Please help! Oppositional defiant disorder and homeschooling - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 12-07-2013, 06:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello-I am new around here and in desperate need of advice! My 7 yo DD was recently diagnosed with ODD. At a follow up appointment yesterday her dr (who is an amazing naturopath who homeschooled her own children) suggested I send DD to school. On one hand, I am so exhausted and feel like I am coming to the end of my rope with her. I am not able to "do" any school with her, as she resists any instruction I try to give her. We have tried unschooling, but she will take no suggestions from me for things to get involved with and gets "bored" and can not come up with things to do on her own. And if she does come up with something to do on her own, she is not able to stick to it for long as she gets incredibly frustrated once Anything becomes difficult for her. I have enrolled her in many classes and activities but it's the same thing, once things gets hard she gives up and refuses to go! I have tried implementing a fairly rigid schedule for her and although she seemed to respond well to it, it was exhausting for me because I had to stay on top of her to keep up with it.
But on the flip side, I believe very strongly in homeschooling and just can't imagine sending her to public school! I feel like it would squash her. And the truth is, as difficult as she may be I just can't see sending her off for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week!
I just want to do what is best for all of us and I guess I don't know what that is right now! Any advice/opinions would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks!
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#2 of 17 Old 12-07-2013, 11:27 AM
 
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I always had my suspicions that my eldest dd might have earned the ODD label if she'd had an authoritarian parent. Not to say that you are an authoritarian parent, or that you somehow caused your dd's oppositional disorder, just that I feel like I have an inkling of what it's like to work with an oppositional kid. 

 

We did continue to unschool and overall I think it was a good choice. There certainly were challenging years where her intensity was not yet matched with a maturity in problem-solving skills. I would say that the years from 5 to 10 were the toughest. Waiting for maturity to catch up, and just coping in the meantime, is a tough road. 

 

Eventually we hit on an approach that seemed to be helpful, imposed on us by our unschooling-friendly umbrella school program, the self-designed Learning Plan. It was really helpful at making it clear that she and I were on the same side on the homeschooling thing. We would sit down and brainstorm a list of interests, ambitions, goals and dreams. From that we'd collaboratively brainstorm resources and approaches that might help her move forward with those things. And then, sometimes after some research, we'd work out a plan and structure for her. Her making the decisions, me facilitating. And up front I'd ask her to describe how she wanted to make help herself stick to that plan. Whether she wanted me to facilitate, remind, hold her accountable with certain perks or privileges, whether there were any rules she wanted for herself that she wanted me to help enforce, and just what flavour that enforcement should take. If she didn't want reminders or structure from me that was fine too. We'd write it all down. And then we'd agree to give this plan a trial for a specific length of time before reassessing: maybe a few weeks or so. 

 

At the appointed time we'd get together and look at the plan again and talk about what was working and what wasn't. And when something wasn't working (which was often the case) I'd ask her first off whether she still had that interest or goal, and maybe just needed to remind herself of it and make a new effort. Because sometimes that was all it was: she'd just forgotten that she wanted to do that. She didn't need to change the plan, nor did she need me to enforce something. She just needed to say "Yeah, I still do want to learn origami [or Japanese calligraphy, or multiplication facts]. I should get that book out tonight, and look up some stuff on YouTube." 

 

Sometimes there was a structural change needed, and we'd talk about that. New resources, or a new expectation, or some more active facilitation from me. And sometimes the interest or goal had faded, and we'd just remove it from our plan, maybe replacing it with something new.

 

The Learning Plan was open to regular revision, and it wasn't like a law that it was bad to break. It was just a guidepost that reminded us of what her plans had been at a particular point in time. And it was something that she was the primary, uncoerced author of, not me, which prevented it becoming something she wanted to push against. 

 

It may have worked well because she was a bit older at the time we introduced it (around age 10). While the self-designed Learning Plan worked well for my other kids at ages as young as 4 or 5, they didn't have the same oppositional tendencies, so who's to know whether it would have worked for my eldest. But I thought I'd put it out there in case it could be helpful to you. 

