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Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Children and adolescents with this problem usually exhibit a pattern of defiant and disobedient behavior, including resistance to authority figures. However, this behavior pattern is not as severe as conduct disorder. The behavior pattern may include recurrent temper problems, frequent arguements, especially with adults, and evidence of anger and resentment. Additionally, the defiant child or adolescent will often try to annoy others, and will become easily annoyed by others. When mistakes are made, he/she will almost always blame others, avoiding taking responsibility for mistakes. Active defiance of adult authority is common, and the child or adolescent may also display vindictive behavior. 

The child may be stubborn and unwilling to compromise, but you will usually not see the more severe acts of aggression that are common with a conduct disturbance. This problem is fairly common, occurring in between 2 percent and 16 percent of children and adolescents. In younger children, it is more common in boys, but during adolescence, it occurs as often in boys and girls. The onset is usually gradual, and the severity of behavior problems increases over time. Some children will eventually develop a conduct disturbance, if the oppositional disorder is left untreated.

Generally, treatment for oppositional disorder requires a combination of counseling for the child, and parental training in behavior management techniques.  Often, parents become too severe in reacting to the child, out of frustration.  This causes their efforts to become ineffective, as the child ignores the punishment. If a child believes s/he cannot "be good" the child will stop trying.

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