Controlling Teens as Single Parents

Control is a key factor when raising a teen with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). Why? Well, to begin with, things seem to feel as if they’re out of control. Then, there’s your attempts to remain in control of your teen and the defiant behavior. And, lastly, your defiant teen is in a power struggle with you at all times, trying to be the one in control.

As a single parent, there are things you can control, and others you simply cannot control. You have control over providing your child with shelter, food and clothing. You also have control over how your actions show your teen ways to deal and cope with life challenges and conflicts, as well as consequences. But, your teen is personally in control over whether or not he/she learns from and applies those life lessons.

5 Things Parents Can and Cannot Control

  1. Parents can control whether their kids know their expectations or not. So, make sure your teen knows what’s expected of him/her, behavior-wise and attitude-wise. “I expect you to handle your anger without becoming violent.”
  2. Parents can control giving their teens opportunities to live up to those expectations. “Son, I’m okay with you walking away when you become angry with me in order to cool down. Turn on some music to calm down. Then, come back and talk to me again later.”
  3. Parents can control whether this children understand what consequences will be for specific actions that don’t meet expectations. “Son, now that you’re a teen, hitting your little sister is actually domestic violence. Do it again, and I’ll can the police on you. Neither of us wants you to go to jail. So, to avoid this, you need to handle your frustrations without resulting to physical attacks.
  4. As a parent, you can control your own behavior. Children tend to model the actions of the adults in their lives most. Therefore, you need to model the right way to deal with anger without becoming physically violent yourself. Practice those expectations you’ve put on your child, like walking away until you calm down.
  5. Parents cannot control the behavior of their teens. This is a major misconception for many people. In spite of what folks tend to think, you have no control over whether or not your child turns to physical abuse when he/she gets angry. You have no power when it comes to the arguments or the power struggles that comes with attempting to control your ODD teen. What you can control is the way you respond or react to your child’s behavior. So, stay in control. That’s the best way to handle the situation, as well as teach your teen the right way to handle frustration.

Judgment Does Not Help… Therapy Does

People whose kids don’t suffer from ODD tend to believe that you can control your ODD teen. They may even judge you, telling what you need to do to gain control. But, they have no idea how hard it is to manage an ODD child and his/her behavior. They have no idea how much shame and pain you suffer because of your child’s bad attitude and violent tendencies.

So, what’s the answer? You and your child need therapy. And, in many cases, especially for single parents, therapeutic programs work best. That way, the child is removed from the home, giving both the teen and the parent a “break” from each other. In the meantime, the child gets a quality education, along with 24-hour therapeutic care, including individualized therapy, group sessions, anger management programs, and much more. Single parents and teens with ODD heal better with professional therapeutic programs.