Something else about his majesty became evident; he avoided sitting on the "throne," never visiting the restroom while at school. I conferred with his mom with obvious concerns, and, if I were she I would not have revealed the following. This five-year old would purposefully "hold it" all day long. When he arrived home, he would demand that his mother put a diaper on him so that he could fill it up. Next his mother was to remove his diaper and wipe his… well sadly enough, you get the picture.
Children and adults who have oppositional defiant disorder, will often lower themselves to levels that we could consider bizarre, even risking their own status; if, in the process they can compromise the position of the person in authority.
Recalcitrant individuals of this magnitude are highly intelligent; in the case of the kindergarten king, I was dealing with one of the sharpest mathematical minds that I had ever seen. By the time he finished 1st grade, he had completed all the required mathematic lessons through the 5th grade level.
Together his mother and I sought professional advice and began implementing “proper worth.” We would react to the defiance in non-emotional and objective ways. We looked for ways to praise him for legitimate positive behavior. Explaining to him that because of time constraints, I was turning the clean-up chores over to him, he resisted. But after only two more episodes that required his knees on the hard floor, we saw no more eruptions. His mother’s unintentional contribution to solving the problem at home was another child, a baby requiring all the available diapers. My contribution also included an adjustment in the curriculum. Classroom assignments included family projects involving random acts of kindness, one of our class’s favorite activities. Report cards were revised so that students completed a self-evaluation on social responsibility and empathy. Group efforts came together when classmates performed original plays wrapped around a moral message with the proceeds being donated to local charities for children.
The Lesson Learned:
Knowledge is not everything. We can teach children in a number of creative ways, and we can even give them an ‘A’ for completing 5th grade math early. But without a heart or consideration for others, these students will only become better-informed social misfits with a stronger possibility of pulling others down.
Lengthen The Lesson:
Oppositional Defiant Disorder Management Digest – YouTube www.youtube.com/watch?v=n11p73PaAYI Dr. James Sutton, child and adolescent psychologist and author of What Parents Need to Know About ODD.
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