February 20, 2018

Raising ODD Children Is Interesting, Isn’t It?

Raising children is interesting isn’t it? Every day, something new comes up so that on the job training is the norm. Now, if you are raising Oppositional Defiant Disorder kiddos, every moment can feel like on the job training as it is very different than raising “typical kids”. And what is more difficult is that most parents (and professional people) don’t get it either. It is definitely a horse of a different color.

How are ODD kids different than typical kids? Mostly in the area of control. Typical kids allow authority figures to have some control over them. However, not ODD’s! They fear loss of control to authority figures, especially parents. And when they feel out of control, they feel unsafe, which causes them to do whatever is necessary to regain their sense of security. Bang holes in the wall to get out of time out, break dishes when emptying the dishwasher, etc. Whatever it takes to get you to make them stop so they don’t have to do what you have told them. Viola, back in control!

Below are some creative tips that I have used to let them feel in control and get what I want too!

  1. Don’t ask them a general or blanket question. This would look like – please change those pants or please empty the dishwasher. I can just feel the battle lines being drawn here with a resounding NO! Instead, try this – do you want to wear these shorts or these jeans? Or do you want to put the dishes away on the bottom shelf or the top shelf of the dishwasher first? You get what you want and he has control over the how.
  2. Determine if this is a battle you must win. Such as he must get dressed as you are both leaving for an appointment.  If it is, then make a move to remove his control. “You can either put these shorts on or I will put them on for you”. (Disclaimer – some kids don’t like to be handled and physically touching them can send them into the fight/flight/freak/freeze part of their brain.)
  3. Walk away. James Lehman calls this Stopping the Show. It presents as their losing control and most of the time they will follow after you. I found this most effective when I do need to go somewhere and I pick up my purse and head to the door without a SINGLE WORD. If the goal is to get them to accomplish something, then nothing good happens until they do what is expected. This may mean no tv, computer or playtime, something like that, even the next meal may be delayed until they get up to speed.

Creative parenting is exactly what it sounds like. And these helpful hints can be and should be tailored to fit you and your ODD sweetie’s needs and personalities.

Could you use some parenting help?

One tool that we’ve used is the Total Transformation program by James Lehman. It’s given us a lot of solid, common sense ideas for parenting our challenging children.

About the author: By

Julie is an awesome parent (along with her husband Matt) to five adopted kiddos and the owner of the Parenting Allies website.

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Disclaimer: We are not psychologists, counselors, or therapists. We are parents of children with special challenges, and the techniques, tools, and programs we recommend on this website have worked for us on our parenting journey.

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