Oppositional Defiant Disorder

More Than Just Naughty: Dealing with Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Forty percent of children with ADHD also develop oppositional defiant disorder. Kids with ODD demonstrate consistently angry, violent, and disruptive behaviors toward authority figures. Learn how to regain control as a parent with these ODD strategies.

A child with ODD and ADHD will need specialized attention and a smart strategy to parent.
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Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Every parent of a child with attention deficit (ADHD or ADD) knows what it’s like to deal with behavior problems — your child saying no to requests or blurting out disrespectful retorts. Children with ADHD and ODD take defiant behavior to the extreme. They have a pattern of angry, violent, and disruptive behaviors toward parents, caretakers, and other authority figures. These children require smart, specific ODD strategies — and more than their fair share of patience.

A child with ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder sulks by her mother.
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ODD and ADHD: Stats and Facts

Forty percent of children with ADHD also develop ODD. Before puberty, ODD is more common in boys; after puberty, it is equally common in both genders. About half of all preschoolers diagnosed with ODD outgrow the problem by age eight. Older kids with ODD are less likely to outgrow it. ODD may persist into adulthood.

Parent Discipline to Deal with a child with ADHD and ODD
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ODD and ADHD: The Links

A child’s oppositional behaviors aren’t intentional. Experts think that ODD is linked to intense impulsivity. Not being able to control impulses, combined with the stress and frustration of trying to get on top of ADHD symptoms every day, lead some children to lash out, physically and verbally.

[Self-Test: Oppositional Defiant Disorder in Children]

ODD Diagnosis is Tricky: Parent Discipline when Dealing with a Child with ODD and ADHD
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An ODD Diagnosis Is Tricky

Every child will act out and test his boundaries. It may be hard to know whether a child is normally defiant or has ODD. Consult a therapist trained in childhood behavioral problems. He should also screen for anxiety and mood disorders — each of which may cause oppositional behavior. Left untreated, ODD can evolve into conduct disorder, a more serious behavioral problem.

Steps to Treating ODD: Parent Discipline When Dealing with a Child with ODD and ADHD
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Steps to Treating ODD

Treatment starts with controlling ADHD symptoms. When a child’s hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and inattention are reduced, there is usually an improvement in ODD symptoms. Stimulant medications have been shown to decrease ADHD symptoms, as well as those of ODD, by up to 50 percent.

Go Beyond Stimulants: Parent Discipline When Dealing with a Child with ODD and ADHD
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ODD Strategies

If a child doesn’t respond well to stimulants, some doctors prescribe the non-stimulant atomoxetine (brand name: Strattera). In one study, researchers found that the medication significantly reduced ODD and ADHD symptoms. However, higher doses of the medication were needed to control symptoms.

Change a Child's Behavior By Changing Yours: Parent Discipline When Dealing with a Child with ODD and ADHD
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Change a Child’s Behavior — by Changing Yours

The treatment of choice for ODD is parent-management training. Parents are taught to change their reactions to a child’s behavior — good and bad. Training involves using carrots and sticks — giving well-defined rewards and praise when your child cooperates, and consequences for misbehavior. Therapists will also work with a parent and child together to solve specific challenges.

[Free Download: Why Is My Child So Defiant?]

Discipline for ODD in 3 Steps: Parent Discipline When Dealing with a Child with ODD and ADHD
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Discipline in Three Steps

ODD experts find the following strategy effective for parents: Ask your child calmly to do something. If he doesn’t respond to you in two minutes, gently tell him, “I’m asking you a second time. Do you know what I’m asking you to do — and the consequences if you don’t? Please make a smart decision.” If you have to ask a third time, he suffers the pre-arranged consequence — no TV or video games for an hour.

Get Everyone on the Same Page: Parent Discipline When Dealing with a Child with ODD and ADHD
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Get Everyone on the Same Page

For behavior therapy to work, the child’s caregivers should use the same discipline strategies that you do. Grandparents, teachers, nannies, and other adults who spend time alone with your child must understand which carrots and sticks you use and, above all, use them consistently. If one of them gives into your child’s bad behavior, it can undermine your discipline program.

Do Not Take ODD Personally: Parent Discipline When Dealing with a Child with ODD and ADHD
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Do Not Take ODD Personally

It is hard for a parent to remain calm when a child is verbally abusing her, but don’t overreact. Yelling or spanking may worsen a child’s oppositional behaviors. Stay calm and emotionally neutral amid your child’s defiance. Oppositional kids have radar for adult hostility. If they pick up your anger, they’re going to match it.

Make Room for Praise: Parent Discipline When Dealing with a Child with ODD and ADHD
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Make Room for Praise

Helping parents learn to praise good behavior is one of the toughest challenges therapists face. Many parents are so focused on bad behavior that they stop reinforcing positive ones. A few tips: Specify the praiseworthy behavior, be enthusiastic while not overdoing it, and finish up with a non-verbal gesture — a kiss on the cheek or a hug.

Be Creative and Consistent: Parent Discipline When Dealing with a Child with ODD and ADHD
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Be Creative and Be Consistent

The more creatively you tailor your program of rewards and punishments to your child’s specific abilities and needs, the better. Her needs change as she grows. Creativity is important, but consistency is vital to success. Consistency in the way you treat your child — setting rules, conveying expectations — is the key to cleaning up your child’s ADD/ODD act.