 

Miranda


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#3 of 17 Old 12-07-2013, 11:56 AM
 
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I have a son that just won't believe me on certain factual things. This was the first eye opener: we have those foam bathtub letters and one was backwards and he was asking about the letter and he wouldn't believe me. I'm thinking oh my gosh and I'm going to homeschool this kid? Anyway Montessori things have worked well for us. Let the materials do as much of the teaching as possible. Hands-on, Self correcting. Also a checklist of a reading activity, a math etc. but he gets to choose has helped us. He was also more interested in the materials as I made them than many of the store bought ones. I made some letters that hang so they will always be properly oriented.
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#4 of 17 Old 12-07-2013, 06:41 PM
 
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I'm quite sure my ds would have been diagnosed with ODD... What worked well for him was unschooling in such a way that he decided what to do, and I helped or facilitated. But I had to be able to drop it (whatever I was helping him with) when he either lost interest (this sometimes meant he was finding it too difficult) or wanted to take a break. That was very frustrating for me to leave things half done or done in a "wrong" way. I had to know, going to a museum, that we were not going to make a day of it. We'd speed walk through the exhibits stopping only if something caught his eye. Drove me nuts to spend $ on admission for him to be done in one hour. But I knew what he was like and to expect it rather than to butt heads trying to get him to stay longer.

 

I worked hard at not saying no. Many times when people say no to kids, they really mean not now. So instead of saying no, I'd say yes and when we could do it. 

 

It is amazing when you pay attention how controlling even video games can be. Any game that is designed to be educational is not a good game for a kid like mine. though sometimes he had fun doing everything wrong on purpose to make the game make the "wrong choice" sound.

 

There is a lot for a child who is sensitive to controlling atmospheres to be bothered by, that will put him/her in a resistant mood...

 

I learned to not correct him and that the conclusions he made were right based on the knowledge he had. As he gained more knowledge, he came to different, equally right, conclusions.

 

Despite the ODD, ds was pretty reasonable when he didn't feel he was being manipulated. Focusing on him believing I was always on his side and prioritizing our relationship over specific learning or any other goals (like chores) really helped. He's a great kid and we get along very well, though he still has his moments (when he is tired, mostly.)


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#5 of 17 Old 12-08-2013, 08:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all so much for your replies! You have given me hope that homeschooling is doable! I am definitely going to try to put a list of things together with her and look for some manipulatives that she might like! And I do try to let things go when they don't seem to be working for her, but sometimes it's hard to trust that when she is ready to learn I will happen. Last night I got some reassurance from her though! After struggling for months to help her learn to read (which is something that she wants to do!) we were out to dinner for my FIL's birthday and she filled a whole page with sentences without even asking me for any help! Thank you again!
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#6 of 17 Old 12-08-2013, 09:46 AM
 
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I think the other responders have given you plenty of inspiration to continue homeschooling, and you are very motivated. So my response is just really to report that even kids who are "more" or "less" something than other kids sometimes do better in structured settings. I wasn't expecting that, this year, when I put my 3rd homeschooled child into a public school, especially since he suffers from social anxieties. To my relief and surprise, he is thriving. I carefully chose the situation he is in, and it is working BETTER than my relaxed homeschooling. For him. I thought it was worth mentioning, maybe for someone else with a child where homeschooling doesn't seem to be the highest meeting of the needs of that child. My child is blossoming where he wasn't at home. Not for everyone but I am very pro homeschooling so I didn't want to do it, but the structure and friends and friendly non-me adults are giving him confidence and a place in the world.

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#7 of 17 Old 12-08-2013, 11:41 AM
 
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Thank you 4evermom. I've read your advice multiple times today. We've had a rough day and I remembered this thread. ;-)
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#8 of 17 Old 12-08-2013, 11:47 AM
 
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Sorry you're having a rough day, FarmerMomma! How old is your ds? Life is so much easier now that mine is older. I think age 4 was the worst and it has (very slowly) gotten better since then... Some days were just plying him with sleep and food and waiting until he matured!


