Oppositional defiant disorder or ODD is a childhood disorder characterized by a set of negative behaviors of a child toward the adults of their life. Affecting 6 to 10 percent of children, this disorder can sometimes be mistaken for similar disorders like attention deficit disorder or conduct disorder. Diagnosis for ODD is given by therapist for teens or the family pediatrician. It describes a set of behaviors exhibited by a child, including losing temper, arguing with adults, blaming others for their own faults and annoying people deliberately.
If a child exhibits some of these behaviors for at least 6 months, he might have ODD, unless an alternative explanation is diagnosed. The most important factors that are considered when diagnosing ODD is intensity and frequency of a child’s negative outbursts. All children exhibit some of these behaviors to some degree, but the child with ODD has these behaviors more than most. This disorder can develop over time and can be secondary to another diagnosis. Thus, it can co-exist with a mood disorder or ADHD.
There are very different levels of behavior with defiant and oppositional kids. A young child may act out with temper tantrums, an adolescent often becomes more physically or verbally abusive when they act out. One common trait for kids with ODD is they usually see themselves as victims, and feel justified when they act out. With our culture, there are so many people acting out that they feel even more justified in what they are doing.
Many parents become intimidated by the ODD behavior of their child because it is hard to deal with. They just feel that it is easier to give in than trying to manage it more effectively. Again, it is important to mention that some parents get worn out dealing with a child that has ODD. They begin to feel defeated when they are exhausted, stressed out or state a level of failure. Parents can learn to respond in a way to reduce the negative behavior. Below are 4 things parents can do to properly manage their child with ODD and impulsive behavior.
- Respond without anger. Try to be as matter-of-fact and calm as possible. Acknowledge the behavior, explain how it will have to change and remove yourself from arguments. Pick your battles and decide which of those are important to you and your child.
- Be consistent and clear. The nature of ODD is to wear parents down and make them give in eventually. You have to be consistent, clear and strong in your follow through.
- Do not take it personally. Never take the ODD behavior of your child as a charge against you personally. When your child acts out, stay as objective and neutral as you can. You have to be concise and clear and don’t be pulled into a power struggle. It is not about you; it is about your child and what he has to learn.
- Do not be your child’s friend. Be your child’s parent. Remember that being a parent is not a personality contest and there are times that he will not like you. The best thing for your child is to set limits establish consequences that you can follow through with.
It is really hard to manage ODD and impulsive behavior every day by yourself. It takes support and work from partners, friends, your child’s behavioral therapist. There are several good therapists for teens in Mercer County that you and your child can start working with. It requires all the important adults of your child’s life to work together and help change the behavior. It might be difficult, but it can be done. Working with a cognitive behavioral therapist in Princeton will be a wonderful step for both you and your child.