Parenting Tips for Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Before I begin, I am not a professional in the medical field. I am a mother who has a child, I adopted, who has Oppositional Defiant Disorder or O.D.D. I am a parent who has learned the hard way and I am still learning to deal with this disorder. I have read every parenting book, took advise from everyone, and I will tell you I have only found a few things that work for me. Nothing in this world prepares you for this disorder, I have found that parenting books must be for that elusive “perfect” child.
My First tip, the most important, make sure your child has professional help. A psychiatrist and a counselor. They are your rock. They will help with anger issues with your child and any other issues your child has. A psychiatrist will recommend medication. That’s your decision whether or not you want your child on meds. The counselor will give your child therapy on how to manage their problems and issues that concern you.
Communication is a very important key. Make sure you communicate with all their doctors and most importantly their schools. I have discovered that most schools are not capable of handling a child with O.D.D. I had to place my boy in an alternative school that have specially trained teachers. If there isn’t one in your area start petitioning for one with your Governor, senator, and school boards,at least for a specially trained teacher.
Consistency is the most important discipline your going to need. Don’t threaten your going to stick them in the corner. The child is just going to continue to defy you. I use One, Two, Three magic. When my child starts demanding from me and I say no and he keeps begging, I say Thats one, he continues, I say thats two. If I reach three I apply an appropriate punishment, whether its time out, the corner, or taking away something of his. When its a very serious offense, like taking off down the street with his friends without telling me, or lying to me its automatic grounding for the day or two days. No second chances!!!!! They will take advantage of this and use it.
When in a store, if your child acts out in the store or throws a major temper tantrum on you, do not buy them anything. Immediately remove your child from the store. If you buy your child something to get them to quit you are enabling the behavior. They will learn to do something in the store every single time. Always shop with a partner. When the child acts out one of you immediately remove them from the store. If you cannot shop with a partner, just leave your stuff and walk out. You can always go back later.
Always praise the good behavior. I found this works. I have a chart for good behaviors. Its a point system. He gets so many points for each thing he does good. Example: ten points for making his bed, ten points for brushing his teeth, twenty points for cleaning his room, thirty points if he does something I ask without asking twice. At the end of the day I add up his points and he gets a small reward, like getting to stay up an extra thirty minutes or extra time watching cartoons. At the end of the week, we add up his points from every day totals, so many points goes towards something he wants. An example my child likes burger king and taco bell. If he has one hundred points he gets to chose which one he would like to go to. With the economic times the way they are you can’t always do that, I know I can’t. So other rewards are trips to the park, library, or an art gallery. Somewhere where there is no entrance fee. Praise, Praise, Praise I cannot stress that enough. Sometimes, you get so frustrated with the situation you loose sight of the good and focus on the bad. Just remember when your child is bad apply appropriate punishments. Take away a few points, take away a toy, or ground them. Mine hates those punishments, and make them choose the punishment. That makes them own up to what they did and take responsibility. Set major bad behavior with your punishment. My major behavior I have with my child is taking off without permission, lying, getting kicked off the school bus, and stealing. Since these seem to be recurring, its automatic grounding. He is grounded to the house. He loves the outdoors so he is not allowed outside. He tries to drive me crazy so I will let him go but I keep my foot down. I put him to work cleaning his room, the bathroom, or sweeping and vacuuming. If your child is too young for these time out in the corner and don’t start the time out until they have realized you mean it and they sit there.
Don’t argue with them. They are the child and your the adult. Don’t react with anger. Your child is looking for a reaction and they don’t care whether its bad or good. If you feel your losing it walk away. Go outside, or your room just get away from them and cool down and then go back and deal with it. I know what your thinking easier said than done. I know but after eight years of dealing with this and his other problems he has, I have to get away from him for a few minutes.
The most important thing I can tell you is take time for yourself. This is not an easy disorder to deal with, nobody wants to babysit a child like this, your not able to work because this disorder is a full time job. You have to be ready at a drop of a hat. You defiantly cannot leave work every time the school calls, or for every single doctors appointments. Sometimes you feel like your loosing your mind. You need time for yourself and a very good support system in place. I know your asking yourself what am I doing wrong? Why am I such a bad parent? Your not a bad parent, this condition your child has is an mental and physical drain on you. Its not your fault your child has this disorder. I wish you all the luck in the world. You deserve a metal of strength, will power, and especially a purple heart. I am positive you have been kicked, bit, had your hair pulled, had things thrown at you thats why I say a purple heart.
Don’t yell at them, they will just yell back. Don’t spank them, they will just be more violent with you. Just be best parent I know you are and constantly let them know how much you love them.

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