A day with a child who has Oppositional Defiant Disorder is a series of battles. It starts when they wake up, continues at breakfast, intensifies when they have to get dressed, and doesn’t end until they fight with you over bedtime.
Kids with ODD lose their temper quickly and often. They’re easily annoyed and frustrated by other people, resentful and hostile with adults, bossy and pushy with other kids. They blame everyone else for their difficulties and make excuses for their inability to cope. They gravitate toward negative peers and tend to be sulking, angry adolescents. As a parent, you can’t satisfy a child with ODD, since their thinking is irrational. They clamor for your attention and then tell you to leave them alone. The sad truth is, kids with ODD aren’t very likeable. Parents often feel guilty about the fact that they love their kids, but don’t like being around them. The focus of treatment should be on developing compliance and coping skills, not primarily on self-esteem or personality. ODD is not a self-esteem issue; it’s a problem solving issue.
To read more of James Lehman’s article on ODD, check out “The War at Home” on Empowering Parents.