4 Ways to Manage Oppositional Defiant Disorder in ChildrenOppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is a childhood disorder that affects anywhere from 6 to 10 percent of children. It is characterized by a negative set of behaviors in a child directed toward the adults in their life, and can sometimes be mistaken for disorders that share some characteristics, such as conduct disorder and even attention deficit disorder.

The diagnosis of Oppositional Defiant Disorder is given by mental health professionals to describe a set of behaviors a child is exhibiting that include:

  • Often loses temper
  • Argues with adults and authority figures
  • Refuses to comply with adult requests
  • Blames others for his mistakes
  • Deliberately annoys people
  • Is easily annoyed by others
  • Is angry/resentful and spiteful/vindictive.

Sound like a child you may know?

98 Comments to
4 Ways to Manage Oppositional Defiant Disorder in Children

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  1. well my four year old son has just been diagnose with ODD i just wanted to know will he have ADHD when he gets older……..this is sooooo new to me i have never heard of ODD………

  2. These psychiatric disorders are invented in response to societal demands and have NO scientific basis whatsoever. That is why the etiology is so vague. It is why any specific disorder comes into fashion and later goes out of fashion. The definitions are full of ideological value judgments. Anarchists, for instance, would see defiance and opposition as highly positive behaviors. And anyone except an extreme authoritarian will see the ability to defy and oppose as necessary and valuable in face of injustice. Not that it is easy to live with an extremely argumentative child, but such behavior may reflect greater than usual concern with rationality and equity, a need to be convinced by reason rather than comply automatically. In any case, this is a social, even a political problem, a problem of interpersonal relations, not a medical or psychiatric condition. How about a “conformist disorder”?

    • Well said…Some may say that you have “too much intelligence disorder.”

      • For all of the statments made above! I think that yes you may have a point that we as a society have made the choice to take the pill instead of put the time in to try and see what life is like from the other side. I am at fault for this exact fault! I too have a daughter who is 8 with ADHD and ODD and I understand from a parents side what it is like to live with a child with such conditions! It has been three years now I have been living in this crazy hell…. For everyone who can make the comments that it is just a fade, it may be that some of the parents out there just want there kids to be silent and listen. For some of us like myself I have tried may all natural remidies, meditation, sociel workers in hopes to help my daughter find a way to have a peace with herself! I can deal with crazy!!!! I have come to realize that my daughter needs a lot more activities and room to move and run out all her energy. I made a choice to sacrafice some of my world to give her a better one. We lived in the city where everything is always moving there are sounds all the time. With a child like mine this drives her to a point that she can not calm down. I now live in the country, we have ATV’s, horses, chickens and a lot of property for her to just take off and run! I no longer have the crazy in the house, I have given her things to do and responsibility of making good and bad choices.
        I know that there are going to be good and bad times! Yelling and crying! I feel for her and wish I can tell every parent out there it gets better, but it does not! She can be distructive at times! She knows she is responsible for the damage she creats. So when she wants to freak out she knows that she can go into our old greenhouse at the back of our property and through rocks or anything that is back there until she feels satisfied and calm. We have two way radio’s so I can check in and know where she is at all times. Sometimes we as parents opt for the pill because it seems the easyer choice but it does not provide our trobled children with the tools to learn how to deal with their problems. I am not a doctor but I think that since making all of the changes from pills to our new life in the country my daughter for once does not always feel like she is confinded to 4 walls with the answer always being “NO”! Things have gotten better! She now talks to me about what is bugging her, instead of yelling and throughing things! As a pearent I say try some new things make notes dates, times, what you tried, if it was effective! Mabye you just might see a change for the better! For all of the people who made comments this is just a fade come stay at my house for a week and I promise I will make a believer out of you!!!
        Good luck to all! Keep trying and hope for the best!!!

      • Stefan and april clearly don’t have kids as their posts made me sincerely laugh.I love how people come along as experts and so freely give their”expert opinion” when they have no creedence or experience in what they are talking about.

    • Stefan, obviously you have never had to deal with an ODD child. I have had several in my 15 years of teaching. Their pupils dialate, and there is a physical response to authority. For example, in a small group in my class, without direct adult supervision my ODD student lashes out at students trying to assist him in ANY way, or trying to exert authority over him (in the smallest ways). That is a learned behavior in adults, explain it in a 6 year old??? I take a laid back, “boys will boys” attitude in my PE classes. This kid is not confined to any societal contrants, he’s 6! I agree labels come and go. This label goes hand in hand with small types of autism for me. I believe most ADD children are labeled incorrectly because the drug companies pressure doctors for the label, but ODD, autism… nope I SEE it. The parents come in and are highly educated people (the 20 or so autism students and the 6 labeled ODD students I have taught), all of their parents have been highly educated, 100%. They are always supportive to us and we have all worked together to find the best way to help the children make it through a day without endangering themselves or another student. Your comparison of a 6 year old to an anarchist… that is baffling. Anarchist are adults, older teens. They have LEARNED to go against the grain. Ask them if they struggled in ELEMENTARY school conforming. I doubt it.

      • My 8 year old grandson has ADHD and ODD. To hear you describe the physical response was helpful. When he gets into one of his episodes it’s like he is a whole other person. His pupils are so dilated that his eyes are completely black. There is no walking away from the situation..he will chase you down and attack you. You could beat him senseless and it would NOT make a difference. It is not a lack of discipline, or a lack of consistency, or bad parenting or lack of attention it is real. We have a therapist that works with him and my daughter and I have tried everything we know to control this. We did not immediately resort to medication but when it became apparent that NO behavior modification or tactics were working then we had to, there was just no choice. Every day doctors are discovering more and more medical proof that this isn’t just a made up diagnosis. There are brain images that show definite changes in these children. The biggest question is HOW does this happen and how do we stop it. You can blame one thing or another but it doesn’t truly give the answer. We finally had to make the decision to homeschool him until we can get a grip on this as it was just not fair to him, the teacher, or his fellow students to subject them to the disruptions that would occur. It’s a baffling problem and heartbreaking, especially when there are those who think this is just a fantasy problem invented by the drug companies to make money.

      • Thank you for your excellent reply. I am reading about ODD for the first time and my gifted 8 year old may fit the profile. I came across it via people scoffing on FB. It’s so frustrating how people rubbish these kinds of diagnoses and treatments, making comments such as “they just need a hiding” or “we never had X in our day and we turned our just fine”. Yes YOU may have turned out fine… what about the children who suffered and under-achieved? If we have the knowledge and the resources today to help them lead optimal lives, shouldn’t we use them?

    • You obviously have never had a child with this disorder & I pray you never do. It is the most helpless feeling in the world. My son has 0 respect for himself or his family. He has no self-esteem. He blames the world for his unhappiness and especially me, his mother. You shouldn’t spout off on things you don’t understand!!

      • I totally understand you- my son is exactly the same way except he blames my husband. “I hate Daddy”, “daddy is mean and doesn’t let me do anything I like”. And when I try to toughen up he growls and groans and I get “I hate my life…no one loves me”, etc. Ughh- he sees a therapist and we’ve tried all sorts of things but it doesn’t seem to be getting better. He’s been like this since he was about 5 and he’s 9 now…Have you had any success?

    • I totally disagree with the comment about this just being invented and having to proof. If you had a child as mine, you would see the reasoning behind this term “oppositional”. It is the hardest to be in a home where everything is always the other persons fault, (including the stupid floor because she tripped), nothing is ever good enough because it is just natural for her to oppose, everyone is liars because she “thought” we said something differently. Yes you may say, “well there must be something else wrong with her.” and there are definately other contributing factors, but anyone who has lived with a truly defiant person will understand how hard it is, and we as parents need an explantation. She is very social with friends, but authority figures are a different question. This is real, it is something she was born with, yes parenting techniques are a little helpful, but ultimately, she was born with this personality, and so far nothing has changed it. Things have made it better, but that doesn’t take away all of it. This is how she is, and I am grateful there is a reasoning behind it.

      • I agree. My 6 year old son has been against the grain since he was born. His 4 yr old sister and 9 month old brother are laid back, loving, and willing to easily compromise or entertain themselves. We have been caring for our now 6 month old granddaughter and she is showing the same “I am the boss, you can not persuade me, push away then be demanding” attitude. Babies are babies and kids are kids, and sure the 6 yr and 6 month olds may one day be leaders who demand reasoning and progress, but to get them there they NEED much more attention, time, and patience.

      • You are describing my son! Everything is “doing” something to him. Its exhasting. My other two children suffer because he is incapable of handling any situation that does not conform to “his” view of how it should be.

    • My grandson is Bipolar, has O.D.D. and PTSD, He is 15. years old. There is a grest book out called “Parenting. with Love and Logic.” They have a special one for teens. It is great because it gives kids a choice. Days are better, no day is perfect, Also find what they want to do tthe most and what you want the most and you have bargaining power. I.e. homework vs. movie. It sounds so easy but it isnt. God bless us all and all those we love. PS You can find these books at Amazpn or second hand book store.

    • Not april, meant Eva.

    • Stefan – This article understates the symptoms of ODD. It is not merely an “argumentative” child. It’s not “rebelliousness” that America historically prizes in its youth. And children with ODD are not “spoiled brats” who need some whips with a belt to be put back in line. In fact, I don’t think children with ODD can feel any physical pain during their episodes. This is partly why the disorder is so dangerous. For example, my son smashed the mirror in our bathroom to pieces, took a jagged piece without regard to his hand, and attempted to stab me in the face with it. He is six years old.

      If you have never experienced a child with ODD having an episode, it can be overwhelming and highly distressing. ODD is a mental health issue that doesn’t have a quick fix. I don’t begrudge you for your misconceptions though. If you have not experienced it, you will never understand it.

      • I completely understand, my grandson has gotten worse through the years. My daughter has tried everything except meds, but it looks like we have no other choice. Have you found anything that somewhat works? Ours is almost 9 and it’s harder to control the fits. And they get more and more violent. I know we can’t fix him but I would hate to see him like this in a few years hurting others. frustrated but we love him so we are always looking for help.

    • Unless you have scientific evidence that refutes THOUSANDS OF STUDIES, OBSERVATIONS and DATA you need to keep your ignorant opinions to yourself.

