Today, I want to discuss you.  What I mean by that is that I want to discuss you, as a parent.

Many parents who have ODD children or ADHD children, or otherwise difficult children, feel very bad about themselves, feel very ineffective as parents and feel helpless in many ways.  I want to dispel some of these negative feelings that you might be having.

Firstly, you have to understand one thing.  No child comes to the world completely blank.  Children come in with certain personality traits, certain problems, certain skills and certain abilities and that combination makes up your child.

There are some children that are easy to raise and some children are hard to raise.  The truth is that ODD children, ADHD children, and other children with other problems are much more difficult to raise than the normal, average child without any problems at all.

You might be getting a lot of negative feelings from people around you about your childs behavior and your inability to be an effective parent, but I would say in many cases, if not most cases it is not fair.

Parents who complain about others parenting skills do not have the same tests and trials and difficult children that you have.  The behavior of an ODD child whose parent is very, very good will be much worse than the behavior of a normal easily controlled child whose parent is not as good and skilled.

I will give you a couple of examples of this.  We had our children evaluated by the school psychologist .   He had already evaluated my first two children in previous years.  I remember when he finished evaluating my third child, he came out and said to me,This one is much easier, isnt he?  And he was.  My third child is a very easy child and my first two children were very difficult.  It is not a reflection of my parenting skills.   It is the way it is.  My children have different basic natures.

Once we were at a gathering with another family, and this same child who was an easy child was playing with another child of the same age, and they were getting kind of wild.  The father said to me that this child of his is the wildest child he has.  I told him, “he is my calmest child.”  It was true.  He has very calm children and I have very wild children.   But again, you cannot compare the two families and cannot compare parenting skills.

As a parent you must understand one thing.  If your child is not behaving properly, if he has ODD or ADHD, this is not an excuse for you not to address the behavior problems.  You have to get the parenting skills you need.  You have to get guidance that addresses these issues specifically.

Here is something else you must know.  If your child is under twelve, you need a specific behavior program for children under twelve.  If he between twelve to eighteen years old, you  need a  teen behavior program.  You cannot use the same techniques.  Don’t waste your money on a program that blends the two together and tries to give you advice on both age groups.

You should understand also that if you address the problems correctly, you are doing your job as a parent and accepting the child as he is.  Your child’s behavior is not a reflection of you or your parenting skills.

If you have an ODD child, you should feel very proud of your child and of your ability as a parent if you succeed in getting your child to improve his behavior even a little bit.  It is not an easy task.  If you have a hard child, no one can really blame you for that.  If they do, it is their problem and not your problem.

Out of control behavior in children and teens is a very common and distressing problem for parents.  Although it can be very stressful and confusing, here are a few tips that will help you know what to do about it.

As discussed previously, bad behavior is a result of a learned response.  This means that the child spontaneously for some reason acted inappropriately when he was young- he threw a tantrum or broke things, etc.- and as a result of the behavior the adults around him gave in to the childs desires.  They either gave in because it was a bad time for them or because they were too embarrassed by the behavior to deal with it.

Whatever the reason, if this happened often enough the child would realize that he can get what he wants by acting inappropriately.  In other words, the child learned a special technique that he can get what he wants if his behavior is disruptive.

Bad behavior is not an inborn.  It is learned.  You have to un-teach the behavior and you have to do it immediately.  Here is the reason why.

As your child gets older, he is going to want more things, bigger things, more dangerous things.  He will learn that if you give in to bad behavior all he has to do is escalate the behavior and he will eventually get what he wants.  That will make your life very difficult.  It will disrupt your peaceful home environment.

This is why many parents have such a hard time with defiant teens.  Since early childhood these children learned that they can use their inappropriate behavior to get their parents to give in.   Teens often become more aggressive with their behavior.  They will break walls, punch through doors, and break windows.  These teens also use all sorts of abusive and cursing language.

Defiant children understand that bad behavior is an effective technique to get what they want.  Remember, though, it is a learned technique.  You have to un-teach your child by not giving in to abusive behavior.   It is not a hard thing to do, but it is not a pleasant thing to do either.

Also, this is not something you can do gradually.  It is not a weaning process.  Your decision not to give in to your child’s tantrums and abusive behavior must be absolute.

Your child’s first response will be to escalate the behavior.  It is critical at that point not to give in.  When your child acts out, you must hold your ground.

