Fact Sheet Index

Is your child angry, defiant, or even violent? He or she might have ODD, oppositional defiant disorder.

When you describe your adolescent, do you find yourself using such words as:

Hostile
Negative
Defiant
Oppositional
Pessimistic
Aggressive
Argumentative
Angry
Resentful
Low frustration level
Accusatory
Unreasonable
Blaming
Spiteful
Vindictive
Bad temper
Foul-mouthed

If this pattern of behavior has become the usual emotional state of your teenager, he or she may have oppositional defiant disorder, ODD. ODD can disrupt home and family life, other relationships, and school performance.

This can be a particularly frustrating disorder, because your adolescent generally believes he or she has just cause to be so angry. The child may blame parents, peers, teachers, or other authority figures for the behavior, claiming others are unreasonable, oppressive, annoying, or just plain wrong.

The signs of oppositional defiance disorder tend to show up during pre-adolescence, around ages 7 to 13. At first you may notice that although your child is becoming hostile and unmanageable in the home, they do not present these same behaviors to the public or outside world. This can cause parents to become confused, possibly making them feel guilt, because they “must have done something” to cause the hostility. Over time, however, the child’s behavior will also deteriorate in school, and teachers may begin to complain about your child’s attitude in class. A typical student in this stage of ODD will be disruptive in class, disrespectful of teachers and other authority figures, aggressive toward peers, and generally act like a malcontent.

Behavior modification and other therapeutic interventions are the only answer for a teen with ODD. Ignoring this serious set of symptoms will allow your child’s behavior to continue to deteriorate and interfere with his or her social behavior, academic performance, and ability to take responsibility for his or her life as an adult.

Wilderness programs can have an enormous impact on kids with ODD. The structure of therapeutic wilderness programs requires a child to recognize his or her role in the group. A teen learns to take responsibility for his or her behavior and learns to recognize the self-defeating behaviors of ODD. They begin to recognize that such negative, hostile attitudes do nothing to create a harmonious and successful life among his or her peers.

If signs have become more severe and include physical acts of violence towards property or other people, or if your child has begun to commit criminal acts such as stealing, he or she may be suffering from a more serious Conduct Disorder .

Aspen Education Group has a number of programs that can help pre-adolescent and adolescent children who have self-defeating behaviors related to oppositional defiant disorder. These intensive programs can quickly narrow down the issues your child is experiencing to help him or her on a positive life path.

SUWS is a wilderness program for troubled students, ages 11-18, that are exhibiting negative behavioral problems, such as ODD. The programs offered are designed to discover the root causes of their negative behavior and help them discover the tools they need to achieve future success in life. Talk to a program representative for more information.

Turnabout Ranch is a short-term, high-impact therapy program that emphasizes family values and relationships. Using a phased approach, the students are guided by Counselors and Staff to a healthier attitude and lifestyle. Talk to a program representative for more information.

Our Assessment Test can help you determine if a residential program might be best for your particular child.

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