    • Stefan,
      For those of us parents (and educators) trying to deal with an oppositional disorder is like swimming upstream in the middle of a hurricane. My daughter is 16 and shows all of the symptoms shown above and a few more to boot. She has failed all of her classes for the last two years. She is beyond rude to her teachers, insulting to me with four letter words and profanity that would make most truck drivers blush. She finds an excuse for everything and often blames me for not being ‘chill’ about stuff. Don’t discount these diagnosis as ‘labels’ and the ONLY medication my daughter is on is an antidepressant due to a suicide attempt last year. We have had therapist’s and social workers working with her and our family for three years and STILL she failed every class this year. I curfew her, ground her, have removed her cell phone (she’s a teenager) have suspended ‘social activities’ and she still defies me and goes AWOL out her bedroom window. She is in danger of being expelled from school for her argumentative and insulting remarks to adults and now demands home schooling so that I can deal with her outbursts at home. She is heading for a major issue and is likely to be sent to a boarding school arrangement because of curfew violations and juvenile infractions. I have to stick to my decisions, remain calm in the face of chaos she instigates, and refuse to respond to the vulgar profanity she uses to keep my eye on the long term ‘bigger picture’ because she uses these as an attempt to get under my skin and react. She is NOT ADHD, she has been tested. My daughter was adopted at three days old and was born of a drug addicted mother. It is possible with the proliferation of methamphetimines and so many other ‘cooked’ drugs, she is saddled with a very destructive ODD condition. It is insulting to parents and teachers who work with and love these kids to dismiss the hell the kids are going through and the consistent efforts that the adults in there lives are making. Just because you may not personally have experience with these issues doesn’t make them any less real for those of us who do.

      • I was wondering if ODD relates to moms having had difficulty at giving birth to the child. I’ve spoken to a few moms and most of them had complications when giving birth to this child. My son is 13 and diagnosed with ADHD as well as ODD. I’m having a real hard time at the moment – he’s very stubborn and really doesn’t care what we “take away” for punishment. He’s currently acting out at school and I feel like I am at a dead end. His on concerta 36mg – we’re thinking of upping the doses. Although we also thought taking him off the medication to see if it makes a difference? It feels like we never know what the right thing is to do and it feels as if we don’t have anywhere to go for help. WE live in South AFrica. Wish I could find a competent psychologist who could help us! This is influencing our marriage and I’m already feeling depressed on a daily basis. My son is taking all his frustration out on me and then before he goes to bed het would want to “make up”. I cannot explain what we’ve been through. Maybe I am too soft hearted. Maybe he needed a more strict parent than me. sure feel like a failure mom.:-( still give him all the love I can and always try to be there for him – maybe that’s the problem. I nearly have daily discussion with him about his behaviour and consequences………… that is not even talking about the influence this has on his younger brother of 7!

  3. I am with Stefan. If your child is diagnosed with one of these “disorders” you are being lead down a path where (if they haven’t already) they will one day offer you a drug that will magically relieve the symptoms.

    In this case remember that a child (much like all of us) is choosing the most pleasurable option for behavior. He/ she only knows this behavior because he or she has either tried it and it worked OR experimented and it worked. Caretakers who constantly argue with each other or run each other down in front of a child can set the example. Also, children of parents who are overly anxious when their infant cries can also set the stage for “rewarding” of a child who goes on to push this to extremes. Inconsistency in care takers is huge in the cause of this. Children stuffed in day care juggled between split parents and their separate care takers. They feel out of control and frustrated. Since no one person is there to see a punishment through, they find they can act out without consequence because they will be going to the next care taker soon, their “id driven” behavior is rewarded.

    The “Supper Nanny” has made a career out of showing parents how to address these issues, de facto. It is the result of out “borderline society”.

    • First of all if u are not living this life and walkin this walk do not judge what we go thru. This is not a label this is a real disorder that does exist. Its the hardest thing a person goes thru to literately watch their child fall apart. My son is eight and i have been dealing with this disorder since he was three. Everyday is a struggle. To all the moms walkin in this life i feel u and totally relaaate. And for those who r not dont judge

    • I have so so many unkind words for you but will settle on this statement…you obviously have never had or encounter a child with this disorder or you would know this is nothing the supper nanny has ever seen or dealt with! By the way why would you post a comment that lacks support for people who are looking for support…why did you come to this site…just to make the families dealing with this feel even more isolated than before? I hope you or someone you love never experiences this life!

      • thank you for your comment; I was not so kind. But, I do feel better for being obnoxious to them for saying o.d.d. was a smart person’s disorder.

  4. Well as a mother of 2 boys. 1 has been diagnosed with ADHD and the other with ODD, and a LCSW, I can relate to the parents who actually have to deal with this type of behavior and until you have a child who has the symptoms and behavior traits, you obviously do not have a clue what it is like. My 6 year old was diagnosed with ODD at age 4 and his room looks like a bomb exploded in it with all of the holes in the walls, broke his TV, and is very impulsive with his behavior. My undergrad and grad research was on children with ADHD and ODD and learned a great deal of parenting skills to deal with the behavior and not medicate them or have them “labled” in the school system. I admit that I have tried several medications for my oldest who has ADHD Inattentive type because it helps him in school and he did receive better grades, but after a while the dosage no longer works and you have to continuously play around with medication. As a parent, I did not want all of these different drugs in my child system at such a young age, and opted to use other methods. Reading psychoeducational materials on parenting children with ADHD/ODD are very resourceful

    • Please share the book titles as I want to know more about non-medicated methods.

    • Andrea,

      My six-year-old daughter has ADHD (impulsive, hyperactive and inattentive) and ODD. She does not think about the things she does. She does not seem to learn from her mistakes. She does not respond well to positive or negative discipline. My child with an IQ in the “highly superior” range, attending a gifted magnet school, is falling through the cracks because of her behavior. You said that you’ve done quite a bit of research on the topic of ODD. If you could please share any links, research, or books you have come across, I would be greatly appreciative. I am really at my wits end with my child, and I don’t believe the school has the resources to tackle this either.

      Thank you,

      • Hi I have a 13yr old son that has always been “challenging” and difficult to manage ,was very angry and defiant as a younger child however now he has hit puberty his behaviour has become unbearable,he is very bright at school but challenges teachers and struggles to sit in lesson as becomes distracted by others.the school are trying to rein in his terrible anger outburst and I’ve really noticed how mean and vindictive he is to his siblings he struggles to organise himself and apply himself.he always blames others and has moments of hyperactiveness running Round like a headless chicken…I’ve read the signs off odd and he ticks all the boxes and came out91%in a selfishness test???where do I go from here? What is normal teenager behaviour and when is it not? Please help !!!

    • I can relate. My son was just diagnosed and no it is not a label. While his room is not like you described, he has had several accidents from his impulsive and defiant behavior where he has gotten stitches. What blows my mind is that he can be so loving and affectionate but when he has his meltdowns, no holds barred. I can see the physical changes in him. We are just starting down the road to managing his behavior and I refuse drugs. My husband displays many of the same symptoms of this but has learned coping skills and I am hoping that he can help him learn to deal with it as well.

  5. I would have agreed with the comments here until I saw this up close and personal. My parents were foster parents and successfully raised more than a dozen children. Some were severely abused before living with them. Some were born addicted to drugs. But the one with ODD was born to a mom in jail for trying to kill the father who had a long history of pimping and attempted murder.

    My parents arrived when she was 4 days old and until the restraining order last month, did ALL they could for 21 years.

    Her troubles began not in our home but when she stabbed a child and a teacher in kindergarten. She was expelled from seven elementary schools and finally was hospitalized when she was found plotting to murder my family. Even then she was not a behavior problem other than she was intensely, manically happy. That and starting at one years old we had to tent her crib and booby trap the house so she wouldn’t break out and into neighboring homes (through the doggie doors.) To this day no one can tell how she was able to do it.

    She also had a thing for getting into gooey things her diaper included and making art. Soap, poop, mud, shampoo… her walls in her bedroom were a mess. Even then i thought it was willful and almost funny. Mom? Not so much but we had support from social workers, psychiatrists, teachers, police and the mental hospital.

    According to the doctors thought this “willfulness” was the beginning of a very dangerous situation and a big cause for alarm.

    To make a long story short, at one point a respected teacher offered to house her for a month to prove it had to be our family. That lasted less than two weeks. A behavior psych tried the same. That also lasted less than two weeks. The scared straight volunteer lasted about nine days.

    Now she you can tell when things will escalate. Not only because it does almost weekly, but she starts off in a slow simmer. Most recently her girl friend wasn’t answering her phone. There is a steady escalation and this can last for days. My mom has left the house when she cant stand it anymore. Eventually she lashes out at me first if i am there (why doesn’t Until ever get in trouble?), if I am not, my mom and the most recent time my dad finally told her she was going to have to leave. (not a single wall or door in the house has escaped her attacks).

    For the first time she attacked my 68 year old father, head butting him and kneeing him in the stomach. She wouldn’t stop till the police had to straight jacket her and she was hospitalized for the third time this year.

    Until you live with that…. no amount of trying, ignoring, guiding, loving, picking battles… NOTHING matters. The ONLY way to live in relative peace is if every person she comes into contact with every day gives her what she wants, doesn’t look at her too long or wrong and if she is in total charge.

    I am worried for her. She was the brightest and funniest little girl but I have this horrible feeling she will hurt or kill someone or herself and very soon. She is back to plotting our murder. I just hope the police, who know us all by name now will be able to stop her.

    maybe it is mumbo jumbo. Maybe it is true psychosis… a bad seed. We used to think that if you put a child in a secure and loving, stable environment and raised them consistently, even a “bad seed” could blossom. BOY were we misguided.

    Too often a child is labeled ADD or something else and it is a shame but a true diagnosis is a very serious matter.

    • I believe the responses from Stefan and LOL this article are insensitive and I cannot imagine for a moment that they have had to deal with a child that has ODD. It is real. I have an 8-year-old that has been having problems for approximately three years. I have taken her to every imaginable doctor in the area. Hearing problems were ruled out even though I had received notices from the school that she had failed tests. She has been to two therapists, two psychologists, and a psychotherapist. ADHD was ruled out as my daughter scored in the 99 percentile on a Gifted and Talented Education test (GATE). A psychologist even went as far as saying that my child scored higher on the IQ tests that were administered compared to high schoolers. However, none of these diagnosis could explain why my child was physically ripping the hair from her head, banging her head on walls, completed homework however refused to take credit, as well as being regularly confrontational with adults & her peers. To have a diagnosis (as this was the final diagnosis given) is at least an identifier or guide so to speak for appropriate reaction to the actions. It is already a challenge for a parent to have to recognize when there is a problem, but even harder when being critisized by others that are insensitive or ill-educated.

