How To Deal with Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Up to 10% of all children are affected by oppositional defiant disorder.It can be difficult for a parent to get along with a child with ODD, as they may feel like there is a constant power struggle.Modifications to how you approach managing behavior are necessary to understand your child.

Step 1: There are symptoms of ODD.

Children with ODD tend to exhibit certain behaviors that identify them, usually beginning in preschool and almost always presenting before the early teen years.A child with ODD will display a frequent and persistent pattern of hostile and disobedient behavior.If you notice four or more of the following behaviors in your child that cause problems at home, school, and other environments, you should take him to a therapist to see if he fits a formal diagnosis.

Step 2: There is a tendency toward victimhood.

Children with ODD experience themselves as victims, and believe that their actions of punching a wall or hurting another child are justified.The child can feel angry, resentful, and upset.She might be a victim in a situation.The reaction is more severe than the original offense.

Step 3: Discuss your child’s reactions.

Your child may be upset, but he is in charge of his behavior.He chose to react in a negative or harmful way.It is his decision how to respond to bad things, even if it is unfair.Do you think it’s okay for someone to hit you if they’re mad at you?Is it possible that you are mad at someone?Can you hit him?What is the difference?

Step 4: The need to be in control is acknowledged.

Children with ODD will go to extreme lengths to feel in control.If you start talking about your child hitting his sibling, you could end up in a power struggle.Don’t engage the struggle, disengage from the situation.You can either steer the conversation back to the original point or walk away.When your child is arguing to defend himself, be aware of whether it is coming from a place of wanting power or not.

Step 5: Talk about ways to deal with a difficult situation.

Your child needs to know how to respond well.They can learn constructive responses from discussing or playing role-play situations.Talk about…Taking deep breaths or counting to calm down, such as “I need some alone time” and “please don’t touch me.”When someone else doesn’t respect their boundaries, what to do and how to get help.

Step 6: You can learn how to communicate with your child.

There are ways to communicate with your child that are helpful and productive, as well as ways that will impede communication and possibly cause bad behavior.Use short, to-the-point explanations to communicate clearly.Use direct language to state what you want.Maintaining relaxed or neutral facial expressions and gestures requires eye contact.Listen to your child’s answers.Discuss what is happening now, not what he did in the past, and try to find a solution.Don’t make assumptions about your child’s behavior or use negative body language.

Step 7: Without anger, respond.

Do your best to respond to your child without anger, as it is difficult to remove your own emotions from a situation.Tell us what has happened, why it is not okay, and what needs to change.Follow through with the consequences of the behavior.Don’t engage in any conflict after removing yourself from the situation.If you find yourself becoming angry, take some deep breaths and say something like, “I am calm and relaxed”.Don’t say anything you may regret if you take some time to respond.

Step 8: The blame game needs to be stopped.

My child is ruining my life.If you get caught up in these thoughts, take a step back and acknowledge how you are feeling.You are responsible for how you feel, not your child.Show yourself to be a role model for your child by taking responsibility for yourself.

Step 9: Consistency is important.

A child can be confused by inconsistent parenting.If a child sees an opportunity to get something they want, they will most likely take it.They may try to wear down your defense in order to get you to say yes.Consistency in how you respond to conflict is important.In order to enforce the guidelines, be clear in your expectations.Your child can know what will happen with certain behaviors if you create a positive behaviors and consequences chart.It’s helpful to know what to expect from your child and you.Good and bad behavior should be rewarded and responded to with consequences.Be clear if your child tries to wear you down.”Do I look like a dad who will change his mind if you keep asking?”Try a simple response such as, “This is not up for discussion” or “I’m not arguing over this.”The discussion is over.

Step 10: Your thoughts should be adjusted.

If you assume your child is trying to annoy you or cause a problem, you will respond differently.When someone pushes against you, it is natural to push back.You should not expect your child to correct these behaviors on his own.If you start to have negative thoughts about your child, replace them with more positive ones.If you find yourself thinking, “My son is always trying to start a fight and never knows when to let go”, replace that thought with “every child has strengths and difficulties”.My consistent effort will help my child build the skills he needs to express himself.

