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Identifying & Addressing Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

Have a child that is consistently defiant, hostile, or refuses to follow the rules? It is possible that your child may have a condition referred to as Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), this condition is believed to be present in up to 20 percent of school-age children and is marked by a pattern of disobedience and hostile behavior.

Identifying Patterns of ODD

The NIH also reports that ODD is found more commonly in boys than in girls. The symptoms of Oppositional Defiant Disorder usually begin to emerge around the age of eight although it can begin much younger. Some of the symptoms of ODD include a repeated pattern of refusing to follow a parent's request, being angry and resentful, arguing, blaming others, uncontrollable temper, seeking revenge, and being easily annoyed (with parents, situations, or other kids). There may also be a pattern of having very few, if any, close friends. It’s important for both parents and children affected to get help for Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

Tips for Dealing with Children Who Have ODD

  • Be consistent with rules and consequences. You can help to eliminate the power struggle of this disorder by implementing a simple reward or behavior chart system that will help to hold your child accountable.
  • Avoid using any type of excessive or physical punishments, as it is believed that this type of discipline will only make matters worse. There is also an increased risk of ODD in kids who have been abused or neglected.
  • Pay attention to how long the pattern of oppositional behavior lasts. For a child to be classified as having ODD, certain behaviors need to be present for at least six months and must lead to problems at home, in school, socially, etc.
  • Meet with a mental health professional for a diagnosis if you believe that your child may have ODD. There are also other problems that can be related to the behaviors that they can test for as well, including anxiety disorders, ADHD, depression, etc.

Managing Frustrations – Parents of Children with ODD

Having children with ongoing behavior problems, including kids with Oppositional Defiant Disorder, can be quite challenging for parents. While focusing on trying to be consistent with your child and addressing the problem, it is also important to take care of you. One way to do this is by finding a support group where you can meet with other parents going through the same thing. Before you know it, you will be well on your way to addressing ODD and seeing results!