Take of ODD which I kind of like

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by SuZir, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Many of us here are not fans of ODD diagnose and I understand well why. By itself it doesn't tell much. However, I like how ODD was first time explained to us by difficult child's neurologist when difficult child was young and for us it was even helpful, so I thought to share that take about this diagnose.

    According that take of the matter ODD is caused by clash between the child and environment (including parenting.) It is not inborn but acquired and because of that, it can be helped. It develops, when environment puts child to too difficult spot too often. When too much is asked and child can not deliver and child fails too often. However, what is too much to ask depends from the child. And that is why ODD isn't usually stand-alone diagnosis but it develops, when child has some challenge that makes it difficult or impossible to meet the expectations parents, day-care/school and society usually has for kids. That challenge is often either subtle or yet undiagnosed and it is lack of accommodations for it, that lead to ODD.

    And because the ODD is reaction to adverse environment from child's point of view, to treat it, environment has to be changed. Underlying conditions have to be found and accommodated and interaction between child and environment has to be changed to more positive. That requires changes in expectations and reactions to the child. Usually also changes in parenting style as well as changes outside of the home.

    With my kid those underlying issues are so subtle and evasive and complicated, that he really never made it to any big diagnosis. So for him the changes that we tried to make in environment, expectations and parenting style were more symptom based. But those neurologist words (and parenting therapy that followed same ideas) were very useful for us to change our way of looking our difficult child's problematic behaviour. Changing from 'our kid is difficult and oppositional' to 'our kid reacts to this environment and these sets of expectations negative and oppositional way, because they overwhelm him' was a big thing for us and helped a lot.

    For us that change of perspective (when we were able to maintain it, it was sometimes very difficult when we were frustrated or angry or hopeless with our kid) was invaluable and one of the things why I think we were able to develop as positive relationship with our son as we have. If we haven't been helped to change our perspective in this, I think our relationship with him would have developed to much worse than it is. Things are far from perfect, but they could be also much worse.

    I don't know how supported or controversial that take of ODD our neurologist explained to us 15 years ago is now, but because there has been lots of discussion of validity of ODD diagnose in this board, I wanted to share this perspective to the matter, because it was very helpful to our family at that time.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I absolutely agree with this statement.

    To me, this is part of why ODD works as a "place-holder" diagnosis. It is recognition that there really is a problem, and the behavior problems are real. It just doesn't have the answers on what needs fixing.
  3. Estherfromjerusalem

    Estherfromjerusalem Well-Known Member

    SuZir, that is extremely interesting. I have printed out what you wrote so that I can read it slowly later. Throughout the years I have been here on the board, people have always said that ODD doesn't come on its own and is always there together with some other disorder. And I always thought to myself, "My difficult child hasn't got any other disorder, just really horrible ODD." The truth is that his encompresis lasted from age four and a half to thirteen and a half, and I suppose that was the complication that exacerbated his problems with all environments (school, home, etc.) and brought about the ODD.

    Anyway, I'm thinking about it. I often wonder about my difficult child and his life, and how it seems now as if it is sorting itself -- although who knows? But what you wrote has put things a little bit into better perspective than I had before.

    He was very very lost in his early teens. Spent a year or two just hanging around in town and not going to school. And then his older brother (just two years older, with ADHD but not really behavior problems, just difficulty in concentrating in class or in any form of study) who had gone to boarding school and had found that the staff there really related to the pupils with understanding and love, persuaded difficult child (and us) that the place would suit difficult child. And he was right. It's a long story, but it suited difficult child and he stayed there three full years through twelfth grade which in itself was a tremendous achievement.

    We have been so very lucky -- he became an adult without a police record, and not addicted to drugs. Slowly slowly he is managing to live a decent life, and independently (he's on the other side of the world now, in Australia, his choice). We do not send him money or support him in any way (except that we are in constant contact by phone and occasionally Skype). It seems to me that you are correct about environment and positive and negative expectations.

    Very interesting. Thanks.

    Love, Esther
  4. Confused

    Confused Guest

    I am going through this as well, and will have some of my family read it!! Thank you :)
  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I like it! Thank you.