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It isn't easy to reign in a child with oppositional defiant disorder, but that doesn't mean it's impossible. If your child has ODD, you're likely at your wit's end from dealing with outbursts, insults, and general resistance to authority. Fortunately, there are a few techniques you can use to start seeing positive results.
Follow Your Own Rules
Children with ODD often defy rules and resist authority because they feel they are the victims of unfair persecution. One way to alleviate your child's sense of victimhood is to hold yourself accountable to the same set of rules.
For example, if you break a rule against raising your voice, you should give yourself the same consequences you would give your child. You should also apologize to whoever you raised your voice at and explain to your child why it's important for everyone to follow the rules. This reinforces your kid's trust both in you and in the rules you create.
Nip Arguments In The Bud
Arguments are the favorite tools of defiant children, because you're more likely to relent when you've been worn down. Bargaining with your child or compromising the rules because you're tired of arguing only serves to fuel his or her future resistance.
Instead of allowing yourself to argue with your child about the rules, use a calm voice to explain what rule your child broke and what the consequences are for breaking it. Ensure that he or she understands why the rule exists. Then, don't discuss it further. It takes two to argue, and by refusing to engage with your child in an argument, you can show that your word is final.
Reward Your Child's Good Behavior
For defiant children, not acting out should be seen as good behavior. Kids with ODD will often have difficulty controlling their emotions, and they act out when they feel upset. If your child goes for a long period without an outburst, it's important to reward this restraint and nurture further good behavior.
You should also give your child a reward if he or she is able to calmly work through a conflict without becoming angry or resistant. Though this is normal behavior for many children, it represents great effort and progress for those with ODD. Reinforcing the connection between good behavior and rewards is important for helping your child develop a healthy attitude toward authority.
Your child's attitude won't change overnight, but you can still see improvement with the right parenting techniques. Talk to your child's therapist or consider taking parenting classes for parents with defiant children. You don't have to feel hopeless about reigning in your child's bad behavior, you just need the right tools to do it.