New here with a child with ODD

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Dagmar, Feb 5, 2010.

  1. Dagmar

    Dagmar New Member

    Hello, I am new here, but am so relieved to have found this site. My eldest son (nearly 9) has just been diagnosed with ODD, after a 6+ year battle to be taken seriously. We knew something wasn't right pretty much from birth, and have been struggling ever since. It is a daily battle and I am at the end of my tether and so exhausted. My other children don't have any behavioural problems.

    If anyone has any coping strategies to share I would be very grateful.
  2. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome! Being taken seriously is half the battle. Hopefully you can get the help you need now.

    Coping strategies:
    1.) Get time away by yourself. Hard to do, I know. But, seriously worth it. Take a night every week to just go stroll the mall, or go to Starbucks for coffee, Barnes & Noble for some quiet reading.
    2.) Find a way for you & husband to get some time alone.
    3.) BE sure you and husband stick together, do not disagree in front of difficult child - these kids have a way of pushing parents apart.
    4.) Let go of some parenting techniques that are not working. If it does not work after years of trying it is not going to suddenly start working. We have all gone back and tried the same things over and over again with the hope it might stick, but if it is not helping the situation try something new. Maybe even non-traditional. Think out of the box.
  3. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Hi Dagmar and welcome!

    If you could make a signature, it would help us out a lot to remember your particulars.

    I couldn't agree more with busywend. Raising a child with challenging behaviors can take the life right out of you. It is really imperative that you not only take care of yourself (emotionally and physically) but that you make a conscious effort to nurture your marriage because in the frenzy of dealing with- behaviors, sometimes we forget about our partners (just ask my husband ;) ).

    I'm not a big fan of self-help books, with the exception of "The Explosive Child". This book helped me get a grip on what I was trying to do. It's easy to fall into the trap of trying to address all behaviors all the time, and that's just not realistic. Dr. Greene talks about prioritizing behaviors into baskets, A being the nonnegotiable stuff, B being kinda important but not necessarily stuff you want to go to the mat on all the time, and C being stuff that can wait. In our home, violence was always basket A, because my difficult child was violent more often than not. Stuff like cursing and hygiene were basket C because in the grand scheme of our life at the time, they just weren't that important. Baskets are different for different families - it just depends on what you're dealing with.

    Who diagnosed your son? How were his developmental milestones (early, on time, late)? How is he doing in school? Is there a family history of mood disorders/depression/substance abuse (possible indicator of an undiagnosed/untreated mood disorder)? I ask the last question because ODD is really more a diagnosis of symptoms in my humble opinion rather than a definitive *diagnosis*, and mood disorders tend to run in families. If your kid is oppositional and defiant, he's got ODD, but in my book it's more important to look beyond that. Is there a mood disorder, a learning disability, a developmental disorder driving the ODD?

    Wanted to add.... none of us have *the* answer. We're not doctors. We can offer our opinions and experiences, but please remember that we bring our biases based on our own lives (my point of reference when I hear about a defiant irritable child is based on my defiant irritable bipolar son - but I could/probably be completely off base). So the point is, take what you can use, what seems like a good fit for what is going on now, and don't worry about the rest of it. ;) We have a wonderfully diverse group of people on the board so you will get a wide range of opinions - that's one of the best things about the board.

    Glad you found us and again, welcome!
  4. Dagmar

    Dagmar New Member

    Thank you both so much for your replies. My son was diagnosed by a Psychiatrist here in the UK. We are still waiting for the treatment program. I have 'The Explosive Child', and although it is an excellent book, it doesn't work with my son. Discussing anything is impossible. I am reading 'The Defiant Child' by Douglas A Riley, which is a no nonsense guide to ODD. It's refreshing because it doesn't conform to the modern 'softly, softly' approach to behavioural issues.

    PS Is there a guide as to the terminology and abbreviations used on this forum-I am kind of lost!?
  5. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

  6. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Hi Dagmar,

    Welcome! As I'm sure the psychiatrist explained to you, ODD describes what is happening but not why. Hopefully as he works with your son, the psychiatrist will get a better picture of why. Is there a history of mood disorders or substance abuse in your family trees? How are your son's language and social skills?

    You may be getting ahead of yourself with "The Explosive Child". I know I did at the beginning. Choose just a few A basket behaviors and throw everything else in C until you can get a handle on the critical issues.

    I liked Riley's Defiant Child but it backfired horribly on us with Kanga because it doesn't really work with psychotic children (and Kanga was psychotic for almost two years before we knew).
  7. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member


    Douglas Riley has come out with a new book - what your explosive child is telling you which in my humble opinion vindicates the approach of Dr Greene . Different approaches have different underlying philosophies and interpretation of why children behave in this way. And of course each child is different , the problem could be one of motivation or lacking coping to function adaptively

    Dr Greene believes children do well if they can , they would rather be successful and do well rather than not do well , so the reason why they are acting in such a maladaptive fashion is that they are lacking the skills to pull it off.

    if the problem is motivation then you can just try and make them want it ! However the relaity is that kids don't like to be controlled and manipulated and will resist even more . By stepping back and give up control we actually can influence because of the improved relationship and trust.

    CPS demands that parents deal with the issues by actual problem solving. It takes the learning of these skills by both parents and kids.

    see and especially the videos

  8. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi Dagmar,

    My 18 yo was diagnosed with ODD at age 7. I also liked Dr. Riley's approach and it was the only way we could somewhat manage. She graduated high school last June but failed in her first semester of college, mainly because she can't follow any rules or laws and got kicked out for smoking pot and drinking. She would have flunked out at the end of the year anyway since she got an F in every subject. She is now living back at home, I take her for a drug test every month, and she needs to get a job so she can move out SOON.

    The future does not look good for her because she spends every dime she has as soon as she gets it and will lie and steal her way through life. Just the other day she stole a quarter collection my Dad had made for me of all the States' quarters. I found the folder in her purse. She refuses to apologize and says she isn't guilty because she hadn't spent them!!!!

    I wish I had good suggestions for you but I don't. The only thing I do know is that you and your husband have to be completely on the same page when it comes to discipline with him and back each other up.

  9. Dagmar

    Dagmar New Member

    Thank you all for your advice and experiences. For me right now, it's about support. I bear the brunt of it as my husband is out of the house 12 hours a day, and I am emotionally and mentally exhausted. I feel attacked from the moment my son gets up until the moment he goes to bed.

    There are mental health problems within my extended family, but that seemed to stem from an abusive upbringing. There was also alcoholism on both sides of my parents families, but we have no contact with any family.

    We are still waiting for the Psychiatrist to come back to us with a treatment plan.