Adolescents are naturally “rebellious”. This is most probably because they want to become independent, or to feel free or untethered to their parents or guardians. This is not as bad as it sounds because the lessons that they learn from this particular stage of their lives will be useful later on. But, sometimes teens tend to overdo things and end up in a bad place like getting kicked out of school, having trouble with the law and hurting people including him/herself instead of learning valuable lessons. There are a few explanations for this, one of which is ODD.
Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a mental disorder that is most common among children and adolescents that is characterized by an ongoing pattern of negative, irritable, antagonistic angry and/or vindictive behavior against parents or authority figures.
For a child to be diagnosed with ODD, he or she must display four or more of the following for at least six consecutive months:
- often loses his/her temper
- often argues with adults
- often actively defies or refuses to comply with adults’ requests or rules
- often deliberately annoys people
- often blames others for his/her mistakes or misbehavior
- is often touchy or easily annoyed by others
- is often angry and resentful
- is often spiteful or vindictive
- misbehaves frequently
- swears or uses obscene language
- has a low opinion of him/herself
Other observable symptoms can be present such as:
- learning problems
- a depressed mood
- substance abuse or dependence
- dramatic and erratic behavior
If these symptoms are present, parents should consult a professional as soon as possible before it evolves into a much more complicated and much more serious disorder.
Though there are tips that parents can follow to alleviate the disorder like:
- Choose battles by setting priorities regarding child’s behavior.
- Set reasonable, age-appropriate limits with consistently enforceable consequences.
- Work with teachers, coaches, and other family members for support in dealing with the child with ODD.
- Use positive reinforcement praise when the child displays desired behaviors.
- Take time to manage stress by exercising and/or relaxing away from the child.
Help from professional therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist would be more effective.