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Wondering if my child might have oppositional defiant disorder


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#1 Beancat

Posted 21 February 2019 - 10:52 AM

I am wondering if my 5.5yo child may have ODD
I would describe her as perfect one minute and out of control the next.  The behavior started when she was about three and she has not grown out if it.  She has multiple tantrums, is defiant, challenges authority, is manipulative and looks for opportunities to upset her siblings.
On the other hand she can be perfect, is affectionate, can spend hours on her own playing or drawing, can be helpful and when it suits her will play wonderfully with other children. She is very advanced academically and doesn't appear to fit the ADHD criteria.
My husband has constantly played down my concerns and thinks it is anxiety. I actually think it may be both.  Nothing we are doing is working and now its causing issues at school. I just have a gut feeling that not is all ok with her and she needs to see a psych.

Are there others on here with diagnosed ODD children?  What where the signs or red flags for  you?

Edited by Beancat, 21 February 2019 - 10:53 AM.


#2 ipsee

Posted 21 February 2019 - 11:01 AM

My daughter is a bit the same. She behaves well at school. I've put it down to anxiety too. but I'm not really sure.

#3 Bam1

Posted 21 February 2019 - 11:08 AM

Sounds similar to my DS who also has ADHD and anxiety. I would get it investigated at worse there would be no diagnosis but whether its ODD, anxiety some counselling helps.  We have developed strategies ourselves to deal with the tantrums (which are a rare occurance at home now) and he has his own strategies in trying to deal with things.

#4 wanting3

Posted 21 February 2019 - 11:25 AM

My DD1 was diagnosed as ADHD and ODD, and the literature for the ODD component was eye opening.
The main thing is they are happy to challenge you on anything they want, and you can never get them to back down on it, so the behaviour escalates. Eg, You tell your child the sky is blue, they say, no it isn't, it is orange. You can argue with them forever about the colour of the sky, but you will never change their mind. It is perverse. Arguing makes them more defiant, and will escalate the behaviour. Just understand, in that moment, you cannot change their mind. Distract, distract, distract. Alternatively our psychologist has told us controlled ignoring is also another strategy to try. They soon get over that particular defiance, as long as you don't react. Reacting will drag it out. Just say whatever and get on with it.
It kills me to do it, as she thinks she has "won" the argument, but arguing doesn't work, so why waste my time on it.
Hope this helps. Mine also finds opportunities to annoy her sibling, but I make sure we intervene quickly, and it is normally a sign she is stewing over something else. If I can draw out the other problem from her, she stops the behaviour.

#5 JoanJett

Posted 21 February 2019 - 11:52 AM

I would suggest take a step back and rather than try to make her behaviour issues fit a diagnosis, document your exact concerns.  Keep a log for a week or so of what triggers tantrums (or what happens in the lead up).   Ask school to do the same with the issues now arising there.  And then see a psychologist as a starting point.  

There are any number of conditions that can cause these patterns of behaviour, and it might take some time to tease it all out.  There may be more than one underlying issue. The psychology review helps to screen for conditions, but also will help you to find some strategies to use in the meantime to help her regulate her emotions and behaviour.  

It's really hard OP, because these types of behaviour make for a very unsettled home life.  Getting some "outside" help eases the mental load a little, because you're sharing the burden with someone who is not emotionally invested.

Good luck.

#6 SelceLisbeth

Posted 21 February 2019 - 12:08 PM

There are lots of previous thread about ODD which would be worth looking at, OP.

My older DS has ODD and its very closely linked to his anxiety (and everyone else I have spoken to who knows someone with it, has said the same). He is struggling with it big time right now. He cant help it and it makes him feel bad. It doesnt tend to change depending on the environment but there are people he tends to let it out with more than others (again, anxiety).

A reliable ODD diagnosis is very difficult to obtain and even then you will struggle having some health professionals/educators accept it as a genuine diagnosis.

Diagnosis or not, my experience (and those of people I know) has been that managing ODD behaviour is all about managing anxiety.

