Oppositional Defiance Disorder

All children act out sometimes, but children who have oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) have a well-established pattern of behavior problems that are more extreme than their peers. One way to distinguish between typical disruptive behavior and ODD is how severe the behavior is and how long it lasts. In order to be diagnosed with ODD kids need to have had extreme behavior issues for at least six months.

ODD: What to Look For

Children who have ODD will have a well-established pattern of behavior problems, including the following symptoms:

  • 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

When responding to these repeated behavior problems, parents are often pushed to an extreme and may become either more permissive or more coercive. Unfortunately, neither extreme will effectively change their child’s behavior, and instead may inadvertently lead to more negative interactions and hostile patterns of behavior that become routine. One hallmark of ODD is the toll it takes on family relationships.

Some children with ODD may also struggle with disruptive behavior in school, but it isn’t uncommon for a child to only struggle at home with family members

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What Is Oppositional Defiant Disorder?