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#9 of 17 Old 12-08-2013, 11:52 AM
 
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Funny anecdote: My husband overheard ds tell his younger cousins, "As much as I hate to admit my mom is right, a little mayo on a sandwich really does make it taste better." :lol


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#10 of 17 Old 12-08-2013, 02:09 PM
 
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He's 6. Yes it has gotten progressively better since about 4. We're having cabin fever now though. We were sick for a few days and then a snowstorm has kept us in. I also have a 7 month old and that has changed things. We seem to have the opposite problem in that i can hardly get him to leave anywhere. How old is your DS 4ever? Have others?
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#11 of 17 Old 12-08-2013, 02:13 PM
 
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It can take a while to recover from being sick, even after there are no symptoms. Post-illness depression and other mood issues are very common according to my M.D. mom... My ds is 12 and an only... That did make many things easier, I know. I didn't have to balance the needs of one sibling against those of the other...


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#12 of 17 Old 12-09-2013, 11:13 PM
 
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To the original poster, I have a 9.5 year old DD with some kind of mood disorder (just diagnosed). The dr wouldn't commit to an exact diagnosing, saying she's too young, but it could be ODD or bi-polar.

I did end up putting her back in public school at the beginning of this school year. She went the first semester of last school year, and then asked to be homeschooled again. She did slightly better the second half of the school year, but the first month of this school year was so hard on all of us that I couldn't do it anymore. I have a DS who's a little less than a year younger than her, and quite a challenge in a completely different way (quite gifted, but can be very distracted and unfocused, very much into his music), and I couldn't take the fighting anymore. My husband is 100% against unschooling, so that wasn't an option.

While she's bright, she is not doing nearly as well at school as she could, mostly because she often forgets to bring her homework home. I'm not sure if she truly forgets or sometimes leaves it at school on purpose because she doesn't want to do it. Other times she simply refuses to do her homework. So she ends up getting a lower grade at times.

 

It's tough. She truly is impossible to homeschool; as soon as I even suggest anything, the yelling and name calling and door slamming starts.

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#13 of 17 Old 12-11-2013, 08:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
 

I always had my suspicions that my eldest dd might have earned the ODD label if she'd had an authoritarian parent. Not to say that you are an authoritarian parent, or that you somehow caused your dd's oppositional disorder, just that I feel like I have an inkling of what it's like to work with an oppositional kid. 

 

We did continue to unschool and overall I think it was a good choice. There certainly were challenging years where her intensity was not yet matched with a maturity in problem-solving skills. I would say that the years from 5 to 10 were the toughest. Waiting for maturity to catch up, and just coping in the meantime, is a tough road. 

 

Eventually we hit on an approach that seemed to be helpful, imposed on us by our unschooling-friendly umbrella school program, the self-designed Learning Plan. It was really helpful at making it clear that she and I were on the same side on the homeschooling thing. We would sit down and brainstorm a list of interests, ambitions, goals and dreams. From that we'd collaboratively brainstorm resources and approaches that might help her move forward with those things. And then, sometimes after some research, we'd work out a plan and structure for her. Her making the decisions, me facilitating. And up front I'd ask her to describe how she wanted to make help herself stick to that plan. Whether she wanted me to facilitate, remind, hold her accountable with certain perks or privileges, whether there were any rules she wanted for herself that she wanted me to help enforce, and just what flavour that enforcement should take. If she didn't want reminders or structure from me that was fine too. We'd write it all down. And then we'd agree to give this plan a trial for a specific length of time before reassessing: maybe a few weeks or so. 

 

At the appointed time we'd get together and look at the plan again and talk about what was working and what wasn't. And when something wasn't working (which was often the case) I'd ask her first off whether she still had that interest or goal, and maybe just needed to remind herself of it and make a new effort. Because sometimes that was all it was: she'd just forgotten that she wanted to do that. She didn't need to change the plan, nor did she need me to enforce something. She just needed to say "Yeah, I still do want to learn origami [or Japanese calligraphy, or multiplication facts]. I should get that book out tonight, and look up some stuff on YouTube." 

 

Sometimes there was a structural change needed, and we'd talk about that. New resources, or a new expectation, or some more active facilitation from me. And sometimes the interest or goal had faded, and we'd just remove it from our plan, maybe replacing it with something new.

