Lesson 59: Nerve-racking Oppositional Defiant Disorder

"Tank, sit down!" Coach Hew commanded.

"Nah, I'm going to walk around!" Tank answered while he was moving away from his seat.

"Tank, now it's the time for homework."
"I don't want to do!"

"Come here at once! Or else! You are not going to play any game later!"
"I don't care!" Tank was riding high.

Tank was always against the coach and disobeyed his instructions. Coach Hew tried scolded him but he threw a very serious temper and almost hit the other student. The stricter the coach, the more severe he was. When that way did not work, we changed the other way. Coach Hew tried to focus on his strengths and complimented him in front of the classmates. Sadly, this did not work as well. Once he heard of the compliments, he showed anger, ignored the coach and continued his old behaviors. After several months, Coach Hew was totally helpless, “I don’t want to deal with him anymore!”

A very well-known Soviet educator, Vasyl Sukhomlinsky once said, 

the study of the internal spiritual world of children, especially their thoughts, is one of the most important exercises of the teacher.”  

When we do not understand the children’s thoughts, there is no way that we can help them. Thus, we met up with Tank’s parents to know more. He behaved the same at home so his parents were very strict. They even beaten him whenever he disobeyed their words. Besides, we had done some researches and found out that his behaviours resembled Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) which included:

1.     Often loses temper
2.     Is often touchy or easily annoyed by others
3.     Is often angry and resentful
4.     Often argues with adults or people in authority
5.     Often actively defies or refuses to comply with adults' requests or rules
6.      Often deliberately annoys people
7.      Often blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior
8.     Is often spiteful or vindictive
9.     Has shown spiteful or vindictive behavior at least twice in the past six months

According to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual V, as long as the child shows at least four of the behaviours, it may be ODD. We usually suggest parents to bring their child for diagnosis and advices from the clinical psychologist.

However, while we are waiting for the diagnosis, we must think of a way to ensure Tank could learn in the class. If he was ODD, any usual discipline methods would not work on him but make him worse.

Some other coaches had an idea.

When it was homework time, Coach Hew distributed the workbooks and said, “Today Tank is not doing the workbook.”
Tank quickly answered, “I want to do!”

When it was time for lesson, Coach Hew said, “Today Tank is going to walk around.”
Tank immediately said, “I want to sit down!”

Pay him back in his own coin did work!

However, Tank would still try to evoke the coach. There was once when Tank locked the classroom door, hid himself in the classroom and peeked through the window. The coach could not open the door and found that Tank was hiding inside the room. Coach was angry but he walked away from the room and called all the students to play a ball game together. When everyone was having fun, Tank could not stay on, opened the door and asked in confusion, “Coach, don’t you want to come in?”

Aha! Gotcha!

We almost gave up on this child but fortunately we got to know him more and found a way to help him. Dealing with a kid like Tank will certainly test your management skills and patience. If you were being evoked even a little bit, you might end up arguing with the kid. If you were disappointed and give up, the kid would not be able to improve. 

When taking care of a life, if you don’t look after them saying that they don’t listen to you, you cannot manage the life (Joshua J)

Education is an opportunity for people to escape from poverty as well as to escape from difficulties. Those children who are naughty, disobedient and against you, are being trapped. Indeed, they need it the most.

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