What works for your oppositional & defiant child?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Jules71, Jun 4, 2008.

  1. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    I know this has probably been a topic here many times - but I think I need a refresher.

    I would love to hear about ANYTHING (programs, counseling, medication, diet, vitamins, etc.) that has worked for your child when it comes to opposition and defiance. Is there anything that eliminates this behavior or do the adults in his life just have to constantly manage his behavior and change their expectations?

    I am not seeing the stimulant medication my difficult child takes for ADHD having any positive effects on his ODD. I am beginning to go back to the idea that his behavior is a result of our parenting (poor fit). Everything is a POWER STRUGGLE. I have always given him lots of choices --like which bowl do you want... which cup... do you want to wear this coat or that coat, or no coat... etc.

    The problems arise when 1) he doesn't get his way, and 2) we need him to do or not do something. I cannot possible reason with him every time he doesn't like what I am asking/telling him to do. For ex. he is riding his bike on our street. I give him advance warnings about when it's time to put his bike away and come in (10 mins, 5 mins, ok time to come in). He tells me NO. I say YES you need to come in. He says NO. I try to catch him, he peddles faster... I look like an idiot running down the street yelling get back here! See I know the answer to this - he doesn't get to ride his bike the next time. Does he care? Maybe, maybe not - he just finds some other way to torment me. Everything and everyday is a battle.

    He thinks he is the adult, can do what he wants, and can tell us what to do. He is 6 years old! He told me last night after we left the store with ice cream instead of pop cicles that he hated me, wanted a different mom, etc., etc. Then after we got home and he got over it and wanted some ice cream - told me to get him some. I told him no - because I did not like his behavior. He told me to get him some or die. He told me to make the choice - he said which one do you choose? Get me some ice cream or I kill you. Hmmmm- WTH. I don't think so. I am tired of doing this everyday and it seems time is ticking too fast and before you know it my baby will be a terrible-teenager.

    I need ideas. Thanks for listening.
  2. First of all~I know you are out there looking inside my window!!! LOL This is what goes on in my house everyday and it isn't getting any better. My son is now almost 13..we are trying to get him in some sort of program for this summer as well.(most places want to keep them longer and at this point hey what ever will help.) I know what you mean when you always give them options, I to did this while my difficult child was growing up. I thought it was good parenting "no son you cannot have that ,but you may have this." Worked when he was little and now it has blown up in my face because every time he does something to get in trouble and you take something away "well thats OK mom I cant have that ,but I still have this:)"aarrrgggggggghhh!! never ending battle. Glad you posted this maybe we can get some good advice!!
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Ok, welcome, and a few questions for you. in my opinion you need a new evaluation and until you get one, doubt anything will really help.
    1/Who diagnosed him?
    2/Has he ever had a neuropsychologist evaluation?
    3/Are there any psychiatric problems or substance abuse on either side of his family tree?
    4/How was his early speech, eye contact, peer interaction, motor skills, imaginary play?
    5/If ADHD medications don't work, it could very well be that he was misdiagnosed and that his core problem isn't ADHD. Stims can make some disorders even worse.
    You may want to do a signature like I did below. It will help us help you.
    Again, welcome.
  4. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    First of all, sending you hugs. Your little darling sounds very much like Miss KT at that age. As far as the choices, maybe you're offering too many. Miss KT had two options, with the third being nothing. For cup color...red, blue, or go thirsty. Don't waste your energy trying to reason with him. He's 6, and he isn't being reasonable. If he can't handle the responsibilities of riding a bike...sorry, kiddo, guess you're too young for this, we'll try again when you're 7. Then put it up so he can't get to it. Throws the bike helmet over the fence like Miss KT did? Tough tofu, kiddo, better earn some money to buy a new one. Doesn't like the ice cream? Fine, I do, so I'll eat it. Don't like dinner? Breakfast will be about 7 tomorrow morning. The consequences of choosing unacceptable behaviors have to hurt, or they aren't consequences, and they also need to be directly related to the offense. I don't mean beat him within an inch of his life, but there has to be something there to motivate changes.

    Hang in there!
  5. Priceless Quote~~Don't like dinner? Breakfast will be about 7 tomorrow morning.

