Understand the diagnosis and treatment options for children diagnosed with this disorder. It is treatable.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder, also known as ODD, is a “pattern of angry/irritable mood, argumentative/defiant behavior, or vindictiveness lasting at least six months.” The difference between ODD and Conduct Disorder is that children with ODD are not aggressive towards people, property or animals and they do not show a proclivity towards theft or deceit. The diagnosis of ODD is invalid if the individual is diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD).
The following criteria is established to determine if a child has Oppositional Defiant Disorder.
In order to receive the diagnosis there must be markable distress for the family and it must interfere with academic and social functioning. Children with ODD can escalate if they also suffer from ADHD and depression. A mental health professional can help determine if additional issues are present in your child.
Take a breath and get ready. It will take patience and consistency in order to see change happen in your child. The good news is that many of the recommended treatment approaches include family participation and behavior skills. Learn more about the techniques that are ideal for ODD, including the lessons taught on Smarter Parenting. The behavior skills we teach come from the Teaching-family Model which was created by adults and parents working with children who suffered from many difficult behavior issues and were referred by the juvenile court system.
The following therapeutic approaches are recommended for children who have been diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder:
There are no primary medication to treat ODD. Stimulant medications can reduce defiance and impulsive or retaliatory aggression however it does not cure ODD. The focus of treatment is on learning new behavioral skills.
Some experts believe that ODD may derive from various developmental inconsistencies beginning with ineffective parenting practices. This is followed by problems with authority figures and poor social skills. As a child grows older these behaviors escalate and eventually become a pattern. Early detection and intervention addressing negative behaviors in a positive manner as well as positive social interactions can improve the overall functioning of the child and diminish their opposition. There are no definitive causes of ODD however the focus of treatment on skills, behavior modification and communication indicate that there exists a need for the child to learn strategies to function. The lack of medication treatment for ODD also indicate there are no physiological issues.
All the lessons on the Smarter Parenting website help address ODD behaviors. Smarter Parenting does recommend the behavior skills of The ABC’s of Behavior, Correcting Behaviors and Decision Making first for parents. Once parents and children have mastered these lessons, we encourage them to continue learning the other skills on Smarter Parenting.
Children with ODD have difficulty with authority, boundaries and consequences. When they are able to understand that behaviors don’t just happen, it is easier to correct the ones that need to be changed. The ABC’s of Behavior show a children that behavior has a beginning and a consequence.
A child with ODD will often need to be corrected, but will often fight the correction. Using Correcting Behaviors will allow you to correct your child in a way they don’t feel threatened and provide the consistency children with ODD require.
Help your child find their own alternatives to negative behaviors using the SODAS method. By predetermining what actions to take, your child will have a better chance at behaving appropriately in difficult situations.
There are more tips, ideas, suggestions and activities to help you teach these lessons in an engaging way to your child on this website. Visit each of these lessons pages for more information.
Smarter Parenting has the following blog posts that provide additional parenting help.
John Hopkins provides additional information on Oppositional Defiant Disorder.
The Mayo Clinic also has information on ODD.
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