Children with ODD seem angry a lot.  They blame others for their mikstakes, act in negative or hostile ways and they frequently and deliberately disobey the rules and requests of adults.  They argue with adults and seem resentful.  These children are touchy and easily annoyed and will make almost any activity seem more difficult than it should be.

Most children and teens will display these behaviors at times.  In fact, most teenagers behave in this manner a lot!  But, it is developmentally normal for teenagers to try to set their own limits, detach from their parents and get into some minor trouble.  

Oppositional Defiant Disorder is a little differnet that the occasional demonstration of these symptoms.  In order to meet the criteria for ODD, this behavior has to be present consistently over several months.  Although ODD is listed as a mental disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, this is a LEARNED behavior.  Either the child has learned how to behave this way because the parents accidentally taught him how to behave that way, or the child could be reacting to legitimate anger about loss, grief, divorce or family dysfunction.

Other disorders such as ADHD, anxiety, depression and bi-polar disorder have their roots in brain chemistry.  Often medication is suggested when other techniques aren’t helping to try to balance the chemicals and stabalize problematic moods and behaviors.  There is no medication that can correct these symptoms.
With Oppositional Defiant Disorder, the only fix is for the parents to change their parenting into a consistent, positive, encouragement model to help the child re-learn more appropriate behaviors.  Often, anger management and social skills training for the child (and the parents) go hand in hand with the change in discipline tactics at home.  

Over time, the angry, hostile, argumentative behaviors will improve and your child can become more enjoyable to everyone and more cooperative.  The results will be an improvement in family relationships, social relationships and performance at school.  As usual, early intervention is the key to success.  

It is very common for ODD to be present at the same time as other diagnosises, such as ADHD, anxiety and depression.  

If Oppositional Defiant Disorder is not corrected early, these oppositional and defiant behavior patterns that have been learned can become ingraned.  A more severe condition may develop by the teen years that will be much harder, if not nearly impossible, to change.

So, when you are changing your parenting techniques, focus on:
*Encouraging the child to make good choices
*Insisting on effective communication strategies (which may have to be taught first)
*Praising the child frequently for making good choices
*Be consistent and structured in your daily schedule and structure
*Be swift and compassionate when delivering consequences for severe behaviors.
*Abstain from verbally or physically aggressive disciplinary tactics.
*Be in alighment and in cooperation with your spouse.
*Offer education and “training” to help your child change the undesirable behaviors 
*Work with your child's teacher to assure similar tactics are being offered at school to allow for a consistent message

Author's Bio: 

Stacey Brown is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor specializing in individual, couples and family psychotherapy, and maintains a private practice in Fort Myers, Florida.

With more than 15 years of experience as a clinician, and a graduate of the University of South Florida specializing in Solution Focused and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, she is currently serving as a private practitioner working with a broad spectrum of clients. Among her areas of expertise are: ADHD, depression and anxiety for both children and adults, grief and loss, and relationship issues.
In addition, Stacey Brown has presented at conferences and to general audiences on topics ranging from parenting, wellness, educational accommodations, teacher training, behavior management and mental health topics.

Stacey Brown is a practical, interactive, solution-focused therapist. Her treatment approach is to provide support and practical feedback to help clients resolve current problems and long-standing patterns. She incorporates a blend of conventional and alternatives approaches, drawing upon a variety of styles and techniques to incorporate what will be most helpful for each client. With sensitivity and compassion, she works with each client to help them build on their strengths to identify and achieve life goals.