    Thanks KTmom91
  6. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    This may help in some situations:

    When my easy child was about 4 yrs old, we went to BK for supper. There is a play area. easy child decided to refuse to come out when I asked her to. So, I took my stuff out to the vehicle and came back to deal with easy child. This was early fall so I told her because she didn't come when I told her to, we will not be able to go back until after Halloween. (I know, probably too long, but I was extremely angry and I knew that would make more sense to her than next week.) Everytime she asked to go, I would remind her that last time she wouldn't leave so I do not want to take her for awhile.

    I did this a lot with my kids - "If you do not come now, it will be a long time before you can do it again." "I can't let you do that because last time you would not stop when I told you to."

    So, no bike for awhile - "The last time I let you ride bike ended in a disaster because you wouldn't stop when I told you to. Let's wait until you are able to listen better. You think about it tonight and maybe we can try it again tommorow."

    I also think that keeping things light and using mild humor helps. "Hey pumpkin, looks like you are enjoying that show. How long does it go?" "I am sorry, but we need to leave before it is over, please turn it off and get ready to go. Have you seen this episode before? Good, you can tell me about how it ends in the car." (or, you can tell me what you have watched and make up an ending.)

    I just read a book on The Manipulative Child. It gave me some ideas that I wish I would have worked with when difficult child was much younger. You need to keep the subject on the action - difficult child is trying to change the subject (manipulate the situation so he is in control). I am going to work on these with my difficult child but he may be too old for them to work completely. Basically, it states to not give the child a chance to reason with you. Our children are awesome attorneys who can reason themselves out of anything. What you say goes. Period. When we give our kids too many choices, it does backfire and they then tend to think they can control everything and everyone around them. They grow up thinking that everything is a choice that ends in their favor.

    Stop the action - Pause (time out until child calms down - could be a few seconds, could be hours) - Redirect

    The time out is important also. Make the pause stick - don't let the kid off because he decides to do what was told. He needs to complete the pause and then do what he is suppose to do. "Please take dishes to kitchen" "NO" "difficult child, sit down here" "OK, I will take dishes to kitchen" "difficult child, you must first sit down here" "OK, now you may get up and take dishes to the kitchen." Repeat these steps until difficult child follows the directions. The first several times may take a ton of repeats.

    Just ideas, may not be what you need - however, it did make sense to me.
  7. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    MWM I don't know what was said in this post to convince you that another evaluation was necessary.

    Jules I have been living with extreme defiance and ODD behavior for years now. Don't beat yourself up over poor parenting although I did chuckle because you used the term "poor fit" and that term was used by a team of professionals when they evaluated our difficult child at about age seven. I resented that term then but over time I have come to understand what they meant. I believe we were a poor fit for our difficult child, our temperments are completely different, our values are different, our personalities are different, we don't have the same outlook on life or work or play or rules or anything. And I do believe that perhaps I tried to mold difficult child into my way of life instead of accepting her for who she was, although it's hard accepting a child who constantly defies every rules of our house and society.

    I agree that I would give your difficult child only two choices. Would you like grilled cheese or hamburger for dinner? Would you like to play outside or go to the movies? Remember that his ADHD medications will not take the ODD behavior away. The best you can hope for is that it will help him focus more so that you can try some behavioral modifications.

    I won't tell you this is going to be easy. For those of us who have ODD children we need a great deal of patience. Try not to make everything a battle. Easier said then done. Find something to praise him for every day even if you have to make something up. If you dont; feel the medications are helping his ADHD at all perhaps it's time for a medication change. I am not a fan of adderall anyway because it can be abused in the middle school years, kids sell their adderall pills and crush them and snort them for a quick high.

    Counseling did not help my difficult child at that age, they are too young to get anything from it. If I had it to do all over again I would ban every ounce of sugar from my home. I don't know if that would have helped but it wouldn't have hurt. She is now addicted to sugar and drinks energy drinks to get that high.

    I wish I had better answers for you. My difficult child will be 17 in two days and her ODD behavior landed her in legal trouble and a weekend stay in detention. She is still very attracted to risky behavior and believes that rules were made for everyone but her.

  8. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    What works for us is the gluten free/casein free diet. On that, there is no defiance. If there is a mistake, she is back to being a defiant, oppositional, mean difficult child but it doesn't last long.

    When she is being a difficult child, I try not to set her off and wait for it to pass. Since it is just temporary, this works for us. I do give her consequences but it is to encourage her to stay on her diet and make her realize that there will be consequences for her behaviour if she doesn't stay on her diet. Once she is out of her difficult child phase, she accepts the consequences like a easy child would. When she is in her difficult child phase, nothing turns her around.