      • Jess,
        I couldn’t agree more completely. We haven’t had the level of issues that you have, but we are working with multiple mental health professionals three times a week. I’ve had to realize that my willingness to be a flexible parent was contributing to the problem and have had to carefully examine each consequence I give before I give it to make sure I can stick to it. It can be frustrating, painful and very demanding. When she doesn’t get me to modify my consequence she has taken (at age 16!) to rolling around on the floor beating her fists on the hardwood, begging, cajolling, promising the moon and everything else. During these episodes (once or twice a week) I’m expected to walk calmly around or away from her, not respond in any way (she escalates if I get too invested). It can be exhausing, depressing and beyond frustrating. I hear your pain and I share it. We worry about what will become of our kids if they don’t learn how to properly manage this disorder. I worry constantly. I won’t ‘cut my losses’ as someone else mentioned, she’s my child and I love her! Who said parenting was ever easy? My daughter has also tested in the ‘over the top’ IQ tests and off the charts in standardized testing but simply won’t take notes during HS classes, study for tests or even do her homework. It’s sad, frustrating and provoking, but because we love our kids, we decide to ‘hang in there’ with them. My prayers are with you and all parents who share this issue with their kids.

    • Until you see it,

      Although I haven’t experienced my daughter to the extent you described your foster sister, I am worried for the same reasons for my daughter. People are always telling me how I need to be more consistent, discipline her more, be more loving and attentive. But I am already all of those things, and more. When we went to the psychologist earlier this year, all the suggestions were given were things I have already put into play at home. They put her on four different medications for ADHD, which made things worse, rather than better…and they still wanted to find the ‘right fit.’ I called BS, and took her off all the medicine. I have been in constant contact with the teachers, principal, school-psychologist, clinical psychologist, pediatrician, psychiatrist, social worker at school, the church, my family, neighbors… NO ONE can handle my child, no one knows what to do for her, and nothing has changed. I am scared that this might be the future for my child, and I don’t know what to do to help her. I constantly cry out for help, but it seems no one has the answers. My daughter was evaluated for an IEP at school because of her behavior, yet was declined because she is not suffering academically (because of her higher IQ). It’s like the school expects me to discipline her at home, yet they don’t follow through in any way at school. You see on the news how kids and teens lash out…many grow up to be criminals. I wonder how many parents cried out for help, got no where, and finally the result was what we see on the news… Killing parents and family members, suicide, school shootings, etc.

      Where are the resources for parents in my situation? Who are the professionals? Where is the evidence of the ‘tried and true.’ I can tell you what…Super Nanny doesn’t know what she’s talking about when it comes to kids with ODD.

      • I have to say that my hardest part is, for the most part, my child is good at other places. It is when she feels comfortable that she lashes out. This is mainly home or grandma’s. I am grateful she is good in school, but it makes others believe it is something I do. The thing that I would like to share with everyone is the book “Little Sugar Addicts” by Kathleen DesMaisons. Sugar plays a big part in my child’s attitude, especially her aggression. (She has threatened to kill us, throw a flashlight through our car window, holes in the walls…….) But when she is eating the way this book promotes (protein frequently, not going more than 3 hours without food, and definately no sugar) things are pleasant at home. She has her moments, but she can calm down. Before, we would just have to let it play its course. Sugar affected LOTS of other things with her like her sensitivity to clothes. She can only wear tight clothes like biking shorts, no socks, no tennis shoes…..Now we can get her to wear those things if the situation requires it (like running in track). This book was amazing. If you have tried everything else, give this a try. I hope it will help. This is one of the hardest things a parent can deal with, because we feel so isolated, so alone, and so worn down by the mean comments that are made. It is a heartbreaking process to see your own child go through so many hard emotions at such a young age.

    • I am getting to that point quickly with my 4 year old grandchild. I know that sounds absurd but it is happening. She is in dysfunctional situation that cannot be gotten out of. Her mother has virtually abandoned her to me because she is a teen mom with a troubled child that she cannot emotionally handle. This has only added to the problem. The behavior started when she was about 2 years old when everything very stable in the home. But the problems arose with similar problems of destroying almost everything in her room, playing and even eating her poop. And just like your child soaps, lotions, etc. We had to lock her in her room at night just so we would know she would be safe. Now it is escalated to a mean, bullying, child. Everything has to be put up high out of her reach. We have caught her playing with knives and other things. She will poop and smear it over her entire room, and this only gets worse with any form of discipline. I have no clue how to discipline her. One part of me pities her and the other is fed up with her antics. I have tried every form of discipline and she only thumbs her nose at it. I really don’t know what to do anymore. We have plans to see a psychologist but that appointment isn’t until after the first of the year. I don’t know what to do.

      • I know your pain – your grandchild’s history is similar to mine. Check out Reactive Attachment Disorder and see if this is a possibility. There may very well be other things going on. Bonding is so critical in a child’s development.

    • Until you see it and firesign,

      The behaviors you mentioned go way beyond ODD. As a teacher of special education who has had many extremely behaviorally challenged students, some whose home school districts could not handle their behaviors, even in the most structured environments, and therefore referred these students to a residential setting, what you describe sounds more like emotional disturbance and/or bipolar disorder, as well as conduct disorder. I’ve had students who have had ODD, and most likely my three year old has it as well, and they have never done anything nearly as extreme as playing with and smearing their poop on walls. Tantrums, not listening, responding “no” to prompts, and telling adults what to do – all signs of ODD. Attacking 68 yr old grandmas- not ODD.

      I’m sorry that you both have experienced these behaviors. I know from experience that sometimes when my students were totally out of control, the only thing that got them to calm down was being restrained by one to three very large behavior support specialists, who held them down until they had exhausted themselves with their very physical tantrums.

      As for some of the other parents who have questioned how to handle ODD, the one thing I can say for certain is to stay cool. As soon as you start to show
      anger/frustration/hurt, they will likely escalate and you will lose. Sometimes you need to take the planned ignoring approach, because in doing so, you’re not adding fuel to the fire, and their negative behaviors will fizzle out more quickly. You can also say very calmly but firmly, when they are trying to pull you into a conflict, “I am done talking to you right now. When you calm down again, I’ll be happy to talk to you, but until then, I’m done with this discussion.” and then physically remove yourself even if it is just across the room. Use logic as well, and when they do something right and/or well, make sure to give praise. Praise for good behavior is always important.

      • Ok my 6 yr old grand daughter from age 2 has real bad mood swings everything ive seen on here is exactly how she is . She is good in school. But the minute her family is around or ahe geta to know someone. Its like living in hell. She hits tpeople yells and acreams wont do what u ask her to. She doeant have friends she says i dont want friends.i hate u i want to hurt u or kill u. This is some examples of how she talks and acts. But what gets me she is juat the opposit in school.i told her if u r nice u can have a classmate stay the night. Her behavior turned nice but only for a couple hrs. Help give me some suggestions

  6. I am a youth development assist in a school, and I have a child who is ODD, and I was wondering if anyone had any advice as to help us handle her. When she starts to go into one her “rages” as we call them, we try to seperate her, one of us will play basketball with her or play cards, but I am beginning to worry that she will start acting out if she doesnt want to do somethign so she can do whatever she wants. How do I avoid this? Any advice anyone can give me?

    • Kelly,
      DON’T cave in to her demands. If the other children are playing a game and she doesn’t want to play that game, give her a book to read, tell her she can sit out until she can play well with others. Don’t substitute another ‘preferred’ activity just for her. She will tantrum, make sure she (and other children) are safe and then ignore it. Allowing her to call the game or activity feeds their craving to be in control of every situation. As she gets older, she WON’t be in control of every situation and she needs to learn how to manage that properly now. Chances are she won’t stay in a specified ‘time out’ chair or bench, but as long as she is keeping quiet and to herself, let her select the seat. When she gets loud or starts acting out, I removed my daughter to an adjacent room where I could keep an eye on both locations, reminding her that she couldn’t come out until she calmed down and could speak to me quietly without sarcasm or potty mouth. It is interesting that many of these kids can ‘keep a lid’ on it until they get home and then have a major melt down with the first ‘no’, even when it’s minor (it was pouring rain one day and she wanted to go out to the swings and swing!) When I said ‘no, it’s raining’, she went into her raging tantrum, complete meltdown that lasted for over an hour. Don’t talk to her when she’s acting out, don’t direct or correct her and don’t respond emotionally (as I have occasionally out of sheer frustration). It’s hard, but with practice it’s do able. Hope this helps.

  7. I do get wary of the seemingly endless list of acronyms and new disorders that continue to appear -especially because they are based on observed behavior (i.e. there is no real “test” that can conclusively determine whether the child/adult has it or not).

    And it’s also easy to think when reading forums like this that people are hungry for answers and too eager to label it. Sometimes I honestly think “How is it that one child can have ADHD, ODD, Sensory Processing Disorder, and be on the autism spectrum? Surely this is overkill?”

    But if I take a little more abstract view, step back a bit, it starts to make sense. It’s true that the categories of disorders aren’t well defined, and there is lots of overlap between disorders, and even between disorders and so-called “normal” child behavior. But that just means the LABELING is imperfect, not the science.

    It’s clear to me (as someone who was diagnosed with ADHD late in life) that many children and adults have more problems than their peers with things like executive function and response to stimuli. And though they may be present in different degrees, or take on slightly different external forms, they are REAL problems that can often be managed with behavioral therapy, routines, parental education, and sometimes, medicine.

    Do I think some of these problems are caused by modern life, or only are perceived as problems in modern life? Sure, it probably plays a role. And Stefan’s concerns above might be justified if the treatment offered to kids with ADHD/ODD/etc. actually did drug/somatize them into robotic, conformist people. But even WITH treatment I will still not be the “same” as someone without ADHD, and I will have the responsibility of finding out how my own way of working can best fit into the 21st century. I chose to get treatment (including medication) so that I could do what I love without frustration, so that I could be happier and take more advantage of life —-not because I needed to “fit in.”

    This comment is way too long already but I just wanted to give hope to all the people struggling with these issues right now because many of them can be managed successfully by starting early and being educated. I encourage you, though, to focus on treating your child’s behaviors, not the “disorder(s).” Even before I had an ADHD diagnosis, I knew what the problems were that I needed help with. Names and acronyms are helpful for education but in the end I think so many of the symptoms cross boundaries that it is most helpful to look at them through that lens instead.

