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1 year check-in O.D.D

This is the final article (part 12) of a series. If you have not read part 1, part2, part 3,  part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8, part 9 , part 10 , and part 11– 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 1 year mark of our journey and Knight’s recovery.

The last article I wrote about Oppositional Defiance Disorder brought us up to the end of week 34 (7 months) after working with Knight on his O.D.D issues. I would like to skip ahead to the 1 year mark and share with you the things that we tried that were successful and the things that failed.

Things Not To Do (Ineffective):

  • Reasoning: A child with oppositional traits will not deal well with reasoning. Although this has become a very popular parenting tool for the latest generation, this does not work well with a child with defiance issues. If a child has produced unacceptable behaviors and actions, reasoning with them to stop those actions and behaviors can back-fire. They certainly back-fired on us. Even when you are exhausted and totally worn out, you can’t give in to the idea of reasoning. (Example: “Why are you doing this? Would you please just not argue anymore if you get to go to your friend’s house? I can’t take it anymore!”  Bad idea. The child will sense vulnerability and will go in for the win. I’d rather not provide examples of this. Instead, I’d prefer to advise against falling into this common trap. I fell into it once…and only once!)
  • Relinquishing decision-making to the child: Again, this is easy to fall into if you are very tired or physically worn down. When a parent or authority figure gives the decision-making over to the child, at first the child is happy and excited. Shortly thereafter, they become bewildered and insecure. A large part of their desire to be oppositional and defiant is due to a personal feeling of abandonment in their minds. Whether this be true (and often times is not), it is how most of these children feel. This feeling accompanies feelings of insecurities, low self-worth or value, and a feeling of being invisible in the world. In their minds, if they are making decisions, who loves them enough to make their decisions for them? (Example: After a particularly difficult event, the child could ask, “Do you want me to just leave for a while so I’m not bothering you?” Giving decision-making to the child, parent may answer, “Would you like to spend the night with a friend or stay home tonight? It’s your decision.”)
  • Waffling: Setting your foot down on a negative behavior is one thing, but then going back on the punishing result is another. This is waffling indecisiveness. If you are serious about your goal to change these behaviors, there is no room for waffling – even when you feel like you’re punishing yourself by the decision you made during the moment of heat. (Example: Very upset about some undesirable behavior at school, I “ground” Knight for 1 week. This made travel difficult, cut off the TV for me, I had to monitor him while he mowed the lawn and did other work, and I had to hear him wonder aimlessly through the house making random noises to entertain himself. I was tempted to lift his grounding so I could maintain sanity…but I knew that would be my undoing, so I did not.)
  • Never reward a child with money: Where the thought of paying our children to be good came from… I will never know! It doesn’t work and Thank God that thought only lasted about 15 minutes! I think it was out of desperation maybe, but anyway, it did not work.

Things To Do (Effective):

  • Maintain consistency at all times: If the result of good behavior is a specific reward, be prepared to give that reward often during the good behavior. The same is true for the negative behavior.
  • Stand your ground: If you’ve decided that a particular behavior will not be tolerated, don’t allow minor events of that behavior to slip past you in the presence of others. No one likes to correct their children in front of others. We are afraid we will be judged as a failing parent or people will see that things are not a bed of roses in our homes. Regardless of this, all non-tolerable behavior must be stopped at the moment it occurs. It should be brought to the attention of the child and immediately remind the child what the recourse is for that negative event or behavior. (Example: Cursing was an issue for a bit and Knight thought he could get away with it in front of other people. He tested me. His correction was the same however. I would quickly say, “That is inappropriate.” and remind him what the consequences were. “You just lost your phone for 2 days when we get home.”
  • Be firm not only in correction, but in love also: The same as you need to catch the negative behaviors immediately, the same is true for catching the positive behaviors also. It’s very important in the O.D.D. child’s mind to hear when they’ve done something good. This doesn’t mean constant praise and pats on the back though. A verbal acknowledgement like, “I’m so happy today. You haven’t had an outburst. You’re doing so well. I love you.” Or “I’m proud of you this week. You’re doing great!” “I am looking forward to your progress next week! You really impressed me this week!”  Hearing things like this go a long way in changing defiant behavior. The otherwise invisible child begins to realize that he is not actually invisible at all.
  • Create and maintain an open dialog: If a child feels like everything they tell you will get you all riled up, they will stop telling you things. Maintaining a reliable open dialog will allow the child to feel as though they can safely share things with you without judgment. If you’ve maintained consistency, they will already know what type of correction you may use, but they will be more willing to share with you what is going on in their universe.  Children like to share how they feel and what is going on in their daily lives. If they are not sharing with you, they will share with someone else.
  • Evaluate your home’s structure: Do you really have routines? Are those routines healthy? Do most of your family habits emphasis togetherness or individuality? A unique balance of both contribute to a successful family life. Sometimes it helps to have someone from the outside of the family to take a peek at your home life in order to get an honest observatory opinion if you need help evaluating.
  • Don’t let the small stuff go: By allowing the lesser bad behaviors to be overlooked, the defiance in a child with O.D.D will grow into a large outburst. Handle each issue as it arises (while at the same time, picking your battles wisely).
  • Don’t overwhelm: In the beginning, it’s easy to want all negative behaviors corrected at the same time, but this can overwhelm the child and cause further defiance. Pick your battles wisely. As you triumph over each hurdle, celebrate and then move on to the next as you continue to re-enforce the previous.

