Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Oppositional Defiant Disorder and ADHD

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How To Curtail Oppositional Defiant Behavior

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is a troublesome pattern of defiant, disobedient and hostile behavior in kids and teenagers, toward authority figures that continues for a period of at least six months. The base prevalence rate for ODD is somewhere between 1 and 16 percent, yet surveys from non-clinical samples range between 6 and10 percent. So, at minimum, 1 to 16 percent of kids and teens in school (or of school-age) has ODD. Also, the disorder most frequently appears in boys in multiple contexts, and manifests before the age of 8 years.

Behaviors included in ODD are:

• argues excessively with adults and authority figures
• blames others
• can be manipulative, spiteful and revenge-seeking
• does not take responsibility for behavior
• gets annoyed and angry easily
• intentionally annoys others
• intentionally defies and disobeys requests and questions rules
• is stubborn
• refuses to follow rules

The youngster may say hurtful or mean things when angry, with frequent temper tantrums. 50 to 65 percent of kids with ODD also have the comorbid diagnosis of ADHD.

A youngster with ODD can be a challenge to live with. You may fear that saying the slightest thing will set off a tantrum or lead to physical violence toward you or another family member. When you have a youngster with ODD, your daily life can become seriously disrupted. Leaving the youngster with a babysitter is often out of the question, so the moms and dads' social life is severely curtailed or ceases to exist altogether. It is not uncommon to dislike your ODD youngster, even though you still love him.

When asked to do something, the defiant youngster is likely to do the opposite and can be stubborn or argumentative. While this is true of all kids at times, the defiant youngster exhibits these behaviors more often than his peers. He may be resistant to change as well as being persistent and a perfectionist.

Here are 12 crucial tips for moms and dads who have ODD kids and/or teens:

1. Avoid physical punishment. Hitting a youngster who is angry often makes him angrier. If you remain calm and rational in the face of his anger, it sends the message that he can't push your buttons and incite you to match his rage.

2. Choose your battles, but fight the ones that are important. A youngster with ODD often knows you're walking on eggshells around him. He knows he controls the household with his tantrums. Standing your ground on certain issues will show him that his negative behavior will not always get him what he wants. Be determined to keep your cool, no matter how difficult it is.

3. Give praise where praise is due. When your youngster does something you have requested or excels at something, tell him you're proud of him. Reinforce the good behavior as strongly as you punish the negative.

4. Go to family therapy. A youngster who constantly pushes your buttons may be playing on your own codependency issues. Not only will therapy help you deal with these issues, it will show your youngster that you're serious about the need to improve his behavior and that you support him in doing so.

5. Identify sources of stress. An estimated 40 percent of kids with ADHD experience ODD. If undiagnosed in your youngster, ADHD can cause your youngster stress because he cannot concentrate and is often getting in trouble. You have to address the source of the stress---the ADHD symptoms---before turning to behavioral issues.

6. Model good behavior. You are your youngster's best role model---for this reason, you should make efforts to exhibit the behaviors you desire for your youngster to act out. Keep calm and make efforts to avoid disagreements, aggressive physical behavior and combativeness with your youngster. To continue to remain patient, you should always take some time for yourself each day. Taking a walk, reading a good book or meditating can help to clear your mind and re-energize you.

7. Seek outside support. Parenting a defiant youngster can be stressful for moms and dads. Because a defiant youngster can often be out of control and disobedient, he needs parents who are calm and nurturing. However, the behaviors of a defiant youngster can take a toll on his parents’ mental health and even their marriage. This stress can put moms and dads at odds with each other as they try to find effective parenting strategies. Parents may seek outside support and intervention. Counseling and therapy for both the parents and the youngster can provide guidance so that the family dynamic is more positive. The goal is to have the important people in the youngster's life feel strong and supported so that the youngster has the same set of rules, expectations and parenting strategies.

8. Set clear limits and consequences. Be consistent, and don't back down. This gives the youngster clear structure and boundaries.

9. When possible, spend unstructured time together. Defiance can be the result of stress in your youngster. Spending time doing an enjoyable activity together can reduce stress and be a positive influence in your youngster's life. Allow your youngster to select a favorite activity, and perform it together for 15 minutes each day. This helps your youngster to see you as a caring mother or father---not as a parent who is frustrated or upset with him.

