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Behavioral Problems


Behavioral Problems

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is a common clinical presentation among children and teens. ODD refers to a recurring pattern of disobedient behavior directed towards an authority figure, typically a parent or primary caregiver. These children are usually stubborn, unable to compromise, and often push the envelope with most issues (of course, from their perspective, they are just “right!”).

Children with ODD also tend to:

  • Have a difficult time controlling their temper

  • behave in a manner that annoys people

  • Refuse to follow rules imposed by their parents

  • Blame others for their mischievous actions

  • Seem malicious

  • Get angry and are easily annoyed by other people and “unfairness.”

Children with ODD do not, however, engage in the recurrent pattern of significant violation of the rights of others or of societal norms that typifies Conduct Disorder. This means that a child with ODD is not the making plans to burglarize the neighbor’s home or commit other crimes.

Diagnosing ODD

ODD behaviors go beyond the occasional brief “negative” phase many children exhibit nor are they explained away as “boys being boys”; the diagnosis is only made after a period of at least six months of significant behavioral problems. ODD must be differentially diagnosed from Disruptive Mood Regulation Disorder, which is characterized by severe temper tantrums.

To their parents’ confusion and consternation, children and teens with ODD may act quite differently in school or with peers than at home. In fact, outside the home, they can be very cooperative, and no one would believe how they act at home. This fact makes it difficult to initially covey ODD behaviors in the doctor’s office or to educators.

ODD behaviors are typically evident before age 8 and, before puberty, ODD is more common among boys than girls. Though initially seen at home, ODD behaviors may start to become evident elsewhere, affecting schooling and friendships. Over the course of time, children with ODD are at increased risk for substance abuse, underachievement, and Conduct Disorder. It should be noted that many children with Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder (ADHD) are prone to an additional problem of ODD.

Treatment for ODD

Treatment for ODD usually involves parent management training (E.G. Parent-Child Interaction Therapy) and individual Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Parent management training involves instructing parents on how to appropriately implement contingency management strategies. In general, this strategy includes removing positive reinforcement of ODD behaviors, increasing reinforcement of good behavior, and applying consequences for ODD behaviors. Of utmost importance is the consistent and timely application of each of these components. Also essential is learning how to avoid pointless and repetitive power struggles, including utilizing “consequences” constructively. Individual CBT typically involves problem-solving skills, assertiveness, anger/stress management, and communication skills training—all of which can be done at The Neurobehavioral Institute.

Neurobehavioral Institute (NBI) is a dedicated mental health center focused on the treatment of Anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Related Conditions. We specialize in providing personalized care and evidence-supported Cognitive Behavioral therapies (CBT) tailored to meet your specific needs.


Get control of your life. For more information, please call us at 954-280-3226.

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