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ODD Resolution | Toward a Happy Childhood

ODD Resolution: Toward a Happy Childhood


Will other children want to seek your child’s friendship if he/she is constantly causing trouble and affecting them as well? What teachers will want to instruct your child when the task is made so complicated by his/her stubbornness and endless complaints? When faced with these kind of enormous challenges, even parenting your own child can become a difficult, demanding and tiring chore when they are excessively defiant.

Defiant, rebellious, disobedient and unruly – these are just a few words that may describe children with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). As a parent, you do not want this to happen or for this behavioral condition to affect your child anymore. ODD can leave them feeling awful as they are avoided by other children and sternly disciplined by adults. Ignored and untreated, it can also ruin their chance of having a happy childhood. Their symptoms need to be resolved. Start by understanding the condition so you can make the right decisions and seek the right kind of help.


ODD Defined

ODD or oppositional defiant disorder is a behavioral condition that generally starts developing during preschool years. It affects about six to 10 percent of youngsters and is characterized by a clinically weighty level of disobedience and defiance. The Child Mind Institute describes this behavioral condition as “a persistent behavioral pattern of angry or irritable mood; argumentative, defiant behavior towards authority figures; and vindictiveness.”

ODD is an unsettling condition, that can damage relationships and breed misunderstanding with family, peers and authority figures. ODD can become more complicated when there are other issues and comorbidities present, such as ADHD and other learning disorders. The symptoms of ODD can profoundly disrupt the life of your child. According to the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) – Fifth Edition, the obvious manifestations of ODD are:

 Angry and irritable mood:

  • Often loses temper
  • Is often touchy or easily annoyed by others
  • Is often angry and resentful

Argumentative and defiant behavior:

  • Often argues with adults or people in authority
  • Often actively defies or refuses to comply with adults’ requests or rules
  • Often deliberately annoys people
  • Often blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior


  • Is often spiteful or vindictive
  • Has shown spiteful or vindictive behavior at least twice in the past six months


Symptoms and Diagnosis: The Challenges

Children are generally capable of asserting their opinion with differing levels of passion or conviction. It is charming to see a child articulating his/her thoughts and beliefs, but it can also be distressing when this has become agonizingly negative, intense and frequent. The way a child expresses their wants, needs, wants, as well as likes, and dislikes are controlled by a multifaceted set of factors that, unfortunately, are still poorly understood on a biological level.

Belligerent, surly and unpleasant behaviors are common and expected among youngsters. Their behaviors may vary, depending on where they are. ODD manifestations are usually exhibited by your child at home or in an environment where they are most comfortable with. If your child is weighed down by a severe case or it isn’t being effectively addressed, they may also show those symptoms in school or various settings.

This results in it being difficult to recognizing the symptoms of ODD challenging for most parents. To be able to resolve ODD, recognizing the symptoms is critical. This underscores the importance of seeking professional help. A behavioral health professional is likely to evaluate the symptoms using the DSM-5 criteria of the APA manual. According to its set of criteria, the symptoms must show a pattern of behavior that:

  • Includes at least four symptoms from any of these categories — angry and irritable mood; argumentative and defiant behavior; or vindictiveness
  • Occurs with at least one individual who is not a sibling
  • Causes significant trouble at work, school or home
  • Occurs on its own, rather than as part of the course of another emotional health concern, such as a substance use disorder, depression or bipolar disorder
  • Lasts at least six months


What’s Behind ODD

 It isn’t easy for even the most loving parents to help a child with ODD because their behaviors could be being influenced by factors beyond their understanding. One such factor is an imbalance in their brain chemicals or neurotransmitters, such as the decreased level of the hormone cortisol that can affect the functioning of the frontal lobes of the brain. Another factor is the predisposition of people when the genetic component runs in the family, so that members have a higher tendency to develop a difficult temperament that is more prone to ODD.

These predispositions can be enhanced under “ideal” environmental conditions, reinforcing defiant reactions and behaviors and lead to their expression. The most influential of these may be dysfunctional or conflict-laden relationships in the family and a parenting style that does not fit the needs of the child. Growing up in a harsh or oppressive environment can also significantly contribute to their vulnerability to ODD.

Considering the comorbidities ODD, your child can become automatically vulnerable to this condition if they have been diagnosed with other emotional and behavioral conditions. Symptoms, such as destroying things, hurting animals, uttering unacceptable words, and other serious behaviors, must not be taken lightly. For their benefit and to preserve harmony in the home, it may be helpful to seek professional help as soon as you notice these wayward behaviors. 


