Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) in Children: Care Instructions

Skip to the navigation

Your Care Instructions

Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a pattern of hostile behaviour by children and teens toward their parents or other authority figures. A child or teen may argue about rules and lose his or her temper. Kids with this disorder may annoy others on purpose. They may blame others for their mistakes. They may also be overly sensitive, angry, resentful, or vengeful.

Most kids rebel against authority as they grow up. But when a child goes beyond the normal level of defiance, it can cause serious problems within a family. And it can cause problems at school or work.

ODD behaviour in some children and teens can get worse. It can lead to conduct disorder. Children with conduct disorder may have a pattern of lying, stealing, and cheating. They may skip school or run away from home. They may also harm animals, property, and other people. It is important to treat ODD early. Treatment can keep the problems from getting worse. Your doctor may advise that your child have a full examination by a psychiatrist. This examination will look for other conditions, such as a learning disability or mood disorder, that may also need treatment.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Help your child find a counsellor he or she trusts. Encourage your child to talk openly and honestly about his or her problems.
  • Make sure your child goes to all counselling appointments.
  • Talk to your child. Help your child learn that it is okay to be angry or upset at times. Teach healthy ways to work through those feelings.
  • Teach your child ways to express anger that do not hurt others. Do not reward angry or violent behaviour.
  • Try using "time-out" to stop aggressive behaviour. Time-out means that you remove your child from a stressful situation for a short period of time.
  • Talk to your doctor about parent education classes or helpful books about child behaviour.
  • Talk with other parents about the ways they cope with behaviour issues.
  • Talk to your doctor about family therapy. This can help the rest of your family to deal better with a child with ODD.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You are so frustrated with your child that you are afraid you might hurt him or her.
  • You are afraid your child might hurt you or another family member.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You want tips to help your child control his or her behaviour.
  • You want to see a behaviour counsellor.
  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

Enter B766 in the search box to learn more about "Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) in Children: Care Instructions".