The definition of Oppositional Defiant!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Dadontheedge, Oct 25, 2010.

  1. Dadontheedge

    Dadontheedge Guest

    I believe I can prove beyond all doubt that ODD is a stand-alone condition and I have, living in my home, the only child that need be examined to prove my hypothesis...

    I am very new to the whole online parent support thing, but have been dealing with child behavioral "difficulties" for: 7 yrs, 2 months, and 21 days. Ever since my difficult child was born. We started to feel like there may be something 'out of the ordinary' with our son from the get go, but being new parents, we thought it was just the way he was and all kids are differant.

    Without going into too much detail about our daily struggles, I'll give a brief run-down of the history. It started when he was an infant, he had ZERO patience, he wouldn't breast-feed... Flat refused! The doctors told us: "some kids just don't breast-feed." So my wife did the pump and freeze routine. He seemed ok with that.

    As he became a toddler, our version of "normal" became daily "Nuclear Meltdowns" over everything from a toy not doing what he wanted to not getting a paice of candy from the store to not being able to spend the rest of his natural life in the McDonald's Play Place. For a mor detailed description see: "Google Search: Oppositional Defiant Disorder Definition" and it's been that way ever since...

    The problems progressed into potty training. After the initial struggle, he was doing great for a few months straight so we stopped buying pull-ups. He said to us one day that: "he wanted pull-ups again", we said "you're a big boy, you don't need them", as expected he threw a fit, but got over it. He was 2 at the time. A few days later when he asked again, we gave the same answer. It was 4 days later and he was running around the house screaming in pain because he hadn't pooped in "4 DAYS!" OMG! We had been in touch with a developmental councelor whos said that: "we needed to be consistent and he would eventually realize that it is easier to comply." YEAH RIGHT! Not with this kid! Long story short: It took some creative meal planning with natural laxatives, prescription suppositories, and a year of beating our heads against the wall. He finally gave in and started using the potty full-time, just before our daughter was born.

    Things were back to "normal" until he started school. It took the first half a year to get him to not throw an "Epic Tantrum" when someone else got to be the head of the line and hold the teacher's hand. We figured it was just because the whole thing was new and exciting.

    Then it was being sent to the office for punching and kicking other kids that made it harder than "usual" on us. The following school year was no exception. It was more of the same, not matter how mant time we explain it he flat does not want to do ANYTHING unless it's his idea. Including the utterly simple common sense things. He would rather spend the entire day staring at the door than ask one of us to open the top latch so he can go outside and play. He expects us to snap to and obey his every whim at a grunt and finger pointing. And when he doesn't want to do something, it takes shear force to get him to do it, even then you may get him to where you want him but getting him to physically do anything is completely exhausting!

    After our daughter started expressing herself more and our difficult child started the second grade, we noticed that the other kids are more like what we thought normal was supposed to be as is our daughter. It's sad that it took this long for us to realized that counting the days and weeks until his 18th birthday was not how parenting was supposed to be.

    My wife and I spoke to a family councelor who suggested that our problems with the difficult child sounded like ODD. I must have visited 100 diferant websites, and all of the definitions fit to a tee. I mean 10 out of 10 symptoms/traits hit on the nose. His teachers agree that he does not exibit the signs of ADD or ADHD. We are in the process of getting him assesed and diagnosed and I am all but 100% sure that they will say it's ODD.

    If anyone has any tips we would really appreciate it...
  2. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Full exams, from allergies to neuropsychologist and anything/everything you can talk the school into screening him for, start the process for an IEP if he doesn't have one already, and grab a copy of Ross Greene's The Explosive Child. Glad you found this forum, sorry you had to. You'll find lots of support and similar stories here, we understand how hard it is.
  3. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    My daughter was a perfect example of the ODD definition, too. Most of us here consider that to be a symptom of an underlying condition. If you can discover the underlying condition, you can often see the ODD behaviour decrease.

    In my daughter's case, we discovered, mostly by accident, that she is gluten and casein intolerant. As long as she stays away from those foods, she is like a typical teen now. Our teen years, the ones that are supposed to be the worst, are easy compared to her early years.

