What Oppositional Defiant Disorder May Look 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
  • actively defying requests

Here’s what ODD looks like throughout childhood:

  • 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

  • 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 

Why We Are Seeing Our Young People Commit Horrific Violent Acts

“Why are so many of our young people turning to senseless acts of violence these days… why are we seeing such an epidemic of mass shootings …why …why?!”

Several things have occurred in recent years that appear to have created the perfect storm for mass shootings. In no particular order, mass shooters tend to have the following commonalities:

1.    All mass shooters had the means to carry out their violent act (in most cases, purchasing their weapons through legal avenues). 

2.    Most mass shooters reach an identifiable crisis point in the months leading up to the shooting.

3.    There was both a means and an opportunity to carry out the crime in all cases.

4.    Most had experienced trauma or exposure to violence in childhood (e.g., teasing, bullying, and/or ostracization by their peer group, physical and/or sexual abuse, parental suicide, neglect, domestic violence, etc.).

5.    Most felt 100% justified in carrying out the shooting (i.e., they honestly thought they were “doing the right thing”).

6.    Most become angry, despondent and violent because of a specific grievance (in the El Paso case, having a serious problem with Latino immigrants). Other examples of specific grievances include relationship rejection (or some other type of loss), a change in job status, feeling belittled or shamed by certain individuals, etc.

7.    Mental health concerns are often present (e.g., thought disorders, suicidality, depression, anxiety, etc.).

8.    Many of these shooters have been radicalized online (i.e., they study other perpetrators and model their violent acts after previous shootings).

9.    Most had studied the actions of other shooters and pursued validation for their motives, which might explain why we had 2 mass shooting back-to-back (i.e., mass shootings tend to be socially contagious – they come in clusters).

10.    In many cases, the shooter communicated to others through (a) specific threats of violence (e.g., via Facebook and Twitter), (b) an expression of suicidal thoughts or plans, or (c) a marked change in behavior.

11.    At some point prior to the shooting, many decided that life was no longer worth living and that killing others would be appropriate revenge, which might explain why they have either expected to be killed by police during the episode, or took their own lives immediately after they completed their evil task.

In summary, it appears that the core issue for these individuals revolves around mental health problems – specifically starting in childhood!

==> Effective Disciplinary Techniques for Oppositional, Defiant Teens

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