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Opposing Oppositional Defiant Disorder in Your Child

Opposing Oppositional Defiant Disorder in Your Child


Opposing Oppositional Defiant Disorder in Your Child


Children are occasionally oppositional, especially “when tired, hungry, stressed or upset,” says the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Arguing, rebelling, talking back, and  defying rules to the point of stubbornness can be expected from toddlers and teens. It is nothing to be worried about, unless the behavior is extreme, frequent, and affecting their development and relationships with others.

Extreme defiance may be a sign of ODD or oppositional defiant disorder. While mild forms can improve as your child grows older, they may need treatment. According to the Cleveland Clinic, stopping oppositional defiant disorder is possible with early treatment. For severe forms, treatment can prevent ODD from worsening into a conduct disorder.


ODD: What You Need to Know


  • ODD Described:

The Child Mind Institute describes children with oppositional defiant disorder as displaying “extreme resistance to authority, conflict with parents, outbursts of temper and spitefulness with peers.”  

According to the DSM-5 criteria, for a child to be diagnosed with ODD, they must exhibit a pattern of behavior that contributes to issues at home or school, and the symptoms must also be observed for six months or longer. The condition must also occur on its own, meaning not as an integral part of other emotional or medical conditions.


  • The Symptoms:

According to the Mayo Clinic, “it Includes at least four symptoms from any of these categories — angry and irritable mood; argumentative and defiant behavior; or vindictiveness.” Some of the symptoms of ODD, according to WebMD, include:

  • Throwing repeated temper tantrums
  • Excessively arguing with adults, especially those with authority
  • Actively refusing to comply with requests and rules
  • Deliberately trying to annoy or upset others, or being easily annoyed by others
  • Blaming others for their mistakes
  • Having frequent outbursts of anger and resentment
  • Being spiteful and seeking revenge
  • Swearing or using obscene language
  • Saying mean and hateful things when upset
  • Moody, easily frustrated, with low self-esteem


Recognizing the symptoms can be a challenge. This is why you need the help of a professional to make a proper diagnosis of ODD. A therapist with training in social work or psychology can diagnose your child and provide therapy if needed. To “oppose” oppositional defiant disorder, seeing a counselor/therapist is a good decision.


  • The Roots:

The Cleveland Clinic says, “The exact cause of ODD is not known, but it is believed that a combination of biological, genetic, and environmental factors might play a role.” Possible biological causes include brain injuries or a congenital defect that makes the brain incapable of properly producing or releasing regulatory chemicals called neurotransmitters.

The vulnerability may also be genetically predisposed, meaning a gene for emotional or behavioral disorder runs in the family. A child without biological or genetic predisposition, though, may also be at risk for ODD if they live in an environment that isn’t supportive of healthy development. Having a dysfunctional family life, living with someone abusing a substance, or having an unhealthy environment/ social milieu can be as influential.


  • The Risks:

ODD is an emotional and behavioral condition that has to be given attention because it carries certain risks. It can disrupt your child’s functioning and daily activities, and deter them from enjoying their interactions with you and the rest of the family, not to mention with other children. It can also make them vulnerable to other emotional/behavioral conditions and/or learning disorders, including depression, ADHD, and anxiety.

Without treatment, ODD may get worse, developing into a conduct disorder. The latter is a more serious form of disruptive behavior disorder, often observed in teens who had ODD as children. The symptoms of the two conditions overlap, meaning there are certain similarities, except that conduct disorders are worse and usually occur among adolescents. Treatment can resolve or minimize your child’s difficulties.


Stop ODD Symptoms in Their Tracks

The challenge of recognizing the symptoms and risks of ODD makes a thorough evaluation critical, so your child can be provided with immediate and proper help, particularly when there are other complicating conditions. You have the power to change your child’s circumstances. Stop ODD from becoming complicated—bring in professional help from Carolina Counseling Services — Pittsboro, NC.

If a child is struggling with the symptoms of ODD, your family can be faced with serious issues brought about by the condition, directly or indirectly. There is no reason to make things unduly difficult for you and your loved ones. Keep these challenges under control with the assistance of an independent counselor/therapist contracted with Carolina Counseling Services — Pittsboro, NC.

You need all the help you can get to prepare your child for managing their challenges, just as you and your family need guidance to support them well and manage your own challenges. If your child has oppositional defiant disorder, he/she can benefit from counseling. Call CCS — Pittsboro, NC, now.


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Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services – Pittsboro, NC

Counties: Chatham, Alamance, Durham, Harnett, Lee, Moore, Orange, Randolph, Wake, NC
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Zip Codes: 27312, 27344, 27207, 27228, 27256, 27559


Gail Gustafson, MSW, LCSW

Specializes in: (Ages 9+) Adolescents and Adults, Individuals, Couples and Families. PTSD/Trauma, EMDR, Adoption, Drug/Alcohol/Substance Abuse addiction, Anxiety, Depression, Bi-polar, Life Transitions, Grief and Loss, Parenting, Family, couples and marriage counseling.
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