    I would encourage you to keep looking for the cause of your son's behaviour and not just view it as only ODD. It really can get better.
  4. Dadontheedge

    Dadontheedge Guest

    Thank you for the advice, we are currently having him assessed and plan on following up with a doctor's visit and counceling/treatment, as soon as we have a starting point to jump off of.

    I wanted to mention it earlier, but forgot. In the past, he has also been abusive to his cat in the past and overly rough with animals ever since, though he hasn't been as bad as before. He is routinely mean and violent with his sister, not too out of the ordinary regarding the sibling rivalry, but non-the-less, it worries us!

    by the way, does anyone have any advice on how to get my difficult child involved in one of those case studies to help with ODD research?
  5. 2daughters

    2daughters New Member

    My 6 year old has been diagnosed with stand alone ODD. Hers came on when she was 4 years old. I say "came on" because there was a serious incident that happened to her that caused something in her little brain to trip. She's not on medication for it, but it's a daily struggle with her. She was seeing a child psychologist, which helped until they declared her "cured" and didn't want to see her anymore. She's not cured, and will be living with ODD for the rest of her life. She started school, things were going great for her at school but the meltdowns at home were escalating. I've been, and continue to work close with the school. She's got a therapist there that's been working wonders for her anger outbursts. That is, until summer and she wasn't in school. I actually had to call the police on my daughter because she attempted to stab me with a steak knife! Yeah, it got that bad, and the cop that came out made it worse by telling her it was my fault. I've got her seeing the therapist at school again and I've just started seeing improvements again but she still has the angry outbursts.

    My daughter is now at the point where she'll explode (exploding for her is screaming and yelling in my face, smacking and punching me, threatening physical harm to me, and threatening to call the police). I'll try to hold her as close as possible to me, hugging her, stroking her hair and murmuring repeatedly that I love her. When she calms down she usually starts crying and telling me she's sorry and that she can't stop herself. She'll also think that I hate her, and that she should just kill herself (which she's tried to do once - I caught her with a knife on her wrist). However, I have been monitoring what she eats, sugars/wheats/glutens etc and have noticed a pattern with her. The more sugar she has, the more meltdowns she has and the more violent the meltdown is. She seems to crave sweets, and a few times I've caught her literally eating sugar straight from the sugar bowl! I do lock my kitchen all the time when she's home now.

    I definitely recommend reading the Explosive Child. It helps to give you a better understanding of what's going on with your child.

    One thing I've noticed, and that I've done that's helped, is printed off what ODD is so that I can give a copy to her teachers, the police and anyone else that has contact with her that should know about it. It's our daily life having to deal with ODD, but it's not very well known in the general public.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I personally think more is going on with your child than stand alone ODD. All of our kids were that kind of defiant once. But if you find out the underlying reason for it, it can greatly improve. Sounds like your little guy has sensory problems maybe and can not do transitions. I'd be looking at possible autistic spectrum disorder...and I'd see a neuropsychologist. Just because a child meets all the criteria for ODD (most of our kids do) doesn't mean something else isn't causing the ODD. I would keep digging.
    Good luck!
  7. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I just went to hear Ross Greene (author of The Explosive Child) at an all-day workshop last week. He said -- and I quote -- ODD is a "meaningless disorder."

    I truly believe that clinicians who give out the ODD diagnosis are lazy and unhelpful. What many of us here have come to understand is that ODD is a set of behaviors for which there is an underlying cause. When the underlying cause is identified and treated, the oppositional behaviors subside.

    I agree with MWM that you should have your son evaluated by a neuropsychologist. Neuopsychs can be found at children's and university teaching hospitals.

    Welcome and good luck.
  8. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    by the way, you can check out Ross Greene's website and see videos of his techniques in action at
  9. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have a 19 year old who was diagnosed with ODD at seven. Many people argued with me that she had to have something else and if we could find out what that was she would improve. We spent thousands trying to find out what that was and get her help for her behavior. Nothing worked. No one was ever able to give us any other diagnose or medication or therapy that made much of a difference. Her behavior continued to evoive and escalate as she got older. She was just released form a substance abuse treatment center. While there the attending psychiatrist diagnosed her as having borderline personality traits.

