Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is a behavioral condition that affects children and young people. It is characterized by persistent patterns of defiant, hostile, and disobedient behavior towards authority figures such as parents, teachers, and other caretakers. ODD can cause significant distress and disruption in a child’s daily life and can have a negative impact on their social and academic development.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the symptoms of ODD include:

  • Frequent anger and irritability
  • Argumentative and defiant behavior
  • Deliberate attempts to annoy or frustrate others
  • Refusal to comply with rules and requests from authority figures
  • Blaming others for their own misbehavior
  • Hostile and vindictive behavior

ODD is estimated to affect 2-16% of children and adolescents, with boys being diagnosed more frequently than girls. The onset of symptoms is typically between the ages of 2 and 8 years old. Children with ODD may also have other behavioral or mental health conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), depression, or anxiety.

It is important for parents and caretakers to understand that ODD is not a result of poor parenting or a lack of discipline. Rather, it is a complex condition with multiple causes, including genetics, environment, and brain function. However, there are several strategies that can help to manage ODD in children and young people.

  1. Positive reinforcement: Encouraging positive behavior and rewarding it can help to decrease negative behaviors associated with ODD.
  2. Consistency: Implementing consistent rules and consequences for misbehavior can help to reduce the frequency of defiant behavior.
  3. Communication: Encouraging open and honest communication with children can help to reduce feelings of frustration and anger.
  4. Empathy: Understanding the child’s perspective and validating their feelings can help to reduce feelings of anger and hostility.
  5. Professional support: Seeking the help of a mental health professional can be beneficial for children with ODD. A therapist can help to teach coping strategies and provide support for the child and family.

It is important to note that ODD can be a persistent and challenging condition to manage. However, with the right support and intervention, children with ODD can learn to manage their behavior and achieve positive outcomes.


  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition. (DSM-5). American Psychiatric Association.
  2. American Academy of Pediatrics. (2011). Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Pediatrics, 128(6), e1622-e1632.
  3. National Institute of Mental Health. (2021). Oppositional Defiant Disorder. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/oppositional-defiant-disorder-odd/index.shtml