Oppositional Defiant Disorder


Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

Creative Living Center is here to help you when you find yourself overwhelmed and confused by your child’s persistent defiance. ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) can occur in children of many different ages and can cause a lot of discomfort and tension for parents. Creative Living Center is here to help you respond to your child’s defiance in a loving, firm, and healthy way.   


ODD is an ongoing pattern of uncooperative, unruly, defiant, and hostile behavior displayed towards authority figures, which interferes with the child’s day to day functioning in a negative way.

All children are oppositional from time to time (oppositional behavior is most likely during times when a child is hungry, stressed or upset, or during a child’s years as a toddler or early adolescent). However, for most children, normal bouts of defiance are usually tempered and do not seriously impact their social functioning and day to day experiences. 

Symptoms to look for: 
  • Arguing with adults excessively
  • Frequent questioning of rules & boundaries
  • Refusal to comply with adult requests and rules
  • Many deliberate attempts to annoy or upset people
  • Child blames others for his or her own mistakes & behavior, accepting little ownership.
  • Child is often easily annoyed by others and/ or touchy
  • Frequent anger and resentment displayed
  • Frequent temper tantrums
  • Child talks meanly when upset
  • Revenge seeking and Spiteful attitude
  • Negativity in Adolescents 


More Characteristics of ODD:

ODD is: 

  • A constant day to day issue
  • Is excessive compared with what is usual for the child’s age
  • Is disruptive to the family, at school,and in other community settings
  • Often (but not always) directed toward authority figures: parents, teachers, principals, coaches
  • Girls may show the symptoms of ODD differently than boys do.




    • Girls are more likely to express aggressiveness through words (including lying) and other indirect ways rather than actions
    • Boys often argue with adults and lose their temper.
  • May co-exist with other disorders 

What causes ODD

ODD is held to be caused by a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors. ODD is more likely to occur in families with a history of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), substance use disorders, or mood disorders (such as depression or bipolar disorder), however, it can also occur in families with none of these traits. Research has also suggested that some children with ODD have subtle differences in the areaof their brain associated with reasoning, judgement and impulse control.

Some major and preventable links to ODD are:

  • Lack of structure or parental supervision
  • Inconsistent discipline
  • Exposure to abuse or community violence 


How does ODD affect my child?

ODD children may have trouble accurately identifying and interpreting social clues from peers. Specifically, children with ODD will often see hostile intent in situations that are non-hostile. This gap in learning may impact their social, academic and cognitive functioning later on in life if not faced early on.  During the time of ODD, a child may experience a variety of emotions such as anger and resentment, however, emotions will differ greatly from person to person. 

Does ODD get better or go away over time?

For many children ODD will go away after time. For about 67% of all children ODD symptoms will resolve within 3 years. However many children may develop conduct disorders. ODD that is not treated may eventually resolve on its own, but may put the child at a higher risk of developing other disorders later on in life.