’s offspring. All have had problems, which I have handled with varying degrees of success over the years. I am presently raising my great grandson. He has proven to be the most difficult. There are many issues which are unique to grandparents and many more which we share with all parents. The major issue with grandparents who have older grandchildren seems to be a lack of bonding.  We are seen as “really, really old” and largely irrelevant to the modern world.  I have had to rethink a lot of the attitudes and expectations that I have brought with me from decades ago that are as strange to this boy as wagon trains were to me. Furthermore, I cannot go in-line skating, skateboarding, or play a fast game of ball. Nor do I have a social network of parents with children his age.

With Jacob, I have had to deal with diagnoses of ODD, ADD/ADHD, and possible bipolar or PTSD issues. I wasted his early years making excuses for him, even when I knew that no other kids were doing all the (bad) things that he was. It is a lot harder now to get control; he is in counseling, on dietary supplements, and under the close supervision of the teachers and principal at his school. We have dealt with lying, stealing, explosive anger, bullying, vandalism, and fighting battles over the daily requirements of life.

He is responding to the dietary changes, use of natural and logical consequences (I was very bad at establishing these), raising his fences and making them Jacob-proof, and a careful introduction of anything out of the ordinary into his life. I owe any success I have had to the information available on the internet. I have found Empowering Parents to be especially helpful and I am grateful for it.

For my part, I have learned how to take his behavior without losing my temper. He has responded by not losing his so often. It is an uphill struggle, but we are taking it day by day.


Parent Blogger “Gigi” has a PhD in physiology and taught entering nursing students for many years. She is the mother of four and is currently raising her 9-year-old grandson, Coby.

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  1. Starliene Report

    Hello, I am raising two grandchildren as a single person and I am 55 years old. I have had them over 2 years. My grandson who is 8 has ADHD.  He has melt downs for not getting his way. For a time, the melt downs were not as often, but now he is back having them fulforce.  When this happens he is very defiant, hits me, punches me, kicks me,  calls me names, destroys anything in  his path, etc… I’m not sure how much more of this I can take.
    Also, his dad voluntarily gave up his parental rights in December.  I haven’t told the kids yet.  (ages 8 & 7)  They keep asking when they are going to see their dad and I have been putting them off.  Prior to December dad had supervised visits with a social worker taking kids to his house for 2 hours.  Kids have been asking when they’re going to see they’re dad again.  I know I need to tell them, but I don’t know how to do it and know that no matter what, they are going to be upset, expecially the boy who is 8 now.  Please help me with some advice, thanks!

  2. OfficerGrandma57 Report

    Whenever I read stories from another grandmother, I just have to say that the fact that you are raising them as I am is brave and powerful enough. I guess as grandparents, we do have our old ways of child raising and sometimes it does not always fit in this world, but hang in there. I read each thing you said and although we might not always fit, after a while, the kids know that they can count on use when there is a need for someone to be there. Believe me, I really do understand.

  3. Josey Report

    My ADHD teenage son is 18 years old and completing his senior year in Highschool. He had quit shortly before graduation last year because of a personality conflict with one of his teachers. He quit taking his medication because he thought he knew what was best for him. (the “I’m 18 I can do what I want to” attitude. He was diagnosed with severe ADHD at the age of 4 years old by a Neuropsychologist and on medication since the age of 6 years old through a clinical trial. He has also been ODD since he was around 9 years old. I purchased the total transformation program years ago and it has helped me see my part in his behavior. (Marter complex and his stepfather the perfectionist)
    With the help of this program I have learned to set strict boundaries which included him leaving my home when he quit school. He went to live with a biological father that had abandonded him short his birth. After a few short months he asked to return home and to complete Highschool.

    Parents please don’t give up on your kids. They must feel acceptance even if they are different from you or they will turn to the wrong crowd. But do set the boudaries.

  4. Jan Shoop Report

    Thank you for sharing your story. I think there are many parents/grandparents/great-grandparents out there just like you, struggling with special children. Sharing your story will give all of them hope. Sounds like you’re doing a great job.

  5. Kathy Report

    I am a single parent, work two jobs and am raising my 11 year old son on my own. He was diagnosed with ODD a year ago. ODD is a learned and not neurological disorder. My son’s ODD is a direct result of major issues between my son’s father and I and major differences in parenting styles. I can tell you that a points based behaviour chart with defined consequences works wonders for ODD children. Repeating words like, “When you speak to me with respect, you will get your points” in a calm tone of voice over and over instead of yelling and fighting quickly teaches them that they cannot win, will not control you and will not get their points without behaving properly. ODD kids seem to understand set rules that they feel they are in control of. Earning points for key behaviour goals and letting them spend the points on rewards that have meaning to them teaches them to think before the act and teaches them to be accountable for their behaviour. It can be fun to have them enter their own points and it can make make your home much more peaceful.



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