When your child is diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder, treatment options can be confusing. One of the more difficult decisions you can make is how, exactly, to deal with the situation; there are any number of people suggesting treatment plans ranging from basic disciplinary methods all the way up to expensive boarding schools.
But for oppositional defiant disorder, treatment is not simply a question of teaching your child how to behave – it’s also a matter of understanding, as a parent, how your child thinks and makes decisions. The emergence of ODD in a child is not a disease in the classical sense – something strange and unusual that has happened to your child, with no rhyme or reason. It is evidence of a series of rational thought processes which need to be understood and corrected.
The biggest flaw in the thinking of children with oppositional defiant disorder is having only a surface understanding of human behavior. To the ODD child or teen, defiance is a way to get what you want – and when people want something contrary to your own desires, patterns will emerge based on what has worked in the past.
These patterns are not based on a deep understanding of human nature, but on a flawed and impersonal notion that people are tools you can use to achieve your goals. The ODD child does not suffer from some sociopathy or psychosis, where they believe that other people have no feelings or emotions at all, but from a basic inability to discern what feelings and emotions someone else has at a given time… or will have after a given situation.
The single most effective thing you can do with a child like this is to provide education on the larger picture. The ODD child tends to be analytical and intelligent, and to understand small interactions quite well. It’s the larger interactions that are confusing. When faced with complex interactions, children with ODD see only the simple surface interaction, one step at a time.
So the best oppositional defiant disorder treatment you can use is not some strange technique or expensive facility, but a process of education. Using a simple system like James Lehman’s to understand the flaws in how an ODD child thinks, you can begin the process of correcting those flaws, bit by bit… not by demanding specific behavior on the surface, but by addressing the logic and feeling behind their behavior.
To learn more about oppositional defiant disorder treatment, I highly recommend The Total Transformation Program, by James Lehman.
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