5 Discipline Rules for Parents of Violent, Defiant Children and Teens
Tip #1: Combined therapy -- a discipline program plus medication -- is best for defiant behavior. ADD/ADHD medication can help a child manage his emotions better, so he's less likely to react explosively, but it won’t change his defiant behavior.
Tip #2: Remember that a child's behavior often gets worse after participating in a defiance program, says Tim Verduin, of New York University. Because he isn't getting the response from you that he wants, and that he’s used to, he escalates his negative behavior to get it.
Tip #3: If your child's tantrums seem more explosive and frequent than her peers', she may have ODD. As many as five percent of all children have ODD, but 65 percent of kids with ADD/ADHD also have ODD, according to some estimates.
Tip #4: "It's never a good idea to make a rule that you can't enforce all the time," says Joyce Divinyi, author of Discipline That Works: 5 Simple Steps. "Defiant kids play the odds. If they can get away with defiant behavior one time -- it may be only one in six -- they will shoot for that one."
Tip #5: It takes six months to change defiant behavior, says psychologist Joyce Divinyi. "I encourage parents to get coaching or support during this challenging time. Tell a therapist, 'I've read this book, or I'm doing that program. It makes a lot of sense to me, but I need support while we're getting through it. What do you suggest?'"
This article appears in the Spring issue of ADDitude.
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