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Thanks  
First, thank you so much for providing this service for people like me. We have an
11 years old daughter who has been diagnosed with ODD. She is very unruly and
has lost most of her privileges including the things she enjoys. Her room is bare
and she has not been able to earn any of her things back. Recently, she is asking us
to spank her because she feels that would help her. She says the kids at school told
her that being spanked helped them. We are here in the UK and we can spank. Do
you think spanking her will help her, and if so, should we spank her on her legs or
her bottom?
Thank you again
Beth. UK

Dear Beth;
I apologize for the lateness of my response but also wanted to confer with
colleagues regarding your question. Dealing with a child diagnosed with ODD is a
challenge as I am sure you are aware! The good news is that children with this
condition have a good prognosis. They generally are successful in life with
treatment. Children with ODD also are often of average to above average
intelligence. The problem is managing their word games. First of all ODD is a
disorder typified by arguing, refusals or passively ignoring adult direction. The
goal, for the child is control. They will debate with adults about what is fair and
use your response for the next volley in the conversation. No is not in their
vocabulary. Interestingly, children with ODD enjoy the game of win/lose in debates
with adults. That is why the pulling of privileges or spankings is often not
effective. Treatment takes time but basically your daughter will need to earn that
you are in control. It is O.K, when not in the middle of an issue to have a frank talk
about what privileges, responsibilities and consequences for infractions that she is
more likely to respond to. Decide which are appropriate and work out a behavioral
contract. You can modify it. If she will not sign off on the contract- she will be
given time to consider further input but you will have to approve the final
document and implement it.. Use repetitious activities such as meal/bath/bedtime
routines and privileges you can oversee/manage. Then defer only to the contract for
consequences, privileges etc. You want to take Debate out of the equation. The
contract can be modified only 1 time per 2 weeks and despite its Unfairness-must
be followed until modification day. Consequences should be of short duration and
bothersome to her i.e. 1 hr early to bed or 25 sentences. The goal is a win-win
situation where she has a lessened consequence (probably indicating it did not
bother her) and you get her to know there is no debate on your requests. Regarding
her need for control- try and divert her need for control in age appropriate
challenges i.e. "I bet you can’t clean you room up in 4 minutes for a couple quid"
etc. Or "let see who can get the clothes folded the best and get dad to judge" etc.
Creative ways to challenge appropriate activities in sport, games, school work
should be encourage/praised. An ODD child acts as if they are an adult but need
opportunities to demonstrate competencies for their age and not deciding how they
are to be parented! It is appropriate to tell them end of discussion without fear you
are stifling their self esteem or creativity. I hope some of the thoughts are of
assistance to you. Thank you for your inquiry. Dr. De Roeck