    • A PS of sorts: the reason I came to this website is because my new neighbors’ child clearly has ODD. He’s charming and talkative with me but when he is in his own house or yard (I can hear clearly) he is another creature entirely. I can tell his parents are starting to get professional help and keep their cool as best they can, but it isn’t easy.

      What struck me though is that even though I don’t have ODD, I recognize a lot of similar behaviors to my own childhood (with undiagnosed ADHD). A lot of these revolve around overstimulation, trying to control the environment, and an all-or-nothing/now-or-never attitude. This just prompted me to think that even though the disorders aren’t the same it might be helpful to think cross-categorically about the symptoms.

  8. I found out last night that my 4 year old son has adhd and odd. How do you make peace with it, cope with it and handle your child. He is such a sweet child with extremly good manners and so loving? I need some advice to any parent who is going through the same thing. How do i work with him to make things better for him. Please if anyone can email me on zeldab@absa.co.za

    Kindest Regards

  9. Well said many of you. I am the mother of a 19 year old that I have finally admitted to myself is ODD. I have loved this child and tried to raise him gently and fairly and in return he maintains his self-absorbtion and complacency. I have tried it all and failed. I am now on the verge of having to put him on the streets for his own best interest. He takes no responsibility or any interest in being responsible for his life. If I give him money to go out with his friends (we have always beleived maintaining his friendships would help him through) he says he doesn’t ask for the money, I just give it. Even in this, he won’t take responsibility for his needs but will simply put it all onto me. If anyone has any pearls of wisdom, please share them as I am desperate. I have a sister in her 50′s with 2 kids who is still financially dependent on our parents (who are angry with me because I won’t financially support her) and I don’t want this for my son…

  10. I have worked in a psych hospital for years, in fact they opened a unit for ODD for a short period of time……one osychiatrist told em there is no meds for spoiled kids. I too have a 20 yo spoiled brat, he always got his way and was good at everything he did. Now that he is 20 he is not the best at everything and he just cant handle it, that is how i see it. He blames others for his life. Lat night he punched a hole in my wall, i told him he cant live here if that behavior continues, i have spent endless countless hours tealking with him, and offering ideas and advice. Now his latest thing is i am gonna kill myself (o plan). He just thinks that is how he does not have to take resp for his own behaviors. He failed some subjects in college (classes he missed), but refuses to take resp. stating its the prof. fault. OMG, i am so ready to kick this kids a–. I myself would diagnos him with border line pers dis. lucky me! They r the most ungrateful people on earth. God forgive me i love my son, but i am at my witts end with the rage! He talks about his childhood like he was reading a bad book, ad that was not the case at all, he had it all….maybe too much! My older son told me mom he does not do this when u and dad r not here (on vacation and such). So is it the WOW factor he gets from me and hubby?

    • i’m sorry but what so odd is that this kind of behavior is not odd its actually natural in all children’s actions,granted more prevalant in some than others but the same nature.My name is rick allen and have eight children ages 34 years to 2 years of age. 4 boys and 4 girls and its usally the boys that use this behaviour get their way,and a reaction of submission from mom and dad to establish his or her position of controll,yes some children want this more than others and thats where the challege begin,this type of child is more persistent and diligent in the fight for controll, and demands to win at any cost,this sometimes causes the parents to wear down over time and compromise.now that he 20 instead of 2 the solution the problem is different, no longer feed into his issues it time for him to learn that his life on earth is for others and never about self.and what better place to start than at home it is time for him to have compassion to understand what his is going through with your medical, command he does it.May God bless.

  11. How can i tell the difference between poiled brat and ODD? as i said my son is 20 yo, and has outbursts of anger and blame, on me my husband and himself. Mostly us. He refuses to take resp for things in his life. He acts like we have been on welfare all our lives (NOT) and feels my husband and myself should take resp, for all his wants. We pay for college, that he failed many classes and refuses to believe its his fault. He is very smart, and manipulating (to me). I am at my wits end he punched a hole in the wall last night because of girl problems. I always handle him with kid gloves, i tried tough love, not working. I am a counselor, so i treat him like a pt. half the time. I do not think there is any med for a spoiled rotten kid, lol, but is this really the case. Thinking of getting him St. John’s Wart? Do not wasnt to have him labeled and started on meds. My older son says i feed into him too much, and that he does not act out like this when i am not around, i assume i give him a WOW reaction that he feeds off of. He calms down after a half hour or so. I think my diagnosis of br. ca. last April has made this behavior escalate even though i will be fine and i have reassured him several times of this. I have never missed a beat even in chemo. Always been there for him, but come on now he is 20! Could this just be a delayed adoles, behavior?

  12. I have a 19 year old stepson who came to live with us at 9 years of age after having been with his biological mother previously. His mother’s parenting style and ours were/are at polar opposites. He had rules while he lived with us, we rewarded his achievements and gave groundings for punishments when needed. He would not listen, he argued, he physically attacked (to the point of 2 arrests) my husband and I, he blamed everyone else for every problem he had, he felt he could do what he wanted when he wanted. His temper was seen on a daily basis. But, he could be the best person to be around also (rarely seen at home and ALWAYS seen by others, with the exception of school).

    His half brother, my 5 year old son, exhibits the exact same behaviors as the 19 yo. We have been struggling with him since he got kicked out of 3K (and before that at home). He is now in kindergarten and we have him going to a Special Ed class when he acts out in the normal classroom…..this is a daily occurance. His tantrums are out of control and trust me, neither his teachers or his parents give in to them. He blames everyone/thing for his discrepancies. In fact, the list in the article is what we deal with on a daily basis, home and school, with both kids.

    We, as parents, have tried everything BUT medication to help both kids. We will not give up until there is some sort of breakthrough. The kids are miserable also! It is absolutely the most draining thing a parent can go through. You look at other families (such as my sister’s 3 kids) and they do not have the constant negativity and argumentativeness that ODD children have.

    What irkes me is those that say there is no ODD, or ADHD or any other mood disorder. Those who say that have not lived with it or struggled with it on a daily basis. I have 2 children, both with different moms, 13 years apart, who have the exact same behavioral issues. Both kids were raised completely differently. I don’t need to hear that the kids were spoiled or that there is no such thing as a mood disorder and if you ARE going to say that, then offer suggestions on how to deal with the ODD kids…..quit berating those that have to deal with this on a daily basis. Our kids wear us down emotionally, we don’t need the public to do it also.

    • My first 3 kids were fine, average awesome kids. Until I had my 4th, he’s almost 6, I never would have believed about ODD and other relatable issues. I remember seeing other kids misbehave in public and think…They need to learn to control their kids, spank’em, etc etc. NOW, I have been taught humility with my 5yr old son. One truly does not know until they have a child like this. As I read these posts, I am thanking God, that as difficult as my son is,some of you are living nightmares!! I was feeling sorry for myself until I found this blog. I have no advice for anyone…I can only thank you for the advice that I can learn from you. Has anyone found any book that helped the most? Any tidbits you can pass along? Thank you and God bless!

      • I forgot to mention, when my 5yr old son was younger, he was A LOT worse, some folks thought he might have autism. After some research, I found that dairy can cause behavior issues in autistic kids. So we took him off all dairy milk , cheese, dairy filled products etc. And he was a different child!! After getting the artificial food dyes out of his diet, he improved also! Whenever he gets any dairy or dyes (Red Dye 40 is a major culprit) into his system, you can tell by his regression in behavior. He is still a very difficult child, but we know he’d be alot worse with dairy and dyes in his system. It can be worth a try, especially for younger kids, their diets can be controlled. Be aware though, it can take almost a month for dairy to clear out of their system. I found excellent advice about this topic on autistic websites, blogs. I hope this can help someone! It sure helped us!

  13. I have a 9 yr old son that was a typical boy until he wanted and I agreed,to live with his father for 1 year in another state. I don’t know what happened in the year he was there. His grades are failing, he talks mean to everyone, he wants to fight with other kids, he doesn’t help around the house including his own room, he wants to argue about everything and nothing is ever his fault it’s ALWAYS someone else’s fault and he is showing aggressiveness with his 2 yr. old sister. We are seeing a counselor now at a center for children. she recommended reward charts for goal behaviors to try to improve. Guess what…the reward charts don’t mean squat to him!!! It is hard to spend all the time with trying to help him make better choices when I also have a 11 yr. old and the 2 yr old. I am only one person.

  14. I think my almost 4 year old has this. She has been through traumatic edxperiences, but her life has been completely normal for the past 2 years. Her behavior is gradually declining. She is constantly violent, threatens to set me on fire and kill me, and is always angry. She has no compassion for others and will not do anything I ask her to. I always respect her, and speak to her politely, even when she does thedse things. I have tried everything, including chore charts, good behavior charts, chore jars, timeouts, everything. I just want to help her so much. I am sobbing as I write this because she is sleeping next to me and I just want her to be happy. We have an appointment at the end of May with a behavioral therapist for children and I just pray there is something that can help us. She and her brother are all I have and I am all they have. I work 2 jobs to support them and it really hurts that she hates me so much, even though I would never let her know that. I try not to take it personally, but it is really hard not to. I just want my baby girl to be happy.

  15. Wow…after reading the above posters experiences.
    I have been married 22 years and my 42 year old Husband has been recently diagnosed with ODD.

    Its not fun when your spouse is the one with ODD.
    I wish more research could be available for adults with this disorder.

    I just suggest any parent who has a child with ODD, gets as much treatment while they are children because when they go into adulthood it can get very rough for them and they can end up in legal and relationship problems.

