Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) in Children: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a pattern of hostile behavior by children and teens toward their parents or other authority figures. A child or teen may argue about rules and lose their temper. Kids with this disorder may annoy others on purpose. They may blame others for their mistakes. They may also be overly sensitive, angry, resentful, or vengeful.

Most kids rebel against authority as they grow up. But when a child goes beyond the normal level of defiance, it can cause serious problems within a family. And it can cause problems at school or work.

ODD behavior in some children and teens can get worse. It can lead to conduct disorder. Children with conduct disorder may have a pattern of lying, stealing, and cheating. They may skip school or run away from home. They may also harm animals, property, and other people. It is important to treat ODD early. Treatment can keep the problems from getting worse. Your doctor may advise that your child have a full exam by a psychiatrist. This exam will look for other conditions, such as a learning disability or mood disorder, that may also need treatment.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Help your child find a counselor they trust. Encourage your child to talk openly and honestly about their problems.
  • Make sure your child goes to all counseling appointments.
  • Talk to your child. Help your child learn that it is okay to be angry or upset at times. Teach healthy ways to work through those feelings.
  • Teach your child ways to express anger that do not hurt others. Do not reward angry or violent behavior.
  • Try using "time-out" to stop aggressive behavior. Time-out means that you remove your child from a stressful situation for a short period of time.
  • Talk to your doctor about parent education classes or helpful books about child behavior.
  • Talk with other parents about the ways they cope with behavior issues.
  • Talk to your doctor about family therapy. This can help the rest of your family to deal better with a child with ODD.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You are so frustrated with your child that you are afraid you might hurt them.
  • You are afraid your child might hurt you or another family member.

Where to get help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

If your child talks about suicide, self-harm, a mental health crisis, a substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress, get help right away. You can:

  • Call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.
  • Call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
  • Text HOME to 741741 to access the Crisis Text Line.

Consider saving these numbers in your phone.

Go to 988lifeline.org for more information or to chat online.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You want tips to help your child control their behavior.
  • You want to see a behavior counselor.
  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

Enter B766 in the search box to learn more about "Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) in Children: Care Instructions".

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.