It is developmentally appropriate and expected for children and adolescence to exhibit a certain level of oppositional behaviors occasionally. However, children who exhibit frequent and intense oppositional behaviors, more so than their same-aged peers, might meet diagnostic criteria for Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). Overall, children with ODD exhibit a consistent pattern of uncooperative, defiant, and/or hostile behaviors toward authority figures that interfere with relationships, academic performance, and the quality of life.
Common ODD symptoms include loss of temper, excessive arguing with adults, refusal to comply with directives, deliberately attempting to annoy others, blaming others for their own wrongdoings, easily agitated, anger outbursts, vindictiveness, and spitefulness. ODD can be effectively treated utilizing Parent Management Training (PMT), an evidence-based model of therapy that support caregivers in managing a child’s ODD symptoms. A combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and social skills training could also prove helpful. Medication management also cab be helpful in regulating mood-related problems and impulsive control. For more information on ODD, please visit Oppositional Defiant Disorder (aacap.org).