Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

From Defiant to Compliant

Rifka Schonfeld

Kids with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) can be obstinate, rude, and explosive. They can also be helped

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

angry boyAny parent of a child with ODD has experienced more than his or her fair share of stares and comments in supermarkets, shuls, or schools. “Helpful” friends, neighbors, and relatives advocate tough-love techniques and establishing zero-tolerance for tantrums. But anyone with an ODD child knows that cracking down when a child is having a meltdown will only exacerbate the tantrum.

Blaming parents is easy. What’s more difficult — but crucial for the welfare of child, parent, and the whole family — is understanding ODD and implementing techniques that will help the child.

Dr. Ross W. Greene, author of the widely acclaimed The Explosive Child, has done extensive research on children with the behavior disorder called oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). Dr. Greene prefers to label them explosive children.

Children are “explosive,” he explains, because of a variety of reasons, which include brain chemistry, low frustration tolerance, a rigid personality, and an inability to react in a normal manner. Sometimes, the disorder comes hand-in-hand with ADHD, mood disorders, or learning disabilities.

All children are argumentative and cranky at times, especially when tired, hungry, or stressed. Normal behavior ranges from arguing, talking back, and disobeying or defying authority figures. This conduct is even part of all toddlers’ (and early adolescents’) development. However, when a child stands out from other children of his age group because of his consistent and frequent acting out, there might be more going on than regular temper tantrums.

So, how do we define “explosive children”? For starters, these kids are easily frustrated, demanding, and inflexible. When things don’t go their way, they react with violence or rage. Their siblings are afraid of them. Their parents constantly walk on eggshells, terrified of the next outburst. They have few friends. And they can erupt in temper tantrums, kicking, screaming, and being verbally or physically aggressive, usually in response to relatively benign situations.

Dr. Greene says that “explosiveness” is an equal-opportunity condition. It occurs equally in boys and girls, and presents in children of all ages. “Some kids blow up dozens of times a day, others just a few times a week. Some lose it only at home, others only in school, and still others in any conceivable location. Some scream when they become frustrated, others become physically or verbally aggressive.”



<p><span style="color: #333333;">To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or <a style="text-decoration: underline;" href="">sign up for a weekly subscription</a>.</span></p>

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

What’s in a Name?
Shoshana Friedman “What does Writer X have to say this week?”
Atonement — Fake and Real
Yonoson Rosenblum White confessionals and faux rituals
Four Walls Coming Full Circle
Eytan Kobre All the while, there’s been a relationship in the offing...
And Yet We Smile
Yisroel Besser We are the nation that toils to be happy at all costs
Out of This World
Rabbi Henoch Plotnick Dirshu Hashem b’himatzo — we are in Hashem’s company now...
Steven and Jonathan Litton
Rachel Bachrach The co-owners of Litton Sukkah, based in Lawrence, NY
Tali Messing
Moe Mernick Tali Messing, engineering manager at Facebook Tel Aviv
Sick Note
Jacob L. Freedman “Of course, Dr. Freedman. Machul, machul, machul”
Avoiding Health Columns Can Be Good for You
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only one reliable guide for good health: our Torah
Endnote: Side Notes
Riki Goldstein Most Jewish music industry entertainers have side profes...
Me, Myself, and Why
Faigy Peritzman Where there’s no heart and no love, there’s no point
Can’t Do It Without You
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When you step up to the plate, you build your home team
Eternal Joy
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz The joy of Succos is the fruit of spiritual victory
The Appraiser: Part III
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer Make sure your child knows his strengths
Hidden Special Needs
Rena Shechter You won’t see his special needs, but don’t deny them
Dear Wealthy Friend
Anonymous There’s no need for guilt. I am truly happy for you