Ellen’s son has ODD: ‘If I leave him alone, he destroys everything’


Causes ODD

Why one child has ODD and another does not has to do with genetic predisposition and environmental factors. “It may be that a child has low intelligence or has had an inconsistent upbringing due to circumstances,” says De Vos. “Even if a child does poorly at school because he has been bullied, for example, this can be a trigger for ODD if there is already a genetic predisposition for it.”

Ellen and Milan’s father broke up when Milan was younger. “Of course that did not promote Milan’s behavior, but he was already like that as a baby. ODD is congenital and only gets worse – especially with its combination of ADHD, characteristics of autism, quickly becoming overstimulated and probably also giftedness.”

Ilse’s son is gifted and suffers from a bore-out: ‘He wanted to jump out of the window’Also read

To threaten

“Milan pushes the boundaries all day long. He wakes up and the battle starts right away,” Ellen sighs. To top it all off, children with ODD are also the most difficult to treat the people they trust. “If he asks for a drink and I say I’m busy for a moment, he often starts threatening: ‘If you don’t take it, I’ll kick over the table or break something of yours.’”

Many people think that the parent cannot control their child and that more discipline is simply needed, but harsh discipline often backfires. What does work? “Be consistent,” says De Vos. “It is important that good agreements are made with everyone in the environment of the child with ODD, whereby everyone applies the same rules. And you sometimes have to ignore bad behavior.” Ellen can confirm that. “It is real choose your battles.”

We really can’t blame the behavior of a child with ODD all on the parent, says Ellen. “It is often said that you are a bad parent, but people should know what I have already tried. I have taken all kinds of courses and have been looking for the right help for years. But medication and EMDR don’t help Milan either. I can try everything, but if the person I’m doing it for doesn’t pick it up, it’s so difficult. It drains you completely.”

Through the fire

“Milan is really a devil sometimes,” Ellen admits. At the same time, she wants to emphasize that children with ODD are not just horror children. Milan is a smart child who is also aware of his exceptional behavior. “He kicked a hole in the door the other day. If he is so overstimulated, the bomb will explode. But eventually he bursts into tears and says, “Why am I like this?” That’s very sad.”

It is important to create an environment in which the child feels loved, De Vos and Ellen know. “You get the feeling that you no longer like your own child, but try to continue to see the good things in your child. I try to give Milan a few compliments every day about what he has done well.”

The behavior of children with ODD can escalate, but De Vos says that it is also possible to learn to deal with the disorder. Ellen can only hope for the latter. “It’s really sad that his head is always so busy and he can’t express it in any other way than this. I hope he can put things in place better when he’s older. I’m fighting hard to get the right help because I love him dearly. Whatever he is, I will go through fire for him.”

Thumbnail for Sanne's brother Paul (32) could not find work due to autism: 'I am going to train him now'Sanne’s brother Paul (32) could not find work due to autism: ‘I am now going to train him’Also read

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Ellens son ODD leave destroys