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Does My Child Have Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

From time to time all kids are defiant, especially when they are tired, stressed, upset or hungry. They may argue, disobey, talk back, ignore parents, teachers and other adults. Quite often such behavior is a normal part of the development for toddlers and early adolescents. But when defiant behavior becomes frequent and affects kid`s social, family or academic life, it may also be a sign of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD).

What is ODD?

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is disorganization of behavior characterized by chronic aggression, constant emotional outbursts, tendency to irritate others and ignore their requests deliberately.

Kids with ODD always argue with adults, violate their rules, purposely annoy and blame them for everything. Besides, they engage in violent, angry and disruptive actions aimed at parents, teachers, and other adults in their life. They may feel most comfortable in the flash-point of conflict, which is devastating and exhausting for everyone, including the children themselves.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder is something more severe than just bad behavior. It is a condition when kids` thoughts and emotions are out of balance, causing them to defy and talk back. Usually ODD begins before a kid reaches the age of eight years old and persists through the prepubescent years.  With early diagnosis and treatment, symptoms can improve.

Symptoms of ODD

Oppositional Defiant Disorder symptoms include temper outbursts, excessive arguments with parents, teachers and other adults and deliberately annoying or ill-natured behavior.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder is more prevalent in particular among kids with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD or ADD). But also it impacts anywhere between 1 and 16 percent of tweens and teens in general population.

ODD symptoms may look different for girls and boys, but for the latter, this condition is more common. ODD boys have explosive anger and tend to be more physically aggressive, while girls refuse to cooperate, and lie. In most cases, the Oppositional Defiant Disorder is diagnosed in childhood, but some kids outgrow this condition by the age of eight or nine.

Children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder argue, frustrate, abase and go against anyone who shows their authority (parents, teachers, etc.). They irritate and bother others on purpose. To establish an ODD diagnosis, at least four of the symptoms below should present. So you need to raise a red flag if your kid:

  • Continually defies to comply with adults` requests;
  • Breaks the rules, established by parents or other adults;
  • Has frequent temper tantrum;
  • Deliberately annoys other people;
  • Seems angry and resentful;
  • Easily irritated by others;
  • Blames others for own mistakes or bad behavior;
  • Always spiteful or vindictive.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder manifests in two ways. The first one presents from an early age and makes a kid challenging to bring up. The second one is adolescent ODD, which makes a kid almost impossible to live with. Both home and school become the battle area.

Parenting a Child with ODD

Raising an Oppositional Defiant Disorder kid is a major challenge for every parent. Oppositional Defiant Disorder children find joy in annoying others, refuse to follow tips and requests, and always blame others for own mistakes.

Despite all these behavioral issues, ODD kids can be smart, creative and talented.

With the help of doting parents and the right approach, their frustrating behavior can improve over time. Parenting a child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder is slightly different and requires another approach to discipline. Here are some tips that will help to make parenting a kid with Oppositional Defiant Disorder a bit easier.

  1.    Give positive attention

Children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder find joy in grating on people`s nerves. That’s why most of their interactions with adults have negative consequences and lead to quarrels. Giving your kid a daily dose of positive attention can be a key point to prevent the aggressive and resentful behavior. You can play outdoor games, run outside together or cook something tasty. Regardless of your kid`s behavior, give them your full attention at least for 30 minutes. It will help to reduce their attempts to capture your attention through bad behavior.

  1.    Establish rules

Oppositional Defiant Disorder kids like to argue and refuse any obligations. To reduce arguments, you can establish clear rules and keep them in a written form on any prominent location in the house. So next time when your kid refuses to do homework assignments, you can simply point out that homework time begins at 4 pm. Create rules on such issues as homework assignments, bedtime, screentime, respect for others, duties, etc.

  1.    Create behavior plan

Create a plan to address the specific behavior problems of your kid, for example, aggression, temper tantrum, talking back or disobedience. Talk about the consequences your kid will face breaking the rules. Besides, discuss the positive outcomes if your kid will exhibit good behavior. Think about the reward system. It can be very effective for ODD kids.

  1.    No rule violation

Don`t allow your Oppositional Defiant Disorder kid to violate the rules. If you let your kids get away with breaking the rules once, they will never learn. They need to understand all the seriousness of your intentions and that you will not let their misbehavior go unpunished.

  1.    Keep clear of power struggles

Oppositional Defiant Disorder kids are good at lengthy debates. But as a parent, it is essential to stay out of power struggles, because they are neither helpful not productive. Don’t argue back if your child refuses to clean the room. Longer your child keeps you in the argument, the longer they delay cleaning the room. Instead, give the clear instruction and provide a consequence if they choose not to follow it. Yelling, arguing, begging will not work.

  1.    Get support

Consider the professional help on an ongoing basis. Visit parent training and contact a professional counselor to learn the techniques to cope with kid`s behavior modification at home. Communication with parents who have children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder can give you emotional support and practical resources. Educating yourself about ODD kids is a key to manage their behavior.

  1.    Moderate Internet usage

To be sure that your kid is not exposed to any violent or dangerous content online, their Internet usage, as well as other phone activities, should be monitored. Kidgy low-cost cyber nanny is one of the most effective tools for it. Using Kidgy, you can monitor what sites and apps your kid visits and block undesired ones. Also, you can check your kid’s texts and calls, GPS location. With our app, you can prevent any undesired activities and always know what your kid is up to online.

Diagnosis and Treatment of ODD

If you have any concerns about your kid`s behavior, or teachers have noticed any warning signs, you need to talk to a mental health professional. Mental health professional or physician will conduct an assessment of your child through the questionnaires, interviews, and observations to identify the problem and find the proper treatment.

There are several treatment options for kids with Oppositional Defiant Disorder, but only a mental health professional can determine which one is the most effective for your kid. The most common treatments are:

  • Individual therapy. It depends on your kid`s age and treatment needs and may address such issues as depression or anxiety. Individual therapy is often used to teach a kid how to control temper tantrums, solve problems and control impulses.
  • Parent training. The methods for behavior modification will help to improve kid`s behavior. Usually, a mental health professional will provide training on specific parenting techniques that can reduce misbehavior.
  • Family therapy. Family therapy may be required, depending on your kid’s age and family needs. It may involve siblings, step-parents or grandparents.
  • Group therapy. In most cases, kids with Oppositional Defiant Disorder often lack social skills. Group therapy can be effective to teach them how to communicate with other kids more appropriately.
  • Medication management. here are no pills that can cure ODD. But they may be used to cure concomitant pathologies such as ADHD or depression that may contribute to behavior problems.

Parenting a kid with Oppositional Defiant Disorder can be hard and frustrating. As a parent, you don’t need to go alone, trying to manage your kid`s behavior. Mental health professionals, child development experts, and other parents with ODD kids can help. Oppositional Defiant Disorder treatment involves learning skills to manage your kid`s problematic behaviors and to build positive family interactions.

This entry was posted in: Tips for parents

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