Oppositional Defiant Disorder: Who’s In Control?

As the parent of an Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) child, you probably never feel completely in control of your child. There are constant attempts by you to get your child to comply with your requests that quickly become demands and that finally turn into prayers for something better; a better relationship or at least one good day.
Control is the crux of the matter when dealing with an ODD child. Society says to control your kid, the parent wants to do this, but the child will not allow it. Being controlled is like drowning to an ODD child.This is why their behavior is so puzzling. But if you consider that all behavior gets the person to his/her desired end, and when you consider that a child’s only goal is to be in control, suddenly there is logic.
Any decent parent is horrified at the notion of not controlling their child, but when it comes down to it all parents are in control of a lot less than they think or would care to admit. Those children that you see complying in the grocery store are deciding to do what they are asked. The parent isn’t making them do anything. How can you form the samedynamic with your child? It can be done.
When Kimberly Abraham, co-author of The O.D.D. Lifeline, let go of some things she couldn’t control in her son, she found that she had more control and things got better. You can’t be a helicopter parent, constantly hovering over your child to ensure he never gets hurt. You can’t be a shielding parenting, keeping consequences from your child. Finally, you can’t be an aloof parent, hoping that your child learns by doing everything only to find out later that you have no guiding force over him at all.
Ensure that your child is safe but at the end of the day, you must realize that all the control is in your child’s lap. How much did your parents control you? They didn’t. What they probably did was controlled their response toward you and the consequences of what would happen if you didn’t obey. You decided, based on what would happen if you didn’t listen, that you were going to do what you were told. 
Therein lies the answer: to improve your relationship with your child, you must stop trying to control what is out of your hands and begin looking to what you can control.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder

What Is Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

“I’ve tried everything.”
“He just won’t listen.”
“I don’t know what to do with her.”
Sound familiar? All of these are phrases repeated over and over by exasperated parents at the end of their rope with a child who, no matter what, will not listen. “Strong-willed, stubborn, and bull-headed” are words used to describe this type of child that has a will of his own. He terrorizes his teachers all day only to come home and make everyone else miserable. He won’t clean his room, back talks you, and does everything except what you ask him to do.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder is a pattern of behavior that is negative and hostile. These children often lose their temper, argue with adults, and continually refuse to comply for seemingly no good reason. They blame others for their mistakes and hate responsibility. Accepting responsibility means they would actually have to change and they won’t let this happen.
The exhausted parents often seek professional help wherein he or she receives a diagnosis of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). Sound scary? It doesn’t have to. As a counselor myself I work to explain to my clients that a diagnosis is simply a way to conceptualize a set of behaviors being exhibited by their child. This is particularly helpful with ODD children because they have a specific set of behaviors that require a specific set of interventions.
What has caused this pattern of behavior? It could be they are simply over-indulged and want it “their way,” but regardless of the cause they are going to push back against the ruling adult. In The O.D.D. Lifeline, Kimberly Abraham and Marney Studaker-Cordner walk you through a plan that will change your life. Both have worked with ODD and conduct-disorder* children and their families, but through Kim’s own personal struggle, you get the sense that she understands what you are going through and this means a lot.
I am an affiliate with Legacy Publishing, the company that produces The ODD Lifeline. So, if you have questions about the concepts found in the program, feel free to email me

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*Conduct Disorder crosses into the realm of illegal behavior where ODD does not.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder