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Oppositional Defiant Disorder
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Oppositional Defiant Disorder

My 15 year-old daughter Sabrina was diagnosed ADD at age 5.  She took Ritalin until about age 12, when it seemed that things changed at that point.  She no longer had your typical ADD symptoms, things progressively became very abusive and negative.  I noticed her rapid decline and tried two counselors.  They did nothing to help.  In the past three years it has become apparent to me that Sabrina has some other form of mental disorder, I just couldn't put a name on it.  Because the downward spiral kept getting worse, I took Sabrina to a psychiatrist.  I emplained to him that I am CONVINCED Sabrina has a mental illness besides ADD, and that I need help in diagnosing it and treating it.  Without even saying anything really, he set up an appointment with someone in his office and gave me and Rx.  Then he left.  I found out the Rx was for ADD symptoms.  When I showed up for the other appointment, the woman turned out to be another counselor.  I asked if she could help diagnos Sabrina's mental illness and she said no.  Great, so much help they were.

I decided I would have to diagnos Sabrina myself.  I am an attorney, so I would categorize myself as intelligent.  When I happened upon the symptoms of ODD, it was like reading a description of Sabrina every time.  I am convinced she has this illness, and we need help immediately.  Things cannot get much worse.  Sabrina has started running away from home, and after monitoring her emails, we know she has started taking drugs.

I am moving to North Providence on Thursday.  I have insurance on the PHCS network.  PLEASE, who can help?
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Butler Hospital has a range of programs to address adolescent emotional, behavioral and substance abuse problems. It would be very worthwhile to engage them in helping your daughter (and you).
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Thank you.  I will contact them immediately after we get settled in.  If any other users of this forum have found good treatment for ODD in the greater Boston and/or Providence area, I would appreciate the referrals.

Thanks again.
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My daughter is definately ODD and I believe that I am also. The medication recommended is the same or similar to ADHD/ADD.  Our psychiatrist recommends FIRM limits and FIRM consequences.  If you are an attorney I think it would be wise for you to take a look at the time you spend with your child.  My father was an attorney and he was not home during the week much.  My mother filled in and we did family things every weekend.  (Swim, camping, water skiing) Quality time and support from a parent is priceless.  My parents were very strict and we spent every waking moment together.  As we grew to teenagers every friend or acquaintence was scrutinized closely. Each year we were allowed more freedom depending on our grades and behavior.  For example: We had a car at 15 but were not allowed to drive unless our parents knew where we were going, who we were with, and when we were to be home.  Period.  No exceptions.   Having an automobile is a privilage...not a given.  There are things you have to do to protect your children.  It may not make you their best friend, but you will find your children become responsible adults.   I believe that children may experiment with drugs, but if you raise your child to respect themselves, they will know their limits.

We as parents cannot blame the times(2003) for allowing our children to take chances that they shouldn't. The internet is a dangerous place for a teenager.  That should be a privilege they have to earn.  Behavior is required in every part of life.  Try getting a job if you can't follow the rules.
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I wish it was that simple.  But you see, even though I am an attorney, I haven't been working for more than a year now for this reason.  It hasn't made that much of a difference in Sabrina's behavior really.  Just has made it difficult for her to break our rules.  And we have plenty.  The only two places Sabrina has gone without us is to school and to a Friday church youth group.  So she had to get her drugs at one of those two places, and her emails told us she was really going there to meet a boy she likes, not for any spiritual benefit.

We only let her use the computer in front us.  But then she hacked in the computer while we were out by guessing my password until she got it right.  When she refused to go on any family outings, we got suspicious and started recording her time on the computer.  That is when we gathered all the evidence confirming all our suspicions.

Like a typical ODD, when I confronted Sabrina with all this (the computer hacking, the drugs, the boys at church, etc...) she was not the least bit sorry.  Instead she verbally and physically abused me.  I would classify Sabrina's problems as severe.  She needs more than a camping trip, in other words.  SHe needs some serious help and we need some serious coping skills.  We have had to call the police on her three times in the last month because of her "episodes".  The police really can't do anything for us, but at least they calm her down enough so that she doesn't hurt herself or us.

Sometimes the mental illness is simply bigger than the parents can handle.  We have done our best.  We don't have cable, we don't allow our daughter to go anywhere unsupervised, she doesn't see rated R movies, she goes to a private school.  As parents, I think we have done our best, sometimes its just not enough.
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It sounds like you have done a lot to help your child.  Seeking the appropiate medical help is what you must do.  Looks like you've been directed to help in your soon to be new home area.  I certainly wouldn't wait till the move to make contacts and set up an appointment.  Get the ball moving before you get any more involved in the move...if need be call them from your cell while in a veh. moving...but do not delay.  For as you already know things will not get better after one visit or appointment.  It will take time.  The sooner you get started that better.  

If you posted a message on MEDHELP then I hope the the obvious of seaching articles on the net about ODD is something you have already done as well as going to the public library and reading all the info you can locate on the subject.  Being as informed as you possibly can is always going to help you and your daughter.  You will have to manage her care and deciding on what care you will allow of the options that will be presented.  Being informed is a vital resource.

You need to check with the school district you are moving to or are currently in.  In our area of the country they will often pay for evaluations if the condition effects learning.  Her's obviously does.  Just because she is attending private school doesn't stop you from using the public school system evaluations and even have them write an IEP for the private school to use.  Our son is not ODD, but he does attend a private school and the public school provides testing, training to the private school staff, and IEP, and in our son's case a lap top computer....after 7 years he now attends private school 6 hours and public school 2 hours to get some additional help and the public school buses him to and from.  You may have options there if you look.  Every little bit can and will help.  From my experience you have to be proactive and have a good idea what they have to provide and what they don't in order to get them to move in the best interest of your daughter.

You also need to see if you can locate a support group for ODD and if not for ODD then for ADHD or ADD.  You need to be able to share what is going on with others in simular situations regularly.  Not just when the world is falling in.  If finding time or someone to stay with your daughter is an issue then find a support group on line and make use of it.

Keep a journal to help you wrangle with each days issues.  Such a journal may be helpful for the doctor that treats your daughter.  But make keep the journal a personal thing and do it for yourself.

One last thing.  What is your daughter interested in.  Whatever that might be see if you can find a way to get her more involved in that activity or interest.  IF she isn't interested in anything then help her to experience as many different things as you can so that prehaps you can develope an interest.  IF it's books go to book signings, or movies that follow a book...  It is boys then find a positive way to pursue that interest.  Focusing on what she is interested in can make a difference in the ODD children that I've been exposed too.  IF her only interest seems to be making you mad then embrase that in a positive way and find ways for her to be negative about you that are also positives....takes some thought but it can be done.  Be creative.  Think outside the box!

Good luck and don't waste any time.
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I totally agree that sometimes you can do everything and it is still not enough for these kids.  Perhaps you are doing too much, trying too hard.  I agree with many of the things the previous person said.   Sometimes taking away everything from a child like this is the wrong thing to do.  It almost sounds like your child is rebelling because you won't let them do anything.  The child will never blossum.  Is cable television all that bad?  Perhaps counseling for how to deal with the child should start with one on one counseling for the parent.  Not that the child or parent is wrong, but ODD children must be dealt with in different ways.  Taking away things is not the best route with a child like this.  Find something in common with your child, something she likes, whether or not you enjoy it, and get involved.  
Just making a move to another place, another city, another school would freak any kid out,  much less an ODD kid who doesn't like change to begin with.  Sometimes they just want to get out from under a parents thumb...and I know that's hard....
Get some counseling quick not just for the child.....
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I can understand where your at. My 14 year old son as had ADHD since 5 and was on Ritilan till last year when everything changed. He's started middle school and became very defiant.
We took him to a psychiatrists who believed on first visit he was bipolar. Since he is addopted we have no history. But after reading "The bipolar child" I dont feel this is so. By the way is an excellent book I think you should read. She changed his med's to Adderol which helped him to sit better in school.
Which is all they want is a compliant child! thats another story.
He's been expelled 3 times this year. We have to watch and listen to everything he does because I dont trust him. He started to hang out with some really troubled kid. And everything we ask of him is "NO". At my request his doctor put him on wellburtin 2 months ago. I feel his is better. Able to control his anger and calm down faster.

You need to read "The Defiant Child" by Douglass Riley It will help to understand she way of thinking and also give you some points on how to deal with her. As parents we can only teach our childen right from wrong we cant make them learn. Hang in there I've been told it gets better when they get to high school.
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When you say your daughter do drugs, I assume you mean marijuana? If so, do you realize that the Ritalin you have been feeding on her for 7 years is 10 times stronger than marijuana? You just seem like the most oppressive parents I have ever seen. There is absolutely nothing anormal with falling in love at 15 year old and wanting some more independance. YOU are the one with a problem, so insane that you feel the need to control every steps of your daughter. You should go see a psychiatrist, not your daughter.
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and isn't anyone disturbed at the fact that more and more of these 'disorders' are being invented by the psych establishment essentially profiling behavior that does not conform to mainstream social norms?  how convenient it is to objectify our  kids based on some ******** DSM-IV criteria for various 'disorders' and stick them on SSRI's and whatever else, rather than TAKE THEM SERIOUSLY ON THEIR OWN TERMS, seek bonds of love and friendship with them, and view the parent-child relationship as one of organic and MUTUAL learning and growth.

as if you parents who can so easily and blindly assent to pigeonholing your own children according to someone else's categorization scheme are the picture of mental/emotional health... I would say you are sad, sick and servile victims of a so-called "civilized" society and culture whose roots of alienation run far deeper than you have likely dared to look.  you should savor and treasure your children's dissent and defiance, it may be one of the most honest and passionately-genuine human emotions and behavioral patterns you may witness in your life; it may also just be a mirror unto your own hypocrisy, and who TRULY likes to look at themselves without blinders?!  but either way, Eli Lilly, et.al., could care less, as long as you keep forking over that cash to keep your kids complacently somatized... such a ******* travesty...

really, at heart, aren't we all in the same human boat?  what have we come to, when parents and children have turned against one another so?  when every socially "questionable" behavior can be isolated to a "chemical imbalance" or an "abnormal" brain chemistry of some sort?  does anyone here presume to define "normal"?  I thought not.  there are no "mistakes" in the universe I choose to inhabit, only infinite beauty and unique beauty; and what a sad and messed-up place it must be for your kids, living with parents laboring under the crutch that requires nearly every 'deviant' behavior to be labelled with the latest tripe peddled by the capitalist psych-machine...

my heart goes out to you all, especially your kids.  I would wager that in their defiance, in their clenched adolescent fists and acts of rebellion, are far more human passion and integrity than most of you so-called "grown-ups" have ever known.

I'm 28 and have 2 beautiful, brilliant, happy, stubborn, self-willed, and hyper-independent children of my own btw, lest anyone think I know nothing about child-raising.  of course our wills cross each other, of course we struggle, but how beautiful it is, to see such passionate vitality from my own flesh and blood!  if they DIDN'T defy me, I would be worried!  what do you think keeps the dialectic moving from generation to generation - do we WANT a world of bland conformity and colorless stasis?  Oh Brave New World, that has such people in it....

I truly fear for the futur generations - may the kids continue to see through all this ****, and find their own liberation on their own terms!
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You will understand when your childern are teenagers!!!! Were just trying to keep them in school and out of jail. You have no clue about the real world out there! I can only pray that in 10 years you wont be writing in with the same comments we are!
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Keeping them in school? So that's the whole point, that's the only thing which matters for you? "Never mind, let's kill their mind, their passion, their joy, their flame, because the most important is that they stay locked in a classroom 8 hours a day until the age of 16 or more, so that they become good robots in the service of the system". What about their happiness?!? You don't even notice your own cruelty anymore... You are walking zombies and want to make sure your children will not be anymore alive than you are. This is truely sick.
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hello.  i see that for you understanding what is going on with your daughter is difficult.  i have met dozens of kids over the years that had similar problems and their parents were doing similar things - and those things did not work, it seems to be impossible for so many parents to understand their teens, especially ones who are having problems.  i have had some very serious problems myself - suicidal depression, stagnating anxiety, bursting anger, little to no self esteem, all kinds of different things - and in high school i did all the things i wasnt supposed to do - i got bad grades, i was ditching school, i developed a cigarette addiction, i had unmarried sex, i dressed like a freak, i did it all, according to all outward appearances, i was the typical "bad seed" or whatever.  my mom was no help much of the time because she was so frusterated with me and her situation in life that she yelled at me constantly for the things i would do or wouldnt do around the house like making messes and things like that, saying she didnt know what my problem was and why it was so hard to just keep the house clean.  

