Treatment for Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Little boy crying with oppositional defiant disorder in need of treatment

Learn the best methods of treatment for oppositional defiant disorder in children and ways to work with children diagnosed with ODD. If you have a child with ODD or are working with one that has it, you may be at the end of your rope in terms of what to do.

Defiance is a frustrating behavior and although it will take effort to help them through their anger and resentment that are often associated features, you can do it.

Start by building a strong relationship with the child. Get to know them, things they like to do, and places the they like to go. Spend time with the child not having any expectations and building trust. This is the single most important aspect of truly helping all children with behavioral issues, but is even more important when working with defiant children.

Treatment for Oppositional Defiant Disorder Includes:

1. Parent Skills Training. Teaching parents the skills they need to appropriately respond to specific behaviors and providing these children with a structured environment is the most important part of treatment.

2. ADHD treatment. Because most children with ODD also have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), treatment for Oppositional Defiant Disorder might include medications, such as Ritalin, Adderrall, or Strattera.

3. Alternative Treatments. This might be the use of a special diet or supplements. One alternative therapy that has been getting a lot more attention recently is the use of Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin E supplements. However, these are really used as a way to provide children with essential nutrients that most children are deficient and already need. Due to the deficiency, children may be more likely to display ODD symptoms.

4. Proactive Strategies. I have tried to create this web site for parents to be able to acquire knowledge and skills necessary for working with children of all different levels of needs. So, you may find my free ebook Child Behavior Guide: What you need to know with proactive strategies helpful.

5. Compliance strategies This page has even more great ideas with preventative treatment for oppositional defiant disorder in children.

6. Provide Choices. One very small, but powerful method of interacting with children diagnosed with ODD is to constantly provide choices in as many areas of that child's life as possible. Some examples may include:

• Do you want to wear the red shirt or blue shirt? 
• Do you want peas or carrots for your vegetable? 
• Do you want water or milk with dinner? Sometimes when my son can only have water I'll even say, "Do you want water or nothing?" He always chooses water. 
• Do you want to shower before or after dinner?
• Do you want to read a little before bedtime or just listen to music? 
• Do you want to brush your teeth now or in 5 minutes? 
• Do you want want to make dinner by yourself or do you want me to help you make dinner?

If every request is phrased as a choice that always leads to compliance of your request, the child will feel like he/she has more control over the situation and is choosing to do the request instead of being forced or demanded to do it.

Then later on when the child refuses a request that does not have any possible choices you can say, "Haven't I been giving you lots of choices all day? Well this is one request I have for you to do for me." Most children are more likely to respond to a request this way.

7. Professional Help. For children displaying severe symptoms, you will definitely want to seek professional help. Getting someone to help you provide treatment for oppositional defiant disorder by coming into the home and working with you and other caregivers will provide much more support and insight about the problems you are facing. You may try to find a behavior analyst or Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) with experience in providing treatment for oppositional defiant disorder to come and do parent skills training.

Additional Pages You May Wish to Review:

• Conduct Disorder
• ADHD Symptoms
• Behavior Intervention Plans

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