[Facts About Oppositional Defiant Disorder and ADHD]

1 Related Link

  1. Are you at your wits end with your child’s behavior and wish there were a better answer? Please do not rule out that your child may be suffering from the MTHFR gene mutation. Here is my story. At the end I provide two links for additional resource information.

    What if it isn’t ADD, ADHD, ODD, (insert the DD)? What if, just what if…through a simple blood or saliva DNA test, you discover your child’s acting out, anger, raging, defiance, fidgeting, lack of attention, anxiety, depression or other medical term provided by the most current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), provided for insurance and counseling purposes, isn’t at all what your child may be suffering from? What if, through this simple DNA test you find that your child has a genetic mutation known as a Methyl-B Mutation (MTHFR) which is fully treatable without addictive drugs which can cause long-term negative side effects?

    I’m not a doctor, and I’m not selling anything. I recently found about this mutation following decades of my own depression that would evolve from depressive episodes that would last days, weeks, then eventually cause me to rage on a regular basis. For years, I had been in and out of therapy as time and money allowed. I wasn’t diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, etc. Doctors didn’t even have that term yet! Nope, I was diagnosed with, “Well, it could be PMS.” That was the new term of that decade! I had been on so many anti-depressants, beginning at the age of 22, I felt like an anti-depressant poster child. Some would work for a while, and then I would need to increase the dosage, or change the drug. Some, the side effects were not tolerable. Over the years, I would go through several doctors and specialists, never determining what was wrong with me.

    In 2016 I had reached a turning point, I was starting to have regular suicidal thoughts. I finally went to a naturopathic doctor who determined my issue within a month. I have the Methyl-B Mutation (MTHFR gene mutation). There are many different variations of the MTHFR depending on how it has been passed down from the parents. This helps determine the best way to treat and significantly decrease the effects of this mutation; and, usually without the effects of addictive drugs! Simply by using natural supplements and eating heathier. Notice I didn’t say that four-letter word, “DIET”; I said, “Eating healthier”!

    In layman’s terms, those of us with a MTHFR gene mutation have a highly reduced ability to convert folic acid or even folate into a usable form. Research estimates that as much as half of the population may have an MTHFR gene mutation. I don’t “methylate” (or I can easily over methylate) with B vitamins. I have to be very careful to avoid foods with synthetic folate or folic acid in my diet. (I found that if I eat anything with 20% or more folic acid [per serving] this is when I will experience rages and can go into days of depression). Several symptoms resulting from the mutation mirror other medical and mental issues such as ADD, ADHD, OCD, anxiety, depression, autism, etc. I started doing as much research as I could online and discovered that 30% or more of the population has this mutation (and increasing) and they don’t know it. It can lay dormant and stress as well as diet will cause it to flare up. A great resource I found online is Dr. Ben Lynch who states: “…I believe the MTHFR gene mutation is a highly significant public health problem that is completely ignored. Yet, millions are suffering from pulmonary embolisms, addictions, fibromyalgia, miscarriages, schizophrenia, severe depression, cancer and autism to name a few…:

    I also found an article online some time ago by a well-known heart surgeon who refers to this mutation as, “God’s way of providing us with a wake-up call of sorts. Telling us via our bodies that something is wrong and needs to be fixed.” Nearly all of our food is pre-packaged ‘enriched’, meaning all the original vitamins and minerals have been stripped in the processing. The food industry enriches the food, usually with synthetic substitutes because they are cheaper. Our bodies are not programmed to metabolize or digest these ingredients well and we are starting to see more and more people develop this mutation. Think of this the next time you hear about another angry teen who has attempted to hurt others, or has killed others. This mutation, gone unchecked, which can cause acute rages and depression in young children as well as adults, needs to be addressed. Society has accepted as “the norm” to not question physicians who immediately want to prescribe addictive drugs to children based on a few symptoms, rather than looking at the whole body and how genetics, diet and stress can be the culprit. In many cases, these drugs cause ill side effects as well as have long term harmful effects, making children (and adults) lives worse.

    I believe we are unknowingly killing our children out of convenience. If we are truly honest with ourselves, all we need to do is look at the stories and statistics. We did not have the child obesity rate we are experiencing today just 40 years ago. We did not have the issue with so many children being diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, ODD, (insert the DD). Current affairs are adding additional stresses we didn’t have. Additionally, more studies are showing the connection with depression and too much social media and online gaming our kids are involved with. Our kids are being bombarded with daily stressors and their diets are full of chemicals and additives. This is changing their/our genetics, and we need to become more pro-active with our children’s health. Remember I mentioned that if I get just 20% or more synthetic folic acid in a serving, I can experience rage and depression for days afterward? Did you know there is 50% folic acid in a serving of Cheerios?! Look at the ingredients of nearly every pre-packaged food. If there is a list of vitamins and minerals, particularly folic acid, you are being served mainly synthetics, because it is cheaper. Yes, convenience is killing our children.

    Doctor Lynch (who also has the MTHFR) was my go to resource when I first started researching this issue, and I have personally chosen to be an advocate for him to get the word out to as many individuals as I can about the MTHFR Mutation.

    You owe it to your child to not just accept the norm of being diagnosed with some sort of “DD” and prescribed addictive prescription drugs. Trust me; internally, your child is begging for a better answer. And if it’s not the MTHFR, then at least you know it for a fact, and you also know that you are doing EVERYTHING you can to help your child.

    Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I provide this as information only – my PSA!
    Good Mental Health!

    Dr. Ben Lynch at http://mthfr.net/


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