the truth was that i wanted to die a lot of the time, or i was worried, or i felt like i wasnt worth anything, or i was really angry or wanted to cry.  when all you can think about is how frusterating your life is, its impossible to concentrate on schoolwork, its impossible to care about much of anything let alone whether or not i have forgotten to clean up after myself - stress will turn an intelligent person into a total ditz.  when i felt like crying in school, or i was too angry, it was impossible for me to stay in class especially with teacher that upset me - and the LAST thing i wanted to do was embarass myself by crying in class or tell my life to anyone -not even to the school counselor so i would just up and leave, strait out the door i would go into the woods behind the school and id smoke myself a cigarette and cry and be pissed off and write poetry.

my point in telling you this is that there is a very complex dynamic behind the things your daughter is doing, and you are only seeing the surface of it - so i want to try to help you understand what is going on.  there is a very human soul underneath all the symptoms, and a very driven to be independant mind underneath all of what seems to be irresponsibility.  every person has a built in drive for independance - this is a basic human instinct like any other instinct - and this instinct is GOOD because the only way to be responsible is to know what you want and what you dont, and to know that no one else will do it for you!  so what seems to be defiance is her instinct to learn independance.  this instict is not something you should fight against and try to break, but to figure out a way to work with her and be a helper and a guide and a provider to her independance.  im sorry if this seems impossible, but it is not impossible, it is just tricky to think in a way to cooperate with eachother after such a battle has occured like what you are having with her now.

you need to try to understand her - it will be hard to ask her questions in order to understand her, because if i was her, the LAST thing id want to do was to tell my mom how i felt or why i was so upset - because i would figure that my mom would react by restricting my life even more, or that telling her how i felt would, to her, justify her restrictions and make them more strict or more permanent.  i would hate being locked into the house all the time, i would hate having my computer time recorded, i would feel like a prisoner - and this stress would be a gigantic burden on top of my already gigantic burden of depression - or whatever it is that she has.  if i was her id wonder why my mom did not care how i felt - why she only cared that i went to church for the "right" reason, why she was so afriad of me getting into trouble that she would not let me make friends.  what is important to her is friends, boyfriends, feeling good about herself, having freedom to discover how to be independant, and being understood, as in TRULY understood - empathized with (not understood as a matter of strategy to control behavior, but understood with love) by her parents and by the other authorities in her life.  i am sure that by this point you are probably thinking to yourself that you would like to tell me how everything you have done is justified, and i am not telling you that it isnt, i understand that you want her to go to church for the right reasons so that she has spirituality in her life that may help her, that you keep her away from other kids because you do not want her to become a crackhead.  you would probably like tell me right now that your fears are very strong, and that you MUST do SOMETHING to prevent the worst from happening.  i can see where you are coming from.  but i wanted to show you the other side of the coin - this post is here to help you understand, not to frighten you, not to challenge you and make you justify yourself, not to defend your daughter and justify what she does - only to show you the other side of the coin in hope that you will figure out how to work with your daughter so that good things happen and she grows and gets well and happy.

