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      “My Kid is So Defiant! Is it My Fault?”     So your kid isn’t a perfect angel – they talk back, resent you, and push your buttons like you’re a high-rise elevator. You say yes, they say no – it’s like they feed on making you angry. As frustrating as it feels, all parents deal with their kids being defiant to some degree (hint: YouTube “epic tantrums” if you need a reminder that you aren’t alone!).   A certain level of defiance is expected as a child matures. However, some kids struggle with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) – a condition that causes them to develop a pattern of disobedient behaviors toward authority figures. Without support, ODD can harm a kid’s relationships, academic performance, and emotional health.   So how do parents know if their kid’s defiance is a harmless phase or a serious problem? Here are 11 questions to consider:    1. Why does my kid act this way?   Your kid’s defiant behaviors may be caused by their genetic makeup, environmental factors, or both. A child’s temperament has a lot to do with how their brain is wired, something you’ve probably witnessed if you have multiple kids with very different personalities. Kids can also develop defiant behaviors as a way to cope with trauma, abuse, or other negative life experiences. While genetics and bad experiences play a role, parenting does as well. Many loving parents unintentionally encourage defiance by disciplining in ways that are too permissive, too harsh, or inconsistent.      2. Is it my fault?   It’s impossible to pinpoint the exact influence of genetics, negative psychological experiences, and parenting on your child’s behavior, but nothing good will come from beating yourself up. Most parents struggle with responding to their child’s defiance and it’s never too late to discover new tools for strengthening your family. Take a minute to release any guilt that you’ve been carrying and know that you are a great parent for seeking new ways to connect with your kid.       3. Is my kid just a spoiled punk?   ODD is a bit of a controversial diagnosis. Some people believe that defiant kids are just being disrespectful little punks and need nothing more than a “good old-fashioned spanking.” Regardless of your perspective, understanding ODD’s symptoms can help you determine whether your kid’s behavior goes beyond what’s considered normal. If your child exhibits four or more of the following symptoms for 6+ months, they may fit the criteria for an ODD diagnosis:      Loses their temper    Argues with adults    Actively refuses to comply with rules or requests     Deliberately annoys people 4+ times a week    Blames others for their mistakes or misbehavior    Is touchy or easily annoyed by others 2+ times a week    Is angry and resentful 4+ times a week    Their behavior negatively impacts their social or academic functioning     An official diagnosis can only be made by a mental health specialist.       


   
     
      
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      4. Are my rules consistent?   Kids with defiance issues have a strong need to feel control over their environment.  Help them understand your expectations by setting clear rules and explaining the consequences of breaking them ahead of time. Keep your rules listed in a visible area of the house and be consistent in following through with consequences when rules are broken.     5. Do I rehash mistakes?   Your child is going to slip up along the way, but don’t define them by their worst moments. After enforcing the consequences that you’ve set, move on and don’t rehash old arguments or bring up past outbursts. Show your child that each day is a new chance to make better choices, and that you believe in their ability to do so.      6. Am I emotionally intelligent?   One of the best ways for you to support your child is to show them what   healthy emotional management        looks like. Parents can model emotional intelligence (EQ) by talking openly about their feelings, expressing empathy for their child’s emotions, and stepping away to focus on their breathing when they are feeling angry or overwhelmed.     Click here to for our top 5 tips on fostering EQ in your child     7. Can I “Keep calm and parent on”?   Try to use a calm and neutral tone when dealing with your child's behavior. That can be difficult when your kid is about to throw a tuna can across aisle 4 because he didn’t get his way, but calmly enforcing consequences will yield better results than losing your cool. Remember, a child with ODD often hopes to engage their parents in a battle of wills, so blowing up will only fuel their fire. Explain your position in as few words as possible and don’t continue to discuss it.    8. When do I give them attention?   Parents often give more attention to negative behaviors, so make an effort to point out when your child acts appropriately. Celebrate behavioral wins like your child staying in their seat at a restaurant or completing their homework calmly. Let your kid know that you appreciate their extra effort and incentivize them for good behavior with praise, small prizes, or fun family activities.    Click here for our dad’s guide on increasing positive behaviors in your child through play     9. Can I commit to staying structured?   It’s easier for children to regulate their emotions when they are rested, physically active, and well-nourished. Be intentional about scheduling at least an hour a day for your kid to engage in physical activity. Offer healthy meals and ensure adequate sleep by sticking to a nightly bedtime that allows them to get the recommended amount of sleep for their age.      Click here to view the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations for adequate sleep    .     10. Can parenting programs help?   There are several programs that empower parents with tools to improve their child’s behaviors.    Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT )   and    PC-CARE    have shown success in reducing disruptive behaviors in kids with ODD. Your child’s school may also offer programs for students that focus on peer groups or antisocial behavior. If your school has a mental health professional, ask them if there are programs available that could benefit your child.     Check out our blog for teachers on increasing positive behaviors in the classroom      11. Should I seek support?   If your child has defiance issues, there is no reason for you to struggle alone. There are several tools a mental health specialist can offer to help you support your child in increasing positive behaviors and overcoming symptoms of ODD.       
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams, graduate and professional licensing exams such as MCAT, LSAT, GRE, CBEST, NCLEX, GMAT, CA Cosmetology Exam, CA Contractors State Licensing Exam, and CA Bar Exam).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychology. (2009). ODD: A Guide for Families by the   American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Retrieved from https://www.aacap.org/App_Themes/AACAP/docs/resource_centers/odd/odd_resource_center_odd_guide.pdf  Hamilton SS, et al. Am Fam Physician. (2008). Oppositional Defiant Disorder  [Review Article]. Retrieved from   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/18841736/?i=3&from=/20431460/related  Mayo Clinic (2018). Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/oppositional-defiant-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20375831  McNeil, C.B. (2008). Parent-Child Interaction Therapy   Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/pubs/videos/4310814.aspx?tab=2   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn, M.M. (2019). My Kid is So Defiant! Is it My Fault?  Psychologically Speaking .   [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/my-kid-is-so-defiant-is-it-my-fault

