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Out-of-Control ODD Behavior

Question:

My son has been diagnosed with ADHD and ODD. While his ADHD symptoms seem under control, his ODD symptoms are getting worse. His father and I have been divorced for two years, and we have joint custody. I don't believe that my son gets the structure and discipline he needs at his dad's house, but I try to make sure things are consistent and controlled in mine. Lately I have been having huge issues with back talk and disrespect. It is a daily struggle at this point, and I no longer know what to do. Nothing seems to work.

Answer:

By providing structure and consistency, you are on the right track so hang in there. It sounds like your son is trying to test his limits with you and others. This can be exhausting for us as parents but remember that consistency is key; he will learn what your expectations are if you don't budge on them.
 
You mentioned that he talks back to you. When trying to change a negative behavior such as talking back, it's best to have a zero tolerance level. The minute he talks back to you, issue a consequence. Do not ask him again, do not remind him of what he is doing, and do not give him another chance to be respectful; just issue the consequence.
 
Remember that arguing is a two-way street. When your son tries to take you down that street, get out of the car. He can't argue with himself. If he knows that once he argues, you'll argue back and eventually become frustrated and upset, then he's going to continue to argue. A good rule of thumb to remember is don't talk more, talk less. That will increase the possibility of your son receiving the instruction you are giving to him.
 
We hope this helps and gets you and your son headed down the right path. Power struggles are exhausting so try to avoid them at all costs.

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