the things you are doing now - the punishment and restriction and the drugs from the psychologists are all temporary, they tone down the symptoms but do not kill the cold virus.  all of this is the equivalent of giving nyquil to a person with ebola - it may make them seem to do better for a while, but they are still infected.  if you want to help your daughter, really help her find harmony and balance, really want to have a good relationship with her, then you will have to understand the virus, you will have to put yourself into her shoes and try to understand how she FEELS.  dont bother trying to explain all the things she does - the reasons she does them will become apparent if you undersand how she feels.  trying to control what she does is useless - i have seen this over and over and over again with dozens of kids, i am not a psychologist, so i am not telling you this from a book of observations that some "scientist" has written, i am telling you this strait from my heart mind and soul, strait from past experience of being close to dozens of people that have had these problems that trying to control what she DOES will not help what she IS, and in fact, has great potential to make her worse - because it will make her FEEL terrible when she already has a burden of some kind making her feel terrible.  this burden of feeling terrible is the thing that is your enemy, it is the thing that is HER enemy, it is the thing that causes her to do these things which you are afraid of and want to control!

the psychology and pharmaseutical industry is not always the best answer.  sometimes a very very good therapist or psychologist can help - but if you are going to get her counseling, you will have to try psychologist after psychologist to find the right one - find one that SHE likes - there are dozens of styles of psychology and they are not one in the same, you will have to research styles and find one that your daughter likes - this is the most important thing because if she does not trust the counselor, she will not tell them enough about herself for them to help, and she will not listen to the advice they give.  find a counselor that she likes, trusts, and beleives in.  if she already does not trust counselors, then please dont try to force her because you will end up with the same result of distrust and therefore botched counseling, and on top of that she will resent you for forcing her to be counseled.

pharmaseuticals can be dangerous!  please be careful with them!  ritalin has been shown to cause brain dammage - so have other drugs!  so please be very very careful, and do research on the drugs they recommend for your daughter, if she is going to take them at all.  a fast way of doing research is to type in the name of a drug into google.com with the words "brain damage" in the search box - and see what you come up with.  there are also problems like takign a drug will cause the brian itself to change as an adaptation, and then when the person comes off the drug, the balance has been broken and they will relapse - consider this too.

mental wards are not always the answer, i put myself into one when i was 15 - they did not fix my problems, the counselors pissed me off, and the only thing it did was to give me plenty of anger - which i used as motivation to fix my problems for myself.  they are very expensive and are not a guarantee to fix your daughters problems.  no matter how good the ward is, there is a universal element to them that will make her feel trapped, and make her feel like the whole world thinks she is crazy and this is not a good thing to do to someone who is already feeling trapped and who is already probably feeling like the whole world thinks she is crazy, or who may have issues with self esteem - the wards can make a persons issues much more serious to have to deal with because of these things.  the only thing that a ward can guarantee do for your daughter is to keep her from killing herself for the time that she is there - and even this is not a 100% guarantee.  so please dont see them as the solution, and whatever you do, do not trick her into going to one because i have seen parents do this over and over, and most of the time it does NOTHING for the kids except give them a seething resentment towards their parents, it is the last straw for them, they lose all trust for their parents, even when they think they had no trust for their parents they still manage to lose some trust becase their parents have forced them to feel the lifelong stigma of being crazy onto them, and for trapping them in the place.  sometimes they will get so mad they will run away!

if she is having trouble in school, consider an alternative school.  there are tons of alternative schools - ones for depressed kids where they can take the time they need for their emotional problems and do lots of artwork and learn when they feel good - this space helps them to grow because it gives them time to heal, and they will do better with lessons since they only do the lessons when they are in the best mindspace for them.  there are schools where kids come and go as they please and finish lessons on the computer on their own time - and many of these depressed kids finish the school faster than they normally would!  please check out some alternative schools in her area - if she is too upset to make it through regular school, then trying to force her to get good grades will be like herding cats, it will just make her want to rebel and it wont change her for the better, or fix the problem in the long run.  instead lead the horse to water - and let her drink of her own accord, with an alternative school.  these schools have had amazing results with even the worst kids - because they let the kids do things of their own accord, they let the kids have the rest they desperately need when they are too upset to finish lessons and let them do schoolwork when their mind is ready to concentrate and remember.

