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.