Oppositional Defiant Disorder
There comes a point in time when a child moves from misbehaving to being diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). The child does not respond to redirection and the progression in severity has lasted for more than six months. It is at this time that the parent or guardian may require professional assistance in order to assist the child or teen to live a productive and healthy life.
Symptoms of ODD
A child or teenager who is diagnosed with ODD will exhibit the following criteria:
• Negative, hostile and defiant behavior that has lasted at least six months and grown in intensity
• Loses temper on a regular basis
• Argues with adults in an authoritative position
• Regularly defies or refuses to comply with any rules or requests
• Will purposely annoy others
• Regularly blames everyone else for his behavior or actions
• Is easily annoyed and often touchy by other
• Is routinely anger and resentful
• Will do harmful behaviors towards others out of spite or vindictiveness
• Is largely impaired in social, academic or occupations situations and tasks
• The behaviors are found at times when the child or teen is not in the middle of a psychotic or mood disorder
Seeking professional help will allow the parents guidance and support while working on the behaviors of the child. The professionals will track the reduction in the level of intensity and frequency of the defiant behavior towards adults. The professionals will work with the child to end the temper tantrums and develop skill sets with appropriate responses to adults in positions of authority.
Additional skills will be taught to the child that will allow them to be consistent in their interactions with adults. Skills will be taught as to how to be respectful and cooperative with adults and their requests. A large amount of focus will be given to the causes of the anger, hostility and rage that the child feels. Parents will also be given parenting skills to assist their child to deal with their anger and frustration levels.
Skills To Be Learned
The skills that are to be focused on, at first glance appear to be simplistic. However, there are a number of reasons why the skills were not taught or not consistent in their lives: divorce, child abuse, domestic abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, lack of parenting skills taught to their parents, and children being left alone before they are old enough to be left alone.
The list of skills a child or teen with Oppositional Defiant Disorder may need to learn or relearn:
• Following instructions, self-monitoring and reflection
• Accepting consequences, “no” answers, criticism, and decisions of authority
• Anger control strategies, controlling emotions, disagreeing appropriately
• Listening to others, compromising with others,
• Relaxation strategies, assertiveness, expressing feelings appropriately
• Showing sensitivity to others, making an apology, communicating honestly
• Seeking positive attention, asking for help, dealing with frustration
Other skills may need to be added to this list as it depends on each individual child.
Some One To Talk To
A child or teen with Oppositional Defiant Disorder has lived through an experience that they have not been able to get past. The experience itself may not be one seemingly to be a defining moment, but to this child it is the reference point to which their current behavior is based on. Parents are not always the best person for the child to speak to, as in most cases the defining moment tends to involve one or both parents.
A professional counselor may be what your child is needing in their life. A person who is in a position of objectivity and can instruct your child in dealing with anger. Encouraging your child to speak with a counselor about situations and emotions will allow your child to work out the validity of his emotions. The validity of his emotions does not mean that the child has a right to act in the hostile and vindictive manner he has been. It means that he has a right to be upset and an obligation to deal with it appropriately.
There Is Hope
There is hope for a child or teen with oppositional defiant disorder and their families. The work is hard and it takes time for the years of anger and hostility to be changed to accepting authority. A child or teen did not become this way in a matter of days and it will take time to relearn appropriate behaviors. A child or teen will need the support of the entire family, the school faculty and professionals to make this change a life-long and heartfelt change.