How to Deal with a Child with ODD: 6 Strategies

Having children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder can be quite a challenge especially if you do not know where to begin handling the issue. This is why it is crucial for you to learn some tips and tricks on how to deal with this condition properly so that you can help your child temper his behavior effectively while growing up to be a productive member of society.

However, to honestly know how to deal with ODD, you have to make sure that you can learn more about this topic. In the next section, we will be defining the term to help you further in your quest to help your child with such a condition.

What Is Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Oppositional Defiant Disorder can be defined as a condition that is usually present in children. It is characterized by hostile and destructive behavior directed towards adults and other various authority figures.

If you feel that your child is displaying such behaviors, there are things you can do to handle the situation. This will be discussed later on in the article.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder Symptoms

Here are other signs and symptoms of the condition that can be seen being displayed overtly.

Young people with this particular condition tend to display erratic mood swings. Often, they feel angry and belligerent for no apparent reason at all. Nothing seems to make them feel happy or satisfied.

Children with this condition are usually argumentative and vindictive as well. If left unchecked, this can lead to extremely violent behavior which can be detrimental to both the child and the people around him or her.

While many children can display defiant behavior during their growth and developmental years, these particular types of behavior are common among children with ODD.

What Are the Causes of Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

The specific cause of this condition in children is still unknown. However, many factors can contribute to the presence of this particular disorder in children. Here they are as follows:


Most youths with this specific type of disorder usually have another member of his family with similar predispositions and mental conditions.

Here are some other psychological and personality disorders that can lead to the development of this disorder in children.

  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Mood and Personality Disorders
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder


According to medical research, it has been found that children who are oppositional and defiant have an abnormally excessive amount of certain chemicals in the brain known as neurotransmitters.
Because of the imbalance, the sending and receiving up messages within the brain synapses don’t go on as it usually would. Because of this, signals in the brain do not go through normally which leads to erratic and emotionally volatile behavior in children.


One’s environment can also contribute to the development of Oppositional Defiant Disorder. If a child has been raised in a mostly cold familial environment where arguments and fighting is the norm, chances are he or she will learn to adopt these behavior patterns and become inflicted with ODD.

6 Strategies to Deal with Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Fortunately, as a parent, there are many things that you can do to make sure that your child can still become productive through the years and manage the condition on his own with minimal difficulty. Here are some of those strategies as follows:

1. Try to Find Out the Cause of the Behavior

First, you ought to make sure that you can figure out the root cause of the behavior being displayed. Do not try to discipline your child out of anger. If you do this, you will inflame your child’s condition which can lead to much worse forms of challenging behavior.

In trying to find out the root cause of the behavior, let the child do what he wants to do first before talking to him or her. Whatever you do, do not make it a shouting match between you and your child. It is vital that you keep calm while talking to your child even if he becomes disrespectful towards you.

Always remember that this condition is neurological and not intentional so try to be patient with your child.

2. Promote Exercise and Other Physical Activities for the Child

Once you finally figure out the root cause of the child’s negative behavior, you can now efficiently resolve the issue at hand. Just be sure to allow the child to express himself without being judged harshly.

Also, you should be able to engage your child and physical activity. This will be one of the most effective ways for him to release aggression without ending up hurting himself or others.

Exercise is another effective way of releasing pent-up aggression both in adults and children. If you let him engage in any physical activity, the child will surely learn to develop self-control and discipline so that he doesn’t lash out at any given moment.

You can either let him exercise on his own or do it together. Either way, this will be an excellent way for you to bond with your child while dealing with ODD in a much healthier way.

3. Figure Out His Behavioral Patterns and Triggers

Try to become aware of your child’s behavioral patterns. This way, you will be able to find out what triggers the aggressive behavior and help you find ways to avoid it.

Documentation and data gathering is a must if this particular step would work adequately. Do not be afraid to consult professional help in doing this step. Medical professionals should be the one to handle the documentation and recording part.

By doing this, parents will also be able to learn from the professionals through their advice regarding how to effectively deal with the condition.

4. Set Rules and Regulations and Firmly Implement Them When Necessary

As a parent, you also ought to be clear about your behavior of expectations for the child as well as the rules and regulations of the house. Be firm about disciplining the child so that he will be able to learn that he cannot behave negatively and not receive any consequences for his actions. If he continues to misbehave, this would be the best time for you to seek professional help.

Through seeking professional help, you will be able to learn more about the condition and form medically supported strategies to deal with them appropriately.

By speaking with professionals, you will also discover ways to personally handle any attack that your children might direct at you as a parent. As mentioned earlier, you should be aware that this is a neurological condition and that you should not take any negative comments about you were your parenting style personally.

5. Stay Positive

Having a positive attitude towards your children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder can help neutralize the situation safely and effectively. Make sure that you don’t match your children’s aggressive behavior with your own.

On the contrary, it is during these moments that you should be able to show your love for them even more. This way, they will realize that you don’t mean any harm in that you will always be there to support that no matter what happens.

As a parent, you should always be the one to influence your child in a much more positive way than any other adult figure in his life.

6. Change Your Environment

As mentioned earlier, the environment is one factor that can exacerbate children with ODD. If you feel that your situation is not a very healthy one for your child in terms of violence, it would be best to change the scenery.

If you can’t afford to move to another area in the country, try to go on a vacation with your family and your child of course. Though not permanent, the change of environment might do your child good especially if he is suffering from this adverse condition.


The most important thing to remember here is that children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder usually don’t have control over their impulses and negative behavior. So it would be best for you as a parent to exercise patience when dealing with actions related to this condition.

This way, the child will feel safe with you around and not feel attacked down the line.

Leave a Reply