Oppositional Defiant Disorder
Is your child or teen acting defiant? We all know, it is not unusual for children to defy authority every now and then. It is common for children to go through the “terrible twos” or “threenager” stage. Adolescents in their early teens may also go through this as many things are changing in their life. They may express their defiance by arguing, disobeying, or talking back to parents, teachers, or other adults. Yes, this can be common. However, when this behavior lasts longer than six months and is excessive compared to what is “usual” for the child’s age, it may mean that the child has a type of behavior disorder called Oppositional Defiant Disorder or ODD.
ODD is defined as a “condition in which a child displays an ongoing pattern of uncooperative, defiant, hostile, and annoying behavior toward people in authority and may disrupt the child’s normal daily activities, including activities within the family and at school” (mayo clinic).
Symptoms of ODD may include:
- Throwing repeated temper tantrums
- Excessively arguing with adults
- Actively refusing to comply with requests and rules
- Deliberately trying to annoy or upset others, or being easily annoyed by others
- Blaming others for your mistakes
- Having frequent outbursts of anger and resentment
- Being spiteful and seeking revenge
- Swearing or using obscene language
- Saying mean and hateful things when upset
Parents can be intimidated by their child’s behavior. It can be so difficult to deal with; sometimes it just seems easier to give in than to deal with trying to manage and respond differently. Again, it’s important to remember as a parent that you can change at any time. You can learn to respond in such a way as to reduce the acting out behavior.
4 ways to effectively and appropriately manage your child’s behavior:
- Respond without anger: It’s important to respond to your ODD child without anger—try to be as calm as possible. Just acknowledge the behavior, state it as you see it, explain how it will need to change and then remove yourself from all arguments. Pick your battles!
- Be clear and consistent: The nature of oppositional defiant behavior is to wear parents down so that they eventually give in. You need to be strong, clear and consistent in your follow through.
- Do not take things personally. When your child acts out, as hard as it might be, stay as neutral and objective as possible. You need to be clear and concise and not get pulled into a power struggle. Parents sometimes need to be great actors and actresses with our kids. The key is to keep practicing calm, consistent parenting and following through.
- Don’t be your child’s friend—be their parent: There are times when your child may not like you— may even shout, “I hate you,” or call you foul names. However, if you keep setting limits with your child and follow through by giving him consequences and holding him accountable, then ultimately you’re doing the best thing for your child.
ODD behavior can leave a parent feeling misunderstood, resentful, worried, and fearful for their child’s future. But there is hope. If you have a child with ODD or similar symptoms and want to learn more, please contact our office to schedule an appointment at 303-353-9226 or email@example.com.