Best of luck. ODD is exhausting. Then again, so is anxiety.

#7 Beancat

Posted 21 February 2019 - 12:42 PM

Thanks everyone this is really helpful, particularly the description from wanting 3 about arguing actually escalating things.  This really resonated me with me.  If she is in one of her moods it doesn't how I try to show her the sky is blue, if she thinks its purple, well then its damn well purple.  It is absolutely exhausting.

JoanJett, agree re the diary.  We have done that and there are certain triggers and one of them is the same as SelceLisbeth's son - it is worse around certain people - either people she does not like and respect or people she knows really well and is comfortable with.  I have noticed that if she does not respect someone or thinks she is more clever than they - then the behavior goes right over the edge.

Ok it looks like seeing a psych is going to be really useful to get some screening performed and some interim tools and then we can dig a bit further as to what is going on for her

#8 Mamabug

Posted 21 February 2019 - 02:00 PM

Please take your child to a psych and have them properly assessed.

I have an ODD child. Everyone told me I was over-reacting, they didn't see the behaviours I mentioned.

I wish I had been more insistent when she was younger.

#9 Beancat

Posted 21 February 2019 - 02:24 PM

Thanks Mamabug.  I really need to trust my gut.  Regardless of what "it" is (or multiple things) her behavior is socially unacceptable and is escalating so you are right - I need to get her assessed

how are things going now Mamabug since your child was diagnosed?

Edited by Beancat, 21 February 2019 - 02:58 PM.


#10 JoanJett

Posted 21 February 2019 - 04:08 PM

View PostBeancat, on 21 February 2019 - 12:42 PM, said:

Thanks everyone this is really helpful, particularly the description from wanting 3 about arguing actually escalating things.  This really resonated me with me.  If she is in one of her moods it doesn't how I try to show her the sky is blue, if she thinks its purple, well then its damn well purple.  It is absolutely exhausting.

JoanJett, agree re the diary.  We have done that and there are certain triggers and one of them is the same as SelceLisbeth's son - it is worse around certain people - either people she does not like and respect or people she knows really well and is comfortable with.  I have noticed that if she does not respect someone or thinks she is more clever than they - then the behavior goes right over the edge.

Ok it looks like seeing a psych is going to be really useful to get some screening performed and some interim tools and then we can dig a bit further as to what is going on for her

The other thing to include when you talk to school is asking about her academic performance - you mentioned "advanced".  Are there any signs of her being gifted?  It could be a factor to consider as well.

#11 QuirkyMum

Posted 21 February 2019 - 06:07 PM

...

Edited by QuirkyMum, 20 April 2019 - 12:12 AM.


#12 Mamabug

Posted 21 February 2019 - 06:21 PM

View PostBeancat, on 21 February 2019 - 02:24 PM, said:

How are things going now Mamabug since your child was diagnosed?

Mine is not a positive story: her behaviour has escalated to physical assault and as of this month (she is 13) she no longer lives with me.

#13 ~strawberry~

Posted 21 February 2019 - 07:49 PM

Hi OP :)
I have a child who is 2e (twice exceptional) which means they are gifted and have a diagnosis that affects their learning, in our case ADHD, ODD and anxiety.
I would be looking into IQ testing because if your child is at the top end of the bell curve, it can come with it's own issues like perfectionism which can also cause anxiety.
My starting point would be to make a list of what is happening immediately before meltdown/tantrums and where they are occurring (ie home, grandparents house or school) and take that to the paed with you. They might have a preferred psych for testing.
As for helping the behaviour, my strongest success comes when I can empathise with my son. I don't condone the behaviour, but say things like "I can see you're really upset, what's up?" After it's passed then we might sit down and have a chat to see if we can work out what caused it all and what we can change to help avoid it next time.
Another thing we is to give the child a feeling of control by giving two options for them to choose from. This doesn't always work, but it is more likely to get my child thinking and might come up with another option that is good for both of us.

Good luck, and i sincerely hope for your sake that it's not ODD as it's bloody hard to live with.

#14 WannabeMasterchef

Posted 21 February 2019 - 08:34 PM

View Postwanting3, on 21 February 2019 - 11:25 AM, said:

My DD1 was diagnosed as ADHD and ODD, and the literature for the ODD component was eye opening.
The main thing is they are happy to challenge you on anything they want, and you can never get them to back down on it, so the behaviour escalates. Eg, You tell your child the sky is blue, they say, no it isn't, it is orange.

Can I ask if its ok - what about a child who finds it very important for things to be correct?

E.G. if I said there are 'about 10 people waiting in line', and the child would say 'no there are 9'.
Or 'its 10:30' they would say 'no its 10:31'

Does that sound like ODD from what you know of it?

(eta child aged 6-7)

Edited by WannabeMasterchef, 21 February 2019 - 08:34 PM.


#15 SelceLisbeth

Posted 21 February 2019 - 08:40 PM

View PostWannabeMasterchef, on 21 February 2019 - 08:34 PM, said:

Can I ask if its ok - what about a child who finds it very important for things to be correct?

E.G. if I said there are 'about 10 people waiting in line', and the child would say 'no there are 9'.
Or 'its 10:30' they would say 'no its 10:31'

Does that sound like ODD from what you know of it?

(eta child aged 6-7)

I know you didnt ask me, but to me that sounds like something different. Needing to be precise can be a trait of ASD, OCD and anxiety to name a few. My 15yo child with ASD must be precise about these things. Exact times, exact names, exact addresses etc. Of course I am not a professional, so it is just going by my experience, so make of it what you will.

#16 WannabeMasterchef

Posted 21 February 2019 - 08:46 PM

View PostSelceLisbeth, on 21 February 2019 - 08:40 PM, said:

I know you didnt ask me, but to me that sounds like something different. Needing to be precise can be a trait of ASD, OCD and anxiety to name a few. My 15yo child with ASD must be precise about these things. Exact times, exact names, exact addresses etc. Of course I am not a professional, so it is just going by my experience, so make of it what you will.

Thats helpful, thank you.

#17 MrsWidget

Posted 21 February 2019 - 08:49 PM

I don’t have the time for a long response but as opposed to ODD investigate PDA (pathological demand avoidance). Especially if you have a child with severe anxiety, it’s so worth a look.

#18 DM. 2012

Posted 21 February 2019 - 09:04 PM

When my step-son was about 7 I saw a brochure at his OSHC and just the name Oppositial Defiant Disorder seemed like him.  He fit every characteristic listed.  I’ve just google it and here they are:

- easily angered, annoyed or irritated
- frequent temper tantrums
- argue frequently with adults, particularly the most familiar adults in their lives such as parents
- refuse to obey rules
- seems to deliberately try to annoy or aggravate others
- low self esteem (not sure if my step son had or has this though)
- low frustration threshold
- seek to blame others for any accidents or bad behaviour

Living with this is a nightmare.  He is almost 16 now and thre are no signs of improvement.  He used to mainly target me (I am the main person who is around, despite being his step-parent).  In high school he also directs this towards teaches and has also been directing it to my husband, his Dad now.  

It’s not necessarily about him being right, more him just wanting to do and behave however he wants and how dare anyone pull him up on his behaviour.

He will lie to get out of trouble, often to the point of crying, even at his age.  He also blames everyone else for his bahaviour. He often tells us that his teachers tell lies about him.

I often see those TV shows where the police pull over someone who was speeding, using their phone or going though a red light where the driver just keeps arguing with the police claiming that they didn’t do it and think that those people were probably like that as kids too.

#19 DM. 2012

Posted 21 February 2019 - 09:10 PM

Sorry for the long post above but I thought I’d add this, it same up as a Facebook memory the other day from 5 years ago:

Today's spelling list includes the word defiance. When I read it out we have the following discussion:
E- "defiance isn't on the list"
Me - "Yes it is"
E - "No it's not"
Me - "it says defiance"
E - "no it doesn't"
Me - "what is it then?"
E - "I don't know but it's not defiance"
Me - "just spell defiance
E - "it doesn't say defiance!”
Me - "Just write down what you think it is"
E - "No!"

#20 Chaotic Pogo

Posted 21 February 2019 - 09:54 PM

Beancat,

I could describe my DD the same way. She has an ASD diagnosis and fits the PDA profile(it’s not an official diagnosis is Australia yet). Useful information here  

https://www.pdasocie...-child-have-pda

https://www.stephstw...nd-odd.html?m=1

One key for me, to distinguish between the anxiety driven need to be in control and thus resisting any demand placed on her (tell her to eat her chocolate and you can get a meltdown) even though she wanted to do it, vs resistance to doing what the rules say (clean your room, no I don’t want to).

Like PP, not saying it’s a diagnosis but worth learning about further.

edit fixed link and clarify responding to Beancat not WBMC

Edited by Chaotic Pogo, 22 February 2019 - 08:30 AM.


#21 QuirkyMum

Posted 21 February 2019 - 09:57 PM

View PostWannabeMasterchef, on 21 February 2019 - 08:34 PM, said:



Can I ask if its ok - what about a child who finds it very important for things to be correct?

E.G. if I said there are 'about 10 people waiting in line', and the child would say 'no there are 9'.
Or 'its 10:30' they would say 'no its 10:31'

Does that sound like ODD from what you know of it?

(eta child aged 6-7)
That sounds like ASD or pure OCD.
Child here isn't trying to defy, he is correcting you.
Such OCD traits can come in handy during tantrums/when child is being oppositional, all you need to do is say something that child cannot NOT correct and it might distract him from the original fight.

#22 Serinitynow

Posted 22 February 2019 - 05:15 AM

My son has it (along with adhd and possible high functioning autism). He is now 13. He can be lovely. But only for very short stretches.

The ODD aspects are so so draining. Any engagement just escalates things. He will not let go of any argument or follow reasonable requests and will stand and scream at you and refuse to leave or shut up. Has to be dragged to his room for time out. I’m so sick of the behaviour. Makes family life really unpleasant so much of the time. I find it really hard to have much positive interaction with him. We have tried a number of psychologists and a psychiatrist - he won’t agree to talk to any of them. I am about to try another one but In the end I may have to accept that you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. He is currently without devices or lunch orders for the rest of the term owing to some terrible ongoing behaviours. Sorry. This is really depressing.

#23 IamzFeralz

Posted 22 February 2019 - 05:39 AM

There are some good (private) ODD Facebook groups.  I found them very helpful as some of the posters are super helpful with sharing resources and links that are genuinely helpful.  You just can’t use traditional discipline techniques because it escalates kids with ODD to become more oppositional and violent.  Also, it’s fantastic to talk to others with similar children.  

Although having said that, a lot of the American parents have put their kids on CBD oil and a few are okay with letting their kids smoke weed because of the improvement they feel they have made.

#24 Sancti-claws

Posted 22 February 2019 - 05:54 AM

Oh goodness, reading this thread makes me realise that the bloody-mindedness of DD might have a name or two...

#25 QuirkyMum

Posted 22 February 2019 - 07:07 AM

Whoever is reading this thread because of ODD behaviours, needs to listen to ADHD video by Russel Barkley( it is like 2.5 hours on YouTube). One of the lovely ladies here posted it on another thread!
Video is all about ADHD and how ODD is part of it ( in most cases) and essentially most kids have ADHD and not pure ODD and why medicating ADHD kids "prevents" resistant ODD ( I'm not explaining it right, I know).
Anyway, right dose of ritalin removes almost all ODD  behaviours in my son. But without that video helping me understand ADHD, I wouldn't have been medicating my child while at home and would have continued fighting with him all the time he isn't at school.




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