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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She has started to hit and kick us...

We started your program with our 3-year-old daughter 2 weeks ago, and when we ignore her she screams at us “...talk to me ...look at me” and she has started to hit and kick us.

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I would suggest you start making a concerted effort to "catch your daughter being good." When she cooperates, is helpful, or shows kindness, make sure you praise her, and give her a smile and a hug. Be specific with your praise, such as "I really like the way you played quietly while I was talking on the telephone," or "Honey, I'm so proud of the way you put your toys away!" This is providing intensity when “things are going right.”

The other side of this equation is that you need to wear your poker face when she whines, complains, or begs. If you repeatedly nag or lecture her, you are giving her exactly what she wants -- your intensity. When kids are acting out in order to get intensity, I always tell parents, "Don't get mad -- get boring." Eventually your daughter will learn that good behavior gets rewarded by praise and approval, while crying and whining get a consequence (usually in the form of a time out). Of course if she does something aggressive or destructive, you'll need to put her in a longer time out or give her a stiffer consequence, but administer the consequence calmly, in a businesslike, matter of fact way. Remember that if you let her get you upset and you start yelling or lecturing, she's gotten exactly what she wanted…your intensity.

Also, make sure you do special activities with her individually, apart from any other children.

==> Here are a ton of tips re: temper tantrums.

Mark

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