10. Take time for yourself. Moms and dads of defiant kids can easily become frustrated, weary or angry at their youngster. Because your defiant youngster needs a nurturing, caring parent, these feelings can reduce your parenting effectiveness. For this reason, you should always take some time for yourself each day. Whether taking a nap, reading a favorite book or listening to music, these activities allow you to recapture a calm spirit and help you to better cope with your defiant youngster.

11. Use positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is valuable for your youngster because it rewards him for good behavior instead of punishing him for bad. This includes teaching your youngster the best way to behave at home and at school, and rewarding him with praise when he performs well. The praise should be such that he desires to continue modeling good behaviors. Explain specifically what your youngster did well and respond enthusiastically, which will enhance your youngster's self-esteem. When he does not model good behavior, use patience and remain calm when attempting to correct the behavior. Always explain the consequences your youngster will experience if he does not behave correctly. This can include a time-out or reducing a reward for the day.

12. Watch for triggers that may set off your oppositional and angry youngster. If you know that certain things bother him, head them off before they're presented. Moms and dads and teachers can watch carefully for the signs and causes of oppositional behavior to avoid the triggers in the future.

Though all kids have defiant moments, if there is a consistent pattern of defiant behavior that appears worse than other kids and affects your youngster's social or academic abilities, he may have ODD.

==> Parenting Oppositional Defiant Children and Teens


Anonymous said...

Just a quick email to say thanks! My wife and I had reached our breaking point and your website was exactly what we needed. We were spending $25.00 co pay with the local psychiatrist, and not getting much needed results. BTW, our son has both ADHD and ODD and is 12 years old. Each day our son tests our sanity, and yes we both are very authoritarian. From what we've seen so far, me and my wife have been pleasantly surprised. We started session one, week one last night. Right now we are having a problem getting our son motivated for school each morning. He spends 1/2 hour each day in the shower, doesn't even get in the tub to bath, misses breakfast, then barely makes it to the bus stop. He says he gets sleep each night and we give him melatonin? So, I'm going to try your fair fighting, problem solve statement with him tonight. He was so late for school …he didn't have time to hear me rap out the statement. My wife and I look forward to your program. So far it was definitely worth the money and I wanted to send an email to say thank you.
I'll send you another follow up email and let you know how we make out. Again, so far we are really pleased.
Matt and Susa

Anonymous said...

Hello Mr. Hutten,

I'm a teacher in Wainwright Alberta, who is in the process of adopting a 12 year old child from Alberta's waiting children. The boy that has been grouped with my profile, has ADHD and undiagnosed ODD and Conduct Disorder. I'm not anywhere near being matched with him, but I have made a motion to gain more information about him and his wish to be placed with a family. I do want to adopt him, because he and my profiles are highly similar in the form of activities and persuits.

I've been doing some research and have found that there seems to be a link in CD and ODD if the parents were physically abusive. Is that true? And if so, if a child from an abusinve background, were placed with a family that is not abusive at all, even to the point of not yelling when angry, would the child with disorders such as CD and ODD be able to gradually ease away from the behaviours in the disorders, or would they still manifest in the child/preteen/teen regardless.

Thanks so much, and keep being an angel to those that you help.


Anonymous said...

I subscribed because of my 8th grade granddaughter. My step-daughter called me this morning to tell me that child protective services came to her house last evening and made her and the step-father feel like criminals. She was trying to figure out who to call to help them but Katy got there first, or someone close to Katy outside the home who listened to her untrue stories. Yes, they turned her door around so the lock is on the outside and yes, they have locked her in when she is acting out that famous “Exorcist” head rotation and tried to leave the house. I told them to take the door off before but now they see they need to so they aren’t abusive. So CPS is returning and I thought I would search the web for some advice. I sent your web site and told Pam to read as much as she could because I could see there was some usable free advice. I am going back to your site to see what else I can come up with to send to her. I know she is really upset today because they have been at wit’s end since school started and have this defiant child talking back to them on everything.

Of course when I talk to Katy or see her, she is not out-of-control, but it’s not that often due to distance and I know from other children I have seen over the years, that this type of child is a great manipulator.

I remember when my mom use to say “where did I go wrong” and what my sister and I was so silly compared to anything I’ve seen as an adult. My mom couldn’t even remember anything we did that was truly bad. What Katy does is most memorable. And yes, I believe her mom.

