Stop Think Do

Specific application - Oppositional Defiance Disorder

  • Some children seem to be motivated to be deliberately difficult and testy in their behaviour to win the point, especially with adults in authority. They may be argumentative, aggressive, touchy, spiteful, defy rules and blame others rather than take responsibility themselves. This is a behavioural disorder without specific genertic links or gender preference

  • Children with ODD may be quite popular with their peers, and even have peer status because they defy authority. But they seem to lack empathy with adults

  • In the history of these children, they generally have a stubborn, power personality from birth and their own needs come first, plus the likelihood that they have experienced inconsistent management from significant adults in their early years

  • Children with ODD are particularly difficult to manage because

    • they don't easily empathise with adults since their primary motivation is power and to win at all costs

    • they often behave quite well for some adults, but not others; they pick and choose but rarely change their minds

    • putting options to them at THINK may result in more arguments since they may think you are telling them what to do

    • they will often accept consequences you offer, just to show that they can't be beaten by them; they cut off their nose to spite their face!

  • Suggest adults use STOP to DO with these children ie., briefly state the problem keeping words to a minimum, offer a choice about fixing the problem or experiencing a serious consequence, and follow through consistently with the consequence. NO arguing!

  • The consequence that is usually tried in schools with children who have oppositional-defiant behaviour is to remove the child from the conflict with an adult eg, to the office. But this often makes them feel they have beaten the adult. What may work better is to remove the adult and the rest of the peer group from the child eg, the class goes to the oval or computer room. These children hate missing out on things that others are enjoying. However, someone will need to be available to monitor the child alone, but not to talk to them - this is attention

  • Some of these children respond to being given roles as peer mediators or mentors with younger children where they constructively adopt a position of power and a new image of themselves can be reinforced by others

  • Adults can challenge these children to comply by cajoling or manipulating them with statements like "I bet you can't do...", but only if the adult is in the child's 'You're OK' box