so my point in all this is that you cannot always turn to societies "solutions" there are NO quick fixes, you cannot start with seeing her from the outsie, and changing her behaviors - this does not do anything for the real problems.  the best thing you can do is to understand her, empathize, try to figure out how she feels and what she needs emotionally - make her happiness your number one goal with her and start from there - then you may be able to develop trust between you, and be partners fighting for her good - cooperating with her and wanting her happiness above all else will ensure her cooperation instead of what you are doing now, which sounds a lot like fighting AGAINST her for her good!  

if you would like to do some reading that will help you think in ways to understand your daughter, i HIGHLY recommend the site called taking children seriously - its url is www.tcs.ac - if you read some of the parenting stories, it will help you remember how you used to feel when you were younger, and help you see how younger people feel, and get the brain going along that train of thought.
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Bravo!   My sentaments exactly.   I just wanted my parents to give me SPACE!   I was an extremely independent child and now adult.  Sometimes you have to give your child room to fail and then pick themselves up to succeed.
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I think everyone has said some pretty good things, but at the same time, some fail to understand that there are some people out there that do have mental incapacities that need medication to help them. I'm not saying every child, but some PEOPLE in general need help. Just because a child is defiant, doesn't mean that you should rush them into a counselor, I agree with you on that, let them make their own mistakes, and yes, I think many people try too hard to control their children, which leads to bigger rebellions and more issues. My parent's were strict with me, but they were fair, and they did give me my freedom, as long as I didn't abuse the priveledge, and yes, it was a priveledge to be able to go with their money, and to use their vehicles. I was given a curfew, and if I wanted to stay out longer, I had to call home and ask if I could. Not one time did they tell me know, because I had the curtesy to think of them, so they did not worry. I have a four year old stepdaughter and a almost 4 year old stepson, and I believe that they are very good children, and they are allowed to express their feelings and frustrations without fear of reprimand, but they also have rules that are in place for safety and harmony and peace to the household, and I am a firm believer in those boundaries. You can spout off all your "let them just be, to become well rounded people" but everyone needs guidance. If you have no rules and no respect for others, you become societies problem, if you do not understand that your actions have reprecutions. (sorry about the spelling) It's easy to just let your kids do what they want, it is harder to teach them what is wrong, and to guide them through rules, and through teaching. Sabrina sounds like she has problems, and maybe some of it is rebellion, but we are not there, we do not live in the full situation, and though we see a piece of it from what her mother has said to us, you can't really judge the mother for what you don't know.
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First I would read the book the Explosive child by Ross Greene. Also there are a number of studies taking place at MGH and McClean Hospital on children with ODD. Ross Greene has one study that is open and they are reqruiting chilren with ODD right now.

