Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

In category Other Diagnoses & Labels

What exactly were they thinking when they came up with this one?

Were they so focused on the idea of recalcitrant children who won’t bow to the will of their elders that nobody noticed the acronym and said “Hey guys, this is going to look a bit silly”?

Well, it seems that ODD is what you get at when things have snowballed and the situation is totally out of control. It is often an end-of-the-road label when ADHD, ASD etc have been diagnosed but the child hasn’t responded as desired. Blame is placed squarely on the ODD child and his or her inadequate parents.

Presumably the opposite of ODD is obedient, malleable, tame, docile, compliant, had the spirit knocked out of them, etc. The ideal for mental health is probably somewhere in the middle.

Like many of these “disorders” they often show up when children are in primary school but somehow whatever is happening at school is never considered to be a possible cause. It’s always assumed that the child or family is at fault.

Things happen in schools too, bullying by other students and/or teachers, inappropriate schoolwork leading to frustration and undermining self-confidence, hostile environments that foster anger and distrust.

Were they so focused on the idea of recalcitrant children who won’t bow to the will of their elders that nobody noticed the acronym and said “Hey guys, this is going to look a bit silly”?

Perhaps instead of branding them as ODD, it is time to withdraw the child from the situation and really listen to what is going on from their point of view. Have a look at what’s going on in the school classroom and the school playground and move the focus from the ODD child to the other participants. It could be that the ODD behaviour is a fairly reasonable response to an unreasonable situation.

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