Thursday, February 28, 2008


I have mentioned before how difficult it is for my friend who’s child has been diagnosed as having ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder). I recently discovered that it is under the umbrella of Autism and usually goes hand in hand with ADHD referred to as Comorbidity.”This is a very difficult diagnosis for parents to live with. I realize the emphasis should be on the treatment of the disorder and the child, but I think that most agencies and state wide resources are forgetting that parents are a crucial part of this disorder. It is parents that have to heal their children. It is parents that have to continually make excuses for their child’s behavior, or have discipline, at school and other places, make exceptions for their child. This is what my friend heard today. “Your daughter will be coming home in a few days and if you feel that you are not “capable” of taking care of her, we will place her in a foster family.” NO PARENT SHOULD EVER HAVE TO HEAR THOSE WORDS. These children are not responsible for this behavior and although parents must monitor their child’s behavior, eventually when things go back to normal for awhile, they begin to trust their child, and they are fooled into believing that they are doing everything they can, which in fact, they are not. (They do not ever realize this at the time, because their wish to believe that their child is taking his or hers medication is what they need to believe). I have seen many parents going through this when my youngest was in school. At some point, every parent has to trust their child in order for that child to get everything they should out of life. But for parents the only hope is disguised as manipulation on the part of the child, which is the most prevalent symptom in the diagnosis. This is a perfect Catch-22 and it is being over- looked on every level of care for these children.

Parents are having to alter their entire life styles. They are forced to sacrifice their own dreams, in order to focus on raising their child with crucial fail safes in place. And to be prepared for the cycling that inevitably takes place, with this disorder.

It is under the Department of Mental Health, which under that title, you would expect a great deal more available to parents raising children with ODD. Well, their method is not a solution. No one has offered my friend support in this. I know that they offer the support of DSS (Department of Social Services) in the form of intervention between parent and child, and frequent visits to gauge the child and the parent‘s behavior, but under that title there is only one solution, keep your child at home and go about daily life as if he or she does not suffer from this disorder, and when he or she cycles again, we can then give you more help by taking her off your hands for another week or two while they adjust her medication and then send her back home, where the parent sits waiting everyday for the other shoe to drop. This puts a lot of parents in the position of raising self indulgent children. Placating them to tone their behavior down, avoid explosions, and live in peace. The mere fact that these agencies are aware that this disorder cycles, should be enough to offer parents more resources.
I had to tell my friend today, that what she was being told was true, and that they were consistently telling her that there are no alternatives for her. However, that is not what my friend needed to hear, so she did not buy into that mind set. I was feeling so disconnected from her on the ride home. I could not find the “right” words to express to
her that I understood what she was trying to accomplish, but it was the “method” she was using to accomplish it. Parents, as well as children, have to know that, there are times when what you are doing is not going to get you anywhere, and continuing along the same lines of communication will only leave you, the parent, with a new label. The label will fall under the heading of inadequate parenting, and he or she will be told that they are the source of the rise in their child’s behavior. NO PARENT IS INADEQUATE WHEN THEY ARE PROACTIVELY TRYING TO GET HELP FOR THEIR CHILD! I am no expert, but I do believe that when a parent is doing everything possible to help their child, the help should come in a message that parents understand. A language that can be used to miraculously change their child’s behavior. It may be something as simple as changing the way that social workers explain the available resources to the parent. Or finding more resources for both the child and the parent.

I know this:

My friend is not the source of her child’s behavior, the disorder that her child has, is the source. Although my friend may not be communicating that well, considering how much pressure this puts on her, social workers should be ready to provide “more than just adequate resources” to aid parents through the most difficult and crucial time with this disorder. During the crisis, not after. After the crisis the whole cycle begins again and it will never end as long as it continues along these lines.

There are alternative methods for children with this disorder and they involve physical activity to raise their endorphin level and to experience deep and sometimes traumatic issues in their life. This is why most of them are sent to ‘Wilderness Programs”that are not covered by insurance and cost $6000. plus per month. Not every family, and in some areas, no family, is prepared to put out that much money. Most parents are saving for college education for their child. Are they supposed to use that resource to change this child’s behavior? Are they supposed to let their child fail in school and not see the child’s dream come to fruition? I do not see how this will work over time, if this is a cycling disorder.

I am not only curious, but I am determined to find, affordable alternative methods to help my friend and other parents like her, through this tragic period in their lives. I hope that as my readers, you will offer help and whatever resources you know of, to help me, help my friend and her daughter. I do see there are some new “self help digital programs” available to parents and teens and maybe my friend will consider one of these, but the important thing to remember is never give up…do not ever give up being the parent you are…try to become the source of your child’s recovery and enjoy the years of ahead with a closer happier relationship with your child.

I still laugh with my friends about my daughter at 15 and the knock, down, drag out fights that we had, while she went through puberty while I was going the menopause, not a road anyone wants to go on, believe me. But if my daughter’s behavior had not changed and I had to continue like that for years, we would not have the relationship we have now. I know my friend and her daughter will get through this and I hope everyone will help me by sending resources my way. Just respond below to the comments and I will be grateful for any help you send.

Make a choice to watch it, read it or live it…but at least try it, and remember this: “The Secret”

Thoughts do become things.

There are no coincidences.
Miracles are all around us.
Ask, Believe and you will receive.
It all begins with baby steps.

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