Bullies & Cyber Bullying
Behavior Problems
Classroom-Student Behavior
Extracurricular Activities
Internet & Technology
Kids Health & Safety
Parenting Styles & Skills
Positive Discipline
Potty Training
Sibling Rivalry
Sleepovers & Bedtime

How Much Defiant Behavior Is Too Much?

We've all witnessed our children acting out with defiant behavior, but when does this behavior begin to progress to something else more serious? Oppositional Defiant Disorder, or ODD, is a psychiatric disorder in children that is characterized by extreme uncooperative and hostile behavior. Every child has these traits to some degree, but you may notice it's more extreme when the child's behavior stands out against other children of the same age group, frequently and consistently. You may also notice this hostile behavior is directed to authoritative figures, such as adults and teachers.

Where To Go From Here

You can't officially diagnose your child with ODD but if you notice your child's behavior is severely out of control and out of line with other children, then you may want to consider meeting with a doctor, counselor or other child development expert. Consider the symptoms of ODD below before consulting medical help.

  • Frequent and out of control temper tantrums.
  • Consistent questioning of rules and guidelines.
  • Deliberate attempts to annoy or hurt others.
  • Unwarranted and excessive arguing with adults and other authority figures.
  • The frequent use of mean, spiteful and malicious language and actions.
  • A revenge seeking attitude, always looking for payback opportunities.
  • Playing the "blame game," often blaming others for their actions or mistakes.

There is no solid reason to explain why ODD may be affecting your child. However, a combination of social, biological, or environmental factors may be responsible including; developmental delays, lack of supervision, contradictory or harsh discipline, abuse or neglect, an imbalance of certain chemicals in your child's brain or factors related to your child's natural disposition. Also, parents who have multiple children say their child with ODD developed more demanding and defiant behavior at an earlier age compared to their other children.

If your child is diagnosed with ODD there will be several options for treatment. Treatment options include psychotherapy (a particular type of expressive counseling), cognitive-behavior therapy, social skills training and family therapy. Parents may be asked to participate in parent management training as well. Approximately 2 to16% of children and teens have ODD and it's important to immediately consult a doctor if you believe your child is at risk. However, you need to remember ODD is very treatable and it's something you and your child can get past, together.