I am so sorry for your pain and struggle – I went through almost exactly the same things…mine are young adults now, and the problem is marginally better. This spectrum as a strong genetic background, exacerbated by biological and environmental factors. Here are things which help: 1) Having an understanding and deeply invested helpful second parent or adult who you can tag-team with (it is miserable doing it alone); (2) Firm yet positive discipline – it is so easy to lose our cool and scream, yell, cry but as I have learnt – it does not help. The child/young adult with ODD/ADHD is struggling much more than us. Treating them as te problem exacerbates the situation- getting them to understand you are on their team as equal partners does help (3) As a family, have soothing daily rituals and habits- for example, listening to soothing classical music, divine chants, doing yoga together, a few minutes of meditation upon arising, praying together, taking hikes together, taking a walk at the beach, enjoying nature together, playing chess (yes I know it is practically impossible to get them interested in such things!) (4) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or Neurofeedback (with well trained practitioners) in addition to the specific meds prescribed- the meds alone rarely appear to work; (5) Additional adult family members or helpful friends who can be mentors to the affected child/young adult; (6) Besides standard meds, I looked up the literature and found herbal therapies such as Bacopa monnieri, Centenella asiatica, Phyllanthus emblica, Valerian etc which are known for ages to help enhance neural circuitry, attention, focus, reduce stress etc. (7) Making sure the child gets enough physical aerobic exercise – a brisk walk, karate, run or biking with the family is amazing. (8) If you can afford to have a pet- a loving dog is a great boon (9) Keeping the kid busy with interesting activities (art/crafts/drama/music/painting/ Legos/gardening, clay-modeling etc); (9) Lots of “I love you”, and “let’s write down all the ways you are just AMAZING!”; (10) having the child identify when and why anger rises up within, and how to let you know- in other words- the anger or the ‘bad’ behavior is separated from the identity of the child.
Like I said- I am still fighting the war – just know that you are not alone, and there is a huge army of us fighting this awful disease which has affected our poor children.