  16. 27 year old single mom of a ten year old son who just happens to have the dreaded ODD label. I’m going crazy trying to find a way to truly help my son. Therapists, psychiatrists, respite programs, teachers, etc, etc……you name it, we have got it in place! Therapy is going on five years now, he is on medication for sleep (clonidine). The sleep medicine is the only good thing I look forward to when my son comes home from school. I count the minutes until bedtime. But as soon as he gets home, I am his personal punching bag. He tries to hurt his little brother as well, who is only two years old! He laughs at other peoples pain just because he thinks it’s so funny. He torments his little brother whenever he gets the chance. He has been in several psychiatric hospitals, short term facilities and long term ones. Residential to be precise. I’m not a perfect parent or person, but this is just getting out of hand. He has been officially diagnosed with ODD and mood disorder. Whatever that means. Mood disorder is too vague a diagnosis. Anyway, my son is defiant at all times and talks back to everyone, especially me. Refuses to do anything he is told. Laughs at people who he has caused pain to. He lacks remorse and destroys everything. Even destroys his own stuff and then blames it on everyone else because God forbid someone doesn’t want to do what he wants them to do. He is very manipulative, and a masterful one at that. He self harms and then will turn around and bold face lies to his teachers and therapists. His therapists do see right through him FINALLY! We have therapy, in home and out of the home six days a week. For several months now. It is not doing anything but pissing him off because he does not like being questioned about his behavior. I’m no doctor or therapist, but even I can see that things will only get worse from here on out. Professionals always say things will get better and tell me to just stay positive, yet things are getting worse and worse. AND FAST! I love my son dearly, but I don’t know how much more I can take. I’m not saying I just want to pawn him off on someone else just because i’m living in hell at all. I always tell him I would never trade him for the world, but if his behavior does not improve and if he keeps assaulting me and his little brother for no apparent reason, he will be taken away by social services. I let him know that if he is removed from the home, it will be because of HIS actions and because of HIS choices. I also tell him how much I would like for him to remain at home with people who love him no matter what he may our may not do, but it is his choices that are going to get him in trouble and then he really won’t be happy. He does not seem to be phased by any of it. He might act like he cares in front of people, but in actuality, all he’s doing is lying to get people to go away and not tell him what he can an cannot do. On top of all that, he also threatens suicide at least three times a week. Threatens to kill me and his baby brother in our sleep if he does not get his way. He throws sharp objects at people. Spits on me. Rewarding him for good behavior is total bull because he simply does not care and rarely ever exhibits good behavior. Praising the rare good behaviors triggers him because he thinks everyone is being sarcastic or that everyone is lying to him. Any attention is good attention to him, I know, but this is ridiculous. Praise charts backfire because if he has to actually earn things, he ain’t doing it. If he has to work towards anything, he gets pissed off and then gets caught up in his typical daily rages. Nothing anyone says or does can calm him down. He’s already been arrested several times and he’s only 9! I feel like a total failure. Maybe I am. I was stubborn as a child, too, but not like this. I don’t know what to do anymore, but I feel like he is planning to do something awful. He does stuff like that alot, and if I feel like he is plotting something, i’m usually always right. I never know exactly when, but I swear I can just sense it coming. And trust me, you do NOT want to be near my son when he decides to unleash his plans of attack. But even all this that’s been going on, his doctors and therapists tell me to “just stick with it”. The only person who is going to stick with anything is my son……..yeah…….he’s going to stick something alright…….he’s going to stick me WITH a KNIFE! Why are so called therapists and doctors so nonchalant about this? WTF are they waiting for? For him to actually kill someone before they actually do do something about it? Well, I guess his therapists are somewhat helpful, but they are not taking this nearly as serious as they should be. I can’t even keep a job because of this. We have been homeless for two months now, also because of this behavior. I cannot even control my own child for even the simplest of things. My son has recently been telling me to go to hell and that he’s going to flip me the bird because i’m an idiot. Demanding that I shut the hell up OR ELSE. What the…..! ? I’m exhausted mentally, emotionally and physically.

    • I am so sorry for you. I feel your pain and totally understand what you are going through. We have been through this nightmare as well. I am a former educator, and had read every parenting book and procedures for discipline and finally all the strong willed child books until my son was diagnosed with ODD and ADD. I never knew life could be like this. What probably has gotten my husband and I through this is constant prayer and support from family and friends. Dr.’s were of no help and neither were medications. DO NOT ever blame yourself for what you have to do, under the circumstances it sounds like your doing the best you can do. This has dropped us to our knees and humbled us completely. I wish I could give you words of hope that things will get better but I don’t even know myself. Just go into survival mode and try to protect your other children, but please don’t discount what the Lord can do to help you through this because honestly that has been our strength for each day. We see very small improvements with age and try to focus on that. Don’t apply standards that he can’t live up to and pick and choose carefully battles. God Bless!

  17. Edit…..when I said praise charts, I really meant to say reward chart. His therapist helped him make a apple tree reward chart. He has to follow the list of rules to earn x amount of apples. Earned apples get filled in to keep track. There is also a list of specific rewards to choose from and they all have different amounts of apples you need to have to get that reward. But see, that’s the thing though, he doesn’t care about that chart. He breaks every rule everyday. I try to remind him that breaking rules will result in an automatic denial of filling in another apple. I tell him I know he is capable of making good choices and I have faith in him, but do you think he gives a crap? Nope. When I try to say something nice about him, he goes bizzerk and attacks me. His therapist really thinks the reward chart is going to work, even after I prove her wrong. I try to stay positive or just neutral as instructed by therapist, but it doesn’t matter, my son attacks people regardless of what’s being said and what’s going on. Charts don’t work for every child and quite Franky, i’m sick of his therapist pressuring me all the time to use that chart. It doesn’t work! What do you not get about that! I tried it and nothing changed.

    • Hello,

      I felt so sad that your name is failure parent. Please don’t do that to yourself! You sound as though you’ve done everything you have been tolded to do. Maybe it’s time to see a new therapist. I think it’s hard for them to understand fully unless they live with a child with ODD. I talk from experience. I have an adult daughter with ODD and a young grandson that has recently been diagnosed. We didn’t know about our daughters diagnosis while living through it. As she has grown, life is a lot better. Since my grandson is six, I am hopeful he and his parents will have answers as how to handle situations.

      Please don’t blame yourself.

    • find a new therapist~keep looking until you find a good match for you and your family! Therapists don’t know everything- find one who specializes in childhood behaviour disorders. Best of luck!!!! You might have to look at using medication to help balance your son’s neurotransmitters.(for healthier brain function)sometimes it’s the only choice….(this is NOT something I recommend unless it is a matter or safety for child or others in immediate contact) Be safe and use your motherly intuition….

  18. My daughter is twelve and lives with me her father.Since she was a toddler I have been witnessing behavior that is clearly extreme. She has always been an angry, defiant, oppositional and non compliant to authority. She uses language and insults that that belong in the gutter and on many occasions I have been physically attacked. This is something after all these years I can now no longer deal with at times but still hang on. This behavior spills over into school and other social group settings as well as affecting personal relationships, work and family connections. I hav’nt been in a relationship with anyone for a number of years now and lost many friends and contacts due to the behavior. I have had child and family mental health professionals involved and been on so many parenting courses. I feel I should have more expertise than the people teaching them. It makes no difference nor did it really help. They are now testing her for ADHD and I just laughed in the despair of the obvious! Now late in the day they are looking at a behavior label that to me should have been looked at years ago. As far as ODD is concerned why not look at this and the whole lot while they are at it. At this rate my daughter will be a young woman with severe personality disorders no qualifications and have a string of abusive relationships before she reaches 25 etc. In writing this I have also described her mother! Now tell me this. Is this nature or nurture this kind of behavior? Does it run in families? I see a pattern here that is a genetic link. My daughter I love dearly but hate the personality. She is about to live the same disastrous life her mother still does now. She sees the the destruction in her mothers life and hates it yet she her self is exactly the same. To me there is no hope for her just another child of an unfortunate gene. If this is so then labels of ADHD,ODD etc mean nothing as they tell a story of the person but that is all. As parents does that label make things better or make us feel better in our selves just to know this? The reality is as parents we are powerless to change them but what we can do is be there to pick up the pieces and support them when they themselves can no longer cope. I call it managing the behavior as there is no cure. The child its self with support with learn as it matures to cope better and through experience learn. I believe they will always have difficulties in their lives. Some will go on and lead so-called normal lives but alas some will not. Many will be chained to the criminal justice system and some in and out of mental health institutions. Everyone has their story to tell this is mine. If my daughter has ODD then what next?

  19. My son is 10 years old and I believe he has ODD.

    He is extremely intelligent. He makes friends wherever he goes. He leads. He adapts to his surroundings.

    Caught early, you can structure support and therapy around your ODD child so he/she can lead a normal life, above-average.

    To those who are saying this disorder is just ‘big pharma’ or spoiled kids’ disorder, I wonder if you actually have children. You sound like a Michael Moore, easily pointing out the ‘obvious’ for attention and then walking away from the issue. Might as well post on facebook so you can get ‘likes’ for suporting some cause in which you will not put any effort into.

    I am proud of my child, and I will work with him every day so he can channel his rage and defiance into something positive. He is surpassing me in intelligence at the age of 10 (I am an Engineer), and if ODD is a handicap than the capitalistic society we live in will reward him and shelter him from any wrongdoing.

    Being able to realize this disorder and working with him at an early age is a blessing. Undiagnosed, he could have easily grown up to become a psychopath. But by realizing this disorder in him at an early age, and with the proper guidance, he could easily grow up to become the next ‘Bill Gates,’ or a powerful lawyer, Engineer, or even President (nah, he’s too intelligent for that :)

    Compare that to your stoner 30 year old ‘child’ living in your basement. Shame on you for questioning a disorder in which you have no understanding of.

    • I have been a teacher since 1979. This is the first year I have a student identified with both ADHD and ODD. I am looking for help in dealing with and helping this young second grader. He has been angry if he does not understand something . If I will not say his way is right, he becomes very angry. I found sending him on errands gave him a chance to calm down. But this week he refused to go until I said he was right. What should I do? What works best? When I ignore him he just gets louder and louder.
      He threw a piece of classroom furniture earlier in the year and a pencil once and something on his desk recently. This time it was directed at me and hit me. he had to go home. Sometimes he has a good day and I realize his parents have told him they are going to do something for him, so he found it in himself to behave. Other days I can tell from the first few minutes that he will not cooperate that day based on his demeanor. Where can a teacher get help? I work in a private school.
      How often do your children see a psychologist? This little guy is not seeing one.
      Please respond with positive , helpful suggestions. they will be appreciated.

