How to identify the Oppositional Behavior Disorder in Kids

5 Best tips to recognize Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) in Kids

Most of the kids have the tendency to say NO to parents, especially teenage kids. Everyone would agree that even the most amicable and well-behaving kids will also become challenging to handle. At times they keep throwing tantrums and keep saying NO to everything. Just because they are becoming NAY-SAYERS or Negative-Nancies, doesn’t mean that they have “oppositional defiant disorder”. This blog aims at discussing various tips for recognizing oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) in kids.

What is meant by Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

A strong-willed child or even an emotional child is often mistaken as a child with oppositional defiant disorder. It’s normal for every kid to exhibit some amount of oppositional behavior to parents at some point or another during their developmental period.

How to Identify the Oppositional Defiant Disorder in Kids?

Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a behavioral disorder that develops in two different ways and that too in two different phases in their childhood. Oppositional defiant disorder is not just the normal temper tantrums thrown by kids.

  1. Childhood-onset: This type of disorder starts at the earlier stages, even as young as toddlers. This requires early intervention and treatment so that the child can lead a normal life in the future.

2. Adolescent – onset: This type of disorder starts suddenly during middle or secondary school years. Unless treated, it will affect the studies and careers of the kids.

What causes Oppositional Defiant Disorder in Kids?

The researchers are not able to pinpoint the root cause of this disorder in kids. But when the researchers observed the kids having Oppositional Defiant Disorder during their long-drawn studies. They found out the following circumstances lead to the creation of oppositional defiant disorder in kids.

# Biological conditions

  • Continuous Exposure to toxins
  • Impairment in the brain part which is responsible for reasoning and impulse control
  • Poor nutrition
  • Genes from parents who have one or the mental disorders (like ADD, ADHD, depression, or ODD) or
  • The parents who are addicted to substance usage.

# Psychological conditions

  • Absent parents (one or either) or a poor relationship with the parents
  • I wasn’t aware of various social situations and how to manage them.
  • unstable or absent family

What are the symptoms of ODD in a child?

The following are a few tips for recognizing oppositional defiant disorder. All the kids identified with oppositional defiant disorder might not exhibit all the symptoms to the same extent as given below.

How to Handle Kids with ODD?
  1. Anger Issues:
  • Having frequent temper tantrums
  • losing the temper very easily
  • always in an irritable mood
  • easily gets frustrated

2. Behavior with Adults and Peers:

  • Argues a lot with adults
  • Refuses any requests from the adults
  • Always keep questioning the rules and looks out for a way to break them.
  • always on the lookout for ways to annoy others

3. Escaping behavior:

  • Constant Lying
  • Blames others and situations for their own mistakes
  • Causes conflicts between others so that his mistake can be ignored.

4. Vindictive moods:

  • Always in a vindictive mood
  • tries to harm or self while in the angry mood
  • no sense of conscience.

5. Psychological symptoms:

  • Persistent negativity
  • Not able to make friends easily
  • No self-esteem
How to Identify Oppositional Defiant Syndrom in Kids

How to handle kids with Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

It’s very important to get the expert’s intervention at the earliest to recognize oppositional defiant disorder in kids. Without timely help, it will be very difficult for these kids to lead a happy life in the future. Strict discipline alone wouldn’t be sufficient to mend the ways of these kids. They need continuous CBT (cognitive behavior therapy) and a therapist’s supervision.

Only positive parenting techniques coupled with early treatment can help improve the child’s behavior. The treatment would also be a long-drawn course, during which the child would require complete support from the parent’s side.

Luckily, now the parents don’t have to deal with this kind of disorder all alone. Multiple support groups are available, along with positive parenting groups, which will provide the required help and support for the parents to sail through this difficult phase. So, as parents, we need to be vigilant of our child’s behavior and get timely help as and when required.

Suhasini, IP, is the Author of the book “Practical Tips for Kids Mental Health.” As a certified kids and parents life coach, she helps/guides you toward a happy family life for your kids. She firmly believes that “Emotionally Happy Kids of today are the Mentally Strong and Happy Citizens of tomorrow.” Let’s make the world a happy and beautiful place for our kids to thrive.


  1. ODD is common in kids although it often gets brushed under the carpet as a tantrum. Good communication and patience are good ways to make it better for everyone.

    1. Thank you Varsha. Yes, this oppositional defiant disorder is always pushed under the carpet saying my child is just a difficult kid. Only when the child starts to cross all the limits, parents would understand the problem, but would fail to consult an expert due to stigma problems

  2. Mental Health for kids is a crucial issue, glad you are highlighting this
    Here from

    1. Thank you Pooja for dropping by

  3. Oppositional Defiant Disorder is common in early elementary school ages of kids. Thanks for sharing symptoms in detail as many a times parents ignore these symptoms. It’s always good to get timely treatment for parent-child relationship.

    1. Yes Pragun, we as parents should be observant and get the timely help as and when we feel the need of it.

  4. Thank you writing this is such great detail. ODD i had heard of in passing but never knew that it would be impacting children in so many ways. Totally love your series. I hope you are thinking of an ebook would be really handy
    Deepika Sharma

    1. Thank you Deepika. Even Pragun was suggesting to go ahead with a book. I am yet to decide upon it. Thanks for all your support.

  5. There is such thin line between ODD and tantrums. I think your post is extremely educational. It will help parents realise when an expert intervention is required.

    1. Yes Aesha, there is a very thin line between ODD and tantrums. Only a vigilant parent would be able to find them out.

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