ODD in Children: Causes and Symptoms of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (2023)

Children often test the boundaries of their parents and authority figures. A certain amount of disobedience and breaking the rules is a normal and healthy part of childhood.

However, sometimes this behavior can be persistent and common. This persistent hostile or defiant behavior could be a signOppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD).

ODD is a type of behavioral disorder. Children with ODD often misbehave. They throw tantrums, challenge authority figures, or fight with peers or siblings. These behaviors can only occur at home near the parents. They can also take place in other settings, for example at school.

It is estimated between2 and 16 percentof school-age children and adolescents have ODD. Odd symptoms can appear as early as 2 or 3 years. However, they are more likely to appear between the ages of 6 and 8 years.

If ODD is not addressed and treated in childhood, the child can develop long-term chronic problems. These problems can persist into adolescence and adulthood.

Read on to find out what ODD is, how it's diagnosed, and what can be done to help a child who has it.

Children with ODD will show several of these behavioral symptoms:

(Video) Oppositional Defiant Disorder: Raising a Child with ODD and ADHD

  • Inability or refusal to follow rules
  • easily frustrated or quickly lose their temper
  • repeated and frequent tantrums
  • Quarrels with siblings or classmates
  • keep arguing
  • intentionally harass or harass others
  • unwilling to negotiate or compromise
  • speak harshly or unkindly
  • challenging authority
  • seek revenge
  • be vindictive and spiteful
  • hold others responsible for their own behavior

In addition to behavioral symptoms, a child with ODD may have one or more of these symptoms:

  • hard to focus
  • difficulty making friends
  • low self esteem
  • persistent negativity

UNUSUAL symptoms can ultimately interfere with learning and make school difficult. Challenges at school can further frustrate the child and create a cycle that can lead to further symptoms or flare-ups.

Adolescents with ODD can internalize their feelings more than younger children. Instead of lashing out or throwing tantrums, they may be angry and upset all the time. This can lead to antisocial behavior and depression.

Tips for dealing with a child with odd

Parents can help children deal with UNUSUAL symptoms by:

  • Participate in family therapy if recommended by the child's psychiatrist or doctor
  • Sign up for training programs that teach parents how to manage their children's behavior, set clear expectations, and provide appropriate direction
  • Apply consistent discipline when warranted.
  • Limit your child's exposure to environmental triggers, such as B. Dispute
  • encourage and model healthy behaviors, such as B. Getting enough sleep (for example, if lack of sleep is a trigger for your child’s challenging behavior)

It is not clear what causes ODD. Researchers and doctors believe a number of issues may play a role.Medicine Johns Hopkinssays it may include:

  • stages of development.All children go through emotional stages from birth to adulthood. Successful resolution of these stages helps the child grow and develop emotionally. However, children who do not learn to be independent from their parents may be at a higher risk of developing ODD. These attachment problems can begin in the first few years of life.
  • learned behaviors. Children surrounded by a toxic or negative environment may incorporate it into their own behavior. parents who aretoo strictor negative behavior can reinforce bad behavior that catches their eye. As such, ODD can stem from a child's desire for "attention."

Several other factors can be related to ODD. These include:

  • Apermissive parenting styledo not have clear boundaries for appropriate behavior
  • Personality traits, such as a strong will
  • Stress or confusion in home life

Risk factors for ODD include:

  • family discord.Children absorb a lot of what is happening around them. When they are surrounded by dysfunction and conflict, their behavior can be affected.
  • Exposure to violence and substance abuse. Children who live in an unsafe environment are more likely to develop ODD.
  • Gender. Before puberty are childrenMore likedevelop UNUSUAL as girls. This difference disappears during puberty.
  • family history. A history of mental illness may increase a child's risk for ODD.
  • Other Conditions. Children with ODD may also have other behavioral or developmental disabilities. for example approx40 percentof children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) also have ODD.
when to see your child's doctor

If you think your child has ODD, these symptoms may indicate you need to see a doctor:

  • challenging behavior that makes day-to-day life impossible for your family
  • Behavior that interferes with school or extracurricular activities
  • often blame others for discipline problems
  • Inability to enforce behavioral expectations without throwing tantrums or nervous breakdowns
(Video) What Is Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

The recently published Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) recognizes ODD. Healthcare providers can use the DSM-5 criteria to determine if a child has ODD.

