Does my daughter have ODD?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by NeedhelpinCT, Mar 16, 2008.

  1. NeedhelpinCT

    NeedhelpinCT New Member

    Hi everyone:

    I just joined this forum,and so I apologize if this has been posted already, or multiple times.

    My daughter is 5 years old--she will be 6 in May. I think she may have ODD. She constantly argues with myself and my husband about the most mundane things--putting away her toys, getting dressed, going to the bathroom (she has a whole withholding thing going on there wherein she will only go once or twice a day most of the week). She says she 'doesn't remember' or "forgot" being told things all the time. She will not do something unless directed 5, 10 times, or until I get really upset and yell at her. This has been going on her whole life, though most markedly in the last year. She does not have full-fledged temper tantrums per say, though she will stomp off when finally forced to do something she doesn't want to do. She also occasionally throws things, but otherwise does not hit or try to injure us, or herself. Other days, she is almost perfectly fine. We can have one or two days a week where she will argue with us very little, or not at all. At these times, she is very sweet and attentive. She is also good when she is involved in an art project or a book, or other singular play (she is an only child). In fact, she's in the other room watching a video, very calmly, right now.

    I take medication for depression and was raised by a mentally ill mother who had multiple Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) issues, depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorder, and extreme rage. She never received treatment other than valium and Xanex (which of course hurt rather than helped), but I now know through my own therapy and research that she is/was mentally ill. My maternal grandfather was also mentally ill (probably mild/intermittent schizophrenia). I hear that ODD can be somewhat hereditary or secondary to other histories of familial mental illness. So that makes me curious about my daughter.

    I freely admit that I am not always a calm parent, so it's possible that my daughter is simply reacting to my poor parenting skills (yelling when she upsets me, losing my patience, crying when frustrated). My husband says that I am making it worse and should ignore her and the behavior will eventually stop, which seems to be what I read about ODD as well.

    PS--My daughter does *not* act out at school (or so the teachers say--she seems to do well there) nor does she misbehave for other adults. It's just for us.

    So am I jumping to conclusions here, or does this sound like ODD?

    Any advice is appreciated!
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    With the family history, I would want her to see somebody with good credentials, such as a Psychiatrist (with the MD) rather than any sort of talk therapist. Rather than ODD, which rarely stands alone, she may have an emerging mental illness. Maybe not, but, again, due to the family history I think it's best she be carefully watched. I would make an appointment. with a Child Psychiatrist who works in a University or Children's hospital and go from there. It is unlikely just ODD, and I wouldn't try to diagnose her yourself. It is hard enough for psychiatrists to diagnose little kids correctly, but they have medical school behind them and have a better shot than we do. Good luck and welcome.
  3. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I'm hesitant to jump to ODD right off the bat but given the family history you would be wise to keep your eyes and ears open.

    What I would suggest is trying the parenting strategy outlined in the book The Explosive Child by Ross Greene. It's good for less compliant kids and will give you what hopefully will be a more controlled approach instead of the two of you (likely) fueling each other.

    There's a link to the book at the right and a thread about the book at the top of this board. There also may be some local seminars that teach the approach.
  4. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator


    ODD is generally not a stand-alone diagnosis, but typically the resulting behavior of an underlying disorder (such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, autistic spectrum disorder). When the underlying condition is identified and treated, the ODD behaviors can improve.

    I agree with getting your hands on The Explosive Child, which has helped many of us on this board parent our extra-challenging children.

    Are you interested in having your daughter evaluated, or are you thinking of solely working on parenting techniques at this point? No right answer -- I'm just interested in your thinking.

    Again, welcome.
  5. Lulu

    Lulu New Member

    Dear needhelp, welcome!

    you wrote:
    are you my mother? LOL Seriously, that was me to a T, right down to holding in my poop as long as humanly possible.

    Of course, the apples don't fall far from the tree, and we are finding the defiance of both my and my husband's personalities in both our children. I also recommend reading the Greene book, The Explosive Child. Some days are better than others for us here. Good luck!