ODD and the Rebellious Child

Posted on March 20, 2018

The symptoms of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) include frequent or daily temper tantrums, a preoccupation with seeking revenge, mean and hateful speech, constant questioning of rules, getting easily annoyed, and deliberate attempts to upset other children or adults. It can affect both the child's education and the parents' mental well-being if left unattended to, and the child's behavior may become pathological. While all these may sound like what a normal rebellious child would do, as most disorders, it becomes ODD only if deemed to be clinically significant or if the frequent uncooperative and hostile behavior seems more severe than other children.

However, therein lies the issue. Since we are comparing to a baseline of children's normal rebellious behavior, there is no clear defined norm of how rebellious children actually behave. Cultural differences may also exacerbate this effect as different cultures may have different levels at which they would deem it to be exceedingly rebellious. There may also be good reason why the child is behaving in that manner, and to simply dismiss the behavior may dull the child's ability to think critically in the future.

For parents, there are come strategies they can employ for children with ODD. Firstly, fair and immediate consequences when disciplining the child is important to ensure consistency and not confuse the child. Allowing the child to pick from a list of punishments that he/she thinks is fair can help with this process. Next, keep track of the child's behavior and list down the behaviors that the child should change, and make sure to tell the child why these particular behaviors ought to be changed. Finally, parents' relationships between one another are also important. Focusing on the child may affect this relationship in a detrimental way.

Family therapy is also available to guide the parents on how to do these steps in a more professional setting. Social skills training can also help the child learn how to communicate and empathize with others more.


Category(s):Oppositional & Defiant Behavior in Children & Teens

Source material from PsychCentral


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