    Looking back I believe there was nothing we could have done any different to change her behavior. She is who she is because of her genes and the wiring in her brain. Through her alcohol treatment she is learning how to handle her impulses and behavior. I am currently reading I Hate You Don't Leave Me and it describes our difficult child perfectly.

    Perhaps you will be lucky and something that explains her behavior, but I have found that about all we can do is manage their behavior the best we can until they get to the age where the real problem surfaces.

  10. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    My difficult child, who is 11, has been difficult from day one, like your daughter. Colicky, cried all day long for what seemed to me no reason at all. He was, and still is, a very rigid chil. If we said we were doing A, B, and C, and then changed the order in which we were going to do them it would send him into a tail spin. I was told he has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and needed Prozac because of his rigidity, but I was not really happy with the doctor who diagnosed him, so I declined the medications and left. This past summer found another doctor, a really good one this time, who evaluated difficult child and diagnosed general anxiety disorder and ODD. He completely fits the ODD description: defiant, disrespectful, constant lying. He has all of the "sypmtoms". We chose to put him on medications for the anxiety, with the idea that if we can get the anxiety under control, we can work on the defiant behavior because we thought that the anxiety is the driving force behind the ODD. We only started the medications in late August, and we have uped his dose a couple of times since then. It's been little baby steps, but in some ways I do see improvement. Last night he was actually able to come to me and say, "Can we talk about something, please?" rather than scream and make nasty demands.

    As much as I wish he would, I know that he is never going to be able to behave like easy child. He is just not wired that way. But, I am hoping that with time he will improve to the point where spending time with him will become a joy rather than the chore that it has been for years.

    Have your daughter get a thorough evaluation by a really good neuropsychiatrist. See what he or she recommends and then go from there. A few months ago I was where you are now so I completely understand the frustration and anger that you are feeling. Read the Ross Green book. I'm still working in implementing it, but I do manage to do it right, it is really helpful.

    Good luck.

  11. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member

    Hi fom another dad,

    Dr Greene / Ablon from the collaborative problemsolving approach CPS feel that diagnoses don't tell you much. Better to check their sites and and look for the ALSUP - assessed lacking skills and unsolved problems form or the TSI - thinking skills inventory to get an idea of your child's lacking skills and then put them in the context of unsolved problems , your and your child's concerns . Skills are acquired through the process of CPS and general chatting that focuses on perspective taking , identifying concerns , problem solving.

  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    There are two possibilities here (looking purely logically).

    1) ODD is a stand-alone diagnosis, something the kid was born with, something that simply does not/has not responded to anything and with no underlying disorder.


    2) ODD is something which at times may appear to be a stand-alone diagnosis but in reality is a child's response to the combination of an underlying, often unrecognised, disorder (any one of a number) which mean that the usual discipline methods a parent might use, which are considered acceptable and effective discipline methods for most other children, actually bring on the ODD-like symptoms in such a case.

    If it is 1), then you can do nothing except roll with the punches and wait until the child is 18 and you can throw them onto the streets.

    But if it is 2), there is hope. All you have to do is identify the parameters of the underlying problems and find a different way to interact with the child.

    Just because you have not been able to identify an underlying disorder, does not mean it does not exist.

    You can choose to live with hope, even if you secretly think it's not got a lot of chance. If you keep looking, you might find some answers you can use. ODD, stand-alone, is not an answer you can use. it just IS. It might explain, but it does't help. Option 2) can help.

    We chose option 2). We were originally told our child was unteachable and unreachable. They were wrong.

    If you know you have to keep going until the child is 18 (at least) then a bit of hope is not a bad thing.

    Read the book. It might also give you some hope. it did for us.

  13. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    My daughter has been in and out of therapy since she was 5 - she is now 15. She has had all of the symptoms of ODD, but she was never diagnosed with that. It was never even mentioned. All of the psychologists and psychiatrists we have seen have said that ODD is a "garbage bin" diagnosis - that it is diagnosed by some when they can't figure out what is going on.

