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.

Not a Newspaper
Shoshana Friedman A deeper difference between newspapers and magazines
Services in Shards
Rabbi Moshe Grylak “Such a painful, malicious lie!”
The Pittsburgh Protests: All Politics All the Time
Yonoson Rosenblum The old rule — “no enemies on the left” — still applies
Danger: School Crossing
Eytan Kobre The hypocrisy of YAFFED’s assertion is breathtaking
Real Laughter and Real Tears
Rabbi Avrohom Neuberger The two sides of a life lived with emunah
Work/Life Solutions with Eli Langer
Moe Mernick I was proud to be “that guy with the yarmulke”
Is Ktchong! a Mitzvah? When Prayer and Charity Collide
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman These cannot both be done effectively at the same time
An Honest Shidduch
Jacob L. Freedman “Baruch Hashem I’m cured, and this will be my secret”
A Blessing in Disguise
Riki Goldstein “I never thought the song would catch on as it has”
Ishay and Motti Strike a Common Chord
Riki Goldstein Bringing together two worlds of Jewish music
What’s your favorite Motzaei Shabbos niggun?
Riki Goldstein From the holy and separate back to the mundane
Rightfully Mine
Faigy Peritzman Don’t regret the job you didn’t land; it was never yours
Growing Greener Grass
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Nurture your blessings and watch them blossom
My Way or the High Way
Rebbetzin Debbie Greenblatt We know what we want — but do we know what He wants?