Oppositional Defiance Disorder


New Member
This is my first time here. I have a 3-year old girl, who I am afraid takes after her "sperm donor". I was in an abusive relationship when I conceived her, and she was my reason to leave. She made me realise that my own safety should also have been reason enough to leave!

She has now passed through the terrible twos, and into the threes, and it is becoming apparent that her behaviour is beyond what I should expect for her age. Her "sperm donor" was diagnosed with Oppositional Defiance Disorder as a child, and never grew out of it.

Her behaviour is starting to get out of hand - she just doesn't obey the rules. She knows she is doing naughty things - she will close herself in her room when she wants to get into something, or close me in the room I'm in.

Even though they say 3 year olds don't understand 'sorry', I believe she does. She says sorry for the things she does (naming what she did wrong) and gives me a cuddle. Usually she will say what she did wrong without prompting. One time she apologised for something I hadn't even caught her out on yet!

... and after a 10 minute interlude - she was supposed to be having 'quiet time' where she plays in her room by herself for a short time - she had gone into the kitchen and taken a number of knives, a bananna and some carrots and the peeler, and had bannana mashed all over her bedroom floor

yesterday it was a dozen eggs and a loaf of bread all over the floor

a few days before that it was a litre of milk, and a kilo of washing powder to 'clean it up' with a wet mop - we had to have the carpets steam cleaned.

After the events of this week, I am at my wits end. I am finding it hard to cope. I have started a 'star chart' of sorts, with a good and bad side. On the good side she gets to put a sticker when she keeps the rules, and on the bad side, I draw a sad face for when she breaks the rules. Enough stickers and she gets a lollie at the end of the day (natural confectionary co.) Too many sad faces, and she gets a time out - though I may have to revise that, because she's only got 4/5 and already a time out is needed.

I suspect that a constructivist approach is needed, but I need to know how to implement it with a 3 year old. (I'm studying to be a secondary teacher). As they say, in the long run, the only worthwhile control is self control. I need to help her to learn that.

Right now I'm just seeking some support from other parents, and to commiserate with other parents who a having similar problems.


Active Member
Welcome chuckles. It is indeed a difficult job to parent challenging children.

Getting out stuff from the fridge and making a mess with it is pretty normal 3 year old stuff. Doing it day after day despite consequences is a cause for concern.

The place I think you need to start is with prevention: do some serious babyproofing. This goes against the grain of most parents whose children should be starting to outgrow the need for these restrictions but it will first off increase the safety factor and secondly may save you some headaches in the mess department. All sharp objects: knives, graters, screwdrivers, pencils, pens, tools, etc need to be a secure location that she doesn't have access to such as a locked cupboard or lockbox.
Something to secure the fridge would help as well. There are some fairly foolproof locks for doors for closets and rooms she shouldn't get into. I don't suggest putting a lock on her room but secure everything else that you can.

Secondly, I think you need to talk with her pediatrician about her behaviors. Be sure and tell him/her about the father's family health history. To be perfectly frank, mental health or neurological conditions often go hand in hand with ODD if the child has been raised in a loving, consistent, stable environment. If this has been her situation then you will likely need professional medical and educational assistance with her, and the earlier the better. The doctor may suggest help in with the behavioral aspects right now but I'd be asking for a baseline evaluation.


New Member
Thank you for the fast response. It's interesting that you mention 'baby proofing'. You should see the number of cupboard locks we have in our house! Not to mention, the study and husband's bar room having lockable door handles that are locked every night, and the key hung above the door. We did have a fridge lock, until I got sick of it a while back, but after the incident with the 'egg sandwiches' fully intend on getting one this week. The knives and things though are another story. I found the best bet was taking the handles off the drawers when she was a baby - it never was a problem then, but I took the handles off drawers I didn't want her in - it makes them hard to get into, but it's safer that way. It looks like we're going to need to do that again!

My next solution after yesterday's near breakdown is to use the laptop and sit in the loungeroom where I can see her, or see her come out of her room if she's supposed to be in there. That way if she can see me she'll be less likely to get into things - and I have a visual alert that she's up to something - because my (self-preservation) reaction has been to 'tune out'.

She's been at her current daycare centre for nearly a year now, and only just started showing her temper there. The carer's couldn't understand why we have her on an additive free diet, and low salicylate diet. Now they know.

You know how when you are pregnant, you just know some things about what the child will grow up to be like? I have always had a feeling that she would be ODD, and I wonder if it is because I'm expecting it that is why it seems like what the problem is - though truthfully I can tick off 5 or 6 of the behaviours on this page that she indulges in every day.

Either way, I intend to work on an intense program to help her to learn self-control, and failing that, I will take her to a child psychologist to come up with a 'behaviour modification plan' and make sure that there is no neurological condition - because we have a very stable loving family, and extended family aswell.


Well-Known Member
Good luck, Chuckles. My difficult child was diagnosed at age four. It's been a real struggle and now that he's almost twelve, it's not much better....maybe just a little. I've cried a bucket of tears over his treatment of me, of him embarrassing me, of just plain not having a child I could enjoy very much. I worry that his future will be nothing short of very difficult for him. Hopefully, one day he will opt to participate in his treatments, but for now, it feels like I'M the only one working on him getting better. That will never be successful.