A few weeks ago, I was talking with a teenager who I know very well and who I am close to and she was sharing with me her concerns for one of her friends. She has been worried about her friend being “over medicated.” That concern immediately raised my antennae as I see a potential red flag waving any time I hear the words “teen” and “medication” in the same sentence.

 

        When I inquired further, she informed me that this teen whom she knows seems to be sluggish and listless because he is taking medication for his disorder known as ODD. This young friend of mine was basically unaware of and lacking knowledge about this supposed disorder yet I am not. Anyone who has taught elementary, junior high or high school in the last fifteen years is most likely very well acquainted with the ODD label.

 

        I have been retired from teaching for the last two years. I taught third grade in a local private school for over ten consecutive years and about my third year into teaching is when I first heard of the term ODD which stands for Oppositional Defiance Disorder. In common sense language, that can be translated as the sin nature that every child is born into this world with, however the medical community and society as a whole has now dubbed it as a condition that one apparently has no control over that can be treated with medication.

 

According to a recent medical report the official definition of ODD is as follows:

 

A CONDITION IN WHICH A CHILD DISPLAYS AN ONGOING PATTERN OF UNCOOPERATIVE, DEFIANT, HOSTILE, AND ANNOYING BEHAVIOR.

 

        This report is absolutely dead on about one thing which is that this is a condition alright…it’s called the HUMAN condition. According to this definition, all four of my children had ODD at different times in their young lives. Yes, all four of those little creatures were uncooperative, they defied my husband and I, were most definitely hostile now and then and all of them were official card carrying members of the “annoying” club. Once again, where has our common sense gone?  Can we please just stop trying to attach a disorder to every flaw and weakness of man that can be directly traced to his basic sin nature? All children to include all of us adults when we were children, and all of us still now as adults struggle with all of these behaviors, do we not? Can’t all of us be uncooperative, defiant, hostile, and annoying? Yes and we prove it every day of our lives! It is not because we have a medical disorder either, it is because we are all members of the human race which means the only disorder that we have is the sin disorder. From the time that we are small babies, we all needed to be disciplined and not simply be allowed to follow every whim and desire of our own. God gave children the blessing of parents to train and nurture them. Parents help and guide their kids to learn how to control themselves and their behavior so that they may grow into mature and responsible adults. How sad it is that when parents neglect to do this training and disciplining, that they then feverishly search for a medical reason as to why their child is out of control. If they can just have a diagnosis, a name of a disorder or a condition, then that takes them off the hook for their sad and destructive negligence of properly disciplining their children. I saw this pitiful situation occur over and over again during my years of teaching. Many of the same kids who were on twice a day medication were also the same kids who had no fear or understanding of their parents’ authority over them. Every year the first field trip in which parents accompanied the class told volumes about why certain children had been labeled and needlessly medicated. I would witness little Johnny disrespecting, back talking and disobeying mom or dad for the entire day that we toured Mount Vernon or the museums in Washington. Yet this same Johnny had been “diagnosed” as having ODD and needs to pop a few pills to keep him adequately zoned out so that he is not alert or energetic enough to exhibit his typical outrageous behavior.

 

        I thought it interesting that the same medical jounal that published the definition for ODD also named the warning signs or symptoms for parents to watch for so that they might recognize that their child was unfortunately born with this condition. These symptoms are listed below:

 

-         throwing temper tantrums

-         excessively arguing with adults

-         actively refusing to comply with requests and rules

-         deliberately trying to annoy others

-         blaming others for your mistakes

-         having frequent outbursts of anger and resentment

-         being spiteful and seeking revenge

-         swearing or using obscene language

-         saying mean and hateful things when upset

-         not wanting to obey authority

 

All I have to say after reading that “list of symptoms” is …This is a joke, right?  My dad used to tease me when I was little and say “Are we on candid camera?” and right after reading that list of ten “warning signs” that is quite honestly, the question that I wanted to ask this medical institution that put this out…where is the camera?

 

This list would be almost laughable if it were not so tragic. I say tragic because kids all across our land are being medicated because too many parents have bought into the lie that sinful, selfish, unbridled behavior is a medical disease or disorder that can only be cured by a pill or two, taken three times a day. That way Johnny stays fairly quiet and zombie like, therefore allowing mom and dad to avoid the God given task of training and disciplining. No one gets embarrassed in public, everyone is happy and we all need to just understand that this is all out of little Johnny’s control. Hogwash.

 

Yes, little Johnny was born that way and so were all of us. It is not however some strange, hard to explain medical condition but simply our sin nature. The only remedy, the only cure is to understand that Christ came to deliver us from it all if we understand and accept the truth about Him. If we do, we will still have that old defiant, rebellious nature within us, but we will also have the healing power of Christ within us to defeat it on a daily basis. We also will have a desire to read the Bible which clearly tells us how to parent our children. It clearly instructs us how to teach, train, discipline and love them. Will we make mistakes? We surely will as none of us are perfect parents but at least we will not have bought into the ridiculous nonsense known as ODD.

 

 Do you want to really help your children?

 Don’t open up the latest medical journal.

 Don’t open up the latest bottle of medication for ODD.

 Open up God’s Word and follow the prescription.

 It’s the very best medicine for your child!