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Identifying Oppositional Defiant Disorder

It's not so unusual for kids to misbehave at times or become a bit defiant. But if your child is consistently angry, argumentative, and engages in ongoing defiant behavior, you may have a more serious problem on your hands. If this is the case and your child has been exhibiting defiant behavior for at least six months straight, he may have what is referred to as Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). Identifying Oppositional Defiant Disorder in children, and then addressing it, is important for you, your child, and the whole family.

Recognizing and Identifying ODD

Many people who have a child that consistently engages in defiant behavior may not realize that there is a problem, a name for the problem, or that there is help available. If your child is consistently doing things to disrupt the home or classroom and is being argumentative and combative with peers or at home, it may be time to consider that your child may have ODD. Kids with Oppositional Defiant Disorder often refuse to follow the rules, are negative, and are hostile. If you suspect your child may have ODD, consider the following tips.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder Tips

  • Try setting up a behavior chart, using positive reinforcement to reward good behavior. This technique often works well for children who are acting out.
  • Avoid battling with your child over every little thing. If you have a child that has ODD, you may be taking on more confrontation than necessary. Choose your battles wisely.
  • Focus on the positives more than the negatives and give praise when it has been earned.
  • Work with your child to identify things that upset him and ways he can relax when he gets worked up.
  • If you do not see improvements following the above tips, consult a doctor or counselor for advice. They can help to clarify if ODD is the issue.

Help for Children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder

The good news is that there is help available for kids with ODD. Children who have ODD can often be helped by using therapy, medications, and consistent positive reinforcement techniques. Dealing with Oppositional Defiant Disorder in children can be a challenge and a source of frustration and exhaustion. But with some patience and professional help, if needed, things should get easier.