Eventually, your child will understand that acting out is no longer an effective way of getting what he wants.  He will stop acting out.  However, until he has that realization, he is going to escalate his behavior though.  Be prepared for this.

A key thing to remember is that you should not get into a battle or a conflict with your child if you are not able to follow through.  That means if you have to run out for an appointment, or if you have an important phone call, or for some reason you cannot sit it out, wait it out, and endure whatever your child is going to do, you should not get involved in the conflict.  The worst thing you can do is to begin to make a stand and then back down.  By backing down you are encouraging your child to escalate the negative behavior.

Again, it cannot be stressed enough that this bad, abusive, and out of control behavior in children and teens is a learned process.  And because it is a learned behavior, you must un-teach your child.

The unlearning process is a hard one.  You will experience a lot of unpleasantness.  However, you must go through with it because if you do not, your child’s behavior is going to get worse over time. These behavior problems will not go away or get better by themselves.

Today, I’m going to discuss a letter I received. I’ll read it to you.

I’m afraid my child is ODD.  What should I do?  For the past two years, when I talk to the doctors about it, I’m told that he’s going to grow out of it.  He’s a boy.  He’ll just grow out of it.  My husband’s also in denial that anything is wrong.  He just started Pre-K this year and the teachers are having a very, very hard time with him.  We’ve tried spanking, time outs and taking things away, and nothing seems to be helping.  I love him but I don’t know what to do.

So there are several issues I want to discuss in this letter.  First of all, will the child grow out of it?  Well, could be.  Many children are diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder before they’re 8 years old.  By the time they’re 8, 50% do grow out of the problem and are normal children.  However, if their behavior persists past the age of 8 years old, 75% of these children have ODD even into adulthood.  So, will this child grow out of?  It’s very possible he will, it’s possible he won’t.  No one can tell at this point.

The second issue is what to do about it.  Now, the spankings, the punishments, they’re not working.  That’s not a surprise to me because these children function in a different way.  What you have to work on in a younger child really, all children are the same way, but in a younger child especially, you must focus on the developing a good strong loving relationship.  You cannot make your child do anything he does not want to do.  The way you control and direct a child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder is to show him that he really wants to behave.  You do that through the strength of your relationship.

We at Complete Connection Parenting have done research in four continents with our child behavior program, and we have found is that it’s the relationship that makes all the difference for all these children.

So what you need to do is find a good strong parenting program.  This program must focus on ODD children, and focus on building the relationship; not on discipline, not on techniques, but building the relationship.  When you do this our research has shown in most cases the need for discipline goes away completely.

The third issue in this letter, which is a harder issue to address, is her husbands denial.  It is very hard for a parent to face a problem when he does not know the solution.  It’s much easier to deny the problem, and I understand that very well.

Can you do anything about it if your partner is in denial?  Hard to say.  One thing you can do is when you start raising a child properly, you show you have a direction.  Your husband may come around and back up and see the problem, see the solution, and not be in denial anymore.

The other thing to understand is this; really, it’s best to have both parents involved and working together, but the child can get by with one parent parenting properly.

So, what I suggest again in such a case is to find a good child behavior program that focuses on building relationships that is designed for Oppositional Defiant Disorder children, and enroll in that program.  Our program, How to Improve Your Childs Behavior is such a program.  This program is located at  There are probably other programs that will also help you with such a situation.

Defiant Child Disrespectful Child

Today we are going to discuss how to help your child develop better social skills. 

Many children with ADHD or Oppositional Defiant Disorder or other behavioral problems or learning disorders have trouble with social skills; meaning they have trouble with making friends and they have trouble keeping friends.

These children behave inappropriately in social situations and here is the reason for this.  Children with learning problems or behavioral problems have trouble globalizing what they learn.

Generally speaking, the way a child learns how to behave properly by observing those around him; what other people do in certain situations and then applying what he learns to new situations.

This is called globalizing

Children with ADHD or ODD or learning disorders have trouble taking what happens in one situation and applying it to a new situation.  They have trouble globalizing what they learned.  Therefore, what you as a parent have to do is to teach them how to do that.  You prepare your child ahead of time for new social situations.

Lets say, for instance, your child has trouble relating to friends.  What you would do is have him invite a friend over and you prepare him before hand how he should behave with a friend. 

You teach him he should offer the friend something to eat or to drink.  He should be prepared what toys he wants to share. You coach him how to behave with a friend properly.  You do not just say place nicely because he does not know what that means.  In very detailed ways, you prepare him before hand.

