What is Full Riley?

I have read "full Riley" a couple of times on here - what does that mean?

Mom, 34,
difficult child - 12 (boy) ADHD/ODD (possible conduct disorder) currently undergoing evaluation in Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) for medications possibilities
3 easy child (all girls) 8, 7 and 5
New to the whole ODD diagnosis, but not all that new to the behavior- just glad that it has a name!


New Member
It's from the book "The Defiant Child" by Dr. Riley - which I now have and will read - others will give you more info but I think it's about taking away everything except bed and bedding and two sets of clothes, and letting the difficult child earn the rest back .... but I have to read it so could have taken that out of context.


The full riley is a term someone coined that refers to one of the parenting techniques that Dr. Douglas Riley outlines in his book "The Defiant Child". It is only a part of what the entire book is about. As Addie said it does refer to stripping the child's room of it's "things" and making them earn them back, but is not the part and parcel of the book, only one thing used to get their attention so that other behavioral modifications can be used once the child realizes that you the parent are the boss. I have taken a few excepts from the book and will cut and paste them here to give you an idea of his thoughts:

"Children with ODD need firm, clear structure. It should be flexible, giving them plenty of room to roam when they are doing well, but it should contract around them when they are not doing well."

"Do not allow yourself to be pulled into a yelling match. Yelling matches are teenagers' turf. They will win every one of these contests because they believe they have nothing to lose."

"The healthiest kind of structure is a flexible one."

"If you are not brutal or violet but believe that you depend too much on yelling or spanking, you may wish to contact a therapist who can discuss parenting skills training with you. Like many therapists, I find that parents who rely on yelling and spanking often admit that they just don't know what other techniques to employ."

"Should she chose to escalate, you must then stay calm and indicate that as a parent you have already given your answer."

"When parents frequently yell, shout, threaten, or strike out physically while angry, they send a profound message: No one is in control."

"Oppositional children and teenagers expect you to approach them with hostility. Their entire set of defenses is tuned to seek and find indications of hostility in adults, something like a radio receiver tuned to pick up only one station. Once you are angry, they know how to respond because they are on familiar ground."

"You have to make it perfectly clear to him what his negative behaviors will cost, and you have to find a way to prove to him that you will provide consequences over and over and over and over. Remember, he is oppositional and believes that he can outlast you."

Many of us who have used his methods successfully have has to strip their room only once. It is not something you do every week. It should take quite a while to earn the things back. If given back to soon it becomes a give and take match.

I really encourage you to read the book if you would like more information so you can judge for yourself whether this plan will work for you.


[*]8 yo difficult child daughter/ODD/Adopted

[*]13 yo easy child daughter

"Bad things happen when good people stand by and do nothing"

Nancy, you have done a superb job of pulling salient points together!!!

There is a review of Riley's book on the book review section - click the red menu bar at the top.

When I "Rileyd" my kid, it took him four months to earn his boom box, and then another six months to earn his bike. He did not earn money, his behavior earned him the priviledge of having access to objects that gave him enjoyment.

Negative behavior can earn immediate and total removal of said objects.

Negative behavior, at this point, is almost totally gone. He still gets angry, and maybe once a week gets loud about it. But he does not destroy real estate or swear or have total meltdowns now.

One really good combination of Riley and another writer who's name has evaded me at the moment, was the whole notion of natural consequences. Fuzz was into slamming his door and pounding on the inside of it to drive me nuts. So I removed it. Slid it between my bed and the wall. End of problem. Took the little bugger three months to earn a door back.

Yep. He knows that mama don't play, and she is definitely the boss.

Hi... I too just finished reading Riley and I started this weekend with using some of his techniques. And they worked...if only for a bit...but it was an improvement. LOL. My difficult child actually came to me and had me explain the way things were going to work and he said he understood and liked it..who knows bout these kids. I am actually having a harder time with my older semiGFG with the program than the younger one. I have modified Riley somewhat and am using the level system he talks about for mine. I am also using his time outs. I expect that we will have to use the full riley at some point but I am holding that for difficult child's worst behavior...skipping school. For other things we are on levels. I am hopeful that this will work.

Janet L.
3 boys
13 yr old difficult child, ADHD, ODD,possible bipolar or antisocial personality disorder.
15 yr old, ADHD-doing ok
19 yr old, AG but Learning Disability (LD), easy child

15 mg Adderall 3 times a day.

This book sounds interesting! I am encouraged to read that the methods outlined in this book are working for some of you. I really liked the excerpt that kids push buttons until we react in anger, because they are then on familiar turf. This sounds like my difficult child to a T! Well, off to amazon.com.

ME, 41yo wife, mom, former zoloft user, now embracing my mood swings with-o drugs.
difficult child, Nick, 9 year old, ADHD, ODD, Tic/Tourettes, possible Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Ritalin, 10 mg, 3X per day, Tenex 1 mg 2X/day
easy child, Katy, 3 1/2, proof of my good parenting skills
husband, 40yo, always happy, doesn't anything bother this man?, we are happy after 15 years together, but are struggling with our issues none the less.
I am trying to understand what people mean when they say "God sent you this child for a reason". Why, was I really bad that day?


New Member
I haven't even read it yet and notice improvements just from gleaning nuggets from the board. ODD granddaughter had asked to be taken hiking after weeks of really rude, mean, and disrespectful behavior -- also lying and stealing. I told her hiking, allowance, movies, going places, etc. etc. -- all are privileges -- subject to being taken away when she behaves badly. She's been steadily improving since then. I've built in lots of rewards -- in praise and in privileges -- for even minor improvements. More praise and better rewards for outstanding behavior, good behavior over longer periods, etc. I've been ignoring minor mishaps, and of course I work and am not at home much of the time. I ask for updates from my daughters when I am home. difficult child does seem to like this! Maybe it's improvement in medication? Maybe brain chemicals are currently balanced? Maybe it's working? Dunno!

Myself: 52, grandmother, live with
Daughter (34) : daughter, ADD, Learning Disability (LD) (ritalin used to turn her into a zombie, so when she was little, I gave her caffeine 3x a day
Granddaughter (8): daughter, ADHD (was on cylert, now on alderal)
Granddaughter (9): ODD, ADHD (was on cylert, now on alderal)
Daughter, 29: easy child, but had ODD tendencies when a teenager
Grandson, 10: easy child