Managing the Oppositional & Defiant Child

Managing the Oppositional and Defiant Child

Insight and interventions with Oppositional Defiant Disorder and related behaviors


James D. Sutton, EdD, Consulting Psychologist

(830) 569-3586

Program Focus:

This program is designed to assist parents and caretakers in working with one of the most emotionally, behaviorally and academically challenging youngsters today — the OPPOSITIONAL AND DEFIANT CHILD.

NOTE: This program was developed at the request of state associations for foster and adoptive parents.

Participant Benefits:

–Improved responses to reasonable requests and confrontation

 –Less misunderstanding and resistance

 –A happier son or daughter who is more invested into genuine and loving relationships


Needs Addressed by this Program:

Johnny frustrates his parents and teachers. He seems to always be in trouble, not so much for what he’s doing, but rather what he’s NOT doing. Although he often jokes around, at the core Johnny is an unhappy young man who deepens his misery with his continual testing of limits and endless bouts of noncompliance.

Johnny is in serious trouble—and he doesn’t seem to know it.

Program Description:

Healthy young people know when it is appropriate to comply with the requests and directives of authority. The oppositional and defiant child, however, carries a need to defy and oppose authority at seemingly every turn. Result: Everyone is unhappy and frustrated, and some interventions only seem to make things worse.

This program will offer insights and practical, doable interventions for oppositional, defiant and noncompliant behaviors of Johnny and other boys and girls like him.

The Presenter:

Dr. James Sutton, a nationally recognized psychologist and former Special Education teacher, has been studying and researching oppositional and defiant behavior and best-practice interventions since before we had the term “Oppositional Defiant Disorder.” His books on the subject include, If My Kid’s So Nice, Why’s He Driving ME Crazy?, What Parents Need to Know About ODD, 60 Ways to Reach a Difficult and Defiant Child, 101 Ways to Make Your Classroom Special (a bestseller written for teachers), and a current work-in-progress, The Changing Behavior Book.

As an accomplished speaker and trainer, Dr. Sutton keeps his audiences engaged as he helps them become better informed and more empowered.

His credentials include:

Texas Psychologist License # 2790

Texas Professional Counselor License # 06979

Texas Licensed Specialist in School Psychology # 6154

Texas Education Agency certifications–see vita

Certified Speaking Professional

Program Objectives:

Through this workshop and materials, participants will be able to:

1. Distinguish the three circumstances that can result in reactive and difficult behavior.

2. Identify the most commonly displayed symptoms and characteristics of oppositional and defiant behavior.

3. Understand how ODD is assessed and diagnosed.

4. Realize how coercion in parent-child conflicts can be damaging and self-reinforcing—and how to manage it.

5. Avoid the seven most commonly used interventions that work, but NOT for long.

6. Pinpoint the one thing that MUST change before any other changes occur.

7. Grasp how perception IS reality for the oppositional and defiant child, and how to influence it effectively.

8. Implement the intervention of “when” as a way of creating improvement in behavior and relationships.

9. Gain compliance by “balancing” expectations.

10. Control the three variables that make inappropriate behavior “comfortable” for the youngster.

11. Employ a “good faith” approach for improving outcomes of confrontation.

12. Understand why there’s often one teacher who DOESN’T struggle with this youngster at school.

13. Learn about proven approaches and interventions teachers have used to gain more cooperation and productivity in the classroom.

14. Consider options for programming and discipline at school.

15. Maximize the effectiveness of parent-teacher conferences.

16. Address how oppositional and defiant behavior relates to ADHD and other conditions.

17. Consider the role of medication in the treatment of oppositional and defiant behavior.

18. Grasp the three progressions that can signal worsening of behavior into a more serious condition.

Time-frame Formats:

This program is adaptable to either a breakout or half-day format. For maximum benefit and cost effectiveness, Dr. Sutton can combine this program with a keynote address such as “Don’t Lose Your Marbles; Give ‘Em Away!”