Knight now bears no resemblance to the child he use to be. I am proud of him. The behavior modification plan we put it in place – worked! 🙂 I wish you all luck if you are tackling this problem with your child too. It’s an ongoing process. May God give us continued strength!

Brief Visit – Visible Improvement (O.D.D)

This article is part 7 of a series. If you have not read part 1, part2, part 3, and part 4 , part 5 , and part 6 – 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 few weeks of our journey and Knight’s recovery.

Week 10 & 11 were awesome weeks for us. They were awesome (challenging) because we had set-backs & problems from Knight, but we also received some much-needed encouragement. He was doing well with the re-enforced structure we had put in place and with gentle reminders, was doing better. He’d only had a few outburst of massive anger, sever aggression, and extremely argumentative behavior. Each of these had been very trying of our patience and required much love and prayer to work through. But, in the end, we seemed to be on the right track. We constantly reminded him that he was loved, was receiving a lot of attention (that he desperately thought he wanted), and we were not going to give up on him.

During week 10 or 11 (I can’t remember which), Knight had a visit from his out-of-state mother and another relative. They remarked about how he’d grown and seemed like a totally different child to them. They were not excited about him aspiring to play football in the up-coming fall, but were happy he was involving himself in activities to use his excess energy. Their visit lasted a few hours.

Hearing from someone else who knew him well before, that they could see a noticeable difference in him was a happy moment for me. I knew his father was still frustrated with him a lot of the time, but he was improving and I could see improvements daily too.

Exchanging one behavior for another

Knight’s explosive outbursts were becoming less severe and were occurring far less often. As what I understand as an outlet for his tendencies, Knight began to be defiant in passive ways. Some of his passive behaviors including:

  • Chewing on plastic and spitting the chewed up mess in the floor – When asked not to chew on the plastic, he would remove it from his mouth and throw it in a sneaky way behind furniture instead of in the trash can.
  • Spitting sunflower seeds in the floor – I can’t remember who bought them for him, but somehow Knight ended up with what appeared to be an endless supply of sun flower seeds in the shell. As a passive form of defiance, he began spitting them in the floor in every room. When asked to clean up his mess and reminded to spit them in a trash receptacle, he would just walk away and leave the shells. I made a new rule: NO MORE sun flower seeds in the house! After we moved back home, it took me 2 hours to remove all the sun flower seeds from the rental we were staying in. They were under furniture, stuck between the base boards and the walls, inside the tank of the toilet, stuck in the garbage disposal, in the kitchen drawers, and even behind the refrigerator and stove! I still have a no sun flower seeds rule in the house now!
  • Leaving his shoes & clothing in the living room (stuffed under the couch) – again, it’s a more passive way of being defiant that he was aiming at mentally. When asked about why he did these things, he would answer, “I don’t know.”

His passive defiance was more tolerable than his previous behaviors, so I had to pick my battles wisely and not overwhelm him. This meant that I had to live with the lid always off the toothpaste, a cereal bowl with milk in the bottom of it in the sink several times a day, sunflower shells, etc. These things were really just normal teenage boys type behaviors anyway, and that is what we were striving for – normal or average teenager behaviors – not perfect!

Every single day, we were continuing to work on our main plan:

  • Maintaining open dialog
  • Pointing out annoying behaviors
  • Bringing lies to Knight’s attention (Taking Ownership of his Words & Actions)
  • Structure in his daily life
  • Consistency in discipline

…and

it was working!

Structure & O.D.D.

This article is part 6 of a series. If you have not read part 1, part2, part 3, and part 4 , and part 5 – 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 few weeks of our journey and Knight’s recovery.

