May 22, 2020 at 11:55 am #172521
Hi there, my 15 year old son has ODD and was diagnosed with ADD and ODD when he was young. He is not on meds and is in a school with smaller classes to support him and is doing very well. I have not been with his father since James was 10 days old as he was verbally, emotionally and finally physically abusive. His dad has anger issues and is in denial about both himself and James. I have been with James’ stepdad Dave since James was 1.5 yrs old. I am wondering if anyone can give me any advice.
James and I verbally fight all the time. He will literally bait me into a conflict, constantly disagree ( as he feels that he knows better), raise his voice, be condescending and it triggers me every time! I know that I should not engage, we’ve done tons of therapy, but if I don’t engage, we would basically never talk. His behaviour often mirrors his father’s which I was no longer willing to accept….that’s where the triggering occurs.
Can anyone help?
Thanks so much,
May 22, 2020 at 1:17 pm #172534
I challenge you to question the intention of your son’s actions. Is he INTENDING to bait you into a conflict. Is he consciously planning and executing this baiting? I would bet that it’s not a conscious action, but rather a symptom of lagging skills and discomfort and not feeling safe on his part.
The constant disagreement and inflexibility can be maddening for parents and any others around them, but this is a clear symptom of the ADHD brain, which can often only envision one way for something. For my own son, this extreme inflexibility and argumentativeness lead us to realize he’s also on the autism spectrum. It was more severe and more consistent than expected for ADHD. When my son is calm and the opportunity arises, I talk with him about alternatives. For example, if he is convinced that there’s only one way to drive to school, I talk to him about other routes. “What other way do you think we could have gone?” That’s a really generic example and only works for older kids (my son is 17) — you can have these conversations on just about anything in daily life. Even about the way a sandwich is made. 😉 The key is to teach them to think through brainstorming different possibilities for things, then the idea that there’s only one way or only one right answer begins to dissipate.
I personally believe that ODD is a diagnosis to label behavior, when that behavior is attributable to other things (and I know some professionals that agree). For instance, extreme inflexibility is common in individuals on the autism spectrum. The way behavior is addressed is what differentiates between improvement and constant opposition and defiance. Instead of telling yourself that he is hard-wired for defiance and opposition, look at each instance and what is causing the behavior, then you can improve it.
ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Coach & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
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