ADHD, ODD, or BOTH - Part II

Defiant_Girl_SMIn Part I of this blog we discussed the evidence that supports the link between ADHD and ODD. Dr. Russell Barkley states: ADHD involves one more vital component that has been left out of the Clinical diagnosis for ADHD Emotional Dysregulation: deficits in inhibiting and regulating emotions. Emotional Self-Regulation is the ability to manage your behavior in relation to the events that happen in your life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also reports: Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is one of the most common disorders occurring with ADHD. ODD usually starts before age eight, but no later than early adolescence.

So you ask, what does this psychological/medical jargon really mean in layman terms?This is what it means to parents of ADHD/ODD children:

My son is very violent and has lots of anger. He gets mad so easily and it is hard to deal with him the school wants to put him in alternative school. I do not know what to do with him he can be the sweetest boy in the world but when he has the bad days, he does not even look like my baby boy.

He would get extremely angry over the most mundane things that most people take for granted. He smashed furniture, broke things, and would whip things through the air at people. He physically attacked me around 3 times. I was honestly scared of him. He seemed to be chronically irritated by something I just couldn't see. I came very close to putting him into a group home for his own safety and mine.

Sound all too familiar? These are typical examples of emotional dysregulation the vital component left out of the Clinical diagnosis for ADHD. These comments were made by parents of ADHD/ODD children.

Tips for Parents of Defiant ADHD Children:

  1. STAY POSITIVE: Rewarding good behavior can be more effective then punishing bad behavior. It can also boost self-esteem when you catch your child behaving well, and dole out praise. Treat your child as if he were already the person you'd like him to be  that will help him develop the self-esteem to become that person.
  2. TREAT BEFORE YOU PUNISH: Make sure you're not disciplining children for a symptom of ADHD. Once the symptoms are under control, you will know which behaviors are punishable, and which are facets of the condition. In other words, don't buy into other peoples negative remarks. Your childs mind may work differently. Behaviors that other people call slow or may be symptoms.
  3. USE YOUR WORDS: You always tell your children to use this technique use your words to communicate feelings, but it's important for parents to remember too. Hypersensitivity commonly exists alongside ADHD, so spanking can be harmful for kids.
  4. AVOID MELTDOWNS: Having an escape strategy for tough events like birthday parties and family events can make the difference between a public scene and a quiet exit. The best plans make you and your child co-conspirators in on the same secret. Take him aside and say: It's time to be a magician and become invisible.Then, exit stage right!
  5. ACT LIKE A COP: When you are pulled over, the policeman doesn't berate you or yell. He calmly doles out consequences. ADHD children can be very sensitive to parents anger and won't understand the message of what you're saying. Stay cool-headed so things stay under control.
  6. BE CLEAR ABOUT RULES AND CONSEQUENCES: Parents need to explain what behavior is not allowed and exactly what will happen if kids don't meet those expectations. Be consistent when reinforcing the rules. Kids with ADHD need to have it all laid out so they don't forget. Do no use the word as a reflexive answer to every question. If the child is impulsive to begin with they are more apt to rebel to the negative word
  7. PLAY BEFORE PUNISHING: Doing creative projects together can help keep kids from misbehaving. When kids do act out, give them a punishment thats so boring they'll never want to do it again!
  8. KNOW YOUR CHILDS PATTERNS: Honing in on the little quirks and hypersensitivities that make your child tick can help you adjust your discipline plan. It will let you know when your child is being willfully defiant and when emotional overwhelm has gotten the best of him.
  9. ASK YOURSELF IF YOURE CONTRIBUTING: Could you have ADHD/ODD too? Parents are a childs most influential role model, so think carefully about your own behavior.


In conclusion: Oppositional behavior seems to be a manifestation of ADHD-related impulsivity. While there is no medication that is scientifically established or formally approved to treat ODD, drugs may sometimes be used to treat other mental illnesses that may be present, such as ADHD or depression. Other forms of treatment are behavior shaping and cognitive training programs. These treatments are either administered by a professional therapist or in home by the parent.

Play Attention has a full behavior shaping program. As cited in our last success story, major behavioral changes will take place during the Play Attention sessions.

"Once the Play Attention routine was established, the arguing beforehand and the disruptive behaviors during the program diminished to the point where, as coach, I have virtually no behaviors to report during his sessions." -Nathan's success story.

Play Attention integrates feedback technology with cognitive skill training and behavior shaping. You may learn more about Play Attention at one of our upcoming Speed Webinars. To learn more about Play Attention's efficacy and success rate, as documented in a controlled study conducted by Tufts University School of Medicine, download a recorded webinar hosted by Dr. Naomi Steiner at Additude Mag.

Your attention experts are at Chat with us from our site, or call us at 800.788.6786 to learn how Play Attention can help you, your children, or your clients achieve success!

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