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Family Travels with ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder)

This article is part 8 of a series. If you have not read part 1, part2, part 3, and part 4, part 5, part 6 , and part 7 – I urge you to do so if you are searching for help on this subject. If you’ve read along with me already, I want to welcome you into the next weeks of our journey and Knight’s recovery.

Rest and relaxation on the weekends is a must. We were staying on a side of town that was very close to several lakes and were beginning to spend weekends there. We attempted an actual family vacation shortly after Knight came to stay with us, but it had not gone as well as we’d expected. There were many conflicts on that trip and since several months had passed, we thought we could try some shorter day travel trips. (We are into weeks 12 & 13 now.)

All the boys had spent more time together getting to know each other. They had even attended a teenage day camp for several weeks where there was much structure and did better interacting with each other there also. Their friendships were growing tighter and their tolerance for each other was increasing in small amounts. We were hearing less arguments between them. I think we actually saw them smile a few times 😉

The Lake

Going to the lake on the weekend taught them patience. They would engage in activities with each other, but become bored with those activities rather easily. They liked to swim in short increments, but would decidedly become bored with swimming also. Their patience had grown from a 20 minute car trip without arguing to about an hour and half. They were all typical teenagers. They began to take interest in each other and would hold longer conversations that consisted of more than a grunt and head shake.  I saw them spraying sun screen on each other instead of saying, “you do it” and walking away. They started unloading and loading the car on each trip voluntarily. At lunch time, they even began to help fix each others sandwich. The time they were spending together was beneficial and the rules that we had laid out were being followed through consistent re-enforcement. They were beginning to be more helpful and courteous toward each other. Knight began to spend more time in the water too. He would swim for longer. His previous patience and tolerance for activities (that were not his own personal desire) were lengthening. Knight was going from a random tantrum fit on an outing that was not his wish to joining in on the family fun.

Longer trips ( local)

On longer trips that the family would be together, such as visiting family, I noticed that they stopped asking for snacks and drinks every time we would pass a restaurant. The boys know my arthritis and at times, I must stop the car if I am driving and get out and stretch after an hour. If I am a passenger, I can go longer. In the beginning, they would beg me for something from every place we would stop at. After hearing, “no”, “No”, and “NO!” on several of these trips, I went from the evil-monster-mom-that-cared-nothing-for-them to the old-grumpy-mom-in-pain. They stopped asking for stuff and instead started asking me if I was okay.

Really long trips (out-of-state)

They began to synchronize their restroom trips. After the first 200 miles they realized that we were serious when we said we would only stop every 50-100 miles for a bathroom trips. On the first rest stop, everyone was told to use the restroom, only 2 out of 3 of them used the restroom. On the second rest stop, 1 child was busting at the seams. On the third rest stop 2 boys were busting at the seams to go pee. The boys learned from the their defiant mistakes and were sure to always pee at every rest stop we made after that. Due to my arthritis, if we are making more than a 3 hour trip, I need to stop and walk around a bit. I get super stiff if I sit for more than that without walking. The boys were always encouraged to get out also and walk around. Knight would complain, “Geez, why do we got to get out of the car so much?” Sometimes he wouldn’t get out at all. Then about an hour later, Knight would complain about being stiff. It took him a few trips to figure out obeying our requests on the road was for his personal benefit. His defiance would slowly trickle upwards and increase the further we would get into each trip. He needed an outlet for his anxious personality but was not letting me help him. I could read his ques when he needed to expel some energy, but he was still oblivious to his own body. After a few outburst he began to listen when I would ask him to get out and stretch. But, he remained defiant toward his father if he asked the same of him.

We were still making progress 🙂

I was only questioning my sanity & mothering skills twice a week at this point. I only cried in despair once a week and Knight was getting better! 🙂

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