Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Oppositional Defiant Disorder:

This disorder is characterized by young people who seem to argue everything. They may refuse to clean their room, feed the dog, or do homework. They may agree and then not follow-up on your request.

While many young people can be stubborn or be strongly independent, which makes raising them difficult and argumentative, these do not always apply to ODD. Teenagers, for instance, will be defiant in order to establish their individual identity separate from what Mom and Dad want. Within limits that are not destructive to things, other people, themselves or their future, this is relatively normal, despite what a drag it may be to live through.

ODD usually starts at an earlier age than 16 or 17; however, maturity is not equal to one’s chronological age. In other words, a 12-year-old young person’s maturational age may be more like that of a 9- or 10-year old. This difference in chronological age versus maturational age can lead to misunderstandings at home and conflicts with peer and teachers in school. Grades may or may not be affected at all.

Pushing a parent to the extreme, these young people may not respond to consequences. They may flaunt punishment in your face and use phrases such as, “I don’t want to,” and, “I don’t have to,” or still worse, “You can’t make me.”

Parents, there is hope. The treatment takes time, but is effective. Once a young person becomes empowered, to relearn acceptance of limits and boundaries can be difficult, but is achievable. Teaching parents new ways to work with these young people is always a part of the treatment plan for people with Oppositional Defiant Disorder.