These criteria include:

  • a pattern of angry or irritable moods
  • argumentative or challenging behavior
  • Revenge or spiteful reactions

These behaviors must last at least 6 months. You must also include at least one person other than a sibling. Doctors consider the child's age, the intensity of the symptoms, and the frequency with which they occur when making a diagnosis.

(Video) What is ODD? ODD meaning and Oppositional Defiant Disorder DSM 5 diagnosis

A pediatrician may prefer to refer your child to a child psychiatrist or mental health professional who can diagnose ODD and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

how to find help for your child

If you think your child is UNUSUAL, these resources may help:

  • Your child's pediatrician.They may refer you to a child psychiatrist or other mental health professional.
  • Die American Psychological AssociationPsychologist Locator.This tool can search by state, even zip code, to find a provider near you.
  • your local hospital.Patient advocacy groups or counseling centers often help connect people to organizations or doctors who can help them with a new diagnosis.
  • Your child's school.The counseling center can also connect you to local services to help diagnose or treat your child.

Early treatment of ODD is imperative. Children who do not receive treatment may develop worse symptoms and behavior problems in the future, including abehavioral disorder.

These behavioral problems can and will eventually affect many aspects of your child's life, from graduating from high school to going to work.

Treatment options for ODD

Treatments for ODD in children include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).This type of therapy teaches children to be better at problem solving, communicating, and controlling impulses or emotions.
  • family therapy.This strategy gives families, including siblings and parents, the opportunity to work together on their communication skills and interactions.
  • group therapy.This type of therapy helps children learn social skills with their peers.
  • Parent-child interaction therapy.This approach helps the parent and the child with ODD repair their bond and relationship and work to strengthen it through open and improved communication.
  • Medicine.Prescription drugs are rarely used for ODD alone. However, medications can be used to treat a co-occurring disorder such as ADHD or anxiety disorder.

However, the treatment is not a panacea. Most treatments for ODD focus on therapy. You and your child may need to try several forms of therapy until you find the one that works best.

Some children with ODD eventually outgrow the disorder. The symptoms can disappear with age.

However, as much as30 percentof children with ODD eventually develop abehavioral disorder. One10 percentof children with ODD may eventually develop a personality disorder, such asAntisocial Personality Disorder.

Because of this, it's important to seek help early if you think your child is showing any signs of UNUSUAL symptoms. Early treatment can go a long way in preventing serious symptoms or lasting effects.

During adolescence, ODD can lead to authority issues, frequent relationship conflicts, and difficulty in forgiving people. In addition, adolescents and those with ODD ahigher riskfor depression and substance abuse.

(Video) Does My Child Have Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)? DSM 5 Edition | Dr. Aly

Oppositional defiant disorder is a behavioral disorder most commonly diagnosed in children and adolescents. In children, the symptoms of ODD can include hostility toward peers, argumentative or confrontational behavior toward adults, and frequent emotional outbursts or tantrums.

(Video) ASK UNMC! How is oppositional defiant disorder in children treated?

Left untreated, ODD can worsen. Severe symptoms can affect your child's ability to participate in school or extracurricular activities. In your youth, this can lead to behavioral problems and antisocial behavior.

This is why early treatment is so important. Therapy can help your child become more responsive to their emotions and improve their communication with you, their teachers, siblings, and other authority figures.


1. What is Oppositional Defiant Disorder?
(Kati Morton)
2. Oppositional Defiant Disorder?
(Thriving with Richard Bass)
3. How To Deal With Child With ODD
(Live On Purpose TV)
4. What is Oppositional Defiant Disorder?
(Dr. Todd Grande)
5. Disruptive Behaviors in Children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder
(The Mental Breakdown)
6. The Childhood Disorder That Could Lead to Psychopathy: What You Need to Know


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