Mark Hutten, M.A.

Personal:

Mark was born in Freemont, Ohio in 1956. He graduated from Anderson High School (Anderson, IN) in 1974. Mark’s wife is a paralegal for a local defense attorney. They are members of Living Hope Christian Church in Gaston, Indiana.

Educational:
  • Bachelors Degree; Psychology -- Anderson University, Anderson, IN
  • Masters Degree; Counseling Psychology -- Vermont College of Norwich University, Montpelier, VT

Current Employment:
  • Madison County Community Justice Center
  • Madison County Correctional Complex
  • Sowers of Seeds Counseling
  • Indiana Juvenile Justice Task Force

Mark has worked in the “addictions” field since 1994 and has worked with children who are experiencing emotional and behavioral problems - and their parents - since 1988. He is a Probation Officer as well as a Family Therapist and performs home-based counseling and supervision for families experiencing difficulty with their children's emotional and behavioral problems. His primary mission is to help these families develop much needed coping skills so that they can avoid involving their children in the Juvenile Justice system.

Mark also conducts the following group therapies for court-ordered individuals (although many volunteer):
  • Parent Education Training
  • Anger Management Groups
  • Relapse Prevention Groups
  • Drug/Alcohol Workshops
  • Sex Offender Groups

Accomplishments:

Mark is the creator of the Parent-Support Group (a parents only group for parents with strong-willed, out of control children). He is the author of My Out-of-Control Teen and My Out-of-Control Child eBooks, and the founder of Online Parent Support (the online version of the Parent Support Group).

Many of Mark's articles and columns related to parenting children with ADHD, ODD, Conduct Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, Autism, Reactive Attachment Disorder, and more, are featured on prominent "online" magazines (ezines) and websites.

Contact:

Mark Hutten, M.A.
Online Parent Support, LLC
2328 N 200 E
Anderson, IN 46012

Cell: 765.810.3319 (available between 9:00 AM & 5:00 PM Eastern Time)

Why would a child only show oppositional defiant behavior toward his mother?

Question

An 8 year old boy was diagnosed with ADHD Combined Type. His mother, a licensed MFT, referred him for the evaluation. He was never referred by teachers or day care providers. They describe him as an active child, minimally disruptive, but not violent. His grades are above average. His parents are divorced with shared custody, every other week. At his mother's house, he is defiant and has violent meltdowns. His mother fears for her safety and the safety of his sister. At the father's home, he does not exhibit these extreme behaviors. There are rules and consequences for not following the rules. The mother accused the father of child abuse because he has spanked him (as a last resort). Charges were investigated and unfounded. The mother wants the boy on medication so she can handle him at her house. The father does not want to medicate him for behavior that occurs only at the mother's house. Again, he is not violent at his father's or at school.

Answer

Re: Why does he show this oppositional behavior only toward his mother?

I would say the answer is fairly clear. You’ve heard of children misbehaving at home around mother while father is at work, but when the father returns home – things change. (Remember what your mother may have said to you as a child: “Wait until your father gets home!”) This is because the child respects the father and fears repercussions for misbehavior. In this scenario, the father usually follows through with consequences, whereas the mother tends to nag (bark with no bite).

The recommendation would be for both parents to develop a united front (very crucial for raising ODD/ADHD children).

Re: Is medication appropriate?

Not for the behavioral issue. If the child in question is having great difficulty paying attention in school, then perhaps medication for ADHD would be appropriate. As a general rule, medication should only be considered if (a) medically treatable CO-morbid conditions are present (e.g., ADHD, depression, tic disorders, seizure disorders, psychosis), (b) non-medical interventions are not successful, or (c) when the symptoms are very severe.