Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Chidren and Behavior Disorder
For many children, efficient compliance with parent and teacher demands is difficult. Over time, children with problems in self-control, perhaps due to ADHD, LD, PDD, anxiety or depression, feel incompetent and under confident in taking on a new task due to repeated failure to satisfy themselves and others. Many of them are concerned that if they try to do it and make mistake, they will be unhappy because of parent criticism or self criticism, This leads to emotional reactions, escape and avoidance behaviors, whining, complaining, tantrums and refusal to comply, hallmarks of the behavioral disorder known as oppositional defiant disorder or ODD. As children become successful in reducing demands or controlling others by these actions, they become more and more oppositional and/or defiant in virtually all situations potentially requiring effort or focus. They learn to be in a bad mood as soon as their parents "show up." They protect themselves from the possibility of any demands or requests. As time goes on, so many kids develop strategies to use annoyance to get parental attention and anger, which they often enjoy, because it puts them in control of their parents. This is what I now call "oppositional fishing." So many parents become so upset. On some level, it would be better the parents viewed these actions as love, rather than hate. If the parents respond with anger and threats of their own, perpetuating chronic power struggles that destroy any chance for a pleasant family life. Some kids who are oppositional and some parents who deal with them get so upset, they do things that really did not want to do, they say, "I didn't want to do that, I did it because I LOST IT," indicating their emotions took away their accurate self-control. ODD, created by these dysfunctional interactions, is a common outgrowth of ADHD, LD, PDD, Anxiety and Depressive Disorders.What can be done to reverse this process? Parents must recognize that since they "own everything," their children must and will comply with their requests, particularly if they regain their own dignity through the demonstration of calm, thoughtful self-control. Parents must show their children understanding and love, treat them in a calm, clear, and consistent manner, and give clear positive feedback when successful cooperation occurs. This approach leads the children to abandon defiance and work in harmony with their parents to conquer attention and self-control problems. "I will treat you like a prince if you treat me like a king," is the guideline for future parent-child relationships.