One of the most important parts of our plan to battle this Oppositional Defiance Disorder was giving Knight some much needed structure without smothering him.

In week 8 & 9 Knight was showing significant improvements. His outbursts, physical altercations, lying, theft, annoying behaviors, & and destructive inclinations were becoming less with more time between them. I was proud of his progress & reminded him daily that he was doing so much better!

Knight was growing closer to his brothers. Fights & arguments between them were less frequent & all the boys were much more tolerable of each other.

The structure we’d initiated in our home was helping. Before Knight moved in, I thought we had structure, but hadn’t really given it much thought. Turns out, we weren’t as structured as I thought we were. These are the things we changed:

1. We established regular meal times. (I thought we had regular meal times before, but really we were independently eating whenever each of us were hungry.) Dinner time/Supper was the most recognised meal time. We were all going in different directions during the day & had separate interests/hobbies/jobs. So, for supper, we all slowed down, came together and ate together. I credit Knight’s father for this suggestion. It wasn’t difficult at first, but a after about a week into it, some of us had a hard time stopping what we were doing & coming to the table. Within 3 weeks, it was an expectation for most of us & if one of us couldn’t make it home, several of us would be bummed out. Now, a year later, everyone coming together for supper is still part of our daily routine and is a therapeutic part of our combined successful family unit.

2. We invited Knight to help develop a smoother morning routine. I’ve always had a hard time waking the boys up in the mornings. Knight was a huge help to the family with that! He woke up relatively easy & we put his “annoying” to good use. I told him I needed his help waking his new brothers up & that he was welcome to annoy them to wake them up & help me get them moving. He seemed happy & welcomed helping me. It worked!! He was & is the best alarm clock ever 🙂 At first, his brothers complained, but I explained that the annoying would stop once they complied, got up, & started moving. 🙂

3. A regular summer chore schedule was established. They already had chore expectations, but it worked better this way. Each of the boys jade specific chores on designated days.

4. Rewards and treats we regular as clockwork. Privileges such as mall trips, going to the movies, and other favorite things became rewards.

5. A decent bedtime was established.

6. Shower/bath rules were established so everyone wasn’t trying to jump in there all at once & arguing.

These things should have been in place already, right? The truth is they were, but we just needed to start all over again, ensure we had communicated them clearly, and place emphasis on this restructuring. Let’s face it, every family has rules, but after a few years, rules must be re-established as a reminder. Especially during the teenage years when not all of a family may be going in the same direction, with each other, or have separated interests.

By the end of week 9, we had all seen a significant change in Knight’s behavior & reactions to others. We were still working on every key step we had enlisted in previous weeks. I was proud of Knight & still am 😉

Setting Boundaries & Establishing Consistency

Welcome to this Journey through O.D.D. (Oppositional Defiance Disorder). This article is part 4 of a series. If you have not read part 1, part2, part 3 – 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 fourth and fifth weeks of our journey and Knight’s recovery.

In our fourth week together, we were continuing to work on our previous plan of action: maintaining open dialog, pointing out annoying behaviors, bringing lies to Knight’s attention and being open to accepting responsibility for his actions and words. Knight was giving us signs that he was feeling overwhelmed with just these three items, so during week 4 we gave him a rest from adding more to the plan. We continued to focus on just the first three maintaining consistency.

More Open Dialog

Week 5 rolled around and our open dialog was giving me more insight into Knight’s personality & reasoning behind some of his actions (defiance). He spoke to me about his previous school experiences & earlier life living in a large city. When he moved in with us, his environment changed significantly. We lived in a mid-sized city rental home & would be moving soon back to the home we owned in the country – within the year. He spoke of the differences in people here & how people reacted to him there. He seemed to like it here. This led to him reviewing his previous school experiences with me.

I had a good understanding already from his transcripts, but his opinions were valuable to help me help him. He said everyone at his old school disliked him (especially the teachers). He failed many of his subjects through the years & was involved in many physical fights. He proudly explained to me that his mother had always “taken care of that for him”. He said she would go to the school and have a fit with the teachers & principle so he would be moved to the next grade. He was proud of his mother for “taking up for him”. He said she always “got him out of trouble” and once even had his juvenile record cleared so that no one could hold it against him. He felt as though she had “connections” and he could do anything he wanted to really.

