School starts in less than an hour, and once again, everyone’s running behind. Suddenly, you hear a pounding of a fist and dishes hitting the floor as your teenager yells “Why did you make this crap for breakfast AGAIN?! You KNOW I don’t eat scrambled eggs. I’m not eating this %@$!” before storming out the front door.
Fast forward a few hours, when the phone rings. It’s the school calling for the third time that month. This time, your teen’s in the principal’s office for screaming obscenities and threats at the teacher after a difficult math lesson. This time, the principal has assigned detention. When you pick up your child, you get the same excuse as always. “It was stupid teacher’s fault. She can’t explain anything right. She asked for it.”
It’s just the start of a long evening full of screaming, rages, tears and anger. At the end of the day, you’re so exhausted from a day full of the fighting and defiance, but you just can’t seem to sleep. Your body, rigid with a mixture of anger and anxiety, just can’t seem to relax.
For many people, this scenario sounds like something straight off of reality television, or at the very least, something that resembles living with a house full of 2-year-olds. However, for parents of children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder, scenarios like this are everyday life.
Parenting a teen with ODD is like living on a battlefield of sorts. Every day, you feel like you have to tiptoe around the minefield, hoping and praying that each step doesn’t lead to the next big explosion. Some days can be great and almost feel like normal, but it may seem like those days are few and far between during times where every request of statement is met with defiance, opposition or yelling.
Many parents of teens with ODD feel a tremendous level of guilt. You may wonder where you went wrong and what you did to cause your child to struggle so much. You may feel like your child doesn’t love you and that nothing you do can fix things. You may struggle to feel attached to a child that has difficulty exhibiting love and affection back.
Parenting a child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder can also feel isolating and lonely. Like many other parents of special needs children, it can be difficult to attend school functions, family gatherings or community activities because you are constantly having to adjust your expectations and plans to fit your child’s behaviors and attitudes. Your child may lack friends, and you may feel like the parents of your children’s peers may question your parenting ability. Many parents of teens with ODD feel like they are constantly being judged by other parents, their employers and colleagues, their family members and by members of the community. The one thing parents want the most from the outside world, support, can be difficult to come by for a parent struggling with a behaviorally challenging child. Without the support of family, friends and the community, it can be hard to know where to go for help, especially during the times where you feel like your life is one big battle.
If you feel that you need to reach out to someone who truly understands this battle, call us today for a free consultation. We are specialists in helping parents find the best program to help their troubled teens overcome their current challenges. We have been helping parents, teens and families for over 10 years. Our service is provided at no cost to you and we would love to help you choose the best program for your teen to help your child get the help he or she needs in order to thrive.