You want to teach your child manners.

Lets say you want to go out to a restaurant.  Teach him to order for himself, to say please to the waiter and thank you to the waiter.  You coach him before hand on how to handle the situation.  Tell him you say this, you say that, you say please, you say thank you and you smile and make eye contact with the person.

What you need to do is to teach your child in every situation you can how to handle that social situation.  In that way, he will learn how to develop better social skills.

Again, there is nothing wrong with such a child.  He is not bad person. He just has trouble learning how to take what he knows from one situation and apply it to a new situation.  That is where you as a parent come in.  You teach them how to behave in new situations.

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Today, I’m going to discuss the seven tips that will help you with child behavior.  These are seven general principles, and I’ll go in order.

1.  The first one is you must show love and concern for your child, meaning when you ask your child to do something, he must understand it is for his own good.  Very often, we ask children to do things for our own convenience and that may be necessary, but it’s not a way to get your child to comply.  Your child has to understand that when you want him to do something or ask him to do something, it really is because you have your child’s best interest in mind.  And if he understands that, he’s much more likely to listen to what you ask him to do.

2.  You sincerely must respect for your child.  We as a society have a little problem with respect.  We don’t respect other people enough.  If you don’t show your child respect, he is going to resent that.

You have to respect your child.  Parents frequently complain to me that their teenagers don’t show them respect.  Most of the time the reason is that they never gave their teen respect when he was a child.

If you show your child respect, first of all he will be more likely to listen to you.  But more importantly, as he gets older, he will show you respect too.  It’s a very important thing to show respect for your child.

3. You have to be patient.  Your child, after all, is a child and he’s going to behave like one.  He will act out inappropriately at times.  He’ll be immature.  That’s part of growing up.  You have to be patient with your child and not expect too much and not demand too much.

4.  This is a very important one.  When you state your request and you must speak softly to your child.  Do not use a loud, mean voice, and do not try to threaten.  Just ask in a quiet voice.

This is very powerful.  A person who speaks quietly shows a great deal of self-control.  Self-control is something that is worthy of respect.  When a person can show that he’s in control of himself, your child is much more likely to listen.

5.  Make moderate demands.  You are in charge of showing your children how to grow up and develop properly.  You’re child is going to hear a lot of orders from you and a lot of demands from you, and you’re going to have to make them.  That’s part of being a parent.

You have to show your child what to do.  He can’t cross the street at certain times.  He has to come at a certain time.  He can’t stay out late at night.  He can’t watch TV when he wants to watch TV.  He’s got to do certain things, because that’s part of growing up and part of fulfilling his responsibilities.

What you must do is minimize the demands you make on your child.  Make sure those are things that you ask are really things that your child needs to do.

For example, if he has homework to do , then he has to do the homework.  But how he does it and when he does it you should leave up to him, provided that he does get it done.  You want to minimize the demands you place on your child, because there are going to be plenty of them.  There are much more than your child really should have, but that’s part of growing up.

6.  You must follow through with what you say.  This is very, very important.  If you ask your child to do something, he must do it and there’s no backing down.  There are no second chances.  There is no negotiating.

Your child has to understand that you are the parent, you are in charge, you are in control, and when you say something, it’s for his own good and he has to do it.
This is very important.  You have to follow through.  Parents who do not follow through are the ones who have children become defiant teens later on, because the child learns there is room for negotiation.

You want to follow through what you request.  And if you’re not able to follow through with the request, meaning you’re not able to enforce what you ask, then it’s not a good time to ask it.

7.  Use the word ‘yes’ as often as you can and try to avoid saying ‘no’ whenever you can.  You are going to say ‘no’ a lot.  And in fact, most children, one of the first words they ever learn is ‘no’.  And that’s a problem.  Children hear ‘no’ too much.  Whenever you can, say yes to your child, and when you can say it another way, try not to say ‘no’.

For example, your child wants to have a treat.  Don’t say ‘no’, you can’t have one.  You haven’t had dinner yet.  Say ‘yes you can, after you finish dinner’.

Your child wants to go out and play.  You don’t say ‘no, you can’t play, you’ve got to come in.’  You say ‘yes, you can play tomorrow after you come home from school.’

Try to say yes whenever you can and try to avoid saying no.  Children hear ‘no’ way too much.

Those are seven quick parenting tips techniques you can use to help your child behave better.