A new program on Trastorno de Oposición Desafiante (ODD) was just released this morning. 

Excellent program to help you with your child, particularly if you speak Spanish.

Who is in Control

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for children 12 and older
Who is the boss is the major issue for oppositional defiant children. An ODD child will do everything in his power to show you that he is the boss; not that he is in charge of you, but that you have no control over him.

Parents find this type of power struggle particularly frustrating. If you have an ODD child or teen at home, you know what I am talking about.

What might come as a surprise to you is this…

The reason that it is so frustrating when you get into a power struggle with your oppositional defiant disorder child is that in reality your child is right. You are not in control over him. Any control you have over your child comes through his own willing consent to listen to you, and your oppositional defiant child does not give you this consent.

Why You Have No Control

In most conflicts of will your child has the clear advantage. You are trying to get him to do something, a chore, to go to bed, to turn down the television, and he is trying to resist you

If it is a chore you want done he can sit and not do it. If you wish him to go to bed he is not yet in bed. If it’s the TV, well, it is already loud. He already has what he wants. It’s you that wants the change. That means if nothing happens your child has already won.

In other words, you the parent must initiate a new action or say something different to change the current situation. If you can do this effectively, then you will get what you want. If you don’t do this effectively you will not get what you want.

But your child already has what he wants. He doesn’t have to do anything new. What he is doing now is working for him. He is already not doing the chore or he is still out of bed or the TV is blasting. The burden is on you to make the situation change. And if you can’t come up with anything, then he has already won. He needs to do nothing new. He wins by default.

So when you get into a power struggle with your child you are already losing. In any battle, you have to work must harder than your child does.

That is the first problem. But there is more to it than just this.

Compare your life to your child’s life. You live in a world where bills need to be paid, and the mortgage is due. You may have a project at work or need to get dinner on the table. You have other children who need your help. You have dozens of other things going on at all times that demand your attention.

And your child?

He has no rent, no job, no children. Who do you think can devote more energy to an all out battle? So not only are you already losing any fight you get involved in with your child, but also your child can devote much more of his energy to the conflict to make sure he keeps on winning.

Now it is true, you do have the trump card. You are much bigger and stronger and in many cases you can use your size and power to force compliance. It might be the correct thing to do in certain limited cases. However, this is not a good long term strategy, for a number of reasons.

You can force your child to do things. This can work when your child is young. When your three year old doesn’t want to go to bed, you can pick him up and carry him off to bed. You can also make sure he stays there, though in some cases you may have to hold him there for a while.

When your child is ten, you can still pick him up and make him do things that he may not want to do. It is harder, particularly if he puts up a fight, but in most cases it can be done.

What about if your child is sixteen? If he is sixteen, he might be able to pick you up and put you to bed!

So even though using force is a potential short term option, in the long run it is not going to work for you.

However, that is not the biggest problem.

When you use force, you erode the relationship you have with your child. Your child feels more distant from you. This is bad for you and it is extremely bad for your child.

Your relationship with your child, the bond that you have with each other is the most important thing that you share. You should never do anything that deteriorates that bond.

Using force does just that. It chips away at your relationship until it can become irreparably damaged. So even though there are times when using your superior force may get the immediate task done, it can have very destructive long term effects and it may put you in a position down the road where you are completely helpless to control your teenage child.

Now, it is very important that you reflect upon what has just been said. You must understand that being in a power struggle with your child is a very bad position to be in. Sooner or later you are bound to lose and lose big.

It is true that the child usually initiates the conflict with the parent. However, the parent is the one who keeps it going.

There can be no conflict unless both sides participate. That is why you have to do everything you can to stay in control and not get tricked or trapped into battles that you are inevitably going to lose.

What You Need to Do to Stay in Control

When it comes to conflicts with your child, the most important thing you must remember is not to get sucked in.

Here is the formula you must always remember:

You Argue=You Lose

It is really that simple.

Once you get into a power struggle with your child you are on very shaky ground. You must do everything you can to avoid this.

If you know what to do already, then you are on your way.

If not, then I suggest you look into the resources we have for you below.

Please place your comments below and let me know how you like this

If you would like to have a quick step-by-step plan on how to end your child’s difficult behavior forever and your child is between the ages of 2 and 11:

Please go to:

How to Improve Your Child’s Behavior

Teenage pregnancy is up 400% at Gloucester High School in Gloucester, Massachusetts.  Some view this as an indictment of the school’s sex education program.  Others feel that it is a result of the hit movies “Juno” and “Knocked Up,” that glorify teen pregnancy. 

However, the school principal, Joseph Sullivan, says there is another reason.  Sullivan reports that the at least part of the reason is that many of the 17 sophomores, the oldest of which is 16, have made a mutual agreement to get pregnant and to raise their babies together. 

The school first noticed something was up last October when school officials observed that an unusual number of girls were requesting pregnancy tests from the school infirmary.  By May, many of the girls had come to the infirmary several times to get pregnancy tests.  Some girls seemed to be upset that they weren’t pregnant.  After brief questioning of some of the pregnant students, it came out that a number of girls had made a mutual agreement to become pregnant and to raise their babies together. 

News of the Gloucester Pregnancy Pact received international attention.  The story from this small (population 30,000) staunchly Catholic New England fishing town spread all over the world. 

There have been numerous wide ranging reactions to the Gloucester Pregnancy Pact.  Gloucester mayor, Carolyn Kirk denied it.  In a closed door press conference  she stated that there was no evidence of a “teen pregnancy pact.” 

The school physician and school nurse resigned.  They were protesting that the school officials blocked their plan to hand out birth control pills to students, without parental consent.  It is not clear how this was supposed to address the issue to teens wanting to get pregnant.

What is the cause of the Gloucester Pregnancy Pact? 

Some say this incident could have been prevented if the State of Massachusetts hadn’t rejected federal funds for “abstinence only” education.  The school physician and nurse felt it could have been prevented through the liberal distribution of birth control pills.  Some target President George W. Bush’s “No Child Left Behind Act” that cut funding for after-school programs and health education.  

Are these pregnancies a sign of declining moral values?  Probably not.  Teen birth rates have been declining for the last fifteen years and teen abortion rates are falling even faster. 

Some cite hard economic times.  Gloucester is a fishing community and that industry has been hard hit recently.  Many young people don’t see any future for themselves. They are growing up directionless.

One official commented that these girls fit a certain profile.  They are socially isolated.  They don’t get attention from their parents.  One student commented that these girls have little parental supervisions.  “They can stay out all night,” she commented.

The bottom line is no one knows why this Pregnancy Pact took place or even if there is a Pregnancy Pact.

What should be done?

The school is discussing free distribution of birth control among other ideas.  However, the bottom line is that teen pregnancy is not a school issue.  It is a home issue.  And we as parents have to recognize and address this issue.

What does this mean for you and your teenager? 

Teen pregnancy is a reality.  But there are no good answers, only questions. 

Will it happen to your teenage daughter? 

What precautions can we, as parents, take to protect our children?

Is sex education the answer?

Are freely available birth control pills the answer?

Is abortion the answer or even an option?

Please state post your insights and your comments on this issue.