    For us, the girlfriend/CF diet has been a miracle and given me back a daughter I can enjoy.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Nancy, if something is not working, I believe another evaluation is in order. I had a few for my son before we got to the final problem. We don't know about this child's behavior yet (not much) or the family history.
    If we had not re-evaluted our son, we'd still be in a very bad place, and he is fortunately doing very well now. This particular child's ADHD medications aren't working. SHe said she saw no effect, so it makes sense that it may be an ADHD mimicker. in my opinion it's good to get second opinions, like you would if a physical illness refuses to go away. JMO and it worked for us. diagnosis. do tend to change as more things show up. Even your daughter had medications added on later. Stagnation in my opinion is not useful. Hey, they ask our opinions and I feel it's a good idea to pass along our experiences. The poster will decide what to do :)
  10. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Just hugs Jules. I wish I had an answer for you.
  11. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    Jules, my difficult child was EXACTLY like that....and you know what.....he's still EXACTLY like that at almost thirteen. It's still very difficult and we tell him all the time that society won't put up with it; ie. boss. We tell him he's going to have a very hard life. As far as home life, it's rough and I've cried buckets and buckets of tears. There are a lot of things we have to put into basket C and move on. Others think we can't possibly be letting difficult child get away with that, yadda, yadda, yadda, but we canNOT fight and argue all the time; it was killing me. I know how hard it is, honest, and the hardest thing to try and remember is that he IS your little boy and that you love him. It's very difficult to love a child who behaves this way, I KNOW!!!
  12. TracyEd

    TracyEd New Member

    Hi Jules!

    Just wanted to share a little poem I wrote when my son was seven. I can relate to what you're going through...poor fit? haha take a mom with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and a son with ODD and ADHD and you get a disaster!!!
    I can't remember who it was who commented that you have to be tough and make the consequences hurt, but it's good advice.
    Be strong, be the boss, be in control and don't let him see you waiver. You are the parent and you get to teach him what's acceptable. Not the other way around.
    ODD doesn't necessarily go away, but when your little guy sees that your in charge, he will accept it and it will get easier.

    My Little Boy Son

    He wears me out. He drives me wild.
    He drives me crazy, but he's just a child.

    He's in trouble all the time, but he's only seven.
    He can make me cry, but he's my ticket to heaven.

    I can make it through these childhood years
    with my sanity intact and quench my fears...

    my seven year old son, though he's just a boy,
    will always be my pride and joy.

    He loves snakes and spiders, and toads and such,
    though I'm not fond of those things much.

    I pray to the Lord that I keep on going,
    as my little boy son keeps growing and growing.

    All covered in mud, grime, goo and muck,
    he licks his hands and I think, "YUCK!".

    He smiles and grins as he runs to play,
    as I try to not gag and turn away.

    He's my little boy son, I have only one,
    he is so much fun, but when all is done,

    I wonder what price I'll pay,
    for the joy he brings to my life each and every day
  13. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Keep at it. Sometimes if one medication does not work it is time to change, esp if the medication makes things worse, which I do not know if you mentioned in your post. The only thing that even remotely works for our son is consistency, which for us is hard. My difficult child has to hit the wall several times before he acknowledges there is a wall, and several more times before he realizes that maybe he should stop a behavior.

    Good luck
  14. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    Thank you everyone for your posts and ideas. I hope I answered/commented on everything...

    1/ Clinical psychiatric
    2/ no neuropsychologist evaluation
    3/ alcoholism on mothers side (a bit up the family tree, no direct connection)
    4/ Great early speech, excellent gross motor skills, ok fine motor, imaginary play normal, eye contact sometimes off, actually it is usually off " even when taking pictures of him and telling him to look at camera and smile " he looks elsewhere and smiles almost every time.

    KTM, I agree with what you said. I usually don't make it painful enough and get over things pretty quickly.

    I think the longer time may work better for us too. I think I have avoided using each time he asks to do something as an opportunity to let the lesson sink in in order to avoid a meltdown. He is like a ticking time bomb and we have pacified him a lot over the past years and now he is used to it. Argggh.

    I could not have written this better:
    "I believe we were a poor fit for our difficult child, our temperments are completely different, our values are different, our personalities are different, we don't have the same outlook on life or work or play or rules or anything."

