In today’s modern world, we are understanding more and more about the human brain and body with learning and behaviour disorders being identified and diagnosed at earlier ages. There are many different learning disorders that affect children. The one we will be shedding some light on is called Oppositional Defiant Disorder, also known as ODD. Although it is typical for young children to be oppositional and defiant some of the time, when does it go beyond ‘just a phase?’
Research has shown that children diagnosed with ODD have a well-established pattern that goes beyond typical temper tantrums.
Some of the associated behaviours and symptoms may include:
- Easily being annoyed by others
- Questioning and refusing to follow rules
- Blaming others for mistakes
- Having the tendency to argue with authority figures
- Often losing their temper
- Quickly feeling irritated
- Deliberately annoying others
- Being vindictive or unkind
- Doing things to upset others
If you are a parent, you will recognise that all children tend to have these symptoms from time to time. However, what differentiates ODD from typical defiant behaviour is the severity, how long it has been going on for and how it affects relationships. If children only behave a certain way in one environment such as only at home, then their behaviour is caused by an external trigger. If the child is engaging in inappropriate behaviours consistently across all settings (school and home for example), and not able to enjoy a typical functioning life, then it would be recommended to see a qualified mental health expert. ODD is also tough on family members, so having some family rules and parenting strategies in place is a great way to start to help manage quality of life for all.
There are several strategies that can be adopted by parents to help support their child at home such as: