Terrible Two’s or Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

All young children at some point throw temper tantrums, disobey, and talk back; but at what point should their bad behavior become a cause for concern? Up to 16% of all adolescents have what is called Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). Experts say that children with ODD have an ongoing pattern of these “bad” behaviors, which begin to seriously interfere with the child’s social, family, and academic life.

Common symptoms of ODD include:

  • Purposefully annoying or upsetting others
  • Being easily annoyed by others
  • Revenge seeking and acting out of spite
  • Constant arguing with adults and authority figures
  • Questioning and refusing to follow rules
  • Frequently throwing temper tantrums
  • Blaming others for his or her misbehavior and mistakes
  • Excessive anger or resentment
  • Mean and hateful language when upset

A child who displays some or all of these symptoms should undergo a comprehensive evaluation. Although the causes are still unknown, biological, psychological, and social factors seem to play a role, and often there is a coexisting disorder.

Treatment options for ODD:

  • Parent management training programs
  • Individual therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Problem-solving skills training
  • Social skills training
  • Medication for any coexisting disorder

Tips for parents of children with ODD:

  • Build on the positives, practice positive reinforcement
  • Pick your battles
  • Set age-appropriate limits for your child
  • Maintain interests other than your child
  • Manage your stress
  • Take a break!



 Article Source: (2012). Oppositional Defiant Disorder: A Guide for Parents . The Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Letter28(6).

Categories: Conflict & Anger Management , Developmental Disabilities
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