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What Oppositional Defiant Disorder Looks Like Throughout Childhood

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is defined as a recurrent pattern of negativistic, defiant, disobedient, and hostile behavior toward authority figures that persists for at least 6 months. Behaviors included in the definition are as follows: refusing to follow rules; losing one's temper; deliberately annoying other people; blaming others for one's own mistakes or misbehavior; being touchy, easily annoyed or angered; being resentful, spiteful, or vindictive; arguing with grown-ups; and actively defying requests

Here’s what ODD looks like throughout childhood:

Preschool—
  • family instability, including economic stress, parental mental illness, harshly punitive behaviors, inconsistent parenting practices, multiple moves, and divorce, may also contribute to the development of oppositional and defiant behaviors
  • temperamental factors, such as irritability, impulsivity, and intensity of reactions to negative stimuli, may contribute to the development of a pattern of oppositional and defiant behaviors in later childhood
  • when the parent punishes the youngster, the youngster learns to respond to threats
  • when the mother or father fails to punish the youngster, the youngster learns that he or she does not have to comply
  • the youngster's defiant behavior tends to intensify the parents' harsh reactions
  • moms and dads respond to misbehavior with threats of punishment that are inconsistently applied
  • interactions of a youngster who has a difficult temperament and irritable behavior with moms and dads who are harsh, punitive, and inconsistent usually lead to a coercive, negative cycle of behavior in the famil
  • these patterns are established early, in the youngster's preschool years; left untreated, pattern development accelerates, and patterns worsen

School-age—
  • they lack the skills to solve social conflicts
  • they blame their peers (e.g., "He made me hit him.")
  • these kids may be more likely to misinterpret their peers' behavior as hostile
  • noncompliance with commands
  • kids with patterns of oppositional behavior tend to express their defiance with educators and other grown-ups and exhibit aggression toward their peers
  • kids with ODD and poor social skills often do not recognize their role in peer conflicts
  • in problem situations, kids with ODD are more likely to resort to aggressive physical actions rather than verbal responses
  • failure to take responsibility for one's own actions
  • emotional overreaction to life events, no matter how small
  • as kids with ODD progress in school, they experience increasing peer rejection due to their poor social skills and aggression
  • ODD behavior may escalate and result in serious antisocial actions that, when sufficiently frequent and severe, become criteria to change the diagnosis to conduct disorder

NOTE: When many kids with behavioral problems and academic problems are placed in the same classroom, the risk for continued behavioral and academic problems increases.

==> Effective Disciplinary Techniques for Oppositional, Defiant Teens 

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