Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is more than when a child misbehaves or is ‘naughty’. ODD requires a persistent pattern of defiant behaviour that is present across multiple settings and with multiple people. For example, ODD is not an appropriate diagnosis when the child only misbehaves for one parent but is well behaved for everybody else. Rather the child would be defiant at school, and at home, and with parents and teachers, etc. Further, the oppositional behaviour should be consistently present for at least six months.
Signs of ODD
- Often angry and resentful
- Easily annoyed by others
- Actively defying requests
- Refusing to comply with requests or rules
- Deliberately annoying others
- Blaming others for his or her mistakes or misbehaviour
- Behaving in a spiteful or vindictive manner
Treatment for Oppositional and Defiant Behaviour
ODD can be successfully treated with behaviour therapy (i.e., behaviour management strategies). This involves an equal focus on reducing undesirable aspects of the child’s behaviour and building on positive aspects of their behaviour. At the outset of treatment, a thorough analysis will be conducted of the child’s behaviour patterns in different environments, the discipline methods used, and the child’s response to this discipline. Parents and teachers are then taught a variety of strategies that involve setting clear rules and expectations for the child’s behaviour, firm and consistent limits on inappropriate behaviours, and regular rewards for appropriate behaviours. Successful treatment depends heavily on the active participation and commitment of the parents and other caregivers.
Please also read our information about Treatment for Behaviour Problems and Aggression in Children here, which is very similar to Treatment for ODD.
If you would like to find out more about our treatment for Oppositional Defiant Disorder, or to book an appointment with one of our child clinical psychologists who provides treatment for this condition, please email or call the clinic on 02 9438 2511.