As a classroom teacher, I found that often children presenting ODD behaviour wore the label, ‘I’m a bad guy” with pride. Over time, their interactions with others (kids and adults) were negative, consequently, they themselves didn’t see the positive side of their personality or their strengths. It became a power struggle; their desire for control over mine. They were determined to win and often celebrate their strength in negativity. Ultimately it becomes a cycle of bullying.
Although there were times that my frustrations clouded my perspective, I tried hard to take a step back, breathe and remind myself of the strengths of this child. It was up to me as the adult, facilitator of learning, coach and one with maturity to change the dance. The way to initiate change is through non-confrontational positive communication. We need to build trust by affirming what they do right. It’s helping others see their strengths and how they can use these characteristics for good.
It’s helping these children see that satisfying their need for power or influence can be done positively. Years ago when I took my Choice Theory Level One the instructor asked, “What do Gandhi, Mother Teresa have in common with Hitler or any other infamous negative character?” The answer was, “They all had a great desire for influence, control, and power.” It is up to us, the adults in the world, to help our ODD kids see their strengths. In flipping our mindset, we can help them make effective choices and develop into the positive leaders of tomorrow.