ODD: strategies for change
Do you feel exhausted from the day-to-day challenges with your child? Are you tired of the stares you get from others about the rude way your child talks to you?
Your child's defiant attitude and behavior are not part of a phase that will clear up overnight. Instead you will need a different approach from what you have tried in the past. You must be willing to change not only your child but also your own parenting response. It will take commitment, patience, and effort to do so, but it will be one of your most important parenting endeavors. Helping your child moderate her defiant ways and find healthier alternatives to expressing her needs will not only greatly improve your relationship and family life but also your child's chance for social success in the world, both now and later.
-Focus on the behavior you want: ask yourself what percentage of time on a typical day you are in a negative relationship with your child. Most parents admit -at least 75% of the time. The key is to start switching your focus to the behavior you want rather than the behavior you don't want. You might have to set up situations where your child is almost guaranteed to be compliant. Kids learn behavior from practice. At present, your child is only practicing defiant behavior, so find ways to help your child learn another way of responding to you and then acknowledge her positive behavior the second she responds appropriately.
-Ask the Golden Rule question: " Treat others as you want to be treated". Explain that a simple way to determine if you are acting respectfully is always to ask yourself before you act" Would I want someone to treat me like that?" Once your child understands the meaning of the question, use it any time her attitude is disrespectful.
- Create new family rules: Many families develop a set of "respect rules" that everyone agrees will govern how they treat on another. Though they are almost always ones you would choose yourself, because the kids have a voice in determining them, they become 'their", not just "yours". Write all suggestions on paper and then use the democratic process and vote. The top suggestions become the Family Constitution.
Many families make their final version into a chart, have all members sign in, and post it as a continual reminder.