 

The Learning Plan was open to regular revision, and it wasn't like a law that it was bad to break. It was just a guidepost that reminded us of what her plans had been at a particular point in time. And it was something that she was the primary, uncoerced author of, not me, which prevented it becoming something she wanted to push against. 

 

It may have worked well because she was a bit older at the time we introduced it (around age 10). While the self-designed Learning Plan worked well for my other kids at ages as young as 4 or 5, they didn't have the same oppositional tendencies, so who's to know whether it would have worked for my eldest. But I thought I'd put it out there in case it could be helpful to you. 

 

Miranda


Miranda, I'm not certain if I should PM you or start a new thread as I don't want to hijack, but I'm wondering if you could tell me what your Learning Plan looked like when your children were 4-5. We're doing homeschool with my 5 year old DS this year (just turned 5 in October). How much input did they give? What kinds of things did they do? How did you facilitate without being too much of a "teacher" at this age? DS loves learning about animals and has asked to do some more of that, we're learning letter sounds and will probably start learning blending soon. We do a circle time, usually based on the seasons. But I find that I'm the teacher when it comes to all these things and am concerned that he won't develop that drive/know-how to do it on his own when the capability (or age appropriateness?) is there. He's content to "do lessons" and sit down and do the stuff I pull out. Most of the day is free play, he thrives on structure and is for the most part easy going.

 

Also, how did you go about talking to them about their learning plan? When I asked DS what he wanted to learn/do he listed a bunch of animals he wants to learn about. Oh, and says he wants to take a special trip... to Australia! So I told him that even though we can't go Down Under right now, we can plan a trip as if we're going to go, figure cost, where we'd stay, study the locations we'd like to visit, etc. He seemed excited by that. But I had to ask if he wanted to keep learning letter sounds and blending. Is that something you'd have done? (He says he wants to blend sounds, but doesn't want to learn to read yet. LOL. I think its an intimidating thought, but there's no rush for him at this point. We read a ton together.) 

 

This feels rather rambling, so I hope it makes sense. Thank you for your help! I love reading the insightful posts on this forum, though I mostly lurk.


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#14 of 17 Old 12-11-2013, 09:26 PM
 
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I'm wondering if you could tell me what your Learning Plan looked like when your children were 4-5. 

 

Here's a copy of youngest dd's Learning Plan at age 5 in this blog post. I should note, however, that my kid was crazy precocious, and that she was driven to do the LP because she had older siblings doing the same thing and wanted to be a part of the whole homeschooling and planning thing. So it is a fair bit more fleshed out than it might have been if she hadn't had the vicarious experience of older siblings doing something like this. 

 

At 5 your child is new to the world, and so he needs you as a guide and resource. That's particularly true since he thrives emotionally with structure and support. I wouldn't worry about the fact that you feel like you are doing a fair bit of teaching. That's quite natural at this age. If you want to put him more in the driver's seat, you can ask him questions like "Do you like the way I'm helping you to learn about numbers and math? Is that something you'd like to keep doing? Every day, or just once in a while?" Gradually you'll find he's more able to offer his own ideas, but you'll have a big facilitating role for the first few years. It sounds like you're already playing that role sensitively and well. 

 

miranda


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#15 of 17 Old 12-12-2013, 10:26 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
 

 

Here's a copy of youngest dd's Learning Plan at age 5 in this blog post. I should note, however, that my kid was crazy precocious, and that she was driven to do the LP because she had older siblings doing the same thing and wanted to be a part of the whole homeschooling and planning thing. So it is a fair bit more fleshed out than it might have been if she hadn't had the vicarious experience of older siblings doing something like this. 

 

At 5 your child is new to the world, and so he needs you as a guide and resource. That's particularly true since he thrives emotionally with structure and support. I wouldn't worry about the fact that you feel like you are doing a fair bit of teaching. That's quite natural at this age. If you want to put him more in the driver's seat, you can ask him questions like "Do you like the way I'm helping you to learn about numbers and math? Is that something you'd like to keep doing? Every day, or just once in a while?" Gradually you'll find he's more able to offer his own ideas, but you'll have a big facilitating role for the first few years. It sounds like you're already playing that role sensitively and well. 

