Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) in Children
Are you constantly facing power struggles with your child? Does your child display disobedient, hostile, or defiant behaviours towards you or another authority figure in their life? Does your child have angry outbursts again and again? Do they have a hard time controlling themselves when they are angry, stubborn, or argumentative? Does your child frequently struggle to obey any requests or directions? If so, your child may have a common mental health disorder known as an oppositional defiant disorder.
When parents start googling behaviour issues, one phrase tends to jump out: oppositional defiant disorder. It’s easy to see why. “The words ‘oppositional’ and ‘defiant’ show up in parents’ vocabulary fairly frequently,” says Dr David Anderson, director of the ADHD and Behavior Disorders Center at the Child Mind Institute. “It’s one of the more aptly named diagnoses that exists.”
Whether your child has the oppositional defiant disorder (or ODD) or not, learning about the disorder can be helpful. That’s because the behaviour management strategies used in the treatment are evidence-based techniques that all parents will benefit from knowing.
What is oppositional defiant disorder?
It is normal for children to be oppositional and defiant at least some of the time. In fact, it’s a sign of healthy development. So when does a child have an oppositional defiant disorder? The diagnosis should not be given, for example, to a toddler who has just discovered that her new favourite word is “no.”
ODD is typically diagnosed around early elementary school ages and stops being diagnosed around adolescence. Kids who have ODD have a well-established pattern of behaviour problems. Symptoms include:
- Being unusually angry and irritable
- Frequently losing their temper
- Being easily annoyed
- Arguing with authority figures
- Refusing to follow rules
- Deliberately annoying people
- Blaming others for mistakes
- Being vindictive