ODD: What is it and how to deal with it

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) manifests through  a pattern of hostile and defiant behavior for six or more months. Things that may be indicative of ODD are temper tantrums, vindictiveness, blaming others for their actions, often feeling angry, actively disobeying rules and many more. Of course having some of these symptoms does not necessarily mean your child has ODD, however they could indicate this.

Three percent of children suffer from ODD and thus experience many negative reactions. These children are often thought of as “bad children”. Many times they are treated harshly by adults or parents, while children frequently refrain from befriending them or playing with them, due to their hostile and defiant behaviors. Aggression is also common and causes parents, teachers and children to distance from the child. Additionally, because ODD commonly occurs with other disorders as well, such as ADHD and anxiety, it needs to be treated in order to ensure the child experiences less of a negative environment.

For parents that have children with ODD, here are some things that can help your relationship with your child, and assist in dealing with his or her ODD:

  1. It is crucial to help your child increase their prosocial behavior. Positively reinforce them when the socialize properly and don’t act out or defy the rules.
  2. Ensure that your tone is not harsh but calm and collected
  3. Provide your child with activities which will be an opportunity to display positive behaviors.
  4. Pick a few rules that are the most important ones. These are the rules that no matter what, your child must obey. Make sure your child is aware of them and the consequences of breaking these rules.
  5. Many times parents don’t realize this, but creating a very strict environment can have negative effects and push your child to act out even more so. Learning to hear what your child is saying, and trying to understand what led him or her to behave this way, can foster a warmer and more positive environment.

Having  a child with ODD can be very difficult and frustrating. Many parents feel the desire to give up and let go. However, the parenting and family environment is extremely important for your child. Helping your child is vital towards his or her self-esteem and future in general.

If you think your child may have ODD, or your child has been diagnosed and you seek treatment, feel free to call for support or questions!

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