Sunday, 17 November 2013

Social defiance at school is a mounting threat. It has a name: Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD).

Mediated lifestyles are self centred.

Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD). Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Enough already. It is mostly lack of parental leadership with their children. It could also be an outcome of networked high technologies.

by Tom Thorne

Today my daughter who teaches school told me about a new discovery. Apparently there are children in our schools who have Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD) and they regularly defy teachers and other people in authority. When I hear this kind of thing my natural inclination is to roll my eyes heavenward seeking divine intervention.

These children refuse to do what they are told or even what they are asked to do. They practice continual disobedience, exhibit hostility, anger and stubborn behaviours on an ongoing basis. They rarely cooperate with others and are always outside the greater good required by the teacher to run a class.

Teachers are now faced with this type of child who have been designated by psychiatric professionals as having ODD. As a result they must be tolerated while their “disorder” is treated. This of course creates havoc for the teacher. 

When a child changes schools, often as a way to cope after they wear out their welcome at the first school, documentation rarely follows the same day as the new school registration. The teacher is given what appears to be a normal child who in fact is a social monster.

This means teachers often encounter an ODD child out of the blue. When teachers ask the new student if he or she would like to join the class an ODD kid will defy you with “I won’t join the class.” This of course makes for extra work for the teacher. Open defiance on a continual bases can undermine the class discipline and wear down the best and most patient teachers.

So why is ODD tolerated? It seems that psychology and psychiatry professionals define these disorders which are subsequently swallowed whole by parents and school administrations as gospel. These children with alleged ODD somehow have escaped social conditioning that used to come with family life.

Personally I believe that all the bulk of these categories of children’s behaviours such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and now ODD mostly fall under a category I have invented with the all encompassing acronym called SBS or Spoiled Brat Syndrome. In the case of ADD it would be hard to say there are no real cases but in the case of ODD I have serious misgivings that this is a real disorder.

Disorder for me is a strong word. It implies something is mentally wrong with these children and if we only understand it we can treat it pharmaceutically with  drug techniques like Ritalin.  

I believe that alleged disorders like ODD are more a social syndrome that has emerged out of the wiles of an Information Age where everything is named and categorized and the child individual is self made as a centre of their tiny immature personal universe.

ODD is for me evidence of a spoiled child. It is a child with too high expectations for themselves brought about too much information and consumer goods input into developing minds where the focus is on “me”. and not social good. ODD, when it surfaces is evidence of too much ego centred lifestyle where the child is constantly pandered to by adults with undeveloped leadership skills who can’t say no and mean it.

Some of these children may be the result of divorce or alcoholic homes but the bulk of them are victims of having too much, too soon. They have developed early into sociopaths rather than useful caring social beings. Many have information devices and games that take them inwards into themselves. They live in a world of screens and earphones that cut them off from social interaction. They have quickly learned that if they focus on themselves their parents will respond to keep them happy and content. They develop what I call Spoiled Brat Syndrome (SBS).

As SBS develops it can be very much ego centred. Parents pander and treat their kids like miniature adults asking them what they like and what they don’t like and even seek their children’s approval for their parental choices and even their own parenting. These children often develop negative social skills that are fully focused on their perceived immature personal needs. They learn little about the greater good of society or their family. They are truly incarnations of the Me Generation.

Of course they don’t have the knowledge or life experience to do anything but be me focused and so we see the development and manifestation of ODD behaviours in these children. There has always been kids who were like this, but the school system was such in the past that they could be disciplined by teachers and principals who had authority to act when they encountered anti-social behaviours.

Now that political correctness is so rampant in the schools to a point where these social monsters are tolerated as people who have a mental disorder but have the right to attend school no matter how disruptive they are. The schools and especially Board of Education bureaucracies are like some contemporary families, they pander to these alleged disorders and even by their actions make them more important in the eyes of ODD victims.

The tolerance of pupils exhibiting these strange disorders is simply not working at home or at school. I am the father of five children. All of our children were taught their limits and when they tried ego trips that affected the greater good of the family or school they were disciplined with firm but fair kindness that always emphasized positive socialization.

The difference was that our family was not completely surrounded continually with communication toys, access to the World Wide Web and devices that took them out of the social context and into themselves. Contemporary parents allow withdrawal from the family and human interaction as normal. Kids sit bunched up on a couch playing games, accessing the web in a world of ear phone induced private space.

When parents ask a child to come out of this world is met with derision and pleading. They moan and whine when they are told to close down their iPads and iPods and come to eat their supper. It is as if they are jolted back to the world of human interaction. In their eyes they are removed from a world of personalized control back into the interactive human world of family life which means dealing with all the grittiness of human interaction. Their mediated world has only feedback to them alone. It is the true but negative meaning of the term “personal computing”.

When they transport this mediated version of life to school they are forced to experience a world where they lose control of their mediated existence. Naturally they find this disjointing and the interaction with anything like a classroom of other humans can be seen in their eyes as a disaster. They then rebel and lash out with bouts of ODD. 

There is always a price for widespread adoptions of techniques by a culture. Very often the outcomes are positive but networked  high technology communications devices in the hands of immature minds may very well, in some cases, produce self centred sociopaths where personal needs always trump social needs. 

© Copyright 2013, Tom Thorne, All Rights Reserved.

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