Summer break means having children around a lot more, which can change the family dynamic. Increasing your time together is particularly challenging if your child has defiant behavior. About 40 percent of children with ADHD also have Oppositional Defiant Disorder, or ODD. While this behavioral disorder can't be fixed overnight, there are some ways to manage your child's defiant tendencies. Here are three things to try.
1. Set Clear Boundaries
A child with ODD and no boundaries is a recipe for household chaos. Define appropriate behavior and outline the consequences for violating the boundaries. Put the rules in writing and post them. For instance, if one of your child's outburst behaviors is turning the TV up to full volume to annoy you, create a rule that if the volume remains up for more than 10 seconds, then the TV is turned off for three hours. Following through on consequences can create drama and tantrums at first, but it will foster a sense of order in the long run.
2. Model the Right Behavior
The natural reaction to a defiant child is anger. Many parents have a hard time keeping their cool when their child with defiant attitudes acts up. However, sometimes a parent raising their voice will only add fuel to the fire. Model the appropriate behavior by consciously using a calm voice and keeping your anger in check so you don't escalate the situation.
3. Keep a Schedule
Maintain a regular schedule as much as possible this summer. Even casual activities like outdoor play in the backyard and lunchtime deserve a spot on the calendar. The more order and structure that is worked into your day, the easier it will be for you to maintain a sense of calm and order in the home. When your child knows what to anticipate for the week, they have time to adjust to what is expected of them.
ADHD and ODD often go hand in hand, and a summer worth of bad behavior is too much for any family to handle. By maintaining a schedule, creating reasonable boundaries, and keeping calm, you can mitigate the stress created by a child's behavioral issues.