Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Parenting Techniques for ODD

Because I don't want to only focus on diet, because really, diet is only a portion of what we need to do to make life easy, I am also going to look into parenting techniques for children with ODD. Again, my son may not actually HAVE ODD, but he displays an alarming number of the signs and symptoms.

I have been searching the web all day and found a website called Empowering Parents. They have a questionnaire you can answer to receive specialized parenting tips for children who have or may have ODD. I asked for information regarding angry outbursts or explosive behavior , disrespect or verbal abuse, hitting or destroying property, and Ignoring disciplinary efforts and consequences. I plan to copy and paste the emails here for future reference, but mostly because I think it's great information that could help someone else out.

Here is the first email, focusing on angry outbursts. Not surprisingly at all, I have been going about this all wrong. No wonder we're not getting anywhere with him!

Your Personal Parenting Plan

Dear Jenn,
When your child has angry outbursts if he doesn’t get his way, it sets you and your entire family on edge. Most parents never anticipate having to deal with explosive behavior in their child and, understandably, have no idea how to handle it. But you need to know what to do because, if left unchecked, this behavior can spell big trouble later on for your child.
In this part of your Personal Parenting Plan, I’ll give you 4 rules that I’ve found to be very effective when dealing with children who act out in anger.
1. Don’t challenge your child when he’s angry. Many times parents deal with angry outbursts by challenging their kids in the heat of the moment or yelling back. Challenging or confronting your child about misbehavior when he’s angry is like throwing a lit match onto a pile of firecrackers. The result will be an outburst that’s bigger, hotter and angrier. The best immediate response to your child’s anger is no emotion at all. Just stay as level and calm as you can. When you can stay calm, you’re lending your child your strength in these moments.

2. Don’t try to reason or use logic with a child who’s losing it. Sometimes parents do the opposite of the angry challenge. They try reasoning or being logical with the child when he’s having a tirade. At first blush, this might seem to make sense. After all, as adults we use logic to work through tense, difficult situations. The problem is, children and teenagers don’t have the ability to stop and reason the way we do. Your “logic” may end up sounding like a foreign language to your child when he’s having a fit with you in the kitchen. Save the logic for later. Wait until your child calms down, then have a problem solving discussion.

3. With younger kids: Don’t coddle. Give a little distance. When a younger child is having a tantrum, the temptation can be to pick up the child just to get him to stop or to walk away. I’ve found that a better approach is to move away slightly and help them start to learn how to calm down. For example, if your child is on the floor kicking and screaming, you might say, “I wish I could help you calm yourself down. Maybe you can lie on the couch for a bit until you can get it together.” Let your child learn that managing his emotions is his problem to solve. Not yours.

4. No matter how much they push, don’t re–negotiate. When your child is screaming and reacting angrily, it can be intimidating. Parents have a tendency to re–negotiate after bad behavior in these situations because they’re having a hard time handling their own emotions. Remember: if you give in and re–negotiate, your child learns that angry outbursts work for him. Instead, wait until he calms down, then talk about the steps he can take to solve his problem.
Should You Give Consequences for Losing Control? This is an important question I wanted to address in this part of your plan. I believe that if a child becomes angry and loses control now and again after misbehavior, you should give consequences for the misbehavior, not the anger. However, if angry outbursts have become a pattern for your child, and it’s clear that he’s using anger as a way to deal with his problems on a regular basis, then you do want to give him consequences for that. Not a punishment, but a consequence that will motivate him to find a more effective way to solve his problem besides lashing out at you and others.
Please take a look at the article by our Parental Support Team called Angry Child Outbursts on Empowering Parents. You’ll get 6 more tips that you can use with your child when he explodes on you. Also check out my husband James’ article, Anger with an Angle. He’ll show you how to talk to your child about misbehavior in a way that will keep the anger from flaring up.
We’ll see you tomorrow with the next part of your Personal Parenting Plan.
This is a lot of great information! Don't challenge! NOVEL! Why hadn't I thought of it. Of COURSE he's not going to be able to employ logic when he's angry! I have from time to time sent him to his room to continue his angry outburst and when he's calm he can come back out and talk to me about whatever is bothering him, but not often enough. Like last night... I tried to talk to him and find out what was wrong before he had calmed down.

I always re-negotiate with him when he's angry just to get the anger to stop! For now on I'll just let him have his fit, then talk it out with him. I mean, that's what I do with my 2 year old daughter whose going through her 2 year old tantrum stage. Let her kick and scream it out, calm down and then tell her how it is. Why don't I also do this with my son? It makes total sense! BRILLIANT!

This is why I have chosen to take two approaches to my son's behavior - because sometimes we parents need to be trained too.

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