How to Help a Child with ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder)

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Oppositional Defiance Disorder, known as ODD for short, pertains to children who have been diagnosed with a significant level of defiant, disobedient and negative behaviors. If you are raising a child with ODD, then you are familiar with the utter exhaustion that comes with trying to get your child to behave without diminishing their self-esteem. A child with ODD may seem impossible to manage, but there are ways you can work to help a child with ODD and in turn raise them to be successful adults.

How to Help a Child with ODD, Child Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Manage a child with ODD, Parenting a child with ADHD, Special needs parenting ideas

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How to Help a Child with ODD  (Oppositional Defiance Disorder)

Remain Consistent with Consequences

A child with ODD may have quickly learned that if they throw a large enough tantrum that their parents will give into the behavior and not enforce a consequence. This is bad news, as a parent who is raising a child with ODD you need to set clear, concise house rules that are simple. Remain consistent in follow through when your standards aren’t met. Try working with your child to develop skills to be flexible and handle change or frustration.


Keep Things Simple

A child with ODD will often have signs of anxiety; they will be more anxious than your average child. This means having too many elaborate expectations may toss them into a whirlwind both mentally and physically. Learn to set up a household structure that keeps rules, lifestyle, and expectations simple. Having a good routine will help assist in curbing the meltdowns that occur with a child with ODD.

Setting up a routine or daily schedule that your child understands and can work with is important. A lot of routine or daily schedule from this.


Always Remain Calm

The key to managing and helping a child with ODD is not to let their negative attitude bring you down as a parent. You must be the stronger person in the room and maintain your composure as a parent. You need not always have a reply when the child is yelling about something specific. State your expectations or thoughts and that is it, so as long as your child is in a safe location, let them have their time so that they can work through it and move on. Don’t get me wrong sometimes this is difficult to do, but after years of parenting a child this way I have realized allowing myself to get worked up doesn’t help the situation at all. 

I’ve realized letting my son have his own time to calm down is usually all he needs. He will always apologize later and understand how he reacted wasn’t the best way.


Help a Child with ODD by Celebrating Success

A child with ODD may require more positive reinforcement than your average child. Remember to celebrate successes within reason. Of course, most parents don’t want to be over enthusiastic because the real world will not celebrate every single success your child has. Remember to verbally praise your child when you see they are trying to be better about following the rules of the house and responding appropriately. Celebrate the positives.


There is no one size fits all to learn how to help a child with ODD. Surely therapy and other services are available to guide you forward in becoming a parent who can handle a child who has been diagnosed with ODD. Each day might feel like an uphill battle, some days better than others, but if you try to implement a few of these tips into your daily life, you will soon find that your child grows and matures to a point where they have learned to be a little more calm and able to handle expectations and rules.


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