*’!#$ you mom said Anthony at the restaurant with his family. Jackie, his mother responds “Don’t you talk to me like that and if you say that one more time I will slap you!” I knew when Jackie was telling me this story what Anthony was going to do. Anthony cursed again and Jackie in a moment of temporary insanity slapped Anthony, her 14 year old son in front of the entire restaurant. She was fortunate no one reported her! This article is to help you to prevent these periods of “temporary insanity.”

Jim West on the Fox News Interview on the 4 Avoidable “T’s”

Below are a few tips I gave Jackie and other families.

1. Triggers: Knowing what the triggers and avoiding them is helpful to reduce explosive outbursts. Saying “No” before validating the child’s wants or feelings is the ultimate trigger. It’s important to have a structure in place, set times for getting up, going to school, starting homework, dinner time, and bedtime. Once this is established then you use questions to lead the child to the solution.
Child: “Mom can I stay up late and watch the rest of this movie?”
Mom: “I can see why you would like to stay up late as I know how much you like this movie.” Pause
Child: “This movie is awesome!”
Mom: “I know I like the movie too, but what time is it?”
Child: “9 o’clock”
Mom: “What time is bedtime?”
Child: “9 o’clock, but I want to watch my show!”
Mom: “I know how much you love this movie but what time is it?”
Child: “Bedtime”
Mom: Feel the way your child feels when saying this next line. “I know and I’m sorry for how you feel and I appreciate your obedience.”

2. Threats – “If you say that one more time!” or “You will go to your room right now!” Threats like these are tough to WIN because all the child has to do is say again whatever it is you do not want them to say and in their mind they WIN & you LOSE. When making threats like these the one with the most energy wins.

3. Temporary Insanity – Emotions (Right Brain) & Logic or Reason (Left Brain) do not usually work well together. In other words if Emotions are high (temporary insanity) then the brains ability to use Reason & Logic are low. If Emotions are low then the ability to use Reason & Logic is High. Allowing time to calm down the emotions is important before we can have meaningful discussions. Sentencing (giving consequences) the child during intense emotion will escalate the child as well. Misery also loves company so if your child is upset they want to bring you into their misery! So Validate their feelings:
Parent: “I can see your are frustrated” and pause.
Student: “Yes I am because I hate going to bed at 9pm!”
Parent: “I can see why you are frustrated because you love to stay up later.”
Student: “Yes, so why don’t you let me stay up later?”
Parent: (do not get caught up in explaining something you have explained before, your child knows the answer) “I can see how that would be nice for you, but we all need plenty of rest.”

4. Tone – If you escalate your tone and lose your cool then the child feels they WIN emotionally because they made you join them in their misery. So as hard as it is you need to use a quiet tone. Often children or teens will calm down or stop yelling so they can hear what you have to say. Also, a calm tone will help them calm down faster.

For More Tips for Difficult Oppositional Defiant Students. NOTE: You can freely redistribute this resource, electronically or in print, provided you leave the authors contact information below intact.