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Both of my sons have ADHD. There are days that I wonder what I did wrong in raising them for being plagued with this mental disorder. I'm often reminded by our therapist “You did nothing wrong. You parented how you knew and know how!”
The past several years have been a horrible struggle. We found out (probably 6 years ago) that our youngest son has O.D.D. or Oppositional Defiant Disorder or sometimes confused or partnered with C.D. or Conduct Disorder. It's a mental disorder unlike many others, though, a little like others.
If you've never heard of ODD or CD. It's more than having an unruly child. It has nothing to do with discipline, or lack of discipline. You can be as consistent as you want, somethings just don't click or work for your child who has Oppositional Defiant Disorder or Conduct Disorder, at least it doesn't with our child.
I remember hearing stories from his birth father, that his nephew used to be very similar to how my son is acting. Outside of the family, everyone thought this lil' boy was a perfect angel. He would be polite, considerate, kind, and helpful.
It's a common trait for children with ODD or CD to be “Nice to everyone else” except for the people who are around him so much that he can't hold back their anger and defiance from.
It can also be the complete opposite. Your child can be a “normal” child at home, but completely and utterly defiant outside of the home. Our son is a little of both. He really has a problem with male authority figures.
This is not fun!
It's not a walk in the park!
If you have a short fuse, it's even harder to deal with!
Spanking does NOTHING but adds fuel to the “fire”!
Grounding, does the same thing as spanking!
I love my son & his mental disorder!
He can be the most loving, caring, considerate young man in the world.
He'll play with his baby cousin and she loves him and he loves her. They play with dolls, he plays with her kitchen set, reads her books, and pays attention to her and treats her perfectly.
Other days, he'll be the most vindictive, mean, spiteful, and physically hurtful child anyone has ever come across.
He's cut whiskers off of our cats, broken things of his brother's or ours, he's flat-out cussed out “friends”, called females he goes to school with derogatory names.
What I Learned From My Son's Mental Disorder
It's a struggle, even for him.
If you think it's a struggle dealing with a mental disorder just for parents, it's a bigger struggle for the kids. They are trying to find their way in life just as much as some adults still are. Help them out but lessening that struggle.
Positive reinforcement works, sometimes
For the most part, positive reinforcement does work. Sometimes it doesn't. It's one of those things that if they are struggling with a concept, no amount of positive reinforcement will help them.
Consistency is the ultimate goal
Without being consistent, you have nothing. You will be constantly frustrated, angry, and will battle even more. I still struggle with this. Lots of parents struggle with being consistent, not just you.
Set expectations and don't deviate from them
If you expect a 3.0 GPA, keep that expectation. Sure, if they are struggling in a class, it's understandable, but you can still hold that expectation. Get them the help that they need to not struggle anymore. Sometimes they just need a topic explained differently. As a parent, you know how their brain ticks a little more than teachers do, so learn the topic if you don't know or understand it yourself and help your child.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder isn't My Son
My son is oppositional defiant, but oppositional defiant disorder isn't my son. He defines the mental disorder, not the other way around. Just because he suffers from the disorder, doesn't mean the disorder needs to make him suffer. If that makes sense. Don't let your child dwell on the fact that he has a disorder.
Find something they are great at and encourage it like crazy
Seriously, my son is a fantastic cook & baker. My husband and I have encouraged it like crazy. He's shifted gears a little and now wants to become a math teacher. BOOM, let's do this! Encourage him. He'd be a great teacher, especially with the fact he has ADHD & ODD. He can relate to other students on a more personal level and help them with their struggles.
Therapy is a must
You can't go without having a therapy session for too long. A couple weeks, fine, but longer than that, it's almost like completely starting over. This falls into the whole consistency realm also. Having consistent therapy sessions help anyone with a mental disorder, cope and find ways to redirect themselves when there is a trigger.
I LOVE MY SON.
I love both of my children.
Learn how to address Oppositional Defiant Disorder at www.liahonaacademy.com.
Many people have asked me in the past year “How do you even deal with it?”
He's my child. I gave birth to him and I will NEVER EVER give up on him.
The moment I felt my boys move while in my uterus, I was connected to them for life. NOTHING was going to tear us apart.
ODD is not a family breaker. If your family falls apart because you let ODD tear your family apart, (completely my opinion), your family wasn't that strong to begin with.
My husband knew what he was in for with my boys. He knew my oldest was ADHD and hearing impaired. We suspected ADHD or some type of conduct disorder with my youngest. Sure, it stresses us the hell out. I think it has actually made us stronger. We talk more, hold hands more, kiss more, and all of that.
Knowing that I have a husband that supports all of us NO MATTER what, makes me stronger. I can lean on him to help me when I need him to and vice versa.