 

miranda

 

Thank you for the plan example as well as your encouraging words! I love your little one's plan & though DS is definitely not where she was at his age I think they seem similar in design if not learning content. I so appreciate the help and guidance. thanks.gif

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#16 of 17 Old 12-12-2013, 12:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ewink and fulhouse-
Thank you for your replies. I really was interested to hear from people who continued homeschooling and those that have sent their children to school. I have a very big decision to make but have decided I won't be making any hasty decisions (despite the recommendation of our pediatrician)! I am wondering how your children handle all the stimulation at school. I have a hard time imagining how DD would handle the noise, lights, long days, etc. fulhouse, you said you were able to choose the environment you put your child into, did the school let you pick the teacher?
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#17 of 17 Old 12-14-2013, 01:30 PM
 
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Ewink and fulhouse-
Thank you for your replies. I really was interested to hear from people who continued homeschooling and those that have sent their children to school. I have a very big decision to make but have decided I won't be making any hasty decisions (despite the recommendation of our pediatrician)! I am wondering how your children handle all the stimulation at school. I have a hard time imagining how DD would handle the noise, lights, long days, etc. fulhouse, you said you were able to choose the environment you put your child into, did the school let you pick the teacher?

My DD seems to handle the actual school day quite well. She loves to be around other kids, even if she's not allowed to talk to them much during class (although she does anyway, and sometimes gets in trouble for being "too chatty"). She does have some trouble having to get up so early; school starts at 7:30 and she insists on catching the bus at 7:08 in the morning, so she has to get up at 6:15 to be ready. Occasionally she sleeps through her alarm though, and then my husband ends up driving her to school. She still often has trouble falling asleep at night, so she's definitely sleep deprived during the school week. She sleeps in very late in the weekends (she woke up at 9 am this morning!). 

We started her on a combo of 2 natural meds (meant to be taken together) for kids with mood disorders: one is homeopathic and the other one is herbal. It's too early to really know if it's going to help. It could still be coincidence, but yesterday and today have been good so far, even though she was extremely tired yesterday. For the last couple of months or so, she's been throwing insults at us constantly, and throwing fits several times each day, with yelling, screaming, door slamming. She even hurt me last week, punched me in the hand with her fist, giving me quite a bruise.

Yesterday, she gave me a hug as soon as she came home from school! I can't even remember the last time she gave me a hug before! Then she went and practiced her violin without even being asked. My DS and I weren't home for a big part of the morning today (we went to his cello lesson, which is quite a drive from our home), but she was really nice to all of us from the moment she woke up until we had to leave, which really was only an hour, but still, usually that's not the case.

Like I said, it's too early to say if it's the natural meds or pure coincidence. I hope and pray it's the remedies. We have a prescription from the psychiatrist we went to, but are hoping to not have to medicate her. But at the same time, we can't be bullied all day by our little girl.

Anyway, I think as far as going to school goes, I still think that's better for her than being homeschooled, even if her moods can be balanced with natural remedies (or meds). I honestly believe that homeschooling isn't necessarily the best thing for all kids. 

My DS on the other hand would probably be a mess at school. I'm quite certain he'd be labeled with ADHD very fast, and not do well at all in school. And this would also reflect in his daily life, even at home. For him, homeschooling is best. The social activities he has throughout the week seem to be enough for him, while my DD used to always say that she wished there would be a bunch of other kids in our "class" at home. She seems to need to always be surrounded by other kids. She's one of those people who just can't stand being alone, while both my DS and I enjoy our alone time. Don't get me wrong, he loves playing with his friends, and makes friends (of all ages) quite easily these days, but doesn't need to be around them all day long. 

We're all different, and I have come to realize that it's my job as a parent to provide the best conditions for my children, and that might not be the same for each of them.

 

It's tough, for sure. Good luck, and take your time choosing. The good thing is, that, even if you do put her in school, even if as soon as after the holidays, you can pull her out just as easily (at least here in AZ it's very easy, not sure if that's more complicated in some other states).

 

Edith

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