“My Kid is So Defiant! Is it My Fault?”

Is your kid disobedient, resentful, and seems to blame you for everything? Do you wonder if your kid’s defiant behavior is just a phase or if you should be concerned that there’s a bigger problem? If so, this blog’s for you!

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     
	 Download Free FOCUS Skills Coloring Sheet 
          ADHD or Just Kids being Kids?    Remember the days before you were a parent when you used to dream about what your “future child” would be like. You know, things like,  “My future child would never run around the grocery store like those little monsters” or, “My future child would never dare ignore me.”    Then came the reality check!   Funny to think about now, as kids always humble us once we become parents ourselves. But how do you know when your child’s rambunctious behaviors are a normal part of their development or if they are a sign of a learning disability? While some level of impulsivity and inattentiveness is expected in all children, these symptoms can cause serious educational roadblocks for children with ADHD.   ADHD? Aren’t they just acting their age?   Let me guess, your cousin’s boyfriend’s best friend’s babysitter said that ADHD isn’t a thing and that parents made it up because they couldn’t deal with their kid being a little “high energy.” Unfortunately, many misinformed people have stigmatized ADHD and don’t realize that it is a recognized brain disorder with a strong genetic component. Without understanding and support both at home and at school, ADHD can really put a damper on a child’s educational potential. If you’re still skeptical, try one of these   ADHD simulators   to get an idea of what it feels like to experience school with ADHD symptoms.   And it’s not one-size-fits-all    There are three types of ADHD, each characterized by different symptoms. A child with ADHD might start with one type and then experience different symptoms throughout their lives. It’s important that families and educators understand which type(s) a child is experiencing so they can tailor their teaching methods to break through their specific symptoms.   The three types include:      Hyperactive – Impulsive:  Hyperactive children don’t necessarily have issues with paying attention but struggle with impulsivity. Your child may have this form of ADHD if she:    Can’t seem to control her impulses    Interrupts conversations frequently    Constantly moves around    Has trouble taking turns or waiting in line       Inattentive : Unlike their hyperactive counterparts, children with the inattentive form of ADHD are generally less disruptive. Your child may have Inattentive ADHD if he:    Struggles with paying attention    Can start tasks but never seems to finish them    Often appears to be daydreaming    Is prone to losing things       Combined : Children with combined ADHD struggle with both inattentive and hyperactive symptoms.     How do I know if my child has ADHD?   Most children display some level of impulsivity and distractedness, so how do you know if your child’s behavior should be a concern? The most accurate way to determine if your child has ADHD is by having them evaluated by an experienced specialist who understands how to identify the different types of ADHD among other learning disabilities. Even if your child is hyper or easily distracted, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have ADHD. Many conditions can exhibit similar symptoms, so it is important to have an experienced specialist evaluate your child to assess all of the factors that can lead to an ADHD diagnosis.    Click here to connect with our Psychological Testing specialist     What does an ADHD test look like?   At your child’s evaluation, your specialist will ask you and your child a series of questions to get a thorough understanding of your child’s symptoms, areas of struggle, and medical history. They may observe them at play or completing homework and may evaluate their IQ, reasoning, memory, and assess their skills for sustaining attention, avoiding distraction, planning, and organizing through performance testing. They will compare your child’s results with standard indicators of ADHD.   So my child has ADHD – what’s next?   If your child is diagnosed with ADHD, your specialist can help you learn techniques to manage your child’s symptoms so they can maximize their learning experience. A simple and effective way to help your child overcome ADHD symptoms is to teach them to apply  FOCUS  skills, an intervention strategy developed by one of Variations Psychology specialists,   Dr. Marta M. Shinn.     Teaching your child to FOCUS      