Thanks for listening.



Anonymous said...

We have a strong willed child !!!!!!!! he is diagnosed odd/conduct disorder. His therapist which has seen him since he has been 14 says he knows what he has to do and the only way he learns is by knowing he has harsh consequence like being on Probation.

When he was 14 he went to Juvenile Detention for running away and he now does not run away anymore !!!! BUT HIS DISRESPECT AND LASHING OUT VERBALLY AND FOLLOWS US AROUND THE HOUSE WHEN HE DOES NOT GET WHAT HE WANTS IS HORRIFYING. He has just started now recently when we stop the arguing and don't talk to him anymore, when we say "this discussion is over now" he reverts to turning off our computer and turning off the TV, standing in our way not letting us go by. Putting his foot in the door when we close the door in order to stop the arguing. It always ends up calling the police because he does not stop provoking us. When the police come out they never do anything because he has not broken the law and so now our son laughs in our face as we are calling "Your stupid, they are just going to be here one hour and leave and do nothing" - well, this last time they finally did take him in for incorrigible and criminal mischief (turning off and standing in front of us) and we have had today being our second visit.

He is still completely entitled, that he does nothing wrong that his only issues he has is at home because we don't give him the freedom he wants. And that we don't see that we have to change not him.

We tell him, all we ask is that you call or text when you go somewhere else other than the first place. It is our responsibility as parents to know where you are at at all times. He feels that is tooo much for him to do that that he is old enough (he will be 17 in April )

He also has this 18 yr old girlfriend that they have been construing together and he wants to move out with her this summer !!!! He is in 11th grade and we know as parents that that would be setting him up for failure !!!! Plus, we are responsible for him anyway !!!

He's mad because we won't get him his license but with his disrespectful and arguing over every little item or thing we ask of him - we even made a contract that if he can keep by his Birthday - see our contract -


Driving privileges will be earned if the following takes place, from now till your 17th Birthday.

· Obey all School rules as well as towards friends or girfriends.

· All request to come home by parents to be followed timely.

· Tell parents where you are at all times/ as well as when you change locations.

· Complete respect to your parents and elders.

· No complaining about having to have dinners or family time at home or to go somewhere with family as well as helping family with chores or other requests. (Family comes First)

· No verbal harrassing or intimidating or debating with us. (Police will not come out one time)

· Be mature when "No" directive has been given.

· Must maintain employment.

· Grades and homework to remain current and turned in.

· No Smoking or doing drugs-passing all drug tests given.


Sorry for the long email. This is coming from struggeling parents who have been married for 20 years. We are the biological parents even !!!!!! No divorced parents !!! ha ha
Imagine that !!!!
I would love to hear your opinion because we never know if we are being toooo hard to not hard enough.

Mark said...

Re: I would love to hear your opinion because we never know if we are being toooo hard to not hard enough.

You're definitely not being too hard.

I'm a little concerned about some of the vague descriptions in the contract though (e.g, "Be mature when...").

A better phrase might be "no using profanity, yelling, or refusing to do as requested" when...

Please refer to the ebook for directions on how to be more specific in your "rules description".


Anonymous said...

have a son 20 yrs old who is Adopted and he had been diagnosed since he
was about 10 yrs old (grade 6) as having highly oppositional defiant
behavior. It's been a real struggle for us as we tried to get him as much
help as possible.
He has all the problems listed in your information issue:
He's Dishonest, Disrespectful, Temper tantrums, arguments (over the silliest
things). Blames others or us for his problems or situations that he has.
He's very angry and resentful and spiteful and vindictive.

I thought after he finished school (as he blamed the school for all his
anger) that things might get better. But it's not he turns and interputs
things the opposite of what it is. When he was younger he would tell me
that he will do the opposite of what I Would ask him. I would just say or
you are just teasing me. Now I know it's a big problem even more so now
that he is out of school, as it affects his job and him keeping a job and
also communicating with other people with who he works with or has a
relationship with.

He gets very very angry when things don't go his way, he trys to be very
controlling in a relationship, he then feels bad and wants to make up but
has lost a lot of good friends from his tantrums and angry outbursts and his

He will not go to a councellor or professional help to get himself
straightened out.

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