It is not unusual for children to be oppositional from time to time. Defying authority when tired, hungry, stressed or upset is a normal concern for most parents. However, if your child’s uncooperative and hostile behavior is so frequent and consistent that it stands out when compared with other children of the same age, Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) may be the reason.
ODD is a condition in which a child displays an ongoing pattern of angry or irritable mood, defiant or argumentative behavior and vindictiveness toward people in authority.
Symptoms of ODD may include:
- Frequent temper tantrums
- Excessive arguing with adults, especially those with authority
- Active defiance and refusal to comply with requests and rules
- Deliberate attempts to annoy or upset people
- Blaming others for his or her mistakes
- Frequent anger and resentment
- Mean and hateful talking when upset
- Spiteful attitude and revenge seeking
In addition, many children with ODD are moody, easily frustrated and have low self esteem.
Though the exact cause of ODD is not known, biological, genetic and environmental combinations may contribute to the condition.
A child presenting with ODD symptoms should have a comprehensive evaluation from a qualified doctor. Other disorders, such as, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning disabilities, mood disorders (depression, bipolar disorder) and anxiety disorders may be present.
Treatment of ODD may include: Parent Management Training (PMT) Programs to help parents manage their child’s behavior. Individual Psychotherapy is aimed at helping the child develop more effective coping and problem solving skills in ways to express and control anger management.
Medication may be helpful in controlling some of the more distressing symptoms of ODD as well as the symptoms related to coexistent conditions such as ADHD, anxiety and mood disorders.
Although it may not be possible to prevent ODD, recognizing and acting on symptoms when they first appear can not only help the child but also help the family.
Providing a nurturing, supportive and loving home environment may help reduce symptoms and prevent future episodes of defiant behavior.
Always building on the positives and making special time for your child are always a plus!