Children may go through a phase when they seem to be really strong-willed, or when they may be really difficult to handle. These challenges may be expected, especially when these are related to a child’s developmental stage. However, if the display of behavior is excessive, and if it has lasted for at least 6 months, it may already be due to a health condition.

Oppositional defiant disorder or ODD is a condition that is characterized by patterns of defiant, angry, and uncooperative behavior in children. These behaviors are usually directed to people in authority. Oftentimes, the behavior may disrupt a child’s activities for the day, whether it be school or family related. It is estimated that around 2 to 16 percent of children and teens have ODD, and it typically begins when a child turns 8 years old.

The behaviors associated with ODD are:

– Negativitiy
– Defiance
– Disobedience
– Hostility towards people in authority

A child with ODD may constantly show these symptoms:

– Frequent temper tantrums
– Argumentativeness with adults
– Deliberately annoying other people
– Refusal to obey rules or requests by adults
– Anger
– Easily annoyed
– Aggression towards peers
– Vindictive behavior or may always seek revenge
– Academic problems

The cause of ODD is not clear, but it may be due to some contributing causes like genetics or a child’s inherent nature. It may also be due to the family’s way of responding to a child’s behavior, or it may also be due to a child’s perception that he is not getting enough attention. Biochemical or neurological factors may also play a role.

ODD is a complex problem, and parents need to seek medical help so that proper treatment can be done. It is also possible that ODD can occur along with other health conditions like ADHD or depression. Thus, treatment may vary depending on the case, and factors like the age of a child, severity of symptoms, or a child’s ability to tolerate a particular therapy. Doctors may also make referrals to psychologists, or child development professionals.

It is very important for parents to also know how to handle challenging circumstances. It may help if parents take steps to strengthen the relationship, and at the same time help a child improve his behavior. Try to be effective in giving time-outs, and try not to be involved in power struggles with your child. Establish a daily routine, and try to offer simple choices even with the simple things. This will give your child a sense of control over things. Never fail to appreciate and praise your child for positive behavior, and try to be consistent in setting limits. More importantly, spend quality time with your child to make sure that he gets enough attention from his parents.

Although these strategies are very basic, parents may have difficulty applying these because of a child’s behavior. If you think you are having difficulty coping, you may also get counseling so that you can effectively deal with your child’s behavior. Parents need to work closely with health care providers, so that a child gets all the support that he needs. If you think that your child is exhibiting similar symptoms, try to seek medical help right away.