What is Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Oppositional Defiant Disorder is characterized by a set of behaviors that are often negative, disrespectful, disobedient or hostile. These sets of behavior traits often are expressed through not listening, not following rules, extreme temper tantrums, deliberately annoying other people, being argumentative with adults, blaming others for mistakes, being easily annoyed, anger, acting aggressive towards peers, difficulty maintaining friendships, and academic problems. Although all children may express some of these symptoms from time to time throughout their development, these behaviors become concerning when they are persistent, last for more than 6-months, and are disruptive to the home and/or school environments.

What Causes Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

There is not a specific known cause or reason that some children develop Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Some factors that may contribute to the development of Oppositional Defiant Disorder include personality, child temperament, lack of social-emotional development, lack of supervision, inconsistent/harsh discipline, and abuse/neglect.

What is the best Treatment for Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

If a parent is concerned that her child’s behavior concerns indicate symptoms of Oppositional Defiant Disorder, the parent should discuss her concerns with a pediatrician or a therapist or counselor to determine if further evaluation and treatment is needed. Children often benefit most from early and consistent intervention. For young children, a parent education program or parent-child therapy that includes teaching parents how to respond to challenging behavior, how to respond to pro-social behaviors, and ways to increase structure and routine in the child’s life is beneficial. For older children, individual or family therapy may be used to address the behavior concerns.

What will a child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder be like when he grows up?

With proper treatment and identification of behavior concerns, children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder can grow up to be successful adults, have families, get jobs, and lead fulfilling lives. Without treatment, children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder are likely to continue to have problems as they mature and may develop more serious defiant problems.

Do you have a personal experience with Oppositional Defiant Disorder? Please share your experience here.

Michelle Rosenwald is a Family Counselor in the Behavior Clinic at Penfield Children’s Center. She has worked in the Behavior Clinic for two years serving children under the age of five that are experiencing behavioral and emotional concerns. The Behavior Clinic aims to prepare both the parent and child for a positive family and parenting experience through the use of nurturing activities, positive play, discipline techniques, and routine.

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