Child acting defiantly

Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD) is a pattern of disobedient, aggressive, and defiant behavior.

All children and teens refuse to do what they are asked from time to time, especially when they are tired, hungry, stressed, or upset. During these times they may argue with you, talk back or disobey what you say. This may happen with other people such as teachers or other adults.

However, in children with ODD, the behavior is so frequent and consistent that it stands out when compared with other children or teens of the same age. Their behaviour also has a much bigger impact on their day to day life, affecting things like their socialising, family life, and school functioning.

Behaviours observed often include:

  • Frequent temper tantrums;
  • Excessive arguing with adults;
  • Often questioning rules;
  • Active defiance and refusal to comply with adult requests and rules;
  • Deliberate attempts to annoy or upset people;
  • Blaming others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior;
  • Easily annoyed by others; and
  • Frequent anger and resentment.

Sometimes children and teens can learn to be more compliant simply by changing the way requests are made. Here are some suggestions:

Make sure your child or teen is paying attention to you.

  • Be physically near them and make eye contact;
  • Use a calm and firm voice;
  • Make only one request at a time; and
  • Use direct and clear statements that include your child or teens name, for example “Tommy, please put your toys away now” rather than using general questions like “Will you put the toys away now?”.

However, these small changes may not be enough. By talking to a highly skilled Clinical Psychologist, you can help your child or teen overcome their oppositional behaviour. They will learn techniques to change their responses when they are asked to do something, and develop new ways of coping with stressful situations.

Treatment also can help you learn alternative ways to discipline your child, as well as learn powerful techniques to reward their helpful behavior.

Our Clinical Psychologists can help children, teens and their families to overcome difficult behaviors which will lead to happier, more fulfilling lives. We are waiting to help you have a more stress free household. To schedule a meeting or discuss your situation, contact Life and Mind Psychology here.