I have an almost 10yo boy. He as, among other things, ADHD and ODD. He was diagnosed young, he was 4 when I had him diagnosed, as I myself am ADD and know that there can be a genetic predisposition.
In my experience with him and other children with other MH issues, I have come to the conclusion that the more you know what theyre thinking, feeling, and going through (mine is all personal experience based) the more you understand how your child needs, and wants to be treated/approached.
For me, I have found that with his ODD, its all about RESPECT! If you approach my son in a confrontational, condescending and or adult – child manor, you will get nothing but a fight. However if you approach him on his level, with the respect you would show another adult, he will give you the same and its smooth sailing.
Of course he still gets mad. Of course he has a hair-trigger temper, and anything can make him mad, the way it is approached at home and at school is very logical, as these are basically logical kids, once you get them calm. We all approach him and remind him that he needs to leave the situation. Then we discuss with him what he is mad about in a firm, but nonconfrontational tone, and with the words that has him reflect on what upset him, did he handle the situation properly? And we then ask him to take his time, take a walk inside the school (he used to have an escort but now he doesnt need it) then return to class, and apologize to those he faught with, and finally, depending on what happened, he is given an “Avis” which has him write out what he did, why, what the other person would have felt, what he should have done instead, what he will do to fix the situation or make up for it, and how the other person may feel after that. Then the teacher, principal sign it, and it comes home to me to sign. (The whole school has to do an “Avis” when they do something wrong)
Please understand, this took years to get to this point! It took years of talking to a blank stare, years of holding him to calm down, like it or not, years of helping him identify his feelings and why he feels that way. Years of seeing him attempt to go toe to toe with adults 3 times his size and not givina second thought to it. It took years of explaining to him what the medication is for, what ADHD and ODD is. And I have always told him, the medication does not make you good, it only helps you focus your brain on one or two things at a time so you can pay attention in school. I have also told him that he is a good kid, not an ADHD and or ODD kid. He just happens to have these things and that means he just needs to find his own way of doimg things. That means it may get bumpy at times but I’ll always be there to help him and in the end, he will be stronger then everyone else, because he had to learn to learn his own way.