Oppositional Defiant Disorder
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Why Is My Child So Angry?!

Beaten down by your child's defiant behavior? Wondering why she's always in a rage? It could be oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), a condition that frequently occurs alongside ADHD. Stop the madness — and the violent outbursts — with these strategies for anger disorders in kids.

8 Comments: Why Is My Child So Angry?!

  1. It’s strange that you would quote Dr. Greene and then have behavioural therapy as the answer to ODD, along with some BS parent shaming commentary that kids with ODD have permissive or inconsistent parenting. Both of these are contrary to Dr. Greene’s well respected writing on this subject.

  2. We’ve been reading all these articles and at a loss thinking our child had ODD and still not knowing what to do! We recently discovered it was yellow food dyes causing the emotional outbursts, violent episodes and screaming. Cutting out food dyes, especially yellow has changed our son and our lives. We knew that food could exacerbate it but food dyes were never on our radar. Don’t know if this might help someone else, but with the chance it might, we wanted to share!

  3. I can definitely see everyone’s point about the seeming contradiction because I am the exact same way, however, when I read the article, searching for help with my son, who has ADHD and ODD, it made perfect sense. I have two children with ADHD. The one who does not have ODD doesn’t have as much of a problem starting the tasks, but gets lost or distracted so I can only give him one set of instructions at a time, i.e., “Take your socks to your drawer.” My middle son, who has both, will just outright NOT do it, out of defiance to me, and it is not the same thing as the trouble I have starting a meaningless task, such as the pile of dishes in the sink. He is just very independent and defies pretty much any demand. Does that make sense to anyone?

    1. This makes a lot of sense. I have inattentive ADHD along with my twins but my youngest son has ODD (getting ADDD testing but I’m positive he has it). I can tell my twins to do something and five minutes later it won’t be done because they got distracted by something on the way to do the task. They also just legitimately forget. They can also be redirected without a fight. That isn’t the case with my son who is ODD. He just instantly refuses and only wants to start on his own terms. Once my ODD’er does begin, thats when the ADHD comes into play, causing boredom or distraction. Once that boredom or distraction has become a factor, and I attempt at redirecting him to complete the task, ODD steps in right where it left off.

  4. I have read a decent bit of Russell Barkley’s work and have great respect for him, yet, I, too, am confused by this same quote in the article. (“ADHD isn’t a problem with starting a task, it’s a problem with finishing a task… If a child can’t start a task, that’s ODD.”) Barkley’s statement is problematic because it ignores the role weak executive functioning skills found in ADHD play, such as struggling with task initiation, not knowing how to begin, plan, prioritize or proceed. This article is very informative but this seems a flagrant contradiction noted by multiple readers; it would be wonderful to have Barkley respond to clear up this point.

  5. I had the same thought about starting a task and then realized that they are talking about children who have not yet gone through the countless frustrations of starting a task and never finishing one. So yes, if you have had ADHD for awhile, you could have problems starting a task.

  6. This article is very good. The only thing I have a hard time identifying with is the statement: ““ADHD isn’t a problem with starting a task, it’s a problem with finishing a task”. I find the only tasks that are easy for me to start are the ones that are new and/or exciting to me.
    All the other ones are hard to start. It doesn’t matter what, paying bills, brushing my teeth, getting dressed in the morning, tidying my room: I have to really fight with myself to get started. I haven’t found any really good strategies that work on that yet.

    Matter of fact, once I have started a task, I can manage my ADD by using strategies that work for me to keep my attention on it. I have more of those. So it’s only actually hard to finish tasks if they get interrupted. Then I have to find a way to get myself started on it again….*smile*

    So actually, for me, getting started is harder than keeping at it. It’s one of my greatest challenges.

    Does anyone else have those kind of difficulties?
    Does anyone else feel that way?

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