Good luck.....
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Your right, i dont KNOW what she needs, i dont know anything for sure, that is impossible because we only have human minds that cant know everything.  i often come off like i think i know with certianty the things i am saying - we all do, its nearly unavoidable - but all i meant to do, (because all i CAN ever do) is to show a different side of the coin - an entirely different point of view, something else to try, another way of thinking about it.
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This is the first time I have ever responded to one of these threads. But your plea was so like mine of a few years ago that I just had to offer my story.  Like so many who have never been there, the answers you have received so far just don't comprehend what true Oppositional/Defiant behavior is all about.  I worked with my daughter (who is now 20 years old) since about the age of three for diagnosis and treatment.  No treatment plan has ever worked. I went the gamut - school counselors, psychoanalysis, psychiatrists, pediatricians, mental health counselors, behavioral counselors, drugs, vitamins, behavior modification, reward/punishment, enticement, special education, special schools, private school, lockdown schools, finally the juvenile court system and juvenile lockup camps. One camp punished for rules infraction by making the kids cut wood - a certain amount for each rules infraction - my daughter won the distinction for having to cut the most wood of any inmate EVER in the history of the facility.  I used to sleep with my shoes on so I could jump to the car in the middle of the night if she called and get her from some deserted inner city parking lot or street corner before she disappeared again.  (Sorry you hardliners, but I just wasn't able to leave her on the streets to die if I could help it.)  She has (or had - who knows what it is now) an IQ of 140 and thankfully graduated from high school but third from the bottom of a class of 350.  She was able to get birth control through both her school and a street kids clinic and still managed to get pregnant and have an abortion.  I never gave up.  I always tried to find something she might become passionate about - horse camps, riding lessons, swimming, dog, healthclub membership, reading, dirt bikes, Girl Scout camps, biking, rollerblading, church clubs.  The result of all that was she was asked not to come back to camps, two churches threw her out, she never had an interest in anything except "running the streets".  I put my career completely out of the picture so I could be available for her many counseling sessions and doctor appointments and court appearances.  She was/is so gifted musically  -- she was told by a jazz group who heard her play that she could sit in with them whenever she wanted.  She pawned her saxophone for cigarette money.  I had to break down the door to my own home and chase a guy out of her bedroom with a baseball bat. I threw a drugged up "friend" through a first floor window when I woke up to her in the house in the middle of the night. The police would pull up along side me on the street and ask how we were getting along (this - in a big city!).  The really down side of this is that absolutely nothing that I or anyone else did (and that includes so many professionals that it would be difficult to count them) -- nothing worked !!  What finally happened was that when she turned 19 (I had tried to get her out of the house at 18 but she wouldn't leave and in this city a parent needs to legally evict a child as if she were a tenant and that takes money and time)I sold my home and moved out of the city where I knew she wouldn't follow me. She lived off "friends" for several months until they got sick of it and threw her out. She finally ran out of places to mooch off and got a relative to take her in in another state where no one knows her and she could start over. Just the fact of having grown older has helped her. She holds down a couple of nothing jobs, but she's working.  She hasn't saved anything, but hopefully if she gets to the point of wanting a car bad enough, maybe she'll save for that.  She's alive and functioning in a very minimal way, but functioning she is. She appears now at 20 to be at about the 15 year old level socially.  I'm hoping that just the act of growing older will continue to help her.  And to tell you the truth that is what the last five years were really all about - keeping her alive long enough for age to help her.  Nothing else ever did.  I really don't think the medical community has a clue when it comes to ODD. Everytime we needed to get involved with a new worker my competence as a parent was always suspect.  By the time they had worked with my daughter for a short while, every one of the workers was amazed that I was even still advocating for her, trying to help.  What they didn't know to start with but came to understand as they worked with her is that ODD is NOT a parenting issue.  Granted if you're a bad parent I'm sure ODD can end up being something even more horrible. But ODD itself is something very wrong with the way the patient's brain functions.  I am convinced that ODD children cannot process anything in a normal way.  But the bulk of psychologists and counselors have not a clue as to how to think "outside the box".  They know behavior modification, they know pharmacology, they know discipline.  What they don't have a clue of is how to treat ODD. My heart goes out to you.  Don't give up but don't lose yourself.  ODD is very isolating to the parent because the understanding in this world of bad behavior by the child is bad parenting by the adult.  Very few adults will stand by you - value those who do.  God Bless.
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I have a thought:

if a phobic patient's symptom is that they are afraid of spiders, then traumatizing them by tossing spiders onto them all the time would make their phobia worse, not better.

if a schizophrenics symptom is that they are hearing taunting voices, then whispering to them and taunting them while they cannot see you, would only make their problem worse...

if an obsessive compulsive's symptom is that they have to turn the stove off 20 times before they go to bed, then giving them more stoves would only make the problem worse...

maybe then, if an oppositional defiant persons symtom is extreme rebellion at every iota of rules punishment or authority, then giving them more authority, punishment and rules only makes them worse.

juvenile halls, mental wards, boot camps and similar places (high school also) probably seem to the oppositional definant like a hell - the same as a roomful of spiders would seem to a phobic, the way a house full of stoves would seem to an obsessive compulsive, or the way constant whispering would seem to a schitzophrenic.

