5 Discipline Strategies for Dealing with Children with ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder)

Dealing with children with ODD or Oppositional Defiant Disorder is not easy because they have a rebellious character, get angry easily, often break rules on purpose, and have a hard time working with authority figures such as parents and teachers.

These children will be able to control their behavior if they get the right support and disciplinary strategies from their parents. Not only that, it is also important to prevent it from developing into a more serious conduct disorder.

Dealing with Children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Dealing with children with ODD requires a different approach. Due to this fact, as a mommy, you might want to consider some disciplinary strategies recommended by me below:

1. Stay calm and keep a cool head

mother support her upset daughter ODD

When children with ODD act up, the emotions of their parents can be triggered. They are provoked to scream, snap, or immediately give punishment to scare the children. The first strategy to deal with children with ODD is to change the response of the parents to the behavior that they show. Even though it is not easy, try to stay calm and think with a cool head. Doing so is important to set an example for children on how to control and channel their emotions in a healthy way.

2. Use a Structured Reward System for Positive Behavior

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One of the most effective ways to encourage positive behavior is to use reward tables. Aside from that, it can also teach new skills to children with ODD aged 5-8 years.

In order to make a reward table, you can write down the various positive behaviors that you expect from your children. Do it on a piece of paper or cardboard. Then, stick them in a place that can be seen easily. Several things that you can write down include “Don’t have tantrums when asked to come home from the park”, “Clean up the toys after they’re done using them”, or “Help clear the dinner table”.

Every time children do a positive behavior in the list, give them a sticker to place on the table while giving certain praise for the positive behavior. Once they have collected a certain number of stickers, they are entitled to certain prizes, such as watching a movie, playing with gadgets longer, or a bar of chocolate.

Talking about using a structured reward system for positive behavior, make sure not to give too many conditions to prevent them getting frustrated.

3. Make Clear Rules to Follow

good parents teach rules to children

As a parent, you are advised by a psychotherapist to make firm house rules as a discipline strategy to reduce the behavior issues of your children while still giving them space to express themselves. There are several criteria of a good house rule, such as:

Use positive short sentences, such as using a sentence like “Expressing disagreement politely” instead of “Shooting and snapping is not allowed.”

There are consequences if children break the rules. It can be in the form of a time out, revoking privileges, or paying compensation.

Security and safety rules, household chores, bedtimes, and decorum are all included.

In order to reduce arguments in the future, do not forget to make and agree on rules with your children by considering their opinions and thoughts. After that, you have to periodically review the rules to suit the age, activity, and development of the children.

4. Do Not Force but Give Firm Consequences

permissive parent with sad daughter

Believe it or not, if children with ODD are forced to follow the rules, there will be an endless debate. The most recommended way to deal with children with ODD who is acting up is to give short orders and explain the consequences if they are violated.

In case your children still do not want to obey the rules, you are advised to give them a warning about the consequences that they will get. For instance, you can say something such as “If you don’t stop playing with gadgets right now, then you can’t watch TV or gadgets for the next 24 hours.” Make sure to wait a few seconds and then strictly carry out the consequences that you warned them beforehand.

5. Spend Special Time for Children Every Day

family time with daughter

In some cases, children with ODD show negative behavior because they are hungry for attention. So, it is better for you to set aside special time every day to spend time with them. There are tons of things that you two can do together. Some of them include reading books, doing homework, making crafts, and having a conversation. Apart from that, you can also ask them to do sports and physical activities with you. Not only can they be good options to spend quality time, your children can also release the excess energy they have stored.

Dealing with children with ODD requires extra patience and creativity. In case you have a hard time, you are encouraged to consult a psychologist or seek support from the community of parents who have children with ODD. If you have successfully dealt with children with ODD, you can share your experience with the community.

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