    Giving him choices has eliminated melt downs on one hand, but you are right " now he thinks he has a choice about everything. He had pink eye and had to have eye drops " he didn't have a choice and that was a MAJOR BATTLE.

    Getting him to eat is a battle too. The more I try, the worse it gets. I should remove all the sugar " I swear he would never eat at all then. He is addicted to sugar. The stims have made his appetite worse and he is really skinny now. His pants and swim shorts are beginning to fall off " I have had to cinch them up quite a bit. I notice he has a very strong smell to his urine too " and have been looking into that and came across ketones. So I will see what I can find out.

    I have wondered if the girlfriend/CF diet would work but eating is such a battle already. I don't know if would could make it work and I know it's a lot of work.

    That is my fear " that he will stay exactly like this and end up with CD. I know what you mean about others thinking we should not let him get away with things " if they only knew that EVERYTHING is a battle and we have to let some go. It's exhausts me to battle everything.

    Thanks for sharing your poem! I enjoyed it.

    CM30 & MWM,
    I am confused about his medications because his teacher says it is like night and day for him when he takes them. But at home the ODD behaviors are not touched by it at all and may even be worse as he rebounds.
  15. cutedimples

    cutedimples New Member

    Hi Jules, I wanted to tell you about the single counseling session we took difficult child to a few weeks ago. The counselor strongly recommended 123 Magic so I'm not sure how much of his advice to take (especially after reading some of the posts reagrding that book LOL!) but he did offer me a couple gems that have been working well for us.
    We have a "treasure chest", decorated by difficult child, full of inexpensive prizes (single pokemon cards, quarters, "points", etc) and every time I can find a reason to give him some positive feedback/praise (even if it's just to thank him for responding immediately when we ask him to do something) he gets to choose a prize from the treasure chest. I know there are those reading this who don't advocate giving rewards like this, but it works for me. The points I mentioned are like currency toward whatever he is trying to earn at the time, at a pre determined point value.
    Secondly, the counselor (I'm not up on all the abbreviations yet :sheepish:) suggested coming up with a list of 4 or 5 ways for difficult child to react when he gets angry, instead of losing it. Count to 20, jump on the tramp, etc). This list gets laminated and posted around the house so that difficult child reads it often. Practise when difficult child's in a good mood. I actually did this one for myself as well since I tend to react too quickly.
    Hope something I've said strikes a cord with you. Good luck and keep smiling sweetie. You're not alone in this.
  16. cutedimples

    cutedimples New Member

    I also wanted to tell you about a miracle that I never would have guessed possible. My 7 year old ADHD/ODD difficult child loves fishing. We just started as a family a couple weeks ago, wondering how well he would do at a quiet, singleminded calm activity like fishing, and not only does he adore it but does it for 5,6,7, hours at a time without a single issue. Maybe helping your difficult child find an activity like that would help him to learn what it feels like to be calm and peaceful inside. I've heard karate is excellent, but I would recommend the fishing (or whatever) first since it doesn't involve being around a bunch of other people or someone having authority over him.
  17. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    These are awesome ideas! Thank you. I am going to try all of them. We already know he loves fishing, but have not been for a long time (it's harder now that we have the little one). The laminated card is a great idea - I think practicing when he is in a good mood is the key. I especially think he would be motivated if he helped me make the treasure box and/or buy the prizes to go inside(?).

    We were recommended 123 Magic by the clinical psychologist we were seeing. We watched the video but never implemented anything. The only thing I really got from it was to take the emotion out of time outs. Love & Logic teaches this too.

    Thanks again for your comments!
  18. ehshag

    ehshag New Member

    Jules71, I'm new to this board, but I just had to tell you that I could have written your post. I am extremely frustrated, but I know that I have to be more pro-active about the ODD behavior. There were several good suggestions in this thread that I think I can use.
  19. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    Thanks for posting and welcome! This is a great place with a lot of super great people and good advice. It's also nice to know you are not alone and there are other people out there in your shoes. Post a new thread and introduce yourself to everyone. Feel free to send me a PM as well. I would love to exchange stories and ideas.

  20. mama2lexxie

    mama2lexxie New Member

    I too, know what you are saying. I get so frustrated and since we only recently figured out what is going on I don't know where to start.
    Hugs to you.

    Tracy - the poem was great!!