the problem is NOT that you parents are incompetent - obviously you are helping all you can.  but perhaps the help is smothering because the problem is probably that the cures you have tried only make the symptoms worse - it gives the symptoms more chances to appear, more emotional fuel to run on, turns them into a deeper and deeper habit, gives the kids even more opportunities to develop a personality based around their symptoms, gets them rooted farther into the thought process, and the pattern of behavior.  try sending the kids to a freeschool like albany or summerhill, or an alternative school with a free environment where they can be self motivated - then perhaps, with the distraction of having to rebel against everything gone, they will discover that they have their own reasons to do things, and really DO want to work to become happy, and grow as people, and develop the foundation for their lives.  then, with self-motivation intact, maybe they will figure out how to make it in a world with rules.
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Just read your comments.  And although there may be a thread of truth in what you write, your theory doesn't hold up in reality.  The private school we tried was a Summerhill Open School - one of the very best in the country.  This was first grade and they "requested" she not return for second grade.
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Your commet was very interesting. I have a 14 year old son who is very much the perfect picture ODD. He has mastered it! I read the book The Defiant Child and saw him in every statement. I understand your thoughts about "Outside the box" This kid thinks differently than most. Its not made up personality it is him!!
It is the way God made him. I try and let him be him self as long as its legal and moral. And the rest just try to tell him what is right and wrong with the hopes that some of it will sink in. Its is very hard every day. As you well know. We have put our life on hold to be there when he needs us, in hopes that he will be able to live a normal life someday. Its hard to give up those dreams we have as parents for our children. Our son is very talented at baseball. I believe he could play college level but this past year hes became lazy or just defiant. He could possible never play again. And thats hard!  Reading your message helped to know its ok to let go of those dreams and just hope for some compliance with life. I like you will not give up on this child. We will continue to find help. Thank you
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David, I appreciate your genuine concern and I think your comments represent the voice of honesty, which is always needed.  However, I think you are misguided if you think that most of these parents haven't tried everything else before medications, in a sincere effert to help their children.  I work in a behavioral health facility with children who have such severe behavioral and emotional problems, and their chance of  succeeding in being a functional part of society is slim to none if they don't get expert help.  Sometimes that entails medications.  I agree with you that our society does not encourage, and often condemns, individuality and opposition to power.  In fact, I believe this so much that I had a bumper sticker on my car that said "Question Authority"   until I sold that car.  But when a child or adolescent cannot control themselves in school, at home, with friends and/or family, and they hurt animals, set fire to buildings, hurt smaller children, sexually act out toward peers or siblings, cut on themselves with sharp objects, destroy property, these children often need to be medicated so that they may learn how to appropriately express themselves in ways that are not harmful to themselves or others.  Often medication helps a child/adolescent/adult calm him/herself long enough to be able to learn coping mechanisms that are safe.  Don't make blanket assumptions about an area or field of medicine in which you are not qualified (i.e. have not had extensive training and certification with ample experience).
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First, I have to say that those people who condemn others for medicating their children have obviously never had the need, or they would be able to pull their heads out and get off their high horses and have a real discussion. My daughter is so hyperactive that she cannot process even the basic learning information, yet in the first two weeks of medication, she has learned and mastered all of her two-year old skills. She is nearly four, and after several months of being able to pay attention for more than 60 seconds and remember what she has learned, she is functioning at near age level. Another child takes medication, and wished she has started earlier. She didn't like not being able to hold onto facts at school. She went from needing to have her homework re-taught to her every afternoon after school to advanced math classes. Like anything else, medication is a tool, and can be used for good or ill.

That said, I admire your bravery in dealing with your daughter every day. It must be so tempting to just let her go away and stay gone sometimes. I admire your persistence. Someone told me one to communicate with my kids in their medium. Will your daughter read an email from you? What if you post on the sites she frequents? Don't forget to tell her that you love her. I remember being a 16 year old, it was very hard without disorders. I have a friend who's son is ADHD. He often does some really bizarre things because he can't think through the consequences. She said that she just has to remember that he gets no enjoyment from being in trouble, and that he does things that will get him in trouble, but not with pissing her off in mind. One last thing - does your daughter know she has this? Maybe if she read the book...if she read it and saw herself being described on the pages....she must feel very alone, the only one to feel like she does, and no one will ever be able to understand her. IF she understood her problem, maybe she would want help?
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