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

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

S___ urinated in the corner of the restroom...

Good morning.

My mother had purchased your CD’s to help aid in the raising of my nephew (8) S and my niece (17) P. They were taken from their home due to neglect. It was in deplorable condition. Simply unfit to live. They were in foster care for 2 years, and now they are with me. I am their legal guardian.

S has attachment disorder, oppositional defiant, been diagnosed with ADHD. I am trying to implement your ideas & strategies for some successes. The Dr, teachers, principal and I finally decided to try some medicine. At first, 10 mg medadate (sp), did not seem to change anything. We now have him on 20 mg Adderall RX.

All at school seem to see an improvement. S does not want to be on medication and I prefer no medication as well.

His newest report from school yesterday, his teacher wrote:

“S urinated in the corner of the restroom. He told the truth and admitted it. (It could not have been an accident. It was far back in the corner and the stool was dry).”

Whoa, just when I thought things are on the upswing!

I am planning on getting him into a psychiatrist next. (one that will take Medicaid, as I simply cannot afford all of this)

I thought being with family would be better than another foster home or someone adopting. I am a career woman and this changed my world dramatically. I am very grateful God gives us a new day every day, because some of these days are very long and the feeling of hopelessness comes over me. But as the morning sun comes up, I feel refreshed, energized and seek more wisdom from God and other resources to “do the best parenting I can for these two children”.

Anything you might be able to share about this “recent urination episode?”

Thanks in advance…I’m going to review some of your CD’s again.

Sincerely,

L.

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Hi L.,

When a child does little weird things like peeing in the corner, it is usually because he feels he has no control in other areas of his life. So by doing something like peeing in an appropriate location gives him a sense of control.

As human beings, we all want to feel we have some control over our lives -- and if we don't, we'll find a way to get it. People of all ages have the same basic needs.

Offering a child a choice is powerful! When they're very young, say two or three years old we can show them two plastic cups; a blue one and a green one and ask: "Do you want the blue one or the green one?" Or you can say: "Do you want to sit in this chair or that chair?" or "Do you want to wear your green pajamas or your blue pajamas?" It makes them feel they have some power and control and consequently are less likely to gain it in inappropriate ways. It also tells them their likes and dislikes matter to you. As well, children who are given choices learn to start thinking for themselves. They become less reliant on other people to make decisions for them.

As children get older we can start offering them more than two choices, keeping in mind that all the options you're presenting must be acceptable to you. You can say: "Here are some choices for lunch; vegetable soup, peanut butter sandwich or grilled cheese sandwich." Or you might say, "Do you want to play a game tonight? We could play this, or this, or this. Choose one." If you're having a difficult time getting your child to do something, you can say: "I need you to clear your plate away. Do you want to put it on the counter or in the dishwasher?"

As children approach their middle and teen years you can continue to use choices. You can say: "I'd like your homework done before 8pm. Do you want to do it at the kitchen table or in your room?" Or you might say: "I need some help in the kitchen. Would you like to empty the dishwasher, sweep the floor or fill the dishwasher?" Offering a choice significantly reduces arguments around tasks that need to be done around the house.

One of the problems parents might encounter with choices is that their kids don't want either or any of the choices you're offering. If that's the case, the next choice becomes: "Do you want to choose or would you like me to choose?" The majority of the time, kids will make a choice and that will be the end of it. Using this simple tool you'll find you can eliminate many power struggles and arguments.

Children are as human as the rest of us and need to feel they have some control over their lives. We want to give it to them in appropriate ways so they don't try and gain it in inappropriate ways – like peeing all over the place.

Mark

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