When children persistently display irrational, rebellious behavior, and anger at authority figures over extended periods, their performance may be attributed to “oppositional defiant disorder” (ODD). This form of conduct disorder, which may also be displayed in early adolescence, is characterized by aggression, irritability, disobedience, and argumentativeness that exceed normal or expected behaviors. In order to qualify as ODD, these patterns of behavior must continue for at least six months and significantly impair a person’s daily functioning. Symptoms, which include frequent lying, persistent stealing, vandalism, and aggressive or violent behavior, often emerge when a child is six to eight years old. The disorder can vary from mild to severe and must be diagnosed by a mental health professional.

Sometimes it’s difficult to recognize the difference between a strong-willed or emotional child and one with ODD. It’s normal to exhibit oppositional behavior at certain stages of a child’s development. Signs of ODD generally begin during preschool years, but sometimes it may develop in the teen years. Plains Area Mental Health’s compassionate counselors are here to help. Call one of our offices today or take our free online assessment on this website.

P.S. Psychotherapy is a popular treatment option for oppositional defiant disorder, with treatment tailored to each individual.