I did not rebuttal anything he said or offer any comments. I just let him talk. In my mind however, I wondered why she would do that for him in a public setting when I was told by her that his physical altercations at home resulted in declaring that she “couldn’t handle him any longer”.  I am not judging her by no means. I was simply left wondering.  Knight had very bad school transcripts, a history of failing classes, provoking others to fights, threatening the safety of others while in school, in school and out of school suspensions, and many school initiated psychological reviews. His previous 2 schools had him on an IEP (Independent Education Program) and had marked him as *special needs* because of his behavior. I, however, did not see him as *special. I felt like that was a cop-out instead of addressing his real issue of O.D.D. They had him in classes for developmentally delayed children and he was/is by no means delayed! I set a boundary.

Getting Ready for a New School

I explained to Knight that I did not see him as *special needs. I told him I loved him & would do everything I could to help him, but I would not take up for him to get him out of trouble if he in fact, was guilty. I explained to him the new school I would be enrolling him in was a public school that has a zero tolerance policy for his previous types of behaviors. He said, “whatever”.  I accepted his whatever as a sign of understanding. I knew he heard and  understood what I told him. I also told him that the new school would probably not place him on an easy IEP. His father had said he was going to go to school and request that one be created, but I knew from experience that the new school treated all children equally. They would test him and decide he was not truly *special. I was grateful I had an entire summer to work with him before he entered into the new school.

Altercations, Defiance & Random Outburst

By week five, I witnessed several physical altercation attempts between he and his father & a few between he and my boys. None of which were provoked by any reason of means – they just occurred as randomly as part of his need to annoy others.  Here, in random order, is an account of a few:

  • Knight’s father returns home from work. Knight is sitting on the couch playing his Xbox. His father says, “Hey Knight. How was your day?” Knight doesn’t answer. He is ignoring his father. Walking closer to his son, his father asks again. Knight angrily puts down game controller down huffing a loud sigh of disgust. “FINE”, he yells. “It was FINE, OKAY? OH MY GOD!” Not once did he look at his father. He returned to playing his game.  Knight’s father begins to yell back at him about respect, working all day and being happy to come home to him and receiving that reaction from him. (I’ll add that to the list of what didn’t work later.) Knight gets up from the couch. (1)Throws his controller down and wants to escape his father. Knight likes being oppositional and defiant, but detest anyone treating him that way. Knight goes into his bedroom and (2)slams the door. His father follows him. More yelling on both parts.  😦    After all yelling has ceased, both of them are separated. Knight begins (3)kicking and punching the closet door. The door comes out of its track. Falling, it slams into the back wall of the closet.

After about an hour, Knight came to me and asked me to help him.

 He was full of anger and resentment toward his father.

I told him I loved him but that I couldn’t and wouldn’t live in a home with violence. Violence is not love and will never resolve anything. He explained to me that a therapist his mother took him to advised him to destroy things instead of  people when he was mad. He could not see why slamming doors, punching walls, and throwing things was not acceptable. I explained to him that the therapist that told him that was probably correct when Knight was a younger child, but because he is a teenager now (almost a man), he needed to express himself verbally and not with his hands. We had a lengthy conversation about how physical altercations instill fear in people. He said that he felt it was a way of gaining respect. (He was consumed by “respect” yet showed no respect to anyone or anything.) I told him he was gaining my respect until he used his hands to physically display his anger or frustration. I also told him that if he crossed the line at any point with his aggression – he was out. HE asked me what is punishment was going to be. I answered, “I am taking the power cord to your Xbox for 3 days. You can sit on the couch and stare at it, but you can’t make it function for you. I am also taking your phone. I love you and you know I do, but I can’t help you if you don’t try”. He cried. He agreed to keep trying . He apologized to his father, his new brothers, and I. He began working on (and still is working toward) keeping his new promise of limiting or eliminating his physical aggression.

  • On another day, Knight and his new brother’s were hanging out in their room. As mentioned before the place we were living in was a mid-sized city home at the time. They all 3 teenage boys shared a bedroom. I am in my bedroom and it is late. Our rooms share a dividing wall and I hear cussing and foul language through the wall. I don’t know what or who started it.  I also hear, “Dude if you ever ___ I will stab you!” and “You wanna be shanked, dude?”