Step 11: There are family and environmental stressors.

Take into account what kind of home life your child has.Is a family member struggling with substance abuse problems?Do you spend very little time with your child, or do she spend a lot of time playing video games?If you want to change the home environment for the better, you need to identify both obvious and subtle ways.If you and your partner are constantly fighting, consider limiting TV or gaming time, having mandatory family dinners, and seeking counseling.If there is substance abuse or a mental health disorder in the family, help that person begin treatment.Other potential stressors include economic stress, parental mental illness, severe or harsh punishment, multiple moves, and divorce.

Step 12: Help identify what’s going on.

Your child doesn’t know how to express anger or frustration in a positive way.If you notice your child is angry, label it.Say, “It seems like you’re angry.”When I feel sad, I don’t want to talk to people and I keep my head down, so talk about how feelings can be expressed.How can you tell when someone is upset?When do you notice that someone is happy?Talk about how your child expresses emotions and what it looks like when someone is angry.

Step 13: Emphasize the importance of respecting boundaries.

Both your child and other people have the right to set boundaries, and to have others respect them.The basics of consent can help your child understand why hitting, poking, or kicking others is not okay.As needed, enforce others’ boundaries.”Your sister said she doesn’t want a hug, just a high five.”It’s important to respect that.Enforce your child’s boundaries as well.If another child plays with your daughter’s hair, give the other child a stern look and say that this is not okay.

Step 14: As soon as possible begin treatment.

According to studies, up to 70% of children with ODD will be symptom-free within three years if they receive treatment.The sooner you address and begin to treat any co-existing conditions, the better your child’s chances are of improving.Children who are diagnosed with Conduct Disorder go on to develop it.Abuse toward people or animals, initiation of physical fights, and/or forcing someone into sexual activity are some of the symptoms of this disorder.

Step 15: You should seek a therapist for your child.

Chances are your child is struggling if you have problems getting along with them.Your child may not know how to express their wants and desires in a way that is easy to receive.A therapist can help your child express himself.They can help your child express their emotions in a constructive way.Positive behaviors are replaced with negative behaviors in behavior therapy.Parents can help enforce the new learned behaviors at home.Helping your child learn problem solving skills, empathy, social skills and reduce aggressive behaviors may be possible with therapy.Look for a social-skills program at the child’s school.The program helps teach children to interact with their peers in a more positive way as well as help them improve their school work.

Step 16: Co-occurring mental health conditions should be treated.

Children with ODD will often have other emotional problems as well.If you suspect your child may have one of these disorders, make an appointment with a therapist.Unless the co-existing disorder is treated, a child won’t make progress with his ODD.

Step 17: Attend parent-management training.

You may have found it easier to deal with your other children’s problems, but you may not know how to parent a child with ODD.It’s helpful to adjust your approach to parenting.Creating structure to your approach to parenting can be accomplished with a parenting class.You can learn different ways to approach your child’s behavior, systems for managing behavior and find support with other parents who are struggling with their kids.Family therapy can give other family members a voice and help the entire family learn how to interact positively with someone with ODD.It can help educate family members.

Step 18: Listen to people who experienced ODD.

What their parents did for them helped them the most, and what they would like you to know as a parent.They know how to handle things well because they are in your child’s position.

Step 19: Join a support group for parents.

Other resources can’t offer help in a way that a support group can.Meeting with other parents who have the same struggles can be a source of inspiration.You can offer support to other parents who are going through the same thing.Incredible Years, Center for Collaborative Problem Solving, and Parent- Child Interaction Therapy are online resources.

Step 20: If necessary, supplement treatment with medication.

Some of the more severe symptoms of ODD can be treated with medication, but it is not a suitable treatment for the condition.Make an appointment with a Psychiatrist to discuss medication with your child.If the child has had a physical and psychiatric evaluation, and if all other treatments have been attempted, consider the possible side effects.How medication will be given at home and at school, how to talk to the child about the medication and side effects, and what to look out for.