ODD in Children – Its Causes And How To Deal With It



If you are parents of toddlers you must have experienced oppositional behavior from time to time in your children, especially when they are tired, hungry, stressed or upset. They may argue with you, talkback, refuse to follow instructions, defy parents, teachers and other adults. Though this is not uncommon in children, Preschool San Marino, CA team is here to help you know its causes and some tips to deal with this.

What is Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) in children?

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is a type of behavior disorder mostly diagnosed in children. Kids with ODD are non-cooperative, defiant and hostile towards friends, parents, teachers and other adults around them. This behavioral disorder is also characterized by irritable modes and other unacceptable activities. It is natural for kids to display this type of behavior occasionally but if it becomes a habit and threatens to affect their personality, then it is a cause for concern.

What causes ODD in children?

The exact cause of ODD is still not known but both developmental and learned factors are believed to play an important role in the disorder.

Developmental theory :

This theory suggests that problems start when children are toddlers. If kids are having ODD, they may have trouble learning to become independent. They become more emotionally attached to their parents or caregivers.

Learned theory :

This theory suggests that the negative symptoms of ODD are learned attitudes. They mirror the effects of negative reinforcement methods used by parents or adults around them as this behavior allows them to get what they want from parents or others.

Symptoms of ODD in children :

Children with ODD may show the following symptoms :


  • Inability or refusal to follow instructions
  • Easily frustrated or quick to lose one's temper
  • Repeated and frequent temper tantrums
  • Fighting with siblings are classmates
  • Arguing with parents and other adults around them
  • Intentionally upset or annoy others
  • Unwilling to negotiate or compromise
  • Speaking rudely or unkindly
  • Blaming others for one’s conduct and seeking revenge
  • Difficulty in concentrating on anything they do
  • Not able to make friends
  • Lack of confidence and low self-esteem

Tips to manage a child with ODD :

According to Preschool San Marino, CA, team, management oppositional defiant disorder in children is about fast accepting that your child will behave in challenging ways.

The next step would be working with a health professional to develop a behavior management plan which can make the symptoms easier to handle - both for you and your child.

A good plan will help children :

Learn how to improve their behavior and understand how it affects others
Manage strong emotional outbursts like anger or anxiety
Improve the way they solve problems, communicate with others and socialize with friends

A good behavior management plan will also support you to cope with children’s by helping you :

Understand the reasons behind their unacceptable behavior
Workout to improve their positive outlook and manage their challenging behavior
To keep patience and work on strengthening your family relationships

At home you can follow the following tips :

Praise and encourage their positive performance
Implement a structured reward system
Give short, direct and specific instruction at a time
Instead of negative consequences, loss of privilege will be ideal in this case