HELP FOR PARENTS WITH STRONG-WILLED, OUT-OF-CONTROL CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS

Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Oppositional Defiant Disorder and ADHD

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David 's Story

This is the true story of a man who has Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and ADHD. His name is David.

David was diagnosed with ODD at the age of 3 and ADHD at the age of 6. His mother had him tested by a psychiatrist, because he would often lose his temper, argue, refuse to comply with rules, deliberately annoy his playmates, and blamed others for his misbehavior. This disturbance in behavior caused significant impairment in his social and academic functioning.

No one knows for certain why David got ODD plus ADHD. His parents divorced when he was 5. His father is an alcoholic and has been in trouble with the law many times [currently in prison – 2008].

When David was 3 years old, his mother thought that the terrible twos were finally over. They were not. His mother was very grateful that the grandparents were nearby. The grandparents were grateful that David's aunts and uncles lived nearby. David's aunt was grateful that this was her nephew, not her son. Why? David required an incredible combination of strength, patience, and endurance.

In elementary school, David's day usually started out with arguing about what he could and couldn’t bring to school. His mother and his teacher made out a written list of what those things were. David brought a PSP to school and told his teacher that his mother said it was alright. At first his teacher wondered about this, but David seemed so believable.

When David was 15 and in the ninth grade, he seemed to have one problem after the other. His teachers always commented that he was capable of much more if he tried. David's best friend, Alex, was currently doing a 6-month sentence for vandalism and shoplifting. Since David had almost no other friends, he would do anything to be Alex’s friend. David thought it was "cool" that Alex was at the Madison County Youth Center. David wanted to be just like his good friend Alex.

When David was 16, his mother had to work a lot because she wasn’t getting any child support from her ex-husband. David could pretty much go wherever he wanted to - whenever he wanted to since no one was home to keep a check on him. During this time, David found a lot of “cool” friends like Alex to hang around.

When David was 17 and in high school, his mother would not let him go to a dance. He broke all the windows in her car. He lasted two months in 11th grade before he was suspended for fighting. David lost the few “good” friends he had by getting kicked off the football team. He swore at a judge during a probation hearing and got two months in the Madison County Youth Center, which was extended to six months after he tried to attack a guard.

After his release from the Youth Center, he wanted to be able to drive. His mother said no, and he decided that was it and went over to a friend’s house and got drunk out of his mind. He also took a bunch of pills – and ended up over-dosing. His mother still remembers those words, "You'll be f-ing better off without me and if you come after me I'll f-ing kill you".

That horrible day was the turning point. It took five police officers to get him to go to the hospital. It took a careful evaluation to figure out that he wasn't just ODD and ADHD - he was very depressed, too.

David is now an adult. Life is not easy. He has already been to prison twice and is following in his father’s footsteps. When he’s not incarcerated, he works by himself [doing little construction jobs here and there] because he cannot get along with co-workers and doesn’t like to be told what to do by bosses. He leads to a very lonely life because he cannot keep a girlfriend for more than a few months.

David has made several suicide attempts, has seriously assaulted two individuals on two different occasions while at the local bar and grill, and makes a little side money selling drugs [he also carries a gun]. David is unaware that he has an increased risk of dying prematurely by violent means.

David never sees his father. His mother has made herself sick worrying about David. But David doesn’t really care whether he lives or dies. He is consumed with finding his next “high” and will bulldoze over anyone or anything that stands in his way.

Don’t happen to run into David on the streets.

If your child has Oppositional Defiant Disorder, seek help sooner than later.

Treatment of Oppositional Defiant Disorder includes:

·Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy to assist problem solving and decrease negativity
·Family Psychotherapy to improve communication
·Individual Psychotherapy to develop more effective anger management
·Parent Training Programs to help manage the child's behavior
·Social Skills Training to increase flexibility and improve frustration tolerance with peers

Parents can help their child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder in the following ways:

·Always build on the positives, give the child praise and positive reinforcement when he shows flexibility or cooperation.

·Maintain interests other than your child with ODD, so that managing your child doesn't take all your time and energy.

·Manage your own stress with exercise and relaxation.

·Pick your battles. Since the child with ODD has trouble avoiding power struggles, prioritize the things you want your child to do.

·Set up reasonable, age appropriate limits with consequences that can be enforced consistently. Take a time-out or break if you are about to make the conflict with your child worse, not better.

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