Threats are not tolerable. When picking battles, this is a one I chose. I quickly removed all knives and sharp objects from the house and locked them up, as though I was child-proofing for a toddler. I called Knight out on the threats. He denied them over and over. We spoke about accepting responsibility for actions and words we speak as I reminded him I heard them with my own ears. He continued to deny his threats. I told him I was disappointed in him. He had just gained his Xbox back and had played it earlier in the day. I took the power cord again. I took his phone and Wi-Fi from him. (He was very upset about that.) He lost these things for 3 days. To get them back he would need to demonstrate good behaviors for 3 days consistently.  His father spoke to him (actually more like lectured him) and in the end he promised to stop the threats…or at least try to. My boys came to me and told me they were worried for their safety. I expressed this to Knight’s father and he spoke yet again with Knight. He re-enforced that threats would not be tolerated. Knight was afraid of being shipped off to a disciplinary school and told me he liked living with us. He promised repetitively to end all threats and he made it almost 4 months before another threat slipped off his tongue. This has and still was a work in progress. 🙂

  • We were all sitting around the dinner table having supper. During conversation the subject of my boys’ deceased father was brought up. When the boys felt secure in the company they kept, they would mention him and want to talk about memories. They were becoming more comfortable with Knight. They mentioned how they missed their father and loved him. Knight (who was in a particularly defiant mood that day) began to laugh loudly. 😦 He said “HA!  Death is funny!” I stopped eating and said, “Death is not funny Knight. Haven’t you ever lost someone who you loved before?” He replied, “Yeah, so!?! I don’t care. Death is Funny. Who Cares anyway? It’s stupid.” Knight’s comments were angering my boys who were recovering from PTSD caused by watching their father die – literally. They loved their father and grieved deeply for a long time during their recovery. 😦  I glanced at my boys to reassure them that this was just one of Knight’s attempt to annoy, defy them, and cause dramatic confusion. My reassuring look was not working. Both boys were filled with anger. My oldest stood up and told Knight “he’d better watch what he said or he wouldn’t be responsible for what could happen if he was enraged”.  Knight had fear in his eyes and I could tell he regretted what he had said, but through defiance – couldn’t bring himself to take it back or apologize. I stood up and announced dinner was over. I sent my oldest son to his room to cool down. I told him I’d be in to talk to him soon. My youngest who was giving Knight a look of total disdain was sent to the bedroom also. Knight jumped up from the table and yelled, “Do it man! Come on. Hit me. I dare you.” He knocked over the chair he was sitting in and said, “I don’t need this. I don’t need you. I’m running away!” He did. He ran out the front door. I went to the boys in their bedroom who were crying. I hugged them, reassured them they are entitled to miss their father and reminded them that Knight is still testing his limits with us. I asked them to bear with me because I was not giving Knight what he wanted. He would not provoke a response from me. I was not giving in or giving up. They told me they loved me. Then, I went out to search for Knight. I didn’t see him in the neighborhood. I drove to the ball field. I didn’t see him. It was getting dark. I called Knight’s mother. She said she would speak with Knight. I called Knight’s father. He said he would speak to Knight and not to worry about it, advising me Knight would be back very soon – he wouldn’t go far.  😦

Knight’s father was correct. He came back within the hour. He knocked on my bedroom door and apologized for his outburst. He said he didn’t know what made him do it or why he had said what he did. I told me he was jealous of my boys’ love for one another and their relationship. He told me he was jealous of how everyone loved each other in our family and that he wanted that. I reminded him that I loved him and that I had already welcomed him into our family. The invitation had been given and he had a choice to take it or not. He said he felt as though he was being treated differently. I promised him that he would be treated equal and reminded him that included following the same rules and requests that the other boys followed daily. Knight’s father lectured him for his actions. Knight’s mother lectured him for his actions. I continued to love him in spite of his actions, so I punished him…again.

Consistency: 3 days of No Phone, No Wi-Fi, No computer, his Xbox was available (all cords this time) – but with No controller, No more outings with me (which he enjoyed), & he had to spend 2 days with his father. He assumed these things were all punishments, but really it was a re-connection time for he and his father.

There is Hope

Of course there have been many other outburst and acts of aggression than these alone. There is no need to write about all of them. The point of this article is to give hope to those parents out there who may be dealing with a child or teen who exhibits O.D.D symptoms and behaviors. We have lived through them all. Encountered them all. Survived them all. Hope comes from knowing that these types of actions and behaviors only very rarely occur now (a year later).

The key for us during this stage (only 5 weeks into Oppositional Defiance Disorder) had been:

  1. Maintaining open dialog
  2. Pointing out annoying behaviors
  3. Bringing lies to Knight’s attention (Taking Ownership of his Words & Actions)
  4. Structure in his daily life
  5. Consistency in discipline

Please stay tuned for Part 5 to come soon.

Oppositional Defiance Disorder – It’s Someone Else’s Fault

Part 3 (If you need to catch up,  you can read part 2 and part 1 in this series.)

Let’s Build Something

Please keep in mind that working with a child that has ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder) is like building a pyramid. While you are laying a foundation, you must keep working on the original cornerstone pieces as you continue to move forward – continuing to work on the next piece. If you neglect one of the cornerstones you’ve laid out before, your entire structure will tumble-down.  So remember as you read through these articles that each week we added 1 new item to work on as we continued to work on the previous things.

Three weeks into this new ODD journey, We had addressed open dialog and bringing annoying behaviors to Knight’s attention in a constructive way so we didn’t sound like we were all against him. On our third week we encountered an old friend, “Someone Else”.

Someone Else Did It!

No one in our house likes “Someone Else”. “Someone Else” was the most annoying member of the entire family unit. “Someone Else” kept adjusting the thermostat on the heating/air unit. He was always causing drama, defying the rules, and challenging authority. “Someone Else” was a huge nuisance! He was always making messes that everyone else was blamed for. 😦

Taking ownership of our actions and telling the truth are basic fundamentals that we teach our children soon after they begin toddling around and speaking. As parents we emphasis this more so once our children begin to intermingle with other children (Daycare, Pre-School or Kindergarten). It’s a continual thing that we all work on and hope we succeed at once our children have become adults.  I would be a hypocrite if I claimed that my boys were perfect at this when Knight came to live with us. They have and always will be (like everyone else’s children) a work in progress.

Children/teenagers with ODD have an exceptional case of  “Someone Else” though. They deny ownership of issues and actions so much that their reality becomes their lies and denial. After a time, they don’t realize their own lies. It becomes second nature and they incorporate it into who they are (their identity).

I spoke to Knight about the lies I noticed him telling. He denied them. He denied everything he did, everything he said, and everything he was caught in the act of doing. His responses were, “I didn’t do it. Someone else did.” 😦   He lied because he said he thought it was funny. He said he lied to be cool, to be accepted, to make himself feel better, and to annoy people. He said he lied so much even he was unsure how to stop. I offered to bring his lies to his attention as he was in the act of doing so, if it would help. He agreed. Once again, I found myself in a position where I was going to have to call out a negative trait to bring his denial into reality for Knight.

I wanted positivity to focus on though, so I had to search pretty hard. I prayed about it and the Lord planted the answer in my heart. I knew I had to pick my battles and not overwhelm him, but I had forgotten how awesome celebrating small feats with verbal rewards could be! Picking my battles meant that I could not expect him to follow the house rules just yet and I had to look the other way in many situations. My only exception to this was in the event of harmful or abusive threats or behaviors. Those I had to stop immediately. As for the putting the lid back on the toothpaste – that would wait. We celebrated an avoided argument, a door being shut instead of slammed, laughter & smiles, admitting faults, or owning up to truths, talking to his mother on the phone without yelling, speaking to his father without running away or raising his hands to hit. (I’m not saying these things didn’t happen. I am just saying that when a day went by without them happening – we celebrated ) 🙂

Make Every Day a Good Day

Every day we had, no matter how bad it began or ended was “A Good Day”. A good day for a child/teen with ODD may look like the worst possible day for any other child, but if you don’t celebrate even the smallest accomplishments, progress could begin to slide backwards. At the end of the day, I would congratulate Knight on a job well done and tell him it was a good day. At first, he looked at me puzzled (because he was becoming more aware of his behavior and lies). I would tell him that everyday is a good day because I won’t give up on you and you are trying 🙂 The first few days he heard this, he blew me off and went to bed thinking I was crazy. After the first week of hearing this, he began to believe it with me. He also began to look forward to hearing it before bedtime.

On the third week, I purposefully neglected to tell him it was a good day. He came to me and asked me if it was a good day. I answered: Yes honey, everyday is a good day… and he finished my sentence “as long as I try?”  🙂

Believe it or not he was getting better – still very very very difficult to live with and be around, but he was healing!

So at this point, I had three major things I was focusing on:

  • Maintaining open dialog
  • Pointing out annoying behaviors
  • Bringing lies to Knight’s attention

To maintain fairness, I shared my plans with my other two boys so they would not feel as though they were being treated unfairly. They know me and their limits and I wanted them to be involved in Knight’s progress plan also. I never shared explicit details, just the basics and kept the conversations Knight and I had only between him, his father and I. My boys were happy to be included because they were feeling they were being treated unfairly.

If you have other children in the home, I would suggest sharing your progress plans with them also (if you feel it appropriate) so your family can grow stronger during this process and not drift apart.

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