Oppositional and Defiant Disorder

Oppositional and Defiant Disorder

All children are oppositional from time to time, especially if they are tired, hungry, upset or stressed. They may argue and talk back to teachers, parents, and other adults. Oppositional behavior is a normal part of development for toddlers and early adolescents. However, oppositional behavior becomes a serious concern when it is so frequent that it stands out when compared with other children of the same age and development level and when it affects the child’s social, family and academic life.

Children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) show a pattern of negative, hostile, and defiant behavior that last at least six months and impairs their ability to interact with caregivers, teachers, and classmates. During this time period, the child or adolescent may often lose their temper, actively defy adults and appear spiteful. Other symptoms may include frequent temper tantrums, blaming others for his or her misbehavior and being easily annoyed by others.

Children who are struggling with ODD may:

  • Have difficulties with academic performance
  • Engage in risky behaviors, including delinquent activities and substance use
  • Without intervention children may develop more serious problems such as destruction of property, aggression towards people and animals, lying or stealing.

Children’s Mental Health Matters ODD Fact Sheet