The Value of Professional Intervention

A child with ODD will most likely not see their behavior as “problematic” or unusual. They may likely think that there is nothing wrong with their behavior or that they are mere responses to the people around them who are the ones being unreasonable and difficult. If their behavior cannot be explained by another emotional or behavioral condition, but it is distinctly different from other children of the similar age and developmental level, it is time to seek professional intervention.

 A child with ODD has a higher risk to develop other emotional conditions (depression and anxiety) and behavioral disorders (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and conduct disorders). They can lead a lonely life, being avoided by their peers and being strongly dealt with by their mentors and elders. Their health and academic performance can suffer, impacting their ability to maximize their potentials. They may be in for a difficult childhood, adolescence and adulthood, if their ODD symptoms are not addressed.

A qualified professional will be sure that your child receives a proper diagnosis, eliminating the other possible causes of the manifestations. They can help your child develop skills to improve their emotional control, social interactions, a sense of self-worth and confidence, and improve their symptoms. Since family involvement is critical, they will similarly help you understand the condition, so you can better help and support your child. They can even recommend or assist you in the forms of parental skills training and family therapy.


Finding the Right Help Near You

Is your child difficult to raise? Is he/she exhibiting disruptive behaviors that cause people to react to them in a negative way? Is your child not responding well to your kind of parenting or discipline? If you answer “YES” to these questions, it may be advantageous to give this issue another look before putting it in the back of your mind. Your son or daughter could be suffering from ODD and they might need your help. ODD can wreak havoc in the life and health of your child, it may be best to find help now from a caring therapist independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services in Cameron, NC – on Hwy 87, near Linden Oaks.

 ODD carries certain risks when its symptoms are not treated and resolved. It can lead to antisocial behavior. It can affect your child’s functioning, impacting their other abilities and skills. It can also increase your child’s risks of developing other emotional and behavioral disorders. There is no need to expose your child to these risks when therapy can resolve ODD symptoms, and help is available near your home. Learn more about it – call Carolina Counseling Services in Cameron, NC – on Hwy 87, near Linden Oaks.  An expert therapist independently contracted with CCS – Cameron can help you and your child. Call today!

Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services – Cameron, NC

Counties: Harnett County

Areas: Cameron NC, Linden Oaks NC, Sprout Springs NC, Anderson Creek NC, Olivia NC, Pineview NC, Johnsonville NC, Spring Lake NC

Zip Codes: 28326, 28327, 27332, 28394

Rose Thomas, MA, LPC, LCAS, NCC

Specializes in: (Ages 5+) Children, Teens, Individuals, Couples and Families. Anxiety, Depression, ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder, ADHD, Relationship Issues, Marriage Counseling, Parenting, PTSD/Trauma Recovery, Acute Stress Disorder, Adult Sexual Abuse Survivors, Adjustment Disorders, Depressive Disorders, Persistent Depressive Disorder, Bipolar and Related Disorders, Self-injurious/Self-Harm, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, Separation Anxiety, Disruptive Disorders, Conduct Disorder, Marital Conflict and Discord, LGBT, Substance Use Disorders
 Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Tricare Prime, Tricare Select, Extra, Retired, Cash, HSA and FSA accepted (credit cards accepted)
 Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express


Specializes in: (Ages 4+) Children, Individuals, families, PTSD, Trauma, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Adjustment Disorder, ADHD, Depression, Anxiety, communication skills, and Parenting Skills, Behavior Management, Life transitions, Family Conflict, Difficulty Coping, Relationship Problems, Depression, Anxiety

InsuranceBCBSTricare, Cash, HSA and FSA accepted and Apple Pay

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Shirlisa Daniels, MS, LPC, NCC

Specializes in: (Ages 4+) Children, Teens, Adults and Individuals, Families, Anxiety Disorders, Depression, Panic Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, ODD, PTSD, Relationship Issues, Conflict Resolution and Life Transitions
Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Cash (credit cards accepted)
 Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

Holly Ring, LMFT

Specializes in: (Ages 7+) Adolescents, College Students, Individuals, Couples, and Families, Anxiety, Depression, Trauma (child and adult, TFCBT certified), Relationship Issues, Coping Skills, Adjustment Disorders, Life Transitions, Suicidal Ideation, Self-esteem, OCD, ADHD, Behavioral Issues, Parenting Skills, LGBTQ
Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Cash (credit cards accepted)
 Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

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