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     
	 Download Free focus skills coloring sheet 
       Make them aware   Talk to your child about what it means to focus, having their eyes, ears, and hands focused on their task at hand. Tell them about what it means to be distracted – taking their eyes, ears, and hands away from their task before they’ve completed it. Have your child memorize the FOCUS skills and go over the acronym every time they sit down for a task.   Eyes on the prize   Even for children struggling with inattention, rewards can be a great incentive to stay on task. Introduce them to a token economy system such as a star chart or a coin jar. Have your child practice using the FOCUS skills to complete tasks such as building blocks or puzzles. Gradually add distractions such as music, TV, or other activities to challenge them to maintain their focus even when distractions arise. When they successfully complete a task, reward them.   He’s not cut out for school!   Most classroom models aren’t exactly geared toward kids who have trouble sitting still or paying attention, and if a child with ADHD is treated as a “problem student” by the teacher, it is likely that they will end up developing negative attitudes about school. That’s why it is important that as a parent, you learn your child’s options and how to advocate for what is best for their future.   Communication is key   Communicate with your child’s teacher often. Keep them on the same page with what you’ve been doing at home (FOCUS skills, reward systems). Also, listen to what his teacher is doing to support his growth. By communicating and working as a team, the classroom can become an extension of the supportive structure you are providing at home.   I’m not cut out for this!   It can feel overwhelming to discover your child has learning or attention issues; you want the best for their future, and it is scary to think of anything holding them back. You may be thinking, “I’m not an expert on ADHD – that’s why I’m reading this blog! How am I supposed to tell professional educators how they should be teaching my kid?!” The answer is that  you don’t have to do this alone . A specialist in educational advocacy can help you understand your child’s educational rights and how to ensure that the school meets their unique needs.    Click here to learn about Dr. Marta Shinn  ,  Specialist in Educational Advocacy    Variations can help   Whether you are wondering if your child has ADHD or if they’ve been diagnosed and you’re not sure how to support them, Variations experienced team of specialists can help.   Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D.,  is a specialist in psychological testing and an expert in child and educational psychology. Dr. Shinn specializes in helping families understand the special education processes conducted by schools and empowering them to become informed advocates for their children. By providing parents with a thorough understanding of academic evaluations and practices, Dr. Shinn helps parents determine the best educational path for their child.      
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Shinn 
       Subscribe to our blog for a weekly article on topics that affect your life:      

 
   
     
      
        
     

     

       

        
          

            

          

            
               

                 
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment with one of our   specialists .     More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism, Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams). See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a   call   and we will guide you.  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References   Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Dealing with Feelings Modules, 2016 Study      National Center for Learning Disabilities   http://www.ncld.org/  Understood.org https://www.understood.org/en/tools/through-your-childs-eyes/personalize   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn, M.M. (2018). ADHD or Just Kids being Kids?   Psychologically Speaking .  [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/adhd-or-just-kids-being-kids

ADHD or Just Kids being Kids?

Remember the days before you were a parent when you used to dream about what your “future child” would be like. You know, things like, “My future child would never run around the grocery store like those little monsters” or, “My future child would never dare ignore me.”