Oppositional and Defiant Behavior

Family stress of children with Oppositional and Defiant behavior. The importance of getting help sooner than later.

Oppositional and defiant behaviors with children can take many forms. Some children meet the diagnostic criteria of Oppositional and Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder, and Attention Deficit Hyper-Activity Disorder; oppositional and defiant behavior is common across multiple different diagnosis. In reality Oppositional and defiant behavior happens with most children, and it makes no difference if they have a diagnosis or not. Keeping in mind, a major feature of oppositional and defiant behavior; Sadness. Many parents may not understand the function of the behavior and desperately try various different parenting techniques, and find that many simply do not work.

Some children are extremely difficulty to redirect and at times become aggressive when they are sad/angry. Difficulties with redirection typically happen at the most inconvenient times like when grocery shopping, during homework time, and or when at church. An example would be:

A mother gets home from work and she asks her 11-year-old son to open his books at the kitchen table so that he can do his homework at the kitchen table. The mother turns her back for a few moments to start dinner, and Mother turn back around he is not at the table. She walks through the house and finds him playing his XBOX, and she reminds him “I asked you to open your books at the kitchen table. Turn off the XBOX and open your books at the table.” “Mom I’ll be there in a few minutes,” he says with frustration in his voice. His mother heads back upstairs and continue preparing dinner, and she can’t help but notice that time is continuing to go by. Now she starting to breathe heavy, walk swiftly back to his room and says, “I thought I told you to turn off the XBOX and go start your homework!” He looks at his mother and screams, “I don’t care about homework, and I’m not doing it!” His mother responds with s firm tone, “Yes you will or you will be punished. I will take your XBOX.” To which the boy cries, “No, I will do anything! No, don’t take it!” He then goes upstairs and sits at the table, and opens his books. The boy’s mother continues preparing dinner, and sees him open his books and quickly complete his worksheets and then leave the table. “Are you sure you did everything,” his mother says in disbelief that he completed the work so quickly. “Yes mom, everything,” as he heads back to the XBOX. She reviews the works sheets and then she notices that he quickly scribbled answers. “These worksheets are not completed correctly, get back here,” she says in an authoritative voice. “I did it already, I’m not doing it again and you can’t make me,” he screams from his room. She walks quickly to his room “You get off that XBOX now! I’m taking it, you’re punished and you need to do these worksheets all over again!” “I don’t care, I’m not doing it and you can’t make me, “he yells at his mother. The mother shocked at his reply says, “I can take the XBOX!” The boy responds, “I don’t care, take it. I hate you.” “Well you will have to hate me without your XBOX, and you will not get it for a month,” mother says. Then she returns to the kitchen and attempts to finish dinner. At this point she almost tears up and feels like she has eaten glass because her oldest son, her first-born, told her that he hated her.

This is a common scene in many homes. In reality the child does not need to be diagnosed with oppositional and defiant behavior in order to be oppositional and defiant. For the family as a whole, opposition and defiance can stress out everyone. The mother who has been screamed at by the oppositional child, the sibling who is embarrassed and upset by the family turmoil, and the father who is upset because his son is disrespectful to his wife and him.

There is hope; Troy has worked with hundreds of families in counseling offices as well as in their homes. Troy uses a unique approach of natural observations, Family/Individual Therapy, as well as Parent Coaching to assist families with improving their quality of life.