All young children can become oppositional from time to time–in fact, oppositional behavior is a normal part of early development. Children are especially vulnerable to oppositional behavior when they become tired, hungry, or upset. However, these behaviors become a serious concern when they are more intense, long-lasting, consistent, and impairing than is typical of children at the same age and developmental level.
Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) presents as an ongoing pattern of uncooperative, defiant, and hostile behavior toward adults and peers. Behaviors can include temper tantrums, refusal to comply with adult requests, excessive arguing, and aggression. While the exact cause of ODD is unknown, many parents report that their child with ODD had a more difficult temperament (e.g., more difficult to soothe, etc.) compared to siblings or peers.
A child’s ODD symptoms are typically seen across settings, but tend be more significant at home or at school. A child presenting with consistent oppositional behaviors should receive a comprehensive clinical evaluation to clarify diagnoses, rule out co-existing disorders, and discuss treatment options.
ODD-oriented services at BCSC: