Lifestyle and home remedies

By Mayo Clinic Staff

At home, you can begin chipping away at problem behaviors of oppositional defiant disorder by practicing these strategies:

  • Recognize and praise your child's positive behaviors. Be as specific as possible, such as, "I really liked the way you helped pick up your toys tonight."
  • Model the behavior you want your child to have.
  • Pick your battles and avoid power struggles. Almost everything can turn into a power struggle, if you let it.
  • Set limits and enforce consistent reasonable consequences.
  • Set up a routine by developing a consistent daily schedule for your child. Asking your child to help develop that routine may be beneficial.
  • Build in time together by developing a consistent weekly schedule that involves you and your child spending time together.
  • Work with your partner or others in your household to ensure consistent and appropriate discipline procedures. Enlist support from teachers, coaches and other adults who spend time with your child.
  • Assign a household chore that's essential and that won't get done unless the child does it. Initially, it's important to set your child up for success with tasks that are relatively easy to achieve and gradually blend in more important and challenging expectations. Give clear, easy-to-follow instructions.
  • Be prepared for challenges early on. At first, your child probably won't be cooperative or appreciate your changed response to his or her behavior. Expect behavior to temporarily worsen in the face of new expectations. This is called an "extinction burst" by behavior therapists. Remaining consistent in the face of increasingly challenging behavior is the key to success at this early stage.

With perseverance and consistency, the initial hard work often pays off with improved behavior and relationships.

Feb. 06, 2015

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