Oppositional Defiant Disorder

What is Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)?

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A frequent display of defiant, argumentative, and negative behaviors may be a sign of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) in children or adolescents. These challenging behaviors are usually present in a variety of settings, such as home and school. Children and adolescents with ODD often seem angry and can be disruptive and disrespectful toward others. However, their behaviors are typically not dangerous, destructive, criminal, or aggressive (see fact sheet on Conduct Disorder). Children with ODD display a number of signs and symptoms including, but not limited to:

  • Frequent arguing with adults
  • Refusal to comply with rules or requests by adults or other authority figures
  • Blaming others for one’s own mistakes or misbehavior
  • Behavior that is deliberately annoying or irritating to others
  • Sudden, unprovoked anger and/or temper outbursts
  • Spiteful and/or vindictive behavior
  • Swearing or using obscene language

ODD may look different in each child, but typically consists of several of the above behaviors. It is not uncommon for children with ODD to be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and have a history of early behavioral difficulties. Some children with ODD may go on to develop behaviors associated with Conduct Disorder.

To learn more about recognizing and treating disruptive behavior in children, please click here to watch a brief interview with an expert.

This sounds like my child! What can I do?

If you recognize any of these challenges in your child, call us at 305-348-0477 or request information at ccf@fiu.edu to learn more.

  • Schedule an assessment – ODD can be diagnosed by one of our mental health providers at the Center for Children and Families (CCF). Using carefully validated interviews, our clinicians, counselors, and staff can determine whether the symptoms your child is experiencing are related to ODD or another condition.
  • Seek appropriate care – Many psychosocial therapies have been shown to effectively reduce difficulties common in children with ODD. The CCF provides a number of these well-researched services – also known as evidence-based treatments – through our many clinical and research programs. Some medications also have been shown to help reduce the difficulties associated with ADHD in children who also have ODD.
    • Behavioral Parent Training Programs – one of the most researched and established treatments for ODD in young children and typically helps parents 1) improve the quality of the relationship with their child, 2) increase ability to monitor and supervise their child, and 3) use more effective discipline strategies.
    • Contingency Management Programs – 1) establish clear behavioral goals that gradually shape a child’s behavior in areas of specific concern, 2) develop a system to monitor whether the child is reaching these goals, 3) have a system to reinforce appropriate steps toward reaching these goals, and 4) provide consequences for inappropriate behavior.
    • Cognitive-Behavioral Skills Training – designed for use with older children to overcome difficulties understanding social situations and use problem solving to help improve relationships with others.
    • Stimulant Medication – has been effective in reducing behaviors related to ADHD that are often present in children and ODD.