    • I’m so glad to have found this article and discussion board, my 9 year old daughter has shown these tendancies since she was 3, and we were in therapy for some trauma she had experience and attachment issues. She also is gender neutral as in, she likes to dress as a boy exclusively and prefers to do boys actitivites etc. I am so frustrated with people thinking it is bad parenting or she is a spoiled brat. at times she is the sweetest, sensitive and caring child even helpful but at others she rages over nothing, is totally argumentative and the ‘usual’ parenting style does not work at all, in fact it is counterproductive. Like you, I’ve struggled to maintain a relationship ( her father and I split when she was 1) I have a great partner now for the last 4 years but it is so wearing on him ( he’s actually left more than once as he couldnt handle the behaviour) but he loves us and is trying hard where so many others couldn’t, wouldnt or she just flat out drove them away. I can see how she is hurting inside and doesnt know what to do with her emotions, I try to approach it calmly and with compassion but it is exhausting. I have a saying that for every solution she finds a problem and that describes her to a tee, she ‘hears’ things totally differently, like I could say, I dont like that behaviour, she’ll respond with ” so youre saying I’m a bad kid. I might as well kill myself right now” . I’ve wondered if she is just vying for attention but I see the difference and reading this article describes her 100%.
      I’ve read raising your spirited child and a couple of other books and theyve been helpful to a point. I’m not a fan of labels either and have encouraged her to be an independant thinker but I know this is beyond bratting pre- teen behaviour. Consquences never work, she’ll be defiant to the end and the more we do for her the worse her behaviour. I think as a parent one of the hardest things is knowing she doesnt want to be this way, shes even told me ( once shes calmed down after a rage) that she cant stop it and doesnt know why she feels like she does, plus her being judged as a ‘bad’ kid. Her circle of friends is shrinking, she feels misunderstood in school and she is lonely because she alienates herself.
      Where does it come from? I know I’m strong willed and her father has a lot of issues including mental illness, but he hasnt been in her life for many years and she gets a lot of love and kindness. so is it genetic? Is it triggered by trauma? As a parent surely it is my job to guide her? I savour the good behaviour days, which thankfully happen from time to time but I’d say we have more challenging times than not and it is very hard to be around her during that time which of course makes it worse as she then feels we dont care. Its so sad, she is craving love and friendship, is actually very bright and outgoing but pushes people away with her behaviour and nasty things she says. One thing I have seen help, is we have 3 cats and she loves them so much, until we got them she could say I love you or hug ( even me, her Mother) but that has changed. I’m still the only person she will let tough her, which breaks her Grandma’s heart but I think it is progress.

    • My 9 year old daughter has ODD and I feel as though I have tried everything and nothing has worked. When you say that you have “worked with” your son and things are better….what have you done specifically that has worked and made things better? My daughter’s behavior is taking a toll on our entire family. I have two other younger children and they are scared by their sister’s rages. Helping my oldest and protecting my younger children is beyond stressful and exhausting. Doctors have no answers, books have too limited understanding, friends have no clue, and my daughter hates me most days. Please offer specific advice if you have some.

  20. I would love some help with ODD. My son is 12. Next year entering high school. For someone to say this does not exists makes me cry. Come and live in my shoes for even just a few days and try and live with what my family lives with.

    We have been to the GP, Pediatrition, social worker, guidance office, physchologist, mediators, parenting classes, the list goes on but I still have a child that seems to care about nobody but himself and it doesnt matter who he hurts along the way.

    He has not had a day at school for about 6 weeks where I havent had a phone call, email, pick up notice or suspension.

    We are a loving family, I am home during the day for problems, my husband works, we spend many hours with the kids (14 year old “normal” daughter) doing family things. Rules and set and applied and expected to be adheard to but it makes no difference to him. The school and treacher are great. They have boundries, positive rewards and behavioural consequenses but it makes not difference.

    How someone can say this does not exist – OMG!!!!!

  21. this is an incredibly useful article!! i have a 4yr old son, who has been right on track -even advanced- socially/emotionally up until 10 months ago. Stress between us- his parents, having to downsize to an apartment, job/hours shuffling…it seems that negative attention is better than none at all to him. we have tried a few different approaches, and stayed consistent, until it was clear that it wasnt working. spanking, “timeouts” or being removed in general, and recently Lecturing until i am Blue in the face all the while hes just screaming “AAAAH! AAAAH! AAAH! AAAH!” in my face the whole time. its to the point he has to go to a specific grandparents house for a day or two. He does listen to, and respect my father in law. he comes home an angel, but the next day its back to it. he is not violent by nature or environment, however thats the only way he acts out at preschool. he doesnt sass the teacher, just violates classmates space and sometimes hits. but ‘thats normal for his age’ they say. so its just me i guess. a Scorpio VS. Taurus *sigh* im definitely looking into this condition with his Dr. when we go in for his checkup :/

  22. I am a grandmother of a 5 year old. Even though just his grandmother we are connected by embilical cord.We are very close i feel like i am his mother,he feels that granny is it. MY heart hurts just finding out my sweet boy has ODD.I Plan on seeking professional help to learn an be of help to him.I also need help to deal with the hurt of accepting diagnoses. SEND MUCH LOVE TO YOU WHO SUFFER.

  23. I have a 12 year old daughter who has Asperger’s Syndrome as well as ODD. She was diagnosed many years ago. She was recently diagnosed with Bipolar II and the doc is putting her on Lamictal. I am hopeful that it will even out her moods. Will update you all, soon.

  24. Our 5YR.OLD grandaughter was disgnosed recently with ODD.We are so thankful to finally have an answer as to why she acts/does what she does. Yesterday she was “kicked out” of Daycare- for throwing such a fit she hit a child with a shoe & destroyed her classroom! Tables/chairs/shelves/sand & water stations all knocked over. Toys thrown everywhere. We took her to the Dr. & Phy.& now are trying to find a therapist who helps kids with ODD. Her parents are divorced & Mother ( our daughter-BiPolar – PSTD) hardly ever sees her.
    Her big brother committed suicide 4 yrs. ago & then Mother left when she was 18 mo. old. She has had a rough start but has Daddy,us & her other grandparents;aunts/uncles; daycare/school teachers who will support her. She is such a lovely little girl & we are helping her in every way we can. Any advice, help, prayers are appreciated. Traveling this journey with you!

  25. My boyfriend and I live together and we just got custody of his son who has ODD and I’m doing everything I can to help him but he just won’t listen to anyone and I’m bout to go nuts. He is always picking on my little one and doing things to push my buttons. I try to make him go ride his bike or write in a notebook to calm things down but he alway tells me no or when I try to walk away from him he follows me around yelling. I tell him I love him all the time but I really don’t know how much I can take I am alway so tired that i cant even keep up with my daily chores. Anyone got any advice on what I could do to help us get along better? Once he calms down he gives me hug says sorry and we talk about what happened.

  26. Wow, some people. It is amazing that someone would go on these blogs and tell us parents with ODD children, that it isn’t real. That is truly something. Thank you for your stupid insight.

  27. I guess we are all trying to understand what is going on with our kids and how best to help them. If a collection of symptoms or abnormal behaviours derives at a “label or condition” it only assists in recognising what the problem is. Just because this relates to mental health, makes it harder to understand but no less real than a physiological disorder.
    In response to Stephan, because you have not experienced this or seen accumulative research that has led to ODD existing does not mean that it is a ridiculous idea invented to appease society.
    We are not talking about kids questioning the world around them or arriving at conclusions or ideals that may oppose that of their carers. We are not talking about a tantrum because a kid doesn’t get their own way. We are talking about extreme behaviours that are socially isolating to children and detrimental to their mental health.
    Stephan you are part of the reason that Mental health problems are still stigmatised today. Thanks for taking us back to the dark ages. All parents and carers on this site have genuine concern for the Hollistic health of their kids and are looking for ways to deal with them in a non pharmaceutical way.

  28. My step daughter ( mother passed away when she was 3 now 51/2) is out of control temper tantrums like no tomorrow, bites herself, spits, pulls her own hair, threatens to kill me and cut my head off, tries to destroy her things , everyday is a challenge , from what jumper to put on to having her hair brushed, it’s taken two years to get to to have a shower/bath without hysterics, does not listen, is so defiant it’s mind blowing she is the girl in the rhyme when she is good she is very very good but when she is bad she is horrid, and when she is good she is gorgeous ,loving, affectionate, is perfect at school and at other people’s homes , but with my self and my husband and even her grandparents( both sets) she is a challenge. I’m at my wits end.

  29. I would just like to say to any parent who deals with ODD or ADHD or any disorder in their family that you should all be proud of yourselves! Its not your fault, its nothing you have done but it is dam hard to deal with, in fact in my lifetime I have found nothing harder to deal with and I am almost 50 and have seen and done many things in my life. I am sorry but people who make comments to the contrary on this blog should try to live with an ODD child for a week and then write comments on the blog after, they would then understand what its like. I have a 17 year old who has ODD, its been hell and I don’t expect it to improve any time soon, what keeps us parents strong is supporting each other through difficult times and having help and advice from others such as the people on this blog, thanks again

  30. I’m a caregiver for a little boy that has off and I was trying to figure how I can deal with this because it’s new to me. this is something that recently started after school let out in now is basically directed towards me because I am the authority figure in his life

  31. I have an 8yr old who explodes, I call it getting into a spin, where he can’t get ahold of himself and throw tantrums like a 2 yr old. I had to really pay attention to what we were doing to find triggers. They are being hungry, video games and cartoons that have any aggressive behaviors. Including teenage mutant ninja turtles. We now limit sugar, increase protein, and games. And cartoons are off limits. Books like The Explosive Child, helped immensely. Fortunately my son doesn’t have the violent tendencies of ODD, but its still an issue. Getting the entire family on board for behavior modification was another key. Sometimes i wonder if the awful things my son says when he spins is something he picked up that we may have said in our frustration and anger.