    We have learned that ODD behaviors are a symptom of an underlying disorder, as opposed to just bad behavior.
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think that a lot of times ODD is a warning sign of an impending personality disorder, which is not diagnosed in children. I could be wrong, but jmo. It doesn't mean a whole lot in of itself though. Some parents and educators see ODD and think "just a willfully bad kid."
  15. If there is an impending personality disorder, will it happen no matter what or it you catch it early enough is there a way to stop it or at least make it more managable than it would be if you did nothing? For example, if you KNEW your 5 year old was going to be Bipolar at age 15, is there anything you can do about it now?
  16. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    This is the question we all struggle to answer. And pray that the answer is, "Yes you can stop or deflect", but we don't really know.

    One problem is that there are as many different ways to be ODD as there are ODD kids. Some are easy to stop and deflect, others are not. A second problem is that our country does a terrible job at managing mental illnesses in children. If you go to two different mental health professionals you get two different diagnoses and two different treatment plans. Many times the professionals just simply don't know any more then we do. (and then frequently blame it on the parents - the ones who pay and struggle the most).

    The answers won't come from individual families. A national level research should be called for to develop the ways to managed and deal with a variety of mental illnesses. Consistent methods of identifying causes, needs, and treatments must be developed. Resources need to be made available to parents. Until then it becomes more difficult to take the actions or to know what you need to do to make the difference.

    I believe that Yes if you knew your 5 year old was going to be Bipolar at age 15, there are things you can do. But they require training techniques not commonly known, structured schools that don't exist and resources not readily available. Then the whole thing is dumped on the parents to struggle with. An advanced society should be able to do better then this. Until then, we can only do the best we can, and pray and hope it will help.
  17. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Bipolar is not a personality disorder, but a medical disorder so that is an apple and oranges thing.

    As far as personality disorders, I don't think anyone can say, yes you can put preventative measures in place - which would be, mainly, therapy - because no one would diagnose an impending personality disorder in a 5 year old. According to the DSM IV, personality disorders should not be diagnosed until age 18, however some clinicians do diagnose earlier when it is clearly evident (I mean, really, nothing magical happens when one turns 18). But even then, they would never diagnose - or even consider it - at age 5.
  18. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Here is my advice: go with your gut. If you believe ODD can stand alone and you believe that is what is going on with your child, then you call it ODD. You put a plan in place to change the behaviors.

    If you believe it could be a symptom into another diagnosis, then pursue that route.

    Each child is different, each parent is different. The important thing is that you figure out what works best for YOUR family. I called my difficult child 'resistant to parenting' so I stopped parenting her. Traditional? NO way! But, it did work for us. Today she is 19, graduated, job and moved out on her own (with roommates) a month ago. And learning life the best way she can - through real life experiences.
  19. 2daughters

    2daughters New Member

    With my daughter, I do believe that ODD could very well be her stand alone diagnosis. Having said that, I know there are underlying issues that triggered the ODD but there are no diagnoses that can be given for it. She was an angel (seriously, this child was the complete opposite). The nasty incident happened which triggered something to go awry in her poor little brain. I know there's no diagnosis for what happened to her but through steps that I've been taking and pursuing, which are rapidly coming to a few lawsuits, it will help her overall. While I believe that her ODD could be standalone, I am still trying to get my daughter into a neuropsychologist to get evaluated so that I can know for sure that there's nothing else underlying. Having the ODD diagnosis has helped me a lot with mental health, child services, the police, the courts etc. It lets them know that there is an issue with my child that I'm working at controlling. While they don't necessarily understand what ODD is, they are more willing to help simply because of the diagnosis.
  20. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I feel kind of the same way. That diagnosis has helped access services difficult child needs. On the other hand, if you've read my other threads, I know there are underlying causes for my difficult child such as PTSD, Sensory Integration Disorder (SID), fear of failure, abandonment, and the list goes on. It would be great if there was one diagnosis that included all these things but at least the resulting ODD kind of puts the resulting behavior all in a nut shell. I just wish there was a way to educate the public about it and all the do's and don'Tourette's Syndrome that go along with it, especially SDs.