    • I’m glad I found these comments!
      I have a 6 yo son who refuses to respect me. My husband works out of town and he is soo disrespectful when he is gone. Now, the minute he comes back, it’s Mr. Straight and Narrow. My husband has Never doubted me that he acts like this, but I had to get it on camera just once, so I didn’t seem like a crazy person. We have tried, “Tell me how you feel…” or “Son, can you please talk to me instead of yelling?” or light swats on the behind (just a personal choice, don’t judge me please). Nothing is working!!! I refuse to believe that it is ADD related because he only acts like this with me (my mom too sometimes, only when hubby isn’t home though). Back in the day, “ODD” would just be a kind of ‘just spank his butt for being a brat’ thing; apparently, not any more! I refuse to medicate him because, like I said, he only acts like this in the absence of his father and he is above average in school subjects (we had him tested). I know they say, “Don’t match yelling with yelling” or “Speak calmly when he blows up” I’m tired of that :(
      Oh, and it’s getting to the point where when he blows up, he has said (recently), “I want to murder my sister.” or “I want to kill myself.” He’s ONLY 6!
      Help please :(

  32. Hello my 8 yr old son has been diagnosed with ODD, ADHD, Mental Retardation, OCD, PPD-NOs, Anxiety-NOS and the list goes on and on! My son has been different right from birth showing my husband and I signs of defiance right since day one…he hated his bottle and wont eat to the point of losing weight and worrying everyone from the whole family to the doctor…then we he finally talked at almost 4 it was evident that he had a lot going on. After 6 yrs of constant abuse to the whole family (we have 2 younger children as well) we went to CPRI, this is a place for children under 18 who can get all kinds of different help from therapy to live in care. The professionals made the choice to put him in temporary residential care to see what was going on…after 4 wks we got the ODD label and they said oh he is doing well with out routines and is not having regular outbursts here…we chose to bring him home after 8 wks since he was doing well and our other children missed their big brother…he wasn’t home 2 wks and it all started again! CPRI’s routine didn’t work here because we had other children and we put them all on the schedule but still it didn’t work. CPRI said do a reward program with 4 cash in’s a day…well with 3 kids this got expensive so we had to change up the program a bit and it wasn’t working to keep his behaviours in check. So it has been 2 yrs since then and our household is a mess…my husband and I are on the fast track to divorce because we are so on edge because of this disorder…and it is beyond reasoning with this kid because of his mental challenge…we live in Canada and there are not permanent group homes for children under 18 so we are either forced to live in misery till this kid turns 18 and can be removed to a group home or give up our parental rights to him! I just have to say what the hell is wrong with our government for not providing the proper funding or care for these kids? I am so depressed and have been for a long time…we were cut off our disability for him because me made $2000 more than the cut off for a family of 5…so we have lost our respite money and now get no break from this hell we call a life! I am looking into alternative medicine to tackle the problem but it is so costly that it comes down to choosing between giving the other two who are normal a normal life of organized sports and activities or spending our life savings on our other son’s mental health. We are a family in crisis and have been for years! :(

  33. I can’t believe how similar these stories are to our own. We have four boys and my oldest is the one with ODD and ADD, possibly something else but it all overlaps and runs together and honestly I don’t think the Doctors even know what they are diagnosing or could specifically pinpoint the diagnosis! I have no faith in the mental health system. They were of no help and neither were medications, unfortunately, just cost us ALOT of money and time!! It is exhausting physically, emotionally, financially and spiritually. For the longest time I just focused on raising my other 3 sons while my husband just focused on our oldest. We were in survival mode. The things I had hoped/planned for raising our family and creating beautiful memories with my husband have been turned upside down. It has dropped us to our knees in prayer and humbled us beyond what we thought we could bare. In saying that, the only thing that has kept us going is prayer and faith, lots of it!! We have seen God faithful in meeting our needs at various points of extreme difficulty. We have a strong marriage and have been tested, honestly I can’t imagine too many marriages surviving something like this. At several points and brief periods. my husband has had to move to another location with my son just to shield my other three kids and try to give them a somewhat normal childhood. My husband has been so patient, loving, understanding, and prayerful as he has been the one to primarily handle our oldest son. But he is human and has had his breaking points at times with severe depression and the damage it has cost his business. We are fortunate that he is self employed and his schedule flexible or none of this would be possible. My parents have stepped up and are allowing him to live with them( they live not too far from us) as we jointly work to literally pull him through high school. He has been to 8 different schools over the past 12 years. My heart hurts for him and longs for the experiences we wanted him to have along with family times that can never be. It is a mourning of sorts in which NOONE unless they are living it can understand your grief. IF he makes it through high school, then what? I can’t even allow myself to dream for him the possibilities, he is in God’s hands and although I don’t understand why He allowed this, I still praise HIM and thank him for what He is doing and will continue to do in his life. Because I know He loves him more than I ever could…..

  34. Well I am newly married to a woman with a son that id ODD and ADHD. The child has been the parent raising her since he has been able to walk and talk. Just recently was diagnosed and when my kids are with us which are 12 and 8. They feel that he can get away with anything while we tell them no. I have really tried to be patient and understanding but the mom will not be consistent giving in to him at every turn. I on the other hand am not and will not give in. We have been married for little over a month and is already effecting our marriage and don’t know what else to do. We have an appointment with a behavior therapist. He has told us he will kill us and he hates us. He gets up in the middle of the night and stares at us while we are asleep and when we awake scares us half to death. Please is there light at the end of the tunnel.

  35. My 14 year l grandson has not been diagnosed with ODD but he has all of the sympthoms . He thinks everyone is against him, He hit his dad in the back with his fist. When his dad hit him back, He called he Cops. He fights with his older brothers Punches holes in the walls. Steals his brothers clothes, and breaks things that don’t belong to him
    and then denies he did it. The Police was going to take my son to jail for abuse, Because he hit him back. What Medicene Will help him? My son cant afford councleing. He is a single father of 3 teenage boys. SOMEONE PLEASE HELP.

  36. I have a 9 year old daughter who has been diagnosed with ODD and Bi-polar disorder. She has always been a handful, but about a year ago she just snapped. She is classic ODD, completely defiant. She does well in school, however she has an IEP for speech therapy. She was admitted into a behavioral hospital for two weeks, she acted like an angel and said whatever they wanted her to say. She made it less than 24 hours out of the hospital before trying to commit suicide, plastic bags over her head, trying to jump out of her second story window, cutting herself with a hanger…etc.. You name it this kid does it. (hitting, punching, spitting, snotting on people, yelling, pushing, kicking, biting, beats her younger sister up, cussing, negative talk, lying, hurts self then turns around and blames it on others, tried to start a fire, throws food, etc..) She has therapy at our home twice a week and see a psychiatrist. She has even had DCFS called out to my home twice over lies. She is so depressed. I hate seeing my child loss complete control of herself. She cries hysterically. Now don’t get me wrong she can behave and be nice, but it’s only when she’s at school or somewhere that she is not familiar with. Our two other children are completely different. They respond well to parenting. I do not feel that it is our parenting at all. We are living in hell. She has meltdowns almost everyday that can last up to 4 hrs long, then she passes out. She is not allowed any artificial sugar, she only drinks milk and water and eats health, no fast food at all. We are seriously scared to death of her. Both of my other daughters have to sleep with my husband and I so we can assure their safety. We try to ignore her bad behavior but there is only so much that can be ignored. If you try to leave the room she will follow you. She has actually stabbed my husband with a fork not too long ago. She tells us all the time that she hates us, wishes we were dead, she says we aren’t her real family. We are at our wits end with this one. She has me so stressed out that I had to be put on heart medication to prevent me from having a heart attack, Im only 28. Nothing we do helps. We keep a good/bad chart, doesnt work, we have her do sentences for punishment, what a joke. She literally says, “you know I’m not going to follow the rules”. She will write hateful cruel things on the paper instead of writing her sentences. We try to reason with her, but she just doesn’t care in the heat of the moment. Its so sad being a parent to a child that is so out of control. I’m always fearful that my child is going to end up in jail, on drugs, or dead. And it’s so unfair to our other children and to our marriage. There needs to be more help for these kids.

    • Brandy – Was your daughter adopted? I say this as a dad of four children adopted from foster care. A lot of this sounds very familiar to my family. My six year old son has ADHD and ODD. He is incredibly violent and has been since birth. My 14 year old daughter fell apart when she hit puberty. She’s actually turned the corner recently and made it through without physical harm to herself or others, and without falling into the juvenile justice system.

      Has the doctor prescribed medicine? What you describe is common for girls when they hit puberty who have been adopted from foster care. It’s like the surge of hormones releases all types of things that were previously masked.

      Keep on doing what you are doing. For my daughter, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. And it was a very very dark tunnel. Don’t blame yourself.

  37. K first off I have my mother inlaw living with me and my wife and two children my mother inlaw has custody of her grand daughter from my wifes sister long story on that but our neice has been diagnosed with odd and adhd and I’ve been noticing how my mother inlaw gives in I’ve read this website and was amazed about what I think is wrong how she is dealing with it. I have two younger children ages 6 and 8 my neice is 11 and she basically gets what she wants and so on, how can I help without seeming like I’m a bad person because I have rules in my place that my children follow and my mother inlaw just doesn’t seem to get it here’s an example of one of this millions bedtime comes I either read to my kids and sit till they are sleeping by 830 but my neice goes to bed at 12 way past her bedtime and its beginning to get to me and my kids they ask me why they have to go to bed but not my neice,I am a young parent but it’s getting pretty bad now with my neice and my mother inlaw I’ve tried talking to my mother inlaw but all she says to me is well I’ve Givin up trying I was stumped and speechless even when I set rules down my mother inlaw her self is defiant how do I fix this i don’t want to be the bad guy here my oldest butt heads with my neice all the time but I’ve noticed even when I correct the situation my neice goes and basically gets away with it by talking to my mother inlaw I have been patient with this and tried to help like trying to get my neice to go to bed but mommy comes in and says just watch TV or play on your wii till she gets tired but it’s about 12 even 1 am when she sleeps I am out of ideas and I am now looking for advice please help

  38. I was raised on a farm in Kansas, so I grew up with a very traditional parenting style when it comes to discipline and child-rearing. I have a son with ODD and ADHD (and probably some reactive attachment disorder thrown in for good measure). Traditional parenting styles are utterly ineffective for these children.

    I agree with using the four methods identified in this article for managing the child, but they are nothing more than the best options out of a range of options that range from weak to useless.

    My worry is that readers will see this article and falsely believe that there exists parenting techniques that will turn a child with ADHD and ODD into a model child. The four methods listed above will not do this. None will. They will simply help you limit the damage caused by these children during their episodes.

    My wife and I have exhausted all non-medicine related avenues for helping our son. Next week will will begin medication. I don’t expect this to “fix” him either. I’m just hoping it reduces the damage he causes to others and himself.

  39. I am sure there are children that have disorders and behavioral issues and I certainly do sympathize. I read this because the daughter of one of my dear friends is being seen for this disorder. My problem with this is that she ONLY acts this way with her mother. Not with her other care takers, not at school, and not toward her friends. All of my close friends warned her early on that her constant relenting to this child would catch up to her. She cannot say no to her without negotiations occurring, she makes excuses for bad behavior instead of addressing it. She is a low energy parent and finds it easier to give in and uses the excuse that she picks her battles. It is impossible to be around them together, but separately they are both very dear. I would hate to see her become medicated due to this. I guess what I am saying is that I think it is more the mom’s disorder than the child.

    • Lena,
      Each child is different and your friend’s child probably has a milder form of this. Although, my 11 year old daughter hasn’t been formally diagnosed, she has all the symptoms which have only recently manifested over the past year, although I have seen signs since she was two.

      My husband, who is a pharmaceutical rep, calls on a Psychologist and has spoken to him about the problems we’ve been having. And we’ve been taking his advice. However, dealing with a child like this is exhausting. You have to be on your A game all the time. My daughter seems to be on the mild end of this as well and only behaves this way with her father and me. As for your comment on it being the mother’s problem, I give you this…we discipline our daughter when she behaves this way to the point where I feel like that’s all I’m doing. The slightest thing can set her off and if you don’t react correctly to the “tantrum”, it can escalate quickly. The problem parents have is figuring out the correct reaction to a particular tantrum. How you react for one tantrum doesn’t always work with another one even if it seems similar. And, the way you react can full the fire.

      There are a few things that I have noticed that help contain the storm. 1. you have to remain calm. 2. you speak your peace, punish the behavior, and remove yourself from the situation. 3. Do not engage in an argument. 4. Once it’s over move on. Do not bring it up again. 5. Reward good behavior, even if it’s minor…anything they did to do as you asked without throwing a fit.

      As a mother, I’ve been blaming myself…if only I did this or that this wouldn’t happen, but there comes a point when you realize that there is something more at play here than just parenting style because the typical parenting style doesn’t work. Dr. Phil used to say that you have to find the child’s currency when it comes to correcting their bad behavior. However, with a child like this the currency isn’t the normal currency (spankings, grounding, taking away electronics, etc…) and finding the one thing that works is hard because it can change from tantrum to tantrum and child to child and once they’ve reached the breaking point, the consequences don’t matter until after they’ve “snapped out of it.”

      So, before you get on your high horse and tell your friend that she’s the problem, I suggest you babysit that child for an entire week (24 hours a day) and then you might be able to grasp the issue. You see, this is a daily issue. You don’t know exactly when it will happen, how it will happen or how bad it will be. You just know that it will happen.

  40. I have an ADHD, ODD child he is 9 yrs old. I’m facing a lot of problems with him he is very disrespectful, and he challenges me everyday. I really don’t know what else to do, I’m desperate. He is taking medication and therapy. But it seems that nothing is working with him. I’ve been doing so many things to prevent problems but no results. :(

  41. I have an 11 year old with this, very helpless feeling. Keep feeling there is something I should say or do that will “fix” it but I know that isn’t realistic. Doing the therapy and psychiatry and just hoping he keeps out of jail and doesn’t hurt anyone when he gets older.

  42. My step daughter is 9 and was recently diagnosed with ODD. Any help with how other parents deal with this would be great. I am totally lost.

  43. My son was diognosed as having aspergis syndrome but we are now waiting to see the pediatrition again as teachers pycoligists and other people don’t agree…… My child is so aggressive repetitive hyper and so very very angry from the moment he wakes to the minute he goes to bed he is either kicking punching screaming or purposely hurting his siblings or animals… His disruptive at school and unfocused hrs in grade 1 and has been suspended for behavour 3 times already I can’t stand people looking at us when he is in a temper mood and telle to controll him or other times when u try to control him and he punching and kicking and biting yet rude arrogant people just think ur kid is a spoilt brat… Well I’ll tell u now my kid is not a brat and I definatly think he has odd or ADHD and am getting him retested.. People should offer there help when they see a mum in town with a uncontrollable child insted of judging her…. Some people have no idea…

  44. I am reading all these comments and crying as I type. My once loving, happy, and confident daughter has changed into another person entirely over the course of a year. It was slow with the sadness and self esteem and then progressed to rage. It was just once every week, then twice, and now daily and hourly. No trauma in her life, stable home, stay at home mom, dad works from home, two loving sisters, grandparents, ect… And all I can say, is she turns into a different person, out of control and can’t explain her behavior. We are now working with a therapist and she believes she has ODD and OCD (she has washed her hands raw). My husband and I feel like we are living in an abusive relationship. It has worn on us emotionally and physically. I am hopeful that there is a treatment or something to help her manage these feelings/find the reason….. but if it is chemical, shouldn’t medication and therapy be good? I mean you wouldn’t deny a person with high cholesterol their medication, in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise. I was opposed to medication but now I am coming around to the idea. My daughter can not continue to live like this and I don’t want her finding other/bad ways to deal with it when she becomes a teen. I am so torn on what to do, but being able to read the comments by parents struggling with this, makes me feel a little better. I have been hiding her behavior and isolating our family. The term ODD sounded so “phony” and I have heard even my dear friend scoff at it. Like most other parents on here…come live in our house for a few days….to everyone reading this and suffering….Keep your chin up and don’t give up, you are not alone. At least that is what I am telling myself. Thank you for posting….I really needed this community today .

  45. I’ve read all of the posts here, even those from the trolls–the nitwits with no experience but a lot of useless chastisement. you find these in all newsgroups and forums as if it’s their only joy in life, screwing with other people by remote control…. Let’s not waste another minute thinking about them, ok?
    So, I’ve been dealing with this since my son was old enough to have behavior. He was diagnosed at 4. I was sure that this was a mistake because how can they know at 4?? Well, it wasn’t that apparent then but as he matured it became clear that the sister diagnosis of ADHD was irrelevant compared to dealing with the ODD. However, I don’t know how many of you feel this, but I believe my son is just as confused and frustrated about his behavior as my wife and I are. We have been through so much with him, including most of the things already explained in so many of these tragic posts…. My heart goes out to all of you dealing with this, by the way. I will tell you my strongest opinion and belief is that this has nothing to do with your parenting. It is a genetically based neurotransmitter or chemical imbalance, I think. My son is so clearly a text book case and I read all of the posts and these kids are either textbook ODD or even character disordered– some of them. The reason I believe more and more confidently now that it is primarily genetic is because in my son’s cousins there are 3 other instances, 2 severe (really bad as some of you experience) of ODD. Strangely, on my side of the family, no such problem. All the cousins and kids are even keeled and show no more than the typical kid stuff, no encompassing darkness and aggression. Yet on my wife’s side, it’s a microcosm of ODD examples, now including my son. He is what I would call (now) a somewhat mild case with still 90% of the characteristics. 3 major areas creating melt downs: 1. He has trouble with school work and studying/grades which is the worst problem because I worry about his future with a self-imposed poor education on top of ODD. Next is any sort of chores create huge battles that run for hours. The third problem is a mixture of constant lying, breaking promises, and aggravation for the sake of aggravating other people. But, really my problems are tiny compared to some of you. I thought I had a bad situation –and it was worse than it is now–puberty has seemed to calm him somewhat. But, seriously, some of you have given so much of your lives and happiness to this I wonder how you continue? If I was you, I would consider, at some point, making my child a ward of the state. This isn’t your fault and you shouldn’t have all of your life ruined because of it– and I can tell some of you are at your wits end. I know giving up your child is a terrible thing to consider, but you need to consider your other children (as some posters so carefully do) and think what’s best for them. If it’s not getting better, or it is getting worse, and you’ve tried everything, including medication, maybe you should cut your losses. Ask yourself, have you given it your all? I don’t think God puts these children here to destroy lives, more so I think they are here to give us perspective that most people don’t have. I don’t think when there is truly no way out that He expects you to just be run over and consumed by the hatefulness of your child. Put him or her somewhere where they will be watched after by professionals who now how to deal with these issues. I know that’s not me, but I seem to be getting along ok with my son. But, some of you are in hell and it’s not deserved. Time for some of you to cut your losses and try to regain your lives. Just my two cents.

  46. I have a question, I have worked with kids on the autism spectrum for over 3,5 years, I am currently working with a child, 5 years old,that is extremely defiant, I tell him to come , he will run the other way and laugh, he has run into roads before and has no sense of danger, if I tell him not to touch he will look me straight in the eyes and he will touch it, he will deliberately defy me, and if I catch him and make him sit a the table where he has to colour he will act aggressively towards me, he will hit, if I hold his hands down he will lean over and bite me, if I hold his hads behind his head he will head butt me, he will turn his hands and dig his nails into me. If I tell him to look at me he will close his eyes tightly. He will pick up his baby sister onto his shoulders and run with her knowing he may not do this as he could fall and hurt her, but he will watch you and look for a reaction, if you ignore, he will just casually stand there and throw his sister off his shoulders, he will say sorry when reprimanded but will do the same thing 2 min later, there is no consequence that he cares for, I am trained in ABA and constantly reinforce all and any positive behaviour but I’m at my witts end with the behavior there is only so much aggression I can take! But in the same token, he can also be so amazing, he hugs and kisses me all the time, he is not a angry child, he is happy and has a family that dote on him. What more can I do to assist this kid??

  47. I am a mom of 5, my last 3 being adopted thru the foster system. My 5 year old has been acting out for just over a year now. She is the only one that does. Tantrums come every 4-5 days and last 2-3 days at a time. She has been caught stealing, both at home and at school, she throws tantrums that will last an hour or longer, complete with kicking of whatever her foot can reach as well as screaming, spitting, etc. We have tried grounding, taking away toys, sitting out at events that the other kids are doing, nothing works. My two younger children get completely ignored during these episodes as my 5 year old will literally follow me around the house and throw herself down in front of me and kick and scream. She will not stay in her room. The only person she semi listens to is my husband, but unfortunately, he works 6 days a week. The only other thing that will quell her fits is if someone from outside the family is around, which alerts me that she has some control over her emotions. She will not let a family friend see her fits, though she doesn’t worry about a complete stranger seeing it. I’m at a loss of what to do. I’m not sure where to turn.

  48. What do I do if none of these things work? My daughter is not comprehending anything and I need some advice. Please let me know what you think cause we have tried everything and none of it works.

  49. Thank you for sharing important information about ODD. I agree with some of the points in this article, but also believe that allowing children to earn privileges for appropriate behavior and following rules is an important part of any consistent plan when working with or raising a child with ODD. For articles on how to change negative behaviors to positive ones, for children with ODD, ADHD, and autism check out the behavior strategies section of educationandbehavior.com. As an example, check out the article “How to Get Your Kids to Listen to You and Show You Respect” at http://www.educationandbehavior.com/how-to-get-your-kids-to-listen-to-you-and-show-you-respect/.

  50. Thank you for the easy to understand definition of ODD and stressing the importance of staying calm, clear, and consistent. Working in schools, I have often seen educators become frustrated with children with ODD. The children pick up on that frustration which often leads to them acting out more. In turn the child